(Boston: Edes and Gill, 1758). 159 x 89 mm. (6 1/4 x 3 1/2"). vi, 209,  pp. FIRST EDITION.
Austere but pleasing contemporary sprinkled sheepskin, raised bands flanked by double gilt fillets. Front free endpaper with ink ownership inscription of S. Williams dated 1759; title page with ink inscription of E. Church dated 1847. Evans 8081. Mild dampstaining to lower outer corner of a half dozen gatherings, faint overall browning (typical of American imprints like this one), F2 with two small paper flaws affecting three words on either side of the leaf, K5 with two-inch light brown stain, but still quite an excellent copy, the text fresh, and the original unsophisticated sheepskin binding in unusually fine condition, with only trivial wear.
This unprepossessing volume of sermons by a Congregational minister is a superb example of an early American binding in outstanding condition. The theological meditations making up the text examine the divinity (versus the human nature) of Christ, the promises of the book of Revelations, and the question of whether permitting sin is evidence of God's wisdom. Joseph Bellamy (1719-90) studied at Yale with the great theologian Jonathan Edwards, who became a life-long friend. His memorable and eloquent sermons made him a leading light in the evangelical revival known as the Great Awakening. He revealed one of the secrets of his success as a preacher in his admonition to one of his students, who was given to hellfire and brimstone orations: "thunder less and lighten more," for it is lightning, not thunder, that strikes a man down. Bellamy was respected as a theologian on both sides of the Atlantic, and was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Aberdeen in 1768. His reputation in Britain no doubt suffered when he embraced the cause of American independence. The simple sheepskin binding--done very near the time of printing as evidenced by the inscription on the endpaper--has a dozen double fillets of gilt on the spine, which in Puritan Boston qualified as ornate for a book of this nature. It is rare to find an early American binding in such fine condition. (ST12269b)
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PJP Catalog: 74.075