It was in 1687, when the penalties against dissent were somewhat relaxed, that Matthew Henry was ordained a minister. On the eve of this important event he devoted a considerable time to self-examination; and in the paper in which he records its results, he writes—
“I think I can say with confidence that I do not design to take up the ministry as a trade to live by, or to enrich myself, out of the greediness of filthy lucre. No! I hope I aim at nothing but souls; and if I gain those, though I should lose all my worldly comforts by it, I shall reckon myself to have made a good bargain.
“I think I can say with as much assurance, that my design is not to get myself a name amongst men, or to be talked of in the world as one that makes somewhat of a figure. No; that is a poor business. If I have but a good name with God I think I have enough, though among men I be reviled, and have my name trampled upon as mire in the streets. I prefer the good word of my Master far before the good word of my fellow-servants.
“I can appeal to God that I have no design in the least to maintain a party, or to keep up any schismatical faction; my heart rises against the thoughts of it. I hate dividing principles and practices, and whatever others are, I am for peace and healing; and if my blood would be a sufficient balsam, I would gladly part with the last drop of it for the closing up of the bleeding wounds of differences that are amongst true Christians.”