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with God through Jesus Christ, and re-confirmed afterwards, was a hope that joice in the hope of His glory.
Now the second hope is distinct from this first, and is grounded on distinct considerations-not upon what the believer sees to be in the testimony of God, but upon what he finds to be in himself-It is the fruit, not of faith, but of experience; and is gathered, not from the word that is without, but from the feeling of what passes within. One would like to know how the first and the second hopes find their adjustment, and their respective places, in the bosom of a disciple; and what is the precise addition which the latter of these brings to the former of them -whether the want of the second would larken and extinguish the first, by making him ashamed of it.
This matter can be illustrated as before by the case of Abraham. God, in his first communication with him, made him a twofold promise-one of which was to have its fulfilment many ages after, and another of which was to be fulfilled in his own life time. He promised that in him all the families of the earth should be blessed; and He also promised that, upon his leaving his own country, He should meet with him and show him the land that his posterity were to inherit. Abraham simply in virtue of faith would hope for the accomplishment of both promises. He would both see afar off the day of Christ and rejoice; and he would also leave his own country, in the confident expectation of again meeting with God, and having the land of his descendants pointed out to him. Conceive him then to have been disappointed in this expectation-to have wandered in vain without once meeting the promised manifestation -to have had no other message or visitation from the heavens save the first, which, by warranting the hope of another that it did not realise, would give him ground to suspect was a delusive one. Would not Abraham, in this case, have been ashamed of his rash confidence, and of his hasty enterprise, and of the vain and hazardous evils into which he had thrown himself? Would not the fallacy of the promise that he looked for in life, lead him to withdraw all confidence in the promise that was to have its consummation at a period of exceeding distance away from him? And, on the other hand, did not the actual fulfilment of the near, brighten and confirm all his original expectations of the distant fulfilment ? Were not all his subsequent meetings with God, to him the pledges and the earnests of the great accomplishment, that still lay in the depths of a very remote futurity? Did not they serve to convince him, that the hope which he conceived at the first, and which had been so
maketh not ashamed? And that hope which had nothing at first but the basis of faith to rest upon, did it not obtain a reinforcement of strength and of security when it further rested on the basis of experience?
I make a twofold promise to an acquaintance-the lesser part of which should be fulfilled to-morrow, and the latter on this day twelvemonth. If he be lieve me to be an honest man, then, simply appended to this belief, will there be a hope of the fulfilment of both; and, for a whole day at least, he may rejoice in this hope. To-morrow comes; and, if to-morrow's promise is not fulfilled, who does not see that the hope which emana. ted direct from faith is thereby darkened and overthrown, and that the man will be ashamed of his rash and rejoicing expectations? But if, instead of a failure, there is a punctual fulfilment, who does not also see, that the hope he conceived at first obtains a distinct accession from the experience he met with afterwards; and that without shame or without suspicion, he will now look to the coming round of the year with more confident expectation than ever? It is quite true, that there is a hope in believing; but from this plain example you will perceive it to be just as true, that experience worketh hope.
Now it is just so in the gospel. There is a promise addrest in it, the accomplish. ment of which is far off; and a promise the accomplishment of which is near at hand. The fulfilment of the one is the pledge or token of the fulfilment of the other. By faith in God we may rejoice in hope of the coming glory; and it will be the confirmation of our hope, if we find in ourselves a present holiness. He who hath promised to translate us into a new heaven hereafter, has also promised to confer on us a new heart here. Directly appended to our belief in God's testimony, may we hope for both these fulfilments; but should the earlier fulfilment not take place, this ought to convince us, that we are not the subjects of the latter fulfilment. A true faith would ensure to us both; but as the one has not cast up at its proper time, neither will the other cast up at its time-and, having no part nor lot in the present grace, we can have as little in the future inheritance.
