Life of Faith 2: A Better Life

By Richard Sibbes

…There is a life besides the natural life, and the root of it is Christ, who is our life.  Life is the best thing in the world, most valued by us; as the devil said concerning Job, “Skin for skin, and all that a man has he will give for his life,” Job 2:4.  Life is the foundation of all comforts; life is the energy proceeding from soul and body.  So the spiritual life is nothing else but the excellent energy, and strong connected strength of the soul and body renewed, grounded on supernatural reasons, which makes it follow the directions of the word, conquer the flesh, and so by degrees be transformed into the image of Christ, consisting in holiness and righteousness.

First point then is, that there is a better life than a natural life, because there is something in a man that aspires and looks to a better state.  A child in the mother’s womb has life and senses in that dark place, but it is not contented there, but is restless as in a prison, tumbles and turns up and down; this life that it has is not to dwell there, but a beginning-life to fit it to live in the more open and spacious world, where it must shortly be sent forth.  So in this dark life of ours there is a divine instinct, power, and thinking in men, that nothing here is enough for us.  Which shows, that there is a place to satisfy the will and the understanding, and fill the affections; that there is a condition that shall make a man fully happy.  That there must be a spiritual life which is this spiritual life; for this life which we live in the flesh is a thing of nothing.

Our little life we live here, what is it?  To live a while, to eat and drink and enjoy our pleasures, and then fall down and die like a beast?  Oh no but to make a beginning for a better life.  If this life be such a blessing, what is then that most excellent spiritual life we speak of? It holds out beyond all.  By this spiritual when one is most sick, you will see him most lively and spiritual.  When sense, and spirit, and sight, and all fail, yet by reasons drawn from spiritual life he comforts himself in Christ, the glory to come, and what he has done for him.

 


Excerpt from Works of Richard Sibbes, Kindle Edition, Loc. 53722 [Language modernized in places by this site.]

 


Life of Faith 1
Life of Faith 3
Excerpts of Mercy

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 1:7

By R.C. Chapman

“Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where Thou feedest: where Thou makest Thou flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?” Song of Solomon 1:7imageedit_3_5632647361

Lord Jesus, my soul loveth Thee! My heart locks Thee within it, as its precious jewel, and rejoices in Thee as those that find great spoil. Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee.

The flesh lusteth against the Spirit! The Canaanite yet in the land—the foe that I would slay and utterly destroy, but cannot; Thou, Lord, thyself, beholding the war, art moved with compassion, and sayest, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

I am bold to say, I love Thee, Thou gracious, glorious, and lovely One! And Thou, hearing me, dost approve my words.  Thou art my portion, O Lord, and gladly will I lack anything to gain Thee.  My thirsty soul desires no fountain but Thyself, and is full of longing to drink yet more abundantly.  She crieth out for Thy pasture, O Thou Shepherd of Israel! Who hast infinite love towards all and each of Thine: Thy blood was their ransom, and Thou sittest upon Thy throne a Royal Shepherd.

Those that are departed to be with Thee abide in the light of Thy countenance; no shades of ignorance nor guilt hide from them thy face. Thou carest for us also, thy flock in the wilderness.  Thou art unto us a shadow from the heat, the shadow of a great rock in this weary land.  All our case is before Thee; to ourselves but little known—to Thee naked, and open—and great is our peace, perfect our safety. Thy power defends, Thy wisdom guides Thy flock; thou leadest them beside still waters, and makest them to lie down in green pastures (Psalm 23:2).

Truly this world is altogether a barren wilderness and a dry land. Alas! Then, my foolishness, that I should ever hew out to myself any broken cisterns! Oh! Why turnest thou aside, my heart? Wherefore stray from the pasture of Jesus? Lord, I call to mind my ways and am filled with indignation against myself, and commit myself afresh to Thy guidance.

O let me not be as one that turneth aside while Thy people follow Thee, hearing Thy voice, drinking the wine of Thy love! They are Thy companions; for is not she Thy companion who is Thy sister, Thy spouse, Thy fair one, thy dove, Thy undefiled! Thou dost grant her freest access to Thee, closest fellowship of the Spirit, such as angels admire, and standing by, rejoice to behold.

