“As an expositor of Scripture, I regard Manton with unmingled admiration” by J.C. Ryle

“As an expositor of Scripture, I regard Manton with unmingled admiration. Here, at any rate, he is ‘facile princeps’ (‘easily the first or best’) among the divines of the Puritan school.

The value of expository preaching is continually pressed on ministers in the present day, and not without reason.

The end of all preaching is to bring men under the influence of God’s Word; and nothing seems so likely to make men understand and value the Word as lectures in which the Word is explained.

It was so in Chrysostom’s days; it ought to be so again. The idea, no doubt, like every good theory, may be easily ridden to death; and I believe that with ignorant, semi-heathen congregations, a short pithy text often does more good than a long passage expounded.

But I have no doubt of the immense value of expository preaching, when people will bring their Bibles to the service, and accompany the preacher as he travels on, or go home to their Bibles after the service, and compare what they have heard with the written Word.

I hold it to be a prime excellence of Manton’s expository sermons that, while they are very full, they are never too long.

For my own part, I am painfully struck with the general neglect with which these expository works of Manton’s have been treated of late. Modern commentators who are very familiar with German commentaries seem hardly to know of the existence of Manton’s expositions.

Yet I venture boldly to say, that no student of the chapters I have named will ever fail to find new light thrown on their meaning by Manton. I rejoice to think that now at length these valuable works are about to become accessible to the general public.

They have been too long buried, and it is high time they should be brought to light. I value their author most highly as a man, a writer, and a theologian; but if I must speak out all I think, there is no part in which I value him more than as a homiletical expositor of Scripture.

It only remains for me to express my earnest hope that this new edition of Manton’s works may prove acceptable to the public, and meet with many purchasers and readers.

If any one wants to buy a good specimen of a Puritan divine, my advice unhesitatingly is, ‘Let him buy Manton.’

We have fallen upon evil days both for thinking and reading. Sermons which contain thought and matter are increasingly rare.

The inexpressible shallownesss, thinness, and superficiality of many popular sermons in this day is something lamentable and appalling.

Readers of real books appear to become fewer and fewer every year. Newspapers, and magazines, and periodicals seem to absorb the whole reading powers of the rising generation. What it will all end in God only knows.

The prospect before us is sorrowful and humiliating.

In days like these, I am thankful that the publishers of Manton’s Works have boldly come forward to offer some real literary gold to the reading public. I earnestly trust that they will meet with the success which they deserve.

If any recommendation of mine can help them in bringing out the writings of this admirable Puritan in a new form, I give it cheerfully and with all my heart.

J.C. RYLE,
Vicar of Stradbroke, Suffolk.
29th October 1870.”

–J.C. Ryle, “An Estimate of Thomas Manton,” in Thomas Manton, The Works of Thomas Manton, Vol. 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1871/2020), 2: xvii–xix.

“Sin hurts” by Thomas Watson

“Affliction can hurt a man only while he is living, but sin hurts him when he is dead.”

–Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer  (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1662/1999), 309.

“What forgiveness of sin is” by Thomas Watson

“The nature of forgiveness will more clearly appear by opening some Scripture-phrases.

1. To forgive sin, is to take away iniquity. ‘Why dost thou not take away my iniquity?’ (Job 7:21). It is a metaphor taken from a man that carries an heavy burden ready to sink him, and another comes, and lifts off this burden. So when the heavy burden of sin is on us, God in pardoning, lifts off this burden from the conscience, and lays it upon Christ: ‘The Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all’ (Isa. 53:6).

2. To forgive sin, is to cover sin. ‘Thou hast covered all their sin,’ (Ps. 32:1). This was typified by the mercy-seat covering the ark, to show God’s covering of sin through Christ. God doth not cover sin in the Antinomian sense, so as He sees it not, but He doth so cover it, as He will not impute it.

3. To forgive sin, is to blot it out. ‘I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions,’ (Isa. 43:25). The Hebrew word, to lot out, alludes to a creditor, who, when his debtor hath paid him, blots out the debt, and gives him an acquittance. So God, when He forgives sin, blots out the debt, He draws the red lines of Christ’s blood over our sins, and so crosseth the debt-book.

4. To forgive sin, is for God to scatter our sins as a cloud. ‘I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions,’ (Isa. 44:22). Sin is the cloud interposed, God dispels the cloud, and breaks forth with the light of His countenance.

5. To forgive sin, is for God to cast our sins into the depths of the sea. ‘Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea,” (Micah 7:19). This implies God’s burying them out of sight, that they shall not rise up in judgment against us. God will throw them in, not as cork that riseth again, but as lead that sinks to the bottom.”

–Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer  (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1662/1999), 214-215.

“Forgiveness of sins” by Thomas Watson

“Daily bread may make us live comfortably, but forgiveness of sins will make us die comfortably.”

–Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer  (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1662/1999), 211.

