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it pleaseth the Lord. Wherefore, thou must not judge according to the feeling of sin which troubleth and terrifieth thee, but according to the promise and doctrine of faith, whereby Christ is promised unto thee, who is thy perfect and everlasting righteousness. Thus the hope of the afflicted, consisting in the inward affection, is stirred up by faith, in the midst of all terrors and feeling of sin, to hope that he is righteous. Moreover, if hope be here taken for the thing which is hoped for, it is thus to be understood :—that, that which a man now seeth not, he hopeth, in time, shall be made perfect and clearly manifest.
Either sense may well stand; but the first, touching the inward desires and affections of hoping, bringeth more plentiful consolation. For my righteousness is not yet perfect, it cannot yet be felt; yet I do not despair; for faith, sheweth unto me Christ in whom I trust, and when I have laid hold of him by faith, I wrestle against the fiery darts of the devil, and I take a good heart through hope against the feeling of sin; assuring myself, that I have a perfect righteousness prepared for me in heaven. So both these sayings are true :—that I am made righteous already by that righteousness which is begun in me; and also, I am raised up in the same hope against sin, and wait for the full consummation of perfect righteousness in heaven. These things are not rightly understood, but when they are put in practice.
WHAT DIFFERENCE THERE IS BETWEEN FAITH AND HOPE.
Here ariseth a question, what difference there is between Faith and Hope. The sophisters and schoolmen have laboured very much in this matter, but they could never show any certainty. Yea to us which travel in the holy scriptures with much diligence, and also with more fulness and power of spirit, (be it spoken without any brag,) it is hard to find any difference. For there is so great affinity between Faith and Hope, that the one cannot be separate from the other. Notwithstanding there is a difference between them, which is gathered of their several offices, diversity of working, and of their ends.
First: They differ in respect of their subject; that is, of the ground wherein they rest. For faith resteth in the understanding, and hope resteth in the will. But in very deed they cannot be separated, the one having respect to the other, as the two cherubim of the mercyseat which could not be divided.
Secondly: They differ in respect of their office; that is, of their working. For faith telleth what is to be done; it teacheth, prescribeth, and directeth; and it is a knowledge. Hope is an exhortation which stirreth up the mind that it may be strong, bold, and courageous, that it may suffer and endure adversity, and in the midst thereof wait for better things.
Thirdly: They differ as touching their object; that is, the special matter whereunto they look. For faith hath for her object the truth; teaching us to cleave sorely thereunto, and looketh upon the word and promise of the thing that is promised. Hope hath for her objectthe goodness of God, and looketh upon the thing that is promised in the word; that is, upon such matters as faith teaches us to be hoped for.
Fourthly: They differ in their order: for faith is the beginning of life before all tribulation, Heb. xi.: but hope rameth afterwards, proceeding of tribulation, Rom. v.
Fifthly: They differ by the diversity of working: for tab is a teacher and a judge, fighting against errors and heresies, and judging spirits and doctrines: but hope is, ** it were, the general or captain of the field, fighting against tribulation, the cross, impatiency, heaviness of spirit, weakness, desperation, and blasphemy: and it *aiteth for good things even in the midst of evils.
Therefore when I am instructed by faith in the word of God, and lay hold of Christ, believing in him with the "bole heart, then am I righteous by this knowledge, ^ben I am so justified by faith, or by this knowledge, tfV-and-by cometh the devil, the father of lies, and lahooreth to extinguish my faith by wiles and subtleties; that is to say, by lies, errors, and heresies. Moreover, because he is a murderer, he goeth about to oppress it by violence. -Here hope wrestling, layeth hold on the thing revealed by faith, and overcometh the devil that warreth against faith: and after this victory followeth peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. So that in very deed faith and hope can scarcely be discerned the one from the other; and yet, is there a certain difference between them. And that it may be the better perceived, I will set out the matter by a similitude.
In civil government, prudence and fortitude do differ; and yet, these two virtues are so joined together, that they cannot easily be severed. Now fortitude is a constancy of mind which is not discouraged in adversity, but endureth valiandy, and waiteth for better things. But if fortitude be not guided by prudence, it is but temerity and rashness. On the other side, if fortitude be not joined with prudence, that prudence is but in vain, and unprotitable. Even so in divinity, faith without hope is nothing. For hope endureth in adversity, and is constant therein, and in the end overcometh all evils. And on the other side, like as fortitude without prudence is rashness, even so hope without faith is presumption in spirit, and a tempting of God; for it hath no knowledge of Christ, and of the truth which faith teacheth, and therefore it is but a blind rashness and arrogancy. Wherefore a godly man afore all things, must have a right understanding, instructed by faith, according to the which the mind may be guided in afflictions, that . it may hope for those good things which faith hath revealed and taught.
