2 Thessalonians 2:16
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who by grace has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope,
Sermons
A Good HopeE. Martin.2 Thessalonians 2:16
A Superlative GiftR. Cope, LL. D.2 Thessalonians 2:16
Everlasting Consolation and Good HopeAlexander Maclaren2 Thessalonians 2:16
Everpresent ComfortC. Hodge, D. D.2 Thessalonians 2:16
False and True ConsolationA. Raleigh, D. D.2 Thessalonians 2:16
Good Hope Through GraceJ. C. Miller, M. A.2 Thessalonians 2:16
Good Hope Through GraceG. Burder.2 Thessalonians 2:16
Good Hope Through GraceT. Manton, D. D.2 Thessalonians 2:16
Hope and SteadfastnessW. Baxendale.2 Thessalonians 2:16
Hope Without GraceH. W. Beecher.2 Thessalonians 2:16
The Comforts Propounded to Us in the GospelT. Manton, D. D.2 Thessalonians 2:16
The Eternal ComfortersL. Abbott, D. D.2 Thessalonians 2:16
The Inspiration of HopeT. Watson.2 Thessalonians 2:16
The Inspiration of HopeW. M. Punshon, LL. D.2 Thessalonians 2:16
Connection Between Faith and the Sanctification of the SpiritL. O. Thompson.2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Effectual Calling2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
ElectionT. Manton, D. D.2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Exhortation to SteadfastnessR. Finlayson 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
God's SalvationClerical World2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Gratitude for SalvationC. Simeon, M. A.2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Gratitude to God for SalvationT. B. Baker.2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Holiness2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Justification and SanctificationC. H. Spurgeon.2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
St. Paul's Hopes for the ThessaloniansB.C. Caffin 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
The Favoured PeopleT. Kidd.2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
The Nature, Duty, and Privilege of a ChristianJ. D. Geden, D. D.2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
A BenedictionW.F. Adeney 2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17
Divine Love and its GiftsC. H. Spurgeon.2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Everlasting ConsolationW. B. Pope, D. D.2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Free Grace a Motive for Free GivingC. H. Spurgeon.2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Prayer After ExhortationT. Croskery 2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17
The comprehensive prayer for blessing with which he concludes is strictly after the apostle's manner.

I. THE AUTHORS OF THE BLESSINGS PRAYED FOR. "Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father." The order of mention is unusual, though the name of Jesus occurs first in the apostolic benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14).

1. God the Father is the ultimate Source of blessing, as it is through Jesus Christ the blessing comes to us.

2. There is an entire equality between them, seeing the blessing is attributed to both.

3. There is oneness of essence, as is indicated by the singular verb used in the passage.

II. THE GROUND OF EXPECTATION THAT THE BLESSINGS ASKED WILL BE GIVEN. "Who loved us, and gave us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace."

1. The Divine love is the true ground of all our hopes of blessing, for it is everlasting, unchangeable, practical in its ends.

2. The two elements in the Divine gift.

(1) "Everlasting consolation."

(a) A source of unfailing comfort in the midst of the trials of life, springing out of everlasting sources and sufficing to all eternity; for God is a "God of all comfort," and "if there be any consolation," it is in Christ.

(b) This comfort is a gift - a mark of Divine favour, not of human merit.

(2) "A good hope through grace."

(a) This is "the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began" (Titus 1:2).

(b) It is a good hope

(α) because of its Author;

(β) because of its foundation, "through grace;"

(γ) because of its purifying effects (l John 3:4).

III. THE BLESSINGS PRAYED FOR.

1. Heart-comfort. "Comfort your hearts." They needed to be comforted on account of their troubles respecting the second advent. None but God can give true and lasting comfort. "Thou hast put gladness into my heart."

2. Establishment and perseverance. "And stablish you in every good word and work."

(1) This blessing is to be sought especially in restless and unsettled times.

(2) Stability is to be sought in "every good word," so that believers may not be carried away by "winds of doctrine;" and in "every good work," so that they may not be shaken by doubt and thus become restless and disorderly in conduct. Instability is weakness, as stability is strength. - T.C.







Everlasting consolation
I. ARE OF AN EVERLASTING TENDENCY AND BENEFIT — pardon and life, to free us from everlasting death, and bring us to everlasting happiness (1 John 2:25; Hebrews 5:9; Psalm 119:111; Psalm 73:26). When all other things fail, have spent their allowance, can afford us no more relief, then we begin to enjoy our proper portion.

