University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

The Reverend John Alonzo Clark

1826 - 1842

Manuscript Collection Number: 378
Accessioned: Gift of the Moyerman family, 1981
Extent: 33 items
Content: Sermons and a certificate
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: August 1998 by Arthur Siegel

for reference assistance email Special Collections
or contact:

Table of Contents

Introductory Note

The Reverend John Alonzo Clark was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in May 1801. In 1823 he was graduated from Union College near Albany, New York, and after several additional years of ministerial training he was admitted to orders in the Episcopal church on April 12, 1826. His professional career spanned the years of the Second Great Awakening, an evangelical movement which spread across much of the country, but was most strongly felt in portions of the Northeast -- particularly in the "burned-over" district of western New York and in southern New England. Clark represented the evangelical wing of the Episcopal church, and his sermons reflected the evangelical emphasis on the inherent sinfulness of man, the acceptance of Christ as Redeemer, and the neccesity of conversion through faith. He traveled extensively to preach in places as far afield as Palmyra and Geneva, New York; Providence, Rhode Island; and Philadelphia, engaging in missionary work in western New York from 1826-1829. Clark quickly gained a reputation as a notable preacher, and in 1829 he settled in New York City to take a position as Assistant Rector at Christ Church. In 1832 he moved on to Providence, where he assumed the title of Rector at Grace Church, and in 1835 he moved to Philadelphia and became Rector at St. Andrew's Church.

Aside from his numerous sermons, Clark authored several longer works, including The Pastor's Testimony (1835), Gathered Fragments (1836), and Glimpses of the Old World (1838). In 1835, Clark became a member of the American Tract Society, an organization committed to the evangelical ideal of saving souls for Christ. This goal was to be accomplished, in part, by the distribution of religious tracts to every family in the United States within one generation, and reflects a decided millennial fervor in their work. Clark's health began to decline throughout the 1830s, and in 1837-38 he traveled to Europe in the hopes of regaining his strength. His health having failed to improve, however, he ultimately was compelled to resign his position at St. Andrews in 1843, and on November 27 of that same year he died.

The collection spans the period 1828-1842, and consists of twenty-nine small booklets of sermons, two bound volumes of sermons, a booklet that consists of an index of his early sermons, and a certificate from the American Tract Society. The sermons were all written by Clark, and were preached at various locations, including churches in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Boston, and Philadelphia. Though the collection contains only some of the hundreds of sermons which Clark wrote and preached during his short career, the information which he provided about the date and location of his preaching offers a general indication of his movements over the course of the late 1820s and 1830s.


Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton, 1886-89.

Grettler, David J. The Benevolence of Benevolent Institutions: The American Tract Society and Slavery. Newark, Del.: University of Delaware, 1985.

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

         Sermons, 1826-1842  (30 items)
          Each booklet generally contains one sermon, though several of them are grouped
          together, as in the "Series on the Parables."  Also included is a booklet containing
          a schedule of Clark's early sermons, and one containing his Lent lectures for
          1840.  The booklets include a sermon title, scripture citation, dates and locations
          where preached, and a sermon number.  The numbers listed pertain to the
          sequence in which the sermons were written, #90 (c.1828) being the earliest in
          this collection, though not all of the booklets are numbered.  Most are written in
          ink on lined pages, and bound with paper covers.  

1    F1   #90  "God will not accept of a poor or partial offering"  (21 pp.)
               Malachi 1:8
               Preached in Palmyra, N.Y., 14 Sep 1828; Christ's Church, N.Y., 5 Feb
               1832; Grace Church in Providence, R.I., 22 Mar 1835; St. Andrews in
               Philadelphia, 26 Jan 1840.

     F2   #92  "St. Paul's valedictory to the Elders of Ephesus"  (24 pp.)
               Acts 20:32
               Preached in Palmyra, N.Y., Oct 1828; Christ's Church, N.Y., 26 Feb 1832;
               Grace Church in Providence, 16 Feb 1835; St. Andrews in Philadelphia, 9
               Feb 1840.

     F3   #94  "Hearing the words"  (28 pp.)
               Luke 8:18
               Preached in Rhode Island, Jul 1835; St. Andrews, 13 Sep 1835 and 9 Oct

     F4   #98  "The reasonableness of God's service"  (33 pp.)
               Romans 12:1
               Preached at St. Andrews, 2 Feb 1840; Trinity Church, Geneva, 2 Aug
               1840; Fairfield Hert'a, 30 Aug 1840.

