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.

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 8: He Justifies Us Daily

By Richard Sibbes

As we sin daily, so Zech.13.1, “There is a fountain daily running, to wash away sin and uncleanness.” Therefore for our daily sinning, we must continually run and bathe our souls in this blood, apply the comforts of his sufferings, intercession, and obedience unto us.  St. John teaches us this much; He says, “If any man sin, we have as advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world,”  1st John 2.1.  If we sin daily, he justifies the sinner daily:  He came to save sinners: therefore, when sin stirs us up to run from God, we should run to him.  Faith says, “There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8.1.  Why?

My sin was condemned in Christ, and a condemned person has no voice.  Christ came to destroy sin, and condemned sin in the flesh.  Our sins were crucified with him, and are now all condemned sins, if we will go to Christ, who has borne all our iniquities, as the prophet Isaiah excellently shows.  Therefore St. Paul triumphantly demands the question, “Who will lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?  It is God who justifies, who is he that condemns?  “It is Christ who died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Who shall then separate us from the love of Christ?  Romans 8.38,31. 

So in our daily sins you see we have use of these things, to have, upon our confession, a daily pardon of course taken out everyday.  Thus God would not have us sink.  So long as there is matter of guilt in us, God will have a way to cleanse our souls, and renew our comforts.  Everyday we run into new debts, and everyday in the Lord’s prayer we are taught to ask pardon, and to run to God, to have the book crossed out with his blood.

Every day a Christian must eye the brazen serpent, I mean the Lord Jesus, signified thereby; he must sprinkle his heart with the blood if Christ, that the destroying angel may pass him in the day of wrath, as the Israelites then did.

This is it to live by faith; every day to sue out our pardon; to look to our advocate and surety, who has paid our debts, and cancelled that obligation against us, contrary to us, as the apostle speaks, daily to wash in that ever-running fountain. “Christ is a priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec,” Ps.  110.4.  Though the act be past, he remains the same still.  What puts down our courage, strikes us with terror and fear, but our sins?  Oh but why is this brazen serpent lifted, but to wash away our daily frailties and failings,so as whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life? John 3.14-15. 

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 1:13

“A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me: He shall lie all night betwixt my breast.” —Song of Solomon 1:13

My Soul! Is the night season wearisome! Art thou like a sick man, full of tossings to and fro, because of sin that dwelleth in thee, and because of longing to behold thy Lord face to face?

Thou art not of the night nor of darkness, but of the children of light and of the day; and made meet to be partaker of their inheritance. Be content awhile, my soul—let thy longing be tempered with patience—remember that wert thou this moment with Jesus thou wouldest still be longing for His glorious appearing and the gathering of the Church, His brethren and thine unto Him! The darkness of guilt would indeed be utterly removed from thee didst thou quit thou house of clay; but the mystery of God would not be finished—thou wouldest still be looking for the manifestation of the sons of God, their appearing with the Lord in glory.

He knoweth the thoughts of His heart towards thee, and means thee nothing but kindness—the kindness of eternal love and wisdom infinite! Trust Him, then—fight the good fight of faith, and count not thy life dear to thee, if only Thou mayest finish thy course with joy—be jealous of thy Lord’s good name—grieve not His Spirit—keep thy heart and conscience clean and pure by the blood of sprinkling, and as thou dost daily listen to the voice of thy beloved Lord, and do His will, He will surely make thy heart glad with His words.

He will abide in thee and cause thee to abide in His love; if He prove thee with manifold temptations for a season, as thou needest, He will cause thee to rejoice and glory in infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon thee. Nor shall thy joy be carnal, of thy boasting presumptuous! For thy shout of triumph shall proceed from a humble, contrite spirit, and the steadfastness of faith.  Thou shalt worship within the vail with Jesus, thy Forerunner and Royal High Priest; and, holding the balances of faith, shalt call afflictions light, because thou dost weigh them against things eternal and unseen: so shall thou cheer thy heart and beguile the night watches, thy Lord giving thee songs in the darkness.

And these things thou knowest, not by hearing of the ear alone; thou hast tasted and handled them; but count not thyself to have already attained anything, nor esteem thyself already perfect—it shall be thy wisdom and perfection, if forgetting the things that are behind, thou reach after things before thee, and press toward the mark for the prize; that thou mayest know thy Lord Jesus, whose love passeth knowledge and whose riches are unsearchable.

 

 

 

Christian Love 16: Love Never Fails

By Hugh Binning

“Love never fails.”  This is the last note of commendation.  Things have their excellency from their use and from their continuance; both are here.  Nothing so useful, no such friend of human or Christian society as love, the benefits of it reaches all things.  And then, it is most permanent and durable.  When all will go, it will remain.  When ordinances, and knowledge attained by means of ordinances, vanish, love will abide, and then receive its completion.  Faith of things not evident and obscure will be drowned in the vision of seeing God’s face clearly.  Hope of things to come will be exhausted in the possession and fruition of them.  But love only remains in its own nature and notion, only it is perfected by the addition of so many degrees as may suit that blessed state.

Therefore I think it should be the study of all saints who believe immortality, and hope for eternal life, to put on that garment of charity, which is the clothing of all the inhabitants above.  We might have heaven on earth as far as it is possible if we dwelt in love, and love dwelt in and possessed our hearts.  What an unsuitable thing might a believer think it, to hate him in this world whom he must love eternally, and to contend and strive with these, even over small matters, with bitterness and rigidity, with whom he shall have an eternal, uninterrupted unity and fellowship?  Should we not be testing here how that glorious garment suits us?  And truly there is nothing that makes a man so heaven-like or God like as this, much love and charity.

Now there is one consideration that might persuade us more to it, that here we know but darkly in part, and therefore our knowledge, at best, is but obscure and not evident, often subject to many mistake and misunderstandings of truth, according as means of communication present them.  And therefore there must be some latitude of love allowed one to another in this state of imperfection, else it is impossible to keep unity, and we must conflict often with our own shadows, and bite and devour one another for some deceiving appearances.

The imperfection and obscurity of knowledge should make all men suspicious of themselves, especially in matters of a doubtful nature, and not so clearly determined by scripture.  Because our knowledge is weak, shall our love be so?  No, rather let charity grow stronger, and aspire to perfection, because knowledge is imperfect.  What is wanting in knowledge let us make up in affection, and let the gap of difference in judgment be swallowed up with the bowels of mercies and love, and humbleness of mind.  And then we shall have hid our weakness of understanding as much as may be.  Thus we may go hand in hand together to our Father’s house, where, at length, we must be together.

 


This common domain work has been modernized in few places.

 

This is the End of Christian Love, chapter 2.

 

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 1:12

By R.C. Chapman

“While the King sitteth at His table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.” —Song of Solomon 1:12

Happy Spirits! Ye who banquet above with Jesus, we give you joy!  Your joy is ours, and our sweet company when ye quit our company, departing to be with Christ; we also see our Lord’s chariot, sent to bear us home, as it were at our very door!  “Tis but an hour or two of waiting; if He come not to receive us to Himself He will compose our body of humiliation to sleep; and pleasant our bed in the grave, while our spirits mount aloft, to join the Lamb and ransomed above.

Thou, Lord, hast proved me by taking to thyself many a lover and friend; but Thou preparest for me a table in the wilderness, Thou anointest me head with oil, my cup runneth over.  In the presence of mine enemies, my Lord will have me sit down with Him at His table.  Many are they which rise up against me; they would cut me off from meeting with my Lord: in His presence, and at His table, I am more than conqueror.

While by the power of my Lord I keep me there, that evil one toucheth me not.  My foolishness and my guiltiness are as a quiver full of sharp arrows in the hand of mine enemy.  Pride, unbelief, ignorance, are his sword and spear: my faith cries out, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth me from all sin” —1st John 1:7, and the victory is mine.  I deny not my debt, but flee to Thee—to Thee, my Lord and Surety! And behold the bond of the Law, the handwriting that was against me, nailed to the cross.  In Thee my great strength lies; and, as I hear Thy voice of invitation, of entreaty, Thy voice of power and love, the cords of mine enemies are as green withes—an host flees before me.

