And what is man? A little breathing dust. God is infinitely above us, and so strangely condescends, in having a tender care of us, that the psalmist was swallowed up in ecstasy and amazement at the thought of it: “What is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them?” (Psalm 8: 4). No, we are beneath His anger, as a worm is not worthy of the indignation of an angel.
Now the more we magnify God and exalt His authority in our judgments, the more our wills are prepared to yield to Him. His excellency will make us afraid to oppose His providence. When the Son of God appeared to Saul in His glory and commanded in person, he presently let fall his arms of defiance and said, “Lord, what will You have me to do?” His resignation was absolute; nothing was so hard to do, nothing so formidable to suffer; but he was ready to accomplish and endure in obedience to Christ.
The more we debase and vilify ourselves, the more easy it will be to bear what God inflicts; humility disposes to submission. Our passions are not excited at the breaking of an ordinary glass; but if a vessel of crystal is broken, it moves us. The lower esteem we have of ourselves, the less we shall be transported for any breach that is made upon us… The thickest smoke, by ascending, dissipates and vanishes. If the troubled soul did ascend to heaven and consider that even the worst evils are either from the operation or permission of the divine providence, the cloudy disturbing thoughts and passions would be presently scattered… .
When any impatient thoughts arise, we should presently chain them up, for there are folly and fury in them. What am I, that my sullen spirit should dispute against the orders of heaven? That my passions should resist the will of the highest Lord? That my desires should depose Him from His throne? For that is what they do by implication and consequence—those who are vexed at His providence. A holy soul will tremble at the thought of it. Methinks God speaks to the afflicted and disturbed soul, in the words of the psalm, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The actual consideration of His supremacy will be powerful to lay the growing storm of passions. Impatience arises from the ignorance of God and ourselves.
William Bates [1625–1699], sourced from, James Stuart Bell, From the Library of Charles Spurgeon: Selections From Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journey, (Baker, 2012), pgs 19–20 Some formatting added.