Chapter 3 - IMPATIENCE IS A SOUL-DESTROYING,GOD-DISCOURAGING, AND DEVIL-BEGOTTEN SPIRIT
We had but a feeble apprehension of this subject, till drawn out in its study under the lightof the Holy Spirit. Impatience in a completely holy man, does not spring from inbred corruptionnor necessarily from a foreign source. Angels sinned when there was no sin preceding their act,nor devil to tempt them. So it is possible for holy men to sin, even if there were no sinful agents, ofinfluences existing. A holy man is foolish, if he thinks because he is wholly sanctified he cantherefore never sin again. If he never sins again it will be because he continuously trusts Christ tokeep him from sinning. It may be, the Judgment day will show that a multitude who lost this holyexperience, lost it through impatience, who attributed their loss to other causes. It is not difficult to
conclude our spells are from nervous disturbances, and to go on having them, till we make othersunhappy about us, without seeing that the Holy Dove has retired. Then, after that, some great trialcomes, and we go down, thinking it has deprived us of our experience, when really our experiencewas gone before the trial came! It is a great thing to keep inwardly holy.
1. Impatience is a very subtle sin. It is exceedingly natural to take sides with ourselves,when conscience complains, or the Holy Spirit reproves. There were really grounds for our uglyfeelings, and reasons for our untoward conduct! Well, our patience would not be of great value, ifit could stand only when there were no grounds for impatience! The beauty of the real article, is, inthat it keeps right on, when there are fearful reasons for impatience! The patience of Jesus betweenthe garden and the cross would not have been thought of, had there been nothing to try it. Any soulcan be patient when there are no grounds for it to be otherwise. Are we to be like the unsavedworld? Then what are we saved from, and where is the glory of the cross? If holy people are tofret, or be restless and impatient, after sanctification, as they were under severe trial before theywere sanctified, where is the value of being sanctified? Satan's subtle plans succeed better withholy people through impatience than almost any other form of sin.
2. It is especially hardening on the conscience. In its very nature, if indulged at all, it willsoon be repeated with great frequency, as its opportunities are without number. Like profaneswearing, its repetition silences the voice of conscience. We get hardened to the injuries weperpetrate against others, through impatience. Any human being, by giving the right of way to thisspirit, will, while under its influence, think, and do, and say, things against others, which arewrong. This continued in, by and by, makes repentance very difficult, and the same wrongs easilyrepeated.
3. The wrongs of impatience, more frequently fall on our friends than our enemies. We arenaturally shut in with our dear ones more than all others. Then, such close contact furnishesopportunities for the trial of patience, not found in outside relationships. The trials of a wife andmother are ordinarily ten to one, to all outside trials, in her own home. Who has ever been able tocompute the real cost of raising, even one human child? God alone can fully apprehend it, and Hehas provided wonderful stores of grace for mothers. Much is said and written of the impatience ofmothers, but God sees they are the most patient class of children He has, taking in their exposuresas compared with others. But this does not change the truth, that the evils of our impatience largelystrike those who are dearest to us. Much of this is true in its application to husband and wife.There are husbands who frown more frequently on their wives in a single week, than on all theother ladies of the whole country in a year! Hence there may be wives who say more hateful thingsto their own husbands, than to all other men in the community! The faithful pastor may have moretrouble with his little flock than with all the world outside, and nothing could scarcely be morefoolish in him, than the rattle of an impatient scold, with the hope of their betterment. Scolding israrely short of a curse, to anybody, or anywhere! Please keep in mind, that the evil harvests to bereaped from your impatient sowing, are largely to be gathered by your best friends!
4. Impatience lowers the standard of real manhood. Philosophers of the centuries have heldthemselves in contempt, when betrayed into impatient, foolish utterances. The wisest men in theworld, if they speak at all, when angry, must say something foolish. If they do anything as the resultof that impatient condition, it has to be regretted afterward. Millions of people are insane when
angry, as a poor drunkard is insane. Impatience is the base of that condition. All sin is debasing.>From the standpoint of complete inward holiness; a soul eaten with acids, fermented, saying anddoing unreasonable things is degraded, coarse, low, vulgar; and it is no wonder he cannot lift uphis face to God!
5. Impatience is a self feeder. Any sin committed, paves the way for its repetition. It is anold saying inspired by Satan, "That if anger burns within, you had better ventilate, than suppressit;" like all his inspirations, is full of falsehood. Impatience indulged infallibly paves the way formore impatience. The most patient soul may become the slave of impatience by simply yielding toit, when tempted. See Rom. 6:12-16. As well tell a lie, with the hope of it making you truthful, asto expect patience to come as the fruit of indulging impatience. An impatient spirit always thrivesby exercise! Each frown indulged, every angry toss of the head, each impatient act or twist of themuscles, or impatient utterance, will increase the power of this evil over you and within you.
6. Impatience is an intolerant spirit. It is a spirit, as love and hatred, are distinct spirits,and when it takes the throne, it must have its own way. In the breast of a child, its way is the onlyway, and the whole house must come to its terms. When ruling husband, or wife, the other party isinfallibly wrong, and peace is impossible till its terms are accepted, or its fires cease to burn. Nomatter how wise, or good, or kind, the party against whom its fires are kindled, that party is nowall wrong, and cannot be tolerated!
