Posts Tagged ‘Puritan’

The Puritan Family

by Oliver Allmand-Smith

Samuel Sewall lived with his family in Puritan America between 1652 and 1730, and he suffered in ways unimaginable to us today. Over a period of 24 years, he and his wife Hannah had 14 children: his first son John died aged 17 months; his third son Hull died aged 23 months; his fourth son Henry died aged two weeks; his fifth son Stephen died aged 6 months; his third daughter Judith died aged 6 weeks; his fourth daughter Mary died following childbirth aged just 19 years; his fifth daughter Jane died at 5 weeks; his sixth daughter, Sarah, after just five weeks of life, was laid in the family tomb, and his seventh son never saw the world alive, being stillborn.

Of their 14 children, one was stillborn and seven died before they reached the age of three. Out of the 6 who survived to adulthood, only three outlived their father meaning that Samuel Sewall buried 11 out of his 14 children. In the years 1685, 1686 and 1687 Samuel buried three sons, Henry, Hull, and Steven.

In Samuel’s diary, we read of a nightmare he experienced. In it, he woke up and all of his children were dead – his nightmare nearly came true.

We also read that when his children were not actually dying, they battled with smallpox, measles, the flux, ague, colds and numerous…

Read the entire article at Reformation21.

Free Ebook- Why I Believe in the Sabbath

By Erroll Hulse

This 42-page study of what the early and later Reformers and the English Puritans believed is designed to show that the Sabbath is part of creation as well as a moral issue.

I believe the English Puritans were correct in their understanding of the Christian Sabbath. There are two commandments which do not begin with a negative such as, You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery. One begins with the word Remember and that other begins with the word Honour. The latter, the fifth, has a promise added to it…..

On biblical grounds I believe it is essential to hold the threefold division of the law. The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 chapter 19 states it all so well that it is hardly needful for me to repeat it here. However I will state that it is the moral law that we have transgressed. It is that same moral law that our Lord kept perfectly. It is the moral law which defines sin and which caused him to die on the Cross in our place (2 Cor 5:21). The ceremonial law was constructed exactly according to the specification given to Moses by our Lord. So we cannot miss its details and at the same time cannot miss the fact that it is a precise specific entity. Jesus has fulfilled all the typology of that ceremonial law and now we no longer have to observe it. No more sacrifices because he is our sacrifice (Heb 10:14). Civil law is specific too and will always be with us, which is why we have a police force and law courts, lawyers, barristers and magistrates….




Sanctifying the Lord’s Day: Reformed and Puritan Attitudes …………… 5

The Reformers and the Sanctification of the Sabbath. …………………… 9

The Puritans and the Sanctification of the Sabbath …………………….. 15

Conclusions …………………………………………………………………………… 24

The moral nature of the fourth commandment ……………………………. 28

The Fourth Commandment in its application to believers and unbelievers …………………………………………………………………………….. 30

The Creation Sabbath recalled, restated and confirmed by the Fourth
Commandment ………………………………………………………………………. 32

The Sabbath as Covenant ……………………………………………………….. 33

The discontinuity of Jewish ceremonial Sabbaths ……………………….. 33

The change of the day from the seventh to the eighth, or first, day of the week ………………………………………………………………………………… 34

A humanized Sabbath …………………………………………………………….. 37

The Sabbath keeping which remains and the sabbaths of heaven … 38

The importance of actual Sabbath observance …………………………… 39

Biblical Theology — putting the progressive Sabbath revelations together …………………………………………………………………………………. 40


Download the ebook here.



Erroll Hulse
Erroll Hulse, a South African by birth, was born in 1931. He is of a Reformed Baptist persuasion, one of the co-founders of the Banner of Truth Trust and a fine author of many good articles.

