It was, interestingly enough, a reading of John Howe’s The Redeemer’s Tears over Lost Souls which diverted Henry Rogers (1806-77) from serving his apprenticeship as a surgeon to becoming a Congregationalist minister. In addition to his teaching, preaching, and editing, he was a steady contributor to the Edinburgh Review (see No. 57). His first important publication was The Life and Character of John Howe (1836, reprinted 1863, 1874, 1879), which was followed in 1862-63 by an edition in six volumes of Howe’s works.
This extract, usefully summarizing the background of the controversy, is printed from the 1863 edition, pp. 157-76.
As the following chapter will probably contain little to interest the general reader, I may apprize him that it may be omitted without impairing the continuity of the narrative, since it is almost wholly parenthetical…. But to the curious in literary history, and to the admirers of Andrew Marvell’s genius, I feel that no apology is necessary. They will probably think a chapter which has in it so much of Andrew Marvell, and so little of the author, by far the most interesting in the volume.
That I may not detain them, therefore, from matter which I know will be so much more grateful to them than any observations of mine, I shall simply beg their attention to a short detail of the circumstances which led to the curious publication from which the following extracts are made, and then dismiss them, to enjoy those extracts at their leisure. I would merely remark further, by way of whetting their appetite, that the tract in question is extremely rare; that it is not published in any edition of Marvell’s works, and was evidently unknown to his biographers and editors….