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from heaven into the wilderness, unexplained and unheralded. Neither Angel nor Prophet foretold its descent from the throne, nor its
continuance on the footstool. It was set before
the church, with only its own light and shade to commend it. Revelation did not define its
nature, nor the covenant ratify its duration, nor the harps of glory celebrate its worth. It came into the world'unsung, and departed from the world unmissed. Not thus is the hope of eternal life set before us. “ The bringing in of that better hope,” was not in silence, nor in darkness. It was brought into the world with the full chorus of all worlds. The hope of the world, like the creation of the world, was welcomed by the morning stars singing together, and by all the angelic sons of God shouting for joy. The Lord Jesus Christ is the hope of glory: and when God brought “the only Begotten into the world, he said, And let all the Angels of God worship him.” All the Patriarchs of God had typified Him—all the Prophets of God had foretold Him—all the oracles of God had described Him—all the covenants of God had guaranteed Him—all the providences of God had accredited Him as the hope of the world; and, to crown this attestation of His character and errand, all the armies of God sang at His advent, “ Peace on earth, and good-will towards men !"
Thus the hope of eternal life is set before us in the person and sacrifice of Him, upon whom God has visibly set all the seals and tokens of the eternal power and Godhead; and by the ministry and miracles of men who could not be deceived, and of angels who could not mistake. Nor is the benefit of hoping in Christ set before us less clearly, or less impressively, than the fact that He is the only hope set before us. The concurrent testimony of all ages, is, that “ hope in Him maketh not ashamed.” The throne of heaven is already thronged with proofs of this. Even on earth, none have been put to shame before men, by the influence of a good hope through grace, when that hope laid hold upon the glory which grace leads to. “Every man who hath this hope in Christ, purifieth himself even as He is pure ?” The heartless hope of a death-bed conversion, or the half-hearted hope of just escaping hell in some way at last, may not sanctify the character at all. Such hopers will have occasion to be ashamed before God and man, whether they own it or not now: and the shame will become
confusion of face," as well as of spirit, when they are about to exchange worlds.
I would have you hope enough-to make you happy in your mind, and holy in your character. For, what is the use of hoping too little, to produce this very desirable and necessary effect ?
It cannot be produced at all without hope; and there will never be much holiness or happiness from poor hopes. They will either produce poor spirits or poorer virtues. She who has not hope enough in Christ, to keep her spirits from despondency, will not do nor attempt much for the honour of Christ : and she who can enjoy herself without. settled hopes of salvation, will content herself with still less.
This subject requires to be looked into with much impartiality, and with no small degree of holy jealousy. Now it is quite as possible for you to hope too little, as for the hypocrite to hope too much. “The hope of the hypocrite shall perish,” because he is a hypocrite : and just because you are not a hypocrite, your spirits may sink, or your character not rise at all in strength or beauty. This is no paradox, whatever it may seem at first sight. There is
sure to be much depression, or but little diligence, wherever there is "
no guile,” and but little hope. And for this obvious reason. A guileless mind deals sọ honestly with itself, that nothing can counterbalance its self-condemnation and fear, but a full apprehension of the sufficiency and freeness of the Saviour's grace : and, therefore, the very fidelity of the conscience must paralyze the heart or the hands in the service of God, if the riches of that grace are not clearly seen to be equally adapted and designed to meet the case. Thus there cannot be good spirits without a good hope through grace, wherever the conscience is faithful or tender; nor will such a conscience purify the character much, whilst it derives no peace from the blood of the Lamb. li must be somewhat pacified by the Cross of Christ, before it can delight in copying the example of Christ.
Consider this. It is not with you now a it