Anf-03 vi.vii.xvii Pg 16
The Reverend Clergy who may read this note will forgive a brother, who begins to be in respect of years, like “Paul the aged,” for remarking, that the reading of the Ante-Nicene Fathers often leads him to sigh—“Such were they from whom we have received all that makes life tolerable, but how intolerable it was for them: are we, indeed, such as they would have considered Christians?” God be praised for His mercy and forbearance in our days; but, still it is true that “we have need of patience.” Is not much of all that we regard as “the world’s misusage,” the gracious hand of the Master upon us, giving us something for the exercise of that Patience, by which He forms us into His own image? (Heb. xii. 3.) Impatience of obscurity, of poverty, of ingratitude, of misrepresentation, of “the slings and arrows” of slander and abuse, is a revolt against that indispensable discipline of the Gospel which requires us to “endure afflictions” in some form or other. Who can complain when one thinks what it would have cost us to be Christians in Tertullian’s time? The ambition of the Clergy is always rebellion against God, and “patient waiting” is its only remedy. One will find profitable reading on this subject in Massillon,9186
9186 Œuvres, Tom. vi. pp. 133–5. Ed. Paris, 1824.