Boston: Remember, You Are Clothed With Borrowed Feathers

2. I shall drop a few words to the saints.

(1.) “Remember—that at that time,” namely, when you were in your natural state, “ye were without Christ—having no hope, and without God in the world.” Call to mind the state you were in formerly; and review the misery of it. There are five memorials which I may thence give in to the whole assembly of the saints, who are no more children of wrath, but “heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ,” though as yet in their minority.

1. Remember, that in the day our Lord first took you by the hand, you were in no better a condition than others. O! what moved him to take you when he passed by your neighbours? he found you children of wrath, even as others: but he did not leave you so. He came into the common prison, where you lay in fetters, even as others: from among the multitude of condemned malefactors, he picked you out, commanded your fetters to be taken off, put a pardon in your hand, and brought you into the glorious liberty of the children of God, while he left others in the devil’s fetters.

2. Remember there was nothing in you to engage him to love you, in the day he appeared for your deliverance. you were children of wrath, even as others; fit for hell, and altogether unfit for heaven: yet the King brought you into the palace; the King’s Son made love to you, a condemned criminal, and espoused you to himself, on the day in which you might have been led forth to execution. “Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight,” Matth. 11:26.

3. Remember, you were fitter to be loathed than loved in that day. Wonder, that when he saw you in your blood, he looked not at you with abhorrence, and passed by. Wonder, that ever such a time could be a time of love, Ezek. 16:8,

4. Remember, you are decked with borrowed feathers. It is his comeliness which is upon you, ver. 14. It was he that took off your prison garments, and clothed you with robes of righteousness, garments of salvation; garments wherewith you are arrayed as the lilies, which toil not, neither do they spin. He took the chains from off your arms, the rope from about your neck; put you in such a dress, as you might be fit for the court of heaven, even to eat at the King’s table.

5. Remember your faults this day, as Pharaoh’s butler, who had forgotten Joseph. Mind how you have forgotten, and how unkindly you have treated, him who remembered you in your low estate. Is this your kindness to your friend? In the day of your deliverance, did you think you could have thus requited him, your Lord?

Thomas Boston, Human Nature in Its Fourfold State Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1964), 178–79. (HT: Alan Mallory)

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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