Thomas Manton… Yet Speaking

Thomas Manton… Yet Speaking

I want to persuade you to study the Scripture, that you may get understanding and hide the Word in your hearts for gracious purposes. This is the Book of books: let it not lie idle. The world can as well be without the sun as the Bible— Psalm 19 speaks first of the sun, then of the Law of God, which is to the Christian as the sun is to the outward world. Consider the great use of the Word for informing the understanding and reforming the will. The Word of God is able “to make the man of God perfect, and thoroughly furnished” (2 Timothy 3:17).
Meditate often on it: “Mary kept all these sayings” (Luke 2:19). How did she keep them? She “pondered them in her heart.” Musing makes the fire to burn, and deep and constant thoughts are operative. The hen which straggles from her nest when she sits a-brooding produces nothing; it is a constant incubation which hatches the young. So when we have only a few straggling thoughts and do not brood upon the Truth— when we have flashes only, like a little glance of a sunbeam upon a wall— it does nothing. But serious thoughts, through the Lord’s blessing, will do the work. Urge the heart again and again. Ask: is this a Truth? What will become of me if I disregard it? Is this the Word of God, and does it find no more entertainment in my heart?
Receive God’s Word in love. The apostle makes this to be the ground of apostasy: “because they received not the love of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Oh, let it soak into the affections. If it lies only in the tongue or in the mind, only to make it a matter of talk and speculation, it will be soon gone. The seed which lies upon the surface, the fowls of the air will pick it up. Therefore hide it deeply; let it soak further and further.
I also want to direct you what to do in reading God’s Word. It is a notable preservative against sin, and an antidote against the infection of the world: “The Law of God is in his heart, none of his steps shall slide” (Psalm 37:31). As long as truth is kept lively and active, and in view of conscience, we shall not slide— or not so often. We have many temptations to divert us from obedience, but we are in safety when the Law of God is in our hearts. Every time you read the Scripture you should lay up something. The best way to destroy ill weeds is by planting the ground with right seed.
Then for promises: what have you hidden in your heart for comfort against desertions and afflictions? In a time of trial you will find one promise gives more comfort and support than all the arguments that can be produced by reason. “This is my comfort in my affliction: Your Word hath quickened me” (Psalm 119:50). He had a word to support him; therefore let us treasure up the promises.
So it is in hearing God’s Word. Do not hear lightly, but hide the Word in your heart, so that it is not embezzled by your own negligence, forgetfulness, or running into carnal distractions; that it be not purloined by Satan, and that he may not snatch away the good Seed out of your soul. When the Word is preached, there is more company present than is visible; there are angels and demons in the assembly. Whenever the sons of God meet together, Satan is there, too. The devil is present to divert the mind by wandering thoughts, by raising prejudices that we may cast out the Word— or by excuses, delays, evasions, putting it off to others when we begin to have some sense of our sin and danger. The devil is loath to let us go too far, lest Christ get a subject into His kingdom.
Therefore let us labor to get something into the heart by every sermon: some fresh consideration is given out to set you to work in the spiritual life. It is sad to consider how many have heard much, and yet laid up little or nothing at all; it may be they have laid it up in their notebooks, but not laid up the Word in their hearts.
Thomas Manton [1620–1677], sourced from, James Stuart Bell, From the Library of Charles Spurgeon: Selections From Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journey, (Baker, 2012), pgs 220–223