Parsons, Jonathan. Sermons

Collection History

Please note that as of January 2022, the Jonathan Parsons sermons, 1735-1770, and all future digital collections are now hosted on the library's new digital archive.

Rev. Jonathan Parsons (1705-1776) graduated from Yale in 1729, and was the minister at the First Church in Lyme, Connecticut from 1729/30 to 1745. He was heavily influenced by the Great Awakening, particularly by the evangelists Gilbert Tennent and George Whitefield, the latter of whom became his personal friend. Rev. Parsons was subsequently compelled by traditionalist parishioners to leave his parish in Lyme. Rev. George Whitefield personally recommended him to the new Presbyterian Church of Newburyport, Mass., and he took up ministry there from January 1745/6 until the end of his life. The volumes below consist of notes for sermons delivered by Rev. Parsons. These include a variety of handwritten notes for sermons preached in his home parish of Newbury, and a published print copy of a sermon originally delivered at the funeral of Rev. Whitefield, who died suddenly "of a fit of asthma" in Newburyport in 1770.

The original manuscripts in this collection are owned by our project partners, the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Further information about the collection can be found in the NEHGS catalog.


Digital Materials

Sermons, 1735-1750

This volume contains handwritten notes on five sermons given by Rev. Parsons between 1735 and 1750.

  • Matthew 6:7-8 – "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking …"
      first preached 28 December 1735
  • Jude 1:17-21
      first preached 18 January 1735/6
  • Psalms 2:6 – "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion…"
      first preached 8 February 1735/6
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:8 – "He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God…"
  • Psalms 84:6-7 – "Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God…"
      first preached at Newbury, 30 October 1748

Sermons, 1748-1751

This volume contains handwritten sermon notes on the book of James, chapters 3, 4, and 5, and the book of Hebrews, chapter 12. Rev. Parsons expounds on each chapter in its entirety.

  • James 3
      first preached at Newbury, 6 March 1747/8
  • James 4
      first preached at Newbury, 1747/8
  • James 5
      first preached at Newbury, 17 April 1747/8
  • Hebrews 12
      first preached at Newbury, 1 September 1751

Sermons, 1751-1752

This volume contains two handwritten sermons on 1 Chronicles 29:11 and 1 John 2:1-8.

Funeral sermon, 1770

This is a published copy of a sermon originally delivered by Rev. Parsons at Newburyport for the funeral of the Rev. George Whitefield in 1770, who died suddenly while visiting the town. Also included are handwritten sermon notes on 2 Thessalonians 3:3.

Sermons, undated

This volume contains two handwritten, undated sermons on Ephesians 4:26 and Canticles 5:16.


Related Materials

Newburyport, Mass. First Religious Society, 1725-1816


Special Thanks

These digital resources have been made possible in part by the Council on Library and Information Resources, through a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the Council on Library and Information Resources.