« Bale, John Ball, John Ballanche, Pierre Simon »

Ball, John

BALL, JOHN: Puritan and Presbyterian; b. at Cassington (5 m. n.w. of Oxford) Oct. 1585; d. at Whitmore (4 m. s.w. of Newcastle-under-Lyme), Staffordshire, Oct. 20, 1640. He was educated at Brasenose College and St. Mary’s Hall, Oxford, and in 1610 became minister at Whitmore. He was one of the fathers of Presbyterianism in England, and, as Richard Baxter says, “deserving as high esteem and honor as the best bishop in England.” His Small Catechism containing the Principles of Religion (London) reached an eighteenth impression in 1637; and his larger catechism, entitled A Short Treatise, containing All the Principal Grounds of Christian Religion, a fourteenth impression in 1670. They were published anonymously. His Treatise of Faith (London, 1631; 3d edition, corrected and428 enlarged 1637, with an introduction by Richard Sibbs) is divided into two parts, the first showing the nature, and the second the life of faith. It is an exceedingly valuable and complete discussion. But his chief work was published after his death by his friend Simeon Ashe, with an introduction signed by five Westminster divines, entitled A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace (1645). This is of great importance as exhibiting that view of the covenants which found expression in the Westminster symbols. Important also is A tryall of the New-Church way in New England and in Old (1644). According to Thomas Blake, “his purpose was to speak on this subject of the covenant all that he had to say in all the whole body of divinity. That which he hath left behind gives us a taste of it.” In this he anticipated Cocceius and the Dutch Federal Theology, but his view of the covenants is somewhat different from theirs. Simeon Ashe also issued several other works of Ball of a practical and controversial character.

C. A. Briggs.

Bibliography: :A. à Wood, Athenæ Oxonienses, ii, 670, ed. P. Bliss, 4 vols., London, 1813-20; DNB, iii, 74-75.

« Bale, John Ball, John Ballanche, Pierre Simon »
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