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)