     F5   #101 "The admission of the gentiles to the Privileges of the Gospel: or, the
               failure of many in Christian countries of attaining salvation, while those
               who have less right secure the blessings of Heaven"  (20 pp.)
               Matthew 8:11-12
               Preached at All Saints Church, N.Y., 18 Jan 1829; Christ's Church, 18 Jan
               1829; Grace Church; 1 Jan 1835; St. Andrews 19 Jan 1840.

1    F6   #105 "A pleasure accompanying the performer of religious duties, the only
               evidence of our being in a safe state as it regards spiritual things --"  (24
               I Peter 1:8-9
               Preached at Christ's Church, n.d.; Grace Church, 18 Jan 1835; St.
               Andrews, 8 Mar 1840.

     F7   #106 "The sin, folly, and sad consequences of human apostasy --"  (24 pp.)
               Jeremiah 2:13
               Preached at Christ's Church, 1 Mar 1829; Trinity Church, N.Y., 14 Nov
               1830; St. Paul's, N.Y., 14 Nov 1830; Grace Church, 21 Sep 1834; St.
               Andrews, Nov 1835.

     F8   #108 "The omniscience of Christ and the salutary influence the belief of it is
               calculated to exert --"  (28 pp.)
               Revelation 2:23
               Christ's Church, Apr 1831; Grace Church, 7 Dec 1834.

     F9   #109 "Assurance"  (28 pp.)
               Luke 10:20
               Preached at Christ's Church, 29 Mar 1829; Church of Ascension, 5 Apr
               1829; Grace Church, N.Y., 5 Apr 1829; Zion Church, Newport, R.I., 16
               Feb 1834; St. Johns Church, Providence, R.I., 9 Mar 1834; St. Andrews,

          Series on the Parables
          Two numbers are provided, the number of the sermon within this particular series,
          and the number of the sermon within his larger collection of writings.  The series,
          preached at St. Andrews Church in Philadelphia, is incomplete.

     F10  #7 (#456) "Parable of the Rich Man's Ground"
                    Luke 12:15
                    Written 26 Dec 1839  (38 pp.)

     F11  #9 (#458) "The Barren Fig Tree"
                    Luke 13:8-9 
                    Written 27 Jan 1840  (48 pp.)

     F12  #11 (#460) "The Power"
                    Mark 4:5-6
                    Written 7 Feb 1840  (44 pp.)

1    F13  #12 (#461) "The Power: The Thorny Ground bearers"
                    Mark 4:7 
                    Written 20 Feb 1840  (44 pp.)

     F14  #15 (#464) "Casting the Seed into the Ground"
                    Mark 4:28 
                    Written 12 Mar 1840  (52 pp.)

     F15  #17 (#466) "The Leaven"
                    Mark 13:33 
                    Written 30 Apr 1840  (31 pp.)

2    F16  #18 (#467) "Treasure Hid in a Field"
                    Matthew 13:44
                    Written 8 Oct 1840  (62 pp.)

     F17  #19 (#468) "The Pearl of Great Price"
                    Matthew 13:45-46 
                    Written 15 Oct 1840  (38 pp.)

     F18  #21 (#470) "The Householder"
                    Matthew 13:52 
                    Written 5 Nov 1840  (56 pp.)

     F19  #22 (#471) "Parable of the Strayed Sheep"
                    Matthew 18:12-14 
                    Written 12 Nov 1840  (47 pp.)

     F20  #24 (#473) "Parable of the Two Debtors, or the Unmerciful s[er]v[an]t"
                    Matthew 18:32-33 
                    Written 3 Dec 1840  (56 pp.)

     F21  #27 (#476) "The Good Shepherd"
                    John 10:11 
                    n.d.  (41 pp.)

     F22  #28 (#477) "The Good Samaritan"
                    Luke 10:37
                    n.d.  (33 pp.)

2    F23  Lent lectures for 1840  (56 pp.)
          Includes 10 short sermons, and an "Address to the New Communicants at Easter,

     F24  Sermons, n.d.  (5 pp.)
          Included is a two-page sermon for Good Friday, as well as a three-page sermon at
          the back of the notebook entitled: "Different figures under which are represented
          our ruin by sin and recovery by Christ"

          Miscellaneous Sermons, n.d.  (5 items)
          The titles of these sermons correspond to the scriptural quote written on the front
          covers, and they are undated.

