Matthew Henry

Last updated

Matthew Henry
Matthew Henry Portrait 1707.png
Born(1662-10-18)18 October 1662
Flintshire, Wales
Died22 June 1714(1714-06-22) (aged 51)
Cheshire, England
Education Gray's Inn
Notable work
Exposition of the Old and New Testaments
Spouse(s)Kathrine Hardware (1687–1689), Mary Warburton (1690)
Children9
Parents

Matthew Henry (18 October 1662  22 June 1714) was a nonconformist minister and author, born in Wales but spent much of his life in England. He is best known for the six-volume biblical commentary Exposition of the Old and New Testaments.

Contents

Life

Matthew Henry was the second son born to Philip and Kathrine Henry. He was born prematurely at his mother's family estate, Broad Oak, a farmhouse on the borders of Flintshire and Shropshire. [1] [2] He was baptized the next day by the local parish rector. His father, Philip Henry, a Church of England cleric, had just been ejected under the Act of Uniformity 1662. As a young child, he was frequently afflicted with fevers. [3] Unlike most of those who had been ejected, Philip Henry possessed some private means, and was able to provide his son a good education. Henry's sister was diarist Sarah Savage. [4] [5]

Early life

By the age of nine, Henry was able to write Latin and read part of the Greek new testament. [6] He was tutored in grammar by William Turner in 1668 who was temporarily staying at Broad Oak. [3] His father provided much of Henry's early education at home. Henry practiced writing by copying his father's sermons and as a child he exhibited a natural public speaking ability. In 1680, at eighteen, his father sent him to a school in Islington, London to be tutored by the nonconformist minister Thomas Doolittle. [6] Henry later transferred to Gray's Inn, in the heart of the capital, to study law. While at Gray's Inn, he also studied French and literature. [6] He soon gave up his legal studies for theology. [5] Henry was invited by his friend George Illidge, to give his first sermon to a congregation at Nantwich. Having been well received he returned to speak two more times that summer. [6]

Chester

In 1686, he was offered an invitation by a local nonconformist minister to move to Chester, England and establish a congregation. He was initially hesitant to accept, not wanting to take away members from an already established minister but upon Harvey's insistence he accepted. Henry was ordained on 9 May 1687 by a group of six nonconformist ministers. He presented a paper written in Latin as part of his ordination. He then became minister of a new Presbyterian congregation at Chester. [5] [6] The congregation grew under his leadership and in 1699 he oversaw the construction of a new building. [1] While in Chester, Henry founded the Presbyterian Chapel in Trinity Street. [7] After becoming established in Chester, he began to travel around to nearby cities speaking. He became a member of the local Chester union of ministers. Henry said of living in Chester "I cannot think of leaving Chester, until Chester leaves me." [6]

Matthew Henry Summer Home - Chester Matthew Henry Summer Home - 1858.png
Matthew Henry Summer Home - Chester

After moving to Chester, he married Kathrine Hardware on 19 July 1687, after her mother initially objected to the marriage. [3] Kathrine Hardware's parents then moved to Chester and Henry and his wife lived with them. Shortly after the birth of their first child, Kathrine died of smallpox on 14 February 1689, at age 25. [1] He named the infant Kathrine after the mother, but the child died 15 months later. [8] He continued to live with the Hardwares after the death of his wife and continued his ministerial duties. [1]

He was introduced to Mary Warburton, a relative of Mrs. Hardware. On 8 July 1690 he married Mary Warburton in Chester. His second child, Elizabeth was born on 2 April 1691, and died in infancy in July 1692. A third child, born in 1693, died three weeks after birth. [1] [9]

At age 26 in 1688, the amount of speaking engagements started to impact his health. He was frequently subject to fevers. A letter from his father instructed him "....in your earnestness [when speaking], keep the reins upon it." [10] His impassioned speaking style was well received by his listeners and contributed to his growing popularity. [11] On occasion, he could move his audience to tears. [10] He became a popular speaker and received constant invitations to speak and give lectures. He traveled almost weekly to different cities to speak.

