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.  

 

 

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 1:11

By R.C. Chapman

“We will make Thee borders of gold with studs of silver.” Song of Solomon 1:11

Thou, Lord art our portion, and we are Thine! Thou art a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty unto us; and we, in turn, are these to Thee.  Lord, not to us, not unto us, but to Thy name, give glory.  What Thou art to us (and Thou art our all), that Thou madest Thyself: for Thou gavest Thyself for us, and also to us: it was Thy own will to become our Brother and our slain Lamb.  But did we of our own will yield ourselves to Thee? Ah, no!  Thy grace we hated; Thy very cross and blood, which is our life, was an offence to us.

We hated the holy law of God, and yet more spitefully did we reject the gospel! By Thy word the dead were raised and quickened—our enmity was slain by the blood of sprinkling—and by wisdom to win souls, we, Thine enemies, we reconciled.  Now, therefore, our shout of joy is: Grace! Grace! And all its glory, be ascribed to Thee, our sure Foundation, Head of the Corner!  Thou art the Son of God, the giver, the object and the pattern of faith, working in us by the Spirit, both to will and to do Thy good pleasure.

Behold, then, our heart’s desire! Are we made alive by Thee, by the blood of Thy cross? Are we crucified with Thee and risen with Thee? We would live to Thee:  we would be the girdle which Thou causest to cleave to Thee for glory and for beauty—Thy jewels by Thine own hand shaped and polished!  O let our eye be single—let it ever suffice us for honor, that we serve the Lord Christ! In the fires we will glorify Thee, and take pleasure in necessities, distresses, for Thy sake; saying, in the midst of sorrow and tears, that every bitter cup is sweet, since Thou in love dost mix it, and in patient endurance we are conformed to Thine image.

If Thou sittest by the furnace, though no eye but Thine be upon us, we are content. O Thou Brother born for adversity! Who canst succor the tempted, who never forsakes Thy Church! At Thy feet we cast ourselves, with our burdens.  There with our ignorance we sit and wait for the grace of Thy lips, and would be sweetly nothing that we may delight in Thee, and admire and exalt Thee, Lord, alone! So shall we, Thy Spirit’s workmanship, be ever wearing the garment of humility; our oneness with Thee its golden brother; the life—giving death its studs of silver; and by thy glory and ornament of grace, even as Thou art our diadem of beauty and crown of glory.

Lord, our desire is before Thee—our aim is a grateful offering! Nor vow nor covenant can we make, for all our strength is gone; but our hungering and thirsting are Thy good work; do Thou, who gavest the desire, Thyself fulfill it.

Life of Faith 6 : Faith Conveys Life

By Richard Sibbes

We have seen briefly there is another life than the life of nature; and the root and spring of it is the Son of God.  Now the way of conveyance of this life is “by faith.”  A fountain is not sufficient to send forth water abroad; there must be pipes to convey it for use.  So from the heart and liver there must be arteries and veins for the maintenance of life and conveyance of blood through all the body.

Christ is the heart and liver of all spiritual life; but there must be a conveyance to bring it to us, and this is faith.  But why is faith the grace to convey life to us?

Because we are saved now out of ourselves by another.  Therefore that grace which brings us to this great good must lead us out of ourselves.  This faith does, which is the hand of the soul, to lay hold of all the graces, excellencies, and high perfections of Christ.

Because faith gives all the glory to the party whom it relies on and trusts, as in Romans 3:20.  Paul shows why works were excluded; and such a righteousness was brought in, he says, the he might be just, and the justifier of him who believes; and then he adds, “Where is boasting then? it is excluded.  By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.”  If by love it has come, or humility, patience, or anything in us, there might be some boasting; but this looks another way, lays hold upon another’s riches.  Faith acknowledges nothing to be at home;  therefore it goes to another to fetch it, which else it would not do.

Because we must be brought back to God by a contrary way than we were lost by; for the same way could never have recovered.  The serpent, we know, shook Eve’s faith in believing the threatening.  While they kept the word and feared the commandment, they kept their life; but, losing this fearing respect, they lost communion with the fountain of love.  So we fell by infidelity, and must return again by faith in the righteousness of another.

 


This common domain writing modernized in few 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

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

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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

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Christian Love 6: His Love Fulfills

By Hugh Binning

Add to this another special mark of how great an excellence Paul puts on love, or Christian love.  but the goal of this command is love, out of a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith;” (1st Tim.1:5) If this were rightly thought on, I believe it would fill our hearts with astonishment, and faces with bewilderment, that we neglected the weightier matters of the law, and over stretched some other particular duties to fill up the place of this, which is the end, the fulfilling of the law.

It appears by this that Christian love is a cream of graces.  It is the spirit of and most perfect example extracted out of these cardinal graces, sincere faith, a good conscience, a pure heart.  It is true, the immediate end of the law, as it is now given to us, is to drive us to believe on Jesus Christ, as it is expressed in Roman 10:4. “For Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” But this believing in Christ is not the last end of it.  Sincere faith in a Mediator is intentionally for this, to give the answer of a good conscience in the blood of Christ, and to purify the heart by the water of the Spirit, to bring about at last, by such a sweet encompassing, the righteousness of the law fulfilled by love in us, which by divine imputation is fulfilled in us.

 


Excerpt from The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning, Kindle, Loc 16431.[Language modernized in places by this site.]


Christian Love 7: The End of the Law

Christian Love 5: He Makes Peace

Excepts of Mercy