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.