He spent significant amounts of time studying and writing his sermons and lectures in advance. Henry preferred to use an expository speaking style. For each speaking engagement, he would employ different base texts to expand upon his general topic. His approach to teaching was "Choose for your pulpit subjects the plainest, and most needful truths; and endeavor to make them plainer." [10] When writing, he would remain close to the literal interpretation of biblical passages. These writings would later form the basis on which he developed his commentary.

Between the years of 1687–1712, Matthew Henry continued to live in Chester, England. In 1694, Esther Henry was born to Mathew Henry and his wife. Esther lived to adulthood. [9] On 24 June 1697 his daughter Ann was born. This child also died in infancy in 1698 in a local Measals outbreak. Henry was very saddened at her death. Ann was his fourth child to have died in infancy. Mathew Henry and Mary Warburton had their first son in 1700 and named him Philip and he kept his mother's name. [9] Another child, Elizabeth, was born in 1701. [9] In August 1703, he had another daughter; this one he named Sarah after his older sister. [3] [9] Two more children were born who survived to adulthood: Theodosia in 1708 and Mary in 1711. [9]

Journey to London

In 1698, Henry traveled to London to speak for the first time since moving to Chester. On the trip to London, he made speaking stops in Nantwich, Newcastle, Lichfield and other towns on the way. [12] Towards the end of this time period, he was frequently invited to speak in London where he eventually moved. He traveled to London again to speak in 1704 and this time Mary accompanied him. Up until this time, his health had been quite good despite the pace at which he worked. In August 1704 he fainted while he was speaking but quickly resumed speaking. The next two days he traveled to Nantwich and then to Haslington. Upon his return to Chester, he was bed ridden with a fever for three weeks.

Hackney

He moved again in 1712 to Mare Street, Hackney after accepting an invitation to take over the ministry of the Hackney congregation. He began work there on 18 May 1712 with a congregation of less than one hundred members. He would also travel to Wapping, Rotherhithe and other surrounding areas and give evening lectures before returning to the duties of the Hackney congregation. Henry also began giving catechetical lectures in London. [1] His Expositions of the old and New Testaments was nearing the publication stage and was a contributing motive to the move to Hackney. [13] In 1713, his health began declining after a return visit to Chester.

Death

In 1713, he began suffering from frequent attacks of nephritis. He continued to maintain his frequent speaking engagements and work on his commentary. On 21 June 1714 Henry was on a speaking tour around Chester and was returning to Hackney. While in route, he was thrown off his horse but denied injury and insisted on making it to Nantwich where he was scheduled to speak. His traveling companions noted a lack of energy. That evening he could no longer travel and stopped at the Queen's Aid House. On 22 June 1714, he died of apoplexy. [1] [5] [13]

Literary work

The Biblical commentaries written by Matthew Henry Matthew Henrys commentaries.png
The Biblical commentaries written by Matthew Henry

Henry's well-known six-volume Exposition of the Old and New Testaments (170810) or Complete Commentary provides an exhaustive verse-by-verse study of the Bible, covering the whole of the Old Testament, and the Gospels and Acts in the New Testament. Thirteen other non-conformist ministers finished the sixth volume of Romans through Revelation after Henry's death, partly based on notes taken by Henry's hearers. The entire Commentary was re-edited by George Burder and John Hughes in 1811. [5] [8]

Henry's commentaries are primarily exegetical, dealing with the scripture text as presented, with his prime intention being explanation for practical and devotional purposes. [14] Henry recommended Matthew Poole's Synopsis Criticorum for a more technical analysis. [14]

Henry's Commentary identifies the "man of sin", the focus of latter day apostasy, and the Antichrist as the papacy in his interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The commentary lists three "blasphemous titles" which it states have been attached to the "bishops of Rome." [15] [16] This anti-papist passage in the Commentary was not directly authored by Henry, but occurs in the sixth volume on Romans to Revelation, completed posthumously by his 13 friends.