7. As patience is vitally related to all the graces of the Holy Spirit, which together makerighteousness; impatience has a vital relation to all the fruits of that other spirit, described in Gal.5:19-21, which make unrighteousness. Every act of real patience under severe trial, tends tostrengthen itself and all the other graces, while each act of impatience strengthens itself, and givesthe soul a trend toward the fruits of the flesh above described! Impatience indulged, is a war on allthe Holy Spirit's graces, and in the case of uncounted thousands, has been the steppingstone tobacksliding and despair! We insist that but few people, either justified, or sanctified, everbackslide, till impatience has paved the way. It is probably the devil's best entering wedge to putdown a holy soul.
8. Impatience is a fruitful vine. It not only contains a wondrous power to perpetuate itself,but rarely fails in the production of a numerous family. It is eminently a begetter of its own image. Icall up no other, in the whole realm of evil spirits, which has such power to impart itself to others.A mother comes out in the morning full of fret and the whole of her happy little flock, are setfretting before breakfast! A husband and father enters the room in a snarl, where wife and childrenare full of sunshine; and not a smile is there which does not disappear in a minute! Every one ofthem is under the impress of their father's spirit, and probably a half dozen quarrels will occurwith the children, before the sun goes down! Then, the father as a Christian man, feels constrainedto correct the children for quarreling! It is a wonder that any child reared to manhood, orwomanhood, by fretful and fretting parents, escapes damnation!
9. Impatience is the breeder of revenge. The spirit of revenge could hardly be reachedwithout this steppingstone. Itself is the spirit of revenge. It cannot rule your breast withoutproducing the desire to do injury. If it comes on you in the pulpit you at once desire to hurtsomebody's feelings. The phrase, "plain preaching," often furnishes a covering for abusive words
which are designed to pierce and bleed a party, or parties, in the assembly. A preacher afterdelivering such a tirade, on going out of church, said to a friend: "I feel that I could kick that wagonover!" O what would any of us do, without atoning blood? An impatient school teacher should notbe allowed to teach. This spirit of revenge is the parent of the scold and rattle in the home circle.A man scolds his wife, or the wife her husband, only when impatient. The scolding spirit is from adesire to hurt somebody. Itself is devilish! It is the spirit of murder in its infancy, and begets thatspirit in those affected by our spirit.
What mother ever struck her child in the face or on the side of its head, after her fit wasover? What father ever jerked his child unmercifully, or threatened to break its neck, whoafterwards, did not see himself to be a fool? Right reproofs are indispensable, and punishment insome form or other, a necessity, to the right government of human children. There is a fearfulprobability that every ungoverned child that lives to mature years, will be a curse to society. Noman who has never submitted to parental authority, and always had his own way, is fit to be ahusband, or father, nor woman, reared in like manner, to be either a wife or mother.
Reproofs given to vent your impatient soul, are one thing; and reproofs given to bless andsave your child, are another thing! The correction, or punishment of a child, to relieve your spiritof revenge, and his correction, or punishment, for his highest good in both worlds are fearfullydistinct transactions. The one is right, the other is wrong. The one is commanded, the other isforbidden. The one is an act of obedience to God, the other is an act of disobedience. The one willhelp save your child, the other will help ruin him!
The vengeful spirit of impatience is further manifest in its treatment of things, animate andinanimate. The impatience of men is a curse to domestic animals, and what is painful to think of, isthe fact, that those animals which love us most and serve us best, are made the greatest sufferers.
The patient old cow who furnishes food for the family, is often beaten with a club by anangry man, for an effort to brush a fly from her body. I have known many religious men whosehorses fear to have them come into the barn. Such men will kick a horse brutally, if by accident heshould tread on their foot, or otherwise accidentally hurt them. The faithful dog who would standin the breach to the death to save his master's goods, or life, or the life of his child, often suffers awhole week from a savage kick given by his fretted master for which the poor creature will neverknow the cause! This thing is so Satanic in its nature, that it vents itself in spitefully usinginanimate substances.
From childhood to hoary years, this is true of impatient people. How many times thiswriter as a barefooted boy, when stubbing his toe against a root, has procured a club, and beat theroot! You hurt your fingers with a hammer, and spitefully throw the hammer to the ground!
An old gentleman in Kansas, told me in presence of his dear old wife, that he knew shewas sanctified, for she had never slammed the door once, since she obtained that grace! It wouldrequire at least, another lengthened article, to bring out a full view of this soul destroying,God-dishonoring, and devil-begotten spirit; but we trust, sufficient of its evils have beenuncovered, to compel God's children who read what is written to real contrition, and bring out thecry for its extirpation from within.
10. Finally, the foolishness of saying nothing about the wickedness of this indulgence, isapparent, in the fact, that it never delivers you from the evils complained of; but ever tends toincrease their number, and intensifies their aggravation. Impatience delivers from nothing that isevil, but infallibly produces more impatience in yourself and others. My pounding the root, in nosense helped my bleeding toe! but it did increase the power of evil within me! We will find for allthis a sovereign remedy in a completely holy heart, and subsequent walk with God.