Martha Ballard's Story
Chapter 2

Martha likes Foster's sermons

Martha approved of the sermons delivered by the young new minister, Isaac Foster, and his brother John Foster. As a woman who measured life in doing for others, she might be expected to enjoy Foster's July 23 sermon on Matthew 25, the chapter in which Jesus distinguished between those on his right and his left hand, the sheep and goats, according to whether they had fed the hungry, clothed the naked, or comforted the afflicted.

But there was a faction in town, led by the town clerk Captain Henry Sewall, that was alarmed by the beliefs of the Fosters.

What did Henry Sewall say about Foster's July 23 sermon?

When Martha heard Isaac Foster's brother John preach on October 8th, she reported that she was "agreeably Entertaind" by his "discoarce."

What did Henry Sewall say about the October 8th sermon?

Find out what Sewall did to block Isaac Foster's ordination.

John Foster was in town for the ordination vote on his brother Isaac. Three days later, on October 11, Martha reported the weather as "Clear & Pleasant." She also noted, "the Revd Isaac Foster was ordaind in this Town."

Although the skies were clear, a storm was brewing. Henry Sewall continued to criticize the young minister.

The New Minister
And Isaac Foster replied by suing Henry Sewall and his cousin, Thomas Sewall, for slander.

Table of Contents

The Holy Bible, King James version
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 Title page     Matthew 25     Matthew 25 


Matthew 25

[Annotations and cross-references ommitted]
Watchfulness recommended. CHAP. XXV. The parable of the ten virgins.
the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
  30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
  31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
  32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
  33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
  34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
  35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
  36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
  37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
  38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
  39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
  40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
  41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
  42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
  43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
  44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
  45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
  46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
  47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
  48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;

  49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
  50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
  51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


  1. The parable of the ten virgins; 14 and of the talents, to which the king distributed among his servants, to be improved by them. 31 A description of the last judgment

  1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
  2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
  3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
  4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
  5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
  6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
  7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
  8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
  9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
  10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
  11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
  12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
  13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
  14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
  15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
  16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.