"The God of Patience." Romans 15:5.

There is no study of "our God" which more impressively presents to our view the Infinity of His nature than the study of His perfections; and among those perfections there is not one which, perhaps, more strikingly illustrates that Infinity than His patience. It is impossible to contemplate the fact of God's patience with this fallen world, from the moment of man's transgression until the present, and not be profoundly inspired with the truth– what but an Infinite Being could have borne with this revolted, ungodly race until now? The patience of all the created beings in heaven combined would long since have been exhausted had it been left to deal with sinful man. Such is the subject of these pages. Whether we view it in relation to the divine glory, or in its bearings upon the Church and the world, it is impossible, under the guidance of the Spirit of truth, to study the patience of God without deep instruction. Let us, in the further consideration of this subject, speak of the nature of God's patience, its objects, and the holy lessons it teaches.

The wide difference between the grace of patience in the Christian and the perfection of Patience in God will at once appear to the spiritual and reflective mind. In the Christian, patience is an implanted grace, wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit, trained and exercised in the school of suffering and sorrow. But in God, patience is an essential attribute of His being, a part of His nature, yes, a part of Himself, so perfect that it needs no discipline for its culture. As with the divine perfection of love and of Hope, unfolded in the preceding chapters of this work, God could not be and cease to be the God of patience. If He could disrobe Himself of one perfection of His nature, He could of all; and what were this but to suppose it possible that he could undeify Himself? We are again reminded that, in all our dealings with God we deal with Infinity. The Lord's people too frequently forget this. Would there be the limiting of God, the circumscribing of His power, patience, and love, did we more continually remember that, in coming to God in prayer, in looking to God for help, our faith has to deal with the Infinite, and therefore with the illimitable and the fathomless?

The sin of limiting the Holy One of Israel is one of the most God-dishonoring chargeable upon the believer. And yet, alas! How constant its commission! Is there a difficulty, a trial, or a need, in dealing with which we detect not the working of this evil within us- the tendency to compress the infinite within the finite, to circumscribe the boundless, to limit the Illimitable One?

But what is the Patience of God? It is the power of God over Himself. God's patience with man is only surpassed by His patience with Himself. "The Lord is slow to anger," and then it follows, "and great in power." What is the inference we draw from these sublime words of the prophet but that, God's patience towards His creatures is His power over Himself? It is, in the strong language of inspiration, "the hiding of His power." But for the infinite restraint God puts upon Himself, this fallen world could not exist a moment. Mercy withholds judgment, goodness restrains justice, patience curbs power, and thus the patience of God is the salvation of man. "He that rules his spirit is better than he that takes a city." God's slowness of anger, His patience towards man, is the ruling of himself. That prince of Puritan writers, Charnock, thus puts it- "He that can restrain his anger is stronger than the Caesars and Alexanders of the world, that have filled the earth with their slain carcasses and ruined cities. By the same reason God's slowness to anger is a greater argument of His power than the creating a world or the power of dissolving it by a word; in this He has a dominion over creatures, in the other over Himself. This is the reason he will not return to destroy; because 'I am God, and not man.' 'I am not so weak and impotent as man, who cannot restrain his anger.'

This is a strength possessed only by a God, wherein a creature is no more able to parallel Him than in any other; so that He may be said to be the Lord of Himself, as it is in the verse, that He is 'the Lord of anger.' The end why God is patient is to show His power. "What if God, willing to show His wrath, and to make His power known, endures with much patience the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction" to show His wrath upon sinners, and His power over Himself, in bearing such indignities and forbearing punishment so long upon men, mere vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, of whom there was no hope of amendment? Had He immediately broken in pieces these vessels, His power had not so eminently appeared as it has done in tolerating them so long, that had provoked Him to take them off so often.

There is, indeed, the power of His anger and the power of His patience; and this power is more seen in His patience than in His wrath. It is no wonder that He who is above all is able to crush all; but it is a wonder that He that is provoked by all does not upon the first provocation rid His hands of all. This is the reason why He did bear such a weight of provocation from vessels of wrath, prepared for Him, that He might show what He was able to do, the lordship and royalty He had over Himself. The power of God is more manifest in His patience to a multitude of sinners than it could be in creating millions of worlds out of nothing; this was a power over Himself."