The Five Points of Reformed Baptist Churches




Five Points 1

Five Points 2

Do not only hold the same doctrines, but hold them in the same shape

April 20, 2015 1 comment

CharlesSpurgeon“Well, says one “I think we ought to hold the truth firmly, but I do not see the necessity for holding the form of it- I think we might cut and trim a little and then our doctrines would be received better.” Suppose, my friends, we should have some valuable egg, and some one should say, “Well, now, the shell is good for nothing: there will never be a bird produced by the shell certainly, why not break the shell?” I should simply smile in his face and say, “My dear friend, I want the shell to take care of what is inside. I know the vital principle is the most important, but I want the shell to take care of the vital principle.” You say, “Hold fast the principle, but do not be so severe about the form. You are an old Puritan, and want to be too strict in religion, let us just alter a few things, and make it a little palatable.” My dear friends, do not break the shell; you are doing far more damage than you think. We willingly admit the form is but little, but when men attack the form, what is their object? They do not hate the form; they hate the substance. Keep the substance then, and keep the form too. Not only hold the same doctrines, but hold them in the same shape — just as angular, rough and rugged as they were, for if you do not, it is difficult to change the form and yet to keep fast the substance. “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Jesus Christ.”

Charles H. Spurgeon-The Form of Sound Words-Delivered on Sabbath, May 11, 1856

Brief Biography of John Foxe

February 28, 2013 Leave a comment

220px-John_Foxe_from_NPG_cleanedBefore I begin blogging the book entitled “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs” by John Foxe, I thought it necessary to give a brief sketch of the author’s history. I know it’s rather lengthy, but I did not want to break the historical account into two parts; lest one not forget what had already been stated about his life. Without further delay, I give a short sketch of the life of John Foxe:

John Fox (or Foxe) was born at Boston, in Lincolnshire, in 1517, where his parents are stated to have lived in respectable circumstances. He was deprived of his father at an early age; and notwithstanding his mother soon married again, he still remained under the parental roof. From an early display of talents and inclination to learning, his friends were induced to send him to Oxford, in order to cultivate and bring them to maturity. During his residence at this place, he was distinguished for the excellence and acuteness of his intellect, which was improved by the emulation of his fellow collegians, united to an indefatigable zeal and industry on his part. These qualities soon gained him the admiration of all; and as a reward for his exertions and amiable conduct, he was chosen fellow of Magdalen College, which was accounted a great honor in the university, and seldom bestowed unless in cases of great distinction. It appears that the first display of his genius was in poetry; and that he composed some Latin comedies, which are still extant. But he soon directed his thoughts to a more serious subject, the study of the sacred Scriptures: to divinity, indeed, he applied himself with more fervency than circumspection, and discovered his partiality to the Reformation, which had then commenced, before he was known to its supporters, or to those who protected them; a circumstance which proved to him the source of his first troubles.

He is said to have often affirmed that the first matter which occasioned his search into the popish doctrine was that he saw divers things, most repugnant in their nature to one another forced upon men at the same time; upon this foundation his resolution and intended obedience to that Church were somewhat shaken, and by degrees a dislike to the rest took place.

His first care was to look into both the ancient and modern history of the Church; to ascertain its beginning and progress; to consider the causes of all those controversies which in the meantime had sprung up, and diligently to weigh their effects, solidity, infirmities, etc.

Before he had attained his thirtieth year, he had studied the Greek and Latin fathers, and other learned authors, the transactions of the councils, and decrees of the consistories, and had acquired a very competent skill in the Hebrew language. In these occupations he frequently spent a considerable part, or even the whole of the night; and in order to unbend his mind after such incessant study, he would resort to a grove near the college, a place much frequented by students in the evening, on account of its sequestered gloominess. In these solitary walks he was often heard to ejaculate heavy sobs and sighs, and with tears to pour forth his prayers to God. These night retirements, in the sequel, gave rise to the first suspicion of his alienation from the Church of Rome. Being pressed for an explanation of this alteration in his conduct, he scorned to call in fiction to excuse; he stated his opinions, and was, by the sentence of the college convicted, condemned as a heretic, and expelled.

His friends, upon the report of this circumstance, were highly offended, when he was thus forsaken by his own friends, a refuge offered itself in the house of Sir Thomas Lucy, of Warwickshire, by whom he was sent for to instruct his children. The house is within easy walk of Stratford-on-Avon, and it was this estate which, a few years later, was the scene of Shakespeare’s traditional boyish poaching expedition. Fox died when Shakespeare was three years old.

In the Lucy house Fox afterward married. But the fear of the popish inquisitors hastened his departure thence; as they were not contented to pursue public offenses, but began also to dive into the secrets of private families. He now began to consider what was best to be done to free himself from further inconvenience, and resolved either to go to his wife’s father or to his father-in-law.

