Q and A with the Puritan Thomas Watson (1620-1686) on Patience in Suffering

Question: How shall I get my heart tuned to a patient mood?

Answer: Get faith; all our impatience proceeds from unbelief.  Faith is the breeder of patience.  When a storm of passion begins to arise, faith says to the heart, as Christ did to the sea, ‘Peace, be still’, and there is at once a calm.

Question: How does faith work patience?

Answer: Faith argues the soul into patience. Faith is like that town clerk in Ephesus who allayed the contention of the multitude and argued them soberly into peace (Acts 19:35, 36).  So when impatience begins to clamour and make a hubbub in the soul, faith appeases the tumult and argues the soul into holy patience.  Faith says, ‘Why art thou disquieted, O my soul?’ (Psa. 42:5). ‘Are you afflicted? Is it not your Father who has done it? He is carving and polishing you and making you fit for glory.  He smites that he may save.  What is your trial?  Is it sickness? God shakes the tree of your body so that some fruit may fall, even the “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (Heb. 12:11).  Are you driven from your home?  God has prepared a city for you (Heb. 11:16).  Do you suffer reproach for Christ’s sake? “The spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you” (1 Pet. 4:14).’ Thus faith argues and disputes the soul into patience.

From The Godly Man’s Picture, by Thomas Watson (p. 127).  Italics mine.  Note also that the way in which “faith argues and disputes the soul into patience” is by referring the questions of the soul to the Word of God.  For a short discourse along similar lines, namely, that the primary course of study for the soul in affliction is the Word of God, see the post that I recently “published” – “The Curriculum of the Word in the Seminary of Suffering.

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