At the time of the Founders, it was a common practice for ministers to preach
"Election Sermons," and it was very common for a clergyman to be invited to
give a sermon before the newly-elected government officials. This 1790 election
sermon by Rev. Daniel Foster was given before the Massachusetts Governor (John
Hancock), Lieutenant-Governor (Samuel Adams), and both houses of Legislature.
Rev. Foster admonished these elected officials using Proverbs 8:16 (By Me princes
rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth), and encouraged them to
govern according to God's ways. (For the full text of Foster's Election Sermon
This is the text on the cover of the Election Sermon:
S E R M O N
His Excellency JOHN HANCOCK, Esq.
His Honor SAMUEL ADAMS, Esq.
The Honourable The
COUNCIL, SENATE, and HOUSE of
C O M M O N W E A L T H
M A S S A C H U S E T T S
MAY 26, 1790.
BEING THE DAY OF
By DANIEL FOSTER, A.M.
PASTOR of the CHURCH in NEW BRAINTREE
PRINTER to the HONOURABLE, the GENERAL COURT
John Hancock (1737-93) was a soldier, public official and
Harvard graduate(1754). He served several terms as a Selectman of Boston; member
of the Provincial Legislature (1766-72); member of the Continental Congress
(1774-78) where he was the first signer
of the Declaration
of Independence (1776) and President of Congress (1774-77); He was a Senior
Major-General of the Massachusetts Militia (1778); a delegate to the State constitutional
convention (1779); and Governor of Massachusetts (1780-85, 1787-93).
Adams (1722-1803) was a leader in the opposition to the acts by British
Parliament which precipitated the American Revolution (1765-76); formed Boston’s
Committee of Correspondence (1772); was a member of the Continental Congress
(1774-81) where he signed the Declaration of Independence (1776); and helped
draft the Articles of Confederation (1777); He served as president of the Massachusetts
senate (1781); Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts (1789-94); and Governor
of Massachusetts (1794-97). He is called both the “Firebrand of the Revolution”
and “The Father of the American
Revolution” for his important leadership in the cause of American independence.