When a man believes that all these things shall be on fire ere long, that heaven and earth shall fall in pieces, that we shall be called to give an account, and that, before that time, we may be taken away, is it not a wonder we stand so long when cities’ stone walls fall and kingdoms come to sudden periods? When faith apprehends and sets this to the eye of the soul, it affects the same marvelously. Therefore, let faith set before the soul some present thoughts according to its temper: sometimes terrible things to awaken it out of its dullness, sometimes glorious things, promises, and mercies to awaken it out of its sadness, etc. When we are in a prosperous estate, let faith make present all the sins and temptations that usually accompany such an estate, as pride, security, self-applause, and the like. If in adversity, think also of what sins may beset us there. This will awaken up such graces in us as are suitable to such an estate for the preventing of such sins and temptations, and so keep our hearts in “exercise to godliness” (1 Timothy 4.7) than which nothing will more prevent sleeping.
From: The Love of Christ: Expository Sermons on Verses from Song of Solomon Chapters 4-6 by Richard Sibbes; reprint (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2011), p. 87. The excerpt is from Sermon 4 on Song of Solomon 5.2. Originally published in 1639 under the title Bowels Opened. The Banner of Truth Trust reprint is from Volume 2 of the 1862 Nichol edition of The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes.