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BRIDGES STREET.-Presbyterian, Extinct.

Tiverton, in the same county. He passed through his grammar-learning with so much rapidity, as to be qualified to enter upon academical studies at fourteen years of age; but his parents either judging him too young, or unwilling to part with him too soon, kept him at home about a twelvemonth longer, and in 1635, placed him at Wadham College, Oxford. From thence, in 1639, he was translated to Hart-Hall, and took the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Wood says, he was accounted in his college, "a hot-headed person;" but this is as remote from what was known to be the true character of Dr. Manton, as it is agreeable to his After preparatory studies, he applied himself to divinity, which was the work of his choice, and what he designed to make the business of his life. By a course of unwearied diligence, joined with great intellectual endowments, he was early qualified for the work of the ministry; and took orders much sooner than usual, or than he himself approved, upon maturer thought, and greater experience. He was ordained before he was twenty years of age, by the excellent Joseph Hall, then Bishop of Exeter, and afterwards of Norwich; who took particular notice of him upon that occasion, and expressed his apprehensions, "That he would prove an extraordinary person."

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He entered upon the ministry when the king and parliament were in open hostility, and was confined to Exeter, when it was besieged by the king's forces. After its surrender he went to Lime. He preached his first sermon at Sowton, near Exeter, on Matt. vii. 1. and after being some time unsettled, was chosen to preach a weekly lecture at Colyton, in Devonshire, where he was well attended, and much respected. On his coming to Loudon, he was soon noticed, and frequently employed. Being then in the vigour of youth, he applied himself to his work with great diligence and pleasure, for which he was remarkable all his life. About this time he married Mrs. Morgan, of a genteel family, at Sidbury, Devon; a meek and pious woman,

BRIDGES-STREET.Presbyterian, Extinct.

and though of a weak and tender constitution, she outlived the Doctor, who was naturally hale and strong, about twenty years.

His first settlement was at Stoke-Newington, about the year 1643; to which living he was presented by the Hon. Colonel Popham, in whom he had a kind patron, and whose pious lady also highly esteemed him. It was here, in his course of weekly lectures, that he went through his exposition of James and Jude, both which he' published. He continued seven years at Newington, and possessed the general respect of his parishioners, though there were several persons of different sentiments from himself. Being generally esteemed an excellent preacher, he was often employed in that work in London; and other weighty affairs sometimes called for his attendance. He preached the second sermon before the sons of the clergy, an institution lately set on foot, chiefly through the influence of Dr. Hall, sou to the bishop, who preached the first sermon. He was several times called to preach before the parliament, when he discovered great wisdom and prudence; particularly in a discourse on Deut. xxxiii. 4, 5. which he delivered just after he had given his testimony among the London minister. against the death of the king. This discourse gave great offence, and some in the house talked of sending him to the Tower, when his friends advised him to withdraw; but he resolved to abide the event, and the heat abated.

Mr. Obadiah Sedgwick, of Covent-garden, being disabled from his work, through age, several persons were proposed to succeed him; but he would not resign till Mr. Manton was mentioned, when he readily acquiesced. He was presented to this living by the Earl, afterwards Duke of Bedford, who esteemed him highly to his dying-day; and as á mark of respect, sent him a key of the garden belonging to Bedford-house. At this place he had a numerous audience, amongst whom were many persons of rank and figure› of which number Archbishop Usher was frequently one.

BRIDGES-STREET.Presbyterian, Extinct.

That excellent prelate used to say of him, "That he was one of the best preachers in England," and, "That he was a voluminous preacher;" not that he was ever long and tedious, but because he had the art of reducing the substance of whole volumes into a narrow compass, and representing it to great advantage. Mr. Charnock also, used to say of him, "That he was the best collector of sense of the age."

In the year 1651, Mr. Christopher Love having been convicted of carrying on a secret correspondence with the king, was sentenced to be beheaded on Tower-hill. Mr. Manton, who had a particular respect for him, attended him to the scaffold, where Mr. Love, as a mark of his esteem, gave him his cloak. The government understanding that Mr. Manton intended to preach his funeral sermon, expressed some displeasure, and the soldiers threatened to shoot him. However, he was not to be terrified, but preached at Mr. Love's church in St. Lawrence Jewry, to a numerous congregation, though without pulpit-cloth, or cushion: and he afterwards printed the sermon.

