(If the author links in this post are broken, please visit our Free PDF Library and click on the author’s page directly.)
According to Hughes Oliphant Old, who has written notably about Gilbert Tennent in Volume 5 of The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church and elsewhere,* more than 80 sermons by Tennent were published in his lifetime. The Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has a collection of 160 sermons by him, many of which exist in manuscript form. It was only in the late 20th century that thirteen additional manuscript sermons were located in the library of Princeton Theological Seminary. Miles Douglas Harper, Jr. says that “Tennent preached a total of 588 times from the more than two hundred sermons extant.”** Log College Press has some of his published sermons available at Tennent’s author page. Four more by Tennent are found in Archibald Alexander’s posthumously-published (1855) Sermons of the Log College:
The Justice of God (no date) - text: Deut. 32:4
The Divine Mercy (no date) - text: Ex. 34:6
The Grace of God (no date) - text: Ex. 34:6
The Wisdom of God in Redemption (no date) - 1 Cor. 1:23-24
But some of his manuscript sermons are also available to read or obtain elsewhere via our site. For example, at our Dissertations and Theses page, one may read Cheryl Ann Rickards, “Gilbert Tennent: An Analysis of His Evangelistic Ministry, Methods and Message During the Great Awakening” (2003), which includes discussion and analysis, as well as the full sermon transcriptions, of:
The Solemn Scene of the Last Judgment (1737) - text: 2 Thess. 1:6-9
The Necessity of Religious Violence in Order to Obtain Durable Happiness (1735) - text: Matt. 11:12
The Righteousness of Scribes and Pharisees Considered (1741) - text: Matt. 5:20
On our Secondary Sources page, a book worth highlighting in this regard is Kimberly Bracken Long, The Eucharistic Theology of the American Holy Fair (2011), which contains (as appendices) transcriptions of three of the thirteen recently-discovered manuscript sermons at Princeton:
De nuptiis cum Christo (February 1753) - texts: Rev. 3:20, Matt. 22:2
“Sermon Manuscript 4” (no title, no date) - text: Song of Solomon 4:16
“Sermon Manuscript 12” (no title, no date) - texts: Ps. 122:1-2; Ps. 27:4
Also available at the Secondary Sources page is Milton J. Coalter, Jr., Gilbert Tennent, Son of Thunder (1986), which is the only full-length biography of Gilbert Tennent, and contains a valuable bibliography of his works (one may also consult Leonard J. Trinterud, A Bibliography of American Presbyterianism During the Colonial Period (1968), available at the Secondary Sources page; the bibliography by Miles Douglas Harper, Jr. is, however, more complete than either of the above).**
Tennent’s most famous (or infamous) sermon, The Dangers of an Unconverted Ministry (1743), is still not available at our site, although it can be found elsewhere in modern form online or, for example, in the 1993 Soli Deo Gloria edition of Archibald Alexander’s Sermons of the Log College. We continue to add Tennent’s public domain works to the site as we are able. This post is a reminder to our readers that some of his manuscript sermons are available or accessible here as well.
* Hughes Oliphant Old, “Gilbert Tennent and the Preaching of Piety in Colonial America: Newly Discovered Tennent Manuscripts in Speer Library,” The Princeton Seminary Bulletin, Vol. X, No. 2 (1989), p. 134.
** Miles Douglas Harper, Jr., “Gilbert Tennent: Theologian of the ‘New Light’” (1958), pp. iii, 436-454.