- Josiah's Reformation by Richard Sibbes (Paperback)
Richard Sibbes always sought to get under the superficial layer of his listeners’ behaviour and deal with their hearts. He knew that the outward acts of sin spring from the inner desires of the heart. Merely to alter a person’s behavior without dealing with those desires would cultivate hypocrisy, the self-righteous cloak for a cold and vicious heart. Sibbes believed that hearts must be turned, and evil desires eclipsed by stronger ones for Christ.
This book is as relevant today as when it was first published in 1629. Our busyness and activism so easily degenerate into a hypocrisy in which we keep up all the appearance of holiness without the heart of it. Christians even use Christ as a package to pass on to others, instead of enjoying him first and foremost as their own Savior. But true reformation must begin in the heart, with love for Christ. And that can only come when the free grace of God in Christ Jesus is preached.
This book was a surprisingly interesting book. I had not expected the book to be as easy to read, recognising it was written with older English (as it says, probably in the 1600's), even though i'm used to reading that style of English. Whoever put in the little archaic word dictionary in the text is now my "best friend", because even with my vocabulary, there were words I had no clue as to their meaning and no specialised dictionary for looking them up (the one in Kindle is not up to the task). Stibbes manages to put his arguments in logical sequence and his explanations for the passages in the Bible are well thought out and presented. What helped was that it has a table of contents in its digital format. It is worth reading, it my opinion.