Matthew Henry, the great commentator, was the son of Philip Henry, a pious and learned non-conformist minister, and was born in 1662. He continued under his father's care till he was eighteen years of age; in which time he became well skilled in the learned languages, especially in the Hebrew, which his father had rendered familiar to him from his childhood; and from first to last the study of the Scriptures was his most delightful employment.
He completed his education in Mr. Doolittle's academy at Islington, and was afterwards entered in Gray's Inn for the study of the law. But at length, resolving to devote his life to divinity, in 1686, he retired into the country, and was chosen pastor of a congregation at Chester, where he lived about twenty-five years, greatly esteemed and beloved by his people. He had several calls to London, which he constantly declined; but was at last prevailed upon to accept a unanimous invitation from a congregation at Hackney.
He died on the 22d of June, 1714, of apoplexy, while he was travelling from Chester to London; and was interred at Trinity church in Chester. He wrote—
1. Expositions of the Bible, in 5 vols, folio.
2. The Life of Mr. Philip Henry.
3. Directions for Daily Communion with God.
4. A Method for Prayer.
5. Four Discourses against Vice and Immorality.
6. The Communicant's Companion.
7. Family Hymns.
8. A Scriptural Catechism.
9. A Discourse concerning the Nature of Schism.
Mr. Henry is best known in this country by his Exposition of the Old and New Testament, of which the moderate Christian spirit and mild tone are highly appreciated by various denominations of Christians. It is one of the most popular commentaries on the Scriptures which has ever been published.
From Cyclopedia of Eminent Christians... by John Frost. New York: World Publishing House, 1875.
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