1 Peter 2:18-25
Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the fraudulent.…
The word patience hath in common usage a double meaning, taken from the respect it hath unto two sorts of objects somewhat different. As it respecteth provocations to anger and revenge by injuries or discourtesies, it signifieth a disposition of mind to bear them with charitable meekness; as it relateth to adversities and crosses disposed to us by Providence, it importeth a pious undergoing and sustaining them. That both these kinds of patience may here be understood, we may, consulting and considering the context, easily discern.
I. PATIENCE, THEN, IS THAT VIRTUE WHICH QUALIFIETH US TO BEAR ALL CONDITIONS AND ALL EVENTS BY GOD'S DISPOSAL INCIDENT TO US, WITH SUCH APPREHENSIONS AND PERSUASIONS OF MIND, SUCH DISPOSITIONS AND AFFECTIONS OF HEART, SUCH EXTERNAL DEPORTMENTS AND PRACTICES OF LIFE AS GOD REQUIRETH AND GOOD REASON DIRECTETH. Its nature will, I conceive, be understood best by considering the chief acts which it produceth, and wherein especially the practice thereof consisteth; the which briefly are these:
1. A thorough persuasion, that nothing befalleth us by fate, or by chance, or by the mere agency of inferior causes, but that all proceedeth from the dispensation or with the allowance of God.
2. A firm belief that all occurrences, however adverse and cross to our desires, are well consistent with the justice, wisdom, and goodness of God.
3. A full satisfaction of mind that all (even the most bitter and sad accidents) do (according to God's purpose) tend and conduce to our good.
4. An entire submission and resignation of our wills to the will of God, suppressing all rebellious insurrections and grievous resentments of heart against His providence.
5. Bearing adversities calmly, cheerfully, and courageously, so as not to be discomposed with anger or grief; not to be put out of humour, not to be dejected or disheartened; but in our disposition of mind to resemble the primitive saints who "took joyfully the spoiling of their goods," who "accounted it all joy when they fell into divers tribulations."
6. A hopeful confidence in God for the removal or easement of our afflictions, and for His gracious aid to support them well; agreeable to those good rules and precepts: "It is good that a man should both hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord"; "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him"; "Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart."
7. A willingness to continue, during God's pleasure, in our afflicted state, without weariness or irksome longings for alteration.
8. A lowly frame of mind (that is, being sober in our conceits of ourselves, sensible of our manifold defects and miscarriages; being meek and gentle, tender and pliable in our temper and frame of spirit; being deeply affected with reverence and dread toward the awful majesty, mighty power, perfect justice and sanctity of God; all this wrought by our adversity, effectually, according to its design, softening our hard hearts, mitigating our peevish humours.
9. Restraining our tongues from all discontentful complaints and murmurings, all profane, harsh expressions, importing displeasure or dissatisfaction in God's dealings toward us, arguing desperation or distrust in Him.
10. Blessing and praising God (that is, declaring our hearty satisfaction in God's proceedings with us, acknowledging His wisdom, justice, and goodness therein, expressing a grateful sense thereof, as wholesome and beneficial to us) in conformity to Job, who, on the loss of all his comforts, did thus vent his mind: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
11. Abstaining from all irregular and unworthy courses toward the removal or redress of our crosses; choosing rather to abide quietly under their pressure, than by any unwarrantable means to relieve or relax ourselves.
12. A fair behaviour toward the instruments and abettors of our affliction; those who brought us into it, or who detain us under it, by keeping off relief, or sparing to yield the succour which we might expect; the forbearing to express any wrath or displeasure, to exercise any revenge, to retain any grudge or enmity toward them; but rather even on that score bearing goodwill, and showing kindness unto them.
13. Particularly in regard to those who, by injurious and offensive usage, do provoke us, patience importeth —
(1) That we be not hastily, over easily, not immoderately, not pertinaciously incensed with anger toward them.
(2) That we do not in our hearts harbour any ill will, or ill wishes, or ill designs toward them, but that we truly desire their good, and purpose to farther it as we shall have ability and occasion.
(3) That in effect we do not execute any revenge, or for requital do any mischief to them, either in word or deed; but for their reproaches exchange blessings (or good words and wishes), for their outrages repay benefits and good turns.
14. In fine, patience doth include and produce a general meekness and kindness of affection, together with an enlarged sweetness and pleasantness in conversation and carriage toward all men; implying that how hard soever our case, how sorry or sad our condition is, we are not therefore angry with the world, because we do not thrive or flourish in it; that we are not dissatisfied or disgusted with the prosperous estate of other men; that we are not become sullen or froward toward any man because his fortune excelleth ours, but that rather we do "rejoice with them that rejoice"; we do find complacence and delight in their good success; we borrow satisfaction and pleasure from their enjoyments.
II. THE EXAMPLE OF OUR LORD WAS INDEED IN THIS KIND THE MOST REMARKABLE THAT EVER WAS PRESENTED, the most perfect that can be imagined; He was, above all expression, "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief"; He did undertake, as to perform the best works, so to endure the worst accidents to which human nature is subject; His whole life being no other than one continual exercise of patience and meekness, in all the parts and to the utmost degrees of them.
(Isaac Barrow, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.