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ment it leaves us we are in danger of falling into the most comfortless Situation of all others, Despair.
Now seeing Hope is of such considerable Use to us, in diverting che manifold Evils of this Life, and supplying the Emptiness of its few Pleasures, by starting continually new Objects of Delight, and promising still better things, and all this, when it makes not good those Promises, when it leads on thro' a Train of Dilappointments, when (as Plato terms it) tis only the Dream of a waking Man; how much greater must its Efficacy be, how much more blessed its Influence, could it be furnished with Objects whose Attainment was certain, and whose Enjoyment compleat ?
Now such is the Hope set before us in the Gospel ; such is the Hope we are here commanded to rejoice in. The Characters of it in the Scriptures are exceeding strong and sublime. We
are called, says the Apostle, in one Hope, in opposition to that confused Variety of Hopes which distract the Children of this World; this is a Hope which maketh not ashamed, whereas all other Hopes end in Disappointment and Confusion. This Hope is callid an Anchor of the Soul, sure and fiedfest : Every other Hope is doubtful and timorous; the best laid Scheme for the future Goods of this Life, may be defeated by many Accidents which we our felves can foresee, besides which, there are many others, that
may break in upon us which we cannot so much as guess at; but this is a Hope attended with Confidence and Assurance, because we see thro' the Means to the End of it; the whole Business of it lies betwixt God and our selves, God who cannot lye, and 01.r felves, who may be true to our selves, if we will : This is a Hope full of Immortality, full of Glory, in Com
parison of which, all other Hopes are narrow and short-sighted, mcan and abject.
Now, the Lord Jesus Christ, as St. Paul says, is our Hope ; To have our Bodies fashioned like unto his glorious Body, to partake with him in the Inheritance of the Saints in Light, to live, to reign together with him to all Eternity, this is what the Gospel recommends to Hope; This is exprelly declared to be one great Design of Revelation ; for, lays the Apostle, whatfoever things were written afore-time, were written for our Learning, that we thro' Patience and Comfort of the Scriptures might have Hope. And again, the Apostle to the Hebrews, comparing the Law and the Gospel together, says, the Law made nothing perfe£t, but the bringing in of a better Hope did. You see here, that the better Hope brought in by the Gospel is the Thing which gives it its Preference to the Law, the
Thing in which its greater Perfection consilts.
It remains now, that I exhort you to hold fast and cherish this Hope.
Hope, as was before observed, is the most resolute and indefatigable of all our Powers, it will be employed some way or other, and it sollicits the Imagination fo forcibly, that we
if we would, be ignorant of cannot, the Particulars it is exercis'd upon; we cannot but know, whether we have hitherto been engaged only by the short and broken Prospects of this Lise, whether we have trod round and round this narrow Circle of Vanity and Disappointment; or whether we have extended our Views and enlarged our Prospect to that important Scene of things, which must open to us in our next Stage of Existence, and as the Apostle expresses it, laid hold on the Hope set before us in the Gospel. These, I say, are
things we cannot; if we would, be ignorant of.
But further, as we are form’d for Immortality and Glory, and placed here in this World only to prepare our selves for a better, so our own internal Nature and the Circumstances of all things without us, are continually suggesting to us that better State, and we cannot without some very unnatural Industry suppress our Longing after Immortality. The things in which our Happiness is deeply concerned are not hard to be discovered; 'tis hard indeed not to discover them; tho' they are invisible they are clearly seen, cho' they are future, they will be present with us; and notwithstanding all our Care to exclude them, they will force their Entrance, and impress our Understandings; so that we may not only readily answer our selves the first Question, viz. Whether we have admitted the Hope of the Gospel or