Alford, Henry Dd

Alford, Henry D.D., an English prelate, preacher, poet, and commentator, was born in London, Oct. 7, 1810. His father was a clergyman of the evangelical party in the Church of England. Henry was an only child, and remarkably precocious and studious. Having left Ilminster School, he was sent as a private pupil to the excellent Mr. Bickersteth, of Acton, in Suffolk, where, in addition to thorough mental training, he was carefully instructed in the principles of evangelical religion. From Acton he went to Cambridge and entered Trinity College, in which his course was one of the highest distinction. In 1835 Mr. Alford obtained the presentation to the small vicarage of Wymeswold, in Worcestershire. When he took charge of the parish it was in a deplorable state of disorder and neglect; but through the indefatigable industry of the new vicar, the church was renovated and the spiritual wants of the people attended to with unceasing fidelity. In addition to his work as a clergyman, he engaged in teaching and in literary pursuits. One of his pupils whom he had prepared for Cambridge entered the Church of Rome, and he was charged with culpable negligence in having failed to counteract his Romish tendencies. This incident caused so much unpleasantness that Mr. Alford sought a fresh field of labor; and through the friendship of the Rev. J. H. Gurney, Quebec Chapel, London, became the scene of his ministrations (1853). It was a post for which he was singularly qualified, and in which he had ample opportunity of making full proof of his ministry. But ere long his reputation as a scholar and preacher won for him preferment to the deanery of Canterbury (1857). In this position he was in his element; here he found all that could please the eye, delight the ear, and fascinate a soul peculiarly open to aesthetic enjoyment. There was a halo of poetry and romance cast around even the historical associations of the fabric and the city most congenial to the temperament of the new dean. He became B.A. in 1832, M.A. in 1835, and B.D. in 1849. He died Jan. 12, 1871. Dean Alford's poetical works are, Poems and Poetical Fragments (Camb. 1831): — The School of the Heart, and Other Poems (1835, 2 vols.): — Abbot of Muchelnaye, and Other Poems (12mo): — Chapters on the Poets of Ancient Greece (1841, 8vo): — Psalms and Hymns Adapted to the Sundays and Holydays throughout the Year (Lond. 1844), to which are added some occasional hymns: — Poetical Works (2 vols. 12mo): — Select Poetical Works (Boston, 1853, 12mo, pp. 424). Among his many hymns which are found in different hymn-books, there is also a rendering of the famous Dies Iree ("day of anger, the dread day"). In general religious literature, besides his contributions to the Contemporary Review, Dean Alford wrote, The Consistency of the Divine Conduct in Revealing the Doctrines of Redemption (Camb. 1842; pt. 2, 1843), being the Hulsean Lectures for 1841; to which are added two Sermons preached before the University of Cambridge: Sermons (8vo): — Sermons at Quebec Chapel (2 vols. 8vo): — Village Sermons (12mo): — The State of the Blessed Dead (1870): — The Coming of the Bridegroom (eod.): — Eastertide Sermons (1866): — Advent Sermons (1872): — The Sons of God; the Known and the Unknown (1875): — Truth and Trust (1871): — Fireside Homilies (edited by his widow, 1875): — Meditations in Advent (1865): — The Year of Prayer (1867): — Life, Journal, and Letters (ed. by his widow, Phila. 1873). His exegetical works are as follows: in 1849 he published the first volume of The Greek Testament, with a Critically Revised Text, a Digest of Various Readings, etc., and a Critical and Exegetical Commentary, and the whole was completed in 1.861; since that time it has been published in different editions: — HOW to Study the New Testament (Lond. 1865-69, 3 vols.): — The New Testament for English Readers, Containing the Authorized Version with Marginal Corrections of Readings and Renderings, etc. (1868,4 vols.): — The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, after the Authorized Version; Newly Compared with the Original Greek and Revised (1870): — The Book of Genesis and Part of the Book of Exodus (a revised version, etc. 1872). See (Lond.) Christian Observer, May, 1873, p. 337; Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Authors, s.v.

 
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