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The tenth thing needed to bear “an evil day” is patience. Patience has a peculiar bearing to the evil day:
We are not only to do other commands by obedience, but, when providence calls us to it, we are to do that of taking up the cross by patience. Other graces may help to bear the cross, but patience takes it up upon his back. It is its proper peculiar office ὑπομἐνειν, to make a man abide piously under the cross.
Polhill first considers what patience is to the patient Christian, himself. (It must be noted that the word “patience” as used by Polehill in the 17th Century is similar in many respects to the word “endurance.”)
First, in patience “makes a christian possess his soul, (Luke 21:19)”. The Christian’s trouble is not truly in the outward world — that is in the Lord’s control. The Christian in patience must bear and still himself. “All the powers in earth and hell cannot put him out of the possession of himself, or hinder his graces from coming forth into act—he will be like himself in his suffering.”
Second, in patience the Christian conquers the world. Even death cannot conquer the Christian (Rom. 9:35-37). But the Christian by patience conquers the world, because the world cannot over come the patient Christan whose hope is set upon Christ.
Third, patience takes its contentment from God — therefore, present sufferings cannot take away from the best part. Moreover, in that very patience there is a sweetness from God. James says that such patience leave one “perfect and entire”. James 1:4
Considered Godward, Polehill makes three observations about patienc.
First, patience is submission to the will of God: God is God and therefore, who am I to rebel?
Patience subjects the soul to the will of God; when the cross comes, the patient Christian’s will, with Aaron, hold their peace; or if they speak, they will do it in some such language as that of Eli, “It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good.” Patience will instruct them to lie in the lowest posture of humility, and to argue the matter with themselves in this manner: Is God the rector of the world, and shall we not subject to him? His presence is in all, his power is over all, his wisdom and righteousness orders all. Who can stay his hand, or say to him, what dost thou? or call him to give account of any of his matters? To strive with him is folly; to murmur at any piece of his government is rebellion; to think that things might have been better, is to blaspheme his wise and just providence; and is he the Father of spirits, and shall we not be under him? We give reverence to the fathers of our flesh, and now much rather should we be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
Second, patience knows that the strength to endure comes from God. Patience is a very faithful activity:
Patience waits upon God for strength to bear the cross, and for a good issue out of it: we have both these promised in that of the apostle,” God will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation make a way to escape,” (1 Cor. 10:13). In the first clause we have a promise of strength proportionable to the temptation; in the last, we have a promise of a good issue out of it. First, patience waits upon God for strength to bear the cross; this is the right method of obtaining strength: “Wait on the Lord, and he shall strengthen thy heard,” (Psa. 27:14). Strength comes in a way of dependance upon God.
And then patience looks to God for the best outcome:
True patience waits upon God for strength; but this is not all, it also waits upon God for a good issue out of the suffering; salvation belongs unto the Lord, and he gives many good issues to his suffering people: if they have an increase of graces and comforts, that is one good issue: if they hold out and persevere to the end, that is another good issue: if by death they pass from the cross to the crown, from a temporal life to an eternal one, that is the best issue of all: for such issues as these do patient souls wait, till the Lord put an end to all their troubles.
Finally, patience for the Christian is not a bear stoicism. Christian patience is one of joy and praise:
“Count it all joy, when ye fall into divers temptations,” (Jam. 1:2); that is, when ye fall into afflictions for the gospel. All joy? how can poor afflicted souls reckon thus? In the trial their graces appear in their pure beauty; strength is made perfect in weakness; consolations abound as much, nay, more than afflictions; the beams of divine love irradiate the heart, and fill it with a sweet serenity; hope enters heaven, and fixes upon the crown of life, and heaven comes down in a spirit of glory upon the heart. Here is joy, all joy indeed; the total sum of it in this life is made up in these things. It was the saying of the martyr, Mr. Philpot, “That to die for Christ is the greatest promotion that God can bring any unto in this vale of misery; yea, so great a honour as the greatest angel in heaven is not permitted to have.” It was the prayer of Mr. Bradford, the martyr: “God forgive me my unthankfulness for this exceeding great mercy, that among so many thousands, he chooseth me to be one in whom he will suffer. It was the observation of one of the ancients, “That it was peculiar to christians to give thanks in adversity.” Jews and Gentiles can praise God for benefits, but the patient christian can thank him for afflictions. O! let us labour after patience, that we may not only suffer for Christ, but do it with joy. Thus our Saviour directs his persecuted ones; “Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven,” (Matt. 5:12). Inward and outward joys are very proper in suffering saints, because then they are arrived at the highest pitch of Christianity, and ready to enter into the blessed heaven, there to enjoy God for ever and ever.
Edward Polhill, The Works of Edward Polhill (London: Thomas Ward and Co., 1844), 354–356.