« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
was very zealous in promoting the spiritual benefit of his neigh-, the ends I aim at in it? 5. What do I want? 6. What are bours. Mr. M. Henry spent several days with him, and my purposes and resolutions for the futuro ?"-To each of these preached in his house every evening to a considerable number questions he gives a distinct answer, in several particulars, at of people, of whom several dissolute persons appeared to be a very considerable length, which till more than four large fulio deeply impressed with what they heard. One instance was pages. The whole discovers the utmost seriousness, humility, very remarkable. The last evening, Mr. Henry preached on and conscientious regard to truth and duty. Job xxxvii. 22. With God is terrible majesty. Mr. Hidge, About this time a respectable person, whom he had consulted observing one man present whom he knew to be notoriously about his ordination, intimated to him an apprehension that he wicked, went the next morning to his house, to see what impres-might possibly obtain it from one of the bishops, without those sion this alarini discourse had made upon him; when he oaths and declarations to which the dissenters objected. This found him in tears, under a deep conviction of sin, and the probably took its rise from the moderation which the clergy apprehension of misery. He found his wife also weeping with were now disposed to show towards the nonconformists, in conhim, on account of her husband's distress. Mr. Illidge gave sequence of the king's declaration for liberty of conscience, him the best instruction he could, and prayed with him. He which they knew originated in his intention to promote popery. also made known his case at Broad-Oak, that he might have Whether there was any solid ground for the apprehension or further help from thence. There soon appeared a great chango not, it appears that the intimation of his friend induced Mr. in him. He manifested a deep and abiding concern about his Henry to investigate the question with the utmost care and eternal state, and that of his wife, whom he taught to read. He impartiality, " Whether it be advisable for one that hath devoted set up prayer in his family, went often to the meeting at Broad himself to the service of God in the work of the ministry, but Oak, and at length was admitted to the Lord's supper. He is by no means satisfied with the terms of conformity, to choose sometimes spoke of the joy he felt at the remembrance of what ordination by episcopal hands (if it may be had without any God had done for him, and he maintained a hopeful profession oaths and subscriptions) rather than ordination by presbyters." of religion for some years. His wife also gavo proof of her Having fairly siated, in writing, (dated April 28, 1087,) the conversion, and died, to all appearance, a good Christian. But arguments which occurred to him on both sides, with carnest he afterward relapsed into sin, to the great grief of his best prayer for direction, he determined for the negative, and applied friends, and the dishonour of religion. Whether he was effec- to those ministers in London to whom he was best known, for tually recovered docs not appear.
their assistance in the solemn service. Mr. Henry's great acceptance and success, at the commence On the 9th of May, these ministers met on the occasion, ment of his ministry, encouraged him to prosecute it with but where it was we have no account. The times were such increasing ardour. Having occasion to take a journey to Ches- as rendered a private ordination most eligible, in the opinion ter, some good people there, who had heard of his fame, desired of the ordajners, who were all of the Presbyterian denominahim to preach to them one evening in a private house; liberty tion, and who conducted the service in the manner which was for public worship not being yet granted. He readily consented, common among the Presbyterians of that day, and long after. and preached three evenings successively at different houses in We have no information respecting either a sermon or a charge the city. The specimen which these good people had now delivered, as is usualon such occasions, but among Mr. Henry's received of his talents excited in them an earnest desire to have papers was found the Latin Thesis which he delivered on the him seite with them; having about two years before, lost two question-- An justificemur Fide absque operibus Legis? Affiraged and faithful ministers; and another in the city, Mr. Har- matur.-Mr. Tong bas given an abstract of it, and has subvey, being far cuivanced in years, and preaching very privately. joined Mr. Henry's confession of faith, which perfectly agrees Being encouraged by a prevailing report that government was with the Assembly's Catechism. disposed to grant indulgence to dissenters, soine of them went For the same reason that the ordainers chose to have the about the latter end of the year to Broad-Oak, to express to him service performed in private, they declined giving a certificate their wishes for his continued services. He was then in the of the ordination in the usual form, (which seemned to be an twenty-fifth year of his age. On consulting with his father, excess of caution,) and only gave this brief testimonial: and thinking there was the voice of Providence in the affair, he “We, whose names are subscribed, are well assured that gave them some encouragement to hope for a compliance with Mr. Matthew Henry is an ordained minister of the gospel. their invitation, if liberty should be granted, provided Mr.
Sic Testor, “ W. WICKENS, Harvey consented, and they would wait till his return from
FRAN. TALLENTS, London, where he was going to reside some months. They
“May 9, 1687."
Edw. LAWRENCE, expressed their readiness to receive him upon his own terms,
Nath. VINCENT, and his own time.
