Christian History Home > 1989 > Issue 21 > From the Archives: Christian Patience and Humility
From the Archives: Christian Patience and Humility
A Letter to a Mother and Her Children
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Patience and humility guide love. They bring it ever more fully into the heart by the grace of God; they teach it true confession; and by it also the Holy Spirit most of all rules the flesh and makes it subservient; they confirm a Christian, and without them no one can be a Christian. Where these two virtues are not found, there is not weakness, to which the flesh always resorts, but pure malice, vanity, pomp, self-will, and impatience in the old carnal being.
Thus we see two malicious vices and two glorious virtues set over against each other in the first and in the second Adam. Almighty God Himself is an example for us of all patience and humility in that He lets the sun shine on the good and the evil, yea, He tolerates with great forbearance the evil, godless, infamous men who revile, persecute, and esteem Him and His children lightly. He gives His enemies fruitful things, grain, growing plants, rain, wine, and all necessities, and endures those continually who would like to eradicate His name under heaven. Oh! patience beyond patience. Oh! Thou Father of all patience, make us participant of Thy divine patience and forbearance ….
My beloved! This was written for our instruction because we, out of the grace of God have now also come out of captivity and have been transposed into Christian liberty, so that with regard to our conscience we may not be bound here or there, but may praise our God freely and voluntarily and thus may see how matters stand in all parties and may know how to be on our guard (which I write to the honor of Christ, our spiritual Moses). We should not become impatient though the universal visitation and gracious coming of the Lord be long delayed. We should not murmur against the Lord, but rather prepare ourselves in patience and wait patiently for Him though he delay for forty years; we should commend to Him all His affairs and meanwhile sacrifice to the arch-shepherd of our souls, and give honor, praise, and thanks to His grace ….
There are many causes of impatience, all of which, however, are resolved and summed up in self-love. A man’s soul often is moved to impatience because of want of temporal nourishment, of poverty, of misery, and because of frustration. But we must remember that we came into this world nude and bare and will be taken away from here nude and bare; also, that the spirit of God admonishes us in Holy Scripture to learn in Christ to disdain the world with all its goods, riches, and honor. The poor always have some advantage in entering the kingdom of heaven, as is written in the gospel ….
Corpus Schwenckfeldianorurn, vol. 5, 697–709
Translated by Selina Gerhard Schultz
Copyright © 1989 by the author or Christianity Today/Christian History magazine.
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