The second in our series of Saturday afternoon lectures were held on Saturday 2nd March. Pastor Jeremy Brooks of Catshill spoke on Matthew Henry, and Pastor James Zenker of Blackheath, on The 200th Anniversary of the Birth of David Livingstone. There was a very good attendance and both speakers excelled.
Jeremy Brooks reminded us that Matthew Henry was born, two months before his father Philip Henry was ejected from his living, in the Great Ejection of 1662. He died aged 51 in 1714, again when the state of Christianity in Britain was at a low ebb, but also significantly the same year as the birth of George Whitfield. Pastor Brooks’ lecture fell into three parts
• A brief survey of Matthew Henry’s life
• Five key significant points from his life, with application for today
• A brief survey of his writings
Quoting Joel Beeke Pastor Brooks emphasized the fact that Matthew Henry’s writings drew on and has given us the very essence of the best of the spiritual teaching of the Puritan era. His chief works amongst his extensive output of writings were of course, his famous Bible Commentary, and his Method for Prayer. These two works exemplified the nature of his life, i.e. that of experiential and practical Christianity based on the Word of God and Prayer. Matthew Henry knew many sorrows, losses and bereavements in his life, but sought always to rest in the perfect will of God. He has left a lasting legacy, not least in his influence on George Whitfield and the 18th Century Revival through his Commentary.
James Zenker gave a very enlightening lecture on the life of David Livingstone. He traced out Livingstone’s humble beginnings and meagre education, handicaps painstakingly overcome in his desire to be of service to his Saviour. The lecture was particularly helpful in showing Livingstone’s overall aim, i.e. to open up the Continent of Africa for missionary work. We were reminded that he was the pioneer, discovering routes for further missionary travels, whilst at the same time finding ways of combating the diseases that had hindered the progress of the work up to that point. He sought to break the power of the slave trade, which not only created misery for thousands, but also stood in the way of missionary advance. Livingstone also experienced many sorrows, much opposition and the experience of being let down by trusted friends. We were shown a man undaunted, even by his lack of ‘spiritual success’, knowing that he was paving the way for others to follow in his steps. His motto was ‘fear God and work hard.’
We look forward to the Autumn Lectures, God-willing, on the afternoon of Saturday 5th October 2013, when the subjects of the two lectures are – John Foxe and his Book of Martyrs (first published 1563), and, Mrs Susanna Spurgeon.