same truth with the more remote and ul- | upon your minds between the hope of terior one, and though the same God who faith and the hope of experience; and ordains life everlasting also ordains all how if the latter is wanting, the former on the heirs of it to be conformed to the im- that account may come to be darkened age of His son; and no one enters upon and extinguished altogether. But rememthe inheritance on the other side of death, ber you are not to wait for the second without the Spirit being given to him as hope, till you conceive the first. It is the the earnest of his inheritance on this side first, in fact, which draws the second in of leath. By this test then let us exam- its train. It is the first which originates a ine ourselves; and have done, conclusively purifying influence upon the soul. It is in done, with that odious and hypocritical proportion to the strength and habitual asslang, into which the terms of orthodoxy cendancy of the first over the soul, that and all the phrases of commonplace pro- such a character is formed as may furnish fessorship enter so abundantly-at the the second with a solid basis to rest upon. very time perhaps when the heart rankles It is the hope of the second verse which with purposes of mischief; or, in the germinated the whole of that process, that contest between faith and sense, the latter led at length to the hope of the fourth verse. has gained a wretched ascendancy over You cannot be too sure of the truth of him. Should this be the melancholy con- | God's sayings. You cannot have too much dition of any professor who now hears us, peace and joy in thinking that the remislet him rest assured that he has lost the sion of sins is preached unto all, and that things that he has wrought, that he has you are one of them all. There is a hope the whole of his original distance from here which ought to arise, on the instant God to recover anew, that he has to lay of belief arising in the mind; and, so far again the foundation, and has in short to is this from superseding the hope of exdo all over again. The promise of life perience, that it will in fact bring the very eternal is still addrest to him, but the feelings and raise the very fruits upon the promise of meetness for it in a holy and character of the believer, as will cause renewed character goes along with it; the hope of experience to come surely and this present world is the place where and in succession to the hope of faith. it must be realized; and it is only by mak- Our best advice for brightening the secing himself sure of repentance here, and ond hope to the uttermost, is that you of the clean heart here, and of the right keep alive the first hope to the uttermost spirit here, that he can make himself sure Your experience will be bright, just in of his calling and election hereafter. In proportion as your faith is bright, and it the language of the apostle then-work is just if ye continue in the faith grounded out your salvation, and labour with all and settled, and if ye be not moved away diligence unto the full assurance of hope from the hope of the gospel which ye unto the end. have heard, that you will at length be We shall be happy, if we have suc- presented holy and unblamable and unreceeded in impressing a clear distinction | provable in the sight of God.
ROMANS V, 5.
"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us."
You are already, we trust, enough familiarised to the distinction that has been offered between the hope of faith and the hope of experience. God promises to all who trust in Him, that He will give them an inheritance on the other side of death; and that He will also give them, in the shape of certain personal graces and endowments, an earnest of the inheritance on this side of it. On the very first moment that you hear these promises, if you believe in the honesty of both, you will hope for the fulfilment of both; and this
is the hope of faith. Should the promise that is of earlier fulfilment come to pass at its proper time, this will be to you a satisfactory confirmation of your first belief and of the hope that comes out of it; and you will look forward with surer anticipation than ever, to the latter of the two fulfilments. This is the hope of experi ence-a hope that brightens with the growth of grace on the person of the be liever; and with every new finding within himself of the working of that Spirit of holiness, by which he is made meet for
the everlasting abodes of holiness. In this way, there is formed a distinct and subsequent ground of hope, additional to the original one. The original ground was your faith in the honesty of the promiser, that He would fulfil all His engagements. The additional ground is your actual experience of His punctuality, in having liquidated those of His engagements which had become due. It operates like a first instalment, which, when paid with perfect readiness and sufficiency, certainly brightens all the hope of a thorough fulfilment of the various articles of agreement, which you had when it was first entered upon. And thus it is that, though there is a hope in the second verse that is appended immediately to your faith in God-there is also a hope in the fourth verse, that has been wrought in you by experience.
tations of the poor, when he causes food or raiment or fuel to enter into their houses-so does God shed abroad of His love in our hearts, when He sends the Holy Ghost to take up His residence, and there to rule by His influence.
It is through the Spirit of God, that the spirit of man is borne up in the midst of adversities. It is He who upholds the perseverance of a disciple, when all that is around him lours and looks dismal. It is He who causes a luminousness to rest on those eternal prospects, which are seen afar, through the dark vista of a pilgrimage which is lined on the right hand and on the left, with sorrows innumerable. It is when a bitterness comes upon man which is only known to his own heart, that a secret balm is often infused along with it, with the joy of which a stranger does not intermeddle. There is a history of the soul that is unseen by every eye, but intimately known and felt by its con
You must also be sensible what the effect would have been, had there been a failure instead of a fulfilment of that pro-scious proprietor; and often can he tesmise, which falls to be accomplished first. It would have darkened and overthrown, not merely your hope of the near, but also your hope of all the ulterior good things that you had been led to depend upon. There is nothing which brings the feeling of shame more directly into the mind, than the failure of some confident or too fondly indulged expectation. They shall be greatly ashamed that trust in graven images." "They shall not be ashamed that wait for me." "And lest," says the apostle, "we should be ashamed in this same confident boasting."
tify of a tribulation that would have overwhelmed him to the death, had not a powerful influence from on high supported him under it. And when the season of it at length passes over his agitated spirit and leaves the fruit of a solid peace, and an augmented righteousness behind ityou perceive, how in him the process is exemplified, of tribulation working in him a more strenuous perseverance in all the habits and principles of Christianity; and of perseverance working in him such an experience of himself, as argues his state of discipline and preparation for another world; and of this experience working in him the hope that He who thus fulfils upon him, the guidance in time that He has promised, will finally bestow upon him the glory He has promised in eternity.
