Richard Sibbes Quotes

Richard Sibbes was born at Tostock, Suffolk, in 1577 and went to school in Bury St Edmunds. His father, ‘a good sound-hearted Christian’, at first intended that Richard should follow his own trade as a wheelwright, but the boy s ‘strong inclination to his books, and well-profiting therein’ led to his going up to St John’s College, Cambridge in 1595. He was converted around 1602 or 1603 through the powerful ministry of Paul Bayne, the successor of William Perkins in the pulpit of Great St Andrew’s Church.

After earning his B.D. in 1610, Sibbes was appointed a lecturer at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge. Later, through the influence of friends, he was chosen to be the preacher at Gray’s Inn, London, and he remained there until 1626. In that year he returned to Cambridge as Master of St Catherine’s Hall, and later returned to Holy Trinity, this time as its vicar. He was granted a Doctorate in Divinity in 1627, and was thereafter frequently referred to as ‘the heavenly Doctor Sibbes’. He continued to exercise his ministry at Gray’s Inn, London, and Holy Trinity, Cambridge, until his death on 6 July 1635 at the age of 58.


“Satan gives Adam an apple (fruit), and takes away Paradise. Therefore in all temptations let us consider not what he offers, but what we shall lose.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“It is atheism to pray and not wait on hope.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“It is a destructive addition to add anything to Christ.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Measure not God’s love and favour by your own feeling. The sun shines as clearly in the darkest day as it does in the brightest. The difference is not in the sun, but in some clouds which hinder the manifestation of the light thereof.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Those that look to be happy must first look to be holy.” ~ Richard Sibbes



“Christ chiefly manifests Himself in times of affliction, because then the soul unites itself most closely by faith to Christ. The soul, in time of prosperity, scatters its affections, and looses itself in the creature; but there is a uniting power in sanctified afflictions, by which a believer, (as in rain a hen collects her brood) gathers his best affections unto his Father and his God.” ~ Richard Sibbes



“Poverty and affliction take away the fuel that feeds pride.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Confession is verbal humiliation.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Self-emptiness prepares us for spiritual fullness.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“God is goodness itself, in whom all goodness is involved. If therefore we love other things for the goodness which we see in them, why do we not love God, in whom is all goodness? All other things are but sparks of that fire, and drops of that sea. If you see any good in the creature, remember there is much more in the Creator. Leave therefore the streams, and go to the fountainhead of comfort.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“God’s goodness is near us. It is not a goodness far away, but God follows us with His goodness in whatever situation we are. He attaches Himself to us, He has made Himself close, that He might be near us in goodness. He is a father, and everywhere to maintain us. He is a husband, and everywhere to help. He is a friend, and everywhere to comfort and counsel. His love is a near love. He has taken upon Himself the closest kinds of relationships, so that we may never lack God and the evidences of His love.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“The winter prepares the earth for the spring, so do afflictions sanctified prepare the soul for glory.” ~ Richard Sibbes



“There can be no victory where there is no combat.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“The depths of our misery can never fall below the depths of mercy.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“It is evident that our conversion is sound when we loathe and hate sin from the heart.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“God’s truth always agrees with itself.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“See the contrary disposition of Christ and Satan and his instruments. Satan attacks us when we are weakest. But Christ will mend in us all the breaches sin and Satan have made. He “binds up the brokenhearted” (Isaiah 61:1). And as a mother treats most tenderly the most diseased and weakest child, so does Christ most mercifully bend down to the weakest people. He puts an instinct into the weakest things to rely for support on something stronger than themselves. So the vine clings to the elm. The church’s awareness of her weakness makes her willing to lean on her Beloved.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“The whole life of a Christian should be nothing but praises to God.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Is it not an unreasonable speech for a man at midnight to say, It will never be day? It is as unreasonable for a man in trouble to say, O Lord, I shall never get free; it will be always thus!” ~ Richard Sibbes


“God takes it unkindly if we weep too much for the loss of a wife, or child, or friend, or for any cross in this life; for it is a sign that we do not fetch our comfort from him. Nay, though our weeping be for sin, we must keep moderation, with one eye looking on our sins, and the other on God’s mercy in Christ. If, therefore, the best grief should be moderated, how much more the other!” ~ Richard Sibbes


