Special Collections Department
The Reverend Nathan Stone Sermons
Manuscript Collection Number: 380
Accessioned: Purchased, December 1986.
Extent: 31 items.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: November 1998 by Arthur Siegel
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
He was elected secretary to the "Marlborough Association," a post he held for many years. This association comprised a collection of ministries from local towns which met for the purposes of mutual assistance, and to guide the spiritual direction of the area's inhabitants. In an age when there was still no clear-cut division between Church and State, this body wielded a great deal of power. Nathan also contributed to Ezra Stiles' book, The Ecclesiastical History of British North America, with an account of the history of Southborough. On October 21, 1734, Nathan married Judith Fox, daughter of Reverend Jabez Fox of Woburn. She died in childbirth, however, in February 1748, leaving him a widower with several children. Three years later he married again, this time to Mary Thacher, daughter of Middleborough Reverend Peter Thacher.
Nathan Stone, like his father, was religiously conservative, holding fast to traditional Puritan ideals, and was firmly opposed to the radical revivalism of the Great Awakening that was occurring around him in the late 1730s and early 1740s. Though he managed to keep the majority of his congregation from succumbing to these influences, he could not stem the tide of social and religious "laxness" that began to overtake the colonies in the years before the American Revolution. By the 1760s, the tightly-knit religious community of his youth was rapidly coming apart, the Puritan ethics he so revered were disappearing, and New England colonists were quickly becoming radicalized in their opposition to the Crown. Nathan Stone was horrified by the Boston Tea Party, and watched with disapproval as Southborough and other local communities began to organize their own militias. Indeed, by the 1770s Nathan Stone had become so frustrated with his congregation's reactionary tendencies towards Britain that he would openly berate them from the pulpit, even naming those individuals whose activities did not meet his strict ethical standards.
As the inevitability of open conflict became apparent, Stone continued to urge reconciliation and caution to his parishioners. Yet, by the late 1770s his attitude had changed, and he came to accept the war for independence as a just one. Nathan Stone died on May 31, 1781, and several weeks later the town held a day of prayer and fasting in his honor.
Sources:Noble, Richard E. Fences of Stone: A History of Southborough, Massachusetts. Portsmouth, NH: P.E. Randall, 1990.
Savage, James. Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England. vol 4. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1994.
Scope and Content Note
F1 "[T]hy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. " Exodus 15:6 Given by Nathaniel Stone Sr. at Harwich, 29 Jan 1705 on a "Thanksgiving Day on ye account of another victory obtained by ye D[uke] of Malborough over the french forces." This sermon was given again on 12 Apr 1705 (17pp.) "Know ye not that there is -- a great man fallen this day in Israel?" Samuel 3:38 Given at the Meeting House in Southborough, 17 Jan 1731 upon the death of Mr. Breck (8pp.) F2 "Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord." Lamentations 3:40 Given in Southborough on 1 Mar 1733, and again in Framington on 8 Sep 1734 (2pp.) "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me " Psalms 66:18 Given in Southborough, the morning and afternoon of 9 Apr 1732 (8pp.) F3 No title Given in Southborough 19 Feb 1736, and again in Harwich 12 Jun 1737 (2pp.) "[W]hich is Christ in you, the hope of glory;" Colossians 1:27 Fragment of a sermon given on 16 Oct 1737 (2pp.) F4 "Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 6:23 Given in Southborough 25 Feb 1739. On the last page is an addendum entitled "Improvement." (2pp.) "For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving. " Timothy 4:4 Given on a Thanksgiving Day in Southborough 29 Nov 1739 (6pp.) F5 "For without me ye can do nothing." John 15:5 Given in Southborough 23 Dec 1739, and again on 7 Feb 1740 (12pp.) "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshiper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth." John 9:31 Given at Marlborough 16 Mar 1742/3, and again at Westborough Feb 1746 (16pp.) F6 "[L]et us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." Hebrews 12:1 Given in Southborough 23 Dec 1744 (15pp.) "[B]ut the greatest of these is charity. " Corinthians 13:13 Given in Southborough 27 Jan 1745 (8pp.) F7 "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation." James 5:12 Given in Southborough 22 Feb 1747 (8pp.) "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee." Psalms 73:25 Given in Southborough 2 Aug 1747 (16pp.) F8 "I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done?" Jeremiah 8:6 Given in Southborough February 1754 (17pp.) "[A]nd he said, Behold, this evil is of the Lord; what should I wait for the Lord any longer?" 2 Kings 6:33 Given in Southborough January 1759. Pages 3-16 are missing from the text (24pp.) F9 "And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God." Luke 14:15 Given in Southborough 22 Jun 1760 (12pp.) "[B]ut sin is a reproach to any people." Proverbs 14:34 Given in Southborough 3 May 1761 (12pp.) F10 "If ye know these thing, happy are ye if ye do them." John 13:17 Given in Southborough February 1765 (40pp.) "But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?" Job 14:10 Given in Southborough 3 Jan 1773 (8pp.) F11 "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. " Romans 3:24 Given in Southborough October 1774 (40pp.) "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy." Psalms 103:8 Given on September 14 & 21, though the year is unrecorded (10pp.) F12 "And the way of peace they have not known." Romans 3:17 n.d. Though this and the following sermon focus on the same passage, they are two completely different works (4pp.) "And the way of peace have they not known." Romans 3:17 n.d. (8pp.) F13 "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." James 2:19 n.d. (5pp.) Unidentified fragments (6 items) Includes small fragments of sermons, with no reference to date or location, as well as two undated fragments of notes that were sent to Nathan Stone.
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