Smith, Henry Boynton, Dd, Lld

Smith, Henry Boynton, D.D., LL.D., an eminent Presbyterian minister and educator, was born in Portland, Me., Nov. 21, 1815. He graduated at Bowdoin College in 1834, and remained as tutor in the same for some time. He prosecuted his theological studies at Bangor and at the Andover Theological Seminary. Desiring to pursue them still further, he went to Halle and Berlin, Germany. Here he developed his peculiarly Germanic conception of scholarship in the breadth of scope, and that critical accuracy, that patient and laborious research of study, which marked him so strongly even among the conspicuous American students of that day. In 1842 he became pastor of the Congregational Church at West Amesbury, Mass., which position he held for five years, enjoying happy and affectionate relations with the congregation. Two years from the above time, he filled the chair of Hebrew in the Andover Seminary in connection with his pastoral duties. In 1847 he accepted the professorship of mental and moral philosophy in Amherst College, whence, after a service of three years, he went, at the anxious solicitation of Dr. Adams and the trustees and faculty, to the Union Theological Seminary, New York city. He was called originally to the professorship of Church history, but it was subsequently exchanged for the chair of systematic theology in 1855, which he held until 1873, a period of eighteen years, when, broken down by unremitting toil, he retired from the chair, but was still retained in connection with the faculty as emeritus professor of apologetics until his death, Feb. 7, 1877. In speaking of himself he said, "My life has been given to the seininary," and it may be added that it was characterized by a lucid intensity. To strangers he seemed distant and unapproachable. He was not in any sense of the word magnetic; yet though he did not seem to draw, he never repelled. He took a deep and abiding interest in the students, and held them " with hooks of steel." He was punctual in his attendance at church, being latterly a member of Dr. Prentiss's Church of the Covenant, which he was principally instrumental in organizing in 1862, where on Sabbath and at the week day prayer meetings he was always found, taking an active part when his health would permit. His piety was of a pure, deep, and even kind. He entered into the discussions of the higher judicatories of the Church. In all matters of Church polity he was at home, and in the discussions relating to the contemplated reunion of the New and Old School branches of the Church he took an active interest. As moderator of the New-school General Assembly in 1864, his utterances on Christian union were in the highest degree impressive, and conduced greatly to bring about the happy result which four years later was so successfully accomplished. As a delegate to the General Assembly in 1867 his sound sense as well as modesty was made apparent. On the presentation of the plan of reunion there wanted but a few lines to bind it stronger, and the two lines offered by Prof. Smith and sent up to the Assembly of 1868 became one of the strongest strands of the bond of union. The words were, "It being understood that this confession is received in its proper — that is, historical — Calvinistic or Reformed sense." Dr. Jessup, writing from Beirut in 1877, thus speaks of a visit made by Prof. Smith to Syria a few years before: "As I write there rises a vision before my mind of two of the Lord's eminent saints who met on yonder heights of Lebanon, and are now walking the golden streets in the New Jerusalem. I refer to Simeon B. Calhoun and Henry B. Smith. When Profs. Smith, Park, and Hitchcock visited this land a few years ago, they came up to Abeih, on Mt. Lebanon, to meet Mr. Calhoun. Prof. Smith was my guest, and it was a rich treat to me to have a visit from my old teacher. At the time of my graduation in 1855, our class invited him to a social gathering one evening. He made a brief address, but so sententious that it seemed apostolic. He said, 'When I went to Germany, I passed through an intense struggle with rationalistic doubt and unbelief. But in the midst of it all there came before me a vision of Christ, so distinct, so sweet — of Christ as a Person, a living, divine, and human Savior — that all shadows were driven away, and I never doubted more. This vision of Christ we all must have. No man can be a true and living Christian until he has had this vision of a living Christ.' The whole sentiment and substance of his theological lectures was permeated with this glorious conception of Christ. He seemed to lift up his pupils to the same high plane on which he himself stood. It brings heaven nearer to think that such men as Calhoun and Smith are actually there, for heaven seemed to be in them while they were here." In the April number, 1877, of the Princeton Review is an editorial by Dr. Atwater on Prof. Smith, who was his colleague in the conduct of the Review for a period of nine years. This noble tribute is followed by one from Dr. Sherwood. It contains a reminiscence of Prof. Smith's labors as an editor of the Review, and the largest contributor to its columns. It contains a list of the titles of all his contributions to the several Reviews with which he was connected and the date of their appearance, making five pages of the Review. The record will prove of special interest to many who may wish to read or reread the always interesting, and often elaborate and powerful, productions of his pen. He bequeathed his large and valuable library to the Union Seminary. Dr. Smith's principal publications are as follows: The Relations of Faith and Philosophy: — Nature and Worth of the Science of Church History: — Problem of the Philosophy of History: — The Reformed Churches of Europe and America in Relation to General Church History: — The Idea of Christian Theology as a System; an Argument for Christian Colleges: — History of the Church of Christ: — Chronological Tables: — A Synchronic View of the Events, Characters, and Culture of each Period, including the History of Polity, Worship, Literature, and Doctrines, together with a Supplementary Table on the Church in America, and an Appendix containing the Series of Councils, Popes, Patriarchs, and other Bishops, and a Full Index, making matter for four large volumes of print: — A Translation of Dr. Gieseler's Textbook of Church History: — Translation of Dr. Hagenbach's Christian Doctrines: — A Discourse on Christian Union and Ecclesiastical Reunion before the General Assembly of 1864: — - State of Religion in the United States in a Report made to the Evangelical Alliance: — Numerous contributions to the American Theological Review and to the Bibliotheca Sacra. See Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Authors, s.v. (W. P.S.)

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