The Notebook of a 17th c. Boston Parishioner

AMERICANA. Lynde, Samuel (1653-1721); Allin, Daniel (b. 1688). [Allen, James (1632-1710), Moodey, Joshua (1633-1697); Willard, Samuel (1640-1707); Pemberton, Ebenezer (1671-1717)]

A contemporary manuscript consisting of notes taken on 40 sermons preached by Rev. James Allen (1632-1710), Rev. Joshua Moodey (1633-1697), Rev. Samuel Willard (1640-1707), and Rev. Ebenezer Pemberton (1671-1717) at Boston's First Church and Old South Church (i.e. the "Third Church".)

Boston: 1684-1703

$18,000.00

Oblong octavo: [127] pp.

Bound in contemporary American calf, worn and lacking the spine and lower board, minor damp-staining, first and final leaves soiled and worn, 3 leaves excised from the body of the notes, and perhaps 20 leaves excised from the end; original owners' inscriptions on front pastedown.

The first owner and original compiler of this volume was Samuel Lynde (1653-1721), a prosperous Boston merchant. He began keeping notes on the sermons he attended in 1684, and continued intermittently through 1694.

His summary of each sermon was long and detailed, usually ranging from 2 to 5 pages. He recorded the name of the minister, and the biblical verse on which the sermon was based; he occasionally added the date. Lynde recorded 32 sermons over a 10-year period, most of them between 1684 and 1687, and almost all of them by "Mr. Moody" and "Mr. Alwin" or "Alen." These would almost certainly be the Rev. James Allen (1632-1710) and his assistant Rev. Joshua Moodey (1633-1697), who were both at Boston's First Church during this period.

This was an interesting period in the religious history of Boston, as the Salem witch trials took place in 1692. The Boston clergy were generally uneasy about the persecution of the alleged witches, and Moodey is said to have helped two of them escape. Rev. Allen delivered 10 sermons from Revelations during this period, apparently working his way sequentially through the book. His favorite text seemed to be Revelations 2:11, which inspired 4 sermons: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." Lynde recorded sermons by two other ministers: one by a "Mr. Lod" who we cannot identify, and one by a "Mr. Pike," very likely Joshua Moodey's son-in-law John Pike (1652-1710) of Dover, NH.

In 1701, Judge Lynde married his third wife, the widow Mariana Bendall Allen. Two years later, he gave this volume to his new stepson Daniel Allin (born 1688), who wrote "Dan'l Allin his book . . . pr my father Samuel Lynde the 6th day of February 1703." Allin seems to have embellished his inscription with a small doodle of an eagle holding a hammer. He recorded 8 more sermons at the end (all from February 1703 or shortly after.)

These 8 sermons were all by Rev. Samuel Willard (1640-1707) or Rev. Ebenezer Pemberton (1671-1717), both of Boston's Third Church, now best known as the Old South Church (In the 17th c., the congregation met at the Cedar Meeting House.) Willard was one of the leading ministers in America at that time, had been an active opponent of the witch trials, and was then serving as the acting president of Harvard. His 4 sermons recorded here are all from the Book of Jeremiah. Ebenezer Pemberton, whose father Joseph was one of the original founders of the Old South Church, graduated from Harvard in 1691, and continued on at the college as a tutor and fellow until his ordination in 1700. After ordination, Pemberton served alongside Willard at the Old South Church. When Willard died in 1707, Pemberton succeeded him, remaining at the church until his own death in 1717.

We don't know what happened to young Daniel Allin--he doesn't seem to have survived to adulthood--but in a small coincidence, his sister Katherine Allin later married the son of the Rev. Samuel Willard.

Sermons:

  1. Mr. Alwin, 2 Revelations, 21 September 1684, 4 pages
  2. Mr. Moody. 90 Psalm 20, no date, 4 pages
  3. Mr. Alwin, 2 Revelations 11, no date, 6 pages
  4. Mr. Moody, 90 Psalms 12, no date, 4.5 pages
  5. Mr. Alwin, 6 Solomon, no date, 3 pages
  6. Mr. Moody, 90 Psalms 12, no date, 4.5 pages
  7. Mr. Pike, 63 Isaiah 9, no date, 3 pages
  8. Mr. Alwin, 2 Revelations 11, no date, 4.5 pages
  9. Mr. Alwin, 2 Revelations 11, no date, 3.5 pages
  10. Mr. Moody, 16 Acts 13, no date, 4.5 pages
  11. Mr. Moody, 25 Numbers 10-11, no date, 4 pages
  12. Mr. Alwin, 6 Solomon 13, no date, 2.5 pages
  13. Mr. Moody, 16 Acts[?] 30, no date, 3.5 pages
  14. Mr. Alwin, 2 Revelations 11, no date, 3 pages
  15. Mr. Moody, 16 Acts 13, no date, 4 pages
  16. Mr. Alwin, 2 Revelations 12, no date, 1.5 pages 
  17. Mr. Moody, 16 Acts 33, no date, 5 pages
  18. Mr. Moody, 16 Acts 30, no date, 5 pages
  19. Mr. Moody, 2 Hebrews 3, no date, 2.5 pages
  20. Mr. Alwin, 2 Revelations 13, no date, 3.5 pages
  21. Mr. Alwin, 2 Revelations 13, no date, 2 pages
  22. Mr. Alwin, 7 Solomon’s Songs 1, no date, 1 page
  23. Mr. Alwin, 2 Revelations 4, 24 August 1686, 2 pages
  24. Mr. Moody, 13 Kings[?] 24, no date, 2.5 pages
  25. Mr. Alwin, 7 Solomon’s Songs 10, 3 pages
  26. Mr. Lod[?], 137 Psalms 5-6, no date, 2 pages
  27. Mr. Alwin, 3 Revelations 2, 2 February 1686/7, 3.5 pages (and last page torn out)
  28. Mr. Moody, 25 Psalms 7, no date, 5 pages
  29. [?], [?], 1 page (and first page torn out)
  30. Mr. Moody, 6 John 68, December 1678 [1688?], 6.5 pages
  31. Mr. Alen, 6 Romans 5, 1693/4, 4 pages
  32. Mr. Alen, 12 Zackrey [Zechariah?] 7, no date, 3.5 pages

In a new hand:

33. Mr. Willard, 8 Jeremiah 5, no date, 1.5 pages

34. Mr. Pemberton, 4 John 24, 1703, 2 pages

35. Mr. Willard, 8 Jeremiah[?], 13 February 1703, 1 page

36. Mr. Pemberton, 20 Ezekiel 3, no date, 4 pages (and one torn out in middle)

37. Mr. Pemberton, 4 John 34, 20 February 1703, 2 pages

38. Mr. Willard, 8 Jeremiah 6, no date, 2.5 pages

39. Mr. Willard, [?] Jeremy [Jeremiah?] 6, no date, 1.5 pages

40. Mr. Pemberton, 4 John 24, no date, 0.5 pages (incomplete)