—before the presence of my Lord!  My apparel, I see, is meet for banqueting house and table—the robe of righteousness; the garments of salvation!  I am melted and self-abased as I enter and sit down.  Thou, Lord, dost gird Thyself and serve me! Thy flesh is meat indeed, Thy blood is drink indeed; and Thou fillest my soul with joy unspeakable and full of glory! Access to Thee, my Lord, emboldens me; for Thou hast all to give, and no heart to withhold aught that is good—and Thou art well pleased with my confidence.  Thou holdest forth the golden scepter, and sayest, What is Thy request? I answer, “Lord, that I may behold Thy beauty, sit at Thy feet, and banquet with Thee.”  So shall my lowly, contrite spirit be spikenard, fragrant and precious to my Lord.

 

Christian Love 15: Love Bears and Believes All Things

By Hugh Binning

Love “bears all things.” By nature we are undaunted heifers, cannot bear anything patiently.  But love is accustomed to the yoke, —to the yoke of reproaches and injuries from others, to a burden of other men’s infirmities and failings.  We would all be borne upon others’ shoulders, but we cannot put our own shoulders under other men’s burden, according to that royal law of Christ, Romans 15:1—“We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” and Galatians 6:2—“ Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  That is the law of love, without question.

Love “believes all things.” Our nature is malignant and wicked, and therefore most suspicious and jealous, and apt to take all in the worst way. But love has much openness, honesty and humanity in it, and can believe well of every man, and believe all things as far as truth will permit.  It knows that grace can be beside man’s sins.  It knows that itself is subject to similar infirmities.  Therefore it is not a rigid and censorious judger; it allows as much latitude to others as it would desire of others.

It is true it is not blind and ignorant.  It is judicious, and has eyes that can discern between colors. Credit omnia credenda, sperat omnia speranda.-“It believes all things that are believable, and hopes all things that are hopeful.” If love doesn’t have sufficient evidences, yet she believes if there be some probabilities to the contrary, as well as for it.  The weight of love inclines to the better part, and so casts the balance of hope and persuasion; yet being sometimes deceived, she has reason to be watchful and wise, for “the simple believe every word.”  If love cannot have ground of believing any good, yet it hopes still. Qui non est hodie, cras magis aptus erit, says love, and therefore it is patient and gentle, waiting on all, if perhaps God may “give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth,”—2nd Timothy 2:25. 

Love would account it both atheism and blasphemy, to say such a man cannot, will not find mercy.  But to pronounce of such as have often been accepted in the conscience of all, and sealed into many hearts, that they will never find mercy, that they have no grace, because of some failings in practice and differences from us, it wasn’t pronounced in sobriety but madness.  It is certainly love and indulgence to ourselves, that make us aggravate other men’s faults to such a height.   Self love looks on other men’s failings through a multiplying or magnifying glass, but she put her own faults behind her back. Non videtquod in mantica qua a tergo est. Therefore she can suffer much in herself but nothing in others, and certainly much self forbearance and indulgence can spare little for others.

But love is just contrary. She is most rigid on her own self, will her not pardon herself easily, knows no revenge but what is spoken of in 2nd Corinthians 7:11, self revenge, and has no indignation but against herself.  Thus she can spare much openness, honesty, and forbearance for others, and has little or nothing of indignation left behind to consume on others.

