Written by Richard Sibbes
“And this is the will of him who sent me,
that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me,
but raise it up on the last day.”
–John 6:39 (ESV)
…for this is the way to keep you aware. If any thing help us, it must be God; and if ever he help us, it must be by casting ourselves upon him: for then he will reach out himself unto us in the promise of mercy to pardon our sin, and in the promise of grace to sanctify our natures. It was a good resolution of the lepers, “If we enter into the city, the famine is there, and we shall die”, say they; “if we sit still, we shall die also: let us therefore fall into the host of Assyrians, if they save us, we shall live; if they kill us, we shall but die.”
So we should reason: if we sit still under the load of our sin, we shall die; if we put ourselves into the hands of Christ, if he save us, we shall live; if he save us not, we shall but die. No, surely he will not suffer us to die.
Did ever Christ thrust any back from him, that put themselves upon him? Unless it were by that means to draw them nearer to him, as we see in the woman of Canaan, His denial was but to increase her recourse. We should therefore do as she did, gather all arguments to help our faith…
Suppose I am a dog, says she,
…yet I am one of the family, and therefore have right to the crumbs that fall.
So, Lord, I have been a sinner,
…yet I am thy creature; and not only so, but such a creature as you have set over the rest of the works of your hands;
And not only so, but one whom you have introduced into your Church by baptism,
…whereby you would bind me to give myself unto you and your family beforehand;
And more than this, you have brought me under other means of grace,
…and by doing so, you have showed your will concerning my turning towards you.
You have not only offered me conditions of peace,
…but you have wooed me by your ministers to give up myself unto you, as yours in your Christ.
Therefore, I dare not suspect your good meaning towards me, or question your intent,
…but I therefore, resolve by your grace, to take your counsel, and put myself upon your mercy.
I cannot think, if you had meant to cast me away, and not to own me for your own,
…that you would have ever kindled these desires in me.
Taken from the “Soul’s Conflict with Itself and Victory Over Itself by Faith” by Richard Sibbes
Edited for thought and sense.
Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Richard Sibbes (or Sibbs) (1577–1635) was an English theologian. He is known as a Biblical exegete, and as a representative, with William Perkinsand John Preston, of what has been called “main-line” Puritanism.
He was the author of several devotional works expressing intense religious feeling — The Saint’s Cordial (1629), The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax (1631, exegesis of Isaiah 42:3), The Soules Conflict (1635), etc. The clerical leaders of the Feoffees, Davenport, Gouge and Sibbes, all adhered to Calvinist covenant theology, as shaped by the English theologians Perkins, Preston, William Ames, and Thomas Taylor.
His works were much read in New England. Thomas Hooker, prominent there from 1633, was directly influenced by Sibbes, and his “espousal theology”, using marriage as a religious metaphor, draws on The Bruised Reed and Bowels Opened. Sibbes was cited by the Methodist John Wesley. The Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon studied his craft in Sibbes, Perkins and Thomas Manton. The evangelical Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote in the highest terms of his own encounter with the work of Sibbes.