A Living hope? Or a dead faith?

Taken and adapted from, “The complete works of Thomas Manton, Vol. 3.”
Written by Thomas Manton in a Sermon on 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2.
Edited for thought and sense.

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Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

–2 Thessalonians 2:1-2
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There are graces planted in us, faith, hope, and love, to move us earnestly to desire Christ’s coming.

Faith believes that Christ will be as good as his word: ‘I will come again; if it were not so, I would have told you, –John 14:2. And if Christ says in a way of promise, ‘I come,’ the church says, ‘Amen,’ in a way of faith, ‘even so, come.’ If Christ had gone away in discontent,and with a threat in his mouth. Ye shall never see my face more, we should altogether despair of seeing him again; but he parted in love, and left a promise with us, which upholds the heart of believers during his absence. Would Christ deceive us, and flatter us into a fools’ paradise? What need that ? He can strike us dead in an instant if we do not please him,and we have hitherto found him true in all things, and will he fail us at last?

Hope, then is faith’s handmaid…

…it looks for that which we do believe, and it is the immediate effect of the new creature: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” –1 Peter 1:3

As soon as grace is infused, it discovers itself by its tendency to its end and rest; it came from heaven, and it carries the soul there.

Love is an affection of union, and it desires to be with the party loved…

Paul says, ‘I desire to depart, and to be with Christ;’ therefore his voice is, ‘Come, come.’ Therefore, since God has communion with us in our houses of clay; therefore we desire presence with him in his palace of glory. His voice now is very sweet when he says, ‘Come unto me, ye that are weary and heavy laden,’ but much more will it be so when he says, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit a kingdom prepared for you before the foundations of the world were laid.’ –Phil. 1:23. Reconciliation with God is wonderful, but think just how great the future and the benefits will be with Christ in Heaven!

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Meet the Author and part of your Christian heritage: Thomas Manton (1620–1677) was an English Puritan clergyman. Thomas Manton was invited to preach before Parliament on at least six occasions. The first occasion was on June 30, 1647, which was a fast day for Parliament. His sermon was based on Zechariah 14:9 and entitled, “Meat out of the Eater; or, Hopes of Unity in and by Divided and Distracted Times.”

Exactly one year later, on June 30, 1648, he preached another fast sermon on Revelation 3:20, “England’s Spiritual Languishing; with the Causes and the Cure.” He also participated in the Westminster Assembly as one of three clerks, was later appointed to write a preface to the second edition of the Westminster Confession in 1658, and served Oliver Cromwell as a chaplain and a trier (an overseeing body that examined men for the ministry).

In 1656 he moved to London as he was appointed as a lecturer at Westminster Abbey and most importantly as rector of St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, succeeding Obadiah Sedgwick. During this time Cromwell died and England entered a period of great uncertainty. This led Presbyterians such as Manton to call for the restoration of Charles II in 1660, traveling along with others to Breda, The Netherlands, to negotiate his return. After Charles returned, Manton was part of the negotiations called the Savoy Conference, in which the scruples of the Presbyterians and Congregationalists concerning the Prayer Book were formally discussed. Yet since the Cavalier Parliament was filled with Laudians, 1662 saw the enactment of the Act of Uniformity 1662. All ministers were to be ordained or re-ordained by a bishop, they were to renounce the Solemn League and Covenant, promise loyalty to the Prayer Book, and subscribe the Thirty-Nine Articles. Since Manton was on favorable terms with Charles II he was offered the Deanery of Rochester, but he refused on conscience grounds.

Manton’s last years were tumultuous. The Act of Uniformity led to the “Great Ejection.” On August 17, 1662, Manton preached his last sermon at Covent Garden on Hebrews 12:1. He also continued to write even when imprisoned for refusing to cooperate for six months in 1670 in violation of the Conventicle Act. 1672 saw the Declaration of Indulgence, in which men like Manton were granted a license to preach at home. Manton then became a lecturer at Pinner’s Hall for the so-called “morning exercises.” Parliament, though, revoked this Indulgence the year after. Manton would later die on October 18, 1677, and was survived by his wife and three children.