but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience : and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto use For we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen, is not hope ; for what a manı seeth, why doth he yet hope for ? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. We through the spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. Wherefore, remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh,—that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world : but now in Christ Jesus, ye who sometime were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.k We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,--for the hope which is laid


you in Heaven, Christ as a Son over his own house

; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.m We desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end.—God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath : that by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us : which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.° Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.p

e Rom. v. 2--5. h Gal. y. 5.

f Rom. viii. 24, 25. s 1 Cor. xv. 19, 20. i Eph. i. 18.

k Eph. ii. 11–13. i Col. i. 3, 5.

m Heb, iii, 6.

Doctrinal Instruction.

HOPE is compared to a Helmet. First : the Helmet defends the head, a principal part of the body, from bullet and sword ; so this “Hope of salvation" defends the soul, the principal part of man, and the principal faculties of that, whereby no dangerous impression can, by Satan, or sin, be made on it. Temptations may trouble, but cannot hurt, except their darts enter the will, and leave a wound there, by drawing it to some consent and liking of them ; from which this Helmet of Hope, if it be of the right make, and sit sure on the Christian's head, will defend him. It is hard to draw him into any treasonable practice against his prince, who is both well satisfied of his favour at present, and stands also upon the stairs of Hope, expecting assuredly to be called up within a while to the highest preferment that the court can afford, or his king give. Secondly : as the Helmet defends the soldier's head from being wounded, so his heart also from swooning. It makes him bold and fearless in battle, though amidst storms and bullets. Goliath, with his Helmet of brass and other furniture, how confidently and daringly did the man come on, as if he had been so inclosed in his armour, that it was impossible any weapon could come near to deliver a message of death unto him. This made him carry his Crest so high, and defy a whole host, till at last he paid his life for his pride and folly. But here is a Helmet, that whoever wears it, need never be put to shame for his holy boasting. God himself allows him so to do, and will bear him out in this rejoicing of his hope: “They shall not be ashamed that wait for me." This made holy David so undaunted in the midst of his enemies. “Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear.would not suffer his heart so much as to beat within him, for any fear of what they could do to him ; he had his Helmet of salvation on, and therefore he saith, And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies

n Heb. vi. 11, 17-19.

• 1 Peter, i. 3, 4.

P 1 John iii. 2, 3. 9 Isaiah xlix. 23.

[ocr errors]

His hope

r Psalm xxvii. 3.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

round about me. A man cannot drown so long as his head is kept above water. Now, it is the proper office of hope to do this for the Christian in any times of danger. “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”+ Two things make the head hang down-fear and shame ; hope easeth the Christian's heart of both these, and so forbids him to give any sign of a desponding mind by a dejected countenance. Grace is subject to decays, and there ever needs completing ; as in an army, especially, which often engageth in battle, their arms are battered and broken ;--one man hath his Helmet bent, another his sword gapped, a third his pistol unfixed ; and, therefore, recruits are ever necessary. In one temptation, the Christian hath his Helmet of Hope beaten off his head, in another, his patience hard put to it. The Christian hath need of an armoury at hand to make up his loss, and that speedily, for Satan is most like to fall on, when the Christian is least prepared to receive his charge.--GURNALL.

[ocr errors]

Hope, or a scriptural, and prevailing, and animating expectation of victory and eternal glory, must supply the place of a Helmet to cover the head in the day of battle; by counteracting that discouragement, which doubtfulness of the event would induce, in times of sharp temptation, so that it might be called the Helmet of salvation, as nothing could be courageously done without it. In general, men chose to sleep during the quiet of the night; and to be drunken or riotous, when others were asleep, that their excess might be the less noticed. In like manner, all sloth, unwatchfulness, intemperance, or excessive worldly pursuits, were more consistent with the condition of benighted heathen, than with that of Christians, who would, as it were, turn the day into night, if they were betrayed into any such practices. As, therefore, they enjoyed the full light of the Sun of righteousness, they ought to be sober and vigilant; for they had not only a great work to do, but an arduous warfare to maintain, against numerous, potent, active, and subtle enemies. They ought to stand armed like soldiers, and to be vigilant as sentinels : while faith in Christ, and a firm belief of the Divine word, with reliance on the promises, and love to God, to Christ Jesus, to holiness, to each other, and to all men, constituted a breastplate to defend their heart and mind from mortal wounds; and a well-grounded, realizing hope of eternal happiness and complete salvation, was like a Helmet to cover their heads in the day of battle, to defend them from the fear of the most cruel persecutors. This hope they were warranted to entertain ; as their conversion proved, that God had not appointed them to endure the severity of his wrath, which their sins had deserved, but had chosen them to obtain salvation of his free mercy, through Jesus Christ; who had willingly suffered death to atone for their sins, and to ransom their souls: that whether they waked or slept, whether they lived or died, or in whatever circumstances they were found at death, or at the coming of their Lord, they might live together with him in glory.-SCOTT.

* Psalm xxvii, 6.

t Luke xxi. 28.

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »