18th and 19th Century American Presbyterian Thanksgiving Sermons

There is a long heritage of Thanksgiving sermons in America, and Presbyterian ministers in the 18th and 19th centuries found many occasions for such special sermons. Sometimes they were occasioned by notable calamities, such as epidemics or war (for example, the War Between the States led to starkly different Thanksgiving sermons on both sides of the conflict), and others were associated with the annual, distinctly-American holiday of Thanksgiving each November. Following is a sampling of the growing body of Thanksgiving sermons found at Log College Press.

Samuel Davies (1723-1761) preached a Thanksgiving sermon for national blessings received in 1759 (Serm. 71 in Vol. 4 of his Sermons). 

Samuel Miller (1769-1850)'s 1799 Thanksgiving sermon was delivered after a terrible epidemic struck New York City. 

William B. Sprague (1795-1876) preached an annual (December) Thanksgiving sermon in 1824. He would later preach another during the War Between the States in November 1861 entitled Glorifying God in the Fires.

Benjamin M. Palmer (1818-1902) preached a notable 1860 Thanksgiving sermon on the eve of war, which was to provoke a strong reaction by Charles Hodge. 

George Dodd Armstrong (1813-1899) preached a July 1861 Thanksgiving sermon giving thanks for the Confederate victory at Manassas, Virginia.

Gardiner Spring (1785-1873)'s November 1861 Thanksgiving sermon called attention to national sins which had provoked the "Great Rebellion," as well as blessings received.

Ezra H. Gillett (1823-1875)'s November 1862 Thanksgiving sermon was meant to inspire his Northern listeners in the midst of a great civil conflict. 

Thanksgiving as an American holiday has often involved controversy, but in the midst of controversy, it is especially good to take note of mercies and blessings received, and to give thanks to our God. Happy Thanksgiving to all, from Log College Press!