“When thou art disappointed with men, retire to God and to his promises; and build upon this, that the Lord will not be wanting in anything to do thee good.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Sin is not so sweet in the committing as it is heavy and bitter in the reckoning.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Most of our disquietness in our calling is that we trouble ourselves about God’s work. Trust God and be doing, and let Him alone with the rest.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“God is never nearer his church than when trouble is near.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Every Christian may truly say, God loves me better than I do myself.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“God hath two sanctuaries; He hath two heavens: the heaven of heavens and a broken spirit.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“The tenets of [the Christian life] seem paradoxes to carnal men; as first, that a Christian is the only freeman, and other men are slaves; that he is the only rich man, though never so poor in the world; that he is the only beautiful man, though outwardly never so deformed; that he is the only happy man in the midst of all his miseries.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Death is only a grim porter to let us into a stately palace.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“This is a life of faith, for God will try the truth of our faith, so that the world may see that God has such servants as will depend upon His bare word.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“The love of a wife to her husband may begin from the supply of her necessities, but afterwards she may love him also for the sweetness of his person; so the soul first loves Christ for salvation but when she is brought to Him and finds what sweetness there is in Him then she loves Him for Himself.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“God takes a safe course with His children, that they may not be condemned with the world, He permits the world to condemn them, that they may not love the world, the world hates them…” ~ Richard Sibbes


“God can pick sense out of a confused prayer.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“As men cherish young plants at first and fence them about with hedges to keep them from hurt, but when they are grown they remove these things and leave them to the wind and weather, so God sustains His children at first with props of inward comforts, but afterwards He exposes them to storms and winds because they are better able to bear them. Therefore let no man think himself the better because he is more free from troubles than others; it is because God sees him not fit to bear greater.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“When we grow careless of keeping our souls, then God recovers our taste of good things again by sharp crosses.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Let weak Christians know that a spark from heaven, though kindled under green wood that sobs and smokes, yet it will consume all at last.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“We should take heed with whom we join in league and amity. Before we plant our affections, consider the persons what they are; if we see any signs of grace, then it is good; but if not there will be a rent. Throughout our whole life this ought to be our rule; we should labor in all company either to do good or receive good; and where we can neither do nor receive good we should avoid such acquaintance. Let men therefore consider and take heed how they stand in combination with any wicked persons.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Partial obedience is not obedience at all; to single out easy things that do not oppose our lusts, which are not against our reputation, therein some will do more than they need; but our obedience must be universal to all God’s commandments, and that because He commands it. Empty relationships are nothing; if we profess ourselves God’s servants and do not honor Him by our obedience, we take but an empty title.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“If believers decay in their first love, or in some other grace, yet another grace may grow and increase, such as humility, their broken heartedness; they sometimes seem not to grow in the branches when they may grow at the root; upon a check grace breaks out more; as we say, after a hard winter there usually follows a glorious spring.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Glory follows afflictions, not as the day follows the night but as the spring follows the winter; for the winter prepares the earth for the spring, so do afflictions sanctified prepare the soul for glory.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Weakness with watchfulness will stand, when strength with too much confidence fails. Weakness, with acknowledgement of it, is the fittest seat and subject for God to perfect his strength in; for consciousness of our infirmities drives us out of ourselves to him in whom our strength lies.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“God knows we have nothing of ourselves, therefore in the covenant of grace He requires no more than He gives, but gives what He requires, and accepts what He gives.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Better to be in trouble with Christ, than in peace without Him.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“See here, for our comfort, a sweet agreement of all three persons: the Father giveth a commission to Christ; the Spirit furnisheth and sanctifieth to it; Christ himself executeth the office of a Mediator. Our redemption is founded upon the joint agreement of all three persons of the Trinity.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Heaven is not Heaven without Christ. It is better to be in any place with Christ than to be in Heaven itself without Him. All delicacies without Christ are but as a funeral banquet. Where the master of the feast is away, there is nothing but solemnness. What is all without Christ? I say the joys of Heaven are not the joys of Heaven without Christ; He is the very heaven of Heaven.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“It were a good strife amongst Christians, one to labour to give no offence, and the other to labour to take none. The best men are severe to themselves, tender over others.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“As when things are cold we bring them to the fire to heat and melt, so bring we our cold hearts to the fire of the love of Christ; consider we of our sins against Christ, and of Christ’s love towards us; dwell upon this meditation. Think what great love Christ hath showed unto us, and how little we have deserved, and this will make our hearts to melt, and be as pliable as wax before the sun.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“The whole conduct of a Christian is nothing else but knowledge reduced to will, affection and practice.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“We must neither bind where God looseth, nor loose where God bindeth, nor open where God shutteth, nor shut where God openeth; the right use of the keys is always successful.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“What do the Scriptures speak but Christ’s love and tender care over those that are humbled?” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Proud men are the devil’s pipes, and flatterers the musicians to blow these pipes.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“A sharp reproof sometimes is a precious pearl, and a sweet balm. The wounds of secure sinners will not be healed with sweet words.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“What the heart liketh best, the mind studieth most.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Gospel repentance is not a little hanging down of the head. It’s a working of the heart until your sin becomes more odious to you than any punishment for it.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Times are bad, God is good.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“The life of a Christian is wondrously ruled in this world, by the consideration and meditation of the life of another world.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“It is better to go bruised to Heaven than sound to Hell.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“When we go to God by prayer, the devil knows we go to fetch strength against him, and therefore he opposes us all he can.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“It would be a good contest amongst Christians, one to labour to give no offence, and the other to labour to take none. The best men are severe to themselves, tender over others.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“What coward would not fight when he is sure of victory?” ~ Richard Sibbes


