Ball, John

, a Puritan divine of the seventeenth century, was born in 1585> of an obscure family, at Cassington or Chersington, near Woodstock in Oxfordshire* He was educated in grammar learning at a private school, under the vicar of Yarnton, a mile distant from Cassington and was admitted a student of Brazen-nose college in Oxford in 1602. He continued there about five years, in the condition of a servitor, and under the discipline of a severe tutor and from thence he removed to St. Mary’s hall, and took the degree of bachelor of arts in 1608. Soon after, he was invited into Cheshire, to be tutor to the lady Cholmondeley’s children and here he became acquainted | witli some rigid Puritans, whose principles he imbibecL About this time, having got a sum of money, he came up to London, and procured himself to be ordained by an Irish bishop, without subscription. Soon after, he removed into Staffordshire, and in 1610 became curate of Whitmore, a chapel of ease to Stoke. Here he lived in a mean condition, upon a salary of about twenty pounds a year, and the profits of a little school. Mr. Baxter tells us, “he deserved as high esteem and honour as the best bishop in England yet looking after no higher things, but living comfortably and prosperously with these.' 7 He has, among the Puritan writers, the character of an excellent schooldivine, a painful preacher, and a learned and ingenious author and, though he was not well affected to ceremonies and church discipline, yet he wrote against those who thought such matters a sufficient ground for separation, He died the 20th of October, 1640, aged about fifty-five, and was buried in the church of Whitmore. Although he is represented above, on the authority of Ant. Wood, as living in a mean condition, it appears by Clarke’s more ample account, that he was entertained in the house of Edward Mainwaring, esq. a gentleman of Whitmore, and afterwards supplied by him with a house, in which he lived comfortably with a wife and seven children. He was likewise very much employed in teaching, and particularly in, preparing young men for the university. His works are, 1.A short treatise concerning all the principal grounds of the Christian Religion, &c.“fourteen times printed before the year 1632, and translated into the Turkish language by William Seaman, an English traveller. 2.A treatise of Faith, in two parts the first shewing the nature, the second, the life of faith,“London, 1631, and 1637, 4to, with a commendatory preface, by Richard Sibbs. 3.” Friendly trial of the grounds tending to Separation, in a plain and modest dispute touching the unlawfulness of stinted Liturgy and set form of Common Prayer, communion in mixed assemblies, and the primitive subject and first receptacle of the power of the keys, &c.“Cambridge, 1640, 4to. 4.” An Answer to two treatises of Mr. John Can, the first entitled A necessity of Separation from the Church of England, proved by the Nonconformist’s principles; the other, A stay against Straying; wherein^ in opposition to Mr. John Robinson, he undertakes to prove the unlawfulness of hearing the ministers of the church of | England,“London, 1642, 4to, published by Simeon Ash. The epistle to the reader is subscribed by Thomas Langley, William Rathband, Simeon Ash, Francis Woodcock, and George Croft, Presbyterians. After our author had finished this last book, he undertook a large ecclesiastical treatise, in which he proposed to lay open the nature of schism, and to handle the principal controversies relating to the essence and government of the visible church. He left fifty sheets of this work finished. The whole was too liberal for those of his brethren who were for carrying their nonconformity into hostility against the church. 5.” Trial of the new Church- way in New-England and Old, &c.“London, 1644, 4to. 6.A treatise of the Covenant of Grace,“London, 1645, 4to, published by his great admirer Simeon Ash. 7.” Of the power of Godliness, both doctrinally and practically handled,“&c. To which are annexed several treatises, as, I. Of the Affections. II. Of the spiritual Combat. III. Of the Government of the Tongue. IV. Of Prayer, with an exposition on the Lord’s Prayer, London, 1657, fol. 8.A treatise of Divine Meditation," Lond. 1660, 12mo. 1

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Biog. Brit. Wood’s Ath. vol. T. Clarke’i Lives of Thirty-two Divines, P. 147, edit. 1677, fol. Fuller’s Worthies.