JAMES OWEN, On the 24th of January, 1687, he set out for London with
Rich, STEELE." the only son of his friend Mr. Hunt. At Coventry be heard that there had been a fire at Gray's Inn, and at Holborn Of so much importance was a regular certificate of PreshyCourt, where he had a chamber; upon which he wrote to his terian ordination esteemed in those days, that Mr. Henry, father, that he expected that the effects which he had left there after he had been settled many years, and had many living were all lost; but on his arrival, he had the pleasure to find epistles to witness for him, applied to the ordainers, then living, that, by the care of a chamberfellow, most of them were saved. to give him a certificate in form; which had the signatures of The first material news he heard in London, was that the king Mr. TALLENTS and Mr. Owen, dated Dec. 17, 1702. It was had granted indulgence to the dissenters, and had empowered remarkable, that one of the above ministers who engaged in certain gentlemen to give out licenses: the price of one for a Mr. Matthew Henry's ordination, was also employed in the single person was ten pounds; but if several joined, sixteen ordination of his excellent father, Mr. Philip Henry, near thirty pounds; and eight persons might join in taking out one license. years before. This was Mr. RICHARD STEELE, the author
Not many dissenters took out these licenses; but the dispo- of that valuable Treatise on Old Age. sition of the court being sufficiently understood, many began Mr. Henry, soon after his ordination, hastened down to to meet publicly. About the end of February, Mr. Henry Chester, to enter upon his pastoral charge. He left London wrote to his father, that Mr. Faldo, a congregational minister, the latter end of May, and went first to Broad-Oak, where he had preached, both morning and afternoon, 10 many hundred stayed but a short time. Several persons of the congregation people, at Mr. Sclater's meeting in Moorfields. The people came to meet him there, and conducted him to CHESTER, of Chester now reminded him of his engagements to them, the where it is needless to say how joyfully he was received, espepropriety of which he sometimes was ready to question, but he cially on account of the liberty which was now granted to the did not hesitate to fulfil them. The reverend and learned Mr. | dissenters, though the object of the king in granting it was Woodcock came to him, and told him that he wished to engage sufficiently known. Worship had hitherto been kept up in him in a lecture which was set up chiefly for young persons ;
the house of Mr. Henthorne, which was large and commodious, but thanking him for his respect, he modestly declined the offer, but only between and after the hours of public service at the and said that his service was most wanted in the country, and established church, where most of the people attended to hear might be most suitable there,
Dr. Fogg and Dr. Hancock, whose ininistry they highly Mr. Henry now began to think seriously on the business of valued. Their numbers, however, so much increased, that it ordination, and consulted some ministers about it, particularly was found necessary to provide a larger place. With this Mr. Tallents, of Salop, who had been some time in London, Mr. Henthorne, who was zealous in the cause, soon accommoand Mr. James Owen, who was lately come up from Oswestry, dated them against the time of Mr. Henry's coming; having a both of whom had known him from his childhood, and they large out-building belonging to the Friary, which was in his gave him all possible encouragement in this design, He possession. The work of fitting it up was begun on a Monday, viewed the ministerial office in so awful a light, that he set and it was in sufficient forwardness to be opened for worship himself to consider the engagement into which a person enters the next Lord's day. But Mr. Henry did nol arrive till the in his ordination to it, with the greatest seriousness. He drew Thursday following, which was the lecture-day, when he up, on this occasion, chiefly for his own use, a discourse on 1 preached his first sermon, on 1 Cor. ii, 2. I determined not to Tim. iv. 15. Give thyself wholly to them ; in which he stated know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. the nature and several parts of the ministerial work, and what Mr. Tong, who was pres on the occasion, says, “I am a
But beit is for a man to be wholly in them, (as it is in the Greck,) and witness that they received him as an angel of God.' then proceeded thoroughly to examine his own heart, with fore he would preach, such was his respect to the aged and respect in his fitness for them. The paper is entitled, “Serions worthy Mr. HARVEY, that he made him a visit, in order to be Sou-examination before Ordination;" with this text prefixed : satisfied that his coming to Chester was with his approbation ;
The good Search me, O God, and know my heart, fc. “It is worth for without it, he assured him that he would return. while," says he, "for a man at such a time, deliberately to ask old man soon satisfied him on this head, telling him that there himself, and conscientiously to answer, the six following ques. was work enough in Chester for them both. They afterward tions : 1. What am I? 2. What have I done? 3. From lived in the most perfect harmony. Mr. Henry constantly what principles do I act in this undertaking? 4. What are attended his Tuesday lecture, and always behaved towards
him as a son to a father. He also advised all his friends to baptized on the lecture day, in the following week, by the name show him all possible respect, as a faithful minister of Christ, of Philip,* when he preached on the occasion from 2 Sam, who had many years laboured there in the gospel, and had vii. 14, 15. When this child was about a month old, he was also been a sufferer for it.
so ill that there was but little hope of his lite; and Mrs Henry Mr. Henry's situation at Chester proved highly agreeable continued in such weakness, increased by her anxiety about to him, on account of the valuable society he met with there, her infant, that she, and all her friends, expected her specdy and it was soon rendered the more so, as three of his sisters dissolution. But God mercifully interposed, and restored both were providentially brought to roside in that place, in conse- her and her child. On this occasion Mr. Henry made a new quence of their being married to respectable and pious men, will, which he did with exemplary prudence and seriousness, who belonged to his congregation, (Mr. Radford, Mr. Holton, earnestly begging divine direction in this matter, as he did in and Dr. Tilston,) to whom he conducted himself with a truly every other, respecting himself, his family, and his friends. fraternal affection. But a yet more agreeable and important His diary affords ample proof how he acknowledged God in all circumstance was his entrance into the conjugal state, with a his ways, and what an affectionate interest he took in the conlady who was possessed of every qualification to render that cerns of all with whom he was connected. state happy. This was Mrs. KATHARINE, daughter of Mr. We shall now notice his conduct in his FAMILY, which was John HARDWARE, of Moldsworth. On his first proposal, in a great measure regulated by the example of his pious some obstacles lay in the way, but they were so completely father, of whose house those who had access to it were ready removed, that the match was as agreeable to her parents as it to say, This is no other than the house of God, and the gate of was to his, so that they came to reside at Chester, and they heaven. Mr. Henry was constant in the worship of God in his all lived together. But this pleasing scene, like many earthly family, morning and evening, which nothing was suffered to ones, was of very short continuance; for within a year and a prevent. He called all the members of it together as early in half Mrs Henry was seized, in childbed, with the smallpox, the morning as circumstances would permit; and he did not and died, Feb. 14, 1689, though the child was spared. Mr. delay it to a late hour in the evening, lest drowsiness should Tong, who lived within eighteen miles, came to visit this house | prevent devotion. He was never tedious, but always full and of mourning; who, having described the manner in which the comprehensive, performing much in a little time, which seldom tender mother was affected, says of Mr. Henry, the first words exceeded half an hour. He began with a short invocation for he spoke to him, with many tears, were these : "I know no- assistance and acceptance. He then read a portion of scripthing could support me under such a loss as this, but the good ture, (in the morning from the Old Testament, and from the hope I have that she is gone to heaven, and that in a little time New in the evening,) giving a short exposition, in a plain and I shall follow her thither."
