Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Reynolds, Henry Robert

REYNOLDS, HENRY ROBERT (1825–1890), congregational divine, born at Romsey in Hampshire on 26 Feb. 1825, was the grandson of Henry Revell Reynolds [q. v.], and the elder son of John Reynolds (1782–1862), congregational minister, by his second wife, Sarah (d. 1868), daughter of Robert Fletcher of Chester and sister of Joseph Fletcher (1784–1843) [q. v.] Sir John Russell Reynolds [q. v.] was his younger brother. Henry was educated chiefly by his father, and in September 1841 he entered Coward College, London (now incorporated in New College, South Hampstead) to prepare for the ministry. He matriculated at London University in the same year, obtaining the university mathematical scholarship in 1844 and graduating B.A. in 1848. In the same year he was made a fellow of University College, London.

In April 1846 he became pastor of the congregational church at Halstead in Essex, receiving permission to curtail his course at Coward College at the urgent request of the congregation. He was ordained on 16 July 1846. Among his congregation was the future missionary, Matthew Atmore Sherring [q. v.], whose father was one of Reynolds's deacons. In 1849 Reynolds accepted a call to be minister of the East Parade chapel at Leeds, entering on his new duties on 28 March. The ten succeeding years were probably the most strenuous in his life. He took a keen interest in theological controversies of the day, and made an especial study of the writings of Auguste Comte, on whom he published a criticism in the 'British Quarterly Review' in April 1854. In 1855 his health gave way, and the labours of the next five years were diversified by visits to Egypt, Italy, and the south of France, and broken by frequent illness. During this period he and his brother, John Russell Reynolds, wrote a novel dealing with the intellectual and religious questions of the time, which was published anonymously in 1860 with the title 'Yes and No.'

In June 1860 Reynolds accepted the post of president of Cheshunt College, whither he removed in August. Besides fulfilling the duties of principal of the college and pastor of the college chapel and village churches, he was professor of dogmatic theology, ecclesiastical history, and New Testament exegesis. In addition to these he undertook serious literary labours. From 1866 to 1874 he was co-editor with Henry Allon [q. v. Suppl.] of the 'British Quarterly Review,' and from 1877 to 1882 he edited the 'Evangelical Magazine.' In 1870 and 1871 he edited two series of essays on church problems by various writers, entitled 'Ecclesia' (London, 8vo), and in 1874 he published lectures on 'John the Baptist' in the new series of 'Congregational Union Lectures.' They reached a third edition in 1888. He wrote frequently for the 'Expositor,' and contributed to the 'Dictionary of Christian Biography.'

In 1869 Reynolds received the honorary degree of D.D. from Edinburgh University, and in the years immediately following he was engaged on the project of enlarging the Cheshunt College buildings, in celebration of the centenary of the institution. This work was completed in 1872. In 1888 appeared his most notable work, the 'Introduction' and 'Exposition' on the Gospel of St. John, contributed to the 'Pulpit Commentary.' In November 1894 failing health compelled him to resign the presidency of Cheshunt College, and in May 1895 he withdrew to Broxbourne in Hertfordshire. He died at Broxbourne on 10 Sept. 1896, and was buried in Cheshunt cemetery on 15 Sept. On 17 Dec. 1840, at Walworth chapel, he married Louisa Caroline (d. 11 Oct. 1895), only surviving daughter of Silas Palmer of Newbury, Berkshire. They had no children.

On 21 Sept. 1882 Reynolds's portrait, painted by Mr. Sydney Hodges, was presented to Cheshunt College by the past and present students. A replica was presented to Mrs. Reynolds.

Besides the works already mentioned, Reynolds was the author of:

  1. 'The Beginnings of the Divine Life: a Course of Seven Sermons,' London, 1859, 8vo.
  2. 'Notes on the Christian Life: a Selection of Sermons,' London, 1865, 8vo.
  3. 'The Philosophy of Prayer and Principles of Christian Service; with other Papers,' London, 1881, 8vo.
  4. 'Buddhism: a Comparison and a Contrast between Buddhism and Christianity ('Present Day Tracts,' 2nd ser. No. 46), London, 1886, 8vo.
  5. 'Athanasius: his Life and Lifework' (Church History Series, No. 5), London, 1889, 8vo.
  6. 'Light and Peace: Sermons and Addresses' ('Preachers of the Age'), London, 1892, 8vo.
  7. 'Lamps of the Temple, and other Addresses to Young Men,' London, 1895, 8vo.
  8. 'Who say ye that I am?' ('Present Day Tracts,' No. 80), London, 1896, 8vo.

He edited the 'Congregational Register for the West Riding of Yorkshire' (London, 8vo) from 1855 to 1857, and undertook in 1884, in conjunction with Owen Charles Whitehouse, the prophecies of Hosea and Amos in 'An Old Testament Commentary for English Readers.'

[Henry Robert Reynolds, his Life and Letters, edited by his Sisters (with portraits), 1898; Congregational Yearbook, 1897; Memoir prefixed to Reynolds's Who say ye that I am? 1896.]

E. I. C.