The Incomparable Goodness and Excellence of Christ (Sibbes)

image of the works of Richard Sibbes

Here’s a fascinating and edifying section of Richard Sibbes’ (d. 1635) sermons on the Song of Solomon. In this section Sibbes was explaining “that Christ, as he is beautiful and good, so he is incomparably, beyond all comparison good: ‘He is a standard bearer, one among ten thousand; anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows'” (Ps. 45:7). (I’ve slightly edited the following for readability.)

What is excellent in the heavens? The sun. So Christ is the ‘Sun of righteousness,’ Mal. 4:2. The stars. He is the ‘bright morning star’ (Rev. 22:16). The light. He is the ‘light of the world’ (John 9:5). Come to all creatures; you have not any excellent amongst them but Christ is styled from it. He is ‘the lion of the tribe of Judah,’ (Rev. 5:5), the ‘lily,’ (Songs 2:1), and the ‘rose,’ (Songs 2:1), and ‘the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world’ (John 1:29), ‘the tree of Life,’ etc., (Rev. 22:2).

There is not a thing necessary to nature, but you have a style from it given to Christ, to show that he is as necessary as bread and water, and the food of life (John 6:35; John 4:14). When we see light, therefore, think of the ‘true light’ (John 9:5). When you see the sun, think of the ‘Sun of righteousness’ (Mal. 4:2). So remember ‘the bread and water of life,’ in our common food. Therefore the sacraments were ordained, that as we go to the sea by the conduct of rivers, so we might go to the sea of all excellency and goodness by the conduct of these rivers of goodness, to be led by every excellency in the creature, to that of our mediator Christ, who is ‘the chiefest among ten thousand’ (Songs 5:10).

Sibbes, Richard. The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes. Edited by Alexander Balloch Grosart. Vol. 2. Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet And Co.; W. Robertson, 1862, 139.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015