     F25  "Bow and pray to the Lord your God"
          Psalms 76:11
          n.d.  (16 pp.)

     F26  "Oh my thrashing, and the corn of my floor"
          Isaiah 21:10 
          n.d.  (16 pp.)

     F27  "For it is written  cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in
          the book of the law to do them'" 
          Galatians 3:10
          n.d.  (18 pp.)
     F28  "But I said, how shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land,
          a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations?  and I said, thou shall call me, My
          Father, and shalt not [turn] away from me" 
          Jeremiah 3:19
          n.d.  (13 pp.)

     F29  "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us"
          Galatians 3:13 
          n.d.  (12 pp.)

     F30  Schedule of sermons, c.1840  (36 pp.)
          Includes a numbered list of sermons preached between 1826-1837, including date,
          location, and sermon topic, though about half of the entries are left blank.  This
          list generally corresponds to the sermon booklets and the few relevant entries in
          the journals which are contained in the collection.

3    F31  Sermons, c.1840  (607 pp.)
          Bound volume, containing a series of 26 sermons, most of which are untitled. 
          These are hand-written in ink, with occasional marginal corrections, and are
          revisions from earlier drafts.

          #175 Hebrews 11:3  (pp.3-28)
               Preached at Christ's Church, N.Y., 20 Feb 1831; Grace Church,
               Providence, R.I., 17 Mar 1833; St. Andrews in Philadelphia, 15 Oct 1837.

          #176 Hebrews 11:4  (pp.29-54)
               Preached at Christ's Church, Mar 1831; Grace Church, 24 Mar 1833; St.
               Andrews, 29 Oct 1837.

          #177 Romans 7:16  (pp.55-80)
               Preached at Christ's Church, 19 Jun 1831; Grace Church, 16 Jun 1833; St.
               Andrews, 5 Nov 1837.

          #178 Romans 3:20  (pp.81-104)
               Preached at Christ's Church, 19 Jun 1831; Grace Church, 23 Jun 1833; St.
               Andrews, 12 Nov 1837 and 3 Mar 1839.

          #179 Romans 3:26  (pp.105-26)
               Preached at Grace Church, 16 Aug 1835; St. Andrews 3 Mar 1839.

          #180 Romans 3:23  (pp.127-52)
               Preached at Christ's Church, 19 Jun 1831; Grace Church, 1833; St.
               Andrews, 10 Mar 1839.

          #181 Romans 5:1  (pp.153-76)
               Preached at St. Andrews, 24 Mar 1839.

          #182 Hebrews 11:5  (pp.177-206)
          #183 Hebrews 11:5-6  (pp.207-30)

          #184 Hebrews 11:7  (pp.231-54)
               Preached at Christ's Church, 3 Apr 1831; Fairfield, N.Y., 4 Sep 1831;
               Hartford, Conn., 23 Oct 1831; Grace Church, 31 Mar 1833; Westerly, R.I.,
               23 Nov 1834; Lonsdale, R.I., 8 Jan 1835; Kingston, R.I., 15 Mar 1835;
               Grace Church, Boston, May 1835; St. Andrews, 6 Oct 1839.

3    F31  #185 Hebrews 11:7  (pp.255-78)
               Preached at St. Andrews, 13 Oct 1839.

          #186 Hebrews 11:7  (pp.279-304)
               Preached at St. Andrews, 20 Oct 1839.

          #187 Hebrews 11:7  (pp.305-28)
               Preached at St. Andrews, 27 Oct 1839.

          #188 Hebrews 11:8  (pp.329-52)
               Preached at Christ's Church, 17 Apr 1831; Grace Church, 21 Apr 1833;
               St. Andrews 10 Nov 1839 (A.M.)

          #189 Hebrews 11:8  (pp.353-70)
               Preached at St. Andrews, 10 Nov 1839 (P.M.)

          #190 Hebrews 11:9-10  (pp.371-92)
               Preached at St. Andrews, 17 Nov 1839.

          #191 Hebrews 11:17-19  (pp.393-412)
               Preached at Christ's Church, 17 Apr 1831; Grace Church, 28 Apr 1833;
               St. Andrews, 12 Jan 1840.

          #192 Hebrews 11:19  (pp.413-30)
               Preached at St. Andrews, 12 Jan 1840.

