John Smith (1618-1652)

One of the marked features of present Christian thinking is the refreshing and new expression which it is finding in the revival of the Greek theology over against the Latin: and of this movement John Smith was a notable forerunner. Theology has descended through the Latin branch of the church and in some directions had become so Latinized, Augustinized, and Calvinized, that it was in sore need of being re-Chris-tianized. It is just this that Smith did nearly three centuries ago; correcting the Latin theology of his time with the Greek thought with which he was imbued, he re-Christianized Christian truth in living ways. His theology did not come to him by way of Augustine and Calvin. Plotinus and the neo-Platonists were being studied much at Cambridge in his day and they helped him to understand Christ and Paul. It is interesting to know that at the very time when the Westminster Assembly was casting Augustine's and Calvin's Latin theology into iron moulds, the hardness and chill of which are still felt, there was a young man at Cambridge, with the seal of the Assembly's approval upon his teaching, discussing Christ's and Paul's theology in all the sunny warmth and cheer and illumination and vitality of the Greek point of view. It is sunshine in the midst of icebergs.