Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings
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Thumbnail Biographies on Fire and Ice

This page contains short biographies of many of the Puritans, as well as a few other people of interest to the readers of Fire and Ice. Following each biography are a summary of each person's major writings and a few links if their writings are available on the Web. Many of the links are to the Table of Contents or indices on Fire and Ice.

In addition to this page, there is an index of History and Biography on Fire and Ice. There are several articles from the Banner of Truth Magazine and other sources.

The biographical sketches below are taken from various sources. The name of the author follows the article: notes marked "WC" are by myself (William Carson), as are unsigned articles.

It is not within the scope of this page, or the ability of the writer to list all of the important Puritans. I have merely listed many of the Puritans whose writings are on Fire and Ice, and some of the other "heavy hitters." The discerning reader will notice that some of the persons listed below are not Puritans. I included them because other readers have asked about them.

The icon    represents a link to the Table of Contents.  


Ames, William

(b. 1576, Ipswich, Suffolk, Eng.—d. Nov. 14, 1633, Rotterdam), English Puritan theologian remembered for his writings on ethics and for debating and writing in favour of strict Calvinism in opposition to Arminianism.

As a student at Cambridge, Ames viewed cardplaying as an offense to Christian living—no less serious than profanity. In 1609 his dispute with the Church of England's customs of conduct came to a head in his sermon attacking what he saw as the debauchery attending the feast of St. Thomas. Obliged to leave England, he sailed in 1610 to Rotterdam. There, in the fisherman's habit donned for the passage, he debated Nicolaas Grevinckhoven (Grevinchovius), minister to the local Arminian Church, on the doctrines of atonement and predestination.

Ames, considered triumphant in the debates, became widely known throughout the Low Countries. Subsequently, he entered into written disputes with Grevinckhoven on universal redemption and related questions. He served as an observer at the Synod of Dort (1618-19), at which Arminianism was firmly denounced, and as professor of theology at Franeker, in Friesland (1622-33). Among his more important works are Medulla Theologiae (1623; The Marrow of Sacred Divinity, 1642) and De Conscientia et Ejus Jure vel Casibus (1632; Conscience, 1639). The latter text was considered for many years by the Dutch Reformed Church to be a standard treatise on Christian ethics and the variety of ethical situations faced by believers. [It also influenced Willard and Edwards.] (BCD)

The Marrow of Theology has recently been reprinted by Baker.

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Baxter, Richard   

"(b. Nov. 12, 1615, Rowton, Shropshire, Eng.—d. Dec. 8, 1691, London), known as a peacemaker who sought unity among the clashing Protestant denominations, he was the centre of nearly every major controversy in England in his fractious age.

Baxter was ordained into the Church of England in 1638 after studying divinity. Within two years, however, he had allied himself with Puritans in opposition to the episcopacy established by his church. During his ministry at Kidderminster (1641-60) he made that Worcestershire town of handloom workers into a model parish. He preached in a church enlarged to accommodate the crowds that he drew. Pastoral [catechising and] counseling was as important to him as preaching, and his program for his parish came to serve as a pattern for many other ministers in the Church of England.

A believer in limited monarchy, Baxter attempted to play an ameliorative role during the English Civil Wars. He served briefly as a chaplain in the parliamentary army but then helped to bring about the restoration of the king (1660). After the monarchy was reestablished, he fought for toleration of moderate dissent within the Church of England. He was persecuted for his views for more than 20 years and was imprisoned (1685) for 18 months. The Revolution of 1688, replacing James II with William and Mary, brought in its wake an Act of Toleration that freed Baxter from most of the encumbrances he suffered for his opinions." (BCD)

Because of his confused soteriology, Baxter's practical writings are most valued today. His most important works are his Saint's Everlasting Rest [various publishers], Christian Directory [SDG], and The Reformed Pastor [various]. Some extracts may be found at the Richard Baxter Index.

More information is available at The Richard Baxter Society.

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Binning, Hugh     Link to this author's section of the Table of Contents

"Hugh Binning [1627?-1653] was a rare individual. The greatness of his spirit and abilities gave his parents good grounds to conceive the pleasant hope that he would be a promising child. When in grammar school, he showed such proficiency in the Latin tongue and Roman authors that he outstripped his fellow classmates, though some were years older than he. When his schoolmates went out to play, he declined their company and chose to employ himself either in secret duty with God or in conference with religious people. His favorite pasttime was to recreate himself in this manner.

He had an aversion to sports, games, and other diversions, not from a melancholy spirit (being rather of an affable, cheerful, and debonair disposition), but thinking that time was too precious to be lavished away in these things. Religion and religious exercises were his choice, and the time he had to spare from his studies he spent that way.

He began to have sweet familiarity with God, and to live in near communion with Him, before others began seriously to lay to heart their lost and undone condition by nature, and that additional misery they expose themselves to by walking in a wicked way and sinful course. When he was 13 or 14 years of age, he had even then attained so much experience in the ways of God that the most judicious and exercised Christians confessed that they were greatly edified, strengthened, and comforted by him. It provoked others to greater diligence in the duties of religion when they became aware that they were being outdone by a youth.

Binning entered the University of Glasgow at age 14, taught there at the age of 19, and died at the age of 26." (Rev. Don Kistler)

"The Rev. Hugh Binning entered upon his pastoral charge at a very eventful period. He was ordained in the interval between the death of Charles I. and the coronation of his son Charles II., which took place at Scone, on the first of January, 1651. In the first year of the incumbency of Binning, the fatal battle of Dunbar was fought. In different parts of Scotland, three different armies, without concert with one another, subsequently took the field, to oppose the progress of the parliamentary forces. And it was not till after the death of Binning, that General Monk succeeded in reducing the country to a state of subjection. Meanwhile, the same jealousies and animosities prevailed, which had previously divided the Scottish nation. The nobility, as well as the clergy, were opposed to one another, and adopted different views of the national interests. And what tended not a little to increase the public divisions, the Anabaptists, Quakers, and other sectarians, connected with the English army, employed themselves wherever they went, in propagating with great industry, their peculiar opinions. By keeping these things in view, the reader will be better able to understand, in the writings of Binning, numerous allusions, more or less recondite, to the particular circumstances of the times." Rev M. Leishman, in his Preface to Binnings' Works.


