Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings
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Willard, Samuel     Link to this author's section of the Table of Contents

(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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