Matthew Henry on sobriety in matters of religion

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Espouse sober principles; for men are, as their principles are. In these avoid extremes; and in the less weighty matters of the law, keep the mean, that you may reserve your zeal for the great things of God, the things that belong to your everlasting peace. Take heed on the one hand of bigotry in the circumstantials of religion, and on the other hand of lukewarmness and indifferency in the essentials of it.

Fix such principles as these to yourselves with reference to the main matter:—that God’s favour is better than life, and his displeasure worse than death; that sin is the greatest evil; that the soul is the man, and that is best for us that is best for our souls; that Jesus Christ is all in all to us, and we are undone without an interest in him; that it is as much our wisdom, as it is our duty, to be religious; that the world has not that in it, which will make us happy; that time, and the things of time, are nothing in comparison with eternity, and the things of eternity. ...

For more, see Matthew Henry on sobriety in matters of religion.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
n these avoid extremes; and in the less weighty matters of the law, keep the mean, that you may reserve your zeal for the great things of God, the things that belong to your everlasting peace.
The thing is that in our day at least, what constitutes ‘extremes’ and ‘less weighty matters’ depends on who you talk to.
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thank you Daniel for this. I need to read more of Mr. Henry. The only work I have from him is the abridged commentary, and I infrequently refer to it. It is so abridged, all the interesting bits seem to be missing! What you posted here is probably the longest and richest piece I have ever read from him.


The thing is that in our day at least, what constitutes ‘extremes’ and ‘less weighty matters’ depends on who you talk to.

Assuredly. I would confess with Rev. Derek Thomas that I would be willing to die for probably almost all of the Westminster Confession. In Mr. Henry's day less weighty matters probably meant matters that many evangelicals would consider too weighty to ever consider or discuss. In this day and age I think we need to know a bit about one's theology before discussing anything beyond justification by faith.
 
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