familiar manner, so as to render it both intelligible and pleasant, It was no small alleviation of his grief that the child was and added practical reflections. To engage the greater attensparcd. His good father came to visit him on the occasion, tion, he used to examine some of his family how they underwhen he baptized the child in public, and the scene was pecu- stood, and what they remembered of what they had heard. liarly solemn and affecting. Mr. Henry, on presenting his After this, some part of a psalm was constantly sung, from a child in baptism, (whom he named after her mother,) professed collection which he himselt made, entitled, “Family Hymns, his faith and renewed his covenant, in a most affecting manner, selected from different translations of the psalms; and every and then added, “ Although my house be not so with God, yet one had a book, to prevent the interruption occasioned by reahe hath made with me an everlasting covenant, &c. I offer ding the lines. After singing, he prayed with great affection up this my child to the great God, a plant out of a dry ground, and propriety, noticing every particular case in his family, and desiring it may be implanted into Christ," Every heart was not omitting the state of the nation and the church. This full, and few dry eyes were seen.
variety prevented the service from being tedious, and his Under this severe affliction, God strengthened his heart and whole family attended it with pleasure. When the whole was his hands, so that he pursued his work with his usual diligence ended, the children came to him for his blessing, which he gave and vivacity. At length a kind providence repaired his loss, with solemnity and affection. and the moiher of his deceased wife was the means of procu Beside his stated family worship, he occasionally kept family ring him another. She recommended to him the daughter of fasts, as special circumstances required; when he sometimes Robert WARBURTON, Esq. of Grange, the son of Peter called in the assistance of his friends, whose respective cases Warburton, Esq. serjeant at law, and one of the judges of the and trials were committed to God with his own. common pleas. He was a gentleman fond of retirement, who On the Lord's day he did not omit any part of his ordinary constantly had the Bible and Baxter's “Saint's Rest" on the family worship, but rising earlier on that day, after his
private table before him, and whose house was a sanctuary to the devotion he began it somewhat sooner. On returning from the silenced ministers. Mr. Henry's marriage to this lady was public morning service, after he had dined, he sung a psalm, consummated, July 8th, the same year, at Grange, when both offered a short prayer, and then retired till the time of the his father and mother were present, who were greatly pleased afternoon service. In the evening he usually repeated the with the new relation, and blessed God who had thus filled up substance of both his sermons, in his family, when many of his the breach. Mr. and Mrs. Hardware now left Chester, and neighbours came in: this he followed with singing and prayer, retired to an estate which they had in Wirral, but their affec- and concluded with singing two verses more, previous to the tion for Mr. Henry as a son continued.
benediction. Before supper, he catechised the younger chilFrom this time he kept a regular diary of all material occur- dren: after supper, he sung the 136th Psalın, and catechised rences and transactions to the end of his life; a practice which the elder children and servants; examined them as to what he had lately recommended to his friends, in a discourse on they remembered of the sermons, and concluded the day with Redeeming the time. From this diary of his the following part prayer. Having a happy constitution both of body and of mind, of his history is principally taken.-We shall now give some he went through all this service with constancy and comfort, account of his fainily by this second marriage, and the manner beside all his ministerial work in public, which be performed in which he governed it.
without any assistance, and which we now proceed to notice. In the space of twenty-two years he had nine children, eight Mr. Henry having chosen the Christian mini-iry as the grand of which were danghters. Three of them, namely, the first, business of his life, set himself to discharge the divies of it, as second, and fourth, died in their infancy. The first of these soon as he obtained a settlement, wih indefatigable industry children was born, April 12, 1691, on which occasion he made and with equal delight, being willing to spend and be spent in his will; but she died in about a year and a half. In his diary the service of Christ, and for the good of souls. His stated he makes many pious remarks on this event, and the night of public services in his own congregation, which were far from her funeral he writes thus: “I have been this day doing a ihe whole of his labours, were such as few other persons could work I never did before-burying a child. A sad day's work! have gone through. His method of proceeding in them was as But my good friend, Mr. Lawrence, preached very seasonably follows: and excellently, from Psalm xxxix. 9. I was dumb, I opened He began the public worship exactly at pine o'clock, with not my mouth, because thou didst it."
singing the 100th Psalm; then offered a short prayer, and next On the birth of the fourth of these children, he writes, June read some portion of the Old Testament in course, and expoun24, 1697, " This child has come into a world of tears;" for his ded it in the same manner as appears in his printed Exposition. pious father, who had taken a pleasure in coming to baptize his He went through the Bible twice while he was at Chester, and grandchildren, (which he did in a peculiarly interesting man on his lecture-day he expounded all the Psalms not less ihan ner,) was now dead, and he was particularly affected at the five times. After his public exposition was ended, he sung a recollection of that event, as it happened the very same day of second time, and prayed for about half an hour. After which the month the preceding year. But says he, “God has set the he preached about an hour, then prayed, and usually concluded ono over against the other, that I may sing of mercy and judg: with singing the 117th Psalm. He pursued the same plan in ment." But this child was taken away in less than a year and the afternoon, excepting that he then expounded the New a half; upon which occasion he writes, “My desire is to be Testament, and at the close sung the 1341h Psalın, or some sensible of the affliction, and yet be patient under it. It is a verses of the 136th. In singing, he always made use of David's smarting rod; God calls my sins to remembrance--the cold- Psalms, or other scripture hymns, which he preferred to such ness of my love, my abuse of spiritual comforts." But he adds, as are wholly of human composition, the latter being generally "'Tis a rod in the hand of my Father. I desire to see a father's liable to this exception: " that the fancy is too high, and the authority, who may do what he will; and a father's love, who will do what is best. We resign the soul of the child to Him who gave it.-I am in deaths often; Lord, teach me how to
* It appears that he took the name of Warburton, upon inheridie daily," &c.