“A Christian is the greatest freeman in the world; he is free from the wrath of God, free from hell and damnation, from the curse of the law; but then, though he be free in these respects, yet, in regard of love, he is the greatest servant. Love abaseth him to do all the good that he can; and the more the Spirit of Christ is in us, the more it will abase us to anything wherein we can be serviceable.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Whatsoever God takes away from His children, He either replaces it with a much greater favor or else gives strength to bear it.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“The way to cover our sin is to uncover it by confession.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“When we shoot an arrow, we look to the fall of it; when we send a ship to sea, we look for its return; and when we sow seed, we look for a harvest; so likewise when we sow our prayers, through Christ, in God’s bosom, shall we not look for an answer and observe how we speed? It is a seed of atheism to pray and not to look how we speed. But a sincere Christian will pray and wait, and strengthen his heart with promises out of the Word, and never leave praying and looking up till God gives him a gracious answer.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“In trouble we are prone to forget all that we have heard and read that makes for our comfort. Now what is the reason that a man comes to think of that which otherwise he should never have called to mind? The Holy Spirit brings it to his remembrance; He is a Comforter, bringing to mind useful things at such times when we have most need of them.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“What is the gospel itself but a merciful moderation, in which Christ’s obedience is esteemed ours, and our sins laid upon Him, wherein God, from being a judge, becomes our Father, pardoning our sins and accepting our obedience, though feeble and blemished? We are now brought to heaven under the covenant of grace by a way of love and mercy.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“There is not a minute of time in all of our life but we must either be near to God or we will be undone.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Providence is the perpetuity and continuance of creation.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“What unthankfulness is it to forget our consolations, and to look upon matters of grievance. To think so much upon two or three crosses as to forget an hundred blessings.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“It is Christ’s manner to trouble our souls first, and then to come with healing in his wings.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“The soul is never quiet till it comes to God . . . and that is the one thing the soul desireth.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“The wronged side is always the safest.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“That which is begun in self-confidence will end in shame.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“We cannot say this or that trouble shall not befall, yet we may, by help of the Spirit, say, nothing that doth befall shall make me do that which is unworthy of a Christian.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“Christ does not choose you because you are good, but to make you good.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“A man may be a false prophet and yet speak the truth.” ~ Richard Sibbes


“God’s children improve all advantages to advance their grand end; they labour to grow better by blessings and crosses, and to make sanctified use of all things.” ~ Richard Sibbes