II. DEPEND ON EVERLASTING FOUNDATIONS.

1. The everlasting love of God (Psalm 103:17).

2. The everlasting merit of Christ (Hebrews 9:12).

3. The everlasting covenant (Hebrews 13:20).

III. ARE SUFFICIENT TO DO THEIR WORK.

1. To reduce us from temporal and flesh-pleasing vanities (Hebrews 11:25, 26; Psalm 16:11; 1 John 2:17).

2. To make us steadfast in the truth, and cheerful under sufferings (Hebrews 10:84; 2 Corinthians 4:17, 18).

3. To increase us in holiness and stablish us in every good work (1 Corinthians 15:58; John 6:27).

(T. Manton, D. D.)

Trouble of some kind is universally diffused among men, and in the generality pretty equally distributed. Few of God's own children get through the world and into the heavenly home without trouble by the way. There is a sense in which Christians drink more deeply of the bitter cup than others, for in proportion as they are really Christians, they have refined and developed sensibilities. Trouble is to us what we ourselves are, and so is joy, and so is everything. Sympathy is a precious thing, but beyond a certain point every one has to bear his own burden; and since there is promised grace, let each one bear it like a man. But Christianity is not stoicism, and the Christian heart must have consolation.

I. THERE ARE FALSE CONSOLATIONS.

1. The desperate consolation of complete thoughtlessness.

2. The presumptuous consolation of concluding that God is bound to make all turn out well in the end, and that therefore we need not trouble ourselves.

3. The superficial consolation which soothes the mind without going down to the roots of things. "If things are dark today — well, then, they will be brighter tomorrow." True enough; but what of the morrow beyond tomorrow? The darkness may be back again. We want the "everlasting consolation"; anything short of it is deplorably less than we need.

II. THERE IS THE TRUE CONSOLATION. It is everlasting because it comes from an everlasting source — the unchangeable God. Never can we be consoled for the sorrow of the world, or our own share of it, until we meet with Him — the Father of our spirits, the God of our salvation, and receive what we need from Him. All consolation is in Him. He is everlasting; and He says that He has loved us from everlasting. Believe the gospel, accept its grace, hold its truth, do its duty, breathe its spirit, and you have the everlasting consolation of God. Observe, this is how it is to end for us here practically — in the comfort of our hearts, and stablishment in every good word and work; the everlasting comfort realized everywhere, amid the manifold cares of the household, in the honest trade of the city, in the pure speech and godly habits. God knows all, and that is enough; so I can go on with a quiet, yea, singing heart, seeking that steadfastness in every thing and place which the Father has promised.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

The religion of Jesus Christ is one of consolation. It comes with sunshine, with help, with hopefulness. It is declared on many a page of Scripture, as in the letter of St. Paul, to be full of eternal consolations — consolations taken from that aspect of life which is afforded by looking at it from the immortal and spiritual side. Look then, at some of the elements of this eternal consolation which God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ minister to us in our sorrow.

I. OUR SORROW IS GREATLY ENHANCED BY THE MYSTERY OF LIFE. If we could only understand the reason of it, it would be easier to bear; but the tears seem to be so unnecessary, the wounding so needless, the pain and anguish so inexplicable! Life is a tangled skein, and we can get no clue. Whence we came, why we are here, what there is yet to come, we cannot comprehend. In this mystery and perplexity there comes One who says, "Trust Me. He does not, indeed, throw scientific light on the mystery of life; He does not tell us what life. means; but He says, Trust Me." And we look up into chat face, and that which looks down into ours inspires us with confidence; and we lay hold of that hand, and the grasp of that hand makes the thrill and throb of faith run through the very nerves of our being; and though we do not understand, and are still perplexed, yet we drink in confidence through the bright eyes that look into ours, and through the strong hand that grasps ours. It is not a philosopher who speaks to us, who has seen a little deeper into life than we have; nor is it a poet who speaks to us, who has gotten a little deeper insight into it than we have: it is the Witness-Bearer, who out of the eternal life has come, and into the eternal life is going. His is the witness; and in this is the root and ground of all that Christianity has offered us — faith, not in a philosopher, a poet, a theologian even, but in a Witness-Bearer.

