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mu pose to give men time to repent, and Vol. VII.by repentance to prevent their own
eternal ruin ; God is not hack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. In the handling of these words, I shall do these three things.
First, I shall consider the patience and long-suffering of God, as it is an Attribute and Perfection of the Divine Nature; God is long-suffering to us-ward.
Secondly, I shall shew, that the Patience of God, and the delay of Judgment, is no just ground why fin. ners should hope for Impunity, as the Scoffers, here foretold by the Apostle
, argued, That because our Lord delayeth his coming to Judgment so long, therefore he would never come ; God is not flack concerning his promise, as some men count packness.
Thirdly, I will consider the true Reason of God's Patience and long-suffering towards Mankind, which the Apostle here gives; He is long-suffering, to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all sbould come to repen.
First, I will consider the Patience on
Vol. VII. and long-suffering of God towards Mankind, as it is an Attribute and Perfection of the Divine Nature; God is long-suffering to us-ward. In the handling of this, I shall do these three things.
1. I shall shew what is meant by the Patience and long-suffering of God.
II. That this is a Perfection of the Divine Nature.
III. I shall give some proof and demonstration of the great Patience and long-suffering of God to Mankind.
I. What is meant by the Patience and long-suffering of God.
The Hebrew word signifies one that keeps his anger long, or that is long before he is angry. In the New Testament it is fometimes expreft by the word υπομονή, which fignifies God's forbearance and patient waiting for our repentance; some times by the word ovozi, which fig. nifies God's holding in his wrath, and restraining himself from punishing; and sometimes by pares dursa, which signifies the extent of his patience, his long-suffering and for
My bearing for a long time the punishVol. VII. ment due to sinners.
So that the patience of God is his goodness to finners, in deferring or moderating the punishment due to them for their fins; the deferring of deserved punishment in whole or in part, which if it be extended to a long time, it is properly his long-suf fering; and the moderating, as well as the deferring of the punishment due to fin, is an instance likewise of God's patience; and not only the deferring and moderating of temporal punishment, but the adjourning of the eternal misery of finners, is a principal inftance of God's patience; so that the patience of God takes in all that space of repentance which God affords to finners in this life; nay, all, temporal judgments and afflictions which be: fal finners in this life, and are short of cutting them off and turning them into Hell, are comprehended in the patience of God. Whenever God punisheth, it is of his great mercy and patience that we are not consumed, and bea saufe his compassions fail not, I proceed
II. Thing I proposed, which was a to Thew, that Patience is a Perfecti- Vol.VIT. on of the Divine Nature.
It is not necessarily due to us, but it is due to the Perfection of the Dia vine Nature, and essentially belongs to it ; it is a principal branch of God's goodness, which is the highest and most glorious Perfection of all, 10ther, and therefore we always find it in Scripture, in the company of God's milder and sweeter Attributes. When God would give the most perfect description of himself, and as he fays to Moses, make all his glory to pass before us, he usually does it by those Attributes which declare his Goodness; and Pa. tience is always one of them, Exod. 34, 6. The Lord passed by before Mofes, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth. Pfal. 86. 15. But thou, O Lord, art`a God full of compaffion, and gracious, long fuf, fering, and plenteous in mersy and truth. Pfal. 193. 8. The Lord is merciful and gracious, flow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
And the same you find, Pfal. 145. 8 Jonah 4. 2. Joel 2. 13.
Sometimes indeed you find a seveVol VII.
rer Attribute added to these, as that he will by no means clear the guilty, Exod. 34. 7. But 'tis always put in the last place, to declare to us, that God's goodness, and mercy, and patience, are his first and primary Perfections and it is only when these fail, and have no effect upon us, but are abufed by us to the encouragement of our felves in an impenitent course, that his Justice takes place,
Nay, even among Men it is esteem. ed a Perfection to be able to forbear and to restrain our anger"; Paffion is impotency and folly, but Patience is power and wisdom; Prov. 14.29. He that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly; but he that is slow to wrath, is of great understanding. Prov. 16.32. He that is som to wrath, is better than the mighty : and he that ruleth his fpirit, than he that conquereth a city. Rom. 12. 21. Be not overcome of Evil: but overcome Evil with good. To be impatient is to be overcome, but to forbear anger and revenge is a victory. Patience is an argument of great power and command of our selves, and therefore God himself, who is the most powerful Being, is slow