He, says the apostle, who hath wrought us for immortality is God, who hath also given to us the earnest of the Spirit, and therefore we are confident.
'Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.' The love of God may signify either our love to God, as in the passage this is the love of God that ye keep His commandments;' or it may signify God's love to us, as in the passage-In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might It is very true, that an early fulfilment live through Him.' In the verse under is often the satisfying token of some later consideration, we apprehend that the love fulfilment; and that grace imparted to us of God must be taken according to the lat-on this side of death, is a pledge of glory ter signification. It is thus that, speaking being conferred upon us on the other side strictly and literally, one being when kind of death; and, in particular, that the Holy to another, sheds upon him the fruits of Ghost, bestowed upon us so as to work a that kindness, rather than the kindness meetness for the inheritance, is symptoitself. But the use of language has been matic of our future translation into the so far extended, as to admit of the latter inheritance itself, and thus superadds the expression. It is quite according to es- hope of experience to the hope of faith. tablished usage to say, 'I have received But you must remark, that the very hope much kindness from another,' though I of faith, the hope which you conceive at have properly received nothing but his the outset of your belief in the gospel, is money or his attentions or his patronage. wrought in you by the same Holy Ghost. And in like manner, do I receive love from It is not of yourself-it is the gift of God. God when I receive the Holy Ghost. And It was by demonstration of the Spirit, that as a beneficent proprietor is said to shed your eyes were opened at the first to perabroad of his liberality among the habi-ceive the truth of the promises; and by
a fuller demonstration He can make you see this still more clearly, and rejoice in it still more confidently than before. The effect then of an additional and subsequent supply of this divine influence, is, not merely to furnish you with a pledge upon earth of the preferment that awaits you in heaven, and so to furnish you with a new ground of hope upon the subject, even the ground of experience; but it is also to brighten the ground upon which all your hope rested originally, even the ground of faith. It is to give you a more full and satisfying manifestation of the direct truth of God in the gospel than before. The Holy Ghost does not merely put into your hand another and a distinct hold, by giving you in the performance of an earlier promise, a proof of the sureness with which the later promise shall be performed also; but He strengthens the hold which you had by faith upon the promises, prior to all experimental confirmation of them in your own personal history. He does not merely supply that evidence for the truth of the gospel promise which is seen by the eye of experience; but He also casts an additional light on the evidence that you had at the first, and which is only seen by the eye of faith. Never, in the course of the believer's pilgrimage, never does the hope of experience supersede the hope of faith. So far from this, in the very proportion that experience grows in breadth, does faith grow in brightness. And it is this last which still constitutes the sheet-anchor of his soul, and forms the main aliment of its peace and joy and righteousness. It is well, that, on looking inwardly to himself, he sees the growing lineaments of such a grace and such a character forming upon his person, as vouch him to be ripening for eternity. But, along with this process, will he also look outwardly upon God in Christ, and there see, in constantly increasing manifestation, the truth and the mercy and the unchangeableness of his reconciled Father, as by far the firmest and stablest guarantees of his future destiny. The same agent, in fact, who brings about the one effect, brings about the other. He causes you not merely to see yourself to be an epistle of the Spirit of God, and to read thereon the marks of your personal interest in the promises; but He also causes you to see these promises as standing in the outward record, invested with a light and an honesty and a freeness, which you did not see at the first revelation of them-so that it is not only the hope of experience which is furnished you anew, as you proceed on the career of actual Christianity; but, in proportion to your advancement on this career, are you also made to abound more
and more in the hope of faith, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Thus we trust, you perceive, that the good works and the graces of personal religion, not merely supply you with fresh evidences for your hope, but also brighten your original ones. They cast backwards as it were a good reflex influence on the faith from which they emanated. It is said of the Holy Ghost, that He is given to those who obey Him. Follow out the impulse of a conscience which He hath enlightened in every practical business that you have on hand; and you will find, as the result of it, a larger supply of that light which makes clearer than before, all those truths and promises of Christianity, on which a firm dependence may be laid by an act of believing. It is thus too that, if you keep the sayings of Christ, He will manifest Himself; and though works are of no value unless they are wrought in faith, yet the very doing of them is followed up by such larger revelations of the truth and doctrine of God, that by works is your faith made perfect.
