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are promised, that is, so far as they are made necefsary and useful to us in order to God's Glory and the great End of Souls. Hope and Fasting are said to be the two Wings of Prayer. Fasting is but as the Wing of a Bird; but Hope is like the Wing of an Angel foaring up to Heaven, and bears our Prayers to the Throne of Grace. Without Hope it is impossible to pray; but Hope makes our Prayers reasonable paffionate and religious; for it relies upon God's Promise, or Experience, or Providence, and Story: Prayer is ala ways in proportion to our Hope, zealous and affectionate.
5. Perseverance is the Perfection of the Duty of Hope, and its last A&t; and so long as our Hope continues, fo long we go on in Duty and Diligence; but he that is to raise a Castle in an Hour, fits down and does nothing towards it : And Herod the Sophifter left off to teach his Son, when he saw that 24 Pages appointed to wait on him, and called by the several Letters of the Alphabet, could never make him to understand his Letters perfectly.
Rules to govern our Hope. i. Let your Hope be moderate, proportioned to your State Person and Condition, whether it be for Gifts or Graces, or temporal Favours. It is an ambitious Hope for Persons whole Diligence is like then that are least. in the Kingdom of Heaven, to believe themselves endeared to God as the greatest Saints, or that they shall have a Throne equal to S. Paul, or the Blessed Virgin Mary. A Stammerer cannot without Moderation hope for the Gift of Tongues, or a Peasant to become learned as Origen: Or if a Beggar desires or hopes to become a King, or ask for a Thousand Pound a Year, we call him impudent, not passionate, much less reasonable. Hope that God will crown your Endeavour with equal Measures of thatReward which he indeed fre gives, but yet gives according to our Proportions. Hope for good Success according to, or not much beyond, the efficacy of the causes and the instrument: and
let the Husbandman hope for a good Harvest, not for a rich Kingdom, or a victorious Army.
2. Let your Hope be well founded, relying upon jult Confidences, that is, upon God according to his Revelations and Promises. For it is possible
for a Man to have a vain Hope upon God: .And in Matters of Religion it is Presumption to hope that God's Mercies will be pour’d forth upon lazy Persons
that do nothing towards holy and stri&t Walking, nothing (I fay) but trust and long for an Event besides and against all Disposition of the Means. Every false Principle in Religion is a Reed of Egypt, false and dangerous. * Rely not in temporal things upon uncertain Prophe cies and Astrology, not upon our own Wit or Induftry, not upon Gold or Friends, not upon Armies and Princes; expect not Health from Physicians that cannot cure their own Breath, much lefs their Mortality: Use all lawful Instruments, but expect nothing from them above their natural or ordinary Efficacy, and
in the Use of them from God expect a Blefling: A Jer. 17. s. Hope that is eafie and credulous is an Arm of flesh,
an ill Supporter without a Bone.
3. Let your Hope be without Vanity or Garish. nefs of Spirit, but sober, grave and filent, fixed in the Heart, not born upon the Lip, apt to support our Spirits within, but not to provoke Envy abroad.
4. Let your Hope be of things possible, safe and Di cosi fuori useful. He that hopes
for an Opportunity of acting his di crederica Revenge, or Luft, or Rapine, watches to do himself a fur speranza.
Mischief. All Evils of ourselves or Brethren are Objects of our Fear, not Hope: And when it is truly understood, things useless and unsafe can no more be wished for, than things impossible can be obtained.
5. Let your Hope be patient, without tediousness of Spirit, or hastiness of prefixing Time. Make no limits or preseriptions to God, but let your Prayers and Endeavours go on still with a constant Attendance on the Periods of God's Providence. The Men of Bethulia refolved to wait upon God but 5 Days longer : But De. liverance stayed 7 Days, and yet came at last. And take not every Accident for an Argument of Despair:
but go on fill in hoping, and begin again to work if any ill Accident have interrupted you.
Means of Hope, and Remedies against Despair. The Means to cure Despair, and to continue or increase Hope, are partly by Confideration, partly by Exercise. 1. Apply your Mind to the Cure of all the
proper Causes of Despair : And they are Weakness of Spirit, or Violence of Paffion. He that greedily covets is impatient of Delay, and desperate in contrary Acci
μικρόψυdents ; and he that is little of Heart
, is also little of 204 furgóHope, and apt to Sorrow and Suspicion.
