Patience is that attribute in God whereby he beareth with sinners,
and forbears or defers their punishment, or that whereby he expecteth
and waiteth long for their conversion. He is a God slow to anger, Ps.
ciii. 8. He waiteth on men to do them good, Isa. xxx. 18. He is longsuffering,
2 Pet. iii. 7, 9. Nay, he endureth with much longsuffering
the vessels of wrath, Rom. ix. 22. He is the God of patience, Rom. xv. 5.
The patience of God is the more admirable if we consider
1. How perfectly he hateth sin, Ps. v. 4 ; Hab. i. 13 ; Prov. vi.
16. And how offensive it is to him, it grieveth him, Eph. iv. 30.
2. What an affront sin is to him, a contempt of his authority,
therefore called a despising him, 1 Sam. ii. 30. An eclipsing his
honour, therefore called a dishonouring him, Rom. ii. 23. A contention
with him for mastery, therefore called a fighting against
him. Acts v. 39 ; Job xv. 25. A violation of his commands, therefore
called a transgression of the law, 1 John iii. 4. It affronts his
wisdom, therefore called folly, 2 Sam. xxiv. 10 ; his justice, therefore
called unrighteousness, 1 John i. 6, 7 ; his patience, therefore
called a despising his long-suflPering, Rom. ii. 4 ; his mercy, therefore
called a turning his grace into wantonness, Jude 4 ; his
truth, therefore called a lie, Isa. xliv. 20. It must be infinite
patience to bear with that which is the object of infinite hatred.
3. Who they are who thus dare and provoke him ? They are
his creatures, Ps. c. 2, whom he hath infinitely obliged, Lam. iii.
22, 23 ; and laden with innumerable blessings, Ps. cxvi. 12 ; and
loved inconceivably, John iii. 16 ; and seeks daily to overcome with
his kindness, Ps. cxxx. 5 ; Hosea xi, 1. Yet these turn rebels and
traitors, devise and endeavour his ruin, and join with Satan, his
arch-enemy, in order thereunto, Eph. ii. 2, 3 ; Job xv. 25, 26.
4. That he knoweth all men’s sins, the number of them, the
nature of them, all the aggravations they admit of. He knoweth
their thoughts, words, actions, Ps. cxxxix. ‘ I know all their
wickedness and all their sins/ Amos v. 12 ; Ezek. xi. 5.
5. That he hath power in his hands to avenge himself when he
pleaseth. He can look, speak, think his creature into hell-fire.
Here is the miracle : ‘ He that is great in power is slow to anger,’
Nah. i. 3.
6. That he is the more provoked because of his patience. The
revenues of heaven are at present impaired by it. Good men
hereby question and quarrel with his providence, Ps. Ixxiii. 2-4 ;
Jer. xii. 1-3. Bad men hereby are encouraged to continue in sin,
and to judge him an abettor of their profanenesss, Eccles. viii. 11 ;
Ps. 1. 21.
7. That he beareth, notwithstanding all this, year after year,
many years; forty years with the Jews, Ps. xcv. 10 ; with the whole
world one hundred and twenty years. Gen. vi. 3 ; with the Amorites
four hundred years, Gen. xv. 13, 14.
8, That he doth not only forbear them, but also do them good.
He continueth life, and health, and food, and raiment, and friends,
and relations ; nay, the gospel and salvation, and seasons of grace,
and tenders of his love and favour, and of everlasting life, Acts
xvii. 17, 18, 27, 28 ; Luke xix. 41 ; Job xxi. 14-16; 2 Cor. v.
God is so incomparable in his patience that he is called ‘the God of
all patience ; ‘ not only because he hath all manner of patience in
him, but because he hath engrossed it all to himself.
– George Swinnock, The Incomparableness of God