This pocket Puritan book is taken from 'The Banner Of Truth's' paperback Josiah's Reformation.Richard Sibbes in his preaching and writing was not aiming for mere outward reformation,it was directed to the heart(the inner man).In the intro.p.12 "No,hearts must be turned ,and evil desires eclipsed by stronger ones for Christ." The author understood that the strength and vigor of a godly life flows from one that has communed closely with the Lord Jesus and desires an ever closer walk with Him.Speaking of Mr.Sibbes(Michael Reeves writes in the intro.)"knowing God's love he became loving"-love and grace are similar in this way(the more we have experienced the grace of God,the more gracious we can be with our fellow man).
The writer gives us one of the essential components of a tender heart-p.52"...a true,tender heart yields to the Word of God,and is fit to run on any errand."-Whatever service the Lord may have for you,a heart that is tender will equip you for that task.
Pastor Sibbes gives wise and godly counsel on how to preserve a tender heart-p.28-29 "...by all means take heed of the least sin against conscience,for the least sin in this kind makes way to hardness of heart." A conscience that is seared and not sensitive to sin strikes at the heart of spiritual strength and vitality,it has a crippling effect upon one's spiritual life. Another preservative is to labor for a legal and evangelical faith-p.27 "It is the nature of faith to see things absent as present before us ... so faith setting the day of judgement before our eyes,will make us to tremble." When we read or hear of the Lord's judgements upon the ungodly and impenitent,often these things appear to be far off,like a distant dream but faith brings these realities nearer to us,so that the impression of them upon our hearts and minds are not easily dismissed(this can have a sanctifying effect upon our lives,a preservative against taking sin lightly.That is why we are exhorted in the word of God 'to set our hearts and minds upon the things above'.
Richard Sibbes was very influential in the lives of some of the Puritans who would be part of the Westminster assembly and would produce perhaps the finest confession of faith that has been written.His written ministry is highly valued by many who earnestly seek to be godly and useful in Christ's Church.