How does one exercise the grace of hope rightly?
- You must look well to your faith, that that may prosper, for as your faith is, such your hope will be. Hope is never ill when faith is well; nor strong if faith be weak. Wherefore Paul prays that the Romans might be filled ‘with all joy and peace in believing,’ that they might ‘abound in hope’ (Rom 15:13). When a man by faith believes to joy and peace, then hope grows strong, and with an assurance looketh for a share in the world to come. Wherefore look to your faith, and pray heartily that the God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace in believing.
- Learn of Abraham not to faint, stumble, or doubt, at the sight of your own weakness; for if you do, hope will stay below, and creak in the wheels as it goes, because it will want the oil of faith. But say to thy soul, when thou begins to faint and sink at the sight of these, as David did to his, in the places made mention of before.
- Be much in calling to mind what God has done for thee in former times. Keep thy experience as a choice thing (Rom 5:4). ‘Remember all the way the Lord led thee these forty years in the wilderness’ (Deut 8:2). ‘O my God,’ saith David, ‘my soul is cast down within me, therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites from the hill Mizar’ (Psa 42:6).
- Be much in looking at the end of things, or rather to the end of this, and to the beginning of the next world. What we enjoy of God in this world, may be an earnest of hope, or a token that the thing hoped for is to be ours at last; but the object of hope is in general the next world (Heb 11:1).
Adapted from Israel’s Hope Encouraged, 1:582–583.