Thursday, September 02, 2010

Eight ways to stay Spiritually Awake

Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) was among the warmest of the Puritans and a true heir to the Reformers, a man of affectionate, experiential, heart-centred evangelicalism continues to lay out the sweetness of Christianity in his series on the Song of Songs, Bowels Opened. There's not much of Sibbes online so I'm hoping this blog series fills a gap and introduce you to the man who was known as The Heavenly Doctor and The Sweet Dropper.

In the fourth sermon, having begun by showing the necessity of gospel wakefulness he asksHOW DO WE KEEP OUR SOULS AWAKE, ESPECIALLY IN DROWSY TIMES?

1. "None will sleep when a thing is presented of excellence more than ordinary... What made Moses to fall from the delights of Egypt? He saw the least things in religion were greater than the greatest things in the court, even in the world. 'He esteemed the reproach of Christ better than the greatest treasures of Egypt,' Heb. 11:26."
2. Make the heart think of the shortness and vanity of life. Strive to be in grace even at the end.
3. Grace is necessary.
4. Keep faith awake: "It is not the greatness alone, but the presence of great things that stirs us.... Now it is the nature of faith to make things powerfully present to the soul; for it sets things before us in the word of Jehovah that made all things of nothing, and is Lord of his word, to give a being to whatsoever he has spoken, Heb. 11:1. Faith is an awakening grace. Keep that awake and it will keep all other graces waking... When faith apprehends, and sets this to the eye of the soul, it affects the same marvellously. "
5. "Labour for abundance of the Spirit of God... Christians should know, that there is a necessity, if they will keep themselves waking, to keep themselves spiritual... let us keep ourselves in such good ways, as we may expect the presence of the Spirit to be about us, which will keep us awake."
6. Keep ourselves in as much light as we can. Sleepiness comes with darkness.
7. Labour to stay in the fear of the Lord. "those are most gracious, spiritual, and heavenly, that are the most awful and careful of their speeches, courses, and demeanours; tender even of offending God in little things... he grows in the knowledge of the greatness of God, and the experience of his own infirmities, as he grows in the sense of the love of God. He is afraid to lose that sweet communion any way, or to grieve the Spirit of God. "
8. "Keep company with waking and faithful Christians.... It is one of the best fruits of the communion of saints, and of our spiritual good acquaintance, to keep one another awake... So, many men die by lawful things. They eternally perish in the abuse of their liberties, more than in gross sins. "


  1. great stuff. I'm enjoying reading these summaries of Sibbes. keep them coming.

  2. With 500 pages and 20 sermons in this series I may be on Bowels Opened til Christmas! And there's 6 more volumes of sermons and writing after that...