Following is a transcription of a booklet of 5 sermons heard in Bristol England in 1766. To my knowledge, this is the first time it has been transcribed or appears “in print” anywhere other than the original and a few photocopies.
The booklet consists of 1 sermon from Nathaniel Whitaker and 4 from Occom. There is no information as to the author other than that he was “a youth”. Despite this comment (which may have been more of a self-described age in relation to Christianity than a true biological age), I believe Andrew Gifford (1700-1784) may have compiled it. Gifford was a Baptist minister in Bristol and he and Occom maintained correspondence even after Occom returned to America. Indicative of their closeness is the fact that Occom named his youngest son (born in 1774) Andrew Gifford Occom.
The language and punctuation have been modernized to some extent.
The title page reads:
Extracts of several sermons preached extempore at different places of divine worship, in the city of Bristol, by the Rev. Mr. Nathaniel Whitaker, Minister of the Gospel at Norwich, in New-England, and the Rev. Mr. Samson Occom, An Indian minister, who are appointed to solicit benefactions from the people of this Island, for the establishing, &c, of an Indian school in America.
As taken down by a youth.
BRISTOL: Printed in the year MDCCLXVI
Inside, the first sermon is announced thus:
An extract of a sermon preached August 10, 1766, at Tucker Street Meeting by the Rev. Mr. Samson Occom, the Indian.
These people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my people. Isaiah XLIII . 21
When I look about me, and see such a crowded assembly, I am ready to say within myself, what shall I observe to such a people: Such a vast number, that have been brought up under the Gospel all their lives: You are the happiest among all nations! Happy indeed may I call you that have nothing to do but to finish your course with joy. But as God has brought me amongst you at this time, I shall speak to you in few words at this time. Every thing shows forth the goodness of God, that we see before us and round about us, but I shall make a few remarks upon the words that I have now read—This people have I formed for myself, they shall show forth my praise.
In opening of the words before us
1st. I shall show how it is, that the Lord forms a people for Himself
2nd I shall then explain what it is to show forth God’s praise.
1st I am to show how it is that the Lord forms a people for himself. If we look back into the creation, we shall there see, how it was that God formed man; he made him out of the dust of the earth; he is but dust: And about God’s forming a people, first we read of it in the family of Abraham; it continued in his family for some time; He blessed him and his seed after him. He delivered his commands unto them, that they might be formed for himself; he gave them all his laws, and he blessed them; and you may also be called his people, for he hath formed you for Himself. Secondly, where the Gospel is received, such are formed for God. They must have new hearts given them, and this is by the operation of the Divine Spirit, and such as these are God’s people.
I come to explain in the 2nd place, what is meant by showing forth God’s praise—First, It is to receive the Gospel with joy, and they that do so, entirely give themselves up to God, they depend upon him, they live [perhaps meant cleave?] to Him, they have now nothing to do but to show forth Gods praise; and this is the right way to happiness.
Secondly, to show forth God’s praise is to maintain duties, inward duties; then they find sweetness in the discharge of them; they bid farewell to the rest of the world, they enter into their closets, and pray in secret. If we love God we have effects of that love in our hearts, we feel the heart drawn forth to God. Thirdly, to show forth God’s praise, is to serve Him. We must be true to Him, we must love Him, we must serve Him with all our hearts; the subject must be true to his King, and the servant must be faithful to his Master, and if we do this we show forth God’s praise. Honesty, uprightness, and truth , is what God desires of us, and we must value and esteem those that are appointed rulers over us. Fourthly, to show forth God’s praise is to endeavor to form others to praise him. We should speak of these things when we rise up and when we lie down. We ought to instruct our relations, our neighbours, our friends and our acquaintances, exhort one another daily while it is called day for the night of death will soon come in which no man can work. Fifthly, and if we are formed ourselves, we shall find an earnest desire to form others to praise Him as the psalmist did who called upon the earth and sea, and all around him, to praise the Lord, and so should we. But I see we have not much time to spare and therefore I shall make some improvements upon what has been already said.
First, and is it so as we have heard, that God forms a people for Himself? We must give the glory to none other but God. Secondly, and is it so that you are all formed by God, then certainly you find a likeness of God within you, but there are many of you, that instead of praising God, are sinning with an high hand against him, and instead of being found on your knees, are running in the ways of sin and wickedness. And let me ask you, is this the Way, do you think, to praise the Lord, and to serve Him? You have gone contrary to the will of God. Is this book, the Bible your stay from day to day? If it is not so, you are not serving the Lord: But on the other hand, are there not some here, that can say humbly, they they have been formed for the praise of God, that do serve Him from day to day. Without a doubt many of you have been praying for the poor American Heathens, that the Lord would turn their hearts, and I am firmly persuaded that the Lord has now begun His work amonst them, and many cry out after the Gospel; and I believe that numbers will be sent out to preach the Gospel among their poor benighted bretheren; and I doubt not but God will fulfil His promise to His Son, as He said, that He would give Him the heathen for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession.
