John Arrowsmith, D. D.—This learned divine was born at Gateshead, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, March 29, l(i()2, educated in St. John's college, Cambridge, and afterwards chosen fellow of Kutharine-hall, in the same uersity. He was elected one of the uersity preachers, wa» beneficed at Lynn in Norfolk, afterwards preacher at St. Martin's, lionmonger's-lane, London, and chosen one of the assembly of divines.* He constantly attended during the session; he united with several of his brethren in drawing up the assembly's catechism ; and was one of the divines approved by the parliament to be consulted in ecclesiastical matters. April 11, 1644, lie was elected master of St. John's college, when Dr. Beale was ejected, in the following manner:— "The Right Honourable Edward Earl of Manchester, in pursuance of an ordinance of parliament, for regulating and reforming the uersity of Cambridge, came in person into the chapel of St. John's college, and, by the authority to him committed, did, in the presence of all the fellows then resident, declare and publish Mr. John Arrowsmith to be constituted master of the said college in room of Dr. Beale, late master there, but now justly and lawfully ejected: requiring hiin the said John Arrowsmith, then present, to take upon him the said place, and did put him into the said master's seat or stall, within the said chapel: and did likewise straitly charge all, and every of the fellows, &c. to acknowledge him to be actually master of the college, and sufficiently authorized to execute the said office."
Upon his admission, he was required to make and subscribe a solemn declaration, of which the following is a copy :t
"I, John Arrowsmith, being called and constituted by the Right Honourable Edward Earl of Manchester, (who is authorized thereto by an ordinance of parliament,) to be master of St. John's college, in the uersity of Cambridge, with the approbation of the assembly of divines now sitting at Westminster, do solemnly and seriously promise, in the presence of Almighty God, the searcher of all hearts, that, during the time of my continuance in that charge, I shall faithfully labour to promote piety and iearning in myself, the fellows, scholars, aud students, that do or shall belong to the said college, agreeably to the late solemn national league and covenant by me. sworn aud subscribed, with respect to all the good and wholesome statutes of the said college, and of the uersity, correspondent to the said covenant; and by all
• Baker's MS. Collec. vol. i. p. 3tfi. f Ibid. vol. xii. p. 169,170.
means to procure the welfare and perfect reformation botk of that college and uersity, so far as to me appertains.
During the above year he was one of the committee of learned divines, which united with a committee of the lords and commons, to treat with the commissioners of the church of Scotland, concerning an agreement in matters of religion.* He took his doctor's degree in the year 1647, and was chosen vice-chancellor of the uersity the same year. In the year 1651 he was elected regius professor of divinity, upon the death of Dr. Collins, who had filled the chair many years; and was at the same time presented to the rectory of Somersham.+ In 1653, upon the death of Dr. Hill, he was chosen master of Trinity college, Cambridge, when he was succeeded at St. John's by Dr. Tuckney; and, in 1655, he resigned hit professorship, in which office he was succeeded by the same person.* He was appointed one of the tryers, and one of the preachers before the parliament. He was a man of unexceptionable character, and of great learning and piety; an acute disputant, a judicious divine, and an excellent author, as , appears from the learned productions of his pen, which gained him great reputation. He died in February, 1659, aged fifty-seven years, and his remains were interred in Trinity college chapel, the 24th of the same month.*
Mr. Neal having observed that the learning and piety of our divine were unexceptionable, Dr. Grey adds, "And had our learned historian added, that he was an eminent preacher, and famed for his flowers of rhetoric, I could have helped him to passages in support of such an assertion." He then enumerates the passages as follows:—" You have endeavoured," says he, " to fence this vineyard with a settled militia, to gather out the malignants as stones, to plant it with men of piety and truth, as choice vines, to build the towers of a powerful ministry in the midst of it, and to make a winepress for the squeezing of malignants.—The main work of the spirit of grace is to negociate the treaty of a match betwixt the Lord Jesus and the coy souls of men.—It is a spiritual affection that hath the Holy Ghost for its father, faith for its mother, prayer for its midwife, the word for its nurse, sincerity for its keeper, and trembling for its handmaid.—After some overtures of a match in the reign of king Henry VIII., the reformed church in this kingdom was solemnly married to Jesus Christ, when the sceptre was swayed by Edward VI. That godly young prince (as became the bridegroom's friend) rejoicing greatly, because of the bridegroom's voice. The famous nine and thirty articles of her confession then framed, were an evident sign of her being with child, and that a thorough reformation was then conceived, though but conceived. Many and sore were the breeding fits she conflicted with in Queen Mary's days, and such as gave occasion to fear ■he would have miscarried."*
* Papers of Accom. p. IS. + Baker's MS. CoHec. vol. i. p. 265.
X Kennet's Chronicle, p. 601, 935.
<) Wood's Aihen.T, tol. ii. p. 371.—Calamy'i Account, vol. ii. p. 7«J 594.—Baker's MS. Collec. Tol. i. p. '265,
In another place, says Dr. Grey, "I shall take the liberty of adding a character of the assembly of divines, from a right reverend bishop of those times;" and then cites his lordship's words as follows:—" You may judge of them," says the bishop, " by their compeers, Goodwin, Burroughs, Arrowsmith, and the rest of their ignorant, factious, and schismatical ministers, that, together with those intruding mechanics, (who without any calling from God or man, do step from their botchers board, or horses' stable, into the preacher's pulpit,) are the bellows which blow up this fire, that threatened the destruction of this land."+
The reproachful insinuations of the doctor and the learned prelate are sufficiently refuted from the following account of Dr. AiTowsmith, given by one who appears to have been well acquainted "with him:—" He was a burning and a shining light; who, by his indefatigable study of the sublime mysteries of the gospel, spent himself to the utmost, to explicate the darkest places of scripture. This he did with a view to enlighten others in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. He was a holy and learned divine; firm and zealous in his attachment to the cause of Christ, from which no worldly allurement would shake his faith, or move his confidence. He was a man of a thousand. Those who best knew him could give testimony of his diligence, bis zeal, his integrity. Hi» public ministry discovered his great dexterity, sound judgment, admirable learning, and indefatigable labours. His soul aspired after more than his weak and sickly body was able to perform. He put forth his energy beyond his strength to do good."*
His Works.— I. The Covenant-avenging Sword Brandished, in t. Sermon before the Honourable House of Commons, at their late solemn Fast, Jan.'25, 1643—1643.—2. England's Eben-ezer; or, Slone of Help set up in thankful acknowledgment of the Lord's Laving helped us hitherto, in a Sermon preached to both Houses of Parliament at Christ's Church, Loudon, March 12, 1645—1645.—
• Grey's Examination, vol. II. p. 156. + Ibid. p. 91.
t ArroBsmila'i God-Man, Pref. Edit. 1*60.
3. A Chain of Principles; or, an Ordinary Concatenation of ideological Aphorisms and I xercitations, 1650.—4. God-Man, 1660.—
4. A Great Wonder in Heaven.—6. Tracta Sacra.