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
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.