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
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'.