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aside all thoughts about our happiness in another world, and to take the swing in carnal lufts and pleasures; saying, there is no hope, but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of bis evil hearto.
But eternal glory and happiness being what God has prepared and promised, what is to be had through Christ, and that by sinners, even the chief of them, there is kope in Israel concerning this thing f; and the least encouragement given to a fenGble (inner, hope lays hold upon; and it improves every hint and circumstance to its own advantage; such a soul putteth his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be bopes ; and as the pollibility and probability of happiness appear to him, so in proportion his hope rises.
5thly, It is of things certain, which have a real being, and which are solid and substantial; and which not only faith is the substance of, but they are really laid up in heaven, are in the hands of Christ, and shall certainly be enjoyed; and of which the hoping christian has no reason to doubt: and there is not only a certainty in the object of hope, but there is such a firmness and stability in the grace itself, that the foul in the lively exercise of it rejoices in hope of the glory of God; and which is so sure unto him, that he is even said to be already saved by bope".
6tbly, True hope is always attended with faith: these two graces go together; where the one is the other is ; they are wrought by the same hand, and at the same time, in regeneration ; and are more or less exercised together; though the one may be at some times more visible in its exercise than the other; and there may be hope when faith is scarcely discernible ; yet faith is at the bottom, and is the substance of things hoped for ; and without which there would be no hope ; and some of the acts of these graces are so similar, so much like to one another, that they are scarcely to be discerned and distinguished from each other; and therefore are put for one another : So what is called trusting in Christ, Eph. i. 12. is in the Greek text hoping in Cbrift; and these two are joined together in Jer. xvii. 7. I proceed,
Secondly, To Thew the original of this grace, that it is of God, and a gift of his ; for this clause, and good hope through grace, is in connection with the words preceding, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath given both everlasting comfort and good hope. As faith, so hope, is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God; and what is said of the one is true of the other, that all men have it not ! Hope is not to be found naturally in men; nor is ic in any natural man, in a man that is in a state of unregeneracy; such may exVol. I. 3 M
& Lam. iii. 29.
e Jer. xviii. 12.
Ephes. ii. 8.
f Ezra x. 2. 2 Thess. iii. 2.
n Rom. viii. 24.
press it, but not experience it; it is too commonly and too profanely said, “ As I hope to be saved ;” when such who use the phrase know not what a good hope through grace is; it is the character of God's own people before conversion, that they are without hope, as well as without God and Cbrift in tbe worldk: This is a grace which is wrought in the soul in regeneration by the Spirit of God, and is one of his fruits ; it is implanted by him, and grows up under his influence; it is through him believers wait for the hope of righteousness by faith ; and it is through his power they abound in the exercise of it: No man has it till he is born again; for he is, of abounding grace, begotten to it: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, according to his abundant mercy, bath begotten us again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Cbrift from the dead'; by which it appears, as well as from our text, that God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ have a concern in the production of a good and lively hope ; that it is owing to the abundant mercy of the one, and the resurrection of the other, who was raised and glorified that our faith and hope might be in God"; and that it is not until a man is regenerated; whatever hope he has before, is not a lively one, and so not a good one: The gospel is the ordinary means by which it is ingenerated, and therefore may be called the bope of the gospel"; and certain it is, that the gospel being good news, and glad tidings of good things, of peace, pardon, righteousness, and falvation by Christ, tends greatly to encourage and promote hope ; ics doctrines being doctrines of
grace, and its promises being free, abfolute, and unconditional, are calculated for this purpose, and greatly serve it; from these the heirs of promise have (trong coasolation, who fee to Christ and lay hold on the hope set before them; che promises they are heirs of, and which yield them comfort, encourage their hope in Chrift, who is set before them, in the gospel, as the object of it; and, generally speak: ing, it is a word of promise which the holy Spirit brings home acd applies to the Soul, which is the ground and foundation of its hope : Hence fays David, Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope Indeed whatsoever is written in the scriptures is written for our use, profit, and learning, that we through comfort of them might bave hope ?; and there are many things which, under a divine blessing, serve to cultivate and increase this grace; as che consideration of the power and faithfulness of God in his promises; the free grace and mercy of God difplayed in falvation by Christ ; che sufferings, death, resurrection, and interceffion of Chrift; and present experiences and a recollection of past ones; for experience worketh bope 9: But then the cause, means, notives and encouragements of it, all fhew it to be of the grace
of God, and a gift of his. And which
Thirdly, * Ephes. ii. 12.
