Nathaniel Ward

Nathaniel Ward

Nathaniel Ward was born in Haverhill, England in 1578. He studied at Cambridge University and entered the Anglican ministry in 1618. He served a London parish for seven years until he was dismissed for holding Puritan beliefs.

In 1634 Ward emigrated to America where he settled in the Massachusetts Bay. Ward became a pastor in Agawam (Ipswich) where he wrote The Body of Liberties (1641) and The Simple Comler of Aggawam in America (1647). In these pamphlets Ward expressed his hostility towards other religious sects. After Oliver Cromwell gained power Ward returned to England. Ward died in Shenfield in October, 1652.

Primary Sources

(1) Nathaniel Ward, The Simple Comler of Aggawam in America (1647)

Satan is now in his passions; he feels his passion approaching; he loves to fish in roiled waters. Through that dragon cannot sting the vitals of the elect mortally, yet that Beelzebub can fly-blow their intellectuals miserably. The finer religion grows, the finer he spins his cobwebs; he will hold pace with Christ so long as his wits will serve him. He sees himself beaten out of gross idolatries, heresies, ceremonies, where the light breaks forth with power; he will therefore, bestir him to prevaricate evangelical truths and ordinances.

The devil desires no better sport than to see lightheads handle their heels, and fetch their careers in a time, when the roof of liberty stands open. First, such as have given or taken any unfriendly reports of us New English should do well to recollect themselves. We have been reputed a effluvium of wild opinionists, swarmed into a remote wilderness to find elbowroom for our fanatic doctrines and practices. I trust our diligence past, and constant sedulity against such persons and courses, will plead better things for us. I dare take upon me, to be the herald of New England so far, as to proclaim to the world, in the name of the colony, that all Familists, Antinomians, Anabaptists, and other enthusiasts shall have free liberty to keep away from us, and such as will come to be gone as fast as they can, the sooner the better.