Life of Faith 12: Our City of Refuge

By Richard Sibbes

When we have a zeal against all contrary doctrine, as St Paul shows to the Galatians, who would have joined works with faith: “Christ is become of none effect unto you; whoever of you are justified by the law, you are fallen from grace” Galatians 5:4 and in the third chapter he says , ” Foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you not to obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly portrayed among you as crucified?”  “I just want to learn this from you. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith?”  Galatians 3:1,2  A man sound in the point of justification has a hatred to …(certain religions)1 and all such doctrine which impairs the riches of the grace of Christ.  Death is in such a …(religion)1. Why are some of them then saved? Not because they die in that religion, but because they reverse their judgment in this point of justification.  So you see there is a hatred, a zeal in such, as St Paul had against contrary doctrines.

There is peace and joy settled in the heart: as Romans 5:1,2, “Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;  through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. ”

Questions: To add one thing more before I leave this point, In the case of relapse and falling, what shall we do then? Aren’t we then cut off?  We must then have a new incision?

I answer, every man who fall does not fall on all-four, fall away totally.  There are degrees of falling; as in a sick man, though ill, he is brought to death.  Some life and some strength remains, which works toward health again.  There is so much grace and life in justification left, as to recover him again.  But as in other cases, so in relapses also, a man must live by faith.  We see, 2nd Corinthians 5:20, even such as were in the state of grace, are entrusted to be reconciled.

Though we fall, we must not therefore fall off, but stir up grace, and recover ourselves again.  So Isaiah 55:7, there it is said, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous his thoughts: and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” And then he adds the reason, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” So Jeremiah 3:1, “They say if a man puts away his wife, and she from him and become another man’s should he return to her again?  Wouldn’t the land be greatly polluted?  But you have played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me says the Lord.  Thus we must live by faith, for all our slips and falls, yet not to let go of our hold, but still run to the horns of this alter, still fly to this city of refuge, and so we shall be safe.

 

 


This common domain modernized by this site in places.

  1.  Italics in Parenthesis is this sites replacement of Sibbes’ wording: This site chose to speak less directly than Sibbes, in the spirit of graciousness to some.

Christian Love 21: Knowing Our Common Weakness

by Hugh Binning

As a man my persuade himself to Christian love by the examination of his own heart and ways, so he may enforce upon his spirit a meek and compassionate stamp, by the consideration of his own frailty, what he may fall into.

This is the Apostle’s rule, Galatians 6:1—”Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual” and pretend to it  “restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness;”  Do not please yourselves with a false notion of zeal, thinking to cover your impertinent rigidity by it.  Do as you would do if your own arm were disjointed.  Set it in, restore it tenderly and meekly, considering yourselves that you also may be tempted.  Some are more given to reproaching and insulting than mindful or restoring.  Therefore their reproofs are not tempered with oil that they may not break the head, but mixed with gall and vinegar to set on edge of teeth.

But whenever you look upon the infirmities of others, then consider yourself first, before you pronounce sentence on them, and you shall be constrained to bestow that charity  to others which you are in need of yourself.   Veniam petimusque damusque vivissim.  If a man have need of charity from his brother, let him not be so hard in giving it.  If he know his own weakness and frailty, surely he may suppose such a thing may likely fall out that he may be tempted and succumb in it.  For there needs nothing for the bringing forth of sin in any but occasion and temptation, as the bringing of fire near gunpowder.  And truly he who had no allowance of love to give to an infirm and weak brother, he will be in mala fide, in an evil capacity, to seek what he would not give.

 

 


The language of this common domain work modernized in few places by this site.

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 1:17

By R.C. Chapman

“The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.”—Song of Solomon 1:17

 

The everlasting covenant standeth fast with Jesus my Lord.  With Him, and with me in Him, is it made.  A sure house, according to the promise, is built for us.  My Lord is the Son of God, by the word of His power upholding all things which by Him at the first were made.

Of Him, the mighty God, the Word made flesh, was it said, “Behold my Servant, whom I uphold; mine Elect, in whom my soul delighteth: He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, until He have set judgment in the earth.” —Isaiah 42:1,4 –He could say, “I live by the Father”—John 6:57; and again, “The Father is greater than I”—John 14:28; because the brethren partook of flesh and blood, He likewise partook of the same.

O my soul! Thou dost join with the angels to worship the Son of God; but far above angels’ worship is thy song of triumph and faith!  Thy Lord and God calleth thee brother and kinsman, and is not ashamed! And this thy faith credits, delighting itself in a sea of eternal love and manifold grace! Art thou upheld? So is thy Brother that was born for thy adversity.

