“The mercy of an infinite God” by Richard Sibbes

“‘He will not quench the smoking wick or flax.’ It adds strength to faith to consider that all expressions of love issue from nature in Christ, which is constant. God knows that, as we are prone to sin, so, when conscience is thoroughly awakened, we are prone to despair for sin.

And therefore He would have us know that He setteth Himself in the covenant of grace to triumph in Christ over the greatest evils and enemies we fear, and that His thoughts are not as our thoughts are, and that He is God and not man, and that there are heights, and depths, and breadths of mercy in Him above all the depths of our sin and misery, and that we should never be in such a forlorn condition, wherein there should be ground of despair, considering our sins be the sins of men and His mercy the mercy of an infinite God.

But though it be a truth clearer than the sunbeams, that a broken-hearted sinner ought to embrace mercy so strongly enforced, yet there is no truth that the heart shutteth itself more against than this, especially in sense of misery, when the soul is fittest for mercy, until the Holy Spirit sprinkleth the conscience with the blood of Christ, and sheddeth His love into the heart, so that the blood of Christ in the conscience may cry louder than the guilt of sin.

For only God’s Spirit can raise the conscience with comfort above guilt, because He only is greater than the conscience. Men may speak comfort, but it is Christ’s Spirit than can only comfort.”

–Richard Sibbes, “To the General Reader,” The Bruised Reed and the Smoking Flax, in The Works of Richard Sibbes, Ed. Alexander Grosart (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, Repr. 2001), 1:89.

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Filed under Christian Theology, Conscience, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Mercy, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Richard Sibbes, The Gospel

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