BLTC Press Titles


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Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll


Further Adventures of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross


The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky


The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite


Crook in the lot; or, The sovereignty and wisdom of God displayed in the afflictions of men, sermons

by Thomas Boston

Excerpt:

I. As to the crook itself, the crook in the lot, for the better understanding thereof, these few things that follow are premised.

1. There is a certain train or course of events, by the providence of God, falling to every one of us during our life in this world: and that is our lot, as being allotted to us by the sovereign God, our Creator and Governor, "in whose hand our breath is, and whose are all our ways." This train of events is widely different to different persons, according to the will and pleasure of the Sovereign Manager, who ordereth men's conditions in the world in a great variety, some moving in a higher, some in a lower sphere.

2. In that train or course of events, some fall out cross to us, and against the grain; and these make the crook in our lot. While we are here, there will be cross events, as well as agreeable ones, in our lot and condition. Sometimes things are softly and agreeably gliding on; but, by-and-by, there is some incident which alters that course, grates us, and pains us, as, when we have made a wrong step, we begin to halt.

3. Everybody's lot in this world hath some crook in it. Complainers are apt to make odious comparisons: they look about, and taking a distant view of the condition of others, can discern nothing in it but what is straight, and just to one's wish; so they pronounce their neighbour's lot wholly straight. But that is a false verdict; there is no perfection here; no lot out of heaven without a crook. For, as to "all the works that are done under the sun, behold all is vanity and vexation of spirit. That which is crooked cannot be made straight," Eccl. i. 14, 15. Who would not have thought that Haman's lot was very straight, while his family was in a flourishing condition, and he prospering in riches and honour, being prime minister of state in the Persian court, and standing high in the king's favour? Yet there was, at the same time, a crook in his lot, which so galled him, that "all this availed him nothing," Esth. v. 13. Every one feels for himself, where he is pinched, though others perceive it not. Nobody's lot, in this world, is wholly crooked; there are always some straight and even parts in it. Indeed, when men's passions having got up, have cast a mist over their minds, they are ready to say, all is wrong with them, nothing right; but, though in hell that tale is true, and ever will be so, yet it is never true in this world; for there, indeed, there is not a drop of comfort allowed, Luke xvi. 24, 25; but here it always holds good, that "it is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed," Lam. iii. 22.

4. The crook in the lot came into the world by sin: it is owing to the fall, Rom. v. 12, "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ;" under which death the crook in the lot is comprehended, as a state of comfort or prosperity is, in Scripture style, expressed by living, 1 Sam. xxv, 6; John iv. 50, 51. Sin so bowed the hearts and minds of men, that they became crooked in respect of the holy laws; and God justly so bowed their lot, that it became crooked too. And this crook in our lot inseparably follows our sinful condition, till,

dropping this body of sin and death, we get within heaven's gates.

These being premised, a crook in the lot speaks, in general, two things, Adversity, Continuance. Accordingly it makes a day of adversity, opposed to the day of prosperity, in the verse immediately following the text.

The crook in the lot is, first, some one or other piece of adversity. The prosperous part of one's lot, which goes forward according to one's wish, is the straight and even part of it; the adverse part, going a contrary way, is the crooked part thereof. God hath intermixed these two in men's condition in this world ; that, as there is some prosperity therein, making the straight line, so there is also some adversity, making the crooked: which mixture hath place, not only in the lot of saints, who are told, that "in the world they shall have tribulation," but even in the lot of all, as already observed. Secondly, it is adversity of some continuance. We do not reckon it a crooked thing, which, though forcibly bended and bowed together, yet presently recovers its former straightness. There are twinges of the rod of adversity, which passing like a stitch in one's side, all is immediately set to rights again: one's lot may be suddenly overclouded, and the cloud vanish ere he is aware. But under the crook, one having leisure to find his smart, is in some concern to get the crook made even. So the crook in the lot is adversity, continued for a shorter or longer time.


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