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 "Which IS our hope." — <em>1 Timothy 1:1.</em>

Much has been said in praise of hope. It has been called the main-spring of motion, the soul of enterprise. the balm of life, the soother of care, and the healer of sorrow.

We are not, however, going to speak of hope in general. We therefore say nothing of the hope of the worldling, which is a thing of nought; or of the hope of the infidel, which is annihilation; or of the hope of the Antinomian, which is a devil's dream; or of the hope of the Pharisee, which is a spider's web; or of the hope of the hypocrite, which is a lie in his right hand; but of our hope, as Christians. And what is this? Jesus Christ, says the Apostle; he "is our hope." He deserves and realizes the character four ways. He is our hope substantially, meritoriously, efficiently, and exemplarily.

He is the object of our hope. "There be many that say. Who will show us any good?" But any good will not answer the wishes of a believer. His supreme aim is the principal, the only good.

"Sufficient in itself alone,
And needful, were the world our own."

It is, to win Christ, to be found in him, and in him to be blessed with all spiritual blessings. The Christian's hope is chiefly laid up for him in heaven. And is not He the essence of all the blessedness there? The place is glorious, but what would it be without His presence? The company is attractive, but what would friends, and saints, and angels be, without communion with him? We sometimes hear it said, "Well, we are hoping for the same heaven." But nothing can be more false. A natural man is hoping for one kind of heaven; a spiritual man, for another; and each herein follows his peculiar disposition. I cannot hope for what I do not love and desire. As a man, I may hope for a heaven that shall secure me from hell, and exempt me from all toil and trouble, and furnish me with things in which I feel pleasure. But it is only as a Christian, I can long to depart to be with Christ, which is far better, and be able to say,

" 'Tis heaven on earth to taste his love,
To feel his quick'ning grace;
And all the heaven I hope above,
Is but to see his face."

He is the ground of our hope. In proportion to the use and grandeur of a building should be the basis. Nothing can equal the vastness and value of the believer's expectation. If we are wise, therefore, we shall inquire what is to bear it up. And no other foundation can any man lay than that is laid, which is Christ. Every thing else we depend upon will prove sand. But here is rock, and he that believeth on him shall not be ashamed. View him as incarnate. Why is not our condition as hopeless as that of devils'? Verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Because the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he likewise himself took part of the same. He assumed the nature he would save, and he will save, as surely as he assumed it. View him as the gift of God. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. What can discourage us now? If our unworthiness, or the greatness of the blessing, could prove a hinderance to the Divine goodness, it would have operated earlier, and he would have withholden from the guilty this unspeakable gift. "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also give us all things?" But His goodness is wise goodness, just goodness. It must be as honourable to himself as it is beneficial to us; and we behold his Son set forth as a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness. Sin is punished, while it is pardoned. Even the Law has nothing to complain of in our deliverance; it is much more glorified in our salvation, than it would have been by our destruction. One died for all; and he was infinitely more than all. Do we question whether he finished the work that was given him to do; and whether it was an offering and a sacrifice to God of a sweetsmelling savour; and whether he shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied? Behold him discharged from the grave, and ascending up on high, and receiving gifts for men, even for the rebellious, and entering into the holy place, there to appear in the presence of God for us. What can we desire more? If, while we were enemies we were reconciled to God, by the death of his Son, much more now, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." Will not this suffice? He raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory, that our faith and hope might he in God.

He is the author of our hope. For it is not natural to us, neither is it derived from ourselves, but he produces it in us by his Holy Spirit. Means may be used, but the excellency of the power is of him, and not of them. Hence, says the Apostle to those who were glorying in men, "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?" Every thing in the new world is done by the Spirit of Christ. Under a conviction of guilt enough to condemn us a thousand times over, did we find it an easy thing to hope in God at first, and believe that he was pacified towards us for all that we had done, and that we were accepted in the Beloved? Have we proved it an easy thing since, to keep this hope lively and flourishing, or even to maintain it at all? How often should we have said, My hope is perished from the Lord, and have given up all our profession, but for "the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ," in glorifying him afresh; according to the promise, "He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you."

He is also the model of our hope. For though he is unspeakably more than our example, he is nothing less; and the higher views we have taken of him do not hinder, but, indeed, the more require our saying, that the same mind which was in him must be in us; that we must walk even as he walked; that we must pray as he prayed, fear as he feared, and hope as he hoped. And how did he hope? "I will," said he, "put my trust in Him." He was remarkable for this. It was not to quote prophecy, that his insulters, when he was on the cross, said, "He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him; for he said, I am the Son of God." It was to reproach him for the confidence in God, which they knew he had professed to exercise. It will be well, if our enemies can revile us for nothing worse. David seems early to have been dedicated to God, but it was in the name of the Holy Child Jesus he spake, when he said, "Thou art he that took me out of the womb; thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb; thou art my God from my mother's belly." From his earliest infancy, from the first exercise of reason, he honoured him. Nor did he ever fail in his confidence in God. In every extremity he trusted in him. Even when in anguish on the cross, and dying, he cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit." His confidence, also, was equally cheerful. He sung a hymn when he was entering the garden of Gethsemane. Though a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, instead of murmuring, he said, "In the midst of the Church will I sing praises unto Thee." Thus may I bear the image of the heavenly, till he shall appear, and I shall be perfectly like him; for I shall see him as he is.

Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
By Rev. William Jay

 
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