McDowall’s Discourses – Sermons by Pioneering Canadian Reformed Missionary and Pastor

  • $125.00
    Unit price per 
Shipping calculated at checkout.

M’Dowall, Robert.  Discourses of the Sovereign and Universal Agency of God, in Nature and Grace. Albany: Printed by Websters and Skinner, At their Bookstore in the White-House, corner of State and Pearl-Streets, 1806.

Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819, 10760

First Edition. Binding: Hardcover (Quarter Leather). Book Condition: Very Good- Condition. Item Type: Book.

Pagination: [1]-120 (starting with the Title page), 4 leaves with three pages of names of subscribers (blank on the verso of the last leaf), 1 blank leaf. Size: 8"-9" - Octavo (8vo).

Collection of sermons on the doctrine of election by the first regularly sent Reformed missionary to Upper Canada (modern Ontario) and the first moderator of the Presbytery of the Canadas. In its original binding. The topic must have been a favorite of McDowell, described by the Dictionary of Canadian Biography as “a strict Calvinist,” since he was known for having “engaged in a day-long debate on predestination with Samuel Coate, a Methodist itinerant.”

In 1790 McDowall (1768-1841) was sent by the Dutch Reformed Church as a missionary to what is now southern Ontario. According to the DCB, he ministered on the north shore of the St Lawrence River and Lake Ontario that year, then returned to the United States for his seminary training. Upon his graduation in 1797 from Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., McDowall was ordained and returned to Canada. He eventually settled “at what is now Sandhurst, in Fredericksburgh Township, where he opened his first church on 6 July 1798. From this base McDowall itinerated over the hundred-mile stretch from Meyers’ Creek (Belleville) to Elizabethtown.”

During the War of 1812 relationships between the Canadian churches and the New York Classis were strained and in 1818 McDowell “joined the indigenous Presbytery of the Canadas.” The DCB provides this assessment of McDowell’s service: “The record of his 40-year ministry is evidence both of the extent of his travels and of the scarcity of clergy: his baptismal register (of which one-third has been lost) lists 1,638 christenings in 24 different townships and it is estimated that he performed some 1,300 marriages.” This book is the second of two that he published. The first was an early Upper Canadian pamphlet, “A sermon on the nature of justification through the imputed righteousness of the Redeemer” published in York (modern Toronto) the previous year.

Contemporary quarter binding in leather and marbled paper over boards. The plain spine (no title or decoration) has wear along the folds, but is holding with only a 1/2" tear at the head of the spine along the fold with the front cover. Some dark liquid dropped on the front cover leaving a darkened deposit and a splatter surrounding it. The paper on the rear cover is worn around the edges and there is loss along 2 1/2" of the edge of the paper that overlaps the leather. Although much of the end paper on the front cover has split, the hinge is strong and holding. There is an area on the outside edge of the front cover where paper has been lost, exposing the edge of the underlying marbled paper and a little of the board. The rear hinge is tight and the paper has not split.

The text block is tight, though the paper has darkened from age. There is some mottling from dampness and some scattered spotting. It appears the last signature (P) was printed on slightly different paper. It is not as crisp as the rest and is darker. The page edges are slightly browned.

A previous owner, Bartow White, has signed his name at the top of the front free end paper and pasted a strip of paper with his name in print to the inside front cover. There are also three lines from a previous bookseller in pencil on the inside front cover: Albany imprint | Subscriber names | Rare. 

Shipped Weight: 0 lbs 9 oz.

 Inventory No: 1254