How great was the patience of Jesus! Even among His own disciples, how forbearingly He endured their blindness, their misconceptions and hardness of heart! Philip had been for three years with Him, yet he had "not known Him!" -- all that time he had remained in strange and culpable ignorance of his Lord's dignity and glory. See how tenderly Jesus bears with him; giving him nothing in reply for his confession of ignorance but unparalleled promises of grace! Peter, the honored and trusted, becomes a renegade and a coward. Justly might his dishonored Lord, stung with such unrequited love, have cut the unworthy cumberer down. But He spares him, bears with him, gently rebukes him, and loves him more than ever! See the Divine Sufferer in the terminating scenes of His own ignominy and woe. How patient! -- "As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth." In these awful moments, outraged Omnipotence might have summoned twelve legions of angels and put into the hand of each a vial of wrath. But He submits in meek, majestic silence. Verily, in Him "patience had her perfect work!"
Think of this same patience with His Church and people since He ascended to glory. The years upon years He has borne with their perverse resistance of His grace, their treacherous ingratitude, their wayward wanderings, their hardness of heart and contempt of His holy word. Yet, behold the forbearing love of this Saviour of God! His hand of mercy is "stretched out still!"
Child of God! art thou now undergoing some bitter trial? The way of thy God, it may be, all mystery; no footprints of love traceable in the checkered path; no light, in the clouds above; no ray in the dark future. Be patient! "The Lord is good to them that wait for Him." "They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength!" Or hast thou been long tossed on some bed of sickness -- days of pain and nights of weariness appointed thee? Be patient! "I trust this groaning," said a suffering saint, "is not murmuring." God, by this very affliction, is nurturing within thee this beauteous grace which shone so conspicuously in the character of thy dear Lord. With Him it was a lovely habit of the soul. With thee, the "tribulation" which worketh "patience" is needful discipline. It is good for a man that he should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of God. Art thou suffering some unmerited wrong or unkindness, exposed to harsh and wounding accusations, hard for flesh and blood to bear? Be patient! Beware of hastiness of speech or temper; remember how much evil may be done by a few inconsiderate words "spoken unadvisedly with the lip." Think of Jesus standing before a human tribunal, in the silent submissiveness of conscious innocence and integrity. Leave thy cause with God. Let this be the only form of thy complaint, "O God, I am oppressed; undertake Thou for me!"
"In patience," then, "possess ye your souls." Let it not be a grace for peculiar seasons, called forth on peculiar exigences; but an habitual frame manifested in the calm serenity of a daily walk; -- placidity amid the little fretting annoyances of every-day life -- a fixed purpose of the heart to wait upon God, and cast its every burden upon Him.
"ARM YOURSELVES LIKEWISE WITH THE SAME MIND."