"All This And Heaven Too"
Context: Matthew Henry writes the life of his father, Philip Henry (1631–1696), a non-conformist minister whose entire existence lay in preaching the gospel. After a pleasant and tranquil beginning to his career as a minister, he was, during much of the reign of King Charles II, barred from preaching in public and was subjected to various other harassments because his conscience forbade his conforming to the church regulations set up by parliament at the instigation of the king. Although he was deprived of his pulpit, he was, because he had married a woman of some wealth, never in want for the necessities of life. He contrived to lead a useful and pleasant life, although he was several times imprisoned for short terms for his lack of conformity. As, however, other ministers of the gospel were incarcerated at the same time as he was, he rather enjoyed the experience, as it gave him the opportunity to discuss religion with his peers, an opportunity he did not have while at liberty. He was always charitable and used to season his gifts to the poor with wholesome advice and gentle admonitions for erring conduct. He always took great pleasure in being able to contribute to the poor, believing that anything material he gave would be returned to him in gifts of the spirit:
. . . though he did not delight himself in the abundance of wealth; yet, which is far better, he delighted himself in the "abundance of peace." . . . All that he had and did, observably prospered, so that the country oftentimes . . . called his family, "a family which the Lord had blessed." And his comforts of this kind were (as he used to pray they might be) "oil to the wheels of his obedience," and in the use of these things he served the Lord his God with "joyfulness and gladness of heart"; yet still mindful of and "grieved for, the afflictions of Joseph." He would say sometimes, when he was in the midst of the comforts of this life, as that good man who exclaimed, "All this and heaven too! surely then we serve a good Master." Thus did the Lord bless him, and make him a blessing; and this abundant grace, through the thanksgiving of many, redounded to the glory of God.