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Boston, Thomas    

(1676—1732) "Born in Duns, Berwickshire, he read arts and divinity at Edinburgh and was a recognized Hebraist. After ordination he held pastorates in his native county and (most notably) at Ettrick, Selkirkshire, where he was installed on the day of the union with England in 1707. An English Puritan work, The Marrow of Modern Divinity, greatly influenced him, and despite its ban because of its [supposed-WC] Arminianism, his own writings popularized its doctrines. Implicated in the "Marrow case," he emerged without stain, demonstrating his profound theological thought. Leading a life of deep prayer, he performed many exemplary parochial tasks. Illness never prevented his preaching, and even on his last two Sundays, too feeble for the pulpit, he preached from the manse window on self-examination. His books are Human Nature in its Fourfold Estate (1720) [BOT paperback], Notes to the Marrow of Modern Divinity (1726), A View of the Covenant of Grace (1734), An Illustration of the Doctrines of the Christian Religion (1773), and many other treatises and volumes of sermons." C.C. Thorne, Jr. (NIDCC)

More information on his life may be found at the Beauties of Boston. Extracts may be found Index to Boston and at the Boston Home Page.

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Brooks, Thomas    

(1608-1680). "Nonconformist preacher. Born into a Puritan family, he was sent to Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He soon became an advocate of the Congregational way and served as a chaplain in the Civil War. In 1648 he accepted the rectory of St. Margaret's, New Fish Street, London, but only after making his Congregational principles clear to the vestry. On several occasions he preached before Parliament. He was ejected in 1660 and remained in London as a Nonconformist preacher. Government spies reported that he preached at Tower Wharf and in Moorfields. During the Great Plague and Great Fire he worked in London, and in 1672 was granted a license to preach in Lime Street. He wrote over a dozen books, most of which are devotional in character. He was buried in Bunhill Fields." Peter Toon (NIDCC)

Extracts from his works may be found at the Table of Contents.

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Bunyan, John

(1628-1688). "Puritan writer and preacher. Born at Elstow, near Bedford, into a poor home, he probably acquired his grasp of the English language from reading the Bible. As a youth he was involved in the Civil War on the Roundhead side. In 1649 he married, and his wife brought him Dent's Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven and Bayly's Practice of Piety. In 1653 he joined Pastor Cifford's Independent church at Bedford. A year or two later he began to preach with no little success, except with the magistrate who remanded him in custody for refusing to undertake not to preach. His imprisonment lasted intermittently from 1660 to 1672, but it enabled him to produce his masterpiece Pilgrim's Progress and other writings, including some verse. After 1672 he spent most of his time in preaching and evangelism in the Bedford area.

The Bedford tinker's fame rests chiefly on three works: Pilgrim's Progress (1678, 1684), The Holy War (1682), and Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666). He proved to be a master of simple, homely English style, narrative, and allegory. The first-named book especially was, with Foxe's Martyrs, read in virtually every Victorian home, and remains a best seller for children and adults alike. Theologically Bunyan was a Puritan in that he held a Calvinist view of grace, but he was a separatist in his views of baptism and the church." G.E. Duffield (NIDCC)

More info and links to some of his works may be found at John Bunyan Archive.

Charnock, Stephen    

"Presbyterian minister. Son of a London solicitor, he was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and later became a fellow of New College, Oxford. In 1655 he was appointed chaplain to Henry Cromwell, governor of Ireland, and won a reputation for preaching in Dublin. From 1675 he ministered in a London Presbyterian church [with Thomas Watson]. His sermons were published mostly after his death; they reflect the characteristic Puritan divine's concern for central Gospel themes; the most important work was entitled Existence and Attributes of God [various]." (NIDCC)

Some sermons and extracts may be found at Index to Charnock.

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Edwards, Jonathan    

(b. Oct. 5, 1703, East Windsor, Conn. —d. March 22, 1758, Princeton, N.J.), "greatest theologian and philosopher of British American Puritanism, stimulator of the religious revival known as the "Great Awakening," and one of the forerunners of the age of Protestant missionary expansion in the 19th century. Edwards' father, Timothy, was pastor of the church at East Windsor, Conn.; his mother, Esther, was a daughter of Solomon Stoddard, pastor of the church at Northampton, Mass. Jonathan was the fifth child and only son among 11 children; he grew up in an atmosphere of Puritan piety, affection, and learning. After a rigorous schooling at home, he entered Yale College in New Haven, Conn., at the age of 13. He was graduated in 1720 but remained at New Haven for two years, studying divinity. After a brief New York pastorate (1722-23), he received the M.A. degree in 1723; during most of 1724-26 he was a tutor at Yale. In 1727 he became his grandfather's colleague at Northampton. In the same year, he married Sarah Pierrepont, who combined a deep, often ecstatic, piety with personal winsomeness and practical good sense. To them were born 11 children." (BCD)

"The greatest philosopher-theologian yet to grace the American scene" (Perry Miller). After a precocious childhood (before he was thirteen he had a good knowledge of Latin, Creek, and Hebrew and was writing papers on philosophy) he entered Yale in 1716. It appears that it was during his time at college that he "began to have a new kind of apprehensions and ideas of Christ, and the work of redemption, and the glorious way of salvation by him." After a short pastorate in New York, he was appointed a tutor at Yale. In 1724 he became pastor of the church at Northampton, Massachusetts, a colleague of his grandfather Samuel Stoddard until the latter's death in 1729. Under the influence of Edwards's powerful preaching, the Great Awakening occurred in 1734-35, and a geographically more extensive revival in 1740-41. Edwards became a firm friend of George Whitefield, then itinerating in America.

After various differences with prominent families in his congregation, and a prolonged controversy over the question of the admission of the unconverted to the Lord's Supper, he was dismissed as pastor in 1750 (though, curiously, still preached until a suitable replacement could be found) and became, in 1751, pastor of the church in the frontier town of Stockbridge, and a missionary to the Indians. He was elected president of Princeton in 1757, but was reluctant to accept because of his desire to continue writing. Finally yielding to pressure, he was inaugurated in February 1758. One month later he died of the effects of a smallpox injection.

