Richard Sibbes (1577-1635): Christ himself is the very heaven of heaven

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I desire to depart, and to bee with Christ (Phil. 1:23).

To be with Christ that came from heaven to be here on earth with us, and descended that we should ascend, to be with him that hath done and suffered so much for us, to be with Christ that delighted to be with us, to be with Christ that emptyed himselfe, and became of no reputation, that became poore to make us rich, to be with Christ our husband now contracted here, that all may bee made up in heaven, this was the thing Paul desired.

Why doth he not say, I desire to be in heaven?

Because heaven is not heaven without Christ, it is better to be in any place with Christ than to be in heaven it selfe without him, all delicacies without Christ are but as a funerall banquet, where the master of the feast is away, there is nothing but solemnnesse: what is all, without Christ? I say the joyes of heaven are not the joyes of heaven without Christ; he is the very heaven of heaven.

True love is carryed to the person; It is adulterous love, to love the thing, or the gift more than the person, S. Paul loved the person of Christ, because hee felt sweet experience that Christ loved him; his love was but a reflection of Christ’s love first, he loved to see Christ, to embrace him, and enjoy him, that had done so much and suffered so much for his soule, that had forgiven him so many sins, &c.

The reason is, because it is best of all; To be with Christ is to be at the spring-head of all happines, it is to be in our proper element, every creature thinkes it selfe best in its owne element, that is the place it thrives in, and enjoyes its happinesse in; now Christ is the element of a Christian.

– Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), ‘Christ is Best’, The Saint’s Safetie in Evill Times (1633), 186-189.

Richard Sibbes (1577-1635): His life is a commentary on his inward man

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“[W]herever true wisdom and judgment are, there Christ has set up his government, because where wisdom is it directs us, not only to understand, but to order our ways aright. Where Christ as a prophet teaches by his Spirit, he likewise as a king subdues the heart by his Spirit to obedience to what is taught. This is that teaching which is promised of God, when not only the brain but the heart itself is taught; when men do not only know what they should do but are taught the very doing of it. They are not only taught that they should love, fear and obey, but they are taught love itself, and fear and obedience themselves. Christ sets up his throne in the very heart and alters its direction, so making his subjects good, together with teaching them to be good. Other princes can make good laws, but they cannot write them in their people’s hearts (Jer. 31:33). This is Christ’s prerogative: he infuses into his subjects his own Spirit. Upon him there does not only rest the spirit of wisdom and understanding, but likewise the spirit of the fear of the Lord (Isa. 11:2). The knowledge which we have of him from himself is a transforming knowledge (2 Cor. 3:18). The same Spirit who enlightens the mind inspires gracious inclinations into the will and affections and infuses strength into the whole man. As a gracious man judges as he should, so he inclines to and does as he judges. His life is a commentary on his inward man. There is a sweet harmony among God’s truth, his judgment, and his whole conversation.”

– Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), The Bruised Reed, p. 87-88

Richard Sibbes (1577-1635): Truth is truth, whether men think so or not

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“Truth is truth, and error, error, and that which is unlawful is unlawful, whether men think so or not. God has put an eternal difference between light and darkness, good and ill, which no creature’s conceit can alter; and therefore no man’s judgment is the measure of things further than it agrees to truth stamped upon things themselves by God.”

– Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), The Bruised Reed, p. 84

Richard Sibbes (1577–1635): Pardon leads to obedience

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“This may serve for a trial to discern who may lay just claim to Christ’s mercy. Only those that will take his yoke and count it a greater happiness to be under his government than to enjoy any liberty of the flesh; that will take whole Christ, and not single out of him what may stand with their present contentment; that will not divide Lord from Jesus, and so make a Christ of their own, may make this claim. None ever did truly desire mercy for pardon but desired mercy for healing. David prays for a new spirit, as well as for a sense of pardoning mercy (Ps. 51:10).”

– Richard Sibbes (1577–1635), The Bruised Reed, p. 80

Richard Sibbes (1577–1635): We must consider ourselves as Christ does

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“…in case of discouragement, we must consider ourselves as Christ does, who looks on us as those he intends to fit for himself. Christ values us by what we shall be, and by what we are elected unto. We call a little plant a tree, because it is growing up to be so. ‘Who has despised the day of small things?’ (Zech. 4:10). Christ would not have us despise little things.”

– Richard Sibbes (1577–1635), The Bruised Reed, p. 17

Richard Sibbes (1577–1635) on “the sweet work of effectual calling”

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“As the minister speaks to the ear, Christ speaks, opens, and unlocks the heart at the same time; and gives it power to open, not from itself, but from Christ…. The manner of working of the reasonable creature, is to work freely by a sweet inclination, not by violence. Therefore when he works the work of conversion, he doth it in a sweet manner, though it be mighty for the efficaciousness of it.”

– Richard Sibbes (1577–1635), “Bowels Opened” in The Works, 2:63

Richard Sibbes (1577–1635): What a Comfort This Is!

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“What a support to our faith is this, that God the Father, the party offended by our sins, is so well pleased with the work of redemption! And what a  comfort is this, that, seeing God’s love rests on Christ, as well pleased in him, we may gather that he is as well pleased with us, if we be in Christ!”

– Richard Sibbes (1577–1635), A Bruised Reed, p. 2