For New Year’s Day, I thought I would share with your some meditations written by Richard Sibbes around the year 1600. Sibbes believed Christians should spend time thinking deeply on spiritual truths and he wrote meditations to that end. He was called the “heavenly doctor” for his godly preaching and heavenly manner of life.

Izaac Walton wrote of Sibbes: “Of this blest man, let this just praise be; heaven was in him before he was in heaven.” Here are some meditations from the heavenly doctor.

There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us.

In the covenant of grace, God intends the glory of his grace above all. Now faith is fit for it, because it hath an uniting virtue to knit us to the mediator, and to lay hold of a thing out of itself; it empties the soul of all conceit of worth, or strength, or excellency in the creature; and so it gives all the glory to God and Christ.

Glory follows afflictions, not as the day follows the night, but as the spring follows winter; for the winter prepares the earth for the spring: so do afflictions sanctified prepare the soul for the glory to come.

Afflictions make a divorce and separation between the soul and sin. It is not a small thing that will work sin out of the soul; it must be the spirit of burning, the fire of affliction sanctified; heaven is for holiness and all that is contrary to holiness afflictions works out, and so frames the soul to a further communion with God. 

God takes care of poor weak Christians that are struggling with temptations and corruptions. Christ carries them in his arms. All Christ’s sheep are diseased, and therefore he will have a tender care of them. 

Whatsoever is good for God’s children, they shall have it; for all is theirs to further them to heaven. Therefore if poverty be good, they shall have it; if disgrace be good, they shall have it; if crosses be good, they shall have them, if misery be good, they shall have it; for all is ours to serve for our good.

God’s children have these outward things with God himself. They are as conduits to convey his favor to us; and the same love that moved God to give us heaven and happiness; the same love moves him to give us daily bread.

The whole life of a Christian should be nothing but praises and thanks to God. We should neither eat, nor drink, or sleep, but to eat to God and sleep to God and work to God and talk to God; do all to his glory and praise.

Is it not an unreasonable speech for a man at midnight to say it will never be day? And so it is an unreasonable thing for a man that is in trouble to say, ‘O Lord, I shall never get out of this! It will always be thus for me.’

If God hides his face from us, what shall become of our souls? We are like the poor flower that opens and shuts with the sun. If God shines upon the heart of a man, it opens; but if he withdraws himself, we hang down our heads. ‘Thou turned away thy face, and I was troubled.’