I , Peter i 3. . Pfalm cxix. 49.
# Col. i. 23.
m Ibid. v. 20.
9 Rom, v. 4.
p Rom. XV. 4.
Thirdly, Explaining in what sense it is through grace. Grace is the spring and source of it; it comes to us from and through the grace of God; it is a part
of that grace, which the God of all grace is the donor of; it is a part of the fulness of grace which is in Christ the Mediacor, and is had of him; it is a part of that grace which the spirit of grace operates, and is the author of in conversion. Grace also is the object of it. The words may be literally rendered from the original text, and good hope, ev zaen, "in grace," and so the phrase is the same with boping in the mercy of God': the mercy of God in Christ is the ground and foundation of hope ; and is not only the motive and encouragement to it, let Ifrael hepe in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy'; but is the thing itself, which hope is conversant with : the sensible finner, or hoping christian, hopes in the pardoning, justifying, and adopting grace of God, through Chrift; he hopes that the good work of grace is begun in him; and he hopes and believes it will be performed until the day of Christ ; he hopes for larger measures of grace from Christ, to enable him to do his will and work, to oppose his own corruptions, to withstand Satan's temptations, and to discharge his duty to God and man; he hopes the grace of Christ will be sufficient for him, or that a sufficient fupply of it will be given him, to carry him through all the trials and difficulties of life; he hopes that his covenant-God and Father will supply all his need out of his riches in glory by Christ, and that God will give him persevering grace to hold on and out unto the end; he hopes for grace to be brought to him at the appearance of Christ; and he hopes for glory, which is the perfection of grace. Moreover, a good hope through grace is an hope that is exercised through the grace of God; that is to say, that a man hopes for such and such things, and that he shall have them; not through any merits of his own, or through works of righteousness done by him, but through the grace and mercy of God. Thus for instance,
ift, Let the thing hoped for be salvation, as David says, Lord, I have hoped for thy salvation': this the sensible foul knows is not by works, but by grace ; and therefore he hopes for it, not through the one, but through the other: he is well assured that God faves and calls men, not according to their works, but according to his own purpose and grace; that it is not by works of righteoufness they have done they are saved, but according to the mercy of God through the blood of Christ, and washing of regeneration; and that they are saved by grace, and not merit, to prevent boasting in the creature; and therefore he hopes for it in this way, and in this only: and it is its being by grace which encourages him to hope for it; for were it by works, he should for ever despair of obtaining it. He observes, that it is freely wrought out by Christ, who came into the world having salvation, and is become the author of it; that it is already done, Christ on the cross said, it is finished", and now he is on the throne, he says, it is done ", and so compleatly done, that nothing is wanting in it, nor can any thing be added to it; and therefore the man that is acquainted with all this, hopes for it through the grace of Christ, that has wrought it, without any works of his : he further observes, chat Christ came to seek, and to save loft sinners; yea, that it is a truth to be depended on, and is worthy of his acceptation and the acceptation of others, that Christ came into the world to save the chief of in
world · Pfalm clxvii. li.
• Psalm cXXX. 7.
* Psalm cxix. 166.
3 M 2
and that the worst and vilest have been washed, cleansed, sanctified, and justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God; and there. fore he hopes for salvation through the same grace and favour that has been shown to them, though he has been as bad as they, and may think himself worse ; he takes notice that Christ is lifted up in the ministry of the word, as the brazen serpent was lifted up on the pole, that whoever looks to him and believes on bin should not perish, but have everlasting life; he is encouraged by the gospel-deciaration that whoever believes in him mall be saved *; and by the gospel inttruction given to a sensible finner in his case, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved'; which he considers as wonderful displays of the grace of Godi in Christ, through which he is enabled to hope in him.
