1 Corinthians 13:7
Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
I. THE LIMITATION. We must tie our hope to God's promise, and limit one duty by another, our hope by our prayers. What God commands me to pray for, what He hath promised to give, may raise my hope, Some things there are which are not to be numbered "amongst this all." Some things are "as good as nothing"; and my estate may be bettered in being without them. Some things are worse than nothing; and my estate will be far worse if I have them. Some things are "indifferent," neither good nor evil; and a bare "if" may make it either good or evil to hope for them. Some things are evil "in their own nature," and a great sin it is to hope for these. Some things appear evil to us, viz., affliction, poverty, disgrace: and these I am so far from hoping for, as that I may pray against them.
II. THE EXTENSION.
1. All good things. For, to wait for the twilight with the adulterer; to catch at all opportunities which may be as steps to bring to the pinnacle of honour; to have "our eyes still watching upon the prey," is not hope, but lust, or ambition, or covetousness.
2. Future, absent goods; goods at a distance. For when the object is present, hope is no more. Charity "is patient" (ver. 4), draws in its breath, as it were, and stayeth, and defers, and prolongs itself (Romans 8:25).
3. Matters of difficulty. For hope loves to struggle with its object, and sometimes is increased by opposition, and made bolder by being frighted. But if the object be "at hand and cheap," my hope is lazy and asleep; "hope above hope, hope against hope" (Romans 4:18), that, is hope indeed. The way of hope is hard and rugged. She passeth by the pomp of the world, and she treadeth dangerous paths. If a serpent be in the way, she feareth not; if a flower, some pleasing object, she gazeth not; but presses on forward, over riches and poverty, over honour and disgrace, over all relations and. dependencies, and striveth forward to her object.
4. Good things, though hard to obtain, yet "possible." For charity is not foolish and indiscreet: it ploughs not, the air, nor sows upon the rocks. What is easy and at hand cannot raise a hope and what is impossible overwhelms and swallows it. What is ready to fall into my bosom, I need not hope for: and what I cannot have doth scarce produce a wish, much less beget a hope.
(A. Farindon, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.