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An example, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
PRINTED FOR B. J. HOLDSWORTH,
IN presenting to the publick a new edition of the Life of that “wise, good, and truly wonderful man, Mr. Philip Henry,” the editor cannot forbear to state, that early and established prepossessions have powerfully concurred in its production. The published work has been long distinguished by special approbation. Sir James Stonhouse designated it his “favourite piece of biography.”f Dr. Doddridge “often spoke of it as affording him much instruction and encouragement.”f By another writer it is represented, as “one of the most instructive and interesting pieces of religious biography everwritten.”$ Mr. Chalmers pointedly notices “the piety, christian moderation, and good sense, which pervade the whole.”| And, by a late revered friend, Dr. Edward Williams, it is appropriately characterized, “a beautiful delineation of primitive christianity, and the power of godliness, where social religion and personal holiness are drawn to the life, and eminently manifested; where, in a word, the doctrine of the life of God in the soul of man, derives a striking proof, and a venerable sanction.” Judicious friends have repeatedly suggested to the writer, that existing manuscripts might be so selected, and incorporated with the work, as still to increase the estimation of this edifying volume, and have urged him to undertake the service. The materials in his possession, and within his reach, frequently disposed him to comply. Of late, various occurrences have served to engage his attention to it more fixedly, and the supply of numerous relicks afforded a stimulus to the undertaking. The whole seemed to form a deposit so favourable to the object, that, if attendant difficulties were not insurmountable, the obligation to publish was rendered imperative. - - Indeed, had the task been declined, might not the editor, have incurred an imputation of selfishness, for improperly hoarding treasure so calculated for general usefulness 2 These, and other considerations, determined him to commence the work, and to proceed with it as quickly as constant professional engagements would allow. In the “Entire Collection of Mr. Matthew Henry's Writings,”t the Life of his Father was inserted.
* Life of the Rev. T. Rosewell, p. 20, oct. 1718.
+ Letters from the Rev. Job Orton, and the Rev. Sir James Stonhouse, Bart. M. D. to the Rev. Thomas Stedman, M.A. Vicar of St. Chad's, Shrewsbury, ed. 1805, vol. 2, p. 300; and see also, vol. 1, p. 171, note.
f Life, by Orton, p. 63, oct. 1766.
§ Eclectic Review, N. S. vol. 7, p. 273.
| Gen. Biog. Dict. vol. 17, p. 361, by Alexander Chalmers, F. S. A.
* Preface to Morrice's Social Religion Exemplified, p. xv. ed. 1786. t In seven volumes, 4to, 1811, edited by the Rev. George Burder, and the Rev. Joseph Hughes, A. M.
With this exception, the editor is not aware of any genuine edition, since the third, which was published in 1712; improved by the author's final corrections,” and the addition of a sermon, preached by himself, on the death of his honoured mother.
A new and valuable, but abridged republication, appeared in 1765, under the superintendence of the Rev. Job Orton. The copy which he used on that occasion, t with the alterations, in his own hand, being in the possession of Mr. Stedman, through his kindness, an opportunity was afforded to the present editor, of noticing the great extent of the variations. It was dedicated,—“To the Descendants and other Relations of Mr. Philip Henry;” and, in the opinion there expressed, most readers will concur. “I esteem it,” says Mr. Orton, “one of the chief excellencies of this book, that it is, as the author hints in his Preface, the history of a person, who manifested such an eminence of piety, prudence, humility, zeal, and moderation, as would have adorned the highest station, and is scarcely to be equalled. He is, therefore, a suitable, and bright example to persons of every rank, as well as an admirable model for the ministers of the gospel.”:
Of the second edition S of the original work, a reimpression has lately been given by a dignitary of the
* 1711-12, January 22. I began to read over my father's Life, to correct it for the press. Rev. Matthew Henry's Diary. Orig. MS.
* The first edition, 1698.
: Dedication, pp. iv. v. See Mr. Griffin's Sermon on “The Decline of Religion,” oct. 1812, p. 68. Mr. Henry's Life is there urgently recommended to ministers.
§ Printed in 1699.