          #193 Hebrews 11:24  (pp.431-54)
               Preached at Christ's Church, 1 May 1831; Church of Ascension, N.Y., 8
               May 1831; Grace Church, 26 May 1833; Christ's [Epiphany], 25 Sep

          #194 Hebrews 11:27  (pp.455-74)

          #195 Hebrews 11:28  (pp.475-92)
               Preached at Christ's Church, May 1831; Grace Church, 9 Jun 1833; St.
               Andrews, 26 Apr 1840.

          #196 Hebrews 11:28  (pp.493-508)
               Preached at St. Andrews, 26 Apr 1840.

3    F31  #197 "Peace with God"
               Romans 5:1  (pp.509-30)
               Preached at Christ's Church, 24 Jul 1831; St. John's Church, Providence,
               R.I., 29 Sep 1833; Grace Church, 29 Sep 1833; St. Andrews, 3 May 1840.

          #198 "Peace with Job"
               Romans 5:1  (pp.531-54)

          #199 "Purity of heart, fruit of faith"
               Acts 15:9  (pp.555-80)
               Preached at Christ's Church, 17 Jul 1831; [Stony Point?], N.Y., 21 Jul
               1831; Grace Church, 22 Sep 1833; St. Andrews, 17 May 1840.

          #200 "Adoption"
               John 1:12  (pp.581-607)
               Christ's Church, 10 Jul 1831; [Stony Point?], 14 Jul 1831; Manlius, N.Y.,
               4 Sep 1831; Geneva, N.Y., Aug 1831; Hartford, Conn., 23 Oct 1831;
               Grace Church, 15 Sep 1833; St. Andrews, n.d.

     F32  Sermons, c. 1841  (306 pp.)
          Bound volume, containing 14 sermons, including a series on the Lord's Prayer
          (#242-253).  Most of these are untitled.

          #129 "Advent of Christ"
               Isaiah 60:1  (pp.1-30)
               Preached at Christ's Church, N.Y., Nov 1829; Grace Church, Providence,
               R.I., 1833; St Andrews in Philadelphia, n.d.

          #130 "Christians are to reflect the light they receive"
               Isaiah 60:1  (pp.31-62)
               Preached at Christ's Church, 6 Dec 1829; St. George's, N.Y., 6 Dec 1829;
               Fairfield, 5 Sep 1830; Grace Church, 1833; St. Andrews 4 Dec 1836.

          #242 Matthew 6:4  (pp.63-86)
               The first of the series of sermons on the Lord's Prayer
               Preached at Grace Church, 9 Jun 1833; St. Andrews, autumn of 1837.

          #243 Matthew 6:9  (pp.87-100)
               Preached at Grace Church, 23 Jun 1833; St. Andrews, autumn of 1837.

3          #244 Matthew 6:9  (pp.101-24)
               Preached at Grace Church, 1833; St. Andrews, 18 Oct 1840.

          #245 Matthew 6:10  (pp.125-50)

          #246 Matthew 6:10  (pp.151-72)

          #247 Matthew 6:10  (pp.173-98)
               Preached at Grace Church, 21 Jul 1833; St. Andrews, n.d.

          #248 Matthew 6:11  (pp.199-218)
               Preached at Grace Church, 28 Jul 1833; St. Andrews, n.d.

          #249 Matthew 6:12  (pp.219-40)
               Preached at Grace Church, 4 Aug 1833; St. Andrews, 18 Apr 1841.

          #250 Matthew 6:12  (pp.241-48)
               "Duty of forgiving others"
               Preached at St. Andrews, n.d.

          #251 Matthew 6:13  (pp.249-68)
               "The nature of temptation"
               Preached at St. Andrews, 10 Oct 1841.

          #252 Matthew 6:13  (pp.269-86)
               Preached at St. Andrews, 17 Oct 1841.

          #253 Matthew 6:13  (pp.253-306)
               "Deliverance from evil"

     F33  Certificate of membership to the American Tract Society
          Awarded to Clark as the result of a $55 donation by the Ladies of Grace Church,
          Providence, R.I.   The document is signed by S.V.S. Wilder, the first president of
          the American Tract Society, and the current secretary William A. Hallock.  In
          addition, what appears to be the society's seal appears prominently at the top of
          the document.  Dated April 14, 1835.
Back to the UD Special Collections Home Page

+ Return to List of Manuscript Finding Aids by Title

This page is maintained by Special Collections
Last modified: 01/19/11
  • UD Library Special Collections  •   181 South College Avenue  •   Newark, DE 19717-5267  •   USA
    Phone: USA +1 302-831-2229  •   ©2014