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forward to a crown of glory, which he expects to enjoy through grace alone.
2. The anchor is thus serviceable, though un. seen; for it sinks to the bottom.
So hope is of great use to the poor Christian at a time when he can hardly think he has any; or when the things he hopes for are almost out of sight. In the Christian's worst times he can not give up his hope. It has fixed on Christ, his fullness, unchangeableness and promise, and will not let go. It is at such times hoping against hope.
3. Sometimes the ship drifts, notwithstanding the anchor; at length, meeting with better ground, it brings her up, and prevents her going on shore.
So hope sometimes seems to fail the Christian : back he goes; or sinks with discouragement. But at length hope fixes on some sure word of promise, some divine truth, and he stands fast.
4. You may have seen a number of vessels riding at anchor in fair weather; all appeared equally safe ; but when a storm hath arisen, many went
So it is with professors. There are many who appear as safe as any in fair weather ; but when storms have arisen, when temptation and persecution have taken place, hope has failed them, and they have turned back. And thus has it been with many anxious sinners. Remember the hopeful youth who fell at Jesus' feet.
5. The anchor causes the vessel to keep her head to the wind and tide.
So hope makes the Christian face his trials. He rejoices in hope, even in the midst of tribulation. * We glory in tribulations also ; knowing that
tribulation worketh patience, and patience ex. perience, and experience hope, 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.”
6. The anchor sinks to the bottom, and lays hold there.
So hope “entereth into that within the vail; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec.”
This expression is in allusion to the high priest his entering into the holiest of all. This he did once a year; and not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the sins of the people. In this he was a type of Christ; who hath entered into heaven itself, there to appear in the presence of God for his people. He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for the heirs of promise.
And this he did as a forerunner. The business of a forerunner is to prepare the way for the entrance of others : so Christ went to prepare places for believers.
Now the hope of the Christian entereth into that within the vail. It follows Christ to heaven, and rests upon his intercession at God's right hand. . Hence he expects to persevere unto the end, because he has an advocate with the Father ; and he hopes that he shall at last be with Christ, that he may behold his glory.
“ Hope with a goodly prospect feeds the eye,
It is sure ; it cannot be lost. When once it enters within the vail, and fastens on Christ, the forerunner of his people, nothing can ever de
The waves and billows spend their force in vain ; the believer's heart is fixed, trusting in God.
It is stedfast; it never changes its object; it is immoveably fixed on Christ for eternal life. Amidst the changing scenes of time, this stedfast hope buoys up the soul when tossed on the billows of adversity
“ Hope travels through, nor quits us when we die." A few reflections shall close the subject.
1. How great the divine condescension, to give such ground of consolation to them that fly for refuge to the mercy of God! The eternal purpose and faithful promise of God must afford the strongest consolation to every believing, humble soul. This hope causes him to sing while in the house of his pilgrimage, and cheers with its beams the dark valley of the shadow of death.
2. How important for us individually to possess that hope that is as an anchor to the soul. In the dying hour, all other refuges will fail : the hope of the hypocrite shall be cut off and perish, and his trust be as the spider's web. Yea, the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost. Job viii. 13, 14 ; and xi. 20.
3. Let us examine whether we possess this permanent hope. It may be satisfactorily known by its tendency : it always leads to holiness. “ He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” who hath called him. The genuine hope of the gospel never leads to licen.
tiousness. It constantly keeps the soul sensible of its obligations to him“ who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of
And lastly. This hope alone animates and cheers our future prospects. The believer, in the hour of despondency, is enabled to adopt the language of David; “ Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art thou disquieted within me ? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” When just entering the “ valley of the shadow of death," when the guilty mind is filled with horrors indescribable, the believer, under the influence of this hope, is enabled to sing, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” While he knows that the sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law; he can rejoice in God, who giveth him the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Until tlie voyage of life is finished, may the Lord grant to all his believing people the supporting influence of that hope, which is as an anchor to the soul, and which entereth within the vail ; and may his terrors alarm the thoughtless and secure, who live without God and without hope in the world. Apprized of their danger, and quickened by grace, may they fly for refuge to the Lord Jesus, and lay hold on the hope set before them in the gospel. Amen.
GOD'S DESIGNS VAINLY OPPOSED BY SINNERS.
PSALM ï. 1-4.
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
This psalm is clearly prophetic of Christ, and of the ill treatment with which he and his followers met from the ungodly in the world. To him the apostle applies it in Acts iv. 25, 26. “ Who by the inouth of thy servant David hath said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” This application of the psalm to Christ is decisive.
I readily acknowledge that it has respect to David, the type of Christ, in the first instance; but on this occasion, a greater than David is here, Never before printed: Delivered at the quarterly day of prayer,
June 4, 1803.