Boston: Printed by Green, Bushell, and Allen, for D. Henchman, 1743. ,vi,216,pp. Small octavo. Contemporary calf, rebacked. Corners worn. Later ownership inscription on front pastedown. Minor foxing and soiling. Very good. Second edition. A scarce early New England imprint. Samuel Willard, one of the most prominent ministers and intellectual leaders in New England in the final quarter of the seventeenth century. The clergyman began his career in the frontier settlement of Groton, Massachusetts, where he was confronted with a case of demonic possession and the destruction of the town during King Philip's War. Willard had become well known in Boston due to his printed sermons and in 1678 became the pastor of the Old South Church. As leader of this religious institution, he would confront a series of threats to the Puritan spiritual and social order including declining church membership, the revocation of the original charter of New England, and the Salem witchcraft trials. He responded to these controversies with both theological rigor and social moderation. "Willard acquired distinction as the result of a series of lectures in which he systematically surveyed the entire field of theology. As a master of learning and logic, whose sermons were frequently beyond the comprehension of his simpler hearers, he scorned the 'Enthusiasm' of the Baptist preachers....Conservative in theology, he was liberal in the practice of religion, and early relaxed the requirement of a public confession at the time of admission to the church" - DAB. Willard became a fellow of Harvard College in 1692 and in 1700 was made vice-president of the college. EVANS 5315. (Inventory #: WRCAM45240)
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