II. BUT THIS MYSTERY OF LIFE DOES NOT SO GREATLY ENHANCE THE PAIN OF LIFE AS THE FRAGMENTARINESS OF IT. It is not without semblance of reason, at least, Chat the broken column is put up in our graveyard — life seems to be such a series of separated fragments, so broken, so discordant I We look up the mountainside, and we see not only the top enfolded in the cloud, but all above is thunder and lightning. And here Christ comes to us, and brings us this further message: "Life is not fragmentary: there is no break. You see the river flowing till it reaches the cleft in the mountain, but it goes on: you see your companion entering the dark cavern of the mountainside; it is but a tunnel; presently he will emerge into a fairer, brighter land beyond." Life is like a song; and the singer goes from us, and the song grows dimmer and more indistinct, and then fades away; but the singer has not stopped his singing, though our eyes cannot follow him into the unknown whither he has gone. We get heartbroken, until we turn and find here this word brought to us — "That loved one has gone to the mountains, where there is neither pain, nor sorrow, nor temptation, but the everlasting sunlight and the undying song: follow thou on." Instead of the long, long wail of despair, this message of the ever-living Christ has put the throb of exhilaration and the song of triumph!

III. BUT THE MYSTERY AND FRAGMENTARINESS OF LIFE ARE NOT SO HARD TO BEAR AS THE INJUSTICE OF IT. The best men suffer most, and the worst men suffer least. From the days of David down, men have looked thus at life, and felt the cruelty and seeming wickedness of it. So they have thought life ruled by a demoniac spirit — the god of this world; or life made up merely of the conflicting forces of human life, ruled by chance, with might makes right, and the strongest is the best, and a survival only of the fittest; or that it is ruled by cruel wrath and hate and jealousy — furies that pursue men, and are let loose upon them, because the gods are envious of their prosperity and their happiness; at all events, that life is a chaos over which there broods no Spirit of God bringing forth light, but only a spirit of darkness bringing forth darkness. But He who has shed on the mystery of life the light of trust, and He who has shed on the fragmentariness of life the light of hope, sheds on this awful unfaith in God — this awful sense of injustice and wrong against which we protest in vain endeavour, the light of love; for this is Christ's declaration everywhere and ever — the devil is not the master of this world, nor furies, nor a god of cruelty, but Infinite and Eternal Love is working out the web of human destiny. There is a higher and better life. The very thought of it is heaven. Blessed be God, even our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(L. Abbott, D. D.)

More than a thousand years ago a company of refugees, escaping Attila's dreadful devastation of Northern Italy, settled on one of the muddy islands at the head of the Adriatic, and there founded the city of Torcello, and at a later time built up the magnificent commercial empire of Venice. The ruins of the old cathedral still stand in the ruined city, built by those stout-hearted men in a time of struggle and discouragement, as a symbol and stronghold of their religious faith; and in the cathedral the noticeable thing is the openness of the windows and the abundance of sunlight. None of the Gothic windows of the Northern churches or of the gloomy shadows clouding the high-arched ceiling; but all is luminous, bright, and fair, with not even dark colours in the frescoes. It was built by men of sorrows, but they were men who believed in God; and, therefore, while there was fear and depression enough around them, they made their house of worship joyous with all the beauty and cheer of Italian sunshine, and in this spirit they wrung from disaster the beginning of a grand success. The spirit that pervades a man's dally life is the measure of his real religion. He may be careless of sect and ceremony, but if he can carry heavy burdens with a light heart and meet calamities with serene courage, it must be that in the depth of his soul he has real faith, which, like a fountain in an oasis, keeps everything sweet and blooming. He may never put his faith into words, like a great theologian, or build it up into beautiful architecture, like the brave people of Torcello; but, nevertheless, it is known and read of all men in the beauty and courage of his life, which may be more eloquent than, any body of divinity and more impressive than cathedral or stately music. For courage and cheerfulness are, after all, the sincerest possible confession of man's real belief that all things are working together for good, and that Divine Providence is ever changing the darkness into light. Good hope through grace —

I. HOPE. No man since the Fall can be satisfied with the present. Here is always either some evil pressing on us, some capacity of enjoyment unfilled, or some desire for the perpetuity of what we possess, which passes beyond the present into the future. This expectation and desire of future good is hope. Its object is the unseen. This hope is —

1. The spring of all activity.

2. With regard to sinners under the sentence of the law, and in prospect of eternity, it is indispensable to any rational peace.

II. GOOD HOPE, i.e., well founded, and directed towards what is truly good.

1. Some men are insensible and indifferent with regard to their destiny. This state of mind is —

(1)Irrational.

(2)Unsatisfying.

(3)Precarious.

(4)Destructive.

2. Others have a hope, but it is not good. It is founded on —

(1)The general mercy of God.

