By Richard Sibbes
The more we set before the soul that quiet estate in heaven which the souls of perfect men now enjoy, and itself ere long shall enjoy there, the more it will be in love with it, and endeavor to attain unto it. And because the soul never works better, than when it is raised up by some strong affection…–let us look upon our nature, as it is in Christ, in whom it is pure, sweet, calm, meek, every way lovely. This sight is changing sight; love is an affection of imitation; we affect a likeness to him we love. Let us “learn of Christ to be humble and meek,” and the we “shall find rest to our souls,” Matt. 11:29. The setting of an excellent idea and platform before us, will raise and draw up our souls higher, and make us sensible of the least moving of spirit, that shall be contrary to that, the attainment whereof we have in our desires. He will hardly attain to mean things, that sets not before him higher perfection. Naturally we love to see symmetry and proportion, even in a dead picture, and are much taken with some curious piece. But why should we not rather labor to keep the affections of the soul in due proportion? seeing a meek and well ordered soul is not only lovely in the sight of men and angels, but is much set by, by the great God himself. But now the greatest care of those that set highest price upon themselves is, how to compose their outward movements in some graceful manner, never studying how to compose their spirits; and rather how to cover the deformity of their passions than to cure them. Whence it is that foulest inward vices are covered with the fairest masks, and to make this the worse, all this is considered the best of proper society.
Excerpt from The Works of Richard Sibbes, Kindle edition, Loc. 3612 [Language modernized in few places by this site.]