In "The Art of Man-Fishing" Thomas Boston (1676-1732) outlines thoughts on evangelism based on Matthew 4:19, "I will make you fishers of men." Originally conceived as a series of private meditations when he was a young man, Boston never intended for it to be published. It has proven itself as tremendously insightful, clear in presentation, and eminently useful since its first publication in 1773, some forty years after his death.
CROOK IN THE LOT ''Consider the work of God, for who can make that straight which He has made crooked'' (Ecclesiastes 7:3) One's lot consists of all the things in life that God has allotted to a person. So if one sees rough and painful happenings in life, looking to second causes first will but stir up fretting and fuming. But a look at the first cause will remind us that it is God that has caused the crook in our lot, If He is to work all things to our good, He at times must put a kink in our plans. ''A man's heart plans his way, but Jehovah fixes his step'' (Pro. 16:9). Observe: 1. Whatever crook there is in our lot, it is of God's making. He has decreed all things in our lives, else how could He make all things work to our good? Each one has been allotted certain things, each of us differently; yet so as to make them work together. If between two saints, good for both of them. If between an unbeliever and a believer, the unbeliever's life works to the good of the believer. 2. What God sees fit to mar, no one will be able to mend his lot. When the course of events cross our plans, and God has done it, then only God can unloose the knot in our plans. 3. Everyone's lot in this world has some crook in it. Complainers are apt to make odious comparisons. Everyone feels for himself, when he is pinched, though others do not see it. Only God knows the pain allotted to each. 4. The crook in the lot came into the world by sin. It is owing to the Fall that sin entered the world. This crook in our lot inseparably follows our sinful condition, till dropping this body of sin we enter Heaven's gates. There was no personal sin in Christ, yet He was humiliated and suffered for the sins of others. All this was decreed of Him. Why not in our lives also? Boston (1676-1732) was a Scottish Presbyterian minister and author.
The Art of Manfishing by Thomas Boston A faithful soul-winners' guide to Calvinistic evangelism recommended by John MacAuthur. ''Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men'' (Matt. 4:19). The first thing is to follow the chief Fisher of men, Christ. He gives the promise that if they follow Him, they will indeed become fishers of men. But how does Christ make men fishers of men? (1) By His call; (2) By giving them success. For His word comes to them ''in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance'' (1 Thess. 1:5). It is not by might, nor by craft, but by the power of the Spirit that fishers of men succeed. You need not despair of fishing amongst the worst of men, for none can resist the Spirit when He engages Himself. Words to Winners of Souls, by Horatius Bonar, is addressed primarily to ministers of the Gospel. It is wondrously effective in its message to those called to preach the precious words of the Scriptures. However, the usefulness of the book is not confined to ministers, but has a message for all witnesses of Christ. The same spirit, sincerity, and fervency is needful for all witnesses, whatever their calling in life. There can be but one goal to winners of souls, to lead the lost sinners around them to that ''resting place where doubt and weariness, the stings of a pricking conscience, and the longings of an unsatisfied soul'' may be satisfied, in Christ Jesus. In Him alone will all these be changed into holy joy, peace, and everlasting happiness