Richard Sibbes was born in 1577 at Tostock, Suffolk, England. As a child, Richard loved books. His father, Paul Sibbes, a wheelwright, was “a good, sound-hearted Christian,” but became irritated with his son’s interest in books. He tried to cure his son of book-buying by offering him wheelwright tools, but the boy was not dissuaded. With the support of others, Sibbes was admitted to St. John’s College in Cambridge at the age of eighteen. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1599, a fellowship in 1601, and a Master of Arts degree in 1602. In 1603, he was converted under the preaching of Paul Baynes, whom Sibbes called his “father in the gospel.”
Sibbes was ordained to the ministry in the Church of England in Norwich in 1608. He was chosen as one of the college preachers in 1609 and earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1610. From 1611 to 1616, he served as lecturer at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge. His preaching made a difference in many lives. A gallery had to be built to accommodate visitors in the church. John Cotton was converted under Sibbes’s preaching. (John Cotton would travel to America to pastor in the new Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1632.)
Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), one of the most influential figures in the Puritan movement during the earlier years of the seventeenth century, was renowned for the rich quality of his ministry.
From “A Bruised Reed:”
“HOW CHRIST PURSUES HIS CALLING
“This is here said to be done modestly, without making a noise, or raising dust by any pompous coming, as princes are accustomed to do. `His voice shall not be heard.’ His voice indeed was heard, but what voice? `Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden’ (Matt. 11:28). He cried, but how? `Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters’ (Isa. 55:1). And as his coming was modest, so it was mild, which is set down in these words: `A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench.’
“We see, therefore, that the condition of those with whom he was to deal was that they were bruised reeds and smoking flax; not trees, but reeds; and not whole, but bruised reeds. The church is compared to weak things: to a dove amongst the fowls; to a vine amongst the plants; to sheep amongst the beasts; to a woman, which is the weaker vessel.
“God’s children are bruised reeds before their conversion and oftentimes after. Before conversion all (except such as, being brought up in the church, God has delighted to show himself gracious to from their childhood) are bruised reeds, yet in different degrees, as God sees fit. And as there are differences with regard to temperament, gifts and manner of life, so there are in God’s intention to use men in the time to come; for usually he empties such of themselves, and makes them nothing, before he will use them in any great services.“
“Those that look to be happy must first look to be holy.” RICHARD SIBBES
“Self-emptiness prepares us for spiritual fullness.” RICHARD SIBBES
This man has written much but the most recommended book is “The Bruised Reed.” It is online in pdf format at no cost and is sold in many bookstores.
LORD, I pray that we are able to look upon these men who preached Your Truth many years ago with open eyes to see the ways that You used them and still do in this day, centuries later. May Your Truth be firmly planted, no matter how long ago it was taught. And may we absorb and learn from these truths today. In Your Son’s Holy and beautiful Name, I pray. Amen.
First quote @ AZ quotes
“The Bruised Reed” by Richard Sibbes, ISBN-13: 978-0851517407
“God’s Truth…” @ quote fancy
“The winter…” @ quote fancy
“Satan gives…” @ PictureQuotes