Richard Sibbes always sought to get under the superficial layer of his listeners' behaviour and deal with their hearts. He knew that the outward acts of sin spring from the inner desires of the heart. Merely to alter a person's behavior without dealing with those desires would cultivate hypocrisy, the self-righteous cloak for a cold and vicious heart. Sibbes believed that hearts must be turned, and evil desires eclipsed by stronger ones for Christ. This book is as relevant today as when it was first published in 1629. Our busyness and activism so easily degenerate into a hypocrisy in which we keep up all the appearance of holiness without the heart of it. Christians even use Christ as a package to pass on to others, instead of enjoying him first and foremost as their own Savior. But true reformation must begin in the heart, with love for Christ. And that can only come when the free grace of God in Christ Jesus is preached.
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- Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
- ISBN: 978-1-84871-116-7
- Pages: 176
- Price: 5.00
Banner of Truth Trust
176 pages, £5.00
Star Rating: 4
Here is a little gem. Those expecting comment and application on the reforms implemented by godly king Josiah which led to the restoration of true worship in Judah will be surprised but not disappointed.
This book was originally a four-part sermon series on 2 Chronicles 34:26-28 where the Lord is said to have heard Josiah because his heart was tender, that he was a humble man and one who mourned his sin. The overriding theme is that true spiritual reformation begins in the heart when the free grace of God in Christ Jesus is preached.
The opening sermon The Tender Heart is foundational to the others. Sibbes argues cogently for the need for a sensitive and pliable heart. This, he submits, is wrought through meditating upon the Word of God and through an appreciation of Christ’s love towards his people. The Art of Self-Humbling and The Art of Mourning show how humility before God and hatred of sin result inevitably from possessing a softer heart. Finally, The Saints Refreshing encourages the believer to meditate upon their great reward: that of dwelling with Christ eternally.
This book serves as a helpful introduction to Puritan style and pastoral thought. It is eminently readable yet not lacking in substance with plenty of practical application. Those whose walk with the Lord has become ‘dry’ will benefit from this book as will those in the midst of fiery trials. A welcome addition to The Banner of Truth Trust’s Puritan Paperbacks range.
Simon L Ward
Newcastle Upon Tyne