When James Nicol included the sermons of the Suffolk Puritan Samuel Ward among the first of his Puritan reprints, he was virtually introducing an unknown man to the Christian world of the 1860s. Nicol was therefore wise to secure the enthusiastic support of a contemporary Suffolk 'Puritan', J.C. Ryle of Stradbroke, whose words remain equally relevant for the present reprint:
'The doctrine of Ward's sermons is always thoroughly evangelical. He is always to the point, always about the main things in divinity, and generally sticks to his text. To exalt the Lord Jesus Christ as high as possible, to cast down man's pride, to expose the sinfulness of sin, to spread out broadly and fully the remedy of the gospel, to awaken the unconverted sinner and to alarm him, to build up the true Christian and to comfort him - these seem to have been objects which Ward proposed in every sermon.