Much of evangelicalism has forsaken a Word-based approach to Christian spirituality, so to help us recover a model of biblical piety, J. Stephen Yuille examines Thomas Manton’s sermons on Psalm 119. Following a brief account of Manton as a leading Puritan committed to the ministry of the Word, Yuille leads us on a careful investigation of Manton’s understanding of blessedness, the instrumentality of God’s Word, and the practice of spiritual duties. At the foundation stands the conviction that as we love and obey God’s Word, the blessed God communes with us by His Spirit, conveying sweet influences on our soul through His Word. Manton’s spirituality of the Word is a timely remedy for the subjective mysticism that expects God to speak through inner urgings apart from His Word. Let us learn from Manton how to listen to the Bible as if we heard God speaking to us from heaven, rejoicing like those who find “great spoil” (Ps. 119:162).
J. Stephen Yuille is the vice president of academics at Heritage College and Seminary, Cambridge, Ontario. He also serves as associate professor of biblical spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.
“J. I. Packer has called the Puritans of the seventeenth century the “spiritual redwoods of church history.” One of those most towering figures was Thomas Manton, a gifted lecturer and author. Stephen Yuille has done the church a great service by introducing Manton to a new generation of believers. This book, Great Spoil: Thomas Manton’s Spirituality of the Word, helps us grasp the proper emphasis necessary for enjoying blessedness in the Christian life. As you turn each page of this book, you will find yourself walking with an authentic spiritual giant from yesteryear.”
—Steven J. Lawson, president of OnePassion Ministries, Dallas, Texas
“Thomas Manton ranks as one of the greatest Puritan preachers, whose ability to apply the demands and the promises of Scripture was rooted in his conviction that Scripture is the word of God. Stephen Yuille’s important new book gets to the heart of Manton’s spirituality of the Word as the Christian’s proper response to the voice from heaven.”
—Crawford Gribben, professor of early modern British history, Queen’s University Belfast
“While the works of some Puritan authors have been ‘basking,’ as it were, in the light of the rediscovery of Puritanism’s spiritual wealth, Thomas Manton has been one of those Puritans whose writings have fallen into the shade. This fresh and timely study of his Word-centered spirituality will hopefully restore him to the prominent place he should occupy in any discussion of Puritan thought. Crisp, convicting, and crucial—highly recommended!”
—Michael A. G. Haykin, chair and professor of church history, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Stephen Yuille has made an informed observation that much evangelical piety, devotion, meditation, and spirituality are built on the effort to achieve transcendence unfettered from the Word of God. Mysticism unrooted from objective, revealed truth gives rise to decreasing rigor in doctrinal fidelity and perceptions of the divine-human encounter detached from the plain truths of the gospel. For that reason he sets his goal in this book ‘to redirect us back to a model of biblical piety (or, spirituality) through an examination of Thomas Manton’s sermons on Psalm 119.’ Through Manton’s masterful treatment of that psalm, Yuille contends that ‘God impresses His excellencies on us through His Word, thereby stirring our affections so that we make returns to Him—faith, love, humility, and repentance.’ This is an extended apologetic for the authority of Scripture and its sole sufficiency for every aspect of our knowledge of God. It is a rich compendium of Puritan theology, and its footnotes provide a virtually independent treatment of bibliographical knowledge and Puritan-Mantonian spirituality.”
—Tom J. Nettles, senior professor of historical theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary