Author: Samuel Willard

Samuel Willard

Samuel Willard (1640-1707) is best known for his Compleat Body of Divinity (published posthumously, 1726), a series of 250 lectures on the Westminster shorter catechism. The subscription list of that massive work speaks to Willard’s influence and the reach of his lectures. The governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut both ordered copies. Famous New England surnames fill the page: Appleton’s, Cushing’s, Sewall’s, and, of course, Willard’s are all there. John Hancock’s father, Benjamin Franklin’s older brother and father—Willard had officiated the latter’s wedding—and Samuel Adams the elder all made the list.