Edwards was, and was content to be, firmly in the tradition of New England Calvinism and the Westminster Divines. Efforts to demonstrate that he consciously shifted away from this position do not carry conviction. The influence of the "new way of ideas" of John Locke was mainly confined to his anthropology and is clearest in Edwards's classic Freedom of the Will [BOT]. Because of his commitment to salvation by sovereign grace, Edwards was agitated by what he considered to be the religiously destructive developments in New England, particularly incipient Arminianism and Socinianism, and revivalistic excess. The first concern prompted the Freedom of the Will and, later, Original Sin. The second inspired a group of writings, notably the Religious Affections." Paul Helm (NIDCC)

Many of Edwards' important works were collected into a two-volume set, available as a reprint from the BOT. Yale University is now publishing Edwards' works and many are available. Some shorter works are available from various publishers. More information and some sermons may be found at The Jonathan Edwards Home Page. A modernized version of True Grace Distinguished is also available.

Erskine, Ebenezer     Link to this author's section of the Table of Contents

(1680-1754). Founder of the Secession Church in Scotland. Son of a minister ejected in 1662 for nonconformity, he graduated at Edinburgh University in 1697, and in 1703 was ordained to Portmoak, where for twenty-eight years he ministered faithfully and imaginatively. His preaching was such that regular adjournment to the open air became necessary when the church could not contain the congregation. He was one of those who protested his general assembly's condemnation of Edward Fisher's Marrow of Modern Divinity.

Just after he moved to a Stirling charge in 1731, Erskine as synod moderator preached against assembly legislation on patronage, convinced that it took away the right of Christian people to elect and call their minister. Rebuked by synod and assembly, Erskine with three others handed in a formal protest. This led in 1733 to the suspension of the four and to their constituting the "Associate Presbytery." They nevertheless continued their parish work. The 1734 assembly admitted that its 1732 predecessor had acted illegally, but the breach had widened too far. In 1740 Erskine and seven other ministers were deposed. Within five years the Seceders were ministering to more than forty congregations in Scotland. When they themselves split over a Burgess Oath imposed by the state, Erskine adhered to the Burgher majority. (J.D. Douglas)

Some of his sermons may be found at the Ralph and Ebenezer Erskine Index.

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Erskine, Ralph    

(1685-1752) "perhaps lacked some of the impressiveness of his brother, [Ebenezer,] yet Robert Mackenzie rightly says of him in his book John Brown of Haddington [Banner of Truth, 1964] that he was '. . . gentler, more ideal, more mystical than his brother, fond of music and proficient on the violin.' Ralph was not one of the original Seceders of 1733 although he had been closely associated with his brother's stand on the 'Marrow' controversy, patronage and the Simson case. However in 1740 when he was finally deposed by the General Assembly, he threw in his lot with his brother and the Associate Presbytery. In 1711 he had been appointed as Minister of the Second Charge at the famous Dunfermline Abbey and in 1716 he became Minister of the First Charge of that Church. That he was a scholar and a theologian of considerable ability can be shown by the fact that his collected Works in ten volumes passed through many editions. Gospel Sonnets, his best known work, was first published in 1734." Alasdair B. Gordon

At present none of his works are in print. Some of his sermons and poems may be found at the Erskine Index.

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Flavel, John    

(1628-1691) was the son of a Puritan minister who died in prison. He was educated at University College, Oxford, and labored in the ministry at Dartmouth, Devon. His writings are deeply spiritual and experiential.

His Works are available from the BOT in a six-volume set. Some sermons may be found at the Table of Contents. A life of Flavel may be found at Life of John Flavel (text).

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Gillespie, George

(1613-1649) "Scottish minister. Son of the manse, he was ordained in 1638 by Kirkcaldy Presbytery to the parish of Wemyss, despite the disapproval of the archbishop of St. Andrews (who was that year ejected with other bishops when thoroughgoing Presbyterianism was restored to Scotland). Gillespie became one of the ministers of Edinburgh in 1641, a chief apologist for the National Covenant, a participant in the Westminster Assembly, and the champion against English opposition of the place of the elder in the kirk and of the Presbyterian system of church courts. Though a victim of chronic ill health culminating in his early death, he was one of the most learned and prolific of the Covenanter writers. His chief work, Aaron's Rod Blossoming (1646), a comprehensive study of the Erastian controversy in the light of Scripture, so stung the Episcopalians that when they regained ascendancy in 1661 they had his tombstone "solemnly broken" by the public hangman at Kirkcaldy." J.D. Douglas (NIDCC)

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Goodwin, Thomas

(1600-1680) "Congrefational divine. Born in Norfolk and educated at Cambridge, he became a fellow of St. Catherine's and vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge. On becoming a Congregationalist in 1634 he resigned and moved to London. In 1639 persecution drove him to Holland, where he was a pastor of a church at Arnheim, He returned to London when the Long Parliament began to sit and formed a gathered church in London. Nominated as a member of the Westminster Assembly, he became the leader of the Dissenting Brethren in it. In 1649 he was appointed a chaplain to the Council of State, and in 1650 president of Magdalen College, Oxford. Goodwin was a leading member of both the Board of Visitors in the university and the Cromwellian Triers. From 1656 he enjoyed the confidence of Oliver Cromwell. He was a prominent member of the Savoy Assembly of Congregational elders in 1658 and was much esteemed among the gathered churches of the nation. After the Restoration he moved from Oxford to London and was pastor of a gathered church in the City. His works were published in five folio volumes between 1682 and 1704 and have often been reprinted. They include devotional, expository, doctrinal, and ecclesiastical studies and are Calvinistic in outlook. Peter Toon (NIDCC).

Thomas Goodwin was born prematurely at Rollesby, Norfolk in England. He entered Christ's College, Cambridge at age twelve, as a junior sophister, August 25, 1613. In 1619, Thomas Goodwin transferred to Catherine Hall, and the following year he was chosen Fellow, and made lecturer in the Hall as he began studying for the M. A. degree. This year was also marked by his conversion by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Goodwin was licensed a preacher of the University in 1625, and upon the death of John Preston in 1628, he was appointed Lecturer at Trinity Church, and he began to influence the scholars and the town as had William Perkins before him. In 1630, he was awarded the B. D. degree, and two years later was presented by the king to the vicarage of Trinity.

