Life of Faith 7: Faith Throughout

By Richard Sibbes

Now we have come to the main thing intended, how we live by the faith of the Son of God.  We will not approach the depths of such a profound mystery; only I will endeavor to give you some heads, where faith principally exercises her powers and functions.

  • The life of faith is exercised in our effectual calling.
  • In the state of justification, through which comes reconciliation.
  • In a vigorous life, arising on the comfort of our justification, our being credited right with God.
  • In our sanctification; in those supplies faith finds out to make up the imperfection thereof, faith works to make itself and us more perfected.  
  • The life of faith in glorification.

We live by faith in all the several passages of this life, as we will see when we come to them.  Thus we live continually by the faith of the Son of God, and so we must live until we come to heaven.

We live the life of faith in our effectual calling.  The Spirit works it, the Spirit is God’s hand.  This makes our eyes to be bent upwards to see a better life, to see a calling, to a holy and righteous living in all things,  to see what a rich means is provided to reconcile God and man, to satisfy justice, and so to draw us in a new way and course of life, to rely on God, and look to him in all our actions.

Then the grace of union is given.  God’s Spirit works our hearts by this faith, to have first union and then communion with God.  Thus the soul being seasoned, and seeing the excellency and necessity of another life, touches Christ, and begins to live the life of faith in effectual calling; for at first we are dead and unlovely creatures, estranged from grace and gracious actions, until, in this state, Christ is discovered by the Spirit, and faith to unite us to him.

 


This common domain work modernized in few places, words in italics added by this site.  

 

 

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Life of Faith 3: God’s Strong Working

By Richard Sibbes

always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. —2nd Corinthians 4:10

…So the apostle shows the aim of a Christian is to be in sufferings of this life for the increase of a better, 2nd Cor. 4.10, says he, “always bearing about in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”  When the body is weakest, the spirit is strongest.  Take a man who doesn’t have this spirit and hope, he is à la mort  at the apprehension of death, because he has no faith, no knowledge, no new life, no sense or taste of more excellent things; he doesn’t know if there is a Holy Spirit or not:  or if he is convinced in conscience, yet he is taken up with horrors, and fears condemnation at hand and for evermore.  Oh what are we without this life?  Otherwise an unbeliever or non-Christian were as happy as we.

A Christian given this spiritual life can see Christ and glory, beyond all the things of this life; he can look in backwards, make use of all things past, see the vanity of things so admired by others; he can taste things nature does not relish; he has strength of reasons beyond all the understanding of reason; he is a man of strong working.[God’s working]  This should stir us up above all things to get this spiritual life in us, lest, like St. Paul’s living dead widow, we be dead while we are alive, 1st Tim.5.6.  Therefore, unless we will be dead, we must labor for a spiritual life,[see footnote] for there is another death that follows the first death.  We not only lose God and Christ, life and glory, eternal life, communion with saints and angels, but also we come to eternal torments with the devil and his angels.  Therefore above all things we go to Christ, that we may live in his sight.


 

Excerpt from Works of Richard Sibbes, Kindle edition, Loc. 53740. [Language modernized in few places by this site][mine]

“labor for a spiritual life” , working for salvation, as in earning salvation? no, Sibbes, I believe, has the right understanding, we stir ourselves up to seek God, trusting that God is behind our own motivations to seek and labor for Him.  We trust that God’s working (His Spirit) on and in us is compelling us to seek and labor after Him, it is His strong working on and in us, causing our own work and labor for a spiritual life.  (Philippians 2:13)

 

 

 

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[Language modernized in places by this site.]

 

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. 1:6

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

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

Chapman’s S.O.S. 1:1

By R.C. Chapman

Let him kiss me with kisses of His mouth; for Your love is better than wine. Song of Solomon 1:1

You “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (1st Timothy 6:15, Revelation 19:16), we may speak with You freely, for You are the Lamb that was slain (Revelation 5:12) –You are our Friend—Beloved; Your Church nestles in the bosom of Your love.  We are Your bones and Your flesh (Ephesians 5:30). In eternal love with tender pity You rejoice over us, and cleave to Your Church, Which is Your body; we are many members, Lord; the one body.  You say, in a manner, we are Your very self.

Lord, Your glory does not confound us. You are our Great High Priest, bearing the iniquity of [even] our holy things.  Therefore, poor and needy, we draw near; and You sprinkle us with Your own blood, and raise us to yet greater and greater boldness of faith.—Oh my soul! The bolder, the humbler.  Consider who you speak with.  He doesn’t love to keep a dignified aloofness.  He is the Son of Man, the Son of God; the “friend that sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18: 24): Coming to know Him will bring worship, reverence, confidence, love.

His heart yearns over you, my soul; and He takes it well, and a kindness, that you long after Him. He counts it the honor due to His name, when you with joy and love and all holy confidence cry out: “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth.”  He doesn’t forget that He is your husband.  Are you weary of all things but Him? Happy soul! This was light from Himself:  He gave it to you.  So is your own darkness felt, and all things under the sun vanity to you.  Yet! He has not taken your idols and left you with nothing:  He will fill you with Himself.

