Samuel Willard's Big Book

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Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
He believes that the Lord's Day begins in the evening, that is, on Saturday night at sundown.
Is "at sundown" for Willard the equivalent of "bedtime," or does the Lord's Day begin when the sun goes down regardless of whether or not people are asleep? Also, does the Lord's Day therefore end on Sunday at sundown? I had always figured this view was held by some, but I've never encountered it, so this is interesting.

Thanks for the regular updates. I commend you for sticking with it.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Is "at sundown" for Willard the equivalent of "bedtime," or does the Lord's Day begin when the sun goes down regardless of whether or not people are asleep? Also, does the Lord's Day therefore end on Sunday at sundown? I had always figured this view was held by some, but I've never encountered it, so this is interesting.

Thanks for the regular updates. I commend you for sticking with it.

The impression I have is that he means "when the sun goes down." So, I assume he also means that the Lord's Day ends on Sunday night. I could be wrong but, as I said, these were just the first two sermons on the Commandment.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Here's Willard on frequency of Communion:

. . .the Lord's Supper is not under a precept of being administered every Lord's Day but may be dispensed either oftener or seldomer, as the circumstances of the people concerned therein may be. Nor is there any prescription in the gospel for it, only it should be frequent. . .
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Still chugging along. In a few days, I'll have the first 200 sermons under my belt. As I may have mentioned, he is very organized and very detailed.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Well, I've finished the first 200 sermons. He's in the midst of expositing the Ten Commandments and has reached "You shall not steal."

As I've noted, there are 246 numbered sermons. He continued to preach to his congregation on the Shorter Catechism once a month until April 1, 1707, when illness forced him to stop after preaching on Question 87, which was sermon 220. However, he continued to write out full sermons on the questions for his congregation to read until he reached Question 100 (the preface to the Lord's Prayer), which was sermon 246. For the remaining 7 questions of the Catechism, the editors, Joseph Sewall and Thomas Prince (who saw this book through the press in 1726), relied on a shorter explication of the Catechism which Willard had preached many years before. Willard died in September, 1707, aged 67.

This must be one of the longest and most detailed expositions of the Shorter Catechism ever published - 983 pages, and 2 columns per page.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I ran across a word I'd never seen before. In a sermon preached in 1705, Willard uses the term "plogganism" which, apparently, is a synonym for "man-stealing" (kidnapping). It's the first really odd word I've run across in my reading.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I've finished the sermons (through #220) that Willard preached to his congregation (through April 1, 1707). At this point, he had to stop preaching because his health was beginning to fail (he died that September). Now, I'm reading the sermons he wrote out for his people to read on their own (221-247), which took him from that April until his death. They are full sermons, as full as the ones he preached. These sermons are followed by 8 pages of sermonic material discovered by the editors, and that was used to fill out the final 7 questions of the exposition. I think I'll finish this huge project sometime in early September.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Regarding the Lord's Supper, Willard thinks that it's OK to use either leavened or unleavened bread. Christ used unleavened bread at the Last Supper because that was what the ceremonial law required. However, since the ceremonial law is fulfilled in Him, using unleavened bread is no longer required.

I think I'll be finished with this monster in another week or so. Only about 40 pages to go!
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Finished!

It took me exactly four months (May 1 to August 31), at two sermons per day, to read all 983 pages.

The heart of the last portion of the book is his exposition of the Ten Commandments - 66 sermons covering 290 pages of the text. If this part were extracted and published as a separate book in a modern font, it would be a mighty thick book indeed.

Willard's exposition of the Shorter Catechism is meticulous and very detailed. More than once I got lost in the details of his argument and had to go back to remind myself of the subject he was writing about! But it was well worth the effort. If this work is ever reprinted, it would be a great gift to the church.

I consider it time very well spent.
 
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