An absolutely superb, unresearched and previously unpublished 700+pp handwritten manuscript of theological lectures and sermons by one of the most influential pastors, preachers, and theologians of the early 19th century, Nathaniel William Taylor [1786-1858].
Raised in a Stoddardite, Halfway Covenant embracing church, where his father was pastor, he was not a natural leader for the Second Great Awakening. His father did not believe in the need for a conversion experience and felt the "New Lights" were troublesome schismatics. His father, also Nathaniel, was friends with Ezra Stiles, also generally of the same mind and, at the time, President of Yale. With an interest in theology and a keen intellect, off he was shipped to Yale at the age of 14. It was then that Stiles left and the "New Light" anti-Halfway Covenant grandson of Jonathan Edwards was selected, Timothy Dwight.
Over time, Dwight would have a profound impact on Taylor, who would become Dwight's assistant at the College for four years after graduation. Taylor was converted at Dwight's home, and became a singular advocate for the revivalist school. So great was his influence, that the emerging "revivalist" Calvinism of the Great Awakening was popularly called "Taylorism." It was Calvinism, but it was Calvinism that believed in dependable means of grace, believed in a free offer for conversion, and believed people should respond confidently to God's grace.
When he at last succeeded Moses Stuart at New Haven as pastor, people were converted in droves; 72 in one Sunday alone. And this was repeated week after week. But controversy followed. He advocated for immediate response, altar calls, etc., which to many were abuses, for which they pointed at radicals like Charles G. Finney and Jedediah Burchard. But with the young leaders, the revivalists, the graduates of the newly formed Yale Divinity School [which he founded] he was astonishingly popular and influential.
Articles, sermons, and entire books were published in opposition to his "easy believism*." To our ear, his message would not sound "easy" at all. He had drunk deeply of Edwards; some even reporting he knew his works verbatim [a clear exaggeration]. He had distilled it down into something that was sounded like Edwards, but with a very optimistic view of the presence, will, and power of God to convert. It wasn't easy-believism, per say; it was just easier than that of the early Puritans, where conversion could take days, weeks, or months. To many, including Timothy Dwight, even professing one had confidently been converted was a danger sign. His message sounded different than that, to be sure.
While Taylor himself was not an evangelist, his church experienced repeated seasons of revival under his leadership, as did the students at Yale. Additionally, he was a theological bulwark for the young army of revivalists during the Second Great Awakening, giving them a robust revivalist theology, encouraging them, and theologically defending them when necessary.
Interestingly, while we remember Charles G. Finney as the evangelist of the era, historians often credit Taylor as being more influential, for his role in the sending out of droves of successful missionaries to the fore of the Westward Expansion, effective evangelists, and revival-pursuing local pastors.
A superb linkage between theological education, evolving early American Calvinism, and the Second Great Awakening.
The present volume bears the bookplate of John Mark Turner, M.A.T.S. [Master of Arts in Theological Studies] designed by William Fowler Hopson, 1894.
William Fowler Hopson [1849-1935] was "best known for his bookplates, although he also worked as a painter, engraver, etcher, and illustrator. In 1867 he was briefly apprenticed with Henry Curtis, an engraver from Hartford. He then worked with Lockwood Sanford in New Haven. After studying J.D. Felter and August Will in New York, he opened an engraving shop with Roger Sherman around 1872. In 1885 he began working in a studio/workshop in his home. His first bookplate design, an etching, was produced in 1892. Among his important commissions were a set of over two thousand engravings for a late-nineteenth-century edition of Webster's Unabridged Dictionary and engraved illustrations for an edition of a George Eliot novel. Hopson exhibited works at the Paris Exposition of 1900 and was a member of many art organizations, among them the Grolier Society of New York, the Club of Odd Volumes in Boston, the California Bookplate Society, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts. In 1901 he received an honorable mention at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo."
Joann Moser Singular Impressions: The Monotype in America (Washington, D.C. and London: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1997). See also, The Book-Plates of William Fowler Hopson by Charles Dexter Allen. Berkeley, 1910. The present example not known to Allen.
The volume as follows:
Taylor, Nathaniel W. Notes of Lectures on Revealed Theology: Vol II. Forth Fourth Edition, Carefully Corrected and Revised by C.I. New Haven. 1844. 750pp.
The Forty-Fourth Edition appears to be correlated not to an actual publication edition. For starters, this is not only not the Forty-Fourth edition, there never was a first edition of which it could be the Forty-Forth. Many of the lectures present here are not published elsewhere, or published in substantially different formats, including specific illustrations given here not in the printed form, etc., The bulk of the material from this volume that we have located is in a variant print from the present and are to be found in a work published after his death in 1858, Essays, Lectures, Etc. Upon Select Topics of Revealed Theology. [New York. Clark, Austin, and Smith. 1859].
Instead, it appears to be a reference back to the year 1800, forty-four years earlier. This would have been his first year as a student at Yale, then just 14 years old. I suspect these were rather his lecture notes for 1844 and he thought of the as his 44th attempt at thinking through the whole of theology. He was after all the long-time mentee of then President of Yale College, Timothy Dwight, who permanently injured his eyes while in college. He had made the habit of studying fourteen hours per day in order to "acquire all knowledge." Taylor was deeply marked by his long-time relationship with Dwight, and this line of thought may explain the unusual title.
This would make the "C.I." either a moniker he had given himself, perhaps "continual inquiry" or "critical inquirer," or the initials of an assistant, of which we find no trace. We believe the present to be in Taylor's own hand and his own personal MSs, though it is possible that he had an amanuensis or secretary.
The aforementioned Essays  is a volume of 480 pages [c.200,000 words], largely focused on the doctrine of the Trinity, with significant overlapping content with our volume; human sinfulness, with some but less overlap with our present volume; justification and election; again with some but less overlap; and a final section on the nature of truth.
The present manuscript volume contains 750 pages, with a few smaller sections blank, leaving perhaps 700 full pages [c.175,000 words]. Important additions or variants from the text above include a sequence of sermons [so-titled, rather than lectures] on the inspiration of Scripture, which we locate nowhere else; and lectures on the intermediate state, final judgment, the Sabbath, etc.,
Original half leather, spine and labels relaid; boards weak at hinges and rubbed. Contents very sound, clean, and legible.
*See New Haven Theology; Alias Taylorism by Daniel Dow ;