(2)Their relation to the Church.

(3)The assumption that all are to be saved.

(4)Spurious religious experience.

(5)The assumption of goodness.The general basis of a false hope is error either as to the purpose of God in reference to the punishment of sin, or as to the conditions on which exemption from sin is promised, or as to our having fulfilled or experienced those conditions.

3. A good hope is therefore —(1) A hope founded on the truth, on the promise of God and the work of Christ.(2) One which we have a right to entertain, i.e., which is the genuine fruit of the Spirit; not an unauthorized anticipation on our part, but one which is inseparable from faith.(3) One which has for its object the infinite blessings of redemption, sometimes Christ's coming, sometimes the resurrection, sometimes the glory of God. Towards this the whole creation looks forward with earnest expectation.

III. THROUGH GRACE, i.e., a hope which God graciously gives, and gives in the exercise of His grace. God gives us this hope: —

1. In that He promises to us the blessings which are the object of the hope.

2. Because He produces in our minds the exercise of our hope.

IV. EVIDENCE THAT A HOPE IS GOOD.

1. That it has a Scriptural foundation; i.e., that it rests on the promise of God clearly revealed in His Word.

2. That it has Scriptural blessings for its objects; not earthly good or millennial prosperity, but conformity to Christ, and the enjoyment of Him forever.

3. That it sanctifies the soul, makes us pure even as He is pure (1 John 3:3).

4. That it is the fruit of faith.

V. THIS HOPE.

1. Is a helmet.

2. Is an anchor.

3. Is to the soul what wings are to the eagle.It elevates it above the world, raises it to heaven, fells us with its spirit.

(C. Hodge, D. D.)

Faith, hope, and love — the three master principles of the true believer — are principles acted on in worldly things, by every man, every day. You need, then, no definition of the chief term in our text — "a good hope through grace." My theme is the best of hopes, a heavenly hope, a hope which cannot fail nor disappoint you — hope from God and in God, "good hope through grace." Such a hope was enjoyed by the Thessalonian saints. And this, in connection with their other gospel blessings, is here set forth in awful contrast with an opposite class of characters and destiny — the character and destiny of those who "received not the love of truth" to their soul's salvation, "but had pleasure in unrighteousness." The gospel hope, then, is a "good hope." Why "good"? It is good, I observe —

I. In its OBJECTS. These are set forth to us in Scripture with much variety of phraseology. In ver. 14, just cited, they are designated in one comprehensive phrase, "the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, as in Ephesians 6:17, "The hope of salvation"; Romans 5:2, "And rejoice in hope of the glory of God"; Colossians 1:5, "The hope laid up for you in heaven"; Titus 1:2, "Hope of eternal life"; Hebrews 6:19, a hope "which entereth into that within the vail"; 1 Peter 1:3, 4, the hope of "an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you"; and ver. 13, "Hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." In this last-cited passage, as in Titus 2:13 and 1 John 3:2, the realization of this hope is connected with the glorious advent of the returning Saviour: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ": "We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." Other passages might be adduced to set forth the nature of the believer's hope, and to prove it "good," from the goodness of its objects. It were much indeed, it were a "good hope" for man — a sorrower in a sorrowing world — to have before him a heaven, where sorrow and sighing shall have fled away. It were much, it were a good hope, for man, a sinner, with corruption within and conflict without, to have before him an inheritance undefiled; the victor's palm and the victor's song. And these, all these, the believer's hope embraces. Yet, not these only. His eternity is to be spent not alone within reach of God, or near God; but in God's very presence, with God. His glory is to come not only from God; in a yet loftier and more wondrous sense, it is "the glory of God."

II. But the hope which is engaging us is "good" by reason not only of its object, but, of its SECURITY. It shall assuredly be realized: it shall not confound nor make ashamed. Consider its foundation: "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began" (Titus 1:2); which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast (Hebrews 6:17, etc.). If "hope deferred maketh the heart sick," hope confounded maketh it desolate. In the "good hope" of the Christian, uncertainty is no element. It is a deferred hope, a waiting hope, a tried hope; but not an uncertain hope, not a speculative hope. It rests not upon probability. Its security is the word, the character, the nature of the unchanging and unchangeable Jehovah.

III. The hope of which we speak is a "good hope" IN ITS EFFECTS. Man's need is two-fold. He is a sinner, and, as a sinner, a sufferer. This hope meets alike his sin and his sorrow.

