Martha Ballard's Story
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.
When Martha heard Isaac Foster's brother John preach on October 8th, she reported that she was "agreeably Entertaind" by his "discoarce."
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.
Table of Contents
|[Annotations and cross-references ommitted]
|The parable of the talents
||A description of the last
| 17 And likewise he that had received
two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth,
and hid his lord's money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and
reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought
other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents:
behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful
servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler
over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord,
thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant;
thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many
things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said,
Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not
sown, and gathering where thou hast not strowed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth:
lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful
servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I
have not strowed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers,
and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him
which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall
have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that
which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness:
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
31 When the Son of man shall come in his
glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne
of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall
separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats
on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on
his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty,
and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me:
I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when
saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked,
and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say
unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my
brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart
from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and
42 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty,
and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye
clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw
we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or
in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but
the righteous into life eternal.
- Christ again foretelleth his own death. 3 The rulers conspire
against him. 6 A woman poureth precious ointment on his head.
14 Judas bargaineth to betray him. 17 Christ eateth the
passover, and pointeth out the traitor: 26 he instituteth his
last supper: 30 foretelleth the desertion of his discipiles,
and Peter's denial of him. 36 His agony and prayer in the garden.
47 He is betrayed and apprehended. 51 One of the servants
of the high priest hath his ear cut off; Jesus forbiddeth opposition:
57 he is carried to Caiaphas, falsely accused, examined, pronounced
guilty, and treated with indignity. 69 Peter's denial and repentance.
AND it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all
these sayings, he said unto his disciples,