To Distinguish is To Avoid Trouble (Manton)

In his treatise The Life of Faith Thomas Manton (d. 1677) spent a few paragraphs explaining from Scripture how to improve on cheerfully “walking with God in a course of obedience.” One way is to meditate on God’s promises. Another way is to plead those promises. Still another way is to “counterbalance things.”

What does Manton mean when he says we should counterbalance things? It means to distinguish between fearing God and fearing man (Mt. 10:28). It means to distinguish between eternal and temporal things (Rom. 8:18). It means to understand the use and profit of afflictions despite the present pain of them (Heb. 12:11). After briefly explaining several ways of “counterbalancing” or distinguishing things, Manton writes a few brief but brilliant lines. These are worth reading a few times!

All trouble comes from not right sorting and comparing things; Seeking that on earth which is only to be had in heaven; seeking that in the creature which is only to be had in God; looking for that from self which is only to be found in Christ; seeking that in the law which is only to be had in the gospel.

Thomas Manton, Complete Works

That’s a great quote for sure! If we think about it, so many of our troubles in the Christian life come from not distinguishing the things Manton mentions. Lord, help us to properly “counterbalance things!”

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

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