ting the estate of his maternal grandfather: and there was too On May 3, 1700, God was pleased to give him a son. But great a propriety in his relinquishing the name of Henry, as he his birth was attended with such uncommon danger both to the had departed from the spirit of his pious ancestors of that name. mother and the child, that he mentions it as a miracle of mercy But his father, who often tenderly mentions him in his diary, did that their lives were spared. This child Mr. Henry himself l not live to witness the unhappy change.
matter too low, and sometimes such as a wise and good man various directions concerning each. After this, he delivered may not be able, with entiro satisfaction, to offer up as a sacri- another series, on relative duties in all their extent. These, fice to God,"* In this work of praise he took great delight, as with some others in connexion with them, brought him to the appeared from the manner in which he engaged in it.
year 1698, when he began a boly of divinity, which (with occaIn PRAYER, Mr. Henry's gifts and graces eminently appear- sional discourses) occupied liin till the year 1712. Thoso ed. He had a wonderful faculty of engaging the attention and who wish to see the whole plan, which is very extensive and raising the affections of the worshippers. Though in his second methodical, are referred to Mr. Tong's Life of the author; prayer he was always copious, yet he was not tedious. It was where may be seen a sketch of his lectures on a weekday, and always suited to the congregation, to the sermon, to the state his sacramental discourses. of the nation, and to the church of God. His petitions for the Another part of Mr. Henry's constant work was caTECHI. afflicted were very particular, pertinent, and affectionate. In sing, in which he engaged with peculiar delight, from his affecregard to public affairs, he was never guilty of profaning the tion to the young; for which he was eminently qualified, by his Worship of G-xl by introducing any thing obnoxious to govern- happy talent for adapting his instructions to the wcakesi capament, or offensive to persons of any party; nor, on the other cities. The timo which he set apart for this service was ihe hand, by giving flattering titles to any description of men. The Saturday afternoon, when many besides the catechumens were state of the reformed churches abroad was much upon his heart, used to attend, and esteemed it a profitable exercise. He usuand he was a fervent intercessor for those of them that suffered ally spent about an hour in it, and both began and ended with persecution for righteousness' sake.
prayer, in which his expressions were very plain and affectionHow great a talent he had in PREACHING, is sufficiently ate. He used the Assembly's Catechism with the elder chilknown, from the many sermons of his which are before the dren: but did not content himself with hearing them repeat the public. He was very happy in his choice of subjects, and of answers, but divided them into several short propositions, and apposite texts, especially on particular occasions and occur- put a distinct question to each, explaining every part in a famirences, public or private, which he was always ready to im- liar manner, and supporting it by a suitable texi of scripture. prove. His method in his serions was just and easy; his His method of catechising may be seen in the addition to the language plain, sententious, and scriptural; his elocution natu- Assembly's Catechism which he published, which is entitled, ral, and free from any odd or affected tone; his address was “A Scripture Catechism in the method of the Assembly's ;" popular, earnest, and affectionate; both he himself and his a text of scripture being annexed to the answer to every subordi. auditory were often transported into tears. The strain of his nate question, grounded on the general answer in that system; preaching was spiritual, evangelical, and practical. He shun- by which means children had a large collection of scripture ned not to declare the whole counsel of God. He delighted in passages treasured up in their memories. preaching Christ and the doctrines of free grace; but with But we are informed that an excellent and judicious friend of equal zeal he preached up holiness in all its branches, con- Mr. Henry, “Mr. CHARLTON of Manchester, thinking even stantly affirming it to be a faithful saying, Thal they who be- the Shorter Catechism of the Assembly too long for children, lieve in God shoull be careful to maintain good works. He was and some parts of it too abstruse, and quite above their capain-leed so practical a preacher, and sometimes used such a city, desired and pressed Mr. Henry to draw up a shorter and phraseology in treating on practical subjects, that some have plainer catechism for children very young," which accordingly censured him as being too legal; but he was no more of a he did; and in the collection of his works it is prefixed to the legalist than the apostle James, whom he knew well how to former. Its title is, “A plain Catechism for Children." To reconcile with the apostle Paul.
which is added, “ Another for the instruction of those who are It was a common custom with Mr. Henry to preach a series to be admitted to the Lord's Supper." of sermons upon a particular subject, which sometimes took In this work of catechising, Mr. Henry was remarkably up several years. But he did not follow the practice of several blessed of God: for he had the desire of his soul, in seeing the old divines, who delivered a great number of discourses on the good work of grace begun in many of his young people, in whom same text: his method was, to prevent the tediousness of such he afterward had much pleasure, as they proved honourable a practice, to fix upon different iexts for all the different parts and useful members of his church ; though some, of whom he of the subject which he discussed. By thus treating upon the had entertained good hopes, turned out loose and vain, to his various branches of faith and practice in this connected view, unspeakable sorrow. as well as by his exposition of the Bible in course, his hearers The ordinance of the Lord's SUPPER Mr. Henry was used had peculiar advantage for improving in scripture knowledge, constantly to administer on the first Lord's day in every month, above those whose ministers only discourse upon short detached not merely as this was customary in most other churches, but passages : accordingly it was remarked, that Mr. Henry's peo- in conformity to the practice of the Jews, who observed the ple in general greatly excelled in judgment and spiritual under- beginnings of their months as holy, though he did not think standing.
