Flowers From a Puritan’s Garden
Illustrations and Meditations
Do you ever underline helpful passages in books you are reading? This is exactly what C. H. Spurgeon used to do when reading the Puritans. While reading Thomas Manton, he was struck time and time again by the ‘solid, sensible instruction, forcibly delivered’ that he found there. This collection that he titled Flowers From a Puritan’s Garden is the result.
To Manton’s thoughts, Spurgeon added his own; the result being, as Spurgeon put it, that he cleared Manton’s house of all his pictures, and then hung them up in frames of his own. These newly framed pictures are exhibited in Flowers From a Puritan’s Garden, which Spurgeon intended to be used as an aid to meditation and prayer. Preachers will also find inspiration in these Manton-Spurgeon combinations for sensible and clear sermon illustrations.
One year of daily readings
Charles Spurgeon was a lover of the Puritans, but was especially fond of Thomas Manton. So, Spurgeon collected various short excerpts from Manton’s writings, and gathered them into one volume, for his own joy and edification. Eventually it was published, first in the 1880s. Contains one full year of daily readings. Now we have these daily devotional readings taken from Spurgeon’s favorite Puritan, back in print!
Thomas Manton’s complete works filled 22 volumes with rich theology and commentary on Scripture. From these, Spurgeon selected his most-loved nuggets of wisdom and exposition. Spurgeon also added some of his own devotional thoughts to the volume.
About Thomas Manton:
Born in Somerset in 1620 from a long line of ministers, Thomas Manton entered the University of Oxford as early as 1635. Such was his progress that he was ordained by Bishop Hall at the age of nineteen.
His first charge was in Stoke Newington, Middlesex, where he remained for seven years. Testimony to his remarkable gifts is found in the pages of his Practical Exposition of James which is based on his weekday lectures there.
Called to succeed Obadiah Sedgwick in the better-known pulpit of Covent Garden in London, his ministry came to be widely appreciated. He served as a chaplain to the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell, and also as one of the ‘Triers’ responsible for the supervision of the Christian ministry. Yet Manton was firmly opposed to the execution of Charles I, causing considerable offence by preaching this verse before Parliament.
“Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together. (Deuteronomy 33:4-5)
The Great Ejection
Later he was instrumental in the restoration of Charles II and became a Royal Chaplain. But when offered the Deanery of Rochester he chose rather to suffer with his Puritan brethren in the Great Ejection of 1662.
Preaching thereafter in his own home he was imprisoned for his ministry. Such was Manton’s character that, when the custodian-in-charge was absent he was given the keys to the jail.
Manton died in 1677, after a lifetime of rich and practical biblical ministry.