Shepard, Thomas

Shepard, Thomas, a Congregational. minister, was born at Towcester, near Northampton, England, Nov. 5, 1605. His father was a decided Puritan, in so much that he removed to another town for the sole purpose of enjoying what he considered an evangelical ministry. Thomas entered Emanuel College, Cambridge, as a pensioner, in 1619, and while in college, after a very severe struggle, found peace in Christ. He took the degree of B.A. in 1623, and completed his course of study in 1625. In 1627, after receiving his M.A., he was appointed lecturer in Earles-Colne, Essex. He remained, laboring with great success, for three years and six months. On Dec. 16, 1630, he was summoned to London to answer before bishop Laud for alleged irregular conduct, and was by him forbidden to exercise any ministerial function in his diocese. Examining the various usages and ceremonies to which he was required to conform, he was less disposed to adhere to the Establishment that never. Summoned a second time before the bishop, he was required by him to immediately leave the place. He now entered the family of Sir Richard Darley, in Yorkshire, as chaplain, where he remained about. a year, and then accepted an invitation to Heddon, Northumberland, where he also remained about a year. Owing to his Nonconformist principles, he was greatly persecuted, with difficulty avoiding arrest, until Aug. 10, 1635, when he and his family embarked for America. He arrived in Boston Oct. 2, 1635, and took up his residence in Newtown (now Cambridge), Mass. Here he became pastor of a newly organized Church, Feb. 1, 1636, of which he continued to be the pastor until his death. Mr. Shepard soon became involved in the famous Antinomian controversy, and was one of the most active members of the noted synod by which the storm was finally quelled. There is also good reason to believe that he had an important agency in originating and carrying forward the measures resulting in the establishment of Harvard College. He died Aug. 25, 1649. Johnson speaks of him as "that gracious, sweet, heavenly minded, and soul ravishing minister," which testimony is sustained by that of many others. The following are some of his works: New England's Lamentation for Old England's Errors (Lond. 1645, 4to): — Theses Sabbaticoe (ibid. 1649): — Of Liturgies, etc. (1653) Parable of the Ten Virgins Opened and Applied (1659, fol.). A collective edition of his works, with a memoir, was published by the Doctrinal Tract and Book Society (Boston, 1853, 3 vols. 12mo). For a full list of his works, see Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Authors, s.v.; Sprague, Annals of the Amer. Pulpit, 1, 59.

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