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Thomas Boston: Preacher of the Fourfold State

The panel of Christ the Center had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Philip Graham Ryken, Senior Minister of historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, with regard to his doctoral dissertation, Thomas Boston: Preacher of the Fourfold State. Dr. Ryken has authored many other books, including Galatians and 1 Timothy in the Reformed Expository Commentary series, The Heart of the Cross, Message of Salvation, and The Doctrines of Grace: Rediscovering the Evangelical Gospel with James Montgomery Boice.

In this interview, Dr. Ryken explains the significance of Boston as a preacher, theologian, and pastor with regard to his sermons on the fourfold state of man (i.e. man in the state of innocence, man in the state of nature [corruption], man in the state of grace, and man in the state of glory or condemnation). Among other things, we talked with Dr. Ryken about Boston’s literary dependence, his contribution to the understanding of union with Christ, his use of illustrations in preaching, and other valuable works written by Boston. We hope this interview will serve as a helpful introduction to the life and writings of Thomas Boston, preacher of the fourfold state.


  • Dr. Phil Ryken
  • Nick Batzig
  • Jim Cassidy
  • Camden Bucey


Boston, Thomas. Human nature in its fourfold state : of primitive integrity, entire depravity, begun recovery, and consummate happiness or misery. London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1964.

Case, Thomas. The morning exercise methodized … London: E.M.for Ralph Smith, 1660.

Fisher, Edward. The marrow of modern divinity. [Mikrofiche-Ausg.]. Boston Mass.: Henchman, 1743.

Ryken, Philip. Thomas Boston (1676-1732) as preacher of the Fourfold state, 1995.

Willison, John. An example of plain catechising upon the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism … with a preface briefly demonstrating the truth of the Christian revelation … Philadelphia: Printed and sold by D. Hogan, 1806.

—. Sacramental meditations and advices proper for communicants on sacramental occasions : together with a short Christian directory, proper for all Christians intending Heaven. Brookfield [Mass.]: Printed by E. Merriam & Co., 1818.

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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.


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