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Achurch', and appears to have enjoyed the respect of those among whom he lived'.
John Smith probably received the rudiments of his education at the Grammar School of Oundle, which had then been in existence considerably above half a century. But the paternal pursuits of agriculture do not seem to have possessed attractions for him. Whether the spark of genius had already begun to manifest itself, or the charms of literature to captivate him, or the desire for usefulness in the Church, which afterwards became so strong, to inflame him, we know not. On the 5th of April, 1636, he became a student of the University of Cambridge, being admitted as a sizar of Emmanuel College, a society which even at that period enjoyed the high character for the learning and good order of its members which it has since maintained.
There he pursued his studies with zeal and assiduity, endearing himself to those around him by his unassuming piety, and making rapid progress in the various branches of literature and science then most cultivated. Dr Whichcote, at that time Fellow of the College, and afterwards Provost of King's College, with that kindness of disposition, and ready patronage, that always distinguished him, particularly aided Smith in his studies, not only by valuable direction, but by furnishing the means which the small funds of the student could not supply. The timely assistance thus afforded was not only fully appreciated at the time, but gratefully remembered through life.
With that modesty and humility which formed prominent features in his character, he was satisfied with devoting the mighty powers he possessed, and employing to
1 Bishop Kennet, Register and Chronicle, p. 127.
Patrick (Autobiog. p. 422, Oxford edit.) mentions, speaking of John Smith, his estate which he had of twenty pounds a year,' and states that he left ' his
land to a kinsman.' This land he probably inherited from his father.
He was Church warden in the years 1601, 1016, 1621, and 1622.
the best advantage the opportunity afforded him, in storing his mind with the treasures that lay within his reach, leaving to others the eager pursuit after advancement, and the greedy thirst for reputation. He sought rather 'to deserve honour than to be honoured.'
From some unknown cause, the time of his graduating was deferred a year beyond the usual period, as he did not become Bachelor of Arts before 1640, and Master of Arts before 1644. This circumstance probably altered his position in the University, and deprived the College which had fostered his rising talents of the honour of continuing to number him among her members. .
At the same College, and contemporaneous with Smith, was William Dillingham, also a native of Northamptonshire, who had been elected a Sizar less than three weeks after Smith's admission. He took his degree of B.A. in 1639, and was elected Fellow in 1642, at a time when Smith was of insufficient standing to be eligible to a Fellowship. Dillingham subsequently became Master of the College.
By the original Statutes of the College, then in force, but since remodelled, no two natives of the same county could hold fellowships at the same time.
Thus the election of Dillingham precluded Smith from all prospect of advancement in his own College.
But his influence was not destined to be lost to the University, nor himself kept from filling an honourable position there. The Earl of Manchester, in virtue of the power entrusted to him by the Committee of Parliament, for regulating the University of Cambridge, having first removed Dr Edward Martin from his office of President of Queens' College, proceeded to eject a considerable number of the Fellows on the eighth, ninth, and eleventh days of April, 1644, for "non-residence,' ‘not returning to College on summonses,' 'refusing to take the solemn league and covenant.' On the last-mentioned
day (April 11th) he appeared in person in the chapel of Queens' College, and appointed Herbert Palmer President of the College, giving instruction that such appointment should be registered in the books of the College and of the University. On the same day nine Fellows were put in by him to fill the places of an equal number who had been ejected, such newly appointed Fellows 'having'as is stated 'been examined and approved by the assembly of divines now sitting at Westminster.' One of these was John Smith'.
In his new position, Smith not only maintained, but advanced the reputation he had previously acquired. His influence was continually exerted for the benefit of those among whom his lot was cast. As a Fellow, his sound judgment and his vast erudition aided and ennobled the society to which he belonged. As a Tutor, his constant care was not only to store the minds of his pupils with sound learning, but to lead them to the high principles that become the Christian. The great success that attended his efforts is attested by the many good scholars who are said to have traced their progress to his instruction. Nor was such instruction confined to words only: his pure and unsullied life was the best commentary on the principles he advocated, and led his pupils to regard him not only as a teacher, but as a friend and a father.
In the course of the year in which he was made Fellow of Queens' College, he was appointed Hebrew Lecturer', and Censor Philosophicus”, and in the following year; Greek Prælector". The duties thus devolved upon him, in addition to the care of the pupils especially committed to his charge, must have afforded abundant scope for the
1 Walker (Sufferings of the Clergy, II. 157) conjectures that Smith was put in to fill up the particular place rendered vacant by the ejection of Appleby. This conjecture rests upon no foundation. The same
may be asserted of other similar conjec. tures hazarded at the part referred to.
2 June 24, 1644.
Sept. 10, 1644. 4 Sept. 16, 1645.
display of his varied learning, and have furnished ample employment for one who strove to devote all his energies to the due performance of any task he had undertaken. He does not appear to have entered into Holy Orders for some few years after the time of which we are speaking, since, though the College Statutes required that, in order to the retention of his Fellowship, he should be ordained in 1646, being then a Master of Arts of two years' standing, we find a College order granting him permission to defer his ordination for four years!. According to the custom of the age, however, it was no unusual circumstance for young men to preach previously to being ordained, and probably he did not neglect such opportunity of imparting instruction.
In the year 1650 he was appointed Dean of the College and Catechist', and the Lectures delivered by him in discharge of the duties of such offices, constitute the principal portion of the Select Discourses. They were, as occasion occurred, slightly modified and enlarged by their author, as his extended reading enabled him to correct what he had previously written, or to expand the ideas he had unduly contracted; but his premature death prevented the finishing touches being added to such productions, and left to other hands the task of arranging them preparatory to their being committed to the
press. Among the number of those who shared the benefit of his precepts and example during the period between his entering Queens' College and his death, was Symon Patrick, who had been admitted as a sizar a fortnight after Smith obtained his Fellowship. Patrick himself subsequently became a Fellow of the College, continuing resident there and living on terms of friendship with Smith till the death of the latter, and attending him in his last moments. He had thus full opportunity for forming a 1 This order bears date Jan. 19, 1646 (1647).
2 Sept. 18, 1650.
correct estimate of his character and attainments. Nor was such estimate liable to be biassed by the affection so often found to exist between a pupil and a tutor, for Patrick was not placed under the especial tutelage of Smith at his admission into College, but under that of another of the Fellows, named Wells.
One result of such uninterrupted friendship was the grateful tribute paid to Smith's memory in the funeral sermon preached by Patrick on the occasion of the death of his friend, as well as in the remarks contained in Patrick's Autobiography, first printed in 1839.
In the latter of these publications, Patrick, quoting from a note made by him at the time to which it relates, thanks God, among other providences, for having brought him into intimacy with Mr Smith, laments his early death, but adds, ‘Blessed be God for the good I got by him while he lived.' These were the words of the youthful student, words the sentiment of which was fully indorsed by the aged bishop, taking a retrospect view of his life. He speaks of the singular blessing he enjoyed by the successful method employed by Smith to remove doubts he had entertained on certain religious subjects, doubts which never afterwards recurred to his mind, and states how memory in his declining years faithfully retained all the circumstances of time and place connected with such conversation.
But intense application to study, acting upon a highly sensitive organization, soon produced its fatal effects, either in developing the latent seeds of disease, or in laying the foundation of the complaint which terminated his
In the year 1651, he was attacked by illness, probably tubercular disease of the lungs, which appeared to baffle medical skill. The husky cough and the constant expectoration prostrated his strength. In the spring of 1652 he was advised to go to London to seek the aid of