There is perhaps no subject in religion which is so much misunderstood as the subject of the Church. There is certainly no misunderstanding which has done more harm to professing Christians than the misunderstanding of this subject.
If we look to the present state of the church of Christ, it is as Daniel in the midst of the lions, as a lily among thorns, as a ship not only tossed, but almost covered with waves. It is so low, that the enemies think they have buried Christ, in regard of his gospel, in the grave, and there they think to keep him from rising; but Christ as he rose in his person, so he will roll away all stones, and rise again in his church. How little support hath the church and the cause of Christ at this day! how strong a conspiracy is against it! the spirit of antichrist is now lifted up, and marcheth furiously; things seem to hang on a small and invisible thread. But our comfort is, that Christ liveth and reigneth and standeth on Mount Sion in defence of them that stand for him, Rev. xiv. 1; and when States and kingdoms shall dash one against another, Christ will have care of his own children and cause, seeing there is nothing else in the world that he much esteemeth. At this very time the delivery of his church, and the ruin of his enemies, is in working; we see no things in motion till Christ hath done his work, and then we shall see that the Lord reigneth.
Christ and his church, when they are at the lowest, are nearest rising: his enemies at the highest are nearest a downfall.
Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) in The Bruised Reed