DOCTOR OF DIVINITY
Of Scottish descent, David M’Clure was a preacher and teacher whose grandfather emigrated from “the north of Ireland.” M’Clure was one of twelve children. Having “read the Bible through when (he) was very young,” his father fostered David’s love for books and sent him to “Latin Grammar School.” David said he “desired an education to qualify (him) for usefulness,” so, he left home at the age of fifteen to pursue greater learning. After an education at the Moore’s school, M’Clure went on to graduate from then Yale College where his Valedictory speech “Defended a Latin Syllogistic Thesis.” According to M’Clure’s diary “About this time, the Colonies came into a non-importation agreement on goods from Great Britain in consequence of the Stamp Act & other arbitrary acts of the British parliament. The Class agreed with 3 or 4 dissensients, to appear in home made clothes at the Commencement. We were put to some difficulty to obtain all the articles of American manufacture. Inspired with a patriotic spirit, we took pride in our plain coarse republican dress, & were applauded by the friends of Liberty.” Following this, M’Clure returned to run the Moore’s school that had so benefited him. M’Clure spent his life teaching either from the pulpit or in the classroom. In 1777, he became a trustee at Dartmouth College and later was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. He was pastor of the Church of East Windsor, Conn. for thirty-four years. In “Sprague’s Annals of the American Pulpit (vol 2),” Dr. M’Clure is described as follows:
“He was amiable and obliging in his disposition, and always ready to confer a favour when it was in his power… His preaching was characterized by neatness, perspicuity, and accuracy, rather than by great force or point. He was a good scholar; and, though he made no display of scholarship in his sermons, it was manifest to all competent judges who heard or read them, that they were the productions of a well disciplined and well furnished mind.”
Rev. Thomas Robbins, November 12, 1852
M’Clure published two books containing some of his sermons (Sermons on the Moral Law & Sermons on the Decalogue), a few of which we make available here, along with other independently published sermons, collectively, we’ve affectionately called them, The M’Clure Files.
(The “Improve Life” Sermon)
Delivered at East-Windsor, first
Society, on the first Lord’s
Day, after the
By DAVID M’CLURE, A. M.
Minister of the Church in said Society
*** The following plain discourse, on an important practical subject, is published at the request of a number of hearers.
Preparation for Death and Eternity.
Ecclesiastes ix. 10.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might: for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest.
NOTHING is more certain than that man is born to die; yet there is no one important truth, less practically believed!
Altho’ we daily see our fellow men falling around us, victims to death, and mouldering [disintegrating] to dust, it is strange that we who are living are so secure, and unalarmed, and that we do not consider ourselves equally exposed to the arrest of death, as others. “All men think all men mortal but themselves.” Constant experience verifies the solemn truth, THAT MAN’S LIFE IS LIMITED, AND HIS ABODE ON EARTH OF SHORT DURATION. Our life is indeed short compared with the eternal existence on which we must speedily enter. The few days of life, with many, are full of trouble; and all experience more or less sorrow and vexation.
There are a happy few who make the brevity of life, and a preparation for death, the interesting subjects of their daily devout meditation; and earnestly seek for grace, that they may be prepared for a speedy summons from life, and appear with acceptance before God, thro’ the mediation of the great Redeemer. One of the ancient, servants of God, reflecting on the uncertainty and sorrows of life, earnestly prays, “teach us O Lord, so to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” In the right estimation of our days, consists that wisdom by which men are made wise for eternity.
Multiplied and various are the calls which God gives to mankind, by his word and providences, to improve life… –Read More–
Sermons on The Moral Law;
Justified by Christ
By David M’Clure,
Minister of the First Church in East-Windsor.
SERMON XXIV. The law satisfied by Jesus Christ, and sinners justified by the imputation of his righteousness.
ROMANS X, 4.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
ALL those who embrace the righteousness of Jesus Christ, are convinced of sin by the law. A discovery of the nature and demands of God’s perfect law, gives the soul a conviction of sin, and the certainty and justice of his condemnation. And thus the law leads and compels the sinner to the Saviour.
CHRIST is the end of the law, as the law was fulfilled in all its requirements by him. By his active obedience, he fulfilled all that the law required of man; and by his sufferings satisfied for offences. He is the end of the law for righteousness, as he finished a righteousness perfect in all its parts, and satisfactory to the justice, purity and perfection of the law, in all respects. And this righteousness, or the blessed benefits of the righteousness of Christ, are imputed to them that believe. –Read More–
Sermons on The Moral Law
By David M’Clure,
Minister of the First Church in East-Windsor.
SERMON III. The Existence and Perfections of GOD.
EXODUS XX. 3.
Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
THIS comprehensive sentence, is the first precept or commandment of the law of nature and revelation; and teaches us that Jehovah is the one only God, whom all rational beings are supremely to love, worship and obey. The moral obligations of this law are equally binding on individual persons of all nations and generations, on account of the infinite excellency and perfection of the Deity, and because he is the alone creator and upholder of all things, and on his absolute goodness we are totally dependant for all the good and happiness which we need or hope for throughout the endless periods of our existence.
IT is observable that almost all the duties which mankind owe to God and to one another, are in the decalogue forcibly expressed by negative precepts. They forbid every species and every degree of evil of thought and behaviour. And when one virtue or duty is commanded all the virtues and duties of the same kind are included; and when one vice or sin is forbidden, all vices and sins of the same species are included in the prohibition, and the opposite virtues commanded. –Read More–
Commemorative of George Washington
Commemorative of the
DEATH of GENERAL
First President of the United States of America.
Who departed this life, December 14, 1799, aet. 68.
Delivered at East-Windsor, Connecticut, February 22, 1800.
M’Clure, David, 1748-1820.
A Funeral Discourse,
ON THE DEATH OF GENERAL WASHINGTON.
OBEDIENT to the voice of Providence, with millions of our fellow citizens, throughout these United States, we assemble this day, with sympathizing hearts. Invited also, to this duty, by the supreme authority of the nation, we come to pay a merited tribute of respect to the memory of the man, who loved our nation, and who, under GOD, built us up, as a people.
Let me invite your solemn thoughts to what the mournful occasion suggests; taking for our guide, a sentence of that pathetic and beautiful Elegy on the death of Saul and Jonathan,
ii Samuel, I, xix.
HOW ARE THE MIGHTY FALLEN!