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"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

British Calvinists: Thomas Manton (1620-1677)

Thomas Manton (1620-1677) was born in Lydeard St. Lawrence, Somerset. He graduated from Wadham College, Oxford with a BA in 1639, a BD in 1654 and a DD in 1660. 

He was ordained as a deacon in 1640 and ministered at Sowton, Exeter for three years. While in Sowton he married Mary Morgan. He took up the living of St Mary's Stoke Newington. He became a leading Presbyterian and was appointed as a clerk to the Westminster assembly.

Despite disapproving of the the king's execution he remained in favour with Cromwell. He succeeded his father-in-law Obadiah Sedgwick as rector of St Paul's, Covent Garden. 

He favoured the restoration of Charles II and was appointed as one of Charles's chaplains.  In 1662 he was ejected from the Established Church - he continued to preach and was arrested in 1670 and kept in prison for 6 months. The Declaration of Indulgence was granted in 1672 and Manton was licensed as a Presbyterian. 

In 'Thomas Merton: the man and his ministry' J. C. Ryle in 1870 had this to say of Manton:

1. As a man, I am disposed to assign a very high place to the author of these volumes. He strikes me as having been, not merely an ordinary 'good ' man, but one of singularly great grace and consistency of Christian character.
2. As a writer, I consider that Manton holds a somewhat peculiar place among the Puritan divines. He has pre-eminently a style of his own, and a style very unlike that of most of his school. …
3. As a theologian, I regard Manton as a divine of singularly well-balanced, well-proportioned, and scriptural views. …
4. As an expositor of Scripture, I regard Manton with unmingled admiration. Here, at any rate, he is 'facile princeps' among the divines of the Puritan school. …

The complete work of Thomas Manton, in 22 volumes, is available here:

Some of his works are available from the Christian Bookshop Ossett here:

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