Then hear me, O my Lord, tell me where, in this noontide and fierce heat, Thou dost refresh Thy flock! Through temptations manifold, through persecutions and afflictions, I will seek Thee. Thy grace upholding me, I will tread any path where I see the print of Thy feet, for great is the prize I aim to win—it is Thyself! And losing all, but having Thee, I am rich, possessing all things.

imageedit_3_5632647361

Christian Love 9: Love is Patient and Kind

By Hugh Binning

Speaking of Paul and 1st Corinthians 13:

Now he shows the sweet properties of it [Christian love], and good effects of it, how universal an influence it has on all things, but especially how necessary it is to keep the unity of the church.

Charity[Christian love] “is kind” and “suffers long with”, it is able to remain calm and keep itself from retaliating or expressing resentment and generous and gracious toward those against them and or less powerful. And there is indeed no haughtiness of mind but is patient and long suffering.  It is a great weakness and lack of courage and determination to be angry.  Such a spirit does not control itself, it is in bondage to it own lust, but “he who rules his own spirit is greater that he who takes a city.”  Now, it is much of this affection of love that overrules passion.  There is a greatness and height in it, to love those who do not well deserve it from us, to be kind to the unfaithful, not to be easily provoked, and not soon offended and or displeased by others.  A fool’s wrath is presently known.  It is a folly and weakness of spirit, which love, much love cures and amends.  It suffers much unkindness, and long suffers it, and yet can be kind.

 


Excerpt from The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning, Kindle Edition, Loc. 16455, [Some language modernized]


Christian Love 10: Love Is Not Envious or Proud

Christian Love 8 : Greatness of Love

Excepts of Mercy

 

Sweet Drops 9: Changing Sight

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.]


Excepts of Mercy

Sweet Drops: This is 9

1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8          9

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 1:6

By R.C. Chapman

 

“Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun has looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.” (Song of Solomon 1:6)


The entrance of Thy words, my Lord and Savior, giveth light; Thou art the Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2), and wherefore this? Because Thou art the Lamb of God, Thy blood speaks peace, purging the conscience.  To the mourner Thou sayest, “Be of good cheer,” and for such as cast themselves at Thy feet, Thou hasts looks of love, of pity, and condescension, which turn all sorrow into joy.

But, Lord, when Thou lookest upon me, I see and hate all within me which is mine. Thy work within me is good and lovely; but the flesh I loathe, with all its deeds, be they foul or fair.  My soul is self-abased as Thou shinest upon me—my faith knows nothing, boasts in nothing, but the Cross of my Lord.

The offence of the cross has not ceased; no sooner did I know Thee, and confess Thee, than I became a stranger to the sons of Hagar, who genders only to bondage, whose child I was by nature. Thy love drew me aside from the path of the worldling, whether wicked or devout; I became an offence to those I forsook, even those of my own flesh and blood.  And wherefore were they angry? Because in taking my cross I became witness against them by my boasting only in Thee, and counting all who are of the works of the law to be under the curse.

Thou knowest, Lord, their revilings were loud and bitter; their tongue was like a sharp sword; but Thou wast with me and I said, “Let them curse, my Lord hath bidden them” (2 Samuel 16:11). Reviled, I reviled not again; I was dumb, because Thou didst it.  They moved me not to anger; my bowels yearn over them; I besought of Thee, I returned blessing for cursing; and my prayer returned unto my own bosom.

They thought to turn me from following after Thee, but Thou makest the wrath of man to praise Thee; they did but drive me to Thee for wisdom and strength, for grace, peace, and joy. They, walking in their own pride, would be their own keepers, and would have me also abide with who are of the works of the law; but, Lord, my heart cries out, “Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe” (Psalm 119:117); lead me, teach me to go, taking me by the arms; compass me about with Thy grace and glory; be a wall of fire round about me; gather me in Thine arms; in time of sorrow carry me in Thy bosom, and let Thy cross be my boast and song all the day.

In very deed all this Thou performest for me tenderly and faithfully. I know my safety; and this causes me to delight in Thee, and to cleave still more steadfastly to Thee, counting all things but loss that I may win Thee.

 


Excerpt from Meditations on the Song of Solomon, Kindle Edition, Loc. 174


Excerpts of Mercy

Meditations on the Song of Solomon: This is 1:6.

1:1           1:4          1:5          1:6          1:7           1:8-1/2 —2/2          1:9          1:10          1:11          1:12          1:13          1:14          1:15          1:16

Christian Love 8 : Greatness of Love

By Hugh Binning

Now to complete the account of the eminence of this grace, take the remarkable chapter of Paul’s, 1st Corinthians 13., where he uses the comparison between it and other graces, and in the end pronounces on its behalf, “the greatest of these is love.”  I wonder how we please ourselves, as if we had already attained already, when we do not even labor to be acquainted with this, in which the life of Christianity consists,  without which faith is dead, our profession vain, our other duties and endeavors for the truth unacceptable to God and men.  “Yet I show you a more excellent way,”  says he in the end of the previous chapter.  And this is the more excellent way, charity and love, more excellent than gifts, speaking with tongues, prophesying, and so on.  And is it not more excellent than the knowledge and acknowledgment of some present questionable matters, about governments, treaties, and such like, and far more important than every minor detail of them?

But he goes higher.  Suppose a man could spend everything he has upon the maintaining of such an opinion, and give his life for the defense of it, though this in itself is commendable, yet if he lack charity and love to his brothers, if he overstretch that point of conscience to the breach of Christian affection, and duties flowing from it, it profits him nothing.  Then certainly charity must rule over external actions, and have the predominant hand in the use of all gifts, in the expressing of all opinions.  Whatever knowledge and ability a man has, love must employ it, and use it.  Without this, duties and graces make a noise, but they are shallow and empty within.

 


Excerpt from The Works of Rev. Hugh Binning, Kindle Edition, Loc. 16448 [Language modernized in few places by this site]


Christian Love 9: Love is Patient and Kind

Christian Love 7: The End of the Law

Excepts of Mercy

 

Sweet Drops 8: Victorious King

By Richard Sibbes

And let all that has been spoken allure those that are not yet in the state of grace to come under Christ’s sweet and victorious government, for, though we will have much opposition, yet, if we strive, he will help us. If we fail, he will cherish us.  If we are guided by him, we will overcome.  If we overcome, we are sure to be crowned.  As for the present state of the church, we see now how forlorn it is, yet let us comfort ourselves that Christ’s cause will prevail.  Christ will rule, till his enemies become his footstool (Psalm 110:1), not only to trample upon, but to help him up to mount higher in glory.  Babylon will fall, “for strong is the Lord God who judges her” (Rev. 18:8). Christ’s judgment, not only in his children, but also against his enemies, will be victorious, for he is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16).  God will not always suffer antichrist and his supporters to revel and swagger in the church as they do.


Excerpt from Works of Richard Sibbes, Kindle Edition, Loc. 2204 [Language modernized in few places by this site]


Excepts of Mercy

Sweet Drops: This is 8

1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8          9

Chapman’s S.O.S. 1:5

By R.C. Chapman

“I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem; as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.” (Song of Solomon 1:5)

Lord! I am Thine—and in Thy blood I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of Thy grace! The name Thou givest me is new and woundrous—a child of adoption and grace am I, and friend and brother of my Lord!  By the light of Thy grace I see that in me strange opposites do meet—beauty and deformity; all things good, all things evil—all things lovely, all things hateful.

Once, alas! I was in mind and heart altogether at enmity with Thee, and hating Thy name with yet greater malice than I bore to God’s holy law: now I know what once I was, not only by memory of the past, but I see a law in my members warring against the law of my mind; and what is this law in my members but enmity of the flesh bound in chains of grace. As for this my former man, his name is Legion: he is one, yet many.  Once I loved his abominations, caressed, admired them: and what conscience reproved, I could excuse, or hide, or justify.  Now Thou hast given me a law of the mind, a new man, that sees and hates the old.  And yet can I or any creature search out all the depths of sin that dwelleth in me?  Ah, no! But, Lord, I give Thee thanks that I was crucified with Thee, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that I might no longer serve sin (Romans 6:6).