their law about the new moons, &c. to be obligatory on ChrisMr. I'ong has given a list of the subjects which Mr. Henry tians. In the manner of administering this ordinance he was thus discussed in their connexion, which would here occupy particularly excellent and is said herein to have excelled himself. too much room. The following is a brief specimen. Suon On his lecture-days in the week before the sacrament, he had after he settled at Chester, he delivered a set of sermons on a series of subjects adapted to that institution. And he followed the guilt and misery of an unconverted state, from several his father's judginent and practice in encouraging young persons texts : in another, he treated on conversions. After these, he to come to the table of the Lord, to fulfil their baptismal covepreached a series of discourses on a well-ordered conversation, nant. Among his catechumens ho marked those whom he beginning with one on Psalm 1. 23. Each sermon contained a looked upon as intelligent and serious, with this view; when distinct direction, grounded on a separate text. A brief sketch he had a competent number of such in bis eye, he appointed of these may be acceptable and useful. 1. Fix a right principle them separately to come to him, to converso with thein about of grace in the heart, 2 Cor. i. 12. latter part. 2. Eye the gos- their spiritual state; and if he perceived good evidence of their pel of Christ as your great rule, Phil. i. 27. 3. Set the Lord real piety, he recommended it to them to give themselves up always before you, Ps. xvi. 8. 4. Keep your hearts with all to the Lord and his church. For several Lord's days he calediligence, Prov. iv. 23. 5. Abide under the fear of God, Prov. chised them publicly concerning this ordinance; and the week xxiii. 17. 6. Be not conformed to the world, Rom. xii. 2. 7. preceding the administration, he preached a sermon adapted to Live in constant dependence upon Christ, Col. iii. 17. 8. Take their circumstances, accompanied with suitable prayers for off your affections from present things, '1 John ii. 15. 9. Be them, and then they were all received into the church together. always upon your watch, Mark xii. 37. 10. Keep a conscience This Mr. P. Henry considered as the proper confirmation, or void of offence, Acts xxiv. 16. 11. Live by faith, Gal. i. 20. transition into a state of adult and complete church member12. Commune much with your own hearts, Ps. iv. 4. 13. ship; and his son, in all that was material, adopted this method, Watch the door of your lips, Ps. xxxix. 1. 14. Follow the in which he had much satisfaction, from observing the great steps of the Lord Jesus, 1 Pet. ii. 21. 15. Set before you the utility of it. example of the saints, Heb. vi. 12. 16. Be very cautious of The other positive institution, that of BAPTISM, he adminis. your company, Prov. xii. 20. 17. Make conscience how you tered with equal solemnity, and he always desired to have it in spend your time, Eph. v. 16. 18. Pray to God for holy wis- public, unless there was some peculiar reason against it. Mr. dom, James v. l. 19. Often think of death and judgment, 2 | Henry had as little of the spirit of a sectarian about him as any Pet. iii, 11. 20. Converse much with heaven, Phil. iii. 20. man, and he lived in great friendship and affection with many
He next delivered a set of sermons for the consolation of good men, who differed from him in regard to this controverted God's people, on the covenant of grace : e. g. God in the cove- subject. But he was firm in his opinion about infant baptism, and nant; & Father-a Husband-a Shepherd-a King, &c. Christ thought it a matter of no small importance, though by no means in the covenant; our Righteousness-our Life-our Peace, one of the essentials of religion; as he considered it to be capaGaur Hope : in all his offices; Redeemer, High Priest, Captajn, ble of being applied to very good purpose in a practical view, Forerunner, and Friend. The Holy Spirit in the covenant; which was his grand object in his administration of it. a Teacher-a Comforter-a Spirit of adoption-an Earnest. Mr. Tong, in this part of Mr. Henry's Life, says, “His Blesnings in the covenant ; pardon-peace-grace--access to thoughts (upon this subject) he has with great judgment digesGod-ordinances providences - creatures-death-heaven. ted, in an excellent treatise, which well deserves to be made These took him nearly a year and a half. He next treated on public, and I hope will be in a little time. The doctrinal, hissanctification, in all its branches; which sermons were follow- torical, and practical part of the ordinance are stated and disa ed by another set, on divine worship, private and public, with cussed with great perspicuity, seriousness, and spirituality."
The writer of this narrative can attest the justice of Mr. Tong's
account of the work, having had the pleasure of perusing Mr. Henry judgment and practice in this matter Jeserve the the manuscript. It may seem surprising that so elaborate a serious cousjleration of those who perpetually sing Hymne of performance, by so eminent a writer, should have been suffered mere human comporion almost to the exclusion of David's to lie go long in obscurity; especiaily as it is written not merely Pealuns.
in a controversial manner, but for the most part practical, and VOL. I.--2
very much in the spirit of his " Treatise on the Lord's Supper.", tence of condemnation for the murder of their bastard children, One chief reason might probably be, its prolixity; and another, when he preached on James i. 5. Then when lust hath conhis laying on some things more stress than they will bear ceived, it bringeth forth sin : and sin, when it is finished, brin
These circumstances rendered it highly desirable that the work geth forth death. The persons who attended on this occasion should be abridged. This was accordingly undertaken, at the (as many were wont to do) were dissolved in tears, and the poor urgent desire of some judicious persons wbo were acquainted wretches themselves trembled exceedingly. He repeated his with the manuscript, by the Rev. Toomas Robins, when visits to them till the day of their execution, and they thanked tutor of the academy at Daventry, who had been the pastor of him for his compassion to their souls; as also many other prisome of the author's descendants, at Westbromwich; and he soners did, who were acquitted or pardoned. The last time he executed the work with such propriety, that the abridgment is performed this humane office, was in the year 1710, when he better adapted to answer the wortby author's end, as a useful was sent for by one who was condemned to death, and by the family book, than the original, and well deserves to be repub- desire of the other prisoners. Ho had consented to go in the lished. This treatise is particularly calculated to lead those morning, but the curato of St. Mary's, in order to prevent it, sent who approve infant baptism, both parents and children, to make word that he would go and preach himself, which he accordingly the best practical use of the ordinance.
