Matthew Henry

1662-1714


Matthew Henry was born October 18, 1662 at Broad Oak, near Bangor-Iscoed, Flintshire, Wales. October 18, 1662.  He was home educated by his  father, the Rev. Philip Henry, and at the academy of Thomas Doolittle, Islington, which he attended for 2 years from 1680 to 1682. In May, 1685, he began the study of law at Gray's Inn; but he already desired to enter the ministry, and devoted much time to theological studies.


In June, 1686, he began to preach in the neighborhood of Broad Oak, and in the following January he preached privately in Chester. He was asked to settle there, and consented conditionally, but returned to Gray's Inn. After the declaration of liberty of conscience by James II in 1687, he was privately ordained in London, and on June 2, 1687, he began his regular ministry as pastor of a Presbyterian congregation at Chester. He remained in this charge for twenty-five years.

On July 19, 1687 Matthew Henry married Katherine Hardware of Bromborough, Cheshire; she died in childbirth on February 14, 1689, at age 25, leaving a daughter.  He then married Mary Warburton of Hefferstone Grange, Cheshire on July 8, 1690. With Mary he had one son, Phillip and eight daughters, three of whom died in infancy.

After having several times declined overtures from London congregations, he finally accepted a call to Hackney, London, and entered upon his ministry there May 18, 1712. He visited Chester for the last time in May, 1714. On his return journey he was seized with apoplexy, and died on June 22, 1714.

Henry's reputation rests upon his celebrated commentary,
An Exposition of the Old and New Testaments.  He lived to complete it only as far as to the end of the Acts; but after his death certain non-conformists prepared the Epistles and Revelation from Henry's manuscripts. This work was long celebrated as the best of English commentaries for devotional purposes. The author betrays a remarkable fertility of practical suggestion; and, although the work is diffuse, it contains rich stores of truths, which hold the attention by their quaint freshness and aptness, and feed the spiritual life by their Scriptural unction. Robert Hall, Whitefield, and Spurgeon used the work, and commended it heartily. Whitefield read it through four times, the last time on his knees; and Spurgeon says, "Every minister ought to read it entirely and carefully through once at least."

 

 

 

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