The Art of Contentment by Richard Sibbes

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Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
I know some of you ministers are also preaching through Philippians, and I discovered this helpful short treatise in my preparation this week. It is The Art of Contentment by Richard Sibbes. It is an exposition of Philippians 4:11-13. It was such a rich and delightful read I wanted to pass it along to everyone else, not only for sermon prep but for personal edification and encouragement. It's in Vol 5 of his Works, pg. 175-193.

:2cents:
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I know some of you ministers are also preaching through Philippians, and I discovered this helpful short treatise in my preparation this week. It is The Art of Contentment by Richard Sibbes. It is an exposition of Philippians 4:11-13. It was such a rich and delightful read I wanted to pass it along to everyone else, not only for sermon prep but for personal edification and encouragement. It's in Vol 5 of his Works, pg. 175-193.

:2cents:

Sure! Make us peasants drool! I don't suppose there is a line or two which really suck out to you that you could share with us? :)
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
I know some of you ministers are also preaching through Philippians, and I discovered this helpful short treatise in my preparation this week. It is The Art of Contentment by Richard Sibbes. It is an exposition of Philippians 4:11-13. It was such a rich and delightful read I wanted to pass it along to everyone else, not only for sermon prep but for personal edification and encouragement. It's in Vol 5 of his Works, pg. 175-193.

:2cents:

Sure! Make us peasants drool! I don't suppose there is a line or two which really stuck out to you that you could share with us? :)

Here's a lengthy one. Remember, he's expounding Phil 4:11-13, "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

Every grace that brings a Christian to heaven must be a tried grace. He must try his patience, his contentment, his humility. How shall all these graces be tried but in a variety of estates and conditions?

And secondly, How should we have experience of the goodness of God but in variety of estates? Whe we find the stable, certain, constant love of God in variety of conditions, that howsoever our conditions ebb adn flow, be up and down, like the spring weather, sometimes fair and sometimes foul, yet not withstanding the love of God is constant always, and we have never so sure experience of it as in the variety of conditionsthat befall us; then we know that in God there is 'no shadow of changing,' howsoever the changes of our life be. Is it not a point worth our learning, to know the truth of our grace, and to know the constancy of God's love, with whom we are in a gracious covenant?

And then again, we learn much wisdom how to manage our life hereby, even in the intercourse of our changes, to be now rich, now poor, now high, now low in estates. He that is carried on in one condition, he hath no wisdom to judge anothers estate, or to carry himseld to a Christian in another condition, because he was never abased himself. He look very big at him. He knows not how to tender another, that hath not been in another's condition. And therefore to furnish us, that we may carry ourselves as Christians, meekly lovingly, and tenderly to others, God will have us go to heaven in variety, not in one uniform condition in regard of outward things." pg. 178-179 (this is all one paragraph in the original, I broke it up to make it easier to read.)

"Grace is above all conditions. It can manage and rule all estates of life. It makes them servicable to its own ends. A gracious man is not dejected over much with abasement; he is not lifted up over much with abundance, but he carries himself in a uniform manner, becoming a Christian in all conditions." pg. 179.

"We must learn the doctrine of the covenant of grace, that God in Christ is become a Father to us, and carries a fatherly mind to us. In what condition soever we are, he is a father still, and intends us well, and will provide for us in the hardest conditions. Having took the relation of a father upon him, do you think that he will fail in the carriage of a father towards us? He is pitiful to us, he respects us in the basest condition. He that knows God to be his father, cast him into what condition you will, knows he hath a good portion." pg. 180.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Here's another...
"Every particular grace of the new creature is a grace of strength. As the Spirit is a strong spirit, so the spirit of love is as strong as death, it hath a 'constraining power,' 2 Cor v. 14. The Spirit of God is so strong in his children, that are truly his, that is makes them even with willingness to lay down their lives, that is dear to them in this world. Here is a sweet kind of tyranny in the affection of love, that will carry a man through thick and thin, through all, and that with pleasure, willingly and comfortably too; as the apostles were glad to suffer anything for Christ's sake, their hearts were so enlarged with a spirit of love. The spirit of faith it is a strong and mighty spirit, an able spirit. It conquers God himself, as Jacob wrestled with the wrestlings of God, and by the strength of God overcame God, Hosea xii. 3, 4." pg. 182
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
And more... pg. 183.
Religion is an art, not of great men, not of mighty men, but of holy men. It is an art and trade. A trade is not learned by words, but by experience; and a man hath learned a trade, not when he can talk of it, but when he can work according to his trade."

"Let us not please ourselves that we have deep understandings, but let us shew our understandings by our practice."
 

Idelette

Puritan Board Graduate
Thanks for sharing, Patrick! Looks excellent! It reminds me very much of Thomas Watson's "The Art of Divine Contentment" also wonderful on this topic!
 
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