Smith, John

, a learned English divine, was born in 1618, at Achurch, near Oundle in Northamptonshire, where his father possessed a small farm. In April 1636, he was admitted of Emanuel college in Cambridge, where he had the happiness of having Dr. Whichcote, then fellow of that college, afterwards provost of King’s, for his tutor. He took a bachelor of arts’ degree in 1640, and a master’s in 1644; and, the same year, was chosen a fellow of Queen’s college, the fellowships appropriated to his county in his own college being none of them vacant. Here he became an eminent tutor, and read a mathematical lecture for some years in the public schools. He died Aug. 7, 1652, and was interred in the chapel of the same college; at which time a sermon was preached by Simon Patrick, then fellow of Queen’s, and afterwards bishop of Ely, giving a short account of his life and death. In this he is represented as a man of great abilities, vast learning, and possessing also every grace and virtue which can improve and adorn human nature. His moral and spiritual perfections could be only known to his contemporaries; but his uncommon abilities and erudition appear manifestly in those treatises of his, which were published by Dr. John Worth in gton at Cambridge, in 1660, 4to, under the title of “Select Discourses,” consisting, 1. “Of the true Way or Method of attaining to Divine Knowledge.” 2. “Of Superstition.” 3. “Of Atheism.” 4. “Of the Immortality of the Soul.” 5. Of the Existence and Nature of God.“6.” Of Prophesy.“7.” Of the Difference between the Legal and the Evangelical Righteousness, the old and new Covenant, &c. 8. “Of the Shortness and Vanity of a Pharisaical Righteousness.” 9. “Of the Excellency and Nobleness of true Religion.” 10. “Of a Christian’s conflict with, and conquests over, Satan.

These are not sermons, but treatises; and are less known than they deserve. They shew an uncommon reach of understanding and penetration, as well as an immense treasure of learning, in their author. A second edition of them, corrected, with the funeral sermon by Patrick annexed, was published at Cambridge, in 1673, 4to. The discourse “upon Prophesy,” was translated into Latin by Le Clerc, and prefixed to his “Commentary on the Prophets,” published in 173 1. 1

1 Rennet’s Historical Register. Patrick’s S&rmon preached at his funeral. Birch’s Life of Tillotson.