did. However, Mr. Henry went in the evening, and preached VISIting the sick Mr. Henry considered as an important respecting the thief upon the cross. Upon which the governor part of ministerial duty, and he was diligent in the discharge of the castle was prevailed with to interpose, and prevent any of it. He never refused to attend the rich or the poor, when more preaching there, except by the proper chaplain; and thus sent for, whether they were such as he knew, or strangers, Mr. Henry was discharged from tho arduous service which he whether resident in the town, or travellers, among whom were had so long performed, without any other recompense than tho many passengers to or from Ireland; or whether they were pleasure of doing good to tho souls of these wretched creatures, persons of his own communion, or of the established church, who greatly lamented their loss-a loss which was never mado among the latter of whom many desired his attendance in their up, for no man in like manner ever cared for their souls. illness. He often inquired of his friends whether they knew of Another useful service in which Mr. Henry zealously enany who were sick; and when bills were put up, desiring the gaged in Chester, (beside many occasional discourses on fast prayers of the congregation, he requested that those who sent days, and others relative to public affairs, in which he took them would make themselves knowti, in order that he might great interest,) was his concurrence with the clergy in forming properly attend to their cases. His prayers and conversation a society for the reformation of manners, similar to that in with sick persons were pertinent, affectionate, and useful. London. This good work was promoted by the bishop and the And if they recovered, he assisted them in their expressions of dean, who had tho interest of religion much at heart. A monthly gratitude, reminded them of their sickbed thoughts and pro- lecture on a Friday was set up at St. Peter's church, which mises, faithfully exhorting them to improve their renewed lives Mr. Henry constantly attended. The good bishop preached to the best purposes.
the first sermon, which afforded him great satisfaction, Dr. Mr. Henry was considered by his people as a wise and faith- Fogg, the dean, preached next, on which Mr. Henry writes, ful counsellor ; they therefore often sent for him, to consult with " It was an excellent discourse, much to the purpose. I bless him on affairs of importance relating to themselves or their God for this sermon; and as I have from my heart forgiven, so families, on which occasions he was always ready to interest will I endeavour to forget, all that the dean has at any time himself in their concerns, and to give them his best advice, said against dissenters, and mo in particular. Such preaching which he followed with his prayers for their direction and suc- against sin, and such endeavours to suppress it, will contribute, cess,
But it was not merely on special occasions that he visi- as much as any thing, to heal differences among those that fear ted his flock; he maintained habitual intercourse with them, God." Mr. Henry, the same year, began a course of reforma. and promoted Christian conference among them. Some of the tion sermons on his lecture-day, and the dissenting ministers more considerable and intelligent of his congregation had meet- in Chester settled a reformation lecture in several parts of the ings at their own houses, to partake of a friendly entertainment, country, the first of which was at Macclesfield, when Mr. Henry and enjoy rational and useful conversation. On thoso occa- preached on the sanctification of the sabbath. Though the sions, Mr. Henry was usually of the party, and he was one of inonthly sermons were carried on for some time at St. Peter's the best companions in the world. His extensive knowledge, in Chester, the good work had many enemies, some of whom his good sense and ready wit, his cheerfulness of temper, his began openly to deride it, and form parties against it. Mr. readiness to communicate what was entertaining and useful, Henry Newcomb, of Manchester, (though a son of the eminent together with his unaffected piety and humility, rendered his nonconformist,) in a sermon which he preached at that church, conversation highly agreeable; and these interviews contributed broke out into severe invectives against the dissenters; sugges. greatly to promote knowledge, Christian friendship, and real ting, that because they did not conform to the church, they harreligion; for they were always closed with prayer, and he had dened the profane, and disabled themselves to reform them. no relish for any visits without it.
On which Mr. Henry writes, “ The Lord bu Judge between us ; But besides these friendly meetings, he had others more perhaps it will be found that ihe body of dissenters have been the stated, especially appointed for Christian conference and prayer, strongest bulwark against profaneness in England." The bishop particularly with young persons of his congregation, in which and dean much lamented such obstructions to the work of refor he always presided. The subjects of these conferences “ were mation, but met with such discouragements from the misconduct not unprofitable questions, or matters of doubtful disputation, of those who should have been most active in promoting the debut points of faith and cases of conscience; and care was taken sign, that at length it was resolved to adjourn this lecture sine to prevent all vain jangling, and whatever might tend to putfup die. This was matter of much grief to Mr. Henry, but it did not the minds of young people, or make them despise (or envy) one discourago him from proceeding in his own lecture, or uniting another;" which, as Mr. Tong observes, “ every one who has with his brethren in adjacent parts, in prosecuting this great made the trial, has found to require much wisdom." That object, though they laboured under great discouragement, for wisdom Mr. Henry (as appears from his diary) was very desi- want of power to enforce the laws against profaneness. rous to obtain ; and as his heart was much sot upon this busi But Mr. Henry's sphere of activity and attempts for useful. ness, so he was very prudent and successful in it.
