After ‘Hallowed be thy name’

 By Thomas Manton (1620–1677) 

He doth not say…

imagesWV1R6P4B‘And thy kingdom come;’ they are propounded as distinct sentences: but, ‘Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts,’ for three reasons:—

[1.] Without pardon all the good things of this life will do us no good. They are but as a full diet, or as a rich suit, to a condemned person; they will not comfort him and allay his present fears. Until we are pardoned, we are under a sentence, ready for execution and therefore we cannot have that comfort in outward things until we have some interest in God’s fatherly mercy. A man that is condemned hath the king’s allowance until execution. So it is the indulgence of God to a wicked man to give him many outward things, though he is condemned already. We should not satisfy ourselves with daily bread without a sense of some interest in pardoning mercy.

[2.] To show us our unworthiness. Our sins are so many and grievous that we are not worthy of one morsel of bread to put in our mouths. When we say, ‘ Give us this day,’ &c., we need presently to say, ‘ Forgive us our sins.’ There is a forfeiture even of these common blessings: Gen. xxxii. 10, ‘ I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant.’ All that we have we have from mercy, and it is mercy undeserved. As we are creatures, there can be no common right between God and us to engage him to give temporal blessings, for we owe ourselves wholly to him, as being created out of nothing. Children cannot oblige their parents. But much more, as we are guilty creatures, it is merely of the mercy of the Lord.

He-hears-our-cries[3.] These are joined together because sin is the great obstacle and hindrance of all the blessings which we expect from God: Jer. v. 25, ‘ Your sins have withheld good things from you.’ When mercy comes to us, sin stands in the way and turns it back again, so that it cannot have so clear a passage to us. Therefore God must forgive before he can give, that is, bestow these outward things as a blessing on us.

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.



Wilhelmus a’Brakel, 1635-1711, was a major representative of the Dutch Further Reformation

1376617_717152451632490_1449929609_n…it is thus essential for you to believe that all good gifts and the blessing upon that which you have, come from God…

…and that you acknowledge God as being the origin of all good things. Such He truly is: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). All that exists is God’s; whatever anyone possesses he has received from God. “I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold,… my corn… my wine… my wool and my flax” (Hosea 2:8-9). Man is but a naked entity and all that he has does not proceed from himself. All that he has proceeds from another source—he has received it from God alone. “What hast thou that thou didst not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7). The Lord causes food to come forth from the earth; the Lord grants to each his peculiar portion; the Lord renders the food efficacious unto nourishment; the Lord maintains man and beast; He even provides the cattle with their food and the young ravens when they cry to Him.

Since all is the Lord’s and He communicates to everyone that which is His, one must invoke the Lord for all that we stand in need of and acknowledge Him as the origin and giver. We must not do so, however, with the disposition of a creature, but as a reconciled child in Christ and with a childlike heart. If we receive something, we must receive it as out of the hand of God as being our Father. We must be satisfied with that which the Father gives — be it much or little, it will be enough. Therefore we ought not to waste it, but with a joyful heart make use of it. We must then always lift up our heart on high to the Giver, doing so with a grateful heart and with a mouth filled with the praises of the Lord. “Praise the LORD, 0 Jerusalem; praise thy God, 0 Zion. For He hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; He hath blessed thy children within thee. He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat” (Psa. 147:12-14). God requires and expects this, He is pleased with it.

The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Volume 4 (125-27); Volume 3 (Page 552-553)

Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Wilhelmus à Brakel (2 January 1635, Leeuwarden – 30 October 1711, Rotterdam), a contemporary of Voetius and Witsius, was a major representative of the Dutch Further Reformation (known in Dutch as De Nadere Reformatie). This movement was contemporaneous with and greatly influenced by English Puritanism. Scholars in the Netherlands have defined this movement as follows:“The Dutch Second Reformation is that movement within the Dutch Reformed Church during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which, as a reaction to the declension or absence of a living faith, made both the personal experience of faith and godliness matters of central importance. From that perspective the movement formulated substantial and procedural reformation initiatives, submitting them to the proper ecclesiastical, political, and social agencies, and/or in conformity therewith pursued in both word and deed a further reformation of the church, society, and state.”à Brakel and his ministry functioned at the approximate center of this Pietistic movement, both historically and theologically. On a time line, beginning in 1606 with the ministry of the father of theNadere Reformatie, Willem Teellinck, and terminating in 1784 with the death of Theodorus Vander Groe, à Brakel’s ministry (particularly his most important pastorate in Rotterdam from 1683–1711) marks the center of this time line. However, more significantly, his ministry represents a remarkable balance of the Nadere Reformatie relative to both its early and concluding stages.His prominence as a major representative of this movement is largely due to his magnum opus The Christian’s Reasonable Service. After its initial publication in 1700, this four volume work was quickly recognized as a monumental contribution to the literature of the Nadere Reformatie. It has been argued by scholars that this work is a synthesis of the best Puritan literature published in England and the Netherlands. Nadere Reformatie scholar, F. Earnest Stoeffler puts it this way, “He supplied Reformed Pietism with a theological textbook which…came out of a tradition wholly native to the Netherlands. In it he…preserved the balance between the mystical and ethical elements in Christianity which is so characteristic of the great Pietists in the Reformed communion.”As a result of this work, à Brakel has permanently endeared himself to hearts of Reformed believers in the Netherlands. Already during his lifetime, the affection for him was such that he was fondly referred to as “Father Brakel”—a title by which he is known in the Netherlands until this day. For more than three centuries the influence of The Christian’s Reasonable Service has been such that “Father Brakel” continues to be the most influential of all the representatives of the Nadere Reformatie (frequently referred to today as Dutch Puritanism). Since the publication of The Christian’s Reasonable Service in English, his influence is growing steadily among both scholars and lovers of Puritan literature as well.The uniqueness of à Brakel’s work lies in the fact that it is more than a systematic theology. His selection of the title is already an indication that it was not merely his intention to present a systematic explanation of Christian dogma to the public.