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letters
Matthew Henry        

January 2011

 from Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry (1662-1714) was a Christian minister in Chester and Hackney (London). He is most remembered for his legendary Commentary on the Bible, though also wrote many other works, dealing chiefly with matters of practical piety. Their appetizing titles include The Pleasantness of a Religious Life, Directions for Daily Communion with God, A Church in the House: Family Religion, The Communicants’ Companion: Instructions for Receiving the Lord’s Supper, The Work and Success of the Ministry, The Covenant of Grace, A Method for Prayer, Meekness and Quietness of Spirit, and Christ’s Favour to Little Children Displayed.


It is better to be serving God in solitude than serving sin with a multitude.

Those that would be kept from sin, and not fall into the devil’s hands, must studiously avoid the occasions of sin and not come upon the devil’s ground.

Would we be strengthened to do what is required of us and to bear what is laid upon us? It must be in quietness and in confidence; we must keep our spirits calm and sedate by a continual dependence upon God, and his power and goodness; we must retire into ourselves with a holy quietness, suppressing all turbulent and tumultuous passions, and keeping the peace in our own minds. And we must rely upon God with a holy confidence that he can do what he will and will do what is best for his people. And this will be our strength; it will inspire us with such a holy fortitude as will carry us with ease and courage through all the difficulties we may meet with.

Can we, with dry eyes and unrelenting hearts, behold so many immortal spirits, capable of endless bliss, ready to drop into endless misery? Have pity upon them; think of the happiness they lose, the ruin they fall into, and then, surely, you cannot but mourn over them.

It is indeed a strait [narrow] gate, but it is a gate, and it is open, not shut up and locked. We are not excluded, though admitted with difficulty; it is indeed a strait gate, but it leads to life, eternal life, and the life at the end will abundantly recompense the difficulty of the passage.

When those that profess religion are griping and covetous, false and unjust, loose and intemperate, this gives occasion to those who seek occasion to speak against it. O Jesus, are these thy Christians?

Make a business of your secret worship, and be not slothful in this business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Take heed lest it degenerate into a formality, and you grow customary in your accustomed services. Go about the duty solemnly. Be inward with God in it. It is not enough to say your prayers, but you must pray your prayers, must pray in praying, as Elijah did, James 5:17.

When sin is pardoned we are acquitted from it …we are eased of it as a burden … we are cleansed from it as a blot … we are cured of it as a wound … ‘tis covered as a thing forgotten … ‘tis blotted out as a cloud, as a thick cloud … the quarrel that it raised between us and God is taken up.