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Thomas Jacomb

Thomas Jacomb (1622–1687) was born at Burton Lazars near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, England. He was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford and Cambridge. He was an esteemed Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. From 1647-1662 he was minister at St. Martins, Ludgate Hill. He was received as chaplain into the family of Elizabeth Countess Dowager of Exeter. Thomas was turned out of St. Martin’s for non-conformity in 1662, and sometime later ministered at the Church in Silver Street.


Curiosmith features:
How Christians May Learn in Every State to Be Content 
 The Leading of the Holy Spirit Opened

Elizabeth Countess Dowager of Exeter:
     —Her father, John Egerton, was 1st Earl of Bridgewater, died in 1649.
     —Her husband, David Cecil, 3rd Earl of Exeter, had died in 1643.


Extended Biography of Thomas Jacomb

THOMAS JACOMB was born near Melton Mowbray, in Leicestershire, in the year 1622. After he had been trained up in grammar learning at the country schools, he was sent to Magdalen Hall, Oxford, of which Dr. Wilkinson, the elder, was then principal. When he had taken the degree of bachelor of arts, he removed to Cambridge, and was of Emanuel College. He was for some time fellow of Trinity, and much esteemed in that flourishing society. He came to London in 1647, and was soon after minister of Ludgate parish, where his ministry was both acceptable and useful till he was turned out in 1662. He was a nonconformist upon moderate principles; much rather desiring to have been comprehended in the national church, than to have separated from it. He met with some trouble after his ejectment, but being received into the family of the Countess Dowager of Exeter, daughter of the Earl of Bridgewater, he was covered from his enemies. Her respect for the Doctor was peculiar, and the favors conferred upon him extraordinary, for which he made the best return, by his constant care to promote religion in her family.

He was a servant of Christ in the most peculiar and sacred relation, and was true to his title both in his doctrine and in his life. Effectual grace wrought so powerfully upon his soul, that he became an excellent preacher of the gospel, and had a happy art of conveying saving truths into the minds and hearts of men. He did not entertain his hearers with mere curiosities, but with spiritual food, faithfully dispensing the bread of life, whose vital sweetness and nourishing virtue is by the Holy Spirit rendered both productive and preservative of the life of souls. He preached Christ crucified, our only wisdom and righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

His great design was to convince sinners of their absolute want of Christ, that with flaming affections they might be led to him by his convincing Spirit, and from his fullness receive divine grace. This is to water the tree at the root, whereby it becomes both flourishing and fruitful; whereas only laying down moral rules for the exercise of virtue, too frequently ends in words only, without any real effect in the life and conversation. In short, his sermons were clear, solid, and affectionate. His words came from his soul, and from warm affections, and they entered into the breasts of his hearers: Of this many serious and judicious persons were witnesses, who long attended upon his ministry with profit and delight.

His constant diligence in the service of Christ was becoming his zeal for the glory of his master, and his love to the souls of men. He preached thrice a-week while he had opportunity and strength, esteeming his labor in his sacred office both his highest honor and his pleasure. At the first appearance of an ulcer in his mouth, which he was told to be cancerous, he was observed to be not more concerned thereat, than as it was likely to hinder his delightful work of preaching; and when he enjoyed ease, and after wasting sickness was restored to some degree of strength, he joyfully returned to his duty. Nay, when his pains were tolerable, preaching was his best antidote when others failed; and after his preaching, the reflection upon the divine goodness, that had given him strength for the discharge of the service, was a great relief of his pains.

His sermons, which, we have observed, were clear, solid and affectionate, were printed in a fair and lively character in his conversation. He was an example to believers, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. He was of a stayed mind, temperate passions, and moderate in counsels. In managing affairs of moment, he was not vehement and confident, not imposing and overbearing, but receptive of advice, and yielding to reason. His compassionate charity and beneficence were very conspicuous amongst his other graces. His heart was given to God, and his relieving hand was open to the living images of God, whose pressing wants he felt with tender affections, and he was greatly instrumental in supplying them. As his life adorned the gospel, so also his death was exemplary to others, and {gracious and comfortable to himself. The words of men leaving the world make usually the deepest impressions, being spoken most feelingly and truly, and with the least affectation. Death reveals the secrets of men's hearts: And the testimonies of dying saints, how gracious a Master they have served, and how sweet his service has been to their souk, have a mighty influence upon those about them.

In his last sickness, which was long and painful, his first work was, to yield himself with resigned submission to the will of God. When a dear friend of his first visited him, he said, “I am in the use of means; but I think my appointed time is come, that I must die: If my life might be serviceable to convert or build up one soul, I should be content to live; but if God hath no work for me to do, here I am, let him do with me as he pleaseth: But to be with Christ is best of all.” Another time he told the same person, “That now it was visible it was a determined case: The Lord would not hear the prayer, to bless the means used for his recovery,” therefore desired his friends to be willing to resign him to God, saying, “It will not be long before we meet in heaven, never to part more, and there we shall be perfectly happy: There neither your doubts and fears, nor my pains and sorrows, shall follow us, nor our sins, which is best of all.” After a long continuance in his languishing condition, without any sensible alteration, being asked how he did, he replied, “I lie here, but get no ground for heaven or earth: Upon which one said, ‘Yes, in your preparations for heaven.’ O yes, said he, there I sensibly get ground, I bless God." An humble submission to the divine pleasure was the habitual frame of his soul. Whether the hope of his recovery were raised or sunk, he was content in every dispensation of providence.

His patience under sharp and continuing pains was admirable. The most difficult part of a Christian's duty, the sublimest degree of holiness upon earth, is to bear tormenting pains with a meek and quiet spirit. Then faith is made perfect in works; and this was eminently verified in his long trial. His pains were very severe, proceeding from a cancerous humor that spread itself in his joints, and preyed upon the tenderest membranes, the most sensible parts, yet his patience was invincible. How many restless nights did he pass through without the least murmuring or reluctancy of spirit! He patiently suffered very grievous things through Christ that strengthened him I and in his most afflicted condition was thankful. Bui neither disease, nor even death itself, could disturb the blessed composure of his soul, which was kept by the peace of God that passes all understanding. Such was the divine mercy, he had no anxiety about his future state, but a comfortable assurance of the Lord's favor, and his title to the eternal inheritance.

He had a substantial double joy in the reflection upon his life spent in the faithful service of Christ, and the prospect of a blessed eternity ready to receive him. This made him long to be above. He said with some regret, “Death flies from me; I make no haste to my Father's house.” But the wise and gracious God, who is rich in mercy, having tried his faithful servant, at length gave him the crown of life, which he hath promised to those that love him, and live and die in the Lord. His body, that poor relict of frailty, is committed in trust to the grave. His soul sees the face of God in righteousness, and is satisfied with his likeness.

He died of a cancerous humor, in the Countess of Exeter's house, on the twenty-seventh of March 1687, in the sixty-sixth year of his age, leaving behind him an incomparable library of the most valuable books, in all parts of learning; which was afterwards sold by auction for thirteen hundred pounds. His funeral sermon was preached by Dr. Bates, and dedicated to the above pious Lady Exeter.

His Works are, A Commentary on the first four Verses of the 8th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, 4to. A Treatise of Holy Dedication, both personal and domestic, written after the fire of London, and recommended to the citizens, after their return to their rebuilt habitations, and other tracts. A Funeral Sermon for Mr. M. Martin.—Another for Mr. Vines, with an account of his life.—Another for Mr. Case, with a narrative of his life and death. The life and death of Mr. William Whitaker, son of the famous Mr. Jer. Whitaker. Two Sermons in the “Morning Exercise.” A Sermon at St. Paul's, Oct. 26, 1656. A Sermon before the Lord Mayor, etc. at the Spittal.

Source: Erasmus Middleton. An Evangelical Biography, or, an Historical Account of the Lives and deaths of the Most Eminent and Evangelical Authors and Preachers, etc. Vol. 4. London: W. Baynes, 1816.