Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Patience is to be distinguished from a dull indiscriminateness and from insensibility, to which one treatment is much the same as another; it is the calm endurance, the quiet, hopeful waiting on the part of the intelligent and sensitive spirit. Pride is to be distinguished from self-respect; it is an overweening estimate indulged by a man respecting himself - of his power, or of his position, or of his character. Thus understood, these two qualities stand in striking contrast to one another.
I. PATIENCE IS A DIVINELY COMMENDED AND PRIDE A FORBIDDEN THING. Patience (Luke 21:19; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; Hebrews 10:36; 2 Peter 1:6; James 5:7, 8, 11; Revelation 2:2). Pride (Psalm 101:5; Psalm 119:21; Psalm 138:6; Proverbs 6:17; Isaiah 2:12; Mark 7:22; Romans 12:3; James 4:6).
II. PATIENCE IS THE SEAT OF SAFETY, PRIDE THE PLACE OF PERIL. The man that is willing to wait in patience for the good which God will grant him, accepting what he gives him with quiet contentment, is likely to walk in wisdom, and to abide in the fear and favor of the Lord; but the man who over-estimates his strength is standing in a very "slippery place" - he is almost sure to fall. No words of the wise man are more frequently fulfilled than those concerning pride and a haughty spirit (Proverbs 16:18). The proud heart is the mark for many adversaries.
III. PATIENCE IS A BECOMING GRACE, PRIDE AN UGLY EVIL, Few things are morn spiritually beautiful than patience. When under long-continued bodily pain or weakness, or under grievous ill-treatment, or through long years of deferred hope and disappointment, the chastened spirit lives on in cheerful resignation, the Christian workman toils on in unwavering faith, there is a spectacle which we can well believe that the angels of God look upon with delight. Certainly it is the object of our admiring regard. On the other hand, pride is an offensive thing in the eyes of man, as we know it is in the sight of God (Proverbs 8:13). Whether a man shows himself elated about his personal appearance, or his riches, or his learning, or his strength (of any kind), we begin by being amused and end by being annoyed and repelled; we turn away as from an ugly picture or from an offensive odor.
IV. PATIENCE CONDUCTS INTO, PRIDE EXCLUDES FROM, THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
1. Patient inquiry will bring a man into the sunshine of full discipleship to Jesus Christ, but pride will keep him away, and leave him to be lighted by the poor sparks of his own wisdom.
2. Patient steadfastness in the faith will conduct to the gates of the celestial city.
3. Patient continuance in well-doing will end in the commendation of Christ and in his bountiful reward. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.