Harris, John, Dd
Harris, John, D.D.
an eminent Independent minister and scholar, was born at Ugborough, in Devonshire. March 8, 1802, and was admitted a student at the Hoxton Academy for the education of ministers belonging to the Independent denomination in 1821. In 1827 he settled at Epsom as a minister amongst the Independents. His first literary work, entitled The Great Teacher, was favorably received; but he became most widely known as the successful competitor for a prize of one hundred guineas, offered by Dr. Conquest for the best essay on the subject of "Covetousness." Mr. Harris's essay was entitled Mammon, and had a large sale, upwards of thirty thousand copies having been sold in a few years. He subsequently obtained two other prizes for essays-one entitled "Britannia on the Condition and Claims of Sailors;" the other on Missions, with the title The Great Commission. "On account of the reputation brought by these works, be received the degree of D.D. from Amherst College, and was also invited to fill the post of president in lady Huntingdon's Theological College at Cheshunt. Here he remained till the union of the three Independent colleges of Highbury, Homerton, and Coward in New College, when he accepted the office of principal, and conducted several of the theological courses in that institution. He filled this position with efficiency, and by his industry and amiable character contributed to the success which has attended this establishment. Whilst at Cheshunt, Dr. Harris published the first of a series of works, in which his object was to illustrate the history of man from a theological point of view. The first volume was entitled The Pre-Adanite Earth (1847). In it he displayed a great amount of learning, and especially an acquaintance with the natural sciences, which he brought to bear on his theological views. The second volume of the series was entitled Man Primeval (1849), in which the intellectual, moral, and religious character of man is discussed. A third volume, entitled Patriarchy, or the Family, appeared in 1854. Two other volumes were to have completed the series, and to have been devoted to the 'State,' or the political condition of man, and the 'Church,' or his religious relations; but the plan was cut short by the death of Dr. Harris, Dec. 21, 1856."These Writings evince careful study and a broad range of thought. Dr. Harris's practical writings have had an immense circulation both in England and America. See Fish, Pulpit Eloquence (1857); Gilfillan, Modern Masterpieces of Pulpit Oratory; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, 23, 455; British Quarterly Review, 5, 387; N. American Review, 70, 391; Allibone, Dictionary of Authors, 1, 791.