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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Jeremiah Smith 1653-1723

Jeremiah Smith  1653-1723

Finished Matthew Henry's Commentary on Titus and Philemon

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Titus by Jeremiah Smith

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Philemon by Jeremiah Smith

Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 53
Smith, Jeremiah (d.1723)

by Charles William Sutton
SMITH, JEREMIAH (d. 1723), divine, was minister of a congregation at Andover, Hampshire, and in 1708 became co-pastor with Samuel Rosewell [q. v.] of the Silver Street Presbyterian Chapel, London. He took a prominent part in the debates at Salters' Hall in 1719 concerning the Trinity, and was one of four London ministers who wrote ‘The Doctrine of the Ever Blessed Trinity stated and defended.’ He was author of the portion relating to the ‘Epistles to Titus and Philemon’ in the continuation of Matthew Henry's ‘Exposition,’ and published, with other discourses, funeral sermons on Sir Thomas Abney (1722) and Samuel Rosewell (1723). He died on 20 Aug. 1723, aged nearly seventy. Matthew Clarke preached and published a funeral sermon.

[Wilson's Dissenting Churches in London, 1810, iii. 58; Williams's Memoir of Matthew Henry, 1827, pp. 232, 233, 308.]
 From the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Smith, Jeremiah (bap. 1653, d. 1723), Presbyterian minister, was baptized on 21 December 1653 at All Saints', Maidstone, Kent, the son of Jeremy Smith, a barber–surgeon and later a linen draper, and Sarah Jetter, both residents of the town. He is possibly the man of that name of Kent admitted in 1671 to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, but nothing definite is known of his early life. Certainly he married a wife, Eleanor, whose surname was probably Skinner and who was to survive him, together with four sons—Skinner, Jeremiah, Thomas, Richard—and a daughter, Eleanor, to whom he was able to leave a total of more than £1000.

After 1700 Smith served as a minister at Andover, Hampshire, the successor to Samuel Say. In 1708 he became co-pastor with Samuel Rosewell of the Silver Street Presbyterian Chapel, London. In 1713, at Salters' Hall, Smith preached The Right Reformer's Character and Duty before the Society for the Reformation of Manners in the cities of London and Westminster. Such societies, he thought, were worthy of ‘all manner of incouragement and assistance’, and their work was ‘very pleasing to God, and to all wise and good men’; his text was taken from the epistle of St Jude, ‘which might be inscribed “Jude's letter for Reformation of manners”’, since it was written ‘to stem the tide, or torrent rather, of error and libertinism, which even so early was breaking in upon the churches’ (Smith, 1–2). In 1719 Smith was prominent in the Salters' Hall debates over whether ministers should be required to subscribe to a specially formulated statement of orthodoxy on the Trinity. He was one of four ministers, described as ‘principal leaders on one side of this dispute’ (A Letter, 3), to reaffirm the orthodox position in The Doctrine of the Ever Blessed Trinity Stated and Defended and his contribution, ‘The harmony of the reform'd churches’, comprised over half of the main body of text. In this controversy Rosewell was on the opposing side, though it is reported that there was no bad blood between them as a result.

Smith was the author of sections on the epistles to Titus and Philemon in the continuation of Matthew Henry's Exposition (1710), and he published funeral sermons on Sir Thomas Abney (1722) and Samuel Rosewell (1723). Towards the end of his life he was assisted in the congregation by a Mr Bures. In 1723, while on a visit to friends, Smith fell ill, but seemed to have recovered enough to return home. However, on 20 August 1723:
the morning of the day fixed for his intended journey, a violent convulsion seized him at once, and in less than an half an hour, put an end to all his thoughts; without his being able to speak one word to those about him. (Clarke, 9)
Smith's funeral sermon was preached by Matthew Clarke, who wrote that he ‘studied to bring down difficult things, high in themselves, to common reach’, and that he was ‘mild and peaceable in his temper; handsome and ornamental in his carriage and behaviour, and in a word, a pattern of good works’ (Clarke, 36–7). Smith's eldest surviving son, Skinner, was minister of the congregation of Gosditch Street, Cirencester, from 1727 to 1730; after serving at Abingdon he died in 1748.

C. W. Sutton, rev. Stephen Wright


L. Horton-Smith, The Rev. Jeremiah Smith, 1653–1723: ‘the champion of the Trinity’, 1719 [1934]; rev. and enl. version of N&Q, 167 (1934), 309–12, 327–30 · A letter to the Reverend Mr Tong, Mr Robinson, Mr Smith and Mr Reynolds (1719), 3 · A. Gordon, Addresses biographical and historical (1922), 123–53; repr. of A. Gordon, The story of Salters' Hall (1902) · W. Wilson, The history and antiquities of the dissenting churches and meeting houses in London, Westminster and Southwark, 4 vols. (1808–14), vol. 3 · will, TNA: PRO, PROB 11/593, fols. 121–3 · M. Clarke, A funeral sermon occasioned by the much lamented death of the Reverend Mr Jeremiah Smith, who departed this life, August 20, 1723 (1723) · Venn, Alum. Cant. · J. Smith, The right reformer's character and duty (1713)

Wealth at death  

over £1000 left to widow and children: will, TNA: PRO, PROB 11/593, fols. 121–3


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