From father to son

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Despite the temptation to rise to Dr Trueman's bait - I can only assume that the man who wrote a book called Histories and Fallacies had his tongue firmly in his cheek when he whiffled out that tosh about Baptists "executing Dutch nudists," otherwise one wonders precisely how reliable is the historical-theological instruction being offered in seminaries these days . . . but more of that anon - I offer something of what I hope is greater substance. I am working on a piece on Matthew Henry, born 350 years ago this year, and came across some gems of advice from his father, Philip Henry. I pass them on in turn, hoping that they profit others, and that Dr Trueman appreciates my readiness to "follow peace and holiness," even with him.

From a pious aged father to his son a minister newly married

Dear Pair, whom God hath now of two made One
Suffer a Father's exhortation.
In the first Place see that with joynt indeavour -
You set yourselves to serve the Lord together,
You are yoakt to work but for work Wages write,
His Yoak is easie, & his burden light,
Love one another, Pray oft together, and see,
You never both together Angry bee -
If one speak fire t'other with water come,
Is one provok'd be tother soft or dumb -
Walk low, but aim high, spotless be your life
You are a Minister, and a Minister's Wife
Therefore as Beacons set upon a Hill -
To angels and to men a spectacle -
Your slips will falls be calld, your falls each one
Will be a blemish to Religion -
Do good to all, bee affable and meek
Your converse must be Preaching all the week -
Your Garb and Dress must not be vain or Gay,
Reckon good works your richest, best array -
Your House must be a Bethel, and your Door
Always stand open to receive the Poor
Call your estate God's, not your own, ingrave
Holiness to the Lord on all you have
Count upon suffering, or you count amis,
Sufficient to each day its evil is,
All are born once to trouble, but saints twice,
And as experience shews Min[iste]rs thrice,
But if you suffer with and for your Lord,
You'l reign with him according to his Word.

M . H. Lee, Diaries and Letters of Philip Henry (London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1882),  359-60, quoted in Allan Harman, Matthew Henry: His Life and Influence (Fearn, Ross-shire: Christian Focus, 2012)

Incidentally, Philip Henry, from his deathbed, gave Matthew further advice in response to his son's request, "Oh, sir, pray for me that I may but tread in your steps." Philip replied, "Yea, follow peace and holiness, and let them say what they will."
Posted May 18, 2012 @ 5:10 AM by Jeremy Walker
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