“More than all the world” by Thomas Watson

“The pearl of price, the Lord Jesus, is the quintessence of all good things. To give us Christ is more than if God had given us all the world.

He can make more worlds, but He has no more Christs to bestow.

He is such a golden mine that the angels cannot dig to the bottom (Ephesians 3:8).

From Christ we have justification, adoption, and coronation.

The sea of God’s mercy in giving us Christ should swallow up all our wants.”

–Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer  (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1662/1999), 206.

“As if it were our last” by Thomas Watson

“Our Saviour will have us pray, ‘Give us bread this day,’ to teach us to live every day as if it were our last.”

–Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer  (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1662/1999), 202.

“God’s glory” by Thomas Watson

“God’s glory is as dear to a saint as his own salvation. And that this glory may be promoted he endeavors the conversion of souls.”

–Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer  (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1662/1999), 44.

“Adoption is a miracle of mercy” by Thomas Watson

“See the amazing goodness of God, that He is pleased to enter into this sweet relation of a Father.

God needed not to adopt us. He did not lack a Son, but we lacked a Father.

God showed power in being our Maker, but mercy in being our Father.

When we were enemies, and our hearts stood out as garrisons against God, that He should conquer our stubbornness, and of enemies make us children, and write His name and put His image upon us, and bestow a kingdom of glory, what a miracle of mercy is this!

Every adopted child may say, ‘Even so Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight,’ Mat. 11:26.

If God be a Father, then hence I infer, whatever He doth to His children is love.”

–Thomas Watson, The Select Works of the Rev. Thomas Watson, Comprising His Celebrated Body of Divinity, in a Series of Lectures on the Shorter Catechism, and Various Sermons and Treatises (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1855), 389.

“The sea of God’s compassion can drown thy great sins” by Thomas Watson

Question: But will God be a Father to me, who have profaned His name, and been a great sinner?

Answer: If thou wilt now at last seek to God by prayer, and break off thy sins, God hath the compassion of a Father for thee, and will in no wise cast thee out.

When the prodigal did arise and go to his father, ‘his father had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him,’ Luke 15:20.

Though thou hast been a prodigal, and almost spent all upon thy lusts, yet, if thou wilt give a bill of divorce to thy sins, and flee to God by repentance, know that He hath the compassion of a father.

He will embrace thee in the arms of His mercy, and seal thy pardon with a kiss. What though thy sins have been heinous?

The wound is not so broad as the plaster of Christ’s blood. The sea covers great rocks. The sea of God’s compassion can drown thy great sins.

Therefore be not discouraged,—go to God,—resolve to cast thyself upon His fatherly compassion.

What comfort is there to such as can upon good grounds call God, Father. There’s more sweetness in this word Father, than if we had ten thousand worlds.”

–Thomas Watson, The Select Works of the Rev. Thomas Watson, Comprising His Celebrated Body of Divinity, in a Series of Lectures on the Shorter Catechism, and Various Sermons and Treatises (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1855), 390-391.

“The first and great petition” by Thomas Watson

“‘Hallowed be Thy name.’ In the Latin, it is, sanctificetur nomen tuum,—sanctified be Thy name. In this petition, ‘hallowed be Thy name,’ we pray, that God’s name may shine forth gloriously, and that it may be honoured and sanctified by us, in the whole course and tenor of our lives.

It was the angels’ song, ‘glory to God in the highest;’ that is, let his name be glorified and hallowed. This petition, “Hallowed be Thy name,” is set in the forefront, to show, that the hallowing of God’s name is to be preferred before all things.

It is to be preferred before life; we pray, ‘Hallowed be Thy name,’ before we pray, ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’

It is to be preferred before salvation, Rom. 9:1. God’s glory is more worth than the salvation of all men’s souls. As Christ said of love, Mat. 22:36., ‘This is the first and great commandment;’ so I may say of this petition, ‘Hallowed be Thy name,’ it is the first and great petition; it contains the most weighty thing in religion, God’s glory.

When some of the other petitions shall be useless and out of date, we shall not need to pray in heaven, ‘Give us our daily bread,’ because there shall be no hunger; nor, ‘Forgive us our trespasses,’ because there shall be no sin; nor, ‘Lead us not into temptation,’ because the Old Serpent is not there to tempt; yet the hallowing of God’s name shall be of great use and request in heaven.

We shall be ever singing hallelujahs, which is nothing else but the hallowing of God’s name. Every person in the blessed Trinity, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, must have this honour, to be hallowed; their glory being equal, and their majesty co-eternal.

‘Hallowed be Thy name.’ To admire God’s name is not enough. We may admire a conqueror, but when we say, “Hallowed be Thy name,” we set God’s name above every name, and not only admire Him, but adore Him.”

–Thomas Watson, The Select Works of the Rev. Thomas Watson, Comprising His Celebrated Body of Divinity, in a Series of Lectures on the Shorter Catechism, and Various Sermons and Treatises (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1855), 406.