1645 - The Sound Beleever or a Treatise of Evangelicall Conversion

Author: Thomas Shepard

Thomas Shepard (November 5, 1605 – August 25, 1649) was an American puritan preacher. His parents died when he was young. First he lived with his grandparents, later he lived with his older brother. A school master woke in him the desire to obtain knowledge. This brought him to the University of Cambridge, at the age of 15 years. Thomas Shepard became preacher. His sermons and puritan disposition brought him to the attention of the archbishop, who prohibited him to preach further.

After the death of his oldest son, he left England in 1635 and moved with his wife and their youngest son to the colonial America. His wife died, also his second wife and some children. It is said that he considered his loss as a part of his theological service.

Thomas Shepard is considered to be the the most important puritan preacher of his time. He had a special interest in serving the native Americans of Massachusetts. He died in 1649, almost 44 years old. Three of his sons also came to be preachers. Thomas Shepard became the ancestor of two presidents, John Quincy Adams and Franklin D. Roosevelt.


Who were the puritans and `Pilgrim Fathers'?

The Pilgrim Fathers are very well known in America. 100 years before they left to America, there was a rift between the Roman Catholic church and King Henry VIII, when the pope refused to dissolve his marriage. King Henry VIII ended the authority of the pope (1534) over English catholics. He proclaimed himself to be head of the Anglican church. When he died , England was becoming a protestant country. Henry was succeeded by his son Edward V and subsequently by his daughter Mary. She tried to force the English people to come under Roman authority. More than 300 people were killed by burning on the stake. This gave her the name 'Bloody Mary'. Nevertheless, she could not stop the Protestant movement. Her successor and half sister Elizabeth I made sure that the pope had no further influence in any way again in England. Some Protestants wanted more than mere separation from Rome. They wanted to 'purify' the church from roman worship. They were followers of Calvin. The word puritan has its origins from the word 'purify'. They became known as separatists. King James I succeeded Queen Elizabeth in 1603. He was strongly opposed to the Puritan point of view and exerted strong means to bring them under his control. A congregation of separatists escaped to Holland. Because of religious latitude and loose morality they decided to start a new life in the 'New world'. They obtained permission to settle in America and founded the colony of Plymouth. They became known as the 'Pilgrim Fathers'. At the same time, other puritans also decided to go to America. They founded the colony Massachusetts Bay in 1630, north of Plymouth.

This brings us back to the writer of the book that we like to show. Thomas Shepard was one of those immigrants. He was active as a preacher in New England.

Book: Digitized by Google.

It is beautiful to see that the puritans used the divine name. Thomas Shepard used 'Iehovah'.




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