Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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EMMONS, Nathanael, theologian, born in East Haddam, Connecticut, 20 April 1745; died in Franklin, Massachusetts, 23 September 1840. He was graduated at Yale in 1767, and was licensed to preach in 1769, although holding doctrines that were unsatisfactory to many of his examiners. He was accustomed to call himself a "genuine Calvinist," though he accepted to the received Calvinistic doctrines in several important respects. From 1773 till his retirement from active duties in 1827 he was pastor at Franklin, Massachusetts, and during this long pastorate prepared fifty-seven young men for the ministry. Dr. Emmons was one of the founders and the first president of the Massachusetts missionary society, and an editor of the Massachusetts "Missionary Magazine."
Dartmouth gave him the degree of D.D. in 1798. He was noted for shrewd sense, mingled with oddity. Among his aphorisms is the well known rule for clergymen:" First have something to say: then say it." Another is: "The worst books are the best; they compel us to think." Dr. Emmons was a zealous patriot during the Revolution, and afterward an ardent Federalist. On " Fastday," in 1801, he delivered a sermon on Jereboam, picturing Thomas Jefferson in the guise of that king, so that the portrait was easily recognized. He published about two hundred sermons, besides essays and dissertations. His collected works were published by his son-in-law, Dr. Jacob Ide, with a memoir (6 vols., Boston, 1842). See also "Memoir of Nathanael Emmons," by Edwards A. Park, D. D. (Andover, 1861).
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