 


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

Christian Love 13: Love is Not Easily Provoked

By Hugh Binning

Love “is not easily provoked.”  This is the straight and solid firmness of it, that it is not soon moved with external impressions.  It is long suffering, it suffers long and much.  It will not be shaken by violent and weighty pressures of injuries, where there is much provocation given, yet it is not provoked.  Now to complete it, it is not easily provoked at light offences.  It is strange how little a spark of injuries puts all in a flame because our spirits are as gunpowder, — so capable of combustion through corruption.  How ridiculous, for the most part, are the causes of our wrath! For light things we are heavily moved, and for rediculous things sadly, even as children who fall out among themselves for toys or things of small value, or as animals that are provoked upon the very show of color, as red or such like.  We would save ourselves much labor, if we could judge rightly before we allow ourselves to be provoked.  But now we follow the first appearance of wrong, and being once moved from the outside, we continue our commotion within, lest we should seem to be angry without a cause.

But love has a more solid foundation.  It dwells in God, for God is love, and so it is truly great, truly high, and looks down with a steadfast countenance upon these lower things.  The upper world is continually calm and serene.  No clouds, no storms there, no winds, nothing to disturb the harmonious and uniform motion, but it is this lower world that is troubled and tossed with storms, and obscured with clouds.

So a soul dwelling in God by love, is exalted above the cloudy region.  He is calm, quiet, serene, and is not disturbed or interrupted in his motion of love to God or men.


The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning, Kindle edition, Loc. 16493. [Language modernized in some places by this site.]

Life of Faith 4: He is Life

By Richard Sibbes

Why is it that we do not seek this spiritual life more? Because when the conscience is not awakened, we think there is no such thing: like Judas walking on in the state of nature, in drunkenness, sensual pleasures, covetousness, and such things, until we perish suddenly. If the conscience is awakened, then it is easy to work upon such who sees his misery and desires a remedy.  It was easy to persuade Jacob to send for corn in Egypt, when a famine was in the land of Canaan.  It is easy to persuade men hungry and thirsty to eat and drink; easy to persuade a weighed down, weary man to lay down his burden and rest.  So it’s the same with us.  If the conscience is awakened to have a sense of sin, and that intolerable wrath and eternal punishment that is due, we should and would long for this spiritual life.

I urgently ask you, let us believe there is such a life. Look at 1st Peter 1:3.  There he blesses God, “who according to his great mercy became our father again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  No one can go to heaven unless they are born again here.  The main help is the use of the means.  This is that pool of Bethesda, at which if we lie the angel of the covenant will put us in to be healed.  Never rest then until this life has gotten into us…[never rest from seeking and looking to God, through His means, I take this to mean things such as praying and reading his word, in expectation of his mercy.]

…Christ is called life, the bread of life, tree of life, and he gives us living water to refresh our souls, not that he is so essentially bread, or a tree, but by the ability of his working in us. For God is life in himself.  Therefore he swears by it: “As I live, says the Lord, I do not desire the death of a sinner,” —Ezekiel 33:11.  Here we do not consider life so high, but this life must be derived from him principally.  It is done so naturally.  The Son is the fountain of life, because he is God, who is radically, fundamentally, and essentially life.

 


Excerpt from Works of Richard Sibbes, Loc.53749, Kindle edition. [Language modernized in places by this site] [mine]


Life of Faith 3

Excerpts of Mercy

Christian Love 12: Love is Unselfish

By Hugh Binning

Love…doesn’t seek its own way,…—1st Corinthians 13:5

Self denial and true love are inseparable.  Self love makes a monopoly of things for its own interest, and this is most opposite to Christian affection and communion, which puts all in one bank.  If every one of the members should seek its own things, and not the good of the whole body, what a miserable malady this would cause in the body?  We are called into one body in Christ, and therefore we shouldn’t look only to our own things, but all  be looking also to the welfare of others, —Philippians 2:4.  There is a common interest of saints, mutual edification in faith and love, which charity will prefer to its own private interest.  Being addicted to our own thinking and understanding, and too much self-confident pride and self pleasing is the grand enemy of that place to which we are called into one body.  Since one Spirit teaches and gives life to all the members, what a monstrosity is it for one member to seek its own things, and look to its own private interest only, as if it were a distinct body!

 


Excerpt from The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning, Kindle edition, Loc. 16482 [Language modernized in some places by this site.]


Christian Love 11: Love Does Nothing Inappropriate
Excerpts of Mercy