ness were yet more extensive. Though his own flock was He was also a great example of ministerial wisdom and fidelity never neglected, he had a care for all the churches within his in general. He carefully watched over his flock, and attended line, and readily lent his assistance to his brethren in all the with diligence to the respective cases of individuals in it. adjacent parts; sometimes taking a compass of thirty miles, When he heard an ill report of any, he would go to them, or preaching every day in the week, but always returning home at send for them, and inquiro impartially into the truth of the case. the end of it. The towns and villages which lay near Chester If he found the persons guilty, he would deal plainly and faith-enjoyed a large share of his labours, in several of which he had fully with them in his admonitions, and urge a speedy repen- a monthly lecture. Beside attending stated meetings of initance, in which he was in most instances happily successful; nisters twice a year, he was frequently called upon to attend and there were, comparatively, few whom he was obliged to ordinations, to preach funeral sermons for his deceased brecast out of his church. When any such case occurred, his thren and other respectablo persons at a distance: and he never diary shows how much his soul was grieved, and what a dis- refused complying with invitations to preach on any occasion, couragement it was to him in his ministerial labours. But his when he was able to do it; the great strength of his constitusorrow for such awful instances of apostacy was abundantly tion, and the vigour of his mind, rendering these uncommon over-balanced by the joy he felt on the success of the ministry exertions easy and pleasant to him. with the far greater part of his people, whom he saw growing He was used to take a yearly journey to Nantwich, New. up in wisdom and holiness, adorning the doctrine of God their castle, &c. preaching wherever he came; and another into Saviour, and strengthening the hands of their pastor.
Lancashire, to preach at Manchester, Chowbent, Warrington, One uncommon instance of his zeal, and his love to souls, &c, where he was highly valued; but he performed all within was, the pains he took in visiting the prisoners and malefactors the week, choosing to be at any labour or expense rather than in the jail of Chester castle; which, it is said,
he was first led not to be with his own people on the Lord's day, from whom he to do on the request of the jailer's wife, who was a pious wo- was not absent on that day for ten years together; and never man, and was much concerned at the remissness of those whose on the first sabbath in the month, but once, for twenty four province it was to attend these unhappy objects, to whom years, and that was when he was in London, after a long absence she showed so much tenderness in other instances, that they from it: for though he had many connexions in the metropolis, yielded to her proposal to send for Mr. Henry to instruct and he rarely visited it, as he had no apprehension that his services pray with them. This he did with constancy, and the most were there needed so much as in the country, where they had tender compassion, for the space of twenty years. And some- been eminently useful in the revival of religion all around him, times he preached to them, especially to the condemned male- both among ministers and people, but parricularly in his own factors, not without some good appearance of success. The congregation, where he had the pleasure of seeing the Resubjects on which he discoursed were admirably appropriate deemer's interest greatly to flourish, and many families rising to their condition. At one time three women were under sen-I up to call him blessed.
In the year 1700, Mr. Henry's congregation built a new not leave them, to whom he answered, that he had once and meeting-house for him, which was decent, large, and commo- again given a denial to this invitation, and that it was his pree dious. On the first opening of it, August 8, he preached an sent purpose not to leave them, though he could not tell what appropriate and excellent sermon on Joshua xxii. 22, 23, The might happen hereafter. Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, he knows, and Israel In the review of this year, he takes particular notice of his ke shull know, if it be in rebellion, or if it be in transgression invitation to Salter's Hall, as what surprised him; and he adds against the Lord, that we have built an altar. This sermon, as follows: “I begged of God to keep me from being lifted up which is entitled, “Separation without Rebellion," was not with pride by it. I sought of God the right way. Had I conpublished by the author, though fairly transcribed; most pro- sulted my own fancy, which always had a kindness for London bably by reason of his great solicitude to avoid giving offence ever since I knew it, or the worldly advantage of my family, I to any members of the established church. It was printed in had closed with it. And I was sometimes tempted to think it the year 1725, with a preface written by Dr. Watts, who be- might open me a door of greater usefulness. I had also reason stows a high encomium upon the author, but hints at to think Mr. John Evans (then at Wrexham, afterward Dr. expressions in the sermon which may not gain the entire assent Evans of London, author of the Christian Temper'] might of some of his present readers;" referring, doubtless, to what have been had here, and might have been more acceptable to relates to national establishments of religion, to which the some, and more useful than I. Dut I had not courage to break worthy author was not averse. It is rather extraordinary that through the opposition of the affections of my friends here to this discourse was not included in the folio edition of Mr. me, and mine to them, nor to venture upon a new and unknown Henry's separate publications, which was printed in the year place and work, which I feared myself unfit for. I bless God, 1726, in the preface to which it is said, " that this volume con I am well satisfied in what I did in that matter. If it ever tains them all.” In the year 1781, the writer of this narrative please God to call me from this place, I depend upon him to published " Select Sermons of Mr. Henry," in a large octavo make my way clear. Lord, lead me in a plain path!" No volume, in which this valuable discourse was inserted.
candid person, after reading this, will be disposed to question After the building of this new meeting-house, the congrega- Mr. Henry's integrity in the future part of his conduct, in tion much increased, especially by the accession of the greatest quitting Chester, especially considering other invitations from part of the people that had attended Mr. HARVEY, who in the the great city. year 1706, desisted from preaching in Chester, on account of In the year 1704, Mr. Henry took another journey to Lonthe declining state of his health, and some difficulties about his don, accompanied by Mrs. Henry, to visit two of her sisters place of worship; so that Mr. Henry's was now too strait for then in town, one of whom was dangerously ill. He takes his hearers, and required a new gallery to be built. It was notice of the pleasure he had in hearing Mr. Howe preach, on rather a singular circumstance, that Mr. Harvey's congrega- the morning of June 21. In the afternoon of the same day he Lion (according to the tradition still current at Chester) occu- preached at Salter's Hall, where Mr. Tong was then minister, pied this new gallery, and there continued by themselves. But who mentions his text, Prov. xvi. 16. After visiting many it is presumed that those of them who had been church mem- friends, and preaching many sermons, he returned home with bers, united with Mr. Henry's church in the ordinance of the great satisfaction, and thankfully recorded soine dangers which Lord's supper; for it appears that his church had considerably he had escaped in travelling, the roads being so bad, that in increased, so that he had at this time above three hundred and one place the coach was set fast; not apprehending or wishing fifty communicants : and he had much comfort in them, as for another call to the metropolis. there was great unanimity among them, for which he expressed He had hitherto enjoyed a great share of health, but this great thankfulness to God.