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Though he was far from courting the favour of that government, yet those who directed it, professed, at least, an esteem for him. When Cromwell assumed the Protectorship, in 1653, he sent for him to Whitehall, on the morning of his instalment, and desired him to pray on the occasion. Mr. Manton endeavoured to excuse himself, urging the shortness of the notice; but the Protector replied, that such a man as he could not be at a loss to perform the service, and put him in his study for half an hour to premeditate. About the same time the Protector made him one of his chaplains; and he was nominated by parliament, on a committee of Divines, to draw up a scheme of funda mentals. In the same year, he was appointed one of the committee for approbation of ministers; from which trou

*

Neal's Puritans, vol. iv. p. 98.

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BRIDGES-STREET.- Presbyterian, Extinct.

blesome service he seldom absented himself, in order that he might do all in his power to keep matters from running into extremes. One remarkable instance of his kindness is worth recording. A clergyman of respectable appearance, somewhat in years, appeared before the commissioners, when Dr. Manton called for a chair, at which some of them were displeased. But this minister being preferred to a bishopric in Ireland after the restoration, retained so affectionate a remembrance of the favour, that he charged Bishop Worth, when he went to London, to visit the Doctor, and tell him, that if he was molested in his preaching in England, he should be welcome in Ireland, and have liberty to preach in any part of his diocese undisturbed. What interest he had with the Protector, which was very great, he never applied to any sordid ends of his own, but for the benefit of others, royalists not excepted. Accordingly, when Dr. Hewit was condemned to die for a plot against the government, he was requested, by some of the principal of them, to intercede on his hehalf, and would have succeeded, had it not been for the peculiar aggravation of the case the Protector told him, If Dr. Hewit had shewn himself an ingenuous person, and would have owned what he knew was his share in the design against him, he would have spared his life; but on account of the obstinacy of his temper, he was resolved that he should die; and before they parted, the Protector convinced Mr. Manton, that he knew how far he was engaged in that plot, without his confession.

Upon the accession of Richard Cromwell to the Protectorship, Mr. Manton was called to assist at his inauguration. In the following year, 1659, when the secluded members were restored to the parliament, he was again nominated on the committee for approbation of public

Athenæ Oxon, ubi supra.

BRIDGES-STREET. Presbyterian, Extinct,

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ministers, and was appointed curator of the junction with Dr. Reynolds, and Mr. Calamy.*

Dr. Harris has related two extraordinary anecdotes of him while at Covent-garden. Being called to preach before the Lord Mayor, and court of Aldermen, upon some public occasion, at St. Paul's, he chose a difficult subject, in which he had an opportunity of displaying his judgment and learning. He was heard with admiration and applause; and being invited to dine with the Lord Mayor, received public thanks for his performance. But as he was returning home in the evening, a poor man following him, gently pulled the sleeve of his gown, and asked him if he was the gentleman who preached that day before the Lord Mayor. He replied, he was. "Sir, (says the man) I came with an earnest desire after the word of God, and in hopes of getting some good to my soul, but I was greatly disappointed; for I could not understand a great deal of what you said,-you were quite above me." The Doctor replied with tears, "Friend, if I did not give you a sermon, you have given me one; and by the grace of God, I will never play the fool to preach before my Lord Mayor, in such a manner again.”—Upon another occasion, a public fast being appointed, for the persecuted protestants in the vallies of Piedmont, he engaged Mr. Baxter, and Dr. Wilkins, afterwards Bishop of Chester, to assist him. Mr. Baxter opened the work of the day, and preached upon the words of the prophet Amos vi. 6. But they are not grieved for the afflictions of Joseph. Mr. Manton followed him; and having undesignedly chosen the same text, he was obliged often to refer to the former discourse, by saying every now and then, "As it has been observed by my reverend brother." All this while, Dr. Wilkins sat cruelly uneasy, reckoning that between them both he should have nothing left to say; for it so happened, that he had likewise pitched upon the same text. He,

Neal's Puritans, vol. iv. p. 225.

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