A BAPTIST PREACHER ADVOCATES SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE, 1779
A scarce sermon by Samuel Stillman entitled, A Sermon Preached Before the Honorable Council, and the Honorable House of Representatives of the State of Massachusetts-Bay, in New-England, at Boston, May 26, 1779..... (Boston: Printed by T. and J. Fleet, 1779). 38 pp. 8vo. in titled paper wraps bound in string with ink ownership notation at bottom of front wrap: "June 30 1779 Francis Hovey Freake[?] ." Samuel Stillman (1737 - 1807), a prominent Baptist clergyman, was among the delegates from Boston to the 1779 Massachusetts Senate Convention that drafted that state's first constitution. It is today the oldest extant state constitution still in force. In this sermon, Stillman advocates the inclusion of a bill of rights as well as the separation of church and state. He writes, in part: "...From hence arises, in my view, the indispensable necessity of a Bill of Rights, drawn up in the most explicit language, previously to the ratification of a constitution of government; which should contain its fundamental principles, and which no person in the state, however dignified, should dare to violate but at his peril... That some of the natural rights of mankind are unalienable, and subject of no control but that of the Deity. Such are the Sacred Rights of Conscience. Which in a state of nature, and of civil society are exactly the same. They can neither be parted with nor control[l]ed, by any human authority whatever..." These measures were included in the state constitution which opens with a declaration of rights. The Massachusetts Constitution drafted by John Adams, became the basic model for the United States Constitution of 1787. A scarce edition. Evans, 16537; Sabin 91803. Marginal wear including chips and tears with minor loss, binding loose, some minor dampstains to cover, else very good condition.