Let it not, however, be inferred that, by thus representing the other divine perfections as yielding to that of patience, we are in any measure superseding their place or even compromising their dignity. For instance, there is no negation of His truthfulness in the exercise of His patience. In the threatenings of God there may be a delay in execution- patience restraining- and yet sooner or later God will vindicate His truthfulness by executing the threatening. God very rarely appoints the time when His judgments shall be displayed. He is therefore left free to send them when He chooses, without in the slightest degree compromising His veracity. In due time the judgment comes, though long delayed- patience intercepting it with its gentle and merciful restraint, and thus delaying its immediate and dire execution. When God, as in the case of Adam, said, "In the day you eat thereof you shall surely die," and in the case of Nineveh, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be destroyed," seems to fix a time for the outpouring of His judgment, it is generally accompanied with a condition upon the performance of which the execution of the sentence depends. Adam did not actually die the very day that he ate the forbidden fruit; nor was Nineveh destroyed at the end of the forty days fixed by God, because in both cases the patience of God waited for the accomplishment of the great ends He had in view in arresting the immediate execution of the threat.

Neither is the equity of God impeached by the exercise of His patience. The justice of God shall never know a cloud. He must cease to be God, if he cease to be just. The exercise, therefore, of His patience in no degree lessens His righteousness. He may "pass sentence against an evil work," and yet not "execute it speedily" the infliction of punishment thus giving place to the restraint of patience, and yet remain a holy and a righteous Lord God. Would it argue the condoning of a fault on the part of a parent because, in the exercise of parental leniency, he did not immediately administer the punishment? Or, would it involve an impeachment of the justice of the sovereign if, in the exercise of the mercy of the crown, the criminal were not immediately hurried from the bar to the gibbet? And shall God be regarded as less holy or less just, if, in the exercise of His marvelous patience, he spares the guilty sinner, giving space for repentance? Oh, no! To a superficial eye He may seem to overlook wickedness because the sentence against it is not speedily executed; and the wicked man, presuming upon the arrest of judgment, may harden himself in his wickedness; nevertheless, God hates the sin though He bears long with the sinner, and sooner or later the wrath that has been thus long 'treasuring up against the day of wrath' will overtake and overwhelm the ungodly.

God's character should be seen and admired and reverenced by men as a whole. Were God's judgment instantly to follow a crime, were punishment immediately to light upon a sin, there would be the hiding of His patience, which is an emanation of His goodness, and nothing would be seen but holiness in the awful display of justice. No, more. We believe that the exercise of divine patience is a wonderful balance to the greater luster of all the other divine perfections. When divine patience is, as it were, exhausted, and when holiness is vindicated and justice is displayed in the righteous and fearful doom of the sinner, the spotless purity of the one and the perfect equity of the other will shine forth with augmented luster in the eyes of all intelligent beings. The holiness of God will appear more holy, and the justice of God more just, when the flood-gates of His wrath, long closed, are opened, and His fiery justice, long pent up, is let loose, and the wicked are 'driven away in their wickedness.' Then from every lip will ascend the exclamation, "You are righteous, O Lord, in that you have judged thus!"

We have thus shown that the patience of God is not a blind, unintelligent perfection, displayed at the expense of the related attributes of Jehovah; that, although it precede, it does not supersede, still less destroy them, but rather renders their manifestation the more palpable and their glory the more resplendent.

Such is the character of God as reflected by the single perfection of patience. And oh! how gracious and glorious does it appear! What a bright beam of mercy is patience! What a pure, sweet, and engaging emanation of goodness is patience! It is purely a truth of His own revelation. Had He not so revealed it, man, in the blindness which the fall has created, would have never discovered it. Listen to His declaration! "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, patient, and abundant in goodness and truth" The patience of God seems like a central link in this golden chain of attributes. Mercy could have no room to act if patience did not prepare the way, and His truth and goodness in the promise of the Redeemer would not have been made manifest to the world if He had shot His arrows as soon as men committed these sins and deserved His punishment.

This perfection is expressed by other phrases; as, keeping silence; "These things have you done, and I kept silence." This signifies to behave one's self as a deaf and dumb man. "I did not fly in your face, as some do, with a great voice or for a light provocation, as if their life, honor, and estates were at stake. I did not presently call you to the bar, and pronounce judicial sentence upon you according to the law, but demeaned myself as if had been ignorant of your crimes, and had not been invested with the power of judging you for them. In the Chaldee, 'I waited for your conversion.' God's patience is the silence of His justice, and the first whisper of His mercy." (Charnock)

Here let us consider, admire, and love! What a God is our God! When we remember how holy He is, "of purer eyes than to look upon iniquity;" when we remember how powerful He is, "He looks upon the hills and they tremble;" and when we remember how just He is, "a God without iniquity, just and right is He," "and will by no means clear the guilty;" and then contemplate His infinite patience with sinners and with sin, bearing long with the one and keeping silence as to the other, oh! what a God is our God! Sinner! this is the God whose great patience you are trying to the utmost by your persistent sinfulness and impenitence, your determined unbelief and rebellion. Truly is this patience His dominion over Himself.

What an unfolding have we here of the goodness and mercy of God! of His character as a God delighting in mercy, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance! Sinner! "Do you despise the riches of His goodness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?" Oh that this truth might dissolve your heart, disarm your rebellion, and lay you at His feet subdued, conquered, won; henceforth to throw down your weapons and array beneath the all-constraining, all-victorious banner of His love- His disciple, His follower forever!

But we have yet to contemplate the patience of God in its clearest, its truest light. I refer to the Lord Jesus Christ as the foundation on which it rests, and the channel through which it flows. There could be no manifestation of the divine goodness, mercy, or patience, but for the work and death of Christ. All God's perfections, outside of Christ, are united in their hatred of sin, and are pledged to punish the sinner. This must necessarily be so. If not harmonized in the administration of love, they must be united in the administration of justice. Had a Savior been provided for angels, then the great patience of God had been extended to them who "kept not their first estate;" but seeing that no such merciful provision was made for them, the moment they sinned they were hurled from the heights of glory into the abyss of woe, and are "reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."

But the moment man sinned, Christ saved man. When Adam fell, divine patience was instantly extended to the fallen sinner, and an arrest of judgment put in, Christ throwing Himself in the breach, exclaiming, "To my account let the sin be charged; upon me let the penalty fall; from me let the payment be exacted. I am the sinner's Substitute; and if I must be arrested, and bound, and slain, let these elect souls on whose behalf I have from eternity covenanted to die, and have pledged myself to save, go their way." Thus Christ, our Days-man, interposed for our relief, "giving Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet- smelling savor." On no other ground than that of the Son of God engaging, in the eternal purposes of Jehovah, and actually in the fullness of time taking our nature, could God's infinite patience and pardoning grace be extended to man.

In the everlasting covenant, He bound Himself to honor the law by His obedience, and to satisfy justice by His death, and so make it righteous and honorable in God to hold out His hand of patience all the day long to a sinful and gainsaying race. Finding in the person of Christ a divine dignity equal to the claims of His moral government, in His obedience a full honoring of the law, and in His sufferings and death a full satisfaction to justice, God could stand upon the Mount, and, while the thunder of His power rolled, and the lightning of His justice flashed, exclaim, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,"- and thus it became righteous and honorable in God, to hold out His hand all the day long to a sinful and gainsaying race. It was on the ground of this covenant engagement that God could appear upon Mount Sinai, and amid those awful emblems of His majesty, declare Himself "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgressions, and sins."

Let those who reject the idea of God's everlasting love, and who ignore the covenant of grace, reflect upon these words. Let them pause and inquire, Had not Christ from eternity interposed as the Mediator anti Redeemer of men, upon what other grounds could God, amid these solemn displays of His holiness and power, have proclaimed Himself to sinners as a God "patient and abundant in goodness and truth?" If, under the law, God could so reveal Himself, how much is His patience heightened under the Gospel? Glorious as thus was Mount Sinai, it had no glory by reason of the glory that excelled on Mount Calvary, where the patience of God to sinful man culminated to its highest pitch of grandeur and glory.

Thus reasons the Apostle when arguing the superiority of the Gospel to the Legal dispensation- "That old system of law etched in stone led to death, yet it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses' face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn't we expect far greater glory when the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old covenant, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new covenant, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new covenant. So if the old covenant, which has been set aside, was full of glory, then the new covenant, which remains forever, has far greater glory."

If, then, the patience of our God was so manifest and glorious amid the dim shadows of the Legal dispensation, how much more real and glorious does it appear in the full blaze of the Gospel dispensation, and as exercised amid the sublime and impressive scenes of Calvary! In a word, if for the sake of the sacrifice of a lamb, or a goat, or a heifer, God would bear, in much patience, with men's sin and rebellion, how much more honorable and fitting on His part to extend to sinners His patience on the ground of Christ's only and complete sacrifice!

