[Sermon on the theme of Galatians 3:23.]. Manasseh Cutler.
[Sermon on the theme of Galatians 3:23.]
[Sermon on the theme of Galatians 3:23.]
[Sermon on the theme of Galatians 3:23.]

[Sermon on the theme of Galatians 3:23.]

28 August 1774. 12mo (15.5 x 9.5 cm). 24 pp. of manuscript. “No.: 210” at upper left corner of first page.

A manuscript sermon on the Divine Law by this noted Massachusetts clergyman, man of science, and co-founder of the Ohio Company.

The first page bears four dates spanning over 20 years, the earliest being 20 Aug. 1774. Cutler would deliver this sermon again on 16 Nov. 1783, 12 Feb. 1792, and 26 Oct. 1806. Each of these later dates is preceded by the abbreviaton “rep,” denoting repetition. The text opens with a quotation from Galatians 3:23: “Before faith came, we were kept under ye law, shut up unto ye faith wh shd afterwards be revealed.” This is followed by an outline of the sermon, in three parts: 1) “To point out ye nature, [?] & obligas of ye divine law”; 2) “That thro’ ye inability of ye Law to save, G[od]. has been pleased to make another [?] upon wh[ich] a lone guilty sinner can be freed from condemna[tion]”; 3) “Consider how ye law holds us uniform until we are released by faith in Cx. [Christ].”

In Galatians 3, Paul explicates how God’s promise to Abraham is fulfilled in Christ and argues for the provisional nature and function of the Mosaic law in relation to the promise of God. Paul reads the Torah as narrative—culminating with Christ as the crucial chapter to which the Torah is directed. Cutler begins this sermon by referencing his sermon from the day prior and proceeds to expound on the matter of “perfect obedience” to the divine Law, which constitutes the central focus of the text:

Many have imaged yt [that] [?] ye divine Law does not require perfect obedience, or yt [that] it makes alowance for imperfection. That G[od]. does not require yt [that] perfection now w[hic]h he once did. But yt [that] is contrary to common sense to suppose a Law does not require perfect obedience… There never was, nor ever can be an Law, moral or restrictive[?], divine or human, yt [that] does not require perfect obedience… obedience must be universal, perpetual & uninterrupted.

Rev. Manasseh Cutler (1742–1823) was an American clergyman who was active in the Revolutionary War, served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Massachusetts, and was an important figure in the settling of Ohio. Beginning in 1771, he served as pastor of the Congregational Church in Ipswich, Mass. For several months in 1776 he was chaplain to the 11th Mass. Regiment, raised for the defense of Boston. Cutler would later provide his services to Gen. Jonathan Titcomb’s brigade as well as to Gen. John Sullivan’s expedition to Rhode Island.

In 1786, Cutler formed the Ohio Company of Associates with fellow Revolutionary War veterans to obtain land in the Ohio country as compensation for their war service. Serving in Congress when the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was debated, Cutler played an important role in the adoption of the measure. He went on to obtain from Congress the Ohio Co.’s right to purchase up to 1.5 million acres of land. Cutler ventured to Ohio in 1788 via sulky, witnessed the establishment of the frontier colony there, and founded Ohio University. In 1789, he returned to Massachusetts where he was active in state government for the next twenty years. President George Washington offered Cutler a position as judge in the Northwest Territory in 1795 but he declined, never returning to region. A serious student of botany, astronomy and medicine, Cutler was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as other learned societies.

REFERENCES: Johnson, Elisabeth. Commentary on Galatians 3:23-29 at workingpreacher.org; Ohio History Connection. Manasseh Cutler at ohiohistorycentral.org; Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. 5, pp. 13-14.

CONDITION: First and last leaves detached; moderate damp-stains; no losses to text.

Item #5152


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