His throne and crown are made sure to Him by the oath and promise of God: “The Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek”—Hebrews 7:21; “Once have I sworn by My holiness; I will not lie unto David”—Psalm 89:35-36.  A sure house is built for Him, and also for me: as the Lord is loved, so am I. “Thou hast loved them as Thou hast loved me.” —John 17:23– And this, my Lord, Thou speakest, that I and all saints might have Thy joy fulfilled in us.  In this Thy own heart is glad.

And now Thou wouldest stir up my soul to remembrance of the sure dwelling place wherein Thou and I, with all Thy brethren, rest.  Thy glorious power and majesty are verily our beams of cedar and our rafters of fir.  I know it, O my Lord, my heart hath seen an end of all perfection.  All things under the sun are vanity and corruption; but I look above, and see Thee gloriously exalted; having a throne and kingdom, by the gift of the Father, which can never be moved.

Daily Thou dost say to Thine, “Peace be to ye;” and as my faith harkens to Thy voice, I worship within the vail by the blood of sprinkling.  Now wonders come to view shining forth from Thy perfection of beauty.  I know that my inheritance is incorruptible, undefiled, and such as cannot fade away—laid up in heaven for me; and, Lord, Thou, who knowest all things, —John 16:30–knowest that where my treasure is, there my heart is also.—Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34

Lord, show me daily the glorious foundations of Thy throne; and as my faith shall gain strength, so shall hope thrive, love wax fervent, and shall triumph over the powers of darkness, and this present evil world; so shall I behave myself according to my high calling—a stranger and a sojourner, whose shifting tent is here, whose sure dwelling is above!

 

 

 

Life of Faith 11: The Justified Highly Value the Justifier

By Richard Sibbes

Now let us see how it may be known that I live the life of faith in justification.

By trying how it comes in the soul: as Romans 7:4, says the apostle, Therefore, my brothers, you also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you would be joined to another, to him who was raised from the dead, that we might produce fruit to God.”  After a man is dead by the law, and apprehends himself slain, then he comes to live this life of faith.  Christ enlivens none but the dead…Such only are quickened by him who find themselves dead in the law.  Then they come to see that life and comfort are out of themselves and in another.  Justification springs from a holy despair, and receiving life, after we have seen ourselves dead.

Where this life of faith is, there is a wonderful high valuing and prizing of Christ, his righteousness, merits, obedience, and wisdom of God in that way of forgiveness of our sins by this God-man, the wonderful mediator; as in Philippians 3:8, Paul counts all things “but loss and dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord,” being contented to suffer the loss of all things to win Christ.  It is the precious pearl to sell all for.  Paul accounts all our own righteousness as nothing in regard to this.

There must be a high estimation of the riches of Christ’s obedience and sufferings: for where there is not this high estimation of it, they are rotten in the point of justification.  But you see how Paul sets at being bad and vilifies all things in regard thereof; so Roman 4:16, “Abraham is brought in to be justified by grace, to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed. ” And Psalm 32:2, He is pronounced to be the blessed man, “unto whom the Lord imputes not iniquity, and whose sin is covered.”

 

 

 


This common domain work’s language modernized in some places.

Christian Love 20: Right View of Self Leads to Graciousness with Others

By Hugh Binning

If a Christian will take an impartial view of himself, he cannot but this way reason himself to a meek, composed, and affectionate temper towards other brethren.  What is it in another that offends me, when I search within, I will not also find the same, or worse, or as evil in myself? Is there a mote in my brother’s eye? Perhaps there may be a beam in my own; and why then should I look to the mote that is in my brother’s eye? ←Matthew 7:3.  When I look inwardly, I find a desperately wicked heart, which lodges all that iniquity I saw in others.  And if I am not so sensible of it, it is because it is also deceitful above all things, and would flatter me in my own eyes,←Jeremiah 17:9.

If my brother offends me in some things, how these things are caused to vanish out of sight in the view of my own guiltiness before God, and the abominations of my own heart, known to his holiness and my conscience? Surely I cannot see so much evil in my brother as I find in my own heart; and whenever I withdraw back within this, I find the sea of corruption so great, that I wonder not at the streams which break forth in others.  But all my wonder is that God has set bounds to it in me or in any.

Whenever I find my spirit rising against the infirmities of others, and my mind swelling over them, I restrain myself with this thought, “I myself also am a man,” as Peter said to Cornelius when he would have worshipped him.  As he restrained another’s idolizing of him, I may cure my own self-idolizing heart.  Is it anything strange that weak men fail, and sinful men fall? Is not all flesh grass, and all the perfection and goodliness of it as the flower of the field? ←Isaiah 40:6. —Is not every man at his best state altogether vanity? ←Psalm:39:5. Is not man’s breath in his nostrils?←Isaiah 2:22. —And am I not myself a man?  Therefore I will not be high minded but fear, ←Romans 11:20. — I will not be moved to indignation but provoked to compassion, knowing that I myself am compassed with infirmities, ← Hebrews 5:2.

