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We see this change is wrought by beholding. The beholding of the glory of God in the gospel, it is a powerful beholding; for, saith he, ‘we are changed, by beholding,’ to the image of Christ. Sight works upon the imaginations in brute creatures; as Laban’s sheep, when they saw the parti-coloured rods, it wrought upon their imaginations, and they had lambs suitable.* Will sight work upon imagination, and imagination work a real change in nature? And shall not the glorious sight of God’s mercy and love in Christ work a change in our soul? Is not the eye of faith more strong to alter and change than imagination natural? Certainly the eye of faith, apprehending God’s love and mercy in Christ, it hath a power to change. The gospel itself, together with the Spirit, hath a power to change. We partake by it of the divine nature.

This glass of the gospel hath an excellency and an eminency above all other glasses. It is a glass that changeth us. When we see ourselves and our corruptions in the glass of the law, there we see ourselves dead. The law finds us dead, and leaves us dead. It cannot give us any life. But when we look into the gospel and see the glory of God, the mercy of God, the gracious promises of the gospel, we are changed into the likeness of Christ whom we see in the gospel. It is an excellent glass, therefore, that hath a transforming power to make beautiful. Such a glass would be much prized in this proud world; such a glass is the gospel.

Therefore let us be in love with this glass above all other glasses whatsoever. Nothing can change us but the gospel. The gospel hath a changing power, as you have it Isa. 11:6, seq.: there the lion shall feed with the lamb,’ &c. ‘For the whole earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord,’ ver. 9. The knowledge of Christ Jesus is a changing knowledge, that changeth a man even from an untractable, fierce creature, to be tractable, sweet, and familiar. So that the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ, you see, it is a transforming knowledge, and changeth us into the image of Christ, to the likeness of Christ.


 Richard Sibbes, The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 4 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; W. Robertson, 1863), 269–270.