Boston: Statements On The Visible/Invisible Church

“An internal and saving adoption, which is peculiar to believers, or those effectually called and converted, which make up the invisible church and family of God on earth, enjoying spiritual privileges, beyond all others without or within the visible church. These are they that are chosen out from the unconverted world lying in wickedness, according to the decree of election, and brought and ingrafted into Christ, and made real members of his body, John 1:12, 13. These God adopts, judicially avouches them to be his sons and daughters, and Satan, their natural father, is obliged to quit his right to them; and they thereby are, and are accounted, no more of his family, but children of God, and have a right to the saving special privileges of the children of his family”(1)

“Sue for this adoption, and for being received into this number; and for this cause come out from among the world lying in wickedness, and be ye separate. There is a feast before as made for the children. It is a sad token for people never to partake of the childrens’ bread, but ever to stand at a distance as strangers to the family: and what concern can there be in the spirits of these for the privileges of God’s invisible family, that have no concern for the privileges of his visible family on earth? On the other hand, it is dangerous to intrude among the children, while one is not of the family; to come in among the children of God at the Lord’s table, while they are not come out from among the children of Satan.”(2)

“The kingdom of his grace, Matth. 6:33. ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God,’ &c. This is yet narrower than any of the former, and comprehends only the invisible church; for it is not an external, but an internal kingdom, in which grace, saving grace, reigns in the hearts of those who belong to it; for, says Christ to his disciples, ‘behold the kingdom of God is within you,’ Luke 17:21.
(1.) The subjects of it are believers, true saints, and they only; and they commence subjects of this kingdom in the day of Christ’s power on their hearts, their new birth-day, Psal. 110:3. Well may it be called a kingdom, for it is a kingdom of Kings, Rev. 1:6 as all the subject of it are ‘made kings unto God’ Out of prison (their natural state) they come to reign over their spiritual enemies.
(2.) The King of it is Christ, dwelling in their hearts, Eph. 3:17; sitting in their hearts as on his throne, and all things else made his footstool, Luke 14:26. The gospel comes with power to the elect souls, Psal. 24:8. The everlasting doors are lifted up, and the King makes his triumphant entry, and receives the crown at his entrance, Cant. 3 ult.”(3)


1. Boston, T. (1848). The Whole Works of Thomas Boston: An Illustration of the Doctrines of the Christian Religion, Part 1. (S. M‘Millan, Ed.) (Vol. 1, p. 615). Aberdeen: George and Robert King.

2. Ibid. Pg. 623-624

3. Boston, T. (1848). The Whole Works of Thomas Boston: An Illustration of the Doctrines of the Christian Religion, Part 2. (S. M‘Millan, Ed.) (Vol. 2, pp. 572–573). Aberdeen: George and Robert King.


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