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Ejected by Man but Not by God
Thomas Manton was yet another Presbyterian clergyman who was ejected by the Church of England in 1662, but who continued to “preach” through various opportunities given his way. Born in the early part of the seventeenth century, Thomas Manton was baptized on March 31, 1620 in the south west part of England. Attending typical schools of his day as well as formal education at Wadham College at Oxford,  he graduated in  1639. He was ordained a deacon, but refused orders as a priest in the Anglicanism of his day.
He began his ministry as a lecturer in 1640 and soon was ministering as a rector at Westminster Abby and St. Paul in London. He was one of three scribes who took down in writing the discussions of the divines at Westminster Abby in the assembly of the same name. He wrote the preface to the second edition of the Confession and Catechisms. A member on the Presbyterian side at the Savoy Conference, he sought and failed to get amendments to the Book of Common Prayer. Refusing to take re-ordination vows of the Anglican Church, he was ejected in 1662 along with 2000 other Puritans and Presbyterians. Taking opportunities to preach in various places to his leaderless congregation, he was caught and spent six months in prison. Like some others, he took the declaration of indulgence in 1672 from the king so that he could preach in his home. He died on this day, October 18, 1677.
Such are the bare facts of his life and ministry. However, no less than J. C. Ryle of a later century would commend his life and ministry from the books which he had written, all published after Manton’s death. Listen to Ryle’s commendation of Manton’s Calvinism. He says, “There is a curiously happy attention to the proportion of truth. He never exalts one doctrine at the expense of another. He gives to each doctrine that place and rank given to it in Scripture, neither more nor less, with a wisdom and felicity which I miss in some of the Puritan divines.”
Further writing of Manton, J.C. Ryle states that he “held strongly to the doctrine of election.” Manton believed in “the need of preventing and calling grace. But that did not hinder him from inviting all men to repent, believe, and be saved.” Another example of the proportion of truth is that Manton “held strongly that faith alone lays hold on Christ, and appropriates justification.” And then, “Manton held strongly the perseverance of God’s elect. But that did not hinder him from teaching that holiness is the grand distinguishing mark of God’s people, and that he who talks of ‘never perishing,’ while he continues in willful sin, is a hypocrite and a self-deceiver.”
We can be thankful that publishing companies like the Banner of Truth Trust have reprinted the Collected Works of Thomas Manton.
Words to Live By:
Thomas Manton was a Bible expositor. Happy is that Christian reader who attends a congregation where the man in the pulpit opens up the Scripture in an expositional way. Those in our Reformed pulpits are to “preach sound doctrine, diligently, in season and out of season; plainly, not in the enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; faithfully, making known the whole and fervent love of God and the souls of his people; sincerely, aiming at his glory, and their conversion, edification, and salvation.” (Larger Catechism No. 159 Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms)

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