Tag Archives: The Bruised Reed

“He shall carry you safely home” by J.C. Ryle

“Let all the world know that the Lord Christ is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. As a father pitieth his children, so He pitieth them that fear Him.

As one whom his mother comforteth, so will He comfort His people. (James 5:11; Matt. 12:20; Ps. 103:13; Isa. 66:13.)

He cares for the lambs of His flock as well as for the old sheep.

He cares for the sick and feeble ones of His fold as well as for the strong. It is written that He will carry them in His bosom, rather than let one of them be lost. (Isaiah 40:11.)

He cares for the least member of His body, as well as for the greatest.

He cares for the babes of His family as well as the grown up men.

He cares for the tenderest little plants in His garden as well as for the cedar of Lebanon. All are in His book of life, and all are under His charge. All are given to Him in an everlasting covenant, and He has undertaken, in spite of all weaknesses, to bring every one safe home.

Only let a sinner lay hold on Christ by faith, and then, however feeble, Christ’s word is pledged to him, ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’ He may correct him occasionally in love.

He may gently reprove him at times. But He will never, never give him up. The devil shall never pluck him from Christ’s hand.

Let all the world know that the Lord Jesus will not cast away His believing people because of short-comings and infirmities. The husband does not put away his wife because he finds failings in her.

The mother does not forsake her infant because it is weak, feeble, and ignorant. And the Lord Christ does not cast off poor sinners who have committed their souls into His hands because He sees in them blemishes and imperfections.

Oh! no! It is His glory to pass over the faults of His people, and heal their backslidings,—to make much of their weak graces, and to pardon their many faults.

Who is there now among the readers of this paper that feels desires after salvation, but is afraid to become decided, lest by-and-by he should fall away? Consider, I beseech you, the tenderness and patience of the Lord Jesus, and be afraid no more.

Fear not to take up the cross, and come out boldly from the world. That same Lord and Saviour who bore with the disciples is ready and willing to bear with you.

If you stumble, He will raise you.

If you err, He will gently bring you back.

If you faint, He will revive you.

He will not lead you out of Egypt, and then suffer you to perish in the wilderness. He will conduct you safe into the promised land.

Only commit yourself to His guidance, and then, my soul for yours, He shall carry you safely home. Only hear Christ’s voice, and follow Him, and you shall never perish.”

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 299–300.

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“He will not break the bruised reed” by J.C. Ryle

“Let all the world know that the Lord Christ is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. As a father pitieth his children, so He pitieth them that fear Him.

As one whom his mother comforteth, so will He comfort His people. (James 5:11; Matt. 12:20; Ps. 103:13; Isa. 66:13.)

He cares for the lambs of His flock as well as for the old sheep.

He cares for the sick and feeble ones of His fold as well as for the strong. It is written that He will carry them in His bosom, rather than let one of them be lost. (Isaiah 40:11.)

He cares for the least member of His body, as well as for the greatest.

He cares for the babes of His family as well as the grown up men.

He cares for the tenderest little plants in His garden as well as for the cedar of Lebanon. All are in His book of life, and all are under His charge. All are given to Him in an everlasting covenant, and He has undertaken, in spite of all weaknesses, to bring every one safe home.

Only let a sinner lay hold on Christ by faith, and then, however feeble, Christ’s word is pledged to him, ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’ He may correct him occasionally in love.

He may gently reprove him at times. But He will never, never give him up. The devil shall never pluck him from Christ’s hand.

Let all the world know that the Lord Jesus will not cast away His believing people because of short-comings and infirmities. The husband does not put away his wife because he finds failings in her.

The mother does not forsake her infant because it is weak, feeble, and ignorant. And the Lord Christ does not cast off poor sinners who have committed their souls into His hands because He sees in them blemishes and imperfections.

Oh! no! It is His glory to pass over the faults of His people, and heal their backslidings,—to make much of their weak graces, and to pardon their many faults.

Who is there now among the readers of this paper that feels desires after salvation, but is afraid to become decided, lest by-and-by he should fall away? Consider, I beseech you, the tenderness and patience of the Lord Jesus, and be afraid no more.

Fear not to take up the cross, and come out boldly from the world. That same Lord and Saviour who bore with the disciples is ready and willing to bear with you.

If you stumble, He will raise you.

If you err, He will gently bring you back.

If you faint, He will revive you.

He will not lead you out of Egypt, and then suffer you to perish in the wilderness. He will conduct you safe into the promised land.

Only commit yourself to His guidance, and then, my soul for yours, He shall carry you safe home. Only hear Christ’s voice, and follow Him, and you shall never perish.”

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 299–300.

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“Be strong in the Lord” by Richard Sibbes

“The victory lies not with us, but with Christ, who has taken on Him both to conquer for us and to conquer in us. The victory lies neither in our own strength to get it, nor in our enemies’ strength to defeat it.

If it lay with us, we might justly fear. But Christ will maintain His own government in us and take our part against our corruptions. They are His enemies as well as ours. Let us therefore be ‘strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might’ (Eph. 6:10).

