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On Rejoicing in Hope of the Glory of God,
ROMANS v. 2.
And rejoice in Hope of the Glory
HOSOEVER impartially consi
ders the Duties required of us in the Divine Law must be sensible that they are in themselves most reasonable and excellent, and that, when duly observed, they have a Tendency, in the Nature of Things, to promote our true Satisfaction and Happiness, even in this present State : But yet it cannot be denied, that there are many Difficulties and Discouragements which attend the Practice of true Religion
and Godliness here on Earth. Such is the Weakness of our Nature in it's present Degeneracy, that we often find a great Backwardness and Indisposition in our Hearts to the Performance of our Duty; the Work of Holiness is imperfect, even in the best of Men ; we carry about with us irregular Appetites and Paffions, which it requireth no small Pains to mortify and subdue'; and we are in continual Danger from the Snares and Temptations of a fin sul World, and the Influence of it's corrupt Customs and evil Examples: To which may be added the bitter Censures and Persecutions to which good Men are frequently exposed. It has often happened, that a steady Adherence to the Cause of Truth and Righteousness hath_subjected them to great temporal Evils : They have been obliged to abandon their dearest worldly Comforts and Enjoyments, and to fubmit to the most grievous Sufferings, to Pain, Reproach, Ignominy, and even Death itself, for the Šake of Religion and a good Conscience. This is what every true Christian must be prepared for in Heart and Resolution, though he may never be put to the actual Trial of it. If therefore this present Life were all we were to expect, and if there were not a better World in Prospect, where we may hope to be freed from the Evils to which we are now exposed, and to arrive to the true Perfection and Happiness of our Nature, we fhould be in great Danger of sinking under the Discouragements that lie upon us. It hath pleased God therefore, in his infinite Wisdom and Goodness, to set before us the most glorious Prospects in the Promises of his Word, which lay a solid Foun-dation for the most sublime and joyful Hope. And this added to the Excellency of the Divine Precepts, in themselves considered, gives a good Man a vast Superiority, in Point of real Satisfaction and Happiness, to the most prosperous wicked Man upon Earth, and renders a holy and virtuous Life beyond Comparison more eligible and delightful than a Life of Vice and Sin.
St. Paul, speaking in his own Name, and in that of true Believers, declares, that, being justified by Faith, we have Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have Access by Faith into this Grace wherein we stand. And he adds, that we rejoice in Hope of the Glory of God. Where it is plainly intimated, that it is the Privilege and Happiness of sincere Christians, who live and walk by Faith, that VOL. III.
they have a Hope of the heavenly Glory ; and that this Hope, in Proportion as it prevaileth is a Source of pure and sacred Foy.
Hope in general is the Expectation of some Good which we desire, but which we are not at present in the actual Poffeffion and Enjoyment of. When there appears to be but a small Probability of obtaining it, our Hope is weak and lanġuid ; when the Probability is, or appears to us to be, strong, our Hope is lively and vigorous; and, when it arriveth to such a high Degree, that it may be called a moral Certainty, this produceth a confident Expectation or Asurance. Mighty is the InAuence of Hope upon the human Mind : It is this that is the great Spring of A&ion. That which chiefly animates and 'invigorates Men's Endeavours and Pursuits, even with regard to their temporal Affairs, is the Hope of Something to be obtained and enjoyed, which hath to them the Appearance of Good : But the Hope we are. now considering doth not terminate in the Things of this present tranfitory Life and World. The proper Object of the ChriAtian's Hope is that everlasting Felicity which is -revealed and promised in the Gospel, and which good Men shall be made Par
takers of in a future State. Hence it is called by the Apostle the Hope of eternal Life. Tit. iii. 7. And, in the Passage before us, the Hope of the Glory of God, even that Glory which shall be revealed, and to which the Sufferings of this present Time are not worthy to be compared. Rom. viii. 18. It is elsewhere called eternal Glory : God is said to have called us to his eternal Glory by Christ Jesus. 1 Pet. V. 10. 2 Tim. ii.
And surely the Hope of this, where it is strong and vigorous, must needs fill the Soul with a sincere and solid Foj.
But, that this may appear in a more convincing Light, let us distinctly confia der, First, The Greatness and Excellency of that future Glory, which is the Object of the Christian's Hope. Secondly, The folid Foundation of this Hope, or the just Grounds that a good Man and sincere Christian hath for his Hope of that future Glory: And this will naturally lead us to consider the Foy which ariseth from this Hope, and the happy Influence it hath upon the Christian Life.
First, Let us consider the Greatness and Excellency of that future Glory and Felicity which is the Object of the Christian's Hope. It is to convey to us an exalted Notion of the future beavenly Happiness X 2