 

 

 

 


The language of this common domain work modernized in places by this site.

Chapman’s S.O.S. 1:16

By R.C. Chapman

“Behold, You are fair my beloved; yes, pleasant: also our bed is green.” Song of Solomon 1:16


It moves my joy, sobered with sadness and grief for sin, to hear You, My Lord, commending what You see in me.  Your work and Your resemblance within me, I know, is lovely.  Oh give me wisdom to hear Your word of praise! Let me test my way with Yours, and I will be yet more depraved in my own sight, and yet more sweetly occupied with You!

You, Lord Jesus! Do fix Your eyes on me, that mine may ever be set on You, who gave Yourself for me, and also to me, and are my light and my salvation, my portion and my joy.  You see Yourself in me.  If You were not Jehovah my Righteousness, justifying and washing me in Your blood, I would have for ever dwelt in the shadow of death, and loved my filthiness:  therefore there is only one reason You should call me fair and pleasant, since in me You see Your own image.

You are my assurance; I was crucified with you, and made to sit together with my Lord in heavenly places. (Ephesians 2:6) This earth was your field to labor; in heaven you rest, having finished the work the Father gave you to do. Having suffered first You have entered into Your glory, which is ever new, and cannot fade—Your bed of green!  You are full of joy with the Father’s countenance, and at His right hand are pleasures for evermore.

I rejoice because all things the Father has are Yours, and I am joint heir with You. Therefore You say “Our” bed; the glory given You, You have given me!  I follow on to know the power of your resurrection and the fellowship of Your sufferings.  In you and with You my soul rests, ceasing from my own works; and dead to the law, I live; yet not I, but my Lord lives in me; so then to die daily is my work.

In this I exercise myself, knowing that sin uses that old husband, which held me in bonds; and I could bring no fruit forth except only the wild grape and dead works of the flesh, unless I had been dead to the law by the body of my Lord.

Oh teach me, then, to watch, and stand fast in You! Sprinkle me with Your blood! Let me ever abide at Your cross and triumph in the power of Your resurrection, sitting down and resting with You in heavenly places! So I will set foot on the neck of all enemies; so I will keep myself pleasant to You, and that wicked one will not touch me. I will be for my Lord—my Beloved—and nothing will divide my heart with Him!

 


Excerpt from Meditations on the Song of Solomon, Kindle, Loc. 425, Language modernized in places by this site.


Excerpts of Mercy

Meditations on the Song of Solomon: This is 1:16.

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

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Life of Faith 10: Repentance, Confession, and Joy

By Richard Sibbes

Look back every day to the passage thereof.  See how we have passed along, see what sins have escaped you; then come at night to God, confess and be sorry for all, resolve against all, crave strength against all.  Oh it is a fearful state to sleep in sin; better sleep in a house of adders and venomous beasts.  See also and watch every morning; corruption does cleave to all our best actions; we pass no day so, but we have cause to say, Lord forgive us our sins.  By this course we shall keep our souls free, being ready for death.  We shall by our particular reckoning, every day clearing the score, be ready for our great general pardon, and when trouble comes, have only that to encounter with.

I beseech you, therefore, put this in practice.  Be sure with the day to clear the sins of the day; so shall you live a comfortable life, for death, for sickness, trouble, or whatsoever, all our business lying in heaven then.

—”If it be thus, we need not care how we sin: it is but every day to sue out a new pardon.”

Oh beware, if our pardon be sealed, there must be confession, sorrow for sin, resolution with full purpose to do so no more; there must be arraigning, condemning, and judging of ourselves for it, because whatsoever we would not have God to do, we must do it ourselves.  Our time in getting this ransom sealed, is for the most part according to our sin.  He that has such a resolution to sin every day, because sin is pardoned everyday, he may go long enough without pardon, at least comfort of his pardon.

For though pardon of sins be pronounced, yet God has the keeping of joy in his own hand.  As David had his sin pardoned,—by the judgement of faith he knew this much—yet Ps. 51:8, how does he pray for joy, and that God would heal the bones which he had broken! He roared all the day, and still felt a pain like the breaking of bones.  The joy of the Spirit had left him.  This he cries to have restored.

Thus though sin may be pardoned, yet the more we sin, with little repenting, the longer we shall be wanting of joy; or, it may be, go all our lifetime mourning without comfort in such a case.

 

 

 

 

 

 


This common domain work’s language modernized in few places by this site.

