Nathanael Emmons, an American theologian, born in East Haddam, Conn., April 20, 1745, died in Franklin, Mass., Sept. 23, 1840. He graduated at Yale college in 1767, was licensed to preach in 1769, and ordained pastor of the church in Franklin in April, 1773, continuing in the pastorate till 1827. He claimed to be a genuine Calvinist, though differing from the theological Views of Calvin in several important respects. Of some of his peculiar speculations, one is, that there is no such thing as holiness or sinfulness except in the exercise of the voluntary affections, so that there is no depravity except in voluntary disobedience; and another, that God is the efficient, producing cause of every act of the human mind, thus making the will of God the source of all sinfulness as well as holiness, while every moral act, he would claim, is at the same time perfectly free and voluntary on the part of man. Dr. Emmons was one of the founders and first president of the Massachusetts missionary society, and one of the editors of the " Massachusetts Missionary Magazine." He guided the studies of some 87 theological students.
His writings published in his lifetime were numerous, and his complete works, in 6 vols., edited with a memoir by the Rev. Jacob Ide, were published in Boston in 1842. See also "Memoir of Nathanael Emmons," by Professor Edwards A. Park, D. D. (Andover, 1861).