THE virtues which regulate our desire of external good have been spoken of; we are next to consider those which are exercised in the resistance to, or the endurance of evil.

These virtues are fortitude and patience.

Fortitude is chiefly conspicuous in repelling evil, or in regarding its approach with equanimity. Josh. i. 6, 7, 9. "have not I commanded thee? be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed." Heb. xi. 32, &c. "the time would fail me to tell of Gideon," &c. "who through faith subdued kingdoms." Psal. iii. 9. "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about." See Psal. xviii. 32, &c. xxiii. 4. "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me." xxxvii. 12, &c. "the wicked plotteth against the just..... the wicked have drawn out the sword their sword shall enter into their own heart." xlvi. 1, 2. "God is our refuge and strength therefore will we not fear. <372> though the earth be removed." lvi. 11. "in God have I put my trust; I will not be afraid what man can do unto me." See also cxviii. 6. cxii. 7, 8. "he shall not be afraid of evil tidings." Prov. iii. 24, 25. "when thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid." xxiv. 5, 6. "a wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength." xxviii. 1. "the righteous are bold as a lion." Isai. xli. 10. "fear thou not, for I am with thee." li. 7. "fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings." v. 12. "I am he that comforteth you; who art thou that thou shouldst be afraid?" Dan. iii. 16. "they said to the king..... we are not careful to answer thee in this matter." Matt. x. 28, &c. "fear not them which kill the body —." The great pattern of fortitude is our Saviour Jesus Christ, throughout the whole of his life, and in his death. Luke. xiii. 31, &c. "go ye and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." John. xi. 7, 8. "his disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee, and goest thou thither again?" 2 Tim. i. 7. "God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 1 John. ii. 14. "I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one."

Opposed to fortitude, are, first, timidity. Psal. xxvii. 1. "Jehovah is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?" Prov. x. 24. "the fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him." xxv. 26. "a righteous man falling down before the wicked, is as a troubled fountain and a corrupt spring." Xxviii 1 <373> "the wicked flee when no man pursueth." xxix. 25. "the fear of man bringeth a snare." Isai. xli. 13, 14. "fear not, thou worm Jacob." Neh. vi. 11. "should such a man as I flee?" Matt. xxiv. 6. "ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled." Rev. xxi. 8. "the fearful and unbelieving..... shall have their part in the lake that burneth —."

Secondly, rashness, which consists in exposing our selves to danger unnecessarily. Prov. xiv. 16. "a wise man feareth and departeth from evil; but the fool rageth, and is confident." This fault is exemplified in Amaziah, 2 Kings. xiv. 8. "come, let us look one another in the face;" and in Josiah, 2 Chron. xxxv. 20-22. "he sent ambassadors unto him, saying... nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him —." Christ has taught us to avoid it by his example. John. vii. 1. "he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him." xi. 53, 54. "Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews." Matt. x. 23. "when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another."

Patience consists in the endurance of misfortunes and injuries. Psal. lxix. 7. "for thy sake I have borne reproach, shame hath covered my face" Prov. xi. 12. "he that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour; but a man of understanding holdeth his peace." xvii. 27. "he that hath knowledge spareth his words, and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit." xix. 11. "the discretion of a man deferreth his anger." Eccles. vii. 21. "also take no heed unto all words that are spoken, lest thou hear thy servant curse thee." Isai. 1. 7, 8. "I have set my face like a flint —." Matt. v. 39. "Resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee <374> on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." 1 Cor. vi. 7. "why do ye not rather take wrong?" 1 Thess. v. 14. "be patient towards all men." See above on patience towards God. Compensation for injuries, nevertheless, is occasionally exacted even by pious men. Acts. xvi. 37. "they have beaten us openly uncondemned," &c.

The opposites to this are, first, impatience and effeminacy of temper. Prov. xxiv. 10. "if thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small."

Secondly, an hypocritical patience, which voluntarily inflicts upon itself unnecessary evils. This is exemplified in the prophets of Baal, 1 Kings. xviii. 28. "they cut themselves after their manner with knives;" and in the flagellations of the modern Papists.

Lastly, a stoical apathy; for sensibility to pain, and even lamentations, are not inconsistent with true patience; as may be seen in Job and the other saints, when under the pressure of affliction.[1]


This distinction is well illustrated in the character of Samson, throughout the drama which bears that name.

© 2024 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

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