Christian Love 19: Forgiving and Being Forgiven

By Hugh Binning

If God has forgiven me so many grievous offences, if he has pardoned so heinous and innumerable injuries, that amount to a kind of infiniteness in number and quality, O how much more am I bound to forgive my brethren a few light and trivial offences? Col. 3:13—”Forbearing one another, if any man has a quarrel against any, so also you do.” Eph. 4:32—”And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even a God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” With what face can I pray, “Lord, forgive me my sins,” when I may meet with such a retort, you cannot forgive your brethren’s sins, infinitely less both in number and degree?  Matt. 6:15—”But if your do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses.”  What unparalleled ingratitude were it, what monstrous wickedness, that after he has forgiven all our debt, because we desired him yet we should have no compassion on our fellow servants even as he had pity on us!

O! what a dreadful sound will that be in the ears of many Christians, “O you wicked servant, I forgave you all your debt, because you desired me! Shouldn’t you also have had compassion on your servants, even as I has pity on you?  And his lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due to him.  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also to you, if you from your hearts do not forgive every one his brother their trespasses,” —Matt.18:32-35. 

When we cannot dispense with one penny, how should he dispense with his talents?  And when we cannot pardon ten, how should he forgive ten thousand? When he has forgiven my brother all his iniquity, may not I pardon one?  Should I impute that which God will not impute, or discover that which God has covered? How should I expect he should be merciful to me, when I cannot show mercy to my brother?  Ps. 18:25—”With the merciful you will show yourself merciful.”  Should I, for one or few offences, hate, bite, and devour him for whom Christ died, and loved not his life to save him? —Rom.14:15 and 1st Cor. 8:11.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


This common domain work’s language modernized in places by this site.

 

 

 

 

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 1:15

By R.C. Chapman

“Behold, thou art fair; my love; behold, thou art fair: thou hast doves’ eyes.” –Song of Solomon 1:15

What though the law in my members be vile and corrupt? Thou, Lord dost teach me to hate the evil I do, and love the good I do not. Thou dost sprinkle me with Thy blood, and purge my conscience from dead works; and I can say before Thee, who knowest all things, it is no more I, but sin that dwelleth in me.  Sweet is my liberty, and holy and good, notwithstanding the flesh within me.

Mine outcry, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver?” –Romans 7:24, be tokens my freedom—slaves bend the knee and flatter; freemen fill their land with complaints upon a bare word of tyranny and while oppression is yet far off.  Lord, I comfort myself with double comfort.  I say within me, Consider, my soul, how that in thy weakness thy Lord’s glory in manifest, His strength made perfect! In this I rejoice! Yea, and will rejoice.

Moreover, my soul, know thou the day makes haste to come when that which is in part shall be done away; this body of death is not forever; but the workmanship of the Spirit of Christ shall endure forever; for “The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and the days of the mourning shall be ended.”—Isaiah 60:12

O my soul! In the first man, Adam, thou wast, with him, earthly, sensual, and devilish—in the Second Man, the Lord from heaven, thou art quickened and justified, and body and spirit shall be made like Him, free of infirmity and all pollution; thy conscience shall ever be pure—thine affections only love—thy body, once a house of clay, shall be fashioned like unto the glorious body of Thy Lord, and all thy members, once instruments of unrighteousness, shall forever be the instruments of love; Thy whole understanding, wondrously enlarged, shall know the riches of Christ, thy Lord, to be unsearchable!

O my Lord! While yet at home in the body I long after the deep humbleness of mind which shall beautify and be the holiness of thy glorified Church! Thou canst look on me as if I were already glorified with Thee. Thy love moves Thee to say, “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair: Thou hast doves’ eyes.”—Song of Solomon 1:15

 

Life of Faith 9: The Ground of Faith

By Richard Sibbes

…Justification is not only a sentence of pardon, but it is also as in Roman 5:15, a title to life everlasting:

“For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one, much more they who receive the abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by Jesus Christ.”

Where God pardons, he advances.  So if Satan shall come to shake my title, to shake this faith, assure him that Christ came to save sinners.  If he object, “your title is nothing, it is stained, being that you have so many sins and corruptions within your mortal body.”  answer him, “This just serves my faith for comfort, to show me that my title is in Christ.” my strength and ground of comfort is in him, not in myself.

See one parallel example, how David lived this life of faith in justification:

“If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, who shall stand?(Psalm 130:3)

There he pronounces death on himself unless he be acquitted, and so it is in our case.  But then comes the appeal:

“But mercy is with you, that you may be feared.”

Think on this yourself.  If a man is sound on this point, all he does is nothing.  This is all in all.  Our sanctification without this is nothing.  This is the ground of all.  Be careful of this, to look to Christ’s obedience, life, death, and sufferings, and those comforts flowing from our interest therein.

 

 


Modernized in few places by this site.