When Christ Seems to be an Enemy (2)
WHEN CHRIST SEEMS TO BE AN ENEMY (2)
A dimly burning wick he will not extinguish.
Though, for a time, you may doubt the mercy of Christ to yourself, take care not to wrong the work of his Spirit in you heart.
Just as Satan slanders Christ to us, so he slanders us to ourselves. If you were not so much as a dimly burning wick, then why do you not renounce your interest in Christ, and disclaim the covenant of grace? This you dare not do.
Why do you not give yourself up wholly to other pleasures? This your spirit will not allow.
And where do these restless groanings and complaints come from?
In this appears Christ’s care to you, that he has given you a heart in some degree sensitive. He might have given you up to hardness, security, and profaneness of heart—of all spiritual judgments, the worst.
So lay your present state alongside the offices of Christ to sinners such as yourself, and do not despise the consolation of the Almighty, nor refuse your own mercy. Cast yourself into the arms of Christ, and if you perish, perish there. If you do not, you are sure to perish. If mercy is to be found anywhere, it is there.
The signs of a bruised heart carry in them a report, both of our affection to Christ, and of his care to us. The eyes of our souls cannot be towards him unless he has first cast a gracious look upon us. The least love we have to him is but a reflection of his love first shining upon us.
Christ suffered in his own person whatever he calls us to suffer, so that he might the better learn to relieve and pity us in our sufferings.
In his desertion in the garden and on the cross, he was content to be without that unspeakable solace which the presence of his Father gave; both to bear the wrath of the Lord for a time for us, and likewise to know the better how to comfort us in our greatest extremities.
God sees fit that we should taste of that cup of which his Son drank so deep, that we might feel a little what sin is, and what his Son’s love was.
But our comfort is that Christ drank the dregs of the cup for us, and will succor us, so that our spirits may not utterly fail under the little taste of his displeasure that we may feel.
He became not only a man, but also a curse, a man of sorrows, for us. He was broken that we should not be broken; he was troubled, that we should not be desperately troubled; he became a curse, that we should not be accursed.
Whatever may be wished for in an all-sufficient comforter, all is to be found in Christ, in him who first loved us, and—while we were yet sinners—gave himself for us.
Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) The Bruised Reed