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Smith, Henry Boynton

SMITH, HENRY BOYNTON (1815-1877), American theologian, was born in Portland, Maine, on the 21st of November 1815. He graduated at Bowdoin College in 1834; studied theology at Andover, where his health failed, at Bangor, and, after a year (1836-1837) as librarian and tutor in Greek at Bowdoin, in Germany at Halle, where he became personally intimate with Tholuck and Ulrici, and in Berlin, under Neander and Hengstenberg. He returned to America in 1840, was a tutor for a few months (1840-1841) at Bowdoin, and in 1842, shut out from any better place by distrust of his German training and by his frank opposition to Unitarianism, he became pastor of the Congregational Church of West Amesbury (now Merrimac), Massachusetts. In 1847-1850 he was professor of moral philosophy and metaphysics at Amherst; and in 1850-1854 was Washburn professor of Church history, and in 1854-1874 Roosevelt professor of systematic theology, at Union Theological Seminary. His health failed in 1874 and he died in New York City on the 7th of February 1877. Of the old school of the " New England Theology," Smith was one of the foremost leaders of the new school Presbyterians. His theology is most strikingly contained in the Andover address, " Relations of Faith and Philosophy," which was delivered before the Porter Rhetorical Society in 1849. He always made it clear that the ideal philosophy was Christocentric : he said that Reformed theology must " 'Christologize ' predestination and decrees, regeneration and sanctification, the doctrine of the Church, and the whole of the Eschatology."

His son HENRY GOODWIN SMITH (b. 1860) was pastor of the Freehold (New Jersey) Presbyterian Church in 1886-1896, and from 1897 to 1903 was professor of systematic theology in Lane Theological Seminary.

From notes of his lectures, William S. Karr prepared two volumes of Dr Smith's theological writings, Introduction to Christian Theology (1883) and System of Christian Theology (1884). Dr Smith contributed articles on Calvin, Kant, Pantheism, Miracles, Reformed Churches, Schelling and Hegel to the American Cyclopaedia, and contributed to McClintock and Strong's Cyclopaedia; and was editor of the American Theological Review (1859 sqq.), both in its original form and after it became the American Presbyterian and Theological Review and, later, the Presbyterian Quarterly and Princeton Review.

See E. L. (Mrs H. B.) Smith, Henry Boynton Smith, His Life and Works (New York, 1881), and Lewis F. Stearns, Henry Boynton Smith (Boston, 1892), in the American Religious Leaders series.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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