Let us not look so much at who our enemies are as at who our Judge and Captain is, nor at what they threaten, but at what He promises. We have more for us than against us. What coward would not fight when he is sure of victory? None is here overcome but he that will not fight.”

–Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1630/1998), 122.

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“Christ is a strong Saviour” by Richard Sibbes

“Christ will not leave us till He has made us like Himself, all glorious within and without, and presented us blameless before His Father (Jude 24). What a comfort this is in our conflicts with our unruly hearts, that it shall not always be thus!

Let us strive a little while, and we shall be happy forever. Let us think when we are troubled with our sins that Christ has this in charge from His Father, that He shall not ‘quench the smoking flax’ until He has subdued all.

This puts a shield into our hands to beat back ‘all the fiery darts of the wicked’ (Eph. 6:16). Satan will object, ‘You are a great sinner.’ We may answer, ‘Christ is a strong Saviour.’ But Satan will object, ‘You have no faith, no love.’  We reply: ‘Yes, a spark of faith and love.’

Satan says: ‘But Christ will not regard that.’ We answer: ‘Yes, He will not quench the smoking flax.’ Satan says: ‘But this is so little and weak that it will vanish and come to naught.’ We reply: “Nay, but Christ will cherish it, until He has brought judgment to victory.'”

–Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1630/1998), 123.

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“A little faith” by Richard Sibbes

“A little thing in the hand of a giant will do great things. A little faith strengthened by Christ will work wonders.”

–Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1630/1998), 92.

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“Look at the promises” by Richard Sibbes

“A Christian complains he cannot pray. ‘Oh, I am troubled with so many distracting thoughts, and never more than now!’ But has He put into your heart a desire to pray? Then He will hear the desires of His own Spirit in you.

‘We know not what we should pray for as we ought’ (nor how to do anything else as we ought), but the Spirit helps our infirmities with ‘groanings which cannot be uttered’ (Rom. 8:26), which are not hid from God. ‘My groaning is not hid from thee’ (Psa. 38:9).

God can pick sense out of a confused prayer. These desires cry louder in His ears than your sins. Sometimes a Christian has such confused thoughts that he can say nothing but, as a child, cries ‘O Father,’ not able to express what he needs, like Moses at the Red Sea.

These stirrings of spirit touch the heart of God and melt Him into compassion towards us, when they come from the Spirit of adoption, and from a striving to be better.

‘Oh, but is it possible,’ thinks the misgiving heart, ‘that so holy a God should accept such a prayer?’ Yes, He will accept that which is His own, and pardon that which is ours. Jonah prayed in the fish’s belly (Jon. 2:1), being burdened with the guilt of sin, yet God heard him.

Let not, therefore infirmities discourage us. James takes away this objection (James 5:17). Some might object, ‘If I were as holy as Elijah, then my prayers might be regarded.’ ‘But,’ says he, ‘Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are.’ He had his passions as well as we, or do we think that God heard him because he was without fault? Surely not.

But look at the promises: ‘Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee’ (Psa. 50:15). ‘Ask, and it shall be given you’ (Matt. 7:7) and other like these.

God accepts our prayers, though weak, because we are His own children, and they come from His own Spirit, because they are according to His own will, and because they are offered in Christ’s mediation, and He takes them, and mingles them with His own incense (Rev. 8:3).

There is never a holy sigh, never a tear we shed, which is lost. And as every grace increases by exercise of itself, so does the grace of prayer. By prayer we learn to pray. So, likewise, we should take heed of a spirit of discouragement in all other holy duties, since we have so gracious a Saviour.

Pray as we are able, hear as we are able, strive as we are able, do as we are able, according to the measure of grace received. God in Christ will cast a gracious eye upon that which is His own.”

–Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1630/1998), 50-51.

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“The mercy of an infinite God” by Richard Sibbes

“‘He will not quench the smoking wick or flax.’ It adds strength to faith to consider that all expressions of love issue from nature in Christ, which is constant. God knows that, as we are prone to sin, so, when conscience is thoroughly awakened, we are prone to despair for sin.

And therefore He would have us know that He setteth Himself in the covenant of grace to triumph in Christ over the greatest evils and enemies we fear, and that His thoughts are not as our thoughts are, and that He is God and not man, and that there are heights, and depths, and breadths of mercy in Him above all the depths of our sin and misery, and that we should never be in such a forlorn condition, wherein there should be ground of despair, considering our sins be the sins of men and His mercy the mercy of an infinite God.

But though it be a truth clearer than the sunbeams, that a broken-hearted sinner ought to embrace mercy so strongly enforced, yet there is no truth that the heart shutteth itself more against than this, especially in sense of misery, when the soul is fittest for mercy, until the Holy Spirit sprinkleth the conscience with the blood of Christ, and sheddeth His love into the heart, so that the blood of Christ in the conscience may cry louder than the guilt of sin.

For only God’s Spirit can raise the conscience with comfort above guilt, because He only is greater than the conscience. Men may speak comfort, but it is Christ’s Spirit than can only comfort.”

–Richard Sibbes, “To the General Reader,” The Bruised Reed and the Smoking Flax, in The Works of Richard Sibbes, Ed. Alexander Grosart (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, Repr. 2001), 1:89.

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