2. Despise the things of the World, and be indif-
Ούκ έπ ο σφετέροις έππτίπρoμας έρρoτε άμρω.
3. So long as your Hopes are regular and reasonable, though in temporal Affairs, such as are Deliveránce from Enemies, escaping a Storm or Shipwreck, Recovery from a Sickness
, Ability to pay your Debts, &c.remember that there are some things ordinary,and fome things extraordinary to prevent Despair. In ordinary remember, that the very hoping in God is an Endearment of hin, and a Means to obtain the Bless sing.[Iwill deliver him, because he hath put his Trust in
me.] 2. There are in God all those glorious Attributes and Excellencies which in the Nature of things can possibly create or confirm Hope. God is 1. Strong, 2. Wife, 3. True, 4. Loving. There cannot be added another capacity to create a confidence for upon these Premiffes we cannot fail of receiving what is fit for us.
3: God hath obliged himself by Pro mise that we shall have the Good of every thing we desire : for even Loffes and Denial shall work for the Good of them that fear God. And if we will trust the
Truth of God for Performance of the general, we may well trust his Wisdom to chufe for us the particular. * But the Extraordinaries of God are apt to supply the Defect of all natural and humane Possibilities. 1. God hath in many Instances given extraordinary Virtue to the active causes and instruments: to a JawBone to kill aMultitude; to 300 Men to destroy a great Army; to Jonathan and his Armour-Bearer to rout a whole Garrison. 2. He hath given excellent Suffer ance and Vigorousness to the Sufferers, arming them with strange Courage, heroical Fortitude, invincible Resolution, and glorious Patience : And thus he lays no more upon us than we are able to bear; for when he increases our Sufferings, he leffens them by increasing our Patience. 3. His Providence is extra-regular, and produces strange things beyond cominon Rules : and he that led Israel thro' a Sea, and made a Rock pour forth Waters, and the Heavens to give them Bread and Flesh, and whole Armies to be destroyed with phantastick Noises, and the Fortune of all France to be recovered and intirely revolved by the Arms and Conduct of a Girl again it the Torrent of the English Fortune and Chivalry < can do what he please, and ftill retains the fame Affections to his People, and the fame Providence over Mankind as ever. And it is
imposible for that Man to despair who remembers Heb. 2. 18. that his helper is omnipotent, and can do what he please.
Let us reft there a while; he can if he please : And he is infinitely loving, willing enough : And he is infinitely wise, chufing better for us than we can do for eurélves. This in all Ages and Chances hath suppor.
ted the afflicted People of God, and carried them on dry Ground through a Red-Sea. God invites and cherishes the Hopes of Men by all the Variety of his Providence.
If your Cafe be brought to the last Extremity, and that you are at the Pit's Brink, even the very Margin of the Grave, yet then despair not; at least put it off a little longer, and remember that whatfoever final Accident takes away all Hope from you, if you stay a little longer, and in the mean while bear it sweetly, it will also take
all Despair too. For when you enter into Regions of Death, you rest from all your Labours and your Fears.
5. Let them who are tempted to despair of their Salvation, consider how much Christ suffered to redeein us from Sin and its eternal Punishment and he that considers this must needs believe that the Desires which God had to save us were not less than infinite, and therefore not easily to be satisfied without it.
6. Let no Man despair of God's Mercies to forgive hin, unless he be sure that his Sins be greater than God's Mercies. If they be not, we have much Reason to hope, that the stronger Ingredient will prevail so long as we are in the Time and State of Repentance, and within the Possibilities and Latitude of the Cove.. nant, and as long as any Promise can but reflect upon him with an oblique Beam of Comfort. Possibly the Man may err in his Judgment of Circumstances, and thereforé let him fear ; but because it is not certain he is mistaken, let him not despair.
7. Consider that God, who knows all the Events of Men, and what their filial condition shall be, who shall be saved, and who will perish, yet he treateth them as his own, calls them to be his own, offers fair conditions as to his own, gives them Blessings, Arguments of Mercy, and Instances of Fear to call them off from Death, and to call them home to Life, and in all this shews no Despair of Happiness to them; and therefore much less should any Man despair for himself, fince he never was able to read the Scrolls of the Eternal Predeftination.