Goodwin was suspected of having Independent tendencies by the Laudian regime, and in 1633 he resigned his vicarage in favour of Dr. Richard Sibbes, and in 1634 resigned his lectureship at Trinity and his fellowship at Catherine Hall. Cotton Mather has recorded that Goodwin's Independent tendencies stem from a meeting in London in 1633 with John Cotton, just prior to his departure for New England. Goodwin removed to London in 1634, and there married Elizabeth Prescott in 1638, and preached to Independent congregations there. In 1639, Goodwin was forced to flee to Holland. While in Amsterdam he met with the Independents Philip Nye, Jeremiah Burroughs, William Bridge and Sidrach Simpson, who later would work with him in the Westminster Assembly as the `Five Dissenting Brethren'. He and Nye moved to Arnheim, in Guelderland, obtained permission of the magistrates to hold regular worship, and was co-pastor of a flock of some ten or twelve English families. Goodwin was the instrument for settling a disagreement in the English church at Rotterdam between William Bridge and Samuel Ward during this time.

As the English Civil War began, Parliament issued an invitation for those exiled due to nonconformity to return to their homes, and early in 1641 Goodwin returned to London. Here he became pastor of an Independent congregation in the parish of St. Dunstan's-in-the-East, near Thomas Street. He was often invited to preach before Parliament, and in 1643 he was chosen as one of the commissioners to the Westminster Assembly. Few members of the Westminster Assembly attended as many meetings as did Goodwin, and he powerfully influenced the others there, no matter what they thought of him. In May 1649, Goodwin, along with Edward Reynolds and Joseph Caryl, were appointed at Cromwell's request to be lecturers at Oxford. In January of the following year, Goodwin was made President of Magdalen College and he left his church in the capable hands of Thomas Harrison. Goodwin also remarried, having been a widower for about two years; he wed seventeen-year-old Mary Hammond who was to him a prudent and outstanding wife, and mother of all his children except one by his first wife.

On July 15, 1658, a preliminary synod of Independents was held by permission of Cromwell. There, they appointed Goodwin, John Owen, Philip Nye, William Bridge, Joseph Caryl and William Greenhill to draw up such a document. These met in the Savoy September 29, 1658 and drew up what is now known as the Savoy Declaration of the Congregational Churches. In May 1660, England called Charles Stuart from exile, and crowned him Charles II. With the restoration of the king, the Bishops returned, and reclaimed their old livings, ejecting 1,760 ministers and 150 dons and schoolmasters. This ejection included Goodwin from Oxford. Since so many who were forced to leave the University were members of his church; when he removed to London, he took his church with him. In this church, Fetter Lane Independent Church, Goodwin ministered, illegally in the eyes of the state, for the remainder of his life. He was succeeded by his friend, Thankful Owen, and in turn, by Thomas Goodwin Jr., his son.

In 1665 the great plague of London broke out in which over 68,000 died. The king and his court fled the city in June, and did not return until the following February, yet the Goodwin laboured on. The plague had not yet subsided when the Great Fire occurred in 1666. This fire started early Sunday morning, 2 September in a baker's shop near London Bridge and the city burned until late the next Wednesday under a wind, 13,200 homes being burned as well as 87 churches. Goodwin's home came under threat of the raging blaze. Concerned to save his priceless library, he had over half of his books moved to the home of a friend, safe from the spreading conflagration. But a shift in the wind spared his dwelling and the books therein, and those he had removed burned with the friend's house. Mourning at his great loss, valued at over 500, he wrote a book based upon James 1:1-5, and published as "Patience and its Perfect Work, under Sudden and Sore Trials." Goodwin died Feb. 23, 1679 and was buried in Bunhill Fields. (Gordon Crompton)

Goodwin's Works, including his most popular work, A Child of Light Walking in Darkness, are published in eight volumes by the BOT.

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William Gouge    

(1575-1653) "was born in Stratford-Bow Middlesex County, England. Educated in Paul's School, London, Felstad in Essex, and at Eton School. He graduated from King's College, Cambridge, followed by a brilliant teaching career there.

Following his ordination at 32 years of age, he ministered at Blackfriars Church, London for 45 years. In addition to his great success as a pastor, his mid-week expository lectures at Blackfriars drew increasingly larger crowds. Spirituality and scholarship made his career at Cambridge, his pastoral work and his writings unique. He was renowned as "the father of the London Divines and the oracle of his time." In 1643 he was made a member of the Westminster Assembly of Divines by vote of Parliament. His primary works include his Commentary on Hebrews, The Whole Armour of God, and Domestic Duties."

Extracts from his Hebrews commentary are available.

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Gray, Andrew    

(1634-1656) "was a renowned, seventeenth century Scots divine, steeped in Reformed/Puritan theology. His noted emphasis in preaching underscored the need for true believers to grow in grace. He was eminently used of God in his day, but was taken home to glory at the tender age of 22. Works of Rev. Gray include A Door Opening to Everlasting Life [Netherlands Reformed Publishing], Communion Sermons [SDG], Instigations to Prayer, The Mystery of Faith Opened Up, Precious Promises, and The Spiritual Warfare." Joel Beeke

Some extracts may be found at the Table of Contents.

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Griffin, Edward    

(1770-1837) was a Presbyterian minister involved in the Second Great Awakening. He was pastor of several churches in New Jersey and New York, professor at Andover Theological Seminary and later President of Williams College. An outstanding preacher, his sermons were marked by spiritual warmth and theological depth.

A collection of sermons is available as a two-volume set from BOT. Some sermons are available at the Table of Contents.

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Henderson, Alexander

(b. 1583?, Creich, Fife, Scot.—d. Aug. 19, 1646, Edinburgh), Scottish Presbyterian clergyman primarily responsible for the preservation of the presbyterian form of church government in Scotland, who was influential in the defeat of the English king Charles I during the Civil War of 1642-51.

In 1612 Henderson was nearly prevented from assuming duties in Leuchars, Fife, by parishioners who were angered by his intransigence and unorthodoxy. Henderson soon adjusted to standard Presbyterian practice, however, and his pastorate remained uneventful for the next 25 years. Only through an ecclesiastical dispute in 1637 did he emerge from his role as a quiet, efficient country minister. Because he refused to procure copies for his parish of the newly issued book of canons (1636) and of a subsequent book of worship imposed by Charles I, he was summoned to Edinburgh. There he boldly defended his disobedience and gained recognition as a leader. Henderson was largely responsible for the resistance that found expression in the National Covenant of 1638, a Presbyterian statement that led to a general assembly of churchmen in Glasgow later that year.

