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OF THE AMERICAN EDITION.
The work of superintending the printing of this volume, was interrupted by the sudden death of its beloved and lamented Author. A space of a few pages having been left for a dedication* and preface, which were not prepared, must now be occupied by a brief Memoir of this eminent minister of Christ, of whose talents and devoted piety, the following work will be one among many of the precious memorials.
THOMAS CHARLTON HENRY was born September 22, 1790, in the City of Philadelphia. He was the eldest son of ALEXANDER HENRY, Esq. the benevolent and venerated President of the American Sunday School Union. Originally intended for enlarged mercantile pursuits, the subject of this account went through an unusually extended course of literature, and took his first degree with distinguished reputation at Middlebury College, Vermont, in August, 1814. Immediately upon his graduation, the most tempting and splendid prospects of affluence and distinction invited his entrance upon a secular career; but having felt the power of renewing grace, and having devoted himself to the Saviour, while at the College, he “conferred not with flesh and blood,” but unhesitatingly embraced the laborious and self-denying profession of the Christian Ministry. Accordingly, he entered upon a course of Theology in the Seminary at Princeton, N. J. which was finished in 1816, and he received a license to preach the Gospel. On his first entrance into the ministry, his rare endowments and polished eloquence attracted uncommon attention, and opened before him several very important and inviting fields of labour. Having received, and ultimately declined, invitations to the pastoral care of churches, in Wilmington, Delaware, Salem, Mass., and Lexington, Ken., he finally accepted the unanimous call of the Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S. C., where he was ordained and installed, by the Presbytery of Harmony, in November, 1818. Upon the sacred duties of a Pastor, Mr. Henry entered with a deep and solemn impression of responsibility, and an unwavering determination to pursue a course of untiring labour and unyielding fidelity. Taking
* The Dedication which appears in this Edition, is a faithful copy from the manuscript sent by the Author to Mr. Lewis, expressly for the purpose of publication in London.--Ed.
a decided ground in defence of vital experimental religion; urging the doctrines of the cross upon the consciences of his hearers, with the demonstration of the Spirit and with power; carrying his great work of winning souls to Christ, to the frequent prayer-meeting, the domestic circle, and the individual expostulation :--the result was such as might have been anticipated. The church rejoiced in spiritual prosperity, many were convinced of guilt and danger, and yielded to the influence of renewing grace ; while many others clustered round the standard of determined opposition. Conflicting necessarily with those whose views and feelings were in complete antagonism to his own, his course afforded another severe test of character. The temptation to temporize was strong. By softening the expressions of God's word, by yielding a few points of duty, he might have enjoyed universal favour and applause. But he had not so learned Christ. Unappalled by menaces, unseduced by flattery, he nobly maintained his ground, and willingly submitted to the painful sacrifice of the kindness of former friends, in stern fidelity to his Master's cause.
At the close of the fifth year of Mr. Henry's ministry in Columbia, he received a unanimous call from the second Presbyterian Church in the city of Charleston, which he accepted under the full belief that it was a station in which he could
be more happy and useful than by continuing where he then was. In this important and respectable congregation, he commenced his labours in January, 1824, and was installed by the Charleston Union Presbytery. Here, untrammelled by opposition, and surrounded by a united and affectionate people, he enjoyed a field of action, worthy of his commanding talents and holy enterprize. Seldom has there been presented a nobler model of pastoral activity and fidelity; and seldom has there been witnessed a more effectual accomplishment of the grand purposes of the Christian ministry. In the stated services of the Pulpit, and the crowded Lecture Room, in the Bible Class and Sunday School, in every family of his charge, and in the privacy of individual inquiry, his full soul was poured forth in affectionate, earnest instruction, and ardent supplication. Nor was the harvest long delayed. In the first and second years of his brief ministry, considerable additions were made to the church ; but in the third, a blessed effusion of the Holy Spirit was enjoyed, and a goodly company of his spiritual children was gathered to the communion of the faithful.
The indefatigable labours and constant solicitude of Dr. HENRY, during this precious season, so far impaired his health as to render a period of relaxation indispensable. He therefore