November 20, 2014

Edward Leigh (1602-1671) on God's Patience and Long-Suffering

"God is Patient, Psalm 103:8. Job 2:17 [?]. God's patience is that whereby he bears the reproach of sinners and defers their punishments; or it is the most bountiful will of God, whereby he doth long bear with sin which he hates, sparing sinners, not minding their destruction, but that he might bring them to repentance.

This is aggravated:

1. In that sin is an infinite injury offered to him, therefore in the Lord's Prayer it is called a Trespass.

2. He is infinitely affected with this; hence in the Scripture he is said to be grieved with our sins, to be wearied, as a cart full of sheaves; he is said to hate sin, for although he be such a perfect God that none of our sins can hurt him, yet because he is a holy and just God, he cannot but infinitely distaste sinners.

3. He can be revenged immediately if he please; men many times are patient perforce, they would be revenged, but they know not how to compass it. He apprehends at the same time what he has done for us, and withal our unthankfulness, unkindness, and yet he endured Cain, Saul, Judas a long time.

4. He beholds the universality of sin, all men injure him, the heathens are given to idolatry, blasphemy among Christians, the profane sort are full of oaths, adulteries, the better negligent, lazy, cold.

5. God not only [does] not punish, but still continues his benefits; the old drunkard is still alive.

6. He sets up a Ministry to invite us to come in, and we have that many years; Forty years long was I grieved with this generation.

7. In Christ patience was visible, there was living patience.

8. He afflicts lightly and mercifully to win us; he makes thee sick and poor, to see if it will make thee leave thy sinning.

9. God is Long-suffering, Exod. 34:6.

It is that whereby he expects and waits a long time for repentance; or it is the most bountiful will of God not suffering his displeasure suddenly to rise against his creatures offending, to be avenged of them, but he does warn them beforehand, lightly correct and seek to turn them unto him. Christ endured Judas till the last."


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