This explains the world-wide indirect influence of Christ's Atonement. That Atonement has a particular reference to the elect Church of God; but, since it was necessary that the world should be kept in existence- a wicked, ungodly, mutinous world though it is- in order that God might take out of it His chosen people, the indirect effect of the sacrifice of Christ is, as to enable God to "bear with much patience the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction!"

Oh, the marvelous blessings that flow from the death of Christ! Oh, the variety of precious fruit that grows upon the cross of Calvary! So marvelous, so strange and unheard of a thing was it that, the incarnate God, the Maker of all worlds, the Creator of all beings, should die, it would seem impossible that there should be a spot in the universe, or a being on the globe, to whom the far-reaching influence of Christ's death should not extend in some of its countless effects, direct or indirect, either of saving mercy, or of restraining and sparing power. In this sense the Divine Merchantman "purchased the field"- the world- for the sake of the "pearl"- the Church- " hidden in that field." And so, the patience of God in sparing the world, for the sake of the Church He intended to take out of it, is an indirect result of the Savior's suffering and death upon the cross. Thus, in the strong language of the Apostle, He is described as "the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe."

For this reason God spared the old world while the ark was preparing. Long and patiently He bore with it, its wickedness crying mightily to heaven for judgment. But the framework of the ark cast a benign and restraining shadow upon the ungodly race. And so long as the vessel was building, the wicked ante-diluvians dwelt peacefully and securely beneath its shade. It was the indirect merciful influence of the ark that spared them so long from instant and utter destruction. But when the ark was complete, and the family for whom it was built were safe beneath its roof, and God had shut them in, the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the flood came and swept them all away.

So God bears with much patience a wicked world now. The shallow of the cross preserves it! but, when the purposes of mercy according to the election of grace, are accomplished, and the mystery of God shall be finished, divine patience will give place to divine wrath, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into His garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. The ark afloat- the church saved- the purposes of God accomplished- the divine patience, that for so many centuries bore with our ungodly world, will cease; and divine justice, long restrained, will blot it from the universe, superseding it by "a new heaven and a new earth, in which will dwell righteousness."

But if such are the indirect blessings from the death of Christ- the chief of which is God's unwearied patience with the wicked; what must be the greatness and preciousness of the blessings directly and immediately resulting to the Church of God! As a believer in the Lord Jesus, you have a personal and inalienable interest in a present salvation and in a future glory, all flowing from His atoning death. The death of Christ places you, if a believer, in the position of a sinner saved now. Yours is a present salvation, a present pardon, a present justification, a present adoption. But how few realize this to be their standing! How few walk in the happy enjoyment of it as those whose sins are forgiven, whose souls are accepted, whose persons are adopted!

How few, in the language of the prophet, "possess these possessions." But the word of God fully justifies this view of a present salvation. Listen to its language. "I write unto you, little children, because ,our sins are forgiven for His name's sake " Observe, it is a present forgiveness! " To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved." Observe, it is a present acceptance! "Beloved, now are we the sons of God" Mark, it is a present adoption! "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus " Notice, it is a present acquittal! Such is the authority upon which we earnestly urge you to realize your present standing in Christ.

Let it not be with you a future question. If you are a slave emancipated, a criminal acquitted, a sinner pardoned, an alien adopted, a wanderer reclaimed, then realize it, and let your whole life, amid all its trials and sorrows and battles, be as a sweet and pleasant psalm of praise and thanksgiving to the God of patience who bore with you so long, to the Savior of sinners whose grace called you at last, and to the Spirit of holiness who, by His work of progressive sanctification, is gradually fitting you for the inheritance of the saints in light.

But who are the OBJECTS of God's patience? They include both the sinner and the saint. First, there is God's patience with the UNGODLY. This He shows in various ways. By the warnings which precede His judgments. God never acts impulsively, His justice is never hasty in its execution. The threat is issued, the warning is given, the rod is shaken, but the smiting tarries. Patience waits, mercy pleads, power restrains, and the sentence against the evil work is not executed speedily. As there is space between the lightning's flash and the thunder's roll, so space is afforded the sinner between the warning and the judgment, the threatening and the execution. God speaks twice in His mercy; and once in judgment. He gives the sinner space for repentance. Sinner! all this is verified in you! The warning is gone forth, but the executions lingers. God is speaking once in warning, twice in mercy. Judgment slumbers, but forbearance is awake. The indictment is laid, but the trial is postponed; the verdict is given, but the sentence is delayed. And why? That God's infinite patience might induce you to turn from your wickedness and live; to renounce your sins and flee from the wrath to come. Delay no longer! Think of all the past illustrations of God's patience; recall the many instances in which His goodness has interposed between your sin and its consequences, your aggravated provocation and His tremendous wrath.

