Henry, Philip

, an eminent nonconformist, was born at Whitehall in 1631: his father, John Henry, was page of the back-stairs to the king’s second son, James duke of York. About twelve years old he was admitted into Westminster-school, under Mr. Thomas Vincent, then usher; a man very diligent in his business, but who grieved so anuch at the dulness of many of his scholars, that he fell | into a consumption, and was said to be “killed with false Latin.” In the regular time, he was taken into the upper school under Dr. Busby, with whom he was a great favourite; and was employed by him, xvith some others, in collecting materials for that excellent Greek grammar which he afterwards published. Soon after the civil wars broke out, there was a daily morning lecture set up at the abbey church by the assembly of divines. His pious mother requested Dr. Busby to give her son leave to attend this, and likewise took him with her every Thursday to Mr. Case^s lecture, at St. Martin’s: she took him also to the jnonthly fasts at St. Margaret’s, where the House of commons attended; and where the service was carried on with great strictness and solemnity, from eight in the morning till four in the evening: in these, as he himself has expressed it, he had often “sweet meltings of soul.

He was elected from Westminster to Christ-church, Oxford, where he was admitted a student in 1648, and vigorously applied himself to the proper studies of the place. When he had completed his master’s degree, he was entertained in the family of judge Puleston, at Emeral in Flintshire, to take the care of his sons, and to preach at Worthenbury. He was ordained to the work of the ministry in this place in 1657, according to the known directory of the assembly of divines, and the common usage of the presbyterians. He soon after married the only daughter and heiress of Mr. Daniel Matthews, of Broad-oak, near Whitchurch, by whom he became possessed of a competent estate. When the king and episcopacy were restored, he refused to conform, was ejected, and retired with his family to Broad-oak. Here, and in this neighbourhood, he spent the remainder of his life, about twenty-eight years, relieving the poor, employing the iiuiustrious, instructing the ignorant, and exercising every opportunity of doing good. His moderation in his nonconformity was eminent and exemplary; and upon all’ occasions he bore testimony against uncharitable and schismatical separation. In churchgovernment, he desired and wished for abp. Usher’s reduction of episcopacy. He thought it lawful to join in the common-prayer in the public assemblies; which, during the time of his silence and restraint, he constantly attended with his family, with reverence and devotion.

Upon the whole, his character seems to have been highly exemplary and praiseworthy; and it may be asked, as Dr. | Busby asked him, “What made him a nonconformist” The reason which he principally insisted on was, that he could *not submit to be re-ordained, which was required of those who had been ordained only according to the presbyterian form. When named in the commission of the peace, it was as Philip Henry, esq. He was, however, so well satisfied with his call to the ministry, and solemn ordination to it, by the laying on the hands of the presbytery, that he durst not do that which looked like a renunciation of it as null and sinful, and would at least be a tacit invalidating and condemning of all his administrations. Despairing to see an accommodation, he kept a meeting at Broad-oak, and preached to a congregation in a barn. He died June 24, 1696. His “Life” was written by his son, the subject of our next article, and published in 1699. The piety, Christian moderation, and good sense, which pervade the whole, render it one of the most interesting pieces of biography of the seventeenth century, and induced Dr. Wordsworth to reprint the whole in his “Ecclesiastical Biography,” with some useful notes 1


Life as above. —Calamy.