You may command Him; your weakness has power and will prevail; and if He seems not to answer for a while, or even so much as give you a good word or kind look, be sure to believe His truth and tender heart. Hope against Hope; in good time He, by powers of the Spirit, the Comforter, will so fill and overwhelm you with His love, that you will find your heart too narrow for the full tide of His kindness and comfort after you had been disappointed.

 


Excerpt from Meditations on the Song of Solomon, Kindle, Loc. 52 [Language modernized in some places by this site.][ ] added by this site for clarity.


Excerpts of Mercy

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

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

Sweet Drops 4: Deformed Yet His

By Richard Sibbes

Since Christ is set before us, let us not believe Satan’s representations of him. When we are troubled in conscience for our sins, Satan’s manner is to present Christ to the afflicted soul as a most severe judge armed with justice against us.  But then let us present him to our souls as offered to our view by God himself, holding out a scepter of mercy, and spreading his arms to receive us.

When we think of Joseph, Daniel, John the Evangelist, we frame conceptions of them with delight, as of mild and sweet persons. Much more when we think of Christ, we should conceive of him as a mirror of all meekness.  If the sweetness of all flowers were in one, how sweet must that flower be?  In Christ all perfections of mercy and love meet.  How great must that mercy be that lodges in so gracious a heart?  Whatever tenderness is scattered in husband, father, brother, head, all is but a beam from him; it is in him in the most eminent manner.  We are weak, but we are his; we are deformed, but yet carry his image upon us.  A father looks not so much at the blemishes of his child as at his own nature in him; so Christ finds matter of love from that which is his in us.  He sees his own nature in us: we are diseased but yet a part of his body.  Who has ever neglected his own body because parts were sick or weak?  None ever hated his own flesh.  Can the head forget the body?  Can Christ forget himself? We are his fullness, as he is ours.  He was love itself clothed with man’s nature, which he united so near to himself, that he might communicate his goodness more freely to us.  And he didn’t take our nature when it was at it best, but when it was abased, with all the natural and common infirmities it was subject to.

Let us then, hate all suspicious thoughts, as either cast in or cherished by that damned spirit who, as he labored to divide between the Father and the Son by jealousies, by saying, “If you are the Son of God” (Matt. 4:6), so his daily study is to divide between the Son and us by breeding false opinions in us of Christ, as if there were not such tender love in him to such as we are. It was Satan’s art from the beginning to discredit God with man, by calling God’s love into question with our first father Adam.  His success then him ready to use that weapon still.

 


Excerpt from-Works of Richard Sibbes, Kindle, Loc. 1497, Common Domain, Language modernized slightly in places by this site.


Excepts of Mercy

Sweet Drops: This is 4

1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8          9

Manton’s Merciful Appeals

By Thomas Manton

For the other sort, who are kept from coming to trust Christ by their own fears, they are likely to say things like,

“It is true there is mercy in Christ for sinners, but Christ has not callrd me personally.”

– My brothers, what are you looking for? An audible voice to speak to you, You John, You Thomas, etc.? In the the tenderness of the gospel you are included as well as others, and why will you exclude yourselves? If God says sinners, you should reply, “I am the greatest sinner”.

“I remember it said, in John 10:3, Christ calls hi sheep by name, and leads them forth. How does Christ call them by name?”

-By speaking particularly to their case, as if he tapped them on the shoulder, and said; “Here is comfort for you.” As at a feast, when there is a dish that we set on the table , though all are free to take from it, yet we say, Here is a dish for me.”  So you should apply yourselves and take your own portion;  though it be put forward to everyone, when God directs his messengers to speak particularly to your case, that is all the calling by name you need, since prophesies are ceased, so you should say, This dish was provided for my hungry conscience, intended for me,..But they will reply,

“Sure there is no mercy for me, I am so unworthy.”

-I answer—The invitation does not look for worth, but thirst: Rev.22:17, “Let him that is thirsty come, and whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely.” You are not worthy, but you are thirsty, or else why are you groaning as you are?

-And by the way take notice of the pride that is in legal dejection.[disqualifying yourself through the law]

Men unwilling to come to Christ; would like to be worthy before they come to him; and therefore the apostle says: “For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they didn’t subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” Rom 10:3. A proud man would attempt to establish a righteousness in himself, and is reluctant to low themselves to take all from another;…

-The more the need to come to Christ; he came to call sinners. Matt.9:13. It doesn’t’ matter what you have been, but what you could be; Christ does not call us because we are holy but that we may become holy. Is it rational to say, “I am too poor to take charity, I am too dirty to take a shower?

But they have refused so many call already, and scorned God’s counsel.

-Wisdom calls scorners, Prov.1:22. “Turn you scorners; how long will you delight in scorning?” It is a mercy that you have been able to hear one more call; don’t increase your guilt that you complain about.

But I don’t know how to come to Christ.

-The blind and the lame are invited to the wedding, Matt.22, and wisdom calls fools, Prov.9:4, “Whosoever is simple”. The stray lamb is brought home on the shepherd’s shoulders, Luke 15.  Oh, that these words might be spirit and life to you!

 


[Language slightly modernized in places by this site.]