1835 LYMAN BEECHER. Large Broadside Related to "New Measures" Revivalist Heresy Trial!
1835 LYMAN BEECHER. Large Broadside Related to "New Measures" Revivalist Heresy Trial!

1835 LYMAN BEECHER. Large Broadside Related to "New Measures" Revivalist Heresy Trial!

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Untraced in any location we can find, this impositing c.1835 broadsheet is a wonder of early 19th century print production. Measuring a whopping 15 x 21 inches and in a very attrative state of preservations.

Lyman Beecher [1775-1863] was a prominent Presbyterian preacher during the Great Awakening period and father to 13 children, including Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe. 

Mentored by Timothy Dwight at Yale, he emerged a fiery, earnest, and revival-minded young minister just at the cusp of the Second Great Awakening. For quite some time, he pursued the usual course of ministry for Presbyterians of the time; solidly Calvinist, experimental but conservative.

Then, something happened. He was hired by Lane Theological Seminary with the express purpose of training ministers to bring Christianity to the areas of the Westward Expansion. He experienced a shift. Earlier in his career, like most Presbyterians, he had opposed the "New Measures" of Charles G. Finney, Jedidiah Burchard, Lorenzo Dow, etc., But the call to the West seemed to shift his thinking and he began advocation for camp-meetings, altar calls, revivalist-awakening preaching. He felt they were critical to success in the unrefined boomtowns of the West. He may have been right, but many, many did not agree.

He was formally charged with heresy in 1835. While the trial was taking place, while the wolves and critics and nay-sayers were gathered around nit-picking at every word Beecher ever uttered, his wife lay dying in their home. It was a particular cruelty. He never recovered from the wound and was a leader in the "New School" split of 1837/1838. 

The fascinating part of all this is that, while he was accused by the Presbyterians of being a "Methodist," the Methodists were deeply critical of him and were warning their people that he was, for all his revivalism, camp-meetings, claims of offering the Gospel, a Calvinist after all . . . and therefore to be deeply suspected. 

This is where our broadside enters. It is clearly a Methodist production, challengin, from Beecher's own words, his claims of being on the side of the "New Measure" movement. 

Handsomely surrounded by a geometric border, the broadside is divided into four sections:

Section One: Lays out the purpose of the sheet, i.e. to demonstrate that Beecher's Methodism is not Methodism at all, despite the claims of Beecher and those he trained that they found the preaching of the doctrines of election, etc., unprofitable . . . yet, the sheet will prove that they have indeed done so, and that they are only Methodist pretenders.

Section Two: The event that led to this broadside. Apparently the sheet's author set out to see Dr. Beecher for himself. He attended multiple sermons, largely on minor points or the "bright side" of the Gospel. But then, according to the author, came a sermon on Jeremiah 10.23 which revealed the "black side of his Moloch." He then records a conversation where the author approaches the Doctor to request seeing his sermons Mss to verify what he has heard. 

Section Three: Records the basics of the sermon in which a clear presentation of the Calvinist doctrine of "inability" [either moral or volitional] is resident in humanity. The author records some bits and then absolute excoriates the message in detail, concluding, "It is to be hoped, however, that those, at least, who have subscribed to the doctrines of John Wesley, will not be so deceived by appearance, as to be induced by the bait of a FREE SALVATION, to swallow the hook of FORE ORDINATION."

Section Four: He deals with the accusations of Beecher and Co. against the broadsheet's author, their lies, libel, etc. 

A wonderful item; seemingly irreplaceable.