Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XXXV.: of patience. - The Works of John Robinson, vol. 1
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CHAPTER XXXV.: of patience. - John Robinson, The Works of John Robinson, vol. 1 
The Works of John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers, with a Memoir and Annotations by Robert Ashton, 3 vols (London: John Snow, 1851). Vol. 1.
Part of: The Works of John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers, with a Memoir and Annotations by Robert Ashton, 3 vols.
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It is our sinful condition that makes us subject to crosses, our human, that makes us sensible of them; without which sense of them we were no more patient in bearing them, than the stone is patient, upon which the weight of the wall lieth. But in the bearing of such evils as are brought upon us, or befall us, with equanimity and moderation, true patience is seen.* The grace itself must be in us, even without crosses, and we by it in heart martyrs, without fire, or sword:* but so cannot the use of it be; no more than there is use of a salve, where there is no sore. And thereupon the apostle saith that, “affliction worketh patience,” Rom. v. 3, that is, occasions the exercise and increase of it. And hence it is, that men are most deceived in the measure of this grace, and esteem their inches, ells, till by trial of evils, they find the contrary. But patience tried by afflictions, and found firm and good, gives, above other graces, experimental assurance of God's love. Whereupon the apostle, in the place forenamed, gives it alone the honour of working experience; and no marvel, seeing by it God gives a poor and feeble creature such experience of his powerful grace and goodness, for the bearing and bearing out of those crosses and miseries, both inward and outward; which, without this staff of supportance, were intolerable. Neither is the work of God's goodness lost in them, to whom he imparts this grace; seeing by it, if by any other, they show forth the virtues of God, and honour him in so many of his attributes, in the exercising of it. As first, of his will, both commanding, and approving it: as Christ tells the church and angel at Ephesus: “I know thy works, and labour, and patience.” Rev. ii. 1. Secondly, of his justice, as acknowledging really, that all the afflictions, which they suffer, are less, without comparison, than their sins deserve. Thirdly, of his power, and that both over them, with which they struggle not, but making a virtue of necessity, quietly bear what he lays upon them;† and also in them, in sustaining them, that they faint not under their burden. Fourthly, of his wisdom, in effectual acknowledgment, that he hath his good and holy ends of his so dealing with them, though ofttimes not so particularly known to them. Lastly, of his goodness, in dealing with them in their chastisements, as with sons, for their profit, and that they might be partakers of his holiness, Heb. xii. 10: without which last, all the rest, how honourable soever to God, are uncomfortable unto man. Upon this goodness of God, we do in our afflictions specially exercise the two main graces of faith and hope. Faith, persuading our hearts, that God loves us as well in our greatest afflictions, as out of them, and will do us nothing but good by them, is as the foundation for this bulwark of patience, Hope assureth us of happy issue out of them all; which, if we wanted, what would it avail us though we had the strength of men and angels to bear miseries ?
Some Christians have said, that patience is a miserable .remedy. But how much better said the heathen Bias, that he only is miserable that wants patience, for the bearing of his misfortunes:* as indeed, he is in a miserable case, considering unto how many calamities all mortal men are subject; against which they can neither promise themselves beforehand, nor find in time, other sufficient remedy, than this of patience; which is a salve for all sores:† and the same also so approved, that though it make not miseries cease to be miseries, yet it keeps the person that hath it, and suffers them, from being miserable. Yea, as deadly poisons may be, and are so mixed, and tempered, as they become, in cases, more wholesome, than meat; so do calamities, deadly in themselves, tempered with patience become better than their contrary de lights. Sickness, with this, is better than health without it; and poverty so tempered, than riches otherwise: and so all the works of God's justice, unto which the faithful are liable, are better to them, than any work of his mercy to others. Lastly, so absolutely necessary is this grace, and the use of it, for all Christians, as that the apostle tells the believing Hebrews, and other believers in them, that “they had need of patience, that having done the will.of God, they might receive the promise,” Heb. x. 36: with which accords another's exhortation, that patience may have its perfect work in the saints, that they may be perfect, and entire, lacking nothing, James i. 4. A man would think in reason, that he who hath done the will of God, and been careful in all things to keep a good conscience towards God, and men, should have nothing lacking, for the receiving of the promised reward: But the wisdom of God tells us, that we must first do our duty in all things; and then afterwards, suffer evil with patience before we receive the reward promised. In which our patient suffering for, or in the way of righteousness, we please God more, if it may be, than in our former welldoing; as Christ our Lord performed the greatest work of his obedience unto his Father, and of our redemption therein, by his innocent, and patient suffering of death.
Of all manner of crosses none are so hard to bear by God's servants, without despair, as those, wherein the Lord seems, to their sense and reason, to be their enemy, by reason of some strange and unusual working against them; as we have Job for an example, Job xix. 6—18, Nor any so hardly borne by them, without inordinate stirring, and spurning again, as those, in which a man must be a mere patient, using, as they call it, that passive patience; and may, or can say, or do nothing in defending himself, or offending an adversary. A blow, or wound received in fight, or action, is scarce perceived: but if a man must sit still, and suffer himself to be bobbed on the mouth; or, as the Prophet saith, must “give his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that pluck off the hair,” lsa. 1. 6, or must be cooped up alone in a dungeon, or prison, where none may come at him, this goes near him, and tries his patience, and how he hath hearkened to “the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, saying, In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” Isa. xxx. 15. Where men's injuries are joined, and concur with God's providence in a cross, there the flesh and fleshly passions take more liberty. I have known some, who have attained to a good measure of patient bearing of calamities and crosses by other ordinary hand of God's providence; and yet have been most impatient of any prejudice, or damage by men's injurious dealing. And this may seem not to want reason. To be stirred against God for a cross, is devilish; against unreasonable creatures, brutish; but hath a show of manliness, for a man to be stirred against a man that injures him. But, be the show what it will, the truth of the ground for the most part is, that pride causeth this swelling of the heart against him, who is deemed to injure us, specially if we conceive it to be. out of contempt; whereof all men are impatient. Against the pang of impatience this way, it is best we labour, not to overvalue ourselves; nor easily to think that other despise us; and, as we have Job for a pattern of patience, so to follow his steps, who, looking through the violence and wrongs of men, the Sabeans and Chaldeans, beheld, by the eye of faith, which sees afar off, God's providence, as the soul of the world's body, and ruling all things in it; and thence took instruction for quiet and patient submission unto the Lord; seeing, and saying in all the outrageous practices against him by the devil, and wicked men; that God who had given, had taken away. Job i. 21.