1. For, observe, it is a sanctifying hope. "Every man," writes St. John, "that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure." Thus, like the faith on which it rests, hope is a principle of no secondary influence in furthering the great work of holiness in the believer's soul, and in his growth in grace. The heir of glory must grow in grace.

2. But this hope is, further, a sustaining hope. It sustains under trial. It sustains, too, in the spiritual conflict. And this good hope sustains in death.

IV. But it is further characterized as "a good hope THROUGH GRACE." It is "through grace" in a two-fold sense, as resting on grace, conveyed, that is, through a covenant of grace, even "the gospel of the grace of God"; and as imparted by grace to the individual believer. It is based on this: that for man, for me an undone sinner, powerless for my own recovery, with no ransom to atone, no escape from hell, God, in the richness of His unbought, unasked, undesired mercy, has provided a free and full salvation; that a propitiation has been made by Jesus the Lamb of God, which is of infinite efficacy for my pardon and reconciliation and peace. They are short and simple words — "good hope through grace." They bespeak the truth received, the gospel tasted in its power and sweetness, Christ known and won, Christ dwelling in the sinner, the sinner dwelling in Christ. The words of the same apostle to the Ephesians present the gloomy contrast, "having no hope." Such was the state of the Ephesians and Thessalonians in their heathen darkness. Why? They were "without Christ."

(J. C. Miller, M. A.)

I. THE SUBJECT — "a good hope."

1. Because it has a good Author-God.

2. Because it has a good object — the salvation of the soul by our Lord Jesus Christ.

3. Because it has a good foundation.

4. Because it has a good influence, for it tranquillizes the mind, purifies it, and establishes it.

II. THE SOURCE — "through grace."

1. Grace is the spring from which it flows.

2. It is applied by the influence of grace, without human merit.

3. The objects on which it fixes are undeserving.

(R. Cope, LL. D.)

I. IT IS GOOD IN ITS NATURE.

1. As to its object.

2. As to its foundation.

3. As to its effects.

II. IT IS GOOD IN ITS ORIGIN.

1. Derives existence from God.

2. Man by nature is destitute of hope.

3. God communicates the principle.

4. God maintains it.

III. IT IS GOOD IN ITS IMPORTANCE.

1. In regard to man's comfort.

2. In regard to his duty.

3. In regard to his safety.

(E. Martin.)

I. WHAT IT INCLUDES.

1. A serious, believing, habitual regard to a future state as represented in the Bible. No atheist denying God or deist rejecting the Scriptures can have it.

2. Preparatory to this hope there must be a humbling conviction of sin, and our danger and helplessness, for the good hope implies deliverance therefrom. Those can know nothing of hope who have known nothing of fear.

3. It implies an acquaintance with the gospel (Colossians 1:23) for it is derived from gospel promises, and is connected with gospel faith.

4. The term "good" distinguishes it from every other kind of hope (Job 8:13, 14; Job 27:8; Proverbs 8:32).

II. WHY IT IS CALLED A GOOD HOPE.

1. Its object is good — not worldly honour, filthy lucre, sensual delight, but the pure, spiritual, exalted felicities of the heavenly world.

2. Its foundation is good — not the stumbling stone of human merit, but the adamant rock of Divine love.

3. Its effect is good. The man who has it is the better as well as the happier for it (1 John 3:3; Psalm 119:166).

(G. Burder.)

I. THE GIFT.

1. What is this good hope?(1) Hope is sometimes put for the thing hoped for (Proverbs 13:12; Colossians 1:5) such as

(a)The coming of Christ to our comfort (Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 1:13).

(b)The resurrection (Acts 2:26; Acts 24:15; Acts 26:6-8).

(c)The vision of God (1 John 3:2).

(d)Our heavenly inheritance (1 Peter 1:4; Titus 1:2; Romans 5:2).(2) Sometimes hope is put for the reasons and causes of hoping; and so he who gives me solid reasons for hoping gives me good hope (Hebrews 7:19; Romans 15:4).(3) The act or grace of hope is good in respect of itself (Lamentations 3:26) or the measure of it. That is good hope which is most able to do its office (1 Peter 1:3; Hebrews 6:11). Briefly the grace of hope is two-fold.(a) There is a hope which is the immediate fruit of regeneration, and is a constitutive part of the new creature (1 Peter 1:3).(b) There is a hope which is the fruit of experience, and belongs to the seasoned Christian, who has approved his fidelity to God, and made trial of God's fidelity to him (Romans 5:4)..

