Tag Archives: Works of Richard Sibbes

“Christ is our life in death” by Richard Sibbes

“Christ is our life in death, our light in darkness, our righteousness in sinfulness and guilt, our holiness in impurity, our redemption in all our miseries.”

–Richard Sibbes, “St. Paul’s Challenge,” in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes (ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart; vol. 7; Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; W. Robertson, 1864), 7: 388.

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“Tenderness of heart” by Richard Sibbes

“Tenderness of heart is wrought by an apprehension of tenderness and love in Christ. A soft heart is made soft by the blood of Christ.

Many say, that an adamant cannot be melted with fire, but by blood. I cannot tell whether this be true or no; but I am sure nothing will melt the hard heart of man but the blood of Christ, the passion of our blessed Saviour.

When a man considers of the love that God hath shewed him in sending of His Son, and doing such great things as He hath done, in giving of Christ to satisfy His justice, in setting us free from hell, Satan and death: the consideration of this, with the persuasion that we have interest in the same, melts the heart, and makes it become tender.

And this must needs be so, because that with the preaching of the gospel unto broken-hearted sinners cast down, there always goes the Spirit of God, which works an application of the gospel.

Christ is the first gift to the Church. When God hath given Christ, then comes the Spirit, and works in the heart a gracious acceptance of mercy offered.

The Spirit works an assurance of the love and mercy of God. Now love and mercy felt, work upon the tender heart a reflective love to God again.

What, hath the great God of heaven and earth sent Christ into the world for me?

Humbled Himself to the death of the cross for me?

And hath He let angels alone, and left many thousands in the world, to choose me?

And hath He sent His ministers to reveal unto me this assurance of the love and mercy of God?

This consideration cannot but work love to God again. For love is a kind of fire which melts the heart.

So that when our souls are persuaded that God loves us from everlasting, then we reflect our love to Him again. And then our heart says to God, ‘Speak, Lord; what wilt Thou have me to do?’

The soul is pliable for doing, for suffering, for anything God will have it. Then, ‘Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth,’ 1 Sam. 3:9.

And when the heart is thus wrought upon, and made tender by the Spirit, then afterward in the proceeding of our lives, many things will work tenderness: as the works of God, His judgments, the word and sacraments, when they are made effectual by the Spirit of God, work tenderness.

The promises of God also make the heart tender, as Rom. 12:1, ‘I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, offer up your souls and bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God.’

There is no such like argument to persuade men to tenderness of heart, as to propound the love and mercy of God.”

–Richard Sibbes, “Josiah’s Reformation,” in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes (ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart; vol. 7; Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; W. Robertson, 1863), 6: 33-34.

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“Christ will swallow up death in victory” by Richard Sibbes

“‘He shall swallow up death in victory, and wipe away tears from all faces.’ (Isaiah 25:8) Death is here represented to us under the word victory, as a combatant, as one that we are to fight withal, a captain.

And then here is the victory of him, Christ overcomes him, and overcomes him gloriously. It is not only a conquest, but a swallowing of him up.

Usually God useth all sorts of enemies in their own kind. He causeth them that spoil to be spoiled, them that swallow up to be swallowed up. So death the great swallower shall be swallowed up.

Beloved, death is the great king of kings, and the emperor of emperors, the great captain and ruling king of the world; for no king hath such dominion as death hath. It spreads its government and victory over all nations.

He is equal, though a tyrant. As a tyrant spares none, he is equal in this. He subdueth young and old, poor and rich. He levels sceptres and spades together. He levels all.

There is no difference between the dust of an emperor and the meanest man. He is a tyrant that governeth over all. And so there is this equity in him, he spares none.

He hath continued from the beginning of the world to this time; but he is a tyrant brought in by ourselves (Rom. 5:19).

Sin let in death. It opened the door. Death is no creature of God’s making. Satan brought in sin, and sin brought in death. So that we be accessory ourselves to the powerful stroke of this prevailing tyrant.

And therefore sin is called the cause of death. Sin brought in death, and armeth death. The weapon that death fights with, and causeth great terror, it is sin. The cause is armed with the power of the wrath of God for sin, the fear of hell, and damnation.

So that wrath, and hell, and damnation, arming sin, it bringeth a sting of itself, and puts a venom into death. All cares, and fears, and sorrows, and sicknesses, are less and petty deaths, harbingers to death itself.

But the attendants that follow this great king are worst of all, as Rev. 6:8, ‘I saw a pale horse, and death upon it, and after him comes hell.’ What were death, if it were not for the pit, and dungeon that followeth it? So that death is attended with hell, and hell with eternity.

Therefore here is a strange kind of prevailing. There is no victory where there is no enemy, and therefore death must needs be an enemy, yea, it is the worst enemy, and the last enemy.

Death depriveth us of all comfort, pleasure, communion with one another in this life, callings or whatsoever else is comfortable. The grave is the house of oblivion. Death is terrible of itself.

Death is the greatest swallower, and yet it is swallowed up by Christ. Death hath swallowed up all, and when it hath swallowed up, it keepeth them. It keeps the dust of kings, subjects, great and small, to the general day of judgment, when death shall be swallowed up of itself.

It is therefore of the nature of those that Solomon speaks of, that cry, ‘Give, give,’ Prov. 30:15, and yet is never satisfied, like the grave, yet this death is swallowed up in victory.

But how cometh death to be swallowed up? Christ will swallow up death in victory, for Himself and His. Because sin brought in death, our Saviour Christ became sin, a sacrifice to His Father’s justice for sin.

He was made sin for us, He was made a curse for us, to take away the curse due to us. And sin being taken away, what hath death to do with us, and hell, and damnation, the attendants on death? Nothing at all.”

–Richard Sibbes, “The Glorious Feast of the Gospel” in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes (ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart; Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet And Co.; W. Robertson, 1862), 2:471–472.

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“God alone opens the heart” by Richard Sibbes

“As our hearts are shut and closed up naturally, so God, and God alone, opens the heart, by His Spirit in the use of the means. God opened Lydia’s heart.

God hath many keys. He hath the key of heaven to command the rain to come down. He hath the key of the womb; the key of hell and the grave; and the key of the heart especially. ‘He opens, and no man shuts; and shuts and no man opens,’ Rev. 3:7.

He hath the key of the heart to open the understanding, the memory, the will, and affections. God, and God only, hath the key of the heart to open that. It is His prerogative.

He made the heart, and He only hath to do with the heart. He can unmake it, and make it new again, as those that make locks can do. And if the heart be in ill temper, He can take it in pieces, and bring it to nothing as it were, as it must be before conversion.

And He can make it a new heart again. It is God that opens the heart, and God only. All the angels in heaven cannot give one grace, not the least grace. Grace comes altogether from God. It is altogether from God.

All the creatures in the world cannot open the heart, but God only by His Holy Spirit. For nature cannot do above its sphere, as we say, above its own power. Natural things can do but natural things.

For nature to raise itself up to believe heavenly things, it cannot be. Therefore as you see vapours go as high as the sun draws them up, and no higher, so the soul of man is lift up to heavenly things by the power of God’s Spirit.

God draws us and then we follow. God, I say, only openeth the heart.”

–Richard Sibbes, “Lydia’s Conversion,” in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, Volume 6, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; W. Robertson, 1863), 524.

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