Thou knowest, Lord, I hate with perfect hatred this host of inward foes; they rise up against Thee, and I count them both Thine enemies and mine. Chiefly, Lord, I hate and dread the pride and spiritual wickedness of the flesh, its worship, faith, repentance, prayers, and praises.  Oh, succor me! And behold the oppressions and treacheries of these foes within the city, which would bring me into captivity.  And Thou dost hear me; for Thou knowest Thy servant cannot endure lukewarm heart nor proud spirit; and in his hours of temptation thou knowest his custom—he crieth aloud to Thee, and Thou dost sprinkle his heart with Thy blood, and loose his bonds by Thy peace.

Thou showest him the power of Thy resurrection, and givest him to know the fellowship of Thy sufferings; making him to hate and loathe the flesh, while he walks at liberty with Thee. And, Lord, while to myself I take shame, yet I say with good conscience, “Tis no more I, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Romans 7:17, 20).  Morevoer, as I ponder the cunning and power of the foe, I say, “By grace I am saved” (Ephesians 2:5, 8). Thou, Lord, makest me to differ; of the same lump was I with the vessels of wrath.

Lord, Thou art my keeper, and therefore I am not consumed; and I rejoice and triumph, because while every thought and motion of the flesh is worthy of the curse, yet am I accepted and glorious in Thyself, my robe; my beauty is perfect in Thee, and Thy Spirit dwells within me, having fashioned me after Thine own image. Thou, the Holy One of Israel, callest me fair; the blackness of indwelling sin Thou hast no eyes to see.  Lord, I will speak to the glory of Thy grace: “I am black, but comely—as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon” (Song of Solomon 1:5).

 


Excerpt from Meditations on the Song of Solomon, Kindle version, Loc.149


Excerpts of Mercy

Meditations on the Song of Solomon: This is 1:5.

1:1           1:4          1:5          1:6          1:7           1:8-1/2 —2/2          1:9          1:10          1:11          1:12          1:13          1:14          1:15          1:16

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 1:4

By R.C. Chapman

“Draw me: we will run after Thee.” (Song of Solomon 1:4)

Lord Jesus!

My soul longeth for Thee! Thy beloved, having one Spirit, is but one.  Many the members—the body one.  I join with all Thy Church when, with one voice, out of weakness, she entreats Her Head, her Husband: “Draw me: we will run after thee.”

Thou, Lord, art my joy and heaven; and here in my pilgrimage I am a stranger and sojourner with Thee. My soul followeth hard after Thee, allured by Thy beauty and excellency, O Lord Jesus, who art altogether glorious, altogether lovely.

Grieved and afflicted am I—this Thou knowest—but welcome tribulation and every storm, since Thou art my hiding place and haven of rest.

In my earthly house of this tabernacle, I groan, being burdened; for being my Lord’s freeman, dead to that which held me once, and married to another, my soul makes loud complaint at any check or hindrance to my perfect liberty of communion with Thee.

Lord, Thou dost pity me in my sore distress because of sin that dwelleth in me. Thou dost commend Thy mourners who fight in the midst of defeat; who pray and faint not in the midst of fainting.  Thine heart is moved, while from the height of Thy sanctuary and Thy glorious throne Thine eyes behold my warfare, and thine ears attend to this my complaint: “Who shall deliver me?” Thou givest me to say: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” “With the mind I, myself, serve the law of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin” (Romans 7:24-25).

O my Lord “ where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2nd Corinthians 3:17).  Thy Spirit testifies of Thee, teaching me, while my soul longeth for Thee, to eat Thy flesh and drink Thy blood; even to partake of Thee, the slain Lamb. O let me, then, be truly dead to the law, and alive to God, by Thee!  So shall I delight in the law of the Lord, dwelling in Thy love, and walking in fellowship with the Father, and with Thee, the Son of His love—so shall I purge my conscience from guilt, and behave myself as a child—duteous, meek, and lowly before the Father, and as a brother, friend, and servant, a redeemed one, of my Lord and Savior!

 

Excerpt from Meditations on the Song of Solomon, Kindle, Loc 95.


Excerpts of Mercy

Meditations on the Song of Solomon: This is 1:4.

1:1           1:4          1:5          1:6          1:7           1:8-1/2 —2/2          1:9          1:10          1:11          1:12          1:13          1:14          1:15          1:16