Some Give Birth with More Pangs, and Some with Fewer

It is hard to prescribe a just measure of humiliation. It is the same in the new birth as in the natural. Some give birth with more pangs, and some with fewer. But would you like to know when you are bruised enough? When your spirit is so troubled that you are willing to let go those lusts which brought in the greatest income of pleasure and delight. When not only is sin discarded but you are disgusted with it, then you have been bruised enough. The medicine is strong enough when it has purged out the disease. The soul is bruised enough when the love of sin is purged out. “The Godly Man’s Picture” pg. 227

Bringing a Man from Nature to Grace

Ungodly spirits, ignorant of God’s ways in bringing his children to heaven, censure broken hearted Christians as miserable persons, whereas God is doing a gracious, good work with them. It is no easy matter to bring a man from nature to grace, and from grace to glory, so unyielding and intractable are our hearts. ~ The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes

Bruising is Required Before Conversion

This bruising is required before conversion that so the Spirit may make way for himself into the heart by leveling all proud, high thoughts, and that we may understand ourselves to be what indeed we are by nature. We love to wander from ourselves and to be strangers at home, till God bruises us by one cross or other, and then we `begin to think’, and come home to ourselves with the prodigal (Luke 15:17). It is a very hard thing to bring a dull and an evasive heart to cry with feeling for mercy. Our hearts, like criminals, until they be beaten from all evasions, never cry for the mercy of the judge.

Again, this bruising makes us set a high price upon Christ. Then the gospel becomes the gospel indeed; then the fig leaves of morality will do us no good. And it makes us more thankful, and, from thankfulness, more fruitful in our lives; for what makes many so cold and barren, but that bruising for sin never endeared God’s grace to them?

Likewise this dealing of God establishes us the more in his ways, having had knocks and bruisings in our own ways. This is often the cause of relapses and apostasy, because men never smarted for sin at the first; they were not long enough under the lash of the law. Hence this inferior work of the Spirit in bringing down high thoughts (2 Cor. 10:5) is necessary before conversion. And, for the most part, the Holy Spirit, to further the work of conviction, joins with it some affliction, which, when sanctified, has a healing and purging power. ~ The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes

Christianity is More than a Name

Christianity is more than a name. If we will hear Paul, it does not lie in word—but in power (1 Cor 4:20). If to cease to be Jews and pagans, and to put on the Christian profession, had been true conversion—as this is all that some would have to be understood by it—who better Christians than they of Sardis and Laodicea? These were all Christians by profession, and had a name to live only; but because they had a name, they are condemned by Christ, and threatened to be rejected (Rev 3:14-16). ~ A Sure Guide to Heaven by Joseph Alleine

Ministers of God are Only the Pipes and Organ

The Word is the instrumental cause of our conversion, the Spirit is the efficient. The ministers of God are only the pipes and organs; it is the Spirit blowing in them that effectually changes the heart. ‘While Peter spake, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word’ (Acts 10:44). It is not the farmer’s industry in ploughing and sowing, that will make the ground fruitful, without the early and latter rain. So it is not the seed of the Word that will effectually convert, unless the Spirit puts forth His Sweet influence, and drops as rain upon the heart.

Therefore the aid of God’s Spirit is to be implored, that He would put forth His powerful voice, and awaken us out of the grave of unbelief. If a man knock at a gate of brass, it will not open; but if he come with a key in his hand, it will open: so when God, who has the key of David in His hand (Rev. 3:7) comes, He opens the heart, though it be ever so fast locked against Him. “All Things for Good” pg. 106