To conclude, would you not all be glad to be formed of God: Then serve Him and live to Him day by day.
Nathaniel Whitaker’s sermon from August 17, 1766 appears next in the booklet but will not be transcribed right now.
The next sermon is Occom’s and the introduction reads, “An extract of a sermon, preached August 17, 1766, at Tucker-Street Meting by the Rev. Mr. Samson Occom, Indian.”
And it repented the Lord, that He had made man on the earth, and aggrieved Him at His heart. Genesis VI 6.
Such is the infinite mercy and goodness of God, that He puts His people into various ways for their own good, and He never gives them a blow, unless He gives them timely warning, and if you will not repent, you may expect, that the blow of the Lord will fall on you. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth; whatsoever pleased them in the ways of wickedness they practice, and then followed the words of my text, and it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart- what solemn words these are—methinks they would move the heathens, methinks they would make them shed tears, it grieved Him at His heart, and this shows us how disagreeable and odious sin is in the sight of God.
In further discoursing on these words, 1st I shall show what sin is.
You have had the Word of God open to you all your days, wherein sin is discovered; yet I shall at this time inform you, what sin is. First, it is a transgression of the Law of God, it is that which is contrary to Him, it is that which would destroy everything that belongs to God. When God sent forth His Son, how did sinners rise up against Him. They followed Him, and at last the killed Him.. It began first between two brothers, I mean Cain and Abel, and Cain rose up, and slew his brother Abel. It is what God hates, and He cannot away with it, since God is so holy, so good, and so just, and sin is so bad, so filthy, it is abominable to Him, and the spirit of God is grieved with the sin of mankind, and it grieved Him in His passage through this world, when He beheld Jerusalem, that great city, He wept over it, because they had given themselves over to all manner of wickedness. And sin grieves the people of God, witness the Psalmist, who says, that Fountains of tears flowed from His eyes and one of the prophets, I think, ‘tis Jeremiah, wished to have a place in the wilderness, there to weep out his life for the sins of his people.
2ndly, I come to show what destruction sin has made among the sons of men.
And for this we need not look far from the Bible; all the confusion that is among mankind, is occasioned by sin. It is disagreeable to God.
To conclude, He is our benefactor, He is our god, He is our Redeemed; and if we allow this, how can we in our hearts, sin against Him, and how comes it to pass that we go quite contrary to what we read in the Word of God: Have not we reason to think that the Lord is angry with us, that He is grieved at His heart” And as we have occasioned this, let us be sorry for our own sins, and repent of them: Let us live as become rational creatures as accountable beings, that must answer for every thought, word, and action, at the great Tribunal: Let us examine, for the time to come, how it stands between God and our souls, to the End that we may be received to the fruition of God’s Glory.
Occom’s 3rd sermon in this booklet is introduces with “An extract of a sermon preached August 14, 1766, At Broad-Mead Meeting, by the Rev. Mr. Samson Occom, the Indian.”
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment but the righteous into life eternal. Matthew XXV.26.
We have abundant reason to enquire how the case stands between God and our souls; and it grieves me to look around, and see so many that are carelesss in this important point, even in this place. In this very chapter, we have three parables: 1st. The Kingdom of Heaven is likened to ten virgins, five were wise and five foolish. The wise had oil in their lams, and the foolish had lamps but no oil. And what is meant by this? Certainly you understand the Scripture; however let me say, this oil is grace, and we find that these wise virgins were ready to meet the Bridegroom, but the foolish were in great confusion. We also read another parable in this chapter, that a man was about to take a journey into a far country, and he called to his servants, and delivered to them his goods; unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one. The first of these improved their talents, but he that had the one talent digged in the earth, and hid it. Such as these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal. In opening the words before us, 1st I shall show who are those that shall be approved of at that day, who are those that are called righteous. 2dly I shall represent how the righteous shall go into everlasting life, and what this everlasting life is.
1st I am to show who are those that shall be approved of at that day, who are those that are called righteous: Here we need not multiply words, for the Scripture everywhere manifests it. The first mark is holiness in their life and conversation; all their health and strength is in the Lord Jesus. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven: blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. And the Lord Jesus Christ was one of this character. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled; blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. The Lord Jesus Christ was merciful, and so are all his followers. Blessed are the peacemakers: Our Lord is called the Prince of Peace. Blessed are those that are persecuted for righteousness sake. True believers are persecuted for the love they bear to God. As soon as our Saviour was born, his life was sought after and they pursued him till they apprehended and slew him.