Henderson furthered his reputation as a leader by his conduct as moderator of the assembly and was soon transferred to Edinburgh. He became the major figure in the negotiations following the two Bishops' Wars, in which native Scottish bishops vied with English loyalists for control of the Church of Scotland. At the onset of the first war, he wrote the pamphlet Instructions for a Defensive Arms (1638), a justification of the people's right to self-defense. Charles I lost his struggle to subordinate the Scottish Church to that of England, and in 1641 the presbyterian system was made secure in Scotland. For the next two years Henderson occupied himself with reorganization of the restored church.

With the outbreak of civil war in England in 1642, Henderson led the great majority of Scotsmen to side with the English Parliament against the King. Through the Solemn League and Covenant of 1643, the Scots committed military support on behalf of Parliament and won representation in the English assembly of Westminster, a religious body that advised Parliament. This assembly was commissioned to reconstitute church rule in the British Isles. With the Scottish clergymen Samuel Rutherford, Robert Baillie, and George Gillespie, Henderson engaged in preaching and propagandizing for the Church of Scotland in the Westminster Assembly.

Second only to John Knox (c. 1514-72) as a leader in the reformed Church of Scotland, Henderson was the author of numerous tracts, most effective among them being The Bishops' Doom (1638) and The Government and Order of the Church of Scotland (1641), composed for the assembly at Westminster.

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Hawker, Robert    

(1753-1827) was a minister in the Church of Engand. He ministered to a poor congregation in London and wrote many evangelistic books and tracts. Although some consider him hyper-Calvinistic, his devotional writings are valuable today.

The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions is reprinted by Reformation Heritage Books and extracts are available at the Poor Man's Portions.

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Love, Christopher    

(1618-1651) "was born in Cardiff, Wales. He attended New Inn Hall, Oxford, and graduated in 1635.

A staunch Presbyterian, Love had difficulty gaining ordination in the Church of England. He was offered ordination in Scotland if he would pastor a church there, but he was desirous of ministering in England. He did receive the ordination in England he so desired.

Before he assumed the pastorate of St. Lawrence Jewry in London, love catechized and taught theology to the children of the sheriff of London, and it was while living in that home that he met his wife, Mary Stone. They had five children, two girls who died early in life, and three boys, the last one who was born a week after Love's death.

Christopher love was arrested by Cromwell's forces for his alleged involvement in a plan to raise money for the restoration of the monarchy, a charge love denied. He was tried and convicted on charges of treason. Though several other prominent London ministers were also arrested, including Thomas Watson, they were all released. Christopher love was beheaded on Tower Hill, London, on August 22, 1651." Don Kistler

A collection of his sermons is available from SDG. Some extracts are available at the Table of Contents.

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MacLaren, Alexander    

(1826-1910) "was a Baptist minister. Born in Glasgow to Baptist parents, he was baptized in 1840 and trained at Stepney ,College. He ministered successfully at Portland Chapel, Southampton (1846-58), and Union Chapel, Manchester (1858-1903), where he acquired the reputation of "the prince of expository preachers." His sermons drew vast congregations and his methods of subdivision and analogies drawn from nature and life have been widely imitated ever since. In the pulpit he expounded evangelical certainties, yet his writings and private conversations show him prepared to accept a critical position. His attitudes are thus ambiguous, though Spurgeon excepted him from the "Downgraders." MacLaren was twice president of the Baptist Union and chairman of its Twentieth Century Fund and the first president of the Baptist World Alliance (1905). He strove unsuccessfully to unite the Baptist and Congregational denominations, but saw the establishment of many "Union" churches at a local level." Ian Sellers (NIDCC)

MacLaren's sermons, once available as a multi-volume set, are now out of print. Some sermons may be found at the Table of Contents.

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Manton, Thomas   

Born in 1620 at Lawrence-Lydiat, Somerset and educated at Wadham College, Oxford. He was ordained to the ministry before his 20th year by the eminent Joseph Hall, Bishop of Exeter, and became minister at Stoke Newington, in Middlesex, near London. It was here that he delivered and wrote his exposition on the Epistles of James and Jude, which are still being printed today.

After seven years labour in Newington, Manton replaced the aged Obadiah Sedgewick at St. Paul's in Covent Garden, about 1650. When Christopher Love was executed in 1651 for conspiring to call Charles Stuart (later Charles II) to overthrow the Commonwealth, Manton boldly attended him on the scaffold. When it was announced that Manton was to preach Love's funeral, soldiers threatened to shoot him. Manton preached the funeral nevertheless, at Love's church, St. Lawrence Jury, London, (The sermon was printed, entitled "The Saint's Triumph over Death"). In spite of this, in 1653, when Cromwell became Protector of the Commonwealth, he sent for Manton to come and pray at the ceremony. Manton was also appointed a chaplain to the Protector, and was also one of the "Triers" who examined applicants to the ministry.

During this period, the circumstances may have been a bit overwhelming, as this anecdote from his life reveals. After preaching on a difficult subject (chosen to show his ability) before the Lord Mayor of London, a poor man followed him back to Covent Gardens. Tugging on Manton's gown, he said of the previous sermon: "Sir, I came with earnest desires after the Word of God, and hopes of getting some good to my soul, but I was greatly disappointed; for I could not understand a great deal of what you said; you were quite above me." This so affected Manton, that he tearfully replied: "Friend, if I did not give you a sermon, you have given me one; and by the grace of God, I will never again play the fool to preach before my Lord Mayor in such a manner again."

In 1660, Manton, like most other Presbyterians, worked hard to see the restoration of the monarchy. He was sent to Breda to attend to Prince Charles, and was made a king's chaplain, and later made Doctor of Divinity. He was also offered the deanery of Rochester, but declined this. The gratefulness of the mighty is apparent in that Manton was ejected from his church in 1662, along with most other Puritan ministers, and left without a living. He began to hold private meetings in his home, but in 1670 was imprisoned for this. He was soon found preaching to the prisoners and prison keepers, and was soon entrusted with the keys to the cells when the jailer was away. After his release, Manton again appeared before the king and pleaded the case of religious liberty. Manton set up a lecture at Pinner's Hall in 1672, and ministered there on occasion. He was seized by an illness, and this able Puritan preacher, died in his bed in London, aged 57. Manton was buried in the chancel of Stokes Newington, and the funeral sermon was delivered by Dr. William Bates. Manton's works are some of the best examples of Puritan piety and theology, and were printed in 22 volumes. (Gordon Crompton)

 

Index to Thomas Manton

 


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Mather, Cotton    

(b. Feb. 12, 1663, Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony [U.S.]—d. Feb. 13, 1728, Boston), "American Congregational minister and author, supporter of the old order of the ruling clergy, who became the most celebrated of all New England Puritans. He combined a [supposedly -WC] mystical strain (he believed in the existence of witchcraft) with a modern scientific interest (he supported smallpox inoculation).