2. The effects of this hope.(1) Support in troubles. When we are persuaded of a happy issue, we are the better kept from fainting (Philippians 1:19, 20).(2) Encouragement in working. It is hope that sets the whole world a-work (1 Corinthians 9:10) and the Christian (Acts 26:7).

3. This hope is the free gift of God.(1) It is His gift. He not only gives us objective grace — the mercy of the gospel, or its warrant in the promises, but subjective grace by His Holy Spirit whose work is necessary.(a) By way of illumination that we may see what is the hope of His calling (Ephesians 1:18; 2 Peter 1:9). A short-sighted man cannot see things at a distance; not from any defect in the object, but through the fault in his eyes.(b) By way of inclination that one may seek after these things as our portion and happiness (Acts 16:14; Galatians 5:5).(c) By way of excitation (Romans 15:13).(2) It is free gift.(a) The matter of hope is God's free, undeserved mercy (Psalm 130:7). Without this there were no hope, and therefore the saints make this their anchor hold (Psalm 13:5; Jude 1:21).(b) The grace of hope is the fruit of the Lord's mercy; such are our ill deservings that nothing else could incline Him to give it us (1 Peter 1:3).

II. WHAT ENCOURAGEMENT IT IS TO PRAYER THAT GOD HAS GIVEN US A GOOD HOPE THROUGH GRACE.

1. God would not invite and raise a hope to disappoint it (Psalm 119:49).

2. He who gives us the hope will give us all things necessary to the thing hoped for (1 Peter 5:10).

3. Those who have received good hope through grace have these to rest upon.(1) God's nature as He is merciful and gracious (Judges 13:23).(2) His promise, so that we may trust His faithfulness (Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 32:40).

(T. Manton, D. D.)

Hope is an active grace. It is like the spring in the watch: it sets all the wheels of the soul in motion. Hope of a crop makes the husbandman sow his seed; hope of victory makes the soldier fight; and a true hope of glory makes a Christian vigorously pursue glory.

(T. Watson.)

The hope of Christ is a staff in the hands of the weary before the arm of Christ is stretched out on which he maybe privileged to lean. Hope is a marvellous inspiration which every heart confesses in some season of extremest peril. It can put nerve into the languid, and fleetness into the feet of exhaustion. Let the slim and feathery palm grove be dimly descried, though ever so remotely, and the caravan will on, spite of the fatigue of the traveller and the simoom's blinding, to where, by the fringy rootlets, the desert waters flow. Let there glimmer one star through the murky waste of night, and though the spars be shattered, and the sails be riven, and the hurricane howls for its prey, the brave sailor will be lashed to the helm, and see already, through the tempests breaking, calm waters and a spotless sky. Oh! who is there, however hapless his lot or forlorn his surroundings, who is beyond the influence of this choicest of earth's comforters — this faithful friend which survives the flight of riches, and the wreck of reputation, and the break of health, and even the loss of dear and cherished friends.

(W. M. Punshon, LL. D.)

A "hope" is to some like a passport, which one keeps quietly in his pocket till the time for the journey, and then produces it. Or like life preservers, which hang useless around the vessel until the hour of danger comes, when the captain calls on every passenger to save himself; and then they are taken down and blown up, and each man, with his hope under his arm, strikes out for the land: and so such men would keep their religious hope hanging until death comes; and then take it down and inflate it, that it may buoy them up, and float them over the dark river to the heavenly shore. Or as the inhabitants of Block Island keep their boats hauled high upon the beach, and only use them now and then, when they would cross to the mainland; so such men keep their hopes high and dry upon the shore of life, only to be used when they have to cross the flood that divides this island of time from the mainland of eternity.

(H. W. Beecher.)

A good Methodist in a prayer meeting said that when, many years since, he crossed the ocean he was much in the habit of looking over the ship's side, particularly near the prow, and watching the vessel as she steadily ploughed her way through the waves. Just under the bowsprit was the image of a human face. The face to him came to be invested with wondrous interest. Whatever the hour or the weather that face seemed ever steadfastly looking to port. Sometimes in great tempests the waves would completely submerge the face of his friend. But as soon as the vessel recovered from its lurch, on looking again over the ship's side, the placid face was still seen faithfully looking out for the port. "And so," he exclaimed, "I humbly trust it is in my own case. Yea, whatever the trials of the past, the toils and disappointments of the present, by the grace of God I am still looking out for port, and not long hence I anticipate a triumphant and abundant entrance."

(W. Baxendale.)

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2 Thessalonians 2:15
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