Rare Samuel Miller Work Added to Log College Press

It was while studying a work by a family friend, Julius Melton, Presbyterian Worship in American: Changing Patterns Since 1787, that this writer first came upon a reference to a volume by Samuel Miller. Melton drew upon Miller's volume to discuss the early conflict in a New York congregation between the use of the Psalms of David versus the hymns of Isaac Watts. Upon further investigation, it became apparent that this volume was so rare that it did not appear on two bibliographies known to this writer of Samuel Miller's works, including "the bibliography compiled by his granddaughter, Margaret Miller, published in The Princeton Theological Review, Vol. IX, No. 4, October 1911, entitled, 'A List of the Writings of Samuel Miller, D.D., LL.D., 1769-1850, Second Professor in Princeton Theological Seminary 1813-1850.'" However, it does appear in the bibliography of Miller's works compiled by Wayne Sparkman, Director of the PCA Historical Center, in the first volume of The Confessional Journal (2005).

The Miller volume in question is a Sketch of the Early History of the First Presbyterian Church, a 1937 reprint of A Brief Narrative of the Origin and Progress of the First Presbyterian Church of the City of New York written "about the year 1796." Copies of the 1937 reprint exist in several libraries, one of which is Princeton Theological Seminary Library, which gave this writer the courtesy of photographing the volume, thus allowing a digital copy to be made, which may now be the only such digital copy currently available on the internet. 

The "Brief Narrative" does not appear to exist in published form, but it exists in the manuscript collection for the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York, located at the Presbyterian Historical Society, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: "Session minutes, 1765-1808; list of baptisms, 1766-1803; and a "Brief Narrative of the Origin and Progress of the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York.'" Samuel Miller, Jr.'s biography of his father does not mention either title, but does include a suggestive footnote in Vol. 1, p. 82: "A history of the 'First Presbyterian Church of New York,' as it seems still to have been called after it was composed of the 'United Presbyterian Congregations,' may be found in Dr. Miller's Memoirs of Dr. Rodgers, Chaps. iv &c." Indeed, a comparison of multiple passages in Miller's 1813 biography of John Rodgers, his friend and colleague, with the 1796 "Brief Narrative" / 1937 "Sketch" shows many that are exactly the same, which is not surprising as Miller would naturally draw upon his earlier research for the history of the church which he and Rodgers co-pastored. 

The 1937 reprint does include additional supplemental material beyond what Miller wrote, including a list of ministers of the First Presbyterian Church, and a timeline that goes forward to the 1920's, as well as editorial notes. It is now available for those interested in early American Presbyterian Church history to download and read for themselves Miller's historical research. Take note of its several illustrations too. Please disregard the less-than-perfect quality of the photographs by this amateur historian and photographer which now make up this PDF file. Download it and read it when it you can - it is only 46 pages, but they are pages of gold.