« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
therefore, insisted upon being excused his part of the service; but Mr. Manton would accept no excuse: so he went up into the pulpit, and by an ingenious artifice, he succeeded admirably. Before he named his text, he prepared his audience, by expressing his fears of their narrow-mindedness, and little concern for the interest of God in the world;" "For, (says he) without any knowledge or design of our own, we have all three been directed to the same words;" which, spoken with the majesty and authority peculiar to that excellent person, so awakened the attention and disposed the minds of the people, that he was heard with more regard, and was thought to do more good, though he had scarcely a single thought different from the other two. *
In the year 1660, Mr. Manton was very instrumental, with many other Presbyterian Divines, in the restoration of King Charles II. He was one of the ministers appointed to wait upon the king at Breda; and was afterwards sworn one of his majesty's chaplains; but he never preached at court. + In the same year, he was, with Dr. Bates, and several other Divines, by virtue of his majesty's letters, created Doctor of Divinity, at Oxford. He was one of the ministers who waited upon the king after his arrival, to crave his majesty's interposition for reconciling the differences in the church; and afterwards joined several of his brethren, in a conference with the episcopal clergy, at the Lord Chancellor's house, preparatory to the declaration of his majesty, who was likewise present. Upon the terms of this declaration, Dr. Manton continued in his living of Covent-garden, and received episcopal institution from Dr. Sheldon, Bishop of London, January 16, 1660-61. Having first subscribed the doctrinal articles of the Church of England only, and taken the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and of canonical obedience in all things lawful and honest. The Doctor
• Memoirs, &c. p. 28, 24. + Athenæ Oxon. ubi supra.
+Neal's Puritans, vol. iv. p. 260. Neal's Puritans, vol. iv. 289, 300.
was also content that the common-prayer should be read in his church. Soon after this, he was offered the deanery of Rochester, which those who had purchased bishops' and deans' lands pressed him to accept, offering him their money for new leases, which he might have taken with the deanery, and quitted it again in 1662, as there was then no assent and consent imposed; but he scorned thus to enrich himself with the spoils of others; and finding how things were going at court, absolutely refused. +
In 1661, he was appointed one of the commissioners at the Savoy conference, where he behaved with great modesty, and used his utmost endeavours for a reconciliation, but without success. Bishop Reynolds was the first Divine, on the part of the Presbyterians, who received the commission from the Bishop of London, which he immediately communicated to Dr. Manton, in a letter dated April 1, 1661, wherein he expresses his own candour and goodness, and his great respect for the Doctor.
In the interval between the restoration and his ejectment, he was greatly esteemed by persons of the first quality at court. Sir John Baber used to tell him, that the king had a singular respect for him; and the Lord Chancellor Hyde always treated him with civility and kindness. He had free access to him upon all occasions, which he improved not for himself, but the service of others. But so fickle is the favour of the great, that upon his refusing the deanery, he fell under Lord Clarendon's displeasure; and he once accused him to the king of dropping some treasonable expressions in a sermon: on which his majesty sent for him, with an order to bring his notes. Having read the passage referred to, the king asked him upon his word, if that was all he said; and upon a solemn assurance that it was, he replied, "Doctor, 1 am satisfied, and you may be assured of my
* Neal's Puritans, vol. iv. p. 309. VOL. III.
+ Memoirs, &c. p. 27, 28.
favour; but look to yourself, or else Hyde will be too hard for you.'