His wife’s father was a citizen of Coventry, whose heart was not alienated from him, and he was more likely to be well entreated, for his daughter’s sake. He resolved first to go to him, and, in the meanwhile, by letters, to try whether his father-in-law would receive him or not. This he accordingly did and he received for answer, “that it seemed to him a hard condition to take one into his house whom he knew to be guilty and condemned for a capital offense; neither was he ignorant what hazard he should undergo in so doing; he would, however, show himself a kinsman, and neglect his own danger. If he would alter his mind, he might come, on condition to stay as long as he himself desired; but if he could not be persuaded to that, he must content himself with a shorter stay, and not bring him and his mother into danger.” No condition was to be refused; besides, he was secretly advised by his mother to come, and not to fear his father-in-law’s severity; “for that, perchance, it was needful to write as he did, but when occasion should be offered, he would make recompense for his words with his actions.” In fact he was better received by both of them than he had hoped for.

By these means he kept himself concealed for some time, and afterwards made a journey to London, in the latter part of the reign of Henry VIII. Here, being unknown, he was in much distress, and was even reduced to the danger of being starved to death, had not Providence interfered in his favor in the following manner: One day as Mr. Fox was sitting in St. Paul’s Church, exhausted with long fasting, a stranger took a seat by his side, and courteously saluted him, thrust a sum of money into his hand, and bade him cheer up his spirits; at the same time informing him, that in a few days new prospects would present themselves for his future subsistence. Who this stranger was, he could never learn; but at the end of three days he received an invitation from the Duchess of Richmond to undertake the tuition of the children of the Earl of Surry who, together with his father, the Duke of Norfolk, was imprisoned in the Tower, by the jealousy and ingratitude of the king. The children thus confided to his care were, Thomas, who succeeded to the dukedom; Henry, afterwards Earl of Northampton, and Jane who became Countess of Westmoreland. In the performance of his duties, he fully satisfied the expectations of the duchess, their aunt.

These halcyon days continued during the latter part of the reign of Henry VIII and the five years of the reign of Edward VI until Mary came to the crown, who, soon after her accession, gave all power into the hands of the papists.

At this time Mr. Fox, who was still under the protection of his noble pupil, the duke, began to excite the envy and hatred of many, particularly Dr. Gardiner then Bishop of Winchester, who in the sequel became his most violent enemy.

Mr. Fox, aware of this, and seeing the dreadful persecutions then commencing, began to think of quitting the kingdom. As soon as the duke knew his intention, he endeavored to persuade him to remain; and his arguments were so powerful, and given with so much sincerity, that he gave up the thought of abandoning his asylum for the present.

At that time the Bishop of Winchester was very intimate with the duke (by the patronage of whose family he had risen to the dignity he then enjoyed,) and frequently waited on him to present his service when he several times requested that he might see his old tutor. At first the duke denied his request, at one time alleging his absence, at another, indisposition. At length it happened that Mr. Fox, not knowing the bishop was in the house, entered the room where the duke and he were in discourse; and seeing the bishop, withdrew. Gardiner asked who that was; the duke answered that he was “his physician, who was somewhat uncourtly, as being new come from the university.” “I like his countenance and aspect very well,” replied the bishop, “and when occasion offers, I will send for him.” The duke understood that speech as the messenger of some approaching danger; and now himself thought it high time for Mr. Fox to quit the city, and even the country. He accordingly caused everything necessary for his flight to be provided in silence, by sending one of his servants to Ipswich to hire a bark, and prepare all the requisites for his departure. He also fixed on the house of one of his servants, who was a farmer, where he might lodge until the wind became favorable, and everything being in readiness, Mr. Fox took leave of his noble patron, and with his wife, who was pregnant at the time, secretly departed for the ship.

The vessel was scarcely under sail, when a most violent storm came on, which lasted all day and night, and the next day drove them back to the port from which they had departed. During the time that the vessel had been at sea, an officer, dispatched by the bishop of Winchester, had broken open the house of the farmer with warrant to apprehend Mr. Fox wherever he might be found, and bring him back to the city. On hearing this news he hired a horse under the pretense of leaving the town immediately; but secretly returned the same night, and agreed with the captain of the vessel to sail for any place as soon as the wind should shift, only desiring him to proceed, and not to doubt that God would prosper his undertaking. The mariner suffered himself to be persuaded, and within two days landed his passengers in safety at Nieuport.

