Samuel Davies was Jonathan Edwards’s successor at what is now Princeton University. He is considered the founder of Southern Presbyterianism and was a key proponent of religious tolerance and social justice in early eighteenth-century America. He convinced the king of England to be tolerant to the American colonies in matters of religious observance and was also a champion of educating slaves in accordance with their equal standing in heaven. His prime legacy, however, is in the form of his sermons. Davies was regarded as one of the preeminent evangelists of his era and its finest preacher.
All three volumes of this collection of Davies’s sermons are titled Sermons on Important Subjects, and all three show the vitality that pervaded Davies’s oratory. These are indeed important writings on important subjects.
SAMUEL DAVIES (1723–1761) was a Presbyterian preacher in colonial British America who helped lead the Southern phase of the Great Awakening. Davies was a leading proponent of religious tolerance and social justice—particularly in his encouragement of the education of slaves in accordance with their equal standing in heaven. He raised funds in England for the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), which he served as its fourth president. His work during the Great Awakening centered at Hanover, Virginia, where he became the first moderator of the first presbytery of Virginia. He further enhanced his reputation by defending Dissenters in court and was considered the outstanding preacher of his day.
“Though less well-known than his eighteenth-century contemporaries like Edwards, Whitefield, and the Wesleys, Samuel Davies was an important voice for revival, holiness, missions, and religious freedom in the generation before America’s founding. Above all, Davies was a preacher of uncommon skill and his published sermons edified generations of Christians. I am glad to see this reissued collection of his sermons made available on the eve of the tercentennial of his birth.” — Joseph C. Harrod, author of Theology and Spirituality in the Works of Samuel Davies
“It is very good news that Davies is to be reprinted. Some people doubt there ever was a Great Awakening. He saw it, and to read him is to meet something of the preaching with ‘sacred fire’ that redirected the lives of so many, Black and White, heavenwards. Here is strong Calvinistic preaching anointed with fervent love.” — Iain H. Murray, author of Revival and Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750–1858
“With great pleasure I recommend the sermons of Samuel Davies. Davies is one of the best Reformed, experimental preachers I have read. His sermons are warm and edifying, and all who read them will profit. One of the benefits for preachers in reading these sermons is to learn how to preach to the unconverted. Davies’s sermons are a model of gospel preaching. If you want to be more effective in addressing and pleading with sinners, study the preaching of Samuel Davies.” — Joseph A. Pipa Jr., president emeritus and professor of systematic and applied theology, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary