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by Philip H Eveson
Publisher:EP (Evangelical Press)
Published:21 September 2012
The name of Matthew Henry will always be associated with his famous commentary on the complete Bible which is still in use 3 centuries later. Few people, however, know anything about Henry himself. I confess that until I read this biography, in the Bitesize Biography series (with which I am otherwise unfamiliar), by Eveson, that was true for me too. Henry was born near Wrexham in 1662, the year of the Act of Uniformity (also known as the Great Ejection) when many dissenting (non-conformist) ministers were put out of their churches. This was the fate of Matthew's father Philip, of whom we are told quite a bit. Matthew was converted to Christ at the age of 10. "He was grateful that the principle of religion had been instilled in him from his earliest days and that he had the gift of prayer …" (pp.47,48). (His other work which is still in print is A Method for Prayer.) He ministered for 25 years in Chester and for 2 years in Hackney until his death at the age of 51 in 1714. I got the impression that life expectancy in those times must have been much lower than today, with many children dying in infancy. Matthew had more than his fair share of loss and grief, it seems. Apart from what we learn about the man, the book gives insight into a period of history when there was "sustained official persecution" of "Christians who were not prepared to submit ... to Anglican worship and organisation" (Introduction pp.13,14).
Reviewer: Brian Kerr (27/11/12)