Saturday, December 24, 2016

"The Sweet Dropper"

Have you heard of Richard Sibbes?

He was a Puritan theologian in England and lived from 1577-1635. He is known as “the sweet dropper,” because such grace-filled sweetness dropped from his pen. Charles Spurgeon, the famous London preacher of the 1800s wrote of him, “he scatters pearls and diamonds with both hands.”

Inspired by Isaiah 42:1-4, he wrote a book called The Bruised Reed. I HIGHLY recommend the whole book, so let me scatter some sweetness from his pen in hopes that your appetite will be whetted for more. 

First off, he says that the "bruising" itself is God’s work:
Our hearts, like criminals, until they be beaten from all evasions, never cry for the mercy of the judge. ... [T]his bruising makes us set a high price upon Christ. Then the gospel becomes the gospel indeed; then the fig-leaves of morality will do us no good. And it makes us more thankful, and, from thankfulness, more fruitful in our lives; for what makes many so cold and barren, but that bruising for sin never endeared God’s grace to them? (4) 
The heroic deeds of those great worthies do not comfort the church so much as their falls and bruises do. [And, he gives examples beginning with] … David [who] was bruised until he came to a free confession… (5) 
It is no easy matter to bring a man from nature to grace, and from grace to glory, so unyielding and intractable are our hearts. (6) 
Physicians, though they put their patients to much pain, will not destroy nature, but raise it up by degrees. Surgeons will lance and cut, but not dismember. (7)
 Listen to how helpfully he speaks of the winsome character of Christ:
A mother who has a sick and self-willed child will not therefore cast it away. And shall there be more mercy in the stream than in the spring? Shall we think there is more mercy in ourselves than in God, who plants the affection of mercy in us? (7) 
As a mother is tenderest to the most diseased and weakest child, so does Christ most mercifully incline to the weakest.” (10) 
…if we have this for a foundation truth, that there is more mercy in Christ than sin in us, there can be no danger in thorough dealing. It is better to go bruised to heaven than sound to hell. Therefore let us not take off ourselves too soon, nor pull off the plaster before the cure be wrought, but keep ourselves under this work till sin be the sourest, and Christ the sweetest, of all things. And when God’s hand is upon us in any way, it is good to divert our sorrow for other things to the root of it all, which is sin. Let our grief run most in that channel, that as sin bred grief, so grief may consume sin. (12-13, emphasis added)
 He also follows with implications for those who follow this Jesus as their Master:
The ambassadors of so gentle a Saviour should not be overbearing…Some think it strength of grace to endure nothing in the weaker, whereas the strongest are readiest to bear with the infirmities of the weak. (34)
That's just a taste. Get the book for more food for your soul. 

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