Famous evangelical Protestant preachers used and heartily commended the work, such as George Whitefield and Charles Spurgeon, with Whitefield reading it through four times  the last time on his knees. [14] Spurgeon stated, "Every minister ought to read it entirely and carefully through once at least." [17] John Wesley published an abbreviated edition of the Commentary and wrote of Henry:

He is allowed by all competent judges, to have been a person of strong understanding, of various learning, of solid piety, and much experience in the ways of God. And his exposition is generally clear and intelligible, the thoughts being expressed in plain words: It is also found, agreeable to the tenor of scripture, and to the analogy of faith. It is frequently full, giving a sufficient explication of the passages which require explaining. It is in many parts deep, penetrating farther into the inspired writings than most other comments do. It does not entertain us with vain speculations, but is practical throughout: and usually spiritual too teaching us how to worship God, not in form only, but in spirit and in truth. [18]

Several abbreviated editions of the Commentary were published in the twentieth century; more recently, Martin H. Manser edited The New Matthew Henry Commentary: The Classic Work with Updated Language.

Quotation

Perhaps his best-known quotation is about the relationship between men and women, from the story of the creation of Eve, in the Book of Genesis:

The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved. [19]

Memorial

In 1860, a memorial was erected in Chester to commemorate Henry. This consists of an obelisk designed by Thomas Harrison that incorporates a bronze medallion by Matthew Noble. The obelisk originally stood in the churchyard of St Bridget's Church, and was moved in the 1960s to stand on a roundabout opposite the entrance to Chester Castle. [7]

Bibliography

See also

Related Research Articles

Andrew Kippis

Andrew Kippis was an English nonconformist clergyman and biographer.

Philip Doddridge

Philip Doddridge D.D. was an English Nonconformist (Congregationalist) minister, educator, and hymnwriter.

Matthew 10 Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 10

Matthew 10 is the tenth chapter in the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament section of the Christian Bible. Matthew 10 comes after Jesus had called some of his disciples and before the meeting with the disciples of John the Baptist. This section is also known as the Mission Discourse or the Little Commission, in contrast to the Great Commission. The Little Commission is directed specifically to the Jewish believers of the early church, while the Great Commission is to all nationalities. The Pulpit Commentary suggests that Jesus' message in this discourse "was hardly likely to have been remembered outside Jewish Christian circles".

Matthew 19

Matthew 19 is the nineteenth chapter in the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament section of the Christian Bible. The book containing this chapter is anonymous, but early Christian tradition uniformly affirmed that Matthew composed this Gospel. Jesus continues his final journey to Jerusalem, ministering through Perea.

Philip Henry

Philip Henry was an English Nonconformist clergyman and diarist. His son Matthew Henry was a notable commentator on the Bible and also a Presbyterian minister.

John Pye-Smith

The Rev Dr John Pye-Smith FRS, FGS was a Congregational theologian and tutor, associated with reconciling geological sciences with the Bible, repealing the Corn Laws and abolishing slavery. He was the author of many learned works.

Robert Govett

Robert Govett, was a British theologian and independent pastor of Surrey Chapel, Norwich, Norfolk, England.

William Greenhill (1591–1671) was an English nonconformist clergyman, independent minister, and member of the Westminster Assembly.

Euodia and Syntyche are people mentioned in the New Testament. They were female members of the church in Philippi, and according to the text of Philippians 4: 2-3, they were involved in a disagreement together. The author of the letter, Paul the Apostle, whose writings generally reveal his misgivings that internal disunity will seriously undermine the church, beseeched the two women to "agree in the Lord". Euodia was the old name of a plant genus that has been changed to Tetradium.

Samuel Clarke or Clark (1626–1701) was an English Nonconformist clergyman known as an assiduous annotator of the Bible.

Psalm 134

Psalm 134 is the 134th psalm from the Book of Psalms, generally known in English by its first verse in the King James Version, "Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD". The Book of Psalms is part of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. It is Psalm 133 in the slightly different numbering system of the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate versions of the Bible. Its Latin title is "Ecce nunc benedicite Dominum". It is the last of the fifteen Songs of Ascents, and one of the three Songs of Ascents consisting of only three verses.

