Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) a Puritan cleric and divine, "was born in Tostock, Suffolk, the first-born son of a wheelwright. In 1595, against his father's wishes that he carry on the family trade, Sibbes
joined St John's College, Cambridge. Though of his own spiritual progress we know little, we do know that he undoubtedly heard the preaching of William Perkins in Cambridge, and that he was ultimately converted under the ministry of Perkins'
"After earning his B.D. in 1610, he was appointed as a lecturer at Holy Trinity in Cambridge, a position from which he was relieved five years later because of his Puritan tendencies. Sibbes, however, had by then become widely known for his preaching,
and through the influence of some powerful friends, in 1617 he was chosen to be the preacher at Gray's Inn, one of the most influential pulpits in London. At Gray's Inn, Sibbes' eminence and influence as a preacher continued to grow,
to the extent that his foes did not dare move against him."
[Note: Though the above paragraph represents the majority view, Sibbes was actually not removed from either his lectureship at Holy Trinity or his fellowship at St. John's College because of his Puritan tendencies. Documentary evidence demonstrates
that he simply wasn't removed from those posts at all, as has been widely believed. (See Mark E. Dever, "Moderation and Deprivation: A Reappraisal of Richard Sibbes" in
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 43:3 (July, 1992) 396-413.)]
"In 1626, he came back to Cambridge as Master of St Catherine's Hall, while retaining his position at Gray's Inn. And in 1633, he returned to Holy Trinity, this time by crown appointment "to its perpetual curacy." Sibbes continued
his preaching ministry both there and at Gray's Inn, as well as maintaining his duties at St Catherine's. until his death on 5th July 1635, at the age of 58.
"During his lifetime, Sibbes authorised the publishing of only three volumes of his work. One is a treatise entitled
The Soul's Conflict with Itself and Victory over itself by Faith, and the other two are collections of sermons under the titles
The Saint's Safety in Evil Times and
The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax. Both The Soul's Conflict and
The Saint's Safety are able works, exposing their author as a master at the practical application of Scripture and theology. But it is in The Bruised Reed that we find crystallised the foundation and essence of Sibbes' own
ministry and preaching."
- Mark E. Dever,
Richard Sibbes: Puritanism and Calvinism in Late Elizabethan and Early Stuart England, Mercer University Press, 2000.