The son of Increase Mather and the grandson of John Cotton and Richard Mather, Cotton Mather lived all his life in Boston. He entered Harvard at the age of 12, easily passing entrance requirements to read and write Latin and to "decline the Greek nouns and verbs." He devoted himself unremittingly to study and prayer. At 18 he received his M.A. degree from the hands of his father, who was president of the college. He preached his first sermon in his father's church in August 1680 and in October another from his grandfather John Cotton's pulpit. He was formally ordained in 1685 and became his father's colleague.

He devoted his life to praying, preaching, writing, and publishing and still followed his main purpose in life of doing good. His book, Bonifacius, or Essays to Do Good (1710), instructs others in humanitarian acts, some ideas being far ahead of his time: the schoolmaster to reward instead of punish his students, the physician to study the state of mind of his patient as a probable cause of illness. He established societies for community projects.

He joined his father in cautioning judges against the use of "spectre evidence" (testimony of a victim of witchcraft that he had been attacked by a spectre bearing the appearance of someone he knew) in the witchcraft trials and in working for the ouster of Sir Edmund Andros as governor of Massachusetts. He was also a leader in the fight for inoculation against smallpox, incurring popular disapproval. When Cotton inoculated his own son, who almost died from it, the whole community was wrathful, and a bomb was thrown through his chamber window. Satan seemed on the side of his enemies; various members of his family became ill, and some died. Worst of all, his son Increase was arrested for rioting.

Mather's interest in science and particularly in various American phenomena—published in his Curiosa Americana (1712-24)—won him membership in the Royal Society of London. His account of the inoculation episode was published in the society's transactions. He corresponded extensively with notable scientists, such as Robert Boyle. His Christian Philosopher (1721) recognizes God in the wonders of the earth and the universe beyond; it is both philosophical and scientific and, ironically, anticipates 18th-century Deism, despite his clinging to the old order.

Cotton Mather wrote and published more than 400 works. His magnum opus was Magnalia Christi Americana (1702) [BOT], an ecclesiastical history of America from the founding of New England to his own time. His Manuductio ad Ministerium (1726) was a handbook of advice for young graduates to the ministry: on doing good, on college love affairs, on poetry and music, and on style. His ambitious 20-year work on biblical learning was interrupted by his death." (BCD)

More information and extracts may be found at The Cotton Mather Home Page and the Table of Contents.


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Newton, John    

(1725-1807) "Anglican clergyman and hymnwriter. Son of a merchant sea captain, he had an unsettled childhood and turbulent youth, including several periods of intense religious experience. He was forced to join the Royal Navy, tried to escape, was arrested in West Africa, and eventually became virtually the slave of a white slavetrader's black wife. She humiliated him, and he lived hungry and destitute for two years, involved in the slave trade. In 1747 he boarded a ship for England, but a violent storm in the North Atlantic nearly sank them. For Newton it was a moment of revelation, and he turned to God.

Nevertheless, further slave trading followed, but in 1755 he gave up the sea, and in 1764 became curate of Olney in Buckinghamshire. There, in a successful ministry of fifteen years, he befriended the poet William Cowper and also became widely known. The two produced the Olney Hymns, of which a number are still in general use, including "Amazing grace," "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds," and "Glorious things of thee are spoken." In 1779 Newton moved to London, becoming vicar of St. Mary, Woolnoth. His influence was widely felt, especially in the evangelical world. Handel's Messiah had made an enormous impact on London, and Newton preached a famous series of sermons on the texts Handel had used as libretto. After one of these the young William Wilberforce sought his counsel. In his latter years, Newton played a leading part in Wilberforee's political campaign which led to the abolition of the slave trade." A. Morgan Derham (NIDCC)

The Works of John Newton are available as a six-volume set from the BOT, who also publish a selections of his letters in paperback. More information about Newton's life and hymns are available from The Life, Conversion, and Theology of John Newton. Some of his letters, and other writings are available at the John Newton Index.

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Owen, John    

(b. 1616, Stadhampton, Oxfordshire, Eng.—d. Aug. 24, 1683, London), "English Puritan minister, prolific writer, and controversialist. He was an advocate of Congregationalism and an aide to Oliver Cromwell, the lord protector of England from 1653 to 1658.

Appointed rector of Fordham, Essex, in 1642, Owen was made vicar at nearby Coggeshall in 1646 after preaching a notable sermon before Parliament the same year. At Coggeshall he came out in favour of Congregational autonomy in church government; his compendium of principles of church polity was published as Eschol: . . . or Rules of Direction for the Walking of the Saints in Fellowship (1648). His frequent preaching before Parliament led to his attachment to Cromwell, whose policies against the monarchy Owen began to support. After the execution of King Charles I by Cromwell's partisans in January 1649, Owen accompanied Cromwell on his military ventures to Ireland and Scotland (1649-50).

As chancellor of Oxford, Cromwell appointed Owen vice chancellor in 1652, a post he held until 1657. He was also dean of Christ Church Cathedral (1651-60) and was elected in 1654 to represent Oxford in Parliament, but he was later disqualified because of his clerical vocation. Reserved in his support of Cromwell, Owen opposed plans to offer the English crown to him and avoided participation in Cromwell's installation in the office of lord protector in 1653. Owen abandoned politics on the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, when the House of Commons removed him from his position as Christ Church dean.

Among his works are historical treatises on religion, several studies of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and defenses of Nonconformist, or Puritan, views. An edition of his Works, edited by W.H. Goold, fills 24 volumes (1850-55)." (BCD)

His Works are available from the BOT. Volume 3, on the Holy Spirit, and volume 6, on temptation and sin, are particularly valuable. Several important shorter works are available in paperback, including Communion with God, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, and The Glory of Christ.

More information is available at The John Owen Home Page.
A few extracts are at the Table of Contents.

Perkins, William

(1558-1602) "English Puritan scholar. Born in Marston Jabbet, Warwickshire, and educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, he was fellow there till 1595. He was thereafter lecturer at Great St. Andrews, Cambridge, till his death. A noted preacher and pastor, he influenced many undergraduates who later became Puritan leaders (William Ames was perhaps the best known). Though associated with the classical movement, he never publicly advocated a presbyterian polity, but was concerned for pastoral renewal and practical piety. He wrote many popular spiritual guides like A golden chaine (1590), which went through numerous editions in England and abroad, as far away as Hungary. A notable systematic theologian, Perkins had a rare capacity for popularization and presenting important issues without trivializing them. In addition to writing substantial treatises like De Praedestinatione (1597), which provoked Arminius to reply, Perkins was a prolific commentator on Scripture, a formidable patristic scholar, and polemicist on subjects ranging from Roman Catholicism to witchcraft and astrology. His writing on preaching, the role of the ministry, and collection of cases of conscience had considerable influence in the Church of England and the Netherlands. He was one of the founders of the tradition of English practical divinity which considerably influenced continental Pietism during the seventeenth century. Ian Breward (NIDCC)

Perkins' most influential book, The Art of Prophesying, has recently been republished by the BOT in paperback.

Rutherford, Samuel    

(1600-1661). "Scottish pastor and theologian. He was born of farming stock at Nisbet in Roxburghshire, and gave evidence of grace and of spiritual insight in boyhood; his mind was always sensitive to spiritual impressions. He entered Edinburgh University in 1617, graduated M.A. in 1621, and two years later after a competitive examination was appointed professor of Latin language and literature in the university. Some unpleasantness in his relations with his colleagues that may have been connected with his marriage led him to resign his office and study theology. He was ordained at Anwoth in Kirkcudbrightshire in 1627 and exercised a fruitful ministry there until 1636, when he was deposed from office for Nonconformity and ordered to be [exiled] at Aberdeen during the king's pleasure. From there came his famous Letters to former parishioners and friends at Anwoth. These 365 letters are classics in the field of devotional literature. Released from [exile] in 1638, he returned to Anwoth for eighteen months before being appointed professor of divinity at St. Andrews.

In 1643 he went to London as one of the Scottish commissioners to the Westminster Assembly of Divines. His insight and devotion contributed significantly to the Confession and Catechisms. Two children died during his four years absence in London, and his experience of this sorrow enlarged his compassion for the sorrowing. During his time in London he was an industrious student and a prolific writer, largely on matters of church polity. His monumental work was Lex Rex, or The Law and The Prince; a Dispute for the just Prerogatives of King and People. It dealt more with political science than theology and is still regarded as a classic on constitutional government. The Revolution Settlement of 1690 [and the U.S. Constitution] embodied the principles of Lex Rex.

In 1647 Rutherford was appointed principal of St. Mary's at St. Andrews, and later, rector of the university. He was preeminent in Scotland as a scholar and leader. He was well known on the Continent and in 1648 and 1651 declined appointments to Dutch universities. The Restoration of Charles II in 1660 put him in great peril. He was removed from office, but died on 29 March 1661 before the full fury of the storm of persecution broke." Adam Loughridge (NIDCC)

Lex Rex is available from various publishers. Rutherford's Letters are available from BOT as a paperback. Several letters and sermons, and an index of Rutherford resources on the Web may be found at the Samuel Rutherford Index.

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Shepard, Thomas    

(1605-1649) "This most pious divine was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Here he was brought under deep conviction of sin, and led to receive Jesus Christ for wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. This work was chiefly wrought by the instrumentality of the celebrated Dr. John Preston. Upon Mr. Shepard's removal from the university, he became lecturer at Earls Colne in Essex, where God greatly blessed his labors, and many souls were converted by his ministry. The infamous Archbishop Laud silenced him for non-conformity and forced him out of the country.

He arrived at Boston in October of 1635 and was chosen pastor of the church at Cambridge, continuing there until his death. He is credited for having stopped the progress of the antinomian heresy from breaking out in the new colony. Shepard was a person of great learning, a hard student, an admirable preacher, and an excellent writer. He was one of founders of Harvard College." Don Kistler

Shepard's Works, including his Parable of the Ten Virgins, The Sincere Convert and Sound Believer, and Theses Sabbaticae are available from SDG.

A few extracts are available at the Table of Contents.

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Sibbes, Richard    

(1577-1635) was lecturer at Holy Trinity, Cambridge, 1610-1615; preacher at Gray's Inn, London, from 1616; and master of Catherine Hall, Cambridge, from 1626 until his death. An extraordinary preacher, he influenced a generation of students who became Puritan ministers.

His finest works, The Soul's Conflict and The Bruised Reed (used by God in the conversion of Richard Baxter), are included in the six-volume BOT set. Some sermons are available at the Table of Contents.

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Spurgeon, Charles    

(1834-1892). "Baptist preacher. He was born in Kelvedon, Essex, with Dutch and Dissenting ancestry. His father and grandfather were Independent pastors. Early in 1850 he was converted in Artillery-street Primitive Methodist Chapel, Colchester, Essex, into which he came because of snowy weather. After baptism he became pastor of Waterbeach Baptist Chapel in 1851. In 1854 he was called to New Park Street Baptist Chapel, Southwark, London, which was soon filled to overflowing, necessitating the building of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1859.

In 1856 he married Susanna Thompson and also began the "Pastor's College" for training men "evidently called to preach the Gospel," which continues today as "Spurgeon's College." For fifteen years he bore the whole cost, after which the Tabernacle shared the burden. In 1865 he was one of the founders of the London Baptist Association, and in 1869 he established an orphanage at Stockwell, known now as "Spurgeon's Homes." Other charitable and religious organizations he founded and supported included Temperance and Clothing societies, a Pioneer Mission, and a Colportage Association.

He suffered periodic bouts of illness which sometimes kept him out of the pulpit. He preached at the Tabernacle for the last time on 7 June 1891 and died the following January at Mentone, S. France. During his thirty-eight-year London ministry he had built up a congregation of 6,000 and added 14,692 members to the church.

