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Chapter XIV.—The Power of This Twofold Patience, the Spiritual and the Bodily. Exemplified in the Saints of Old.

With this strength of patience, Esaias is cut asunder, and ceases not to speak concerning the Lord; Stephen is stoned, and prays for pardon to his foes.91699169    Acts vii. 59, 60. Oh, happy also he who met all the violence of the devil by the exertion of every species of patience!91709170    Job. See Job i. and ii.—whom neither the driving away of his cattle nor those riches of his in sheep, nor the sweeping away of his children in one swoop of ruin, nor, finally, the agony of his own body in (one universal) wound, estranged from the patience and the faith which he had plighted to the Lord; whom the devil smote with all his might in vain. For by all his pains he was not drawn away from his reverence for God; but he has been set up as an example and testimony to us, for the thorough accomplishment of patience as well in spirit as in flesh, as well in mind as in body; in order that we succumb neither to damages of our worldly goods, nor to losses of those who are dearest, nor even to bodily afflictions.  What a bier91719171    “Feretrum”—for carrying trophies in a triumph, the bodies of the dead, and their effigies, etc. for the devil did God erect in the person of that hero! What a banner did He rear over the enemy of His glory, when, at every bitter message, that man uttered nothing out of his mouth but thanks to God, while he denounced his wife, now quite wearied with ills, and urging him to resort to crooked remedies! How did God smile,91729172    Compare Ps. ii. 4. how was the evil one cut asunder,91739173    i.e. with rage and disappointment. while Job with mighty equanimity kept scraping off91749174    Job ii. 8. the unclean overflow of his own ulcer, while he sportively replaced the vermin that brake out thence, in the same caves and feeding-places of his pitted flesh! And so, when all the darts of temptations had blunted themselves against the corslet and shield of his patience, that instrument91759175    Operarius. of God’s victory not only presently recovered from God the soundness of his body, but possessed in redoubled measure what he had lost. And if he had wished to have his children also restored, he might again have been called father; but he preferred to have them restored him “in that day.”91769176    See 2 Tim. iv. 8. There is no authority for this statement of Tertullian’s in Scripture. [It is his inference rather.] Such joy as that—secure so entirely concerning the Lord—he deferred; meantime he endured a voluntary bereavement, that he might not live without some (exercise of) patience.


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