Give us a man walking in darkness, and having no light, from whose mind the comfort of the promises is fading away, and whose fits of thought and pensiveness speak him to be on the borders of some deep approaching melancholy. It is sin in all probability that has conducted him onwards to this mental dejection; and that not merely by its having obliterated those traces of personal character, the observation of which, had at one time wrought the hope of experience in his bosom-but by its having grieved and exiled the Holy Spirit for a season, whose office as a revealer and as a remembrancer of all truth, is therefore suspended;. and who has therefore left the tenement of his heart desolate and uncheered by that hope of faith, which shone in a beam of gladness on the very outset of his Christianity. For the treatment of such a spiritual patient, we are often bidden tell him of the fulness that there is in Christ; and tell him of the power which lies in His blood, for turning guilt of the most crimson dye into the snow-white of purest innocence; and to tell him of the perfect willingness that there is in God, to hold out to him over the mercy-seat the sceptre of forgiveness, by the touching of which it is, that he enters anew into reconciliation before Him. And it is right, it is indispensably right, to tell him of all this; but we would tell him more. The voice of man, if the visitations of the Spirit do not go along with it, will not force an entrance, even for these welcome accents of mercy, into the heart that He had so recently abandoned. And, to win the return of this gracious and all-powerful
monitor, we would Did him work for it. We would tell him, that it is by toiling and striving and pains-taking, he must recover the distance which he has lost, and call the departed light and departed influence back again. If there be a remaining sense of duty in his heart, we bid him work with all his might to prosecute its suggestions; and never cease to ply his labours of obedience till He, who still it appears is whispering through the organ of conscience what he ought to do, shall be so far satisfied with the probation, as again to shed a sufficient manifestation on the doctrines which he must never cease to contemplate. And this not merely to restore to him the hope of experience, but to revive in him the hope of faith; and, full of penitential labour as well as of penitential meditation, to make his light break forth again on the morning, and his health to spring forth speedily.
righteousness. The first is, that he may brighten his personal evidences, of being indeed one of those whom God is enriching and beautifying with grace in time; and thus will he strengthen that basis on which the hope of experience rests, when it looks forward to a preferment of glory in eternity. The second is, that he may strengthen that very faith, by which he relied at the first on the promises both of grace here, and of glory hereafter, for, after all, it is by faith he stands; and the whole of his spiritual life will forthwith go into decay, should he only look to the hope reflected from himself, instead of drawing it direct and in chief abundance from the Saviour. An exuberance of fresh and healthy blossom upon a tree, affords a cheering promise of the fruit that may be expected from it. But what should we think of the soundness of that man's anticipations, who should cut across This holds out to us another view of the stem because he thought it independent the indissoluble alliance, that obtains of the root, which both sent forth this between the faith of Christianity and the beauteous efflorescence and can alone obedience of Christianity. It is not say- conduct it to full and finished maturity? ing all for this, to say that the former And the same of spiritual as of natural originates the latter. It is saying still husbandry. Were there no foliage, no more to say that the latter strengthens fruit could be looked for-yet still it is and irradiates the former. The genuine union with the root, which produced the faith of the gospel never can encourage one and will bring on the other. And, in sin; for sin expels that Spirit from our like manner, if there be no foliage of hearts, who perpetuates and keeps alive grace in time, there will be no fruit of faith in them. And by every act of diso- glory in eternity. But still it is by abiding bedience, there is a wound inflicted on in Christ, that the whole process is begun, the peace and joy, which a belief in the and carried forward, and will at length gospel ministers to the soul. It is by be perfected. Give up the hope of faith, practically walking up to the suggestions because you have now the hope of expeof this heavenly monitor, that we brighten rience; and you imitate precisely the within us all His influences; and thus, as man, whom the leaves had made so santhe result of a strict and holy practice, is guine of his drest and supported vine there a clearer and fuller light reflected which he had trained along the wall, that back again, on the very first principles he cut asunder the stem and trusted to the from which it emanated-so that Antino- abundance of his foliage. And therefore mianism, after all, is very much an affair we reiterate in your hearing, that the hold of theory, and can only be exemplified in of faith is never to be let go; and that the lives of those who either profess the from Christ, who ministers all the nourishfaith, or imagine that they possess it, when ment which comes to the branches, you they are utter strangers to it. The real are never to sever yourselves; and that faith which is unto salvation, not only the habit of believing prayer, which is originates all the virtues of the gospel; the great and perpetual aliment of all but, should these virtues decay into anni- virtuous practice, is never to be given up ; hilation, it also would fall back again to and thus it is, that, let the hope of the 4th non-existence along with them; and, on verse brighten to any conceivable extent the other hand, does it uniformly grow upon you, from the light which is reflected with the growth, and strengthen with the by your person-yet still it is the faith by strength of a man's practical Christianity. which you are justified, and the hope of On two distinct grounds therefore, do the 2d verse directly emanating therewe urge on every believer, a most perse- from, that form the radical elements of vering strenuousness under every temp- your sanctification here, and your meet. tation and difficulty, in all the ways ofness for the inheritance hereafter.