year he had a very dangerous illness. As he was reading the This being the case, it may appear matter of surprise and scripture on Lord's day morning, August 27, he suddenly lamentation that he should ever have quitted Chester, and ac- fainied away, but soon recovered so as to go on with his work. cepted an invitation to a congregation in the vicinity of Lon. In the evening, however, feeling himself unwell, he writes, “A don. Of this great change, the cause and the consequences of fever is coming upon me; let me be found ready whenever my it, an account shall now be given. He had received repeated Lord comes." He had a very restless night; but, having an invitations from congregations in or near London, before that appointment at Nantwich the next day, he went and preached which separated him from his friends at Chester, upon which on Psalm cx. 3. " And then," says he, “I was well.” The he put an absolute negative without hesitation. The first of day following, he went to Haslington Chapel, to preach the futhese was soon after his visit to London, in the year 1698. In neral sermon of Mr. Cope, an aged minister, who had spent consequence of his preaching at several principal meetings in some years there, and who had requested this of him. Mr. the city, for instance, Mr. Doolittle's and Mr. Howe's, he be- Egerton, the Rector, gave his consent. But this, Mr. Henry came better known than he had been before, and acquired a remarks, was likely to be the last sermon preached there by a considerable degree of fame and reputation as a preacher. It dissenter; and it was like to have proved his last; for, on his was at this time that he preached the excellent discourse, which return home, the fever came on with great violence, and conwas published, on “Christianity not a Sect, yet every where fined him for more than three weeks. spoken against."
It was soon after his recovery from this severe illness, that The following year a vacancy took place in the congregation he began his elaborate work on the Bible. A friend has comat HACKNEY, (where a great number of wealthy dissenters municated the following passage, extracted from his diary, resided,) by the death of Dr. WILLIAM BATES, a man of which Mr. Tong had overlooked, but which will appear to most distinguished piety, learning, and abilities, who had refused a readers both curious and interesting. “Nov. 12, 1704. This bishopric, and would have honoured the first episcopal see in night, after many thoughts of heart, and many prayers concernthe kingdom. The first person thought of to succeed him was ing it, I began my Notes on the Old Testament. 'Tis not Mr. Mauhew Henry; and it was unanimously agreed to send likely I should live to finish it; or, if I should, that it should be him an invitation to become their pastor, though they had no of (much) public service, for I am not par negotiis. Yet, in ground to suppose that he was at all dissatished with his pre- the strength of God, and I hope with a single eye to his glory, sent situation, and they desired Mr. Shower, an eminent mi- I set about it, that I may be endeavouring something, and nister at the Old Jewry, to give him a letter, in order to apprize spend my time to some good purpose ; and let the Lord make him of their intention. Mr. Shower accordingly wrote; but what he pleaseth of me. I go about it with fear and trembling, Mr. Henry, by the next post, sent a strong negative to the lest I exercise myself in things too high for me. The Lord help application, assigning, as a principal reason, his affection for me to set about it with great humility: Many passages in his the people at Chester, and theirs for him; and he desired that diary, written during the progress of this great work, would be he might have no further solicitation to leave them. The con- pleasing and edifying to the reader, but the proposed limits of gregation a! Hackney, however, not satisfied with this peremp- these memoirs forbid the insertion of them. tory answer, wrote to him themselves, and sent him a most In the year 1709, Mr. Henry received a letter, dated Februpressing invitation to accept their proposal. Mr. Henry, after ary 18, informing him that the congregation in which Mr. taking a few days to deliberate upon the matter, wrote them a Howe and Mr. Spademan had been joint pastors, in Silver very respectful letter, in which he gave them a decisive nega- STREET, (both of them now deceased,) had chosen him to suctive, which put an end, for the present, to the negotiation. ceed the latter, as co-pastor with Mr. Rosewell, and that some
But after this, (so lightly have dissenters been wont to view of them purposed to go down to Chester, to treat with him on the evil of being robbers of churches,) there was not a consi- this business. He also received many letters from ministers derable vacancy in any London congregation, but Mr. Henry and gentlemen, pressing his acceptance of this call, with a was thought of to fill it. Upon the death of Mr. NATHANIEL view to his more extensive usefulness. Suffice it to say, TAYLOR, minister of Salter's Hall, the people there had still remained immoveable, “his affection for his people pretheir eye upon Mr. Henry, but were discouraged from apply- vailing" (as he expressed it, in his letter to Mr. Rosewell,) ing to him, at first, by the negative which he put upon the above his judgment, interest, and inclination." invitation from Hackney. However, after being disappointed - After this, we might naturally have expected to find that Mr. in their expectations from Mr. Chorley of Norwich, and being Henry would have ended his days at Chester, and that no much divided about an application to another minister, they society would have attempted to remove him.
But the conunanimously agreed to make a vigorous effort to obtain Mr. gregation at HACKNEY being again vacant, by the death of the Henry. Accordingly, letters were written to him by Mr. Howe, worthy Mr. Billio, (who died of the smallpox, in the year Mr. (afterward Dr.) Williams, and Dr. Hamilton, urging this, 1710,) they determined upon renewing their application to Mr. among other argumente, that by coming to this place he would Henry, which they did with increased importunity; and after unite both sides, between whom there had been some contests. a long negotiation, and repeated denials, they at length preThere letters necasioned him some serious and uneasy thoughts, vailed. As the best justification of his conduct in yielding to as appears from his diary, in which he expresses himself wil their desires, and as a further illustration of his integrity and ling to be determined by the will of God, if he did but know it, whatever it might be. He afterward takes notice that a dozen of his congregation had been with him to desire that he would The Rev. Thomas Stedman, of St. Chads, Shrewsbury.