Webster defines impatience: as "The quality of being impatient; want of endurance of pain,suffering, opposition, or delay; eagerness for change, or something expected; restlessness; chafingof spirit, fretfulness; passion; as the impatience of a child or of an invalid." Impatient: "as notbearing with composure; intolerant, uneasy; fretful; restless, etc., etc.; the word 'impatience' isoften followed by the words: 'at,' 'for,' 'of' and 'under'!"
As we have patience without impatience when sanctified wholly, it would be well for allprofessors of this grace, frequently to study these definitions; putting emphasis on the words,"endurance, suffering, eagerness for change, restlessness, not bearing with composure, chafing ofspirit, fretting and intolerant." With many of God's saints, impatience is their greatest exposure,and who can measure the losses sustained by indulging it? With many, temptations to impatienceare greater than all others combined, and they are found yielding to it, more frequently than anyother sin. Special exposures to other sins are but occasional; but to this, a daily and constantoccurrence. All bodily infirmities are an open gateway to this temptation.
Great possessions make complete patience almost an impossibility. Who ever knew a richman or woman as a specimen of exemplary patience, without miracles of grace, as in the case ofJob? There is hardly one rich man in one hundred who dares take the immediate supervision of abody of working men? What rich woman is known, who could keep her household servants, and betheir overseer herself? As a rule, with the fewest exceptions, riches furnish such world-widegrounds for unrest, hunger for change, chafing of spirit and intolerance; that their possessors find itonly possible to treat the poor masses decently, by a continued effort!
Poverty does not compare with riches as the generator of pride, impatience, restlessness,and contempt of God; but its lowly and trying compartments are not wanting in elements of trialand conflict, productive of impatience, unrest and despair. Our many relations to each other alone,if there were no tempting devil, produce grounds for trial unbearable, without the grace of God.The best men in the world may be a severe trial to each other. No two human beings have everbeen just alike, and in their mental differences, there may be grounds for acute conflict.
If there were no other grounds for temptation to impatience, this writer has often found itdifficult to be duly patient with himself! So worldwide are these exposures to this evil amongGod's saints, that my soul is profoundly moved with the importance of greater attention being givento it. Unmixed patience is in a high sense, the test of true discipleship, with the men of the world.>From the oldest veteran to the youngest child capable of thinking, the slightest manifestation ofimpatience in a Christian, begets a doubt! Some way, God has ingrained into humanity, great andsmall; the realization that impatience is not Christlike. An astonishingly young child will oftenreprove a Christian mother, when impatience in her is visible. Infidels have been made inprofessed Christian homes, by the thousands, through the exercise of unholy tempers.
Nothing perhaps is so marked and lasting in its Divine impress upon unsaved husbands andchildren, as memories of the unmixed patience of wife and mother, after she has gone on high!How many hardened men have I seen at the altar of prayer, now heartbroken and crying for mercy,who have testified to this truth? How many proud, rebellious boys and girls, whose wail I havelistened to, have testified in their anguish, that they could not get away from mother's patient face!Oh! this practical showing of our Lord, to this needy and lost world; is the Great Question! Verylargely, to the whole of them, He is an absent, unseen Saviour, only as they see Him in us.
If we fail to make the revelation, then what about these millions and our relation to them inthat day? We have learning, and scientific investigations beyond all precedent. Our ministers comeforth from the schools with admirable mental polish and some of them are prodigies of learning.
Our places of worship are incomparably superior to the plain meeting houses of our fathers. Zionhas multiplied in numbers tenfold, and as compared with earlier times, the church is an educatedbody. From the world-ward side our appliances are superior to any previous generation ofChristians; but real conviction of sin, genuine cases of repentance, and Holy Ghost conversions, inproportion to our appliances, have never been so rare, in Christian Protestantism!
If Jesus' life had been filled with impatience, fretfulness, worry, chafing of spirit, as is thelife of ordinary Christians, He would have robbed His gospel of the power that is in it, vitiatedHis claim to Messiahship, and made the atonement forever impossible! The gospel can neverprevail till its representatives cease to falsify its provisions and promises. The minister whopreaches a full salvation, and because his hearers do not yield to his entreaties, turns and railsupon them like a scolding, angry woman, thereby gives a sample of gospel failure, and compels hishearers to see that the gospel does not save him! To these rebels against God, he seems like aconsumptive vending a sure cure for consumption, who is forced into a distressing cough, by theeffort to sell his remedy!
One of two things must be true: either the preacher's gospel remedy must be a failure, or thepreacher has not taken it! Unmixed patience is vital to the Christ mind, as the lungs, or heart, arevital to the life of the body. It is an essential of the new life which comes into the soul when we areborn of God! Gal. 5:22-23. Surely, longsuffering, gentleness and meekness, must involve unmixedpatience, and these are imparted in the new birth, and are characteristics of the new life.
All the fruits of the Spirit, as they come from God, must be unmixed, pure and holy; but theydo not come into a soul which is unmixed and holy. Hence, two distinct minds, in the same person,are always developed, by the coming of the new life into any of Adam's sons. These are thespiritual mind, or the mind of Christ; and the mind of the flesh, or carnal mind. The one is now torule us, and be retained forever; the other is to be "put off," ''laid aside, ''cleansed away,"''crucified," "destroyed." God has nowhere even hinted, that He would be pleased to have Hischildren retain the carnal nature till death, nor promised to consume it by the fires of purgatory; butin both Testaments has required its removal now, and provided for its destruction.
Each grace, or fruit of the Spirit, is the direct opposite of everything contained in thecarnal, and all that is of the carnal mind unchangeably antagonizes the fruits of the Spirit. Thisnature, called the "old man," is not only AT enmity, but "IS enmity against God, is not subject toHis law, neither indeed can be." Yet millions of God's professed children insist on carrying it withthem till they die! It is to the human race, a fountain of all the evils which have ever cursed it, andin six thousand years has never inspired one pure thought, or desire, yet not one of all its enslavedsubjects, who was capable of so doing, has failed to put in efforts for its retention, or allowed itsdestruction without a battle for its life!
Satan, the author of the carnal mind, is the fountain of all that is vile and the most restlessbeing in the universe; and his chief business has been soul murder, since time began; yet animmense majority of adult manhood, through this corrupt carnal nature, prefer his service andcommunion, to the service and communion of an infinitely loving God!
We have thus mentioned the great enemy of God, and his depraved and sin-begettingdeposit in human breasts; as the source of all the impatience and fretfulness, which have marredour peace, made life bitter, hindered access to God, injured others, and brought a blight on ourown souls.
Unmixed patience is the gift of God, and impatience Satan's production. They are eachoffered to every child in the family. We can have the one, or the other, to control our being. Wecannot have both. Each of these experiences will make us to resemble its author. Which likenessdo you prefer, and whose image will you bear? Would Christ be pleased to put you where"patience would have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing?"