To be short: Faith is conceived by teaching; for thereby the mind is instructed what the truth is. Hope is conceived by exhortation; for by exhortation hope is stirred in afflictions, which confirmeth him that is already justified by faith, that he be not overcome by adversities, but that he may be able more strongly to resist them. Notwithstanding* if the spark of faith should not give light to the will, it could not be persuaded to lay hold upon hope. We have faith then whereby we are taught, we understand, and know the heavenly wisdom, apprehend Christ, and continue in his grace. But as •oon as we lay hold upon Christ by faith, and confess a, forthwith our enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil, rise up against us, hating and persecuting us most cruelly both in body and spirit. Wherefore, we thus believing and justified by faith, "in spirit do wait for the hope of our righteousness." And we wait through patience, for we see and feel the flat contrary. For the world with his prince, the devil, assaileth us mightily both within and without. Moreover, sin yet still rcmaineth in os which driveth into heaviness. Notwithstanding, »e give not over for all this, but raise up our minds strongly through faith, which lighteneth, teacheth, and guideth the same. And thus we abide firm and constant, and overcome all adversities through him which hath loved ns, until our righteousness which we believe and »ait for, be revealed. By faith therefore we began, by tape we continue, and by revelation we shall obtain the whole. In the mean time, whilst we live here, because »e believe, we teach the word and publish the knowledge of Christ unto others. Thus doing we suffer persecution (according to this text, "I believed and therefore did I speak, and I was sore troubled,") with patience, long strengthened and encouraged through hope: "hereunto the scripture exhorteth us with most sweet and comfortable promises, taught and revealed unto us to feith. And thus doth hope spring up and increase in s, Rom. xv. That through patience and comfort of the scriptures, we may have hope.
Paul therefore, not without cause, joineth patience in tribulation, and hope together, in the fifth and eighth to the Romans, and in other places also, for by them hope is stirred up. But faith (as also I have shewed Wore) goeth before hope: for it. is the beginning of life, and beginneth before all tribulation; for it learneth Christ, and apprehendeth him without the cross. Notwithstanding, the knowledge of Christ cannot be long without the cross, without troubles and conflicts. In this case the mind must be stirred up to a fortitude of spirit (for hope is nothing else but a spiritual fortitude, as faith is nothing else but a spiritual prudence) which consisteth in suffering, according to this saying, "That through patience," &c. These three things then dwell together in the faithful:—Faith, which teacheth the truth, and defendeth from errors; Hope, which endureth and overcometh all adversities, as well bodily as ghostly; and Charity, which worketh all good things, as it followeth in the text. And so is a man entire and perfect in this life, as well within as without, until the righteousness be revealed which he waiteth for; and this shall be a perfect and everlasting righteousness.
Moreover, this place containeth a singular doctrine and consolation. As touching the doctrine, it sheweth that we are made righteous, not by the works, sacrifices, or ceremonies of Moses's law, much less by the works and traditions of men, but by Christ alone. Whatsoever then the world counted to be good and holy without Christ, is nothing else but sin, error, and flush. Wherefore circumcision, and the observation of the law also, the works, religions, and vows of the Monks, and of all such as trust in their own righteousness, are altogether carnal. But we, saith Paul, are far above all these things in the spirit and inward man, for we possess Christ by faith, and in the midst of our afflictions through hope, we wait for that righteousness which we possess already by faith.
The comfort is this: that in serious conflicts and terrors, wherein the feeling of sin, heaviness of spirit, desperation and such like is very strong, (for they enter deeply into the heart and mightily assail it,) thou must not follow thine own feeling; for if thou do, thou wilt say, I feel the horrible terrors of the law, and the tyranny of sin, not only rebelling against me, but also subduing me, and leading me captive; and I feel no comfort or righteousness at all. Therefore I am a sinner, and not righteous. If I be a sinner, then am I guilty of everlasting death. But against this feeling thou must wrestle and say, Although I feel myself utterly overwhelmed and swallowed up with sin: and my heart