During his early ministry he fought battles on two fronts, against hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism. In 1864 he preached a sermon attacking the baptismal doctrine and practice of the Church of England, thus initiating the "Baptismal Regeneration Controversy." He accused the evangelical Anglicans of perjury in using the Prayer Book when they did not believe in baptismal regeneration. In the resulting furor he felt compelled to resign from the Evangelical Alliance for a time. In 1874 he was involved in a dispute on smoking. The "Downgrade Controversy" of 1887-89 arose out of his concern at the growth of radical teaching among Baptists. Several, including the Baptist Union secretary, pleaded with him to try to stop the trend. He made his protest, but was disregarded, so in October 1887 he withdrew with others from the Union. His resignation was accepted, and a motion of censure, never rescinded, was passed. The affair deeply grieved him and may have shortened his life, but he refused to form a new denomination.

Spurgeon was an evangelical Calvinist. He read widely and especially loved the seventeenth-century Puritans. A diverse author, he wrote biblical expositions, lectures to students, hymns, and the homely philosophy of "John Ploughman," among other works. Preeminently he was a preacher. His clear voice, his mastery of Anglo-Saxon, and his keen sense of humor, allied to a sure grasp of Scripture and a deep love for Christ, produced some of the noblest preaching of any age. His sermons have been printed and distributed throughout the world. Two popular works still widely used today are Treasury of David and Morning and Evening, the latter a compilation of devotional readings. J.G.G. Norman (NIDCC)

All of the voluminous writings of Spurgeon are available today from various publishers. Many of his sermons are on the Web. A good place to start is The Spurgeon Archive.

A few sermons and extracts are available at the Table of Contents.

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Thomas Watson    

(d. 1689) was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. As rector of St. Stephen's, Walbrook, he was ejected for Nonconformity. He later preached at Crosby Hall with Stephen Charnock. Acclaimed as a man of considerable learning, Watson was a popular and judicious preacher.

Most, if not all, of Watson's works are in print, either from BOT or SDG. Some of his sermons and extracts are available at the Watson Index.

Whitefield, George

(1714-1770) "English preacher. Born at Gloucester, he was educated there and at Pembroke College, Oxford, where he associated with those who formed the "Holy Club" and who would later be known as the first Methodists. There also he experienced an evangelical conversion. He was subsequently ordained, and his first sermon-in his native town was of such fervor that a complaint was made to the bishop that he had driven fifteen people mad. He preached in several London churches, but quickly accepted an invitation from John and Charles Wesley to go to Georgia where, with the exception of a notable visit home, he remained from 1737 to 1741. The visit home included his first attempt at open-air preaching, in Bristol. He was to continue the practice to the end of his life, regularly delivering up to twenty sermons a week, covering vast distances that included fourteen visits to Scotland and, in those days of long and hazardous voyages, no less than seven journeys to America, where he died shortly after preaching his last sermon.

The association with Wesley in the early years quickly gave way to differences and even to bitter feud. This arose mainly from their opposed views of the availability of salvation, Wesley adopting the Arminian interpretation and Whitefield the Calvinistic. As a result, the latter became closely associated with the work of the countess of Huntingdon, and in his later years he opened several of the meetinghouses of her Connexion as well as the theological college at Trevecea in 1768.

In his kind Whitefield is supreme among preachers, sharing his eminence only with Latimer. Others might be more learned, even more stylish, but none was more eloquent or more moving. J.C. Ryle has justly claimed, "No preacher has ever retained his hold on his hearers so entirely as he did for thirty-four years."

His theme is the basic evangelical message of man's irremediable sinfulness and Christ's effective salvation. Indeed, as we read them, there is a sameness about Whitefield's sermons that becomes rather tedious, an effect no doubt of too much preaching and too little preparation. Nevertheless this does not detract from their vividness. His vision of heaven and, more particularly, hell was too immediate for that, and his regard for the eternal welfare of the souls of each of his hearers too insistent. There is thus an intimate note in all his work, displaying itself in his earnestness and importunity. "My brethren, I beseech you" is a recurrent expression. Like open-air preachers before him, like the friars and like Latimer, his work abounds with vivid colloquial phrases and apt, familiar analogies. And none knew better than he how to use question and exclamation to produce a tense, dramatic atmosphere. He added antithesis, repetition, brevity, assertion to his range. Above all, he was, as contemporary record witnesses, a supreme actor, gifted in voice and gesture to pull out all the stops.

Others— Pope, Johnson, Fielding among them —criticized him. To William Cowper, who thought and felt as he did but who in his timidity differed so much from the sometimes strident self-confidence of Whitefield, was left the task of tribute:

He followed Paul—his zeal a kindred flame,
His apostolic charity the same."

Arthur Pollard (NIDCC)

Many of Whitefield's sermons are available from various publishers.

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Willard, Samuel    

(1640-1707) "the son of a military and political leader, and destined to become one of the most important preachers among the second generation of New England Puritans, was at Concord, Massachusetts. Trained in orthodoxy at Harvard College, he graduated in 1659, and was the only member of his class to go on for an M. A. degree. He served two churches (Groton and Boston's South Church), played a leading role in the Reforming Synod of 1679, and at the end of his life was acting president of Harvard.

Basic to all of Willard's preaching was the doctrine of the covenant. He uncompromisingly opposed sectarian and Anglican Arminianism by preaching the Reformed doctrines of predestination, total depravity, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints. He denied the possibility of real preparatory works, and consistently magnified the sovereignty of divine grace.

Willard equally opposed Antinominanism by means of the historic Reformed emphases on revelation, justification, and sanctification. Throughout his ministry he propagated and defended New England's orthodoxy on infant baptism, a learned ministry, and the alliance of church and state in religion, opposing both Baptist and Quaker inroads. Willard was also influential in halting the Salem witchcraft trials in 1692, and in promoting the historic fast day four years later." Seymour Van Dyken

Many of his sermons were published in his lifetime, but his magnum opus, A Compleat body of Divinity was published posthumously, the largest book ever printed in New England at the time. This book was quite influential upon the next generation of ministers in New England, including Stoddard and Edwards. None of Willard's works are currently in print. Some of his sermons are available at the Index to Samuel Willard.

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References marked BCD are from the Britannica CD. Version 97.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1997.


References marked NIDCC are from J. D. Douglas, general editor, The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, The Zondervan Corp., Grand Rapids, MI, 1974.

 



 

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