Preachers Should Get to Know Thomas Manton (1620-1677)

Discussion in 'A Puritan's Mind Updates' started by C. Matthew McMahon, Dec 14, 2018.

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  1. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    As most probably do, I have an affinity for certain authors. One of my favorites is Westminster Divine Thomas Manton. He is outstanding, and often doesn't get the acknowledgement he should in overall Christian circles.

    None of his works have ever really been updated, but some of his old works have been published in single volumes, such as his work on the Temptation of Christ or his commentary on James.

    All of his works are online at internet archive, and I have a couple of volumes laid out at APM.
    Manton's sermons are excellent in every respect, and he was, for all intents and purposes, an exegetical genius. I find his sermons deep, yet very simple, straightforward and plain to the text, though a continuous deep well. He took great pains to carefully lay out his whole sermon word for word every week. I've been reading him, now, more fully for about three years. Most of his works are sermons, and may cause some people to say "I don't really want to read sermon after sermon;" actually, yes you do. His scriptural insight is so solid, that sometimes I find him annoying - the "I wish I had thought of that" dilemma on a certain passage, or a certain phrase that just hits the mark the right way. His thought process is laid out so clearly, that it is hard to come away from his works without multiple gems. His sermons are typical of the puritans, laid out as Text, Doctrine, Application. But I find Manton often weaving both the doctrine and the application throughout each other a good part of the time.

    I would heartily recommend his warmth and pastoral insight, while at the same time, his exegetical prowess. To read him consistently, would be a blessing to the church so that he would rub off more on us for the betterment of our preaching. Not as though Manton is special, but that the Spirit of God used him specially in such a way as to be an example of plain, but deep preaching of the Gospel.

    Here are some quotes:


    If we neglect the benefits of Christ in part or in whole, we slight the price. His intent was that we might have abundance of his Spirit.

    If there be but a form of knowledge, there will be but a form of godliness. But where this anointing is, there we are made partakers of the divine nature, and live a holy life.

    Some have fits and qualms of religion, motions of conviction and joy, but not a settled bent of heart towards God and heaven.

    We see little in the word till we come to be more deeply acquainted with it: and then, Psa. 119:18, “ Open mine eyes, that I may see wonders in thy law;” then we come to discern depths, and such wisdom as we never thought of. The word is an ocean, without bottom and banks.

    Doctrine is only the drawing of the bow; application is hitting the mark.

    One way to get comfort is to plead the promise of God in prayer, show Him His handwriting; God is tender of His Word.

    Divisions in the church always breed atheism in the world.

    First we practice sin, then defend it, then boast of it.

    The more affected we are with our misery, the fitter for Christ’s mercy.
     
  2. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Manton is one of my favorites. If I can find a Manton sermon on a passage I'm working through, it always seems to be well worth my time to read it. The only problem is that he may turn up angles I had never considered but realize, after reading his sermon, I ought to consider—thus increasing my workload!
     
  3. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Yes, Manton has a way of making one think about lots of angles which is one of the reasons I really love reading him. He's like Owen, but doesn't use lofty language.
    His depth, angles, and simplicity are all rolled up together; not to mention, he is eminently practical.
     
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