After spending a few days in that place, Mr. Fox set out for Basle, where he found a number of English refugees, who had quitted their country to avoid the cruelty of the persecutors, with these he associated, and began to write his “History of the Acts and Monuments of the Church,” which was first published in Latin at Basle in 1554, and in English in 1563.

In the meantime the reformed religion began again to flourish in England and the popish faction much to decline, by the death of Queen Mary; which induced the greater number of the Protestant exiles to return to their native country.

Among others, on the accession of Elizabeth to the throne, Mr. Fox returned to England; where, on his arrival, he found a faithful and active friend in his late pupil, the Duke of Norfolk, until death deprived him of his benefactor: after which event, Mr. Fox inherited a pension bequeathed to him by the duke, and ratified his son, the Earl of Suffolk.

Nor did the good man’s successes stop here. On being recommended to the queen by her secretary of state, the great Cecil, her majesty granted him the prebendary of Shipton, in the cathedral of Salisbury, which was in a manner forced upon him; for it was with difficulty that he could be persuaded to accept it.

On his resettlement in England, he employed himself in revising and enlarging his admirable Martyrology. With prodigious and constant study he completed that celebrated work in eleven years. For the sake of greater correctness, he wrote every line of this vast book with his own hand and transcribed all the records and papers himself. But, in consequence of such excessive toil, leaving no part of his time free from study, nor affording himself either the repose or recreation which nature required, his health was so reduced and his person became so emaciated and altered, that such of his friends and relations as only conversed with him occasionally, could scarcely recognize his person. Yet, though he grew daily more exhausted, he proceeded in his studies as briskly as ever, nor would he be persuaded to diminish his accustomed labors. The papists, foreseeing how detrimental his history of their errors and cruelty would prove to their cause, had recourse to every artifice to lessen the reputation of his work; but their malice was of signal service both to Mr. Fox himself, and to the Church of God at large, as it eventually made his book more intrinsically valuable, by inducing him to weigh, with the most scrupulous attention, the certainty of the facts which he recorded, and the validity of the authorities from which he drew his information.

But while he was thus indefatigably employed in promoting the cause of truth, he did not neglect the other duties of his station; he was charitable, humane, and attentive to the wants, both spiritual and temporal, of his neighbors. With the view of being more extensively useful, although he had no desire to cultivate the acquaintance of the rich and great on his own account, he did not decline the friendship of those in a higher rank who proffered it, and never failed to employ his influence with them in behalf of the poor and needy. In consequence of his well-known probity and charity, he was frequently presented with sums of money by persons possessed of wealth, which he accepted and distributed among those who were distressed. He would also occasionally attend the table of his friends, not so much for the sake of pleasure, as from civility, and to convince them that his absence was not occasioned by a fear of being exposed to the temptations of the appetite. In short his character as a man and as a Christian was without reproach.

Although the recent recollection of the persecutions under Bloody Mary gave bitterness to his pen, it is singular to note that he was personally the most conciliatory of men, and that while he heartily disowned the Roman Church in which he was born, he was one of the first to attempt the concord of the Protestant brethren. In fact, he was a veritable apostle of toleration.

When the plague or pestilence broke out in England, in 1563 and many forsook their duties, Fox remained at his post, assisting the friendless and acting as the almsgiver of the rich. It was said of him that he could never refuse help to any one who asked it in the name of Christ. Tolerant and large-hearted he exerted his influence with Queen Elizabeth to confirm her intention to no longer keep up the cruel practise of putting to death those of opposing religious convictions. The queen held him in respect and referred to him “Our Father Foxe.” Mr. Fox had joy in the fruits of his work while he was yet alive. It passed through four large editions before his decease, and it was ordered by the bishops to be placed in every cathedral church England, where it was often found chained, as the Bible was in those days, to a lectern for the access of the people.

At length, having long served both the Church and the world his ministry, by his pen, and by the unsullied luster of a benevolent useful, and holy life he meekly resigned his soul to Christ, on the eighteenth of April, 1587, being then in the seventieth year of his age. He was interred in the chancel of St. Giles’, Cripplegate; of which parish he had been, in the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign, for some time vicar.