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Rev. Matthew Henry: Last Days and Funeral

Matthew HenryMatthew Henry died at Nantwich, in Cheshire, June 22, 1714, in the 53d year of his age.

On the 21st of June, 1714, he left his friends at Chester (whither he had been on a visit), and set forward for his people and family at Hackney. He thought he had found very sensible relief from his journey to Knutsford and Lancashire, which encouraged him to make an appointment to preach at Nantwich that day, on his way to London. He was observed by all his friends to be very heavy and sleepy; but being asked how he did? he always replied, "Well." Mr. Sudlow, an apothecary, and very good friend of his, said, before he left Chester, they should never see him again. As he went by Dudden, he drank a glass of the mineral waters there. Before he came to Torperly, his horse stumbled in a dirty hole, and threw him. He was a little wet, but said he was not hurt, nor did he feel any inconvenience from his fall. Those who were with him, pressed him to alight at Torperly, but he would go on to Nantwich, and there he preached: but the want of his usual liveliness was taken notice of by all. His text was Jer. xxxi, 18, "I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus, Thou hast chastised me," &c. After sermon, he dined, and was advised to lose a little blood, for fear of any inconvenience from the fall, though he made no complaints. When he had been bled he fell asleep; and his friends fearing he slept too long awoke him, at which he was not pleased. His old intimate friend, Mr. Illidge, was with him, and had been desired by the Hon. Sir Thomas Delves and his lady to invite him to Doddington, and he fully intended to have waited on them; their steward was there with Mr. Illidge, to conduct him to that house, which has been famed for impartial and disinterested religion, but he was not able to proceed any further. He went to bed at Mr. Mottershed's house, and said to his friends, "Pray for me, for now I cannot pray for myself." When they were putting him to bed, he spoke of the excellency of spiritual comforts in the time of need, and blessed God that he had those comforts. He said to Mr. Illidge, "You have been used to take notice of the sayings of dying men: this is mine,—That a life spent in the service of God, and communion with him, is the most comfortable and pleasant life that any one can live in this world." He had but a restless night. About five o'clock in the morning, he was seized with what the doctors agreed to be an apoplectic fit: he lay speechless, with his eyes fixed; and about eight o'clock, on Tuesday morning, June 22, he gently expired.

His funeral sermon at Nantwich was preached by the Rev. John Reynolds, from Matt, xxv, 21, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

That at Hackney was preached by the Rev. W. Tong, from John xiii, 36, "Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me hereafter."

From The Christian's Penny Magazine, no. 67, September 14, 1833, p. 295.

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