Pondering Creation, an Advantage to Faith

Manton Mondays — Insights on the Word from puritan Thomas Manton

Hebrews 11 begins with a wonderful description of faith in action:  “[1] Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. [2] For by it the people of old received their commendation.’ (ESV)  It then immediately speaks of the role faith in understanding the act of creation (11:3), “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” 

Thomas Manton points us to the great advantages for our faith in pondering God’s creation….

[Turning our minds to creation] is a wonderful advantage to faith to give us hope and consolation in the greatest distresses. The whole creation is a standing monument of God’s power; we see what He can do— Psalm 114:8, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” As long as heaven and earth is standing, we need not distrust God’s power — Jer. 32:17, “Ah Lord God, behold Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power, and stretched out arm; and there is nothing too hard for Thee.” So Psalm 146:5-6, “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help; whose hope is in the Lord his God, which made heaven and earth, and sea, and all that therein is, which keeps truth for ever.” The works of creation are but pawns and pledges of the possibility and certainty of everything promised. Every promise is as powerful as God’s first creating word, “let there be light.”

In those four phases, Manton shows his mastery of the Word, and his pastoral heart to help and encourage us — read them again, and again.

  • Creation is a monument of God’s power; we see what He can do…
  • As long as heaven & earth stand, we need not distrust God’s power…
  • The works of creation are but pawns & pledges of the possibility and certainty of everything promised.
  • Every promise is as powerful as God’s first creating word, “let there be light!”

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The temporal trumps the eternal?

Thomas Manton writes:

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“Alas, in general, things temporal work more upon us than things eternal, and the things visible than things invisible. A small matter will prove to be a temptation, and a little pleasure or profit will greatly motivate us. We do not have half the seriousness in spiritual things as in earthly. Surely men do not cherish heaven, since they labor and care for it so little. Alas! They live as if they have never heard of such a thing, or do not believe what they hear, since every toy and trifle is preferred before it. If a poor man understood that some great inheritance was bequeathed to him, would he not often think of it, and rejoice in it, and long to take possession of it? The promise of eternal life is left with us in the gospel, but who puts in for a share? Who longs for it? Who takes hold of it? Who gives all diligence to make it sure? Who desires to go and see it? O, that I might be dissolved, and be with Christ! If these hopes have so little an influence on us, it is a sign we do not cherish them more in our hearts.”

Manton: measured by your mouth

MantonPuritan pastor Thomas Manton makes a point…

The ox bellows, the ass brayeth, goats and sheep may be known by their bleat; and so is a man by the tenor of his discourse. As the constitution of the mind is, so are the words. …. Still the tap runs according to the liquor with which the vessel is filled; and a man’s speech betrays him of what kind he is….

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Why does God love us?

Thanks to my friend Tony for spotting this quote for us (and for the fine illustration):

In a sermon on John 3:16 (“God so loved, that he gave…”), Puritan Thomas Manton makes the following point on God’s indescribable love towards sinners in sending His Son:

“Love is at the bottom of all. We may give a reason of other things, but we cannot give a reason of his love, God showed his wisdom, power, justice, and holiness in our redemption by Christ. If you ask, Why he made so much ado about a worthless creature, raised out of the dust of the ground at first, and had now disordered himself, and could be of no use to him? We have an answer at hand, Because he loved us. If you continue to ask, But why did he love us? We have no other answer but because he loved us; for beyond the first rise of things we cannot go.

And the same reason is given by Moses, Deuteronomy 7:7-8: ‘The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people, for ye were the fewest of all people; but because the Lord loved you…’ That is, in short, he loved you because he loved you. All came from his free and undeserved mercy; higher we cannot go in seeking after the causes of what is done for our salvation.”

humbled by the truth,
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