BENJAMIN RUSH'S COPY, WITH HIS OWNERSHIP SIGNATURE AND ANNOTATIONS
(RUSH, Benjamin) WALKER, Robert. Sermons on Practical Subjects… Volume III. Edinburgh: W. Gray, J. Dickson, and W. Creech; And by C. Dilly, London, 1784. Octavo, contemporary full sheep, raised bands, morocco spine label. Housed in a custom cloth clamshell box. $4800.
Volume III of Robert Walker's Sermons—the copy of Benjamin Rush, signed by him on the front pastedown, "Benj'n Rush's" and annotated by him.
Founding Father Benjamin Rush, a member of the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was Surgeon General of the Continental Army and went on to become "one of the most influential doctors in American history" (Hawke, Benjamin Rush, ix). Over the course of his life, Rush also fought for the abolition of slavery, sought changes in the treatment of mental illness, and was an outspoken opponent of capital punishment. In this copy, Rush has marked a passage on page 43: "The time draweth near, when you shall be placed beyond the reach of temptation, when your warfare shall be accomplished, and your struggles at an end; and who would not sustain a short, though it were sharp, conflict, that he might obtain a triumphant victory?" At the bottom of this page, Rush has penned a sentiment: "When the wicked (?) cease from troubling & when the weary are at rest."
Scottish minister Robert Walker's "reputation within the church and nation rested largely on his eloquence as an evangelical preacher. A devout Calvinist, his sermons emphasized the sinful nature of humankind, the vanity of worldly wealth and status, the absolute dependence of each individual on divine grace and the vital importance of such practical expressions of the faith as humility, gratitude, godliness, and benevolence. These values were forcefully expressed in his popular Sermons on Practical Subjects (1765), which is probably the clearest exposition of the social ethics of the popular party in the 18th-century Scottish Church" (ODNB). This is Volume III (of 3) of a later edition of Walker's Sermons, first published in 1765.
Old repairs to joints, contemporary calf worn and dried. A very good copy, with exceptional provenance.