by Richard Sibbes
There is no better introduction to the Puritans than the writings of Richard Sibbes, who is, in many ways, a typical Puritan. `Sibbes never wastes the student's time,' wrote C. H. Spurgeon, `he scatters pearls and diamonds with both hands.'
Since its first publication in 1630, The Bruised Reed has been remarkably fruitful as a source of spiritual help and comfort. Richard Baxter records: `A poor peddler came to the door . . . and my father bought of him Sibbe's Bruised Reed . . . It suited my state . . . and gave me a livelier apprehension of the mystery of redemption and how much I was beholden to Jesus Christ . . . Without any means but books was God pleased to resolve me to himself.' Such testimonies could be multiplied.
Speaking of the preacher's need to suit his reading to the varying conditions he finds within, Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones says in his Preaching and Preachers:
You will find, I think, in general that the Puritans are almost invariably helpful . . . I shall never cease to be grateful to one of them called Richard Sibbes who was balm to my soul at a period in my life when I was overworked and badly overtired, and therefore subject in an unusual manner to the onslaughts of the devil. In that state and condition . . . what you need is some gentle, tender treatment for your soul. I found at that time that Richard Sibbes, who was known in London in the early seventeenth century as `the heavenly Doctor Sibbes', was an unfailing remedy. His books The Bruised Reed and The Soul's Conflict quietened, soothed, comforted, encouraged and healed me."
The prophet Isaiah, being lifted up and carried with the wing of a prophetical spirit, passes over all the time between him and the appearing of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Seeing with the eye of prophecy, and with the eye of faith, Christ as present, he presents him, in the name of God, to the spiritual eye of others, in these words: `Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth' (Isa. 42:1 3). These words are alleged by Matthew as fulfilled now in Christ (Matt. 12:18 20). In them are propounded, first, the calling of Christ to his office; secondly, the manner in which he carries it out.
Table of Contents
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR HORATIO VERE, KNIGHT
TO THE GENERAL READER
CHAPTER I.— What the Reed is, and what the Bruising
CHAPTER II.—Those that Christ hath to do withal are Bruised
CHAPTER III.—Christ will not Break the Bruised Reed
CHAPTER IV.—Signs of one truly bruised.—Means and measure of bruising, and comfort to such.
CHAPTER V.—Grace is little at first.
CHAPTER VI.—Grace is mingled with Corruption
CHAPTER VII.—Christ will not quench small and weak beginnings
CHAPTER VIII.—Tenderness required in ministers toward young beginners
CHAPTER IX.—Governors should be tender of weak ones, and also private Christians
CHAPTER X.—Rules to try whether we be such as Christ will not quench
CHAPTER XI.—Signs of smoking flax which Christ will not quench
CHAPTER XII.—Scruples hindering comfort removed
CHAPTER XIII.—Set upon Duties notwithstanding Weaknesses
CHAPTER XIV.—The Case of Indisposition Resolved, and Discouragements
CHAPTER XV.—Of infirmities. No cause of discouragement. In whom they are. And how to recover peace lost
CHAPTER XVI.—Satan not to be believed, as he representeth Christ unto us.
CHAPTER XVII.—Reproof of such as sin against this merciful disposition in Christ. Of quenching the Spirit
CHAPTER XVIII.—Of Christ's judgment in us, and his victory, what it is.
CHAPTER XIX.—Christ is so mild that yet he will govern those that enjoy the comfort of his mildness.
CHAPTER XX.—The spiritual government of Christ is joined with judgment and wisdom
CHAPTER XXI.—Where true wisdom and judgment is, there Christ sets up his government
CHAPTER XXII.—Christ's government is victorious
CHAPTER XXIII.—Means to make Grace victorious
CHAPTER XXIV.—All should side with Christ.
CHAPTER XXV.—Christ's government shall be openly victorious
CHAPTER XXVI.—Christ alone advanceth this government
CHAPTER XXVII.—Victory not to be had without fighting
CHAPTER XXVIII.—Be encouraged to go on cheerfully, with confidence of prevailing