Wesleyan Methodist Church, Nantwich former Wesleyan Methodist church on Hospital Street, Nantwich, Cheshire, England

The Wesleyan Methodist Church, also known as the Wesleyan Chapel, is a former Wesleyan Methodist church on Hospital Street, Nantwich, Cheshire, England. Built in 1808, a new façade was added in 1876. The church then seated over a thousand, and was the largest Nonconformist place of worship in the town in the 1880s. It is listed at grade II. The church closed in 2009, after the congregation moved to the former Methodist schoolrooms opposite.

John Barker (1682–1762) was an English presbyterian minister.

Thomas Dixon was an English nonconformist minister and tutor.

William Tong (minister) English presbyterian minister

William Tong (1662–1727) was an English Presbyterian minister, at the heart of the subscription debate of 1718.

Joseph Mottershead (1688–1771) was an English dissenting minister.

The Cenotaph to Matthew Henry stands on a roundabout opposite the entrance to Chester Castle, Chester, Cheshire, England. It contains a medallion by Matthew Noble, and is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.

William Urwick the younger (1826–1905) was an Anglo-Irish nonconformist minister and antiquarian chronicler.

Sarah Savage (1664-1752) was an English diarist. She started her diary at age 22 and continued a daily diary until her 80s. Her diaries are a resource providing insight into the daily spiritual life of seventeenth and eighteenth century women.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 WILLIAMS, Sir John Bickerton (1828). Memoirs of the life, character, and writings of the Rev. Matthew Henry. B. J. Holdsworth.
  2. Waugh, Barry (1 April 2019). "Matthew Henry, 1662–1714". Presbyterians of the Past. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Tong, William (1716). An account of the Life and Death of Matthew Henry, preacher of the Gospel at Hackney, ... chiefly collected out of his own papers, etc.
  4. Crawford, Patricia M.; Gowing, Laura (2000). Women's Worlds in Seventeenth-century England. Psychology Press. pp. 170–171. ISBN   978-0-415-15637-0.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Henry, Matthew". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Chapman, Charles (1859). Matthew Henry, his life and times. A. Hall, Virtue & Company.
  7. 1 2 Morris, Edward; Roberts, Emma (2012), Public Sculpture of Cheshire and Merseyside (excluding Liverpool), Public Sculpture of Britain, 15, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, pp. 66–67, ISBN   978-1-84631-492-6
  8. 1 2 "Matthew Henry Minister and Bible commentator". Christian Biography Resources. Wholesome words. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 The descendants of Philip Henry, M.A. : incumbent of Worthenbury in the county of Flint, who was ejected therefrom by the Act of Uniformity in 1662. Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. London : Simpkin, Marshall, and Co. 1844. pp. 2–3.CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. 1 2 3 WILLIAMS, Sir John Bickerton (1828). Memoirs of the life, character, and writings of the Rev. Matthew Henry. B. J. Holdsworth. pp. 118–120.
  11. Dunton, John (1818). The Life and Errors of John Dunton, Citizen of London: With the Lives and Characters of More ... University of Michigan. J. Nichols. p. 376.
  12. WILLIAMS, Sir John Bickerton (1828). Memoirs of the life, character, and writings of the Rev. Matthew Henry. B. J. Holdsworth. pp. 70–72.
  13. 1 2 Christian Biography. 5. R.T.S. 1832. pp. 50–70.
  14. 1 2 3 Herzog, Johann Jakob; Hauck, Albert; Jackson, Samuel Macauley; Sherman, Charles Colebrook; Gilmore, George William (1909). The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge: Embracing Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology and Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Biography from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. 5. Funk and Wagnalls Company. p. 229.
  15. Henry, Matthew (1853). An Exposition of the Old and New Testament. Henry G. Bohn. p. 539.
  16. Henry, Matthew. (1991). Matthew Henry's commentary. v.6 (New Modern ed.) Peabody, Mass. : Hendrickson Publishers. p. 643. ISBN   9781598564358
  17. Spurgeon, Charles Haddon (1876). Commenting & Commentaries. Passmore & Alabaster. pp.  3.
  18. Wesley, John (25 April 1765). "Preface To The Old Testament Notes". wesley.nnu.edu. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  19. "Genesis 2 Commentary - Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete)". Bible Study Tools. Retrieved 24 September 2019.