I have remarked of late that the people of God are always called by some name other; and there are commonly enemies to Christianity ready to hinder the people of God from devoutly serving him. But then, it is great consolation if ye are persecuted for righteousness sake, then you are blessed: and at the general assembly our Saviour will say to you, who have succoured your afflicted brethren here, Come ye blessed of my Father, enter into the joy of your Lord, for I was hungry, and you gave me meat, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison, and your came unto me. The the righteous will answer, when saw we thee these cases and done these things? Such as act contrary to this, do not belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, and must expect a different sentence.
2ndly I am to show how the righteous shall go into everlasting life, and what this everlasting life is. They are departing from all sin and wickedness, they are going from all these services that they have been doing in this world, they are departing from all the enemies of God, they are entering on the possession of an everlasting kingdom, that was prepared for them from the beginning of the world, they are tending to the enjoyment of all the blessedness they are capable of possessing. The wicked too must leave all the pleasures and delights of this world; All Sabbaths must cease to them forever, in a little time they are about to leave all their relations and friends, neighbours and acquaintance, in a short time the child must leave the parent, and the parent the child. Then must they bid adieu to Heaven and all its glory, but where are they going? To the infernal pit of hell. Here they have only heard about the devils and damned spirits, but there they shall see them and hear them. Finally, we must all meet before the Judge, and what a meeting will that be! A meeting indeed! It will be a great assembly! The families of Heaven, of earth, and of hell, shall there meet together. There all must stand before the bar of Christ. But I shall close what has been already said with a few improvements up on the whole.
Let us see how it stands between God and our souls. Are these things true? Oh yes, they are! Then let us see, whether we belong to God or no? Whether we are His children? There is but one heaven and one hell for us all. We have need to look in the way which we are going. Alas! What should a poor heathen do if he was to come to this country to be instructed? One would tell him he was in the right, another would tell him he was in the wrong.
But to conclude, let me address myself to you that do not belong to Christ. Now is the time to repent; we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. The scene will then be changed; every sermon that you hear, will rise up as a swift witness against you. But after all, the Judge will say to those on his left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting burnings, prepared for the devil and his angels.
The next sermon reads “An extract of a sermon preached September 7, 1766, At the Pithay Meeting by the Rev. Mr. Samson Occom, Indian.”
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. John x. 27.
We find that the word of God is good; it is represented by Him many ways. There must be a number that the Lord owns as His sheep and some that do not belong to His flock.
In further discoursing on these words I shall show who are those that the Lord calls His sheep, it must certainly be those that have repented, and are converted to Him. My sheep hear my voice. It is the work of the Spirit to show man his lost and undone state. Man is overwhelmed with sin but God openeth a way of salvation through Jesus Christ. And when they come to comply with this voice, then it is delightful, it is charming. The whole Bible was a sealed book to them, till the Spirit revealed it, but now they know what it is, they understand the Scriptures so as to receive them. It is sweet to their taste. Then they see the sinfulness of their nature. They then want to be in a solitary place, there to weep out their lives with the prophet Jeremiah.
2ndly by being favored with God’s voice we may soon discover His people: Christians rejoice in each other.
3rdly How is it that the Lord Jesus Christ knows His sheep. This is not difficult. God knows all things, He knows His sheep by their peculiar marks, they have that of holiness upon them. The Lord Jesus Christ supports His sheep in their distresses and difficulties that they meet with in this world, and He will stand by them and deliver them out of all their troubles and at last He will give them a crown of life. He hears all their prayers that they offer up to Him. He remembers them so as to give them at last, according to His promise, a great and glorious reward. He will be their comforter and guide through this vale of tears, and will acknowledge them in that upper world, before all his holy angels. They have nothing to do but to keep His statutes and ordinances, and He will preserve them.
To conclude 1st Have we ever heard His voice? Are we His sheep? Have we found a way of salvation through Jesus Christ? Did we comply with it? This makes me remember a poor Indian woman that some years ago was converted. AS soon as she knew this book to be the book of God, she said, that it was as thunder and lightning unto her soul and every word that she read was against her, but a little while after she said it was all sweet. It was pleasant to her taste, and all for her good. I want to be a true Christian, one that devotes himself up to God, entirely depending on Him.
2ndly Do we hear the voice of the lord from time to time? Do we find Him speaking to us? Do we find sweet communion with Him? If we do, happy are we! Then we have nothing to do but to follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. And if there are any in this assembly that have not heard His voce, He knows you. He is acquainted with all you secret thoughts, and you must give an account of them at His bar. You, who have despised His mercy, will then be placed on His left hand. And how can you stand? How can you bear to hear that sentence pronounced on you, “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. Oh! Don’t be contented with the outward forms of religion, but endeavour to be real Christians, that we all may meet together in Heaven.