“The saints and children of God are loved with an everlasting former love, not beginning at that instant discovery thereof.
Use 1. The use hereof is, first of all, against those who measure God’s love and favour by their own feeling, because, as God loved them before, so He loves them as well and as dearly still.
God loves them when He hideth His face from them, just as when He suffered His lovingkindness to shine most comfortably upon them.
He loved Christ as dearly when He hanged on the tree, in torment of soul and body, as He did when He said, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,’ Mat. 3:17; yea, and when He received Him up into glory.
The sun shineth as clearly in the darkest day as it doth in the brightest. The difference is not in the sun, but in some clouds which hinder the manifestation of the light thereof.
So God loveth us as well when He shineth not in the brightness of His countenance upon us as when He doth. Job was as much beloved of God in the midst of his miseries as he was afterwards when he came to enjoy the abundance of his mercies, Job 42:7.”
–Richard Sibbes, “The Returning Backslider” in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 2 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet And Co.; W. Robertson, 1862), 320.