"And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed." I Samuel 2:1-10.
"In short, when it is a question of the righteousness of works, we must have regard not for the work of the law but for the commandment. Therefore, if righteousness is sought from the law we will in vain bring forward one work or another, but unceasing obedience to the law is necessary. Therefore, God does not, as many stupidly believe, once for all reckon to us as righteousness that forgiveness of sins concerning which we have spoken in order that, having obtained pardon for our past life, we may afterward seek righteousness in the law; this would be only to lead us into false hope, to laugh at us, and mock us. For since no perfection can come to us so long as we are clothed in this flesh, and the law moreover announces death and judgment to all who do not maintain perfect righteousness in works, it will always have grounds for accusing and condemning us unless, on the contrary, God's mercy counters it, and by continual forgiveness of sins repeatedly acquits us. Therefore, what I said at the beginning always holds good: if we are judged by our own worth, whatever we plan or undertake, with all our efforts and labors we still deserve death and destruction." Calvin, Institutes, Book III, chapter XIV, section 10
"You see, then, that the grace in the gospel is not mere persuasion and entreaty, but a powerful work of the Spirit entering into the soul and changing it, and altering the inclination of the will heavenward, whereas corruption of nature turns the soul downward to things below. The soul is carried up and shut to things below. We must have great notions of the work of grace. The Scripture has great words of it. It is an alteration, a change, a new man, a new creature, a new birth." Richard Sibbes, "Glorious Freedom," p. 106.
Last week I quoted Calvin quoting Ambrose pointing out that we are like Jacob, approaching our Father dressed in our elder brother's clothes, to receive a blessing we do not deserve. I mentioned that I had never looked on the story of Jacob in that light. Today I read this in Sibbes: "In the gospel, faith works in us to see God's face openly, and to come boldly with...Esau's garments; that is, to come with Christ, and we cannot be too bold."
It is interesting how reading one book can open one's eyes to see something in another book. I have read both Calvin's Institutes and Sibbes' "Glorious Freedom" before, and never took notice of the mention of our story being like Jacob's story, and now I have seen it once in each book in the course of one week. That makes me eager to read even more: broadly, deeply, promiscuously.