self with near brethren in long fast-days and prayer-days. For keeping Ascension day, he and his little circle were summoned by John Bridgman, the high-church bishop of Chester, who was specially indignant that the ‘prayers, with fasting,’ were kept on that ‘holy day.’ Thenceforward Ball was 'deprived' and imprisoned, released and re-confined—alike arbitrarily, finding always a refuge, when at liberty, with Lady Bromley, of Sheriff-Hales, in Shropshire. Calamy tells us that John Harrison, of Ashton-under-Lyne, in Lancashire, was exceedingly harassed by the intolerant proceedings of the bishop, and put to great expenses in the ecclesiastical courts; and when he consulted Mr. Ball what he should do to be delivered from these troubles, Mr. Ball recommended him to reward the bishops well with money, 'for it is that,' said he, 'which they look for.' Harrison tried the experiment, and afterwards enjoyed quietness (Calamy, Account, ii. 396-7).
Ball was an eminent scholar. He was specially learned in the whole literature of the controversy with the church of Rome as represented by Bellarmine. He died on 20 Oct. 1640, aged fifty-five. Fuller says of him: 'He lived by faith; was an excellent schoolman and schoolmaster, a powerful preacher, and a profitable writer, and his "Treatise of Faith", cannot be sufficiently commended.' Wood writes: 'He lived and died a nonconformist, in a poor house, a poor habit, with a poor maintenance of about twenty pounds a year, and in an obscure village, teaching school all the week for his further support, yet leaving the character of a learned, pious, and eminently useful man.' Richard Baxter pronounced him as deserving 'of as high esteem and honour as the best bishop in England.'
Ball's earliest book was 'A Short Chatechisme, containing all the principal Grounds of Religion.' Before 1682 it had passed through fourteen editions, and was translated into Turkish by William Seaman [q. v.] in 1660. His other works were: 'Treatise of Faith' (1632 and 1637), which was very popular in New England; 'Friendly Trial of the Grounds of Separation' (1640); 'Answer to two Treatises of Mr. John Can,' the leader of the English Brownists at Amsterdam (1642), edited by Simeon Ashe; 'Trial of the New Church-way in New England and Old'(1644), written against the New England 'independents;' 'Treatise of the Covenant of Grace' (1645), edited by Simeon Ashe; 'Of the Power of Godliness doctrinally and practically handled' (1657); a posthumous folio, edited by Simeon Ashe; and 'Divine Meditation' (1660).
[Brook's Lives of the Puritans, ii. 440-4; MS. Chronology, ii. 395 (23), iii. A.D. 1640 ; Clark's Lives, 148-52; Fuller's Worthies, ii. 339; Wood's Athenæ (Bliss), ii. 670; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Biog. Brit.; Ball's Works.]
BALL, JOHN (1665?–1745), presbyterian minister, was one of ten sons of Nathanael Ball, M.A. [q. v.] ejected from Barley, Herts. He was educated for the ministry under the Rev. John Short at Lyme-Regis, Dorset, and finished his studies at Utrecht, partly under the Rev. Henry Hickman, ejected fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, who died minister of the English church at Utrecht in 1692. He was ordained 23 Jan. 1695, and became minister in 1705 of the presbyterian congregation at Honiton (extinct 1788), where he united two opposing sections, and ministered for forty years, being succeeded by John Rutter (d. 1769). He was a laborious scholar, and ‘carried the Hebrew psalter into the pulpit to expound from it.’ His learning and high character caused a seminary, which he opened prior to the Toleration Act, to be not only connived at, but attended by the sons of neighbouring gentry, though of the established church. Ball is remarkable for retaining the puritan divinity unimpaired to a late period. He had no sympathy with any of the innovations upon Calvinism which, long before his death, became rife among the presbyterians of the West. He published:
- ‘The Importance of Right Apprehensions of God with respect to Religion and Virtue,’ Lond. 1736, 8vo.
- ‘Some Remarks on a New Way of Preaching,’ 1737 (this was answered by Henry Grove, the leader of the more moderate school of presbyterian liberalism).
He died 6 May 1745, in his ninety-first year.
[Calamy's Account; Palmer's Nonconf. Mem. i. 191; Funeral Sermon by John Walrond, 1745; Records of Exeter Assembly; Murch's Hist. of the Presb. and Gen. Bapt. Churches in West of England, 1835, p. 316; Davids' Ann. of Nonconf. in Essex, 1863, p. 596.]
BALL, NATHANAEL (1623–1681), divine, assistant to Walton in his great 'Polyglot,' was born at Pitminster, near Taunton Dean, Somersetshire, in 1623. He carried all before him in his parish school, and proceeded early to the university of Cambridge, being entered of King's College. Here he speedily won a name as a classical, oriental, and biblical scholar. He also spoke French so idiomatically that he was sometimes mistaken for a native of France. While at the university he gained the friendship of Tillotson. Having taken the degrees of B.A. and M.A., he received orders, and was settled