The Dancing Puritan

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

One of the Early Dancing Puritans


Matthew Henry: 1622-1714


I am away from my computer today so I have invited the great Puritan, Matthew Henry to write my post.  When I went to seminary in 1985 I left Crawfordville, GA with a King James Version of the Bible and a One-Vol. Matthew Henry Commentary.  I was equipped for scholarship, or so I thought.  Our professors did not want us to use Henry as a source for academic papers.  His commentary was described as "devotional."  Though I now appreciate and understand my professor's sentiments, I have found Henry to be warm, helpful and good to read towards the end of sermon preparation.  He was a giant in his day and remains highly revered even today.  Many Christians have Matthew Henry on the shelf.  Charles Spurgeon held the writings of Henry in high regard.

Spurgeon wrote of Henry: He is most pious and pithy, sound and sensible, suggestive and sober, terse and trustworthy. You will find him to be glittering with metaphors, rich in analogies, overflowing with illustrations, superabundant in reflections. He delights in apposition and alliteration; he is usually plain, quaint, and full of pith; he sees right through a text directly; apparently he is not critical, but he quietly gives the result of an accurate critical knowledge of the original fully up to the best critics of his time.

It is my joy to have Matthew Henry, one of the original Dancing Puritans posting for us today.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!  It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes (Psalm 133:1-2)!

How commendable it is:  Behold, how good and how pleasant it is!  It is good in itself, agreeable to the will of God the conformity of earth to heaven.  It is good for us, for our honor and comfort.  It is pleasant and pleasing to God and all good men; it brings constant delight to those who do thus live in unity.  Behold, how good!  We cannot conceive or express the goodness and pleasantness of it.  Behold it is a rare thing, and therefore admirable.  Behold and wonder that there should be so much goodness and pleasantness among men, so much of heaven on this earth!  Behold it is an amiable thing, which will attract our hearts.  Behold it is an exemplary thing, which, where it is, is to be imitated by us with a holy emulation. Note how the pleasantness of it is illustrated. It is fragrant as the holy anointing oil, which was strongly perfumed, and diffused its odors, to the great delight of all the bystanders, when it was poured upon the head of Aaron, or his successor the high priest, so plentifully that it ran down the face, even to the collar or binding of the garment.  This ointment was holy.  So must our brotherly love be, with a pure heart, devoted to God. We must love those who are begotten for his sake that begat.

From Matthew Henry: Daily Readings Edited by Randall J. Pederson and published by Christian Focus.