Sibbes, Richard – The Bruised Reed

To describe the process by which God convinces and enlightens sinners to have a right conceit of themselves, Sibbes uses the metaphor of bruising. For if his readers are rightly to apprehend and appreciate Christ, they must first see themselves as God sees them and judge themselves as they, in effect, truly are before a holy and righteous God. This is the bruising. And the end result is that we are reduced from the mighty oaks of our pride’s imagination to the frailty of bruised reeds, which is our true standing before our Creator:

This bruised reed is a man that for the most part is in some misery … and … by misery is brought to see sin the cause of it; for whatsoever pretences sin maketh, yet bruising or breaking is the end of it; … sensible of sin and misery… [he sees] no help in himself -from puritansemons.com

Contents of Bruised Reed

Publishers’ Foreword
1. The Reed and the Bruising
Christ’s calling – How Christ pursues his calling –What it is to be bruised -The good effects of bruising
2. Christ Will Not Break the Bruised Reed
Christ’s dealings with the bruised reed – For ourselves – Who are the bruised reeds?
3. The Smoking Flax
Grace is little at first – Grace is mingled with corruption
4. Christ Will Not Quench the Smoking Flax
The least spark of grace is precious – Support the weak
5. The Spirit of Mercy Should Move Us
Simplicity and humility – Sound judgment – How those in authority should act – We are debtors to the weak
6. Marks of the Smoking Flax
Our rule is the covenant of grace – The presence of the. heavenly fire
7. Help for the Weak
Temptations which hinder comfort – Weakness should not keep us from duty
8. Duties and Discouragements
We should persist in duties – Overcoming discouragements – The source of discouragements – Some scruples removed – What are sins of infirmity?
9. Believe Christ, Not Satan
How we should think of Christ – When Christ seems to be an enemy – When doubt assails us
10. Quench Not the Spirit
False despair of Christ’s mercy – False hope of Christ’s mercy – Resisting Christ’s mercy – Presuming on Christ’s mercy – Seeking another source of mercy – Mistreating the heirs of mercy – Strife among the heirs of mercy – Taking advantage of the bruised – Despising the simple means of mercy
11. Christ’s Judgment and Victory
Christ’s judgment established in us – Christ’s mildness and his government – Pardon leads to obedience – Justification leads to sanctification
12. Christ’s Wise Government
Judgment and wisdom – The need for heavenly light – Where Christ’s government is set up – How Christ governs us – The effects of this in practice
13. Grace Shall Reign
Why Christ’s kingdom must prevail – Why the enemy seems victorious – Consolation for weak Christians – Evidences of Christ’s rule in us
14. Means to Make Grace Victorious
Rules for right judgment – Keeping our judgment clear – Reasons for seeming lack of progress – All should side with Christ
15. Christ’s Public Triumph
The open glory of Christ in his members – Follow sincerity and truth – Christ alone advances this government – We must not look to ourselves – Christ makes us feel our dependence The triumph of grace
16. Through Conflict to Victory
Why Christ’s government is opposed – We must expect opposition – Our victory in Christ is certain – Treasure the
least degree of grace – Encouragement to come to Christ – Christ is the hope of the church – Faith will prevail