Those Who Have Gone Before Us

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses…” Hebrews 12:1

Christians of later times have more to answer for their infidelity than those of former ages. They that first believed the promises believed without such a cloud of witnesses, or multitude of examples. Many have gone before us that have broken the ice, and that found good success from their own experience; they have commended God to us as a true and faithful God, and will not you go on? When Jonathan and his armour-bearer climbed up the rocks of the Philistines, then the people were encouraged to go up after. So here are some that have gone before you, and it hath succeeded well with them.

-Thomas Manton, volume 2 of Works, page 414

This was taken from Manton’s Farewell Sermon. It was his Farewell Sermon because it was the last sermon he preached from his pulpit, legally, due to the passing of the Act of Uniformity in 1662 which ejected two thousand British ministers from their pulpit because they would not conform to the Church of England rule.  Most, if not all of these ministers were puritans. Here is the editorial note that prefaced this sermon:

The ejection of two thousand ministers by the Act of Uniformity in 1662 could not fail to make a great impression on the minds of the people of England, and especially of the ministers who were ejected, and of the people who had enjoyed their ministry. The last utterances of these ministers in the pulpits which they were about to quit were naturally listened to with peculiar interest. Many of these were published from notes taken by hearers; and in the following year, 1663, these were collected and published in a volume, under the title of  “Farewell Sermons.” In this volume, that by Dr. Manton occupies the second place, coming immediately after that of Mr Calamy. From this volume it is now reprinted.

-Editors Note, from volume 2 of The Works of Thomas Manton, page 410

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