Tuesday, September 28, 2010

MHCC 40: The Quotable Matthew Henry

In 1982, William T. Summers published A Topical Index to Matthew Henry's A Commentary on the Whole Bible. Since then, it has been republished under the title The Quotable Matthew Henry. Henry was certainly one of the most quotable Puritans. His devotional commentary is both an expression of eloquence on his part and a synthesis of Puritan divinity, as is apparent from his own studies and quotations from other divines.

In the Preface, Summers writes:

At first I began reading through Matthew Henry's commentary purely for my own spiritual benefit, marking passages that were specially valuable for future reference. When I had been reading and meditating for some years (cf. Spurgeon's advice to his son: 'Read it all before you get married', and to his students: 'Read it in the first year of your ministry'), the thought occurred to me to collect the numerous pithy sayings under topical headings for help in the preparation of sermons....Here then indeed we have 'fruit from Matthew Henry'. As you read, remember his own words in a letter to Mr. Thoresby: 'Every page, Sir, is a child of prayer.'

If you have desired a topical arrangement of the best quotes from Matthew Henry's Commentary, this is what you are seeking. It is a thorough compilation of more than 3,000 sayings arranged under useful headings.

At the Matthew Henry Commentary Challenge Facebook page, we often post notable devotional remarks as we find them in his Commentary. Readers are warmly invited to come and share your own Matthew Henry "nuggets" on that page with us. His Commentary is a great storehouse of Puritan wisdom (we do well to remember that Henry died after completing his Commentary through the Book of Acts, and his continuators finished the work, based largely on his notes, yet in their own words), and, among other devotional compendiums based on his Commentary, this labor of Summers is a great help to those seeking to organize their thoughts around the themes that Henry enlarges upon. It adds to our appreciation of Henry's gift to us, and we are thankful for our "Quotable Matthew Henry."

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