The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax (eBook)

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The Lord is tender towards all who believe and will not break even a bruised reed. This is comfort for the fainthearted, and hope for the weak.

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Bruising is needed so that reeds may know they are reeds, not oaks. Reeds need to be bruised because of the pride in our nature, the removal of which lets us live by mercy and faith. It is a difficult thing to bring a dull heart to cry for mercy. Our hearts, like malefactors, until they are beaten from all sides, never naturally cry for mercy from the Judge. But this bruising makes us set a high price upon Christ. It makes us more thankful and more fruitful in our lives.

Whatever claim sin has on a man, bruising or breaking is the end of it. This spark of hope, being opposed by doubts and fears arising from the corruption of sin, makes him as smoking flax. Thus, both these together, a bruised reed and smoking flax, make up the state of a poor, distressed man. Our Savior terms such a one as poor in spirit.

Christ will not break the bruised reed or quench the smoking flax. Though physicians put their patients through much pain, they will not destroy their patients’ bodies but will do their best to heal them. Surgeons will cut, but not dismember. A mother will not cast away a sick or disobedient child. Shall we think there is more mercy in ourselves than in God, who plants the affection of mercy in us? To further declare Christ’s mercy to all bruised reeds, consider the comforting relationship He has taken upon Himself of husband, shepherd, and brother, which He will discharge to the utmost.

It cannot but cheer the heart of the church to consider, despite all the infirmities and miseries she is subject to, that she has a Bridegroom with a kind disposition. He knows how to give the honor of kindness to the weaker vessel and will be so far from rejecting her because she is weak that He will pity her all the more. He is kind at all times and will speak to her heart, especially when in the wilderness.


About the Author

Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), an influential Puritan preacher and theologian, served at Gray’s Inn, London, after being ordained around 1608. His key writings include The Bruised Reed, The Soul’s Conflict With Itself, and The Saint’s Safety in Evil Times, and his sermons are preserved in The Works of Richard Sibbes.


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