2dly, Let it be the pardon of sin he is hoping for: As fin is the first thing the Spirit of God convinces a man of, it is the pardon of ic that he in the first place seeks after ; and when he understands the right way in which it is to be had, he hopes for it; not through his tears, humiliations, and repentance, buc through the grace of God streaming in the blood of Jesus : He finds that Gud only can forgive sin, against whom it is committed ; that this is his sole prerogative, which he exercises in a free and sovereign manner; that he has promited, in covenant to his people, that he will be merciful to their unrighteousness, ani their fins and their iniquities will he remember no more? ; that he has proclaimed his name in his gospel, a God pardoning iniquity, transgresion and fina; and that there is none like him on that account; and therefore he is greatly encouraged 10 turn to the Lord, who will abundantly pardon, and to hope in his mercy: He understands by the sacred writings, that God fec forth his Son to be the propiciation for sin; and that he sent him forth in the fulness of time to shed his blood for the remission of it, there being no remillion without shedding of blood; and that he has exalted him at his right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and forgiveness of sins; and therefore he hopes for it through him, seeing with him there is mercy and plenteous redemption : And though he observes that forgiveness of sin is through the bluod. of Christ, yet
according John xix. 39
* Mark xvi. 16. y. Als xvi. 31. z Heb. viii. 12.
· Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7.
w Rev. xxi 6.
according to the riches of divine grace, and comes through the tender mercy of our God; and therefore he hopes for it, not according to his own merit, but according to the multitude of God's tender mercies. The gospel declaration, that wbojoever believes in Christ, shall receive remision of fins b; and the many instances of pardoning grace and mercy, even such that have been great sinners, and whose lins were attended with aggravated circumstances; as David, who was guilty of murder and adultery; Manasseh, of most abominable crimes; Peter, of denying his Lord and Master;. Saul, the persecutor, the blasphemer, and the injurious person; and the notorious sinner spoken of, who loved much, because much was forgiven her; all these engage to the exercise of hope for pardon, through the free grace and mercy of God.
3dly, Let it be eternal life which is the thing hoped for, as that is; in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lye, promised before the world began, says the apostle“; hence eternal glory and happiness being the object of hope, is called the blessed hope, and the hope which is laid up in heaven". Now, eternal life is the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord; it is that kingdom which it is our heavenly Father's good pleasure to give unto his children; it is what he of his rich grace has prepared for them, and promised to them, calls them unto, makes them meet for, and bestows upon them: Not only the promise of eternal life, but that itself is put into Christ's hands for them, and he has power to give it to as many as the Father has given him; and to them he does give it, and they. Mall never perish : And since it is a gift of pure free grace, therefore do fenfible sinners, seeking for glory, immortality, and eternal life, hope for it; which they could never expect upon any other foot: And they are the rather encouraged to hope for it, fince God has declared it to be his will, that whoever fees the Son, and believes on him, shall have it; and be. cause they find the holy Spirit of God is at work upon their hearts, has begun. the good work, which he will finish, and is working them up for that self-fame thing, eternal life and happiness; wherefore they reason as Manoab's wife did, that “if the Lord were plealed to destroy them, he would never have shewed " then and told them such things as he has done, or wrought such things in " them ;” and hence for grace and through grace they hope for glory; seeing to whom God gives grace, he gives glory; thele are inseparably connected together ; whom he calls and justifies, them he also glorifies. And,
Fourthly, Such an hope is a good one. There is a bad hope and there is a good one, There is the hope of the worldly man, who makes gold bis hope, and says to the fine gold, thou art my confidence“; he puts his trust in it; and not only places his dependence on it for present and future good in this life, but hopes for eter
Tit. ii. 13. Col.i. 5.
b. Acts X. 43:
< Tit, i. 2.
e Job xxxi. 24.