Jonathan Mayhew (October 8, 1720 – July 9, 1766) was a noted American minister at Old West Church, Boston, Massachusetts.
Mayhew was born at Martha's Vineyard, being fifth in descent from Thomas Mayhew (1592–1682), an early settler and the grantee (1641) of Martha's Vineyard. Thomas Mayhew, Jr. (1622–1657), his son John (d. 1689) and John's son, Experience Mayhew (1673–1758), were active missionaries among the Indians of Marthas Vineyard and the vicinity.
Mayhew graduated from Harvard College in 1744 and in 1749 received the degree of D.D. from the University of Aberdeen. So liberal were his theological views that when he was to be ordained minister of the West Church in Boston in 1747, only two ministers attended the first council called for the ordination, and it was necessary to summon a second council. Mayhew's preaching made his church practically the first Unitarian Congregational church in New England, though it was never officially Unitarian. He preached the strict unity of God, the subordinate nature of Christ, and salvation by character.
In politics, Mayhew bitterly opposed the Stamp Act, and urged the necessity of colonial union (or communion) to secure colonial liberties. He was famous, in part, for his 1750 and 1754 election sermons espousing American rights — the cause of liberty and the right and duty to resist tyranny; other famous sermons included "The Snare Broken," 1766. His sermons and writings were a powerful influence in the development of the movement for liberty and independence...
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