Another example of God's forbearance with the sinner is seen in the many ways He employs to persuade him to repentance, before He administers the chastisement. He is intent upon affording both the time and the means for repentance. One of the fathers, in illustrating this idea, remarks that, God took six days to create the world, but was seven days in destroying Jericho. He was quick to build up, but slow to pull down. To the sinner going on in his rebellion, He says, "How shall I give you up? how shall I deliver you, Israel?" As of old, so it is now; "But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not; yes, many a time turned He His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath.'' The original is more expressive; "Many a time He recalled, or ordered His anger to return again," as if He hesitated to punish, was irresolute what to do.

What God did aforetime for Jezebel, He does now; "I gave her space to repent." Impenitent sinner! God is giving you space, or time, to repent; and except you do repent, like the wicked prophetess, you must perish. Do you ask, "How can I repent?" Fall at the mercy-seat, and seek the grace from Heaven. "Christ is exalted a Prince and Savior, to give repentance." Precious gift! a princely gift, not a purchase; a divine principle wrought in the heart by the power of the Spirit. One stroke of the rod of His grace, and, like the rock which Moses smote, your heart will be broken, and the waters of godly penitence for sin will gush forth, and flow in a hallowed stream beneath the cross. Remember, the two distinctive elements of conversion are, "repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ" Oh! seek truly, earnestly, perseveringly, these two royal gifts of God. Apart from their possession, there can be no real conversion now, and, consequently, after death, no heaven.

We will only further remark that, God shows His patience with sinners in lessening and softening the judgment when it comes. He does not deal with the sinner after his sins, nor reward him according to his iniquities. The stroke is lighter than the crime. God does not, in His punishment, exhaust the vials of His displeasure. The judgment is less heavy than the threat, and the punishment less severe than the provocation. The sword is bathed in heaven- so gentle, so slight the wound. Oh! what a God is our God, even to His enemies! Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God; His goodness tempering, softening severity; His severity upholding and vindicating the holiness of goodness.

Will not this view of God's dealings dissolve you into penitence, gratitude, and love? Will you continue sinning against such a Being? Will you persist in your rebellion against such a God? "Don't you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don't you care? Can't you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin? But no, you won't listen. So you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself because of your stubbornness in refusing to turn from your sin. For there is going to come a day of judgment when God, the just judge of all the world, will judge all people according to what they have done."

Equally great is the patience of God WITH HIS OWN PEOPLE. In one point of light it is even greater than in the case of the ungodly. God has to put up with greater provocation in the saint than in the sinner, and, consequently, His patience and patience towards His people is greater. The sin of the unconverted is the natural growth of their fallen and unrenewed nature; the sin of the converted is against grace, and pardon, and love. The rebellion against God of the converted is that of a child. The sin of the one is that of all unforgiven soul; the sin of the other is that of one all whose sin is blotted out. When, therefore, we consider what God has done for us, what Jesus has endured for us, what the Holy Spirit has wrought in us, and then contrast this with our deep ingratitude, our base murmurings, our countless backslidings, our cruel unbelief and secret rebellion, with the little we do for God and suffer for Christ, and with the sin and infirmities with which that little is mixed and defiled, truly we must feel that the patience of our God towards the saint is greater than His patience towards the sinner.

Oh! the tenderness, the graciousness of the Lord's patience with His people! How patiently he hears with their ungrateful repinings, with their secret rebellion, with their cold love, with their cruel unbelief, with their continuous and aggravated backslidings! Truly, the patience of God, after grace, is greater than His patience before grace. How should this thought humble us in the dust! How should it subdue our rebellious spirit, break our hard heart, and lead us, in every fresh remembrance, to the blood of Christ, to wash in the fountain open for sin and uncleanness!

It is only as we keep fast by this cleansing Fountain, wash in it daily, that we shall leave spiritual discernment to see when we sin against God's patience, and how we provoke the just chastisement of His fatherly displeasure. Oh for more simple coming to the blood of sprinkling! Oh for more constant bathing in the open fountain! This alone will keep the heart clean, the conscience tender, the mind quickly susceptible of the slightest oscillation of its thoughts, imaginations, and desires towards sin. Never should a single day pass in the experience of a child of God without washing in the blood. The blood should be upon all his religious duties and engagements and services. Everything should be purged, and purified, and perfumed with the blood of Jesus. This will cleanse, sanctify, and beautify all we are and all we do, and render the smallest offering of faith, and the lowliest service of love, a sacrifice and an offering to God of a sweet-smelling savor. Such is our God, the God of patience! Many are the LESSONS we may learn, and the BLESSINGS we may glean, from this instructive and fruitful subject.

Does God exercise patience towards us? Then let us learn to bear, with Christian patience, all His disciplinary dealings with us. If God is patient with our sins and misdoings against Him, we may well receive with uncomplaining meekness and submission all the trials and corrections, the rebukes and sufferings, His wisdom and love righteously lays upon us. And yet how uneasy are we beneath the yoke! how we kick against the goads! and allow our poor, puny will, to rise in opposition to His will, supremely wise and infinitely holy!

Are you a child of sorrow or of suffering? Is our God leading you, so blind and helpless, in a way you know not, and in paths you had not known? Is He pressing to your lips a cup of woe before untasted; and tasting which, you turn away, and exclaim, "Let this cup pass from me?" Think of the God of patience, and be still. Know that He who is wise is counseling you, He who is strong is leading you, He who is love is directing, and shaping, and tinting the whole scene through which, with a skillful hand and in the integrity of His heart, He is conducting you home to glory. His is a school where the grace of patience receives its highest culture, its purest, and host beauteous development.

"Tribulation works patience," and patience, in its turn, works our experience. Afflicted saint, "you have need of patience;" and He who sends the affliction knows your need, and knowing, will supply it, by giving you abundantly of this soul-sanctifying, God-glorifying grace of holy patience. Thus, by meeting your calamities with calamities, by waiting humbly the issue of events, the mystery of which you cannot penetrate, and the direction of which you cannot control, and by waiting in the patience of hope for that eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised to all who believe in Christ, and for the enjoyment of which present suffering is perfecting you, "patience will have its perfect work, lacking nothing," and "in patience you shall possess your soul."

Is your path dark and lonely? are your prayers still unanswered? is the promise still unfulfilled and the blessing still withheld? Now is the time to "rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him," and by so doing glorify your Father who is in heaven. Thus will your experience and your testimony be that of David, "I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God."

Let us learn from the God of patience a patient spirit and carriage TOWARDS OTHERS. In this grace we may truly be "Imitators of God." The Apostle's exhortation is one you have need to bear in mind, "Be patient toward all men." There is much sin in the ungodly; and what is yet harder to bear, of infirmity in the saints, which calls for the constant exercise of this grace of the Spirit. But, what a divine and illustrious example of this grace have we in Jesus! "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearer is dumb, so opened He not His mouth." "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, He threatened not." Learn, then, to bear with uncomplaining patience the weaknesses and infirmities, the slights and woundings of your fellows- the hatred of the world and the smitings of the Church– looking to the God of patience for strength and grace silently and patiently to bear it. And, whether you are buffeted for your faults, or are misinterpreted and censured for your well-doing, you take it patiently, this is acceptable to God.

"Lord, and am I yet alive,
Not in torment, not in hell?
Still does Your good Spirit strive
With the chief of sinners dwell?
Tell it unto sinners, tell,
I am, I am out of hell!
Yes, I still lift up my eyes,
Will not of Your love despair,
Still in spite of sin I rise,
Still I bow to You in prayer.
Tell it unto sinners, tell,
I am, I am out of hell!
Oh, the length and breadth of love!
Jesus, Savior, can it be?
All Your mercy's height I prove,
All the depth is seen in me.
Tell it unto sinners, tell,
I am, I am out of hell!
See a bush that burns with fire,
Unconsumed amid the flame!
Turn aside the sight admire,
I the living wonder am.
Tell it unto sinners, tell, I am,
I am out of hell!
See a stone that hangs in air,
See a spark in ocean live!
Kept alive with death so near,
I to God the glory give.
Ever tell- to sinners tell,
I am, I am out of hell!"