Dr. Manton continued preaching, without molestation, till Bartholomew-day, 1662, when he was obliged to resign his living; and three days after he presented the petition of the ejected ministers to the king for a toleration. + After his ejectment, he usually resorted to his own church, where he heard his successor, Dr. Patrick, afterwards Bishop of Ely; but that great man having imprudently and unjustly, charged him with being the author of an anonymous and scurrilous letter, and accompanied the charge with some unbecoming reflections, he discontinued hearing him any longer. After this he preached on the Lord's-day evenings in his own house, and also on Wednesday mornings, when the violence of the times would permit. During his residence in that parish, he enjoyed so much the respect and goodwill of his neighbours, that they were generally civil to him, and gave him no trouble; only a little before his ejectment, one Bird, a tailor, and a zealous stickler for the commonprayer, complained to Dr Sheldon, Bishop of London, that Dr. Manton deprived him of the means of his salvation; meaning the use of the common-prayer: "Well, (says the bishop) all in good time; but you may go to heaven without the common-prayer." When the laws empowered the prosecution of nonconformists, he was often threatened by one Justice Ball, who lived within a few doors of him, and was at last as good as his word. The church-wardens, also, gave him some trouble; but the Duke of Bedford, having always the choice of one out of the three; took care to have him a friend of the Doctor, and the Duke giving him his countenance in other respects, kept him from the malice of the meaner people. Lord Wharton was also his friend, and allowed him the use of his house, which adjoined his meeting in St. Giles; and the good-natured Earl of Berkshire,
+ Neal's Puritans, vol. iv. p. 399.
• Memoirs, &c. p. 29-31.
though a Jansenist Papist, who lived next door to him, gave him liberty, when in any trouble, to pass over a low wall into his premises.*
After the passing of the Oxford Act, in 1665, Dr. Ward, Bishop of Salisbury, in a debate in the house of lords, when speaking of the Presbyterians, said, "It was time to look after them, when such men as Dr. Manton refused to take the oaths; but this slander was soon repelled by the Lord Chamberlain Manchester, who assured the house of the falseness of the charge; and that he himself had administered the oath (of allegiance and supremacy) to him, when he was sworn one of his majesty's chaplains. The Doctor took notice of this as very disengenuous, because, not long before, the bishop and he had met at Astrop-Wells, and the bishop not only treated him with great civility, but entered into particular freedoms with him. The Doctor, indeed, was in his judgment utterly against taking the Oxford oath, viz. "That it is not lawful, upon any pretence whatsoever, to take arms against the king—and, that we will not, at any time, endeavour any alteration of the government in church or state." And when some few of his brethren were satisfied to take the oath, upon the Lord Keeper Bridgman's explaining it as only meaning "unlawful endeavours," the famous Mr. Gouge came from Hammersmith, with a design to take it; but calling upon Dr. Manton in his way, to know his opinion, he was so well satisfied with the reasons he gave against it, that he never took it afterwards.+
In 1668, when the scheme of a comprehension was on foot, Dr. Manton was one of the ministers consulted in that affair, and together with Mr. Baxter, had a meeting with Dr. Wilkins and Dr. Burton; when proposals were drawn up, and corrected, by mutual consent. But when the bill that was prepared by Judge Hale, was laid before parliament, it was rejected upon the first motion, by the high
+ Ibid. 35, 36.
* Memoirs, &c. p. 32-36.
church party. Afterwards, when the king was inclined to grant an indulgence, he ordered some of the nonconformists to be told, that if they would petition for relief, they should be favourably heard. Upon this, Sir John Baber, who was the Doctor's near neighbour, and owed all his preferment to his interest, acquainted him with the king's intentions. But there being some dispute about the manner of wording the address, Sir John unexpectedly called upon Dr. Manton, and Dr. Bates, and took them with him to Lord Arlington's lodgings, at Whitehall. When they were met together, the king, to their great surprise, came into the room; it was thought by design. Dr. Bates pressed Dr. Manton to address the king for his indulgence, which he did in a few words, and with great caution; but it was kindly accepted by his majesty, and well approved by the ministers when it was communicated to them: so that their differences were happily adjusted.*
During the short time this indulgence lasted, it proved an unspeakable blessing to many. Dr. Harris says, he remembers to have heard some of the ejected ministers speak of this period with particular pleasure. They observed, that after the looseness and excess that followed the restoration, the reproaches and persecutions of the Nonconformists, for several years, and the late terrible judgments of plague and fire; multitudes, every where, frequented the opened meetings, some from curiosity, and some from better motives; many were delivered from their former prejudices; and received their first serious impressions: God remarkably owned their ministry at that time, and crowned it, under all their disadvantages, with extraordinary success. But the indulgence being recalled in 1670, the persecution was renewed, and the Doctor was apprehended on a Lord's-day afternoon, just as he had done sermon. The door being opened to let a gentleman out, the justice and his attendants
• Memoirs, &c. p. 41, 42.