Hebrews 6:17
So when God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of the promise, He guaranteed it with an oath.
Sermons
The Influence of Hope on Christian SteadfastnessC. New Hebrews 6:11-20
The Encouragements to Cherish the Hope of Eternal LifeJ.S. Bright Hebrews 6:13-20
A Good AnchorW. H. Burton.Hebrews 6:17-20
A Seaside SermonU. R. Thomas.Hebrews 6:17-20
Anchored Within the VeilJ. Vaughan, M. A.Hebrews 6:17-20
Can You be Safe Too SoonJ. Flavel.Hebrews 6:17-20
Christ Going Before to HeavenW. Burkitt, M. A.Hebrews 6:17-20
Christ Our Forerunner Within the VeilJohn Paul.Hebrews 6:17-20
Christ Typified by the Cities of RefugeJ. Burns, D. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
Christian HopeJ. M. Hoppin.Hebrews 6:17-20
Christian HopeW. B. Leach.Hebrews 6:17-20
Consolation the Fruit of AssuranceT. Manton, D. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
Flying for RefugeT. Manton, D. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
God's Counsel in Relation to His PeopleB. Preece.Hebrews 6:17-20
God's Faithfulness to His PromisesJohn Gill.Hebrews 6:17-20
Heirs of PromiseB. Beddome, M. A.Hebrews 6:17-20
Hope Entering Within the VeilE. L. Hull, R. A.Hebrews 6:17-20
Hope Something More than FaithF. B. Meyer, B. A.Hebrews 6:17-20
Hope the Anchor of the SoulJ. Burns, D. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
Hope the Anchor of the SoulR. Watson.Hebrews 6:17-20
Hope the Soul's AnchorJ. P. Peabody.Hebrews 6:17-20
Immutable ThingsJ. Vaughan, M. A.Hebrews 6:17-20
Importance of the AnchorH. O. Mackey.Hebrews 6:17-20
Inferences from the Impossibility of God to HeW. Gouge.Hebrews 6:17-20
Laying Hold of the HopeHebrews 6:17-20
Our AnchorJames Wells, M. A.Hebrews 6:17-20
Our Anchor Within the VeilC. Stanford, D. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
Our ForerunnerR. M. Wilcox.Hebrews 6:17-20
Strong ConsolationC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 6:17-20
Strong ConsolationTinling's IllustrationsHebrews 6:17-20
Strong Consolation for the Lord's RefugeesC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 6:17-20
Strong EncouragementH. W. Beecher.Hebrews 6:17-20
Sure AnchoringH. Allon, D. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
The AnchorC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 6:17-20
The Anchor of HopeA. G. Brown.Hebrews 6:17-20
The Anchor of the SoulW. Arnot.Hebrews 6:17-20
The Anchor of the SoulA. K. H. Boyd, D. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
The Anchor of the SoulJ. T. Davidson, D. DHebrews 6:17-20
The Anchor of the SoulH. Melvill, B. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
The Anchor of the SoulD. Young Hebrews 6:17-20
The Christian HopeLocal Preacher's TreasuryHebrews 6:17-20
The City of RefugeJ. Beaumont, D. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
The End of God's OathJohn Owen, D. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
The ForerunnerThee. Main, D. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
The ForerunnerC. Stanford, D. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
The Hope of the Believer -- Sure and StedfastW. Brock.Hebrews 6:17-20
The Immutable Grounds of a Believer's ConfidenceT. Manton, D. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
The Nearness of HeavenC. Stanford, D. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
The Oath of GodR. S. Candlish, D. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
The Only RefugeHebrews 6:17-20
The Soul's AnchorThe StudyHebrews 6:17-20
The Soul's Only Sure RefugeJ. N. Norton, D. D.Hebrews 6:17-20
The Voyage of LifeHomilistHebrews 6:17-20
Within the VeilE. P. Hood.Hebrews 6:17-20

I. MAN'S PERIL AND NEED. This is set before us in the striking words, "fleeing for refuge." There is one sort of escape by getting simply out of bondage; there is another by reaching a place of perfect security. Many a bird has escaped from a cage only to become the prey of some wild bird or beast. It has not been able to attain a refuge. The need is further suggested by the word "anchor (see Acts 27:29). The shipmen fear lest the ship will fall on the rocks, and so they flee to the anchors, of which they cast out four. There is the need of security; need of solid holding-ground for the anchor; need of an anchor which itself will not give way. Vain is the anchor without the anchorage; vain the anchorage without the anchor. Anchor itself, and cable, and connection with the ground, and connection with the ship, - all these must be seen to. Moreover, there is needed a calm sense of being in the right way; a composing assurance that when the anchor is thrown into the water and disappears it will find a hold. We need the strong παράκλνδις. We need to have a Divine power pressing on our hearts the right thing to do; to take from us all uncertainty, vacillation, trimming, yielding to plausible criticism from others. We need a calm, intelligent, apt use of the saving instruments which God puts into our hands. When sailors are out in mid-ocean they do not fling over the anchor; and when they are close to the rocks they do not behave as they would in mid-ocean.

II. GOD'S SUPPLY FOR THE NEED. Look first at the anchorage. We must not push the metaphor too far. The one great point in it is that it gives us such a clear illustration of what it is to find security in the invisible. The anchorage-ground is something unseen, and yet it gives a safety which is not to be found in anything that is seen. Indeed, the seen things are full of danger. There are the rocks; and the water in which the ship rests will not resist its progress towards them. And so our great hold and safety is to be in the invisible. We are to make sure of the reality of God's plan; that he has a plan, that it is a plan immutable; that it is indeed a plan of God, not subject to the collapses which come through human caprice, infirmity, and shortsightedness. Hence God announces and exhibits his plan through two immutable things. What are these? Surely one of them is the oath of God. We know that a man, always veracious and deliberate of speech, wants to be taken in an unusually serious way when he adds to what he has to say a solemn adjuration. And of course, when God speaks, his word is always serious; but he has his own way of calling man's attention to its seriousness. Then the other immutable thing is surely the priesthood, the Melchizedek priesthood of Jesus. Behind the veil constituted by the visible world there is a God who has sworn the solemn oath with respect to that inheritance which all inherit who by their faith are children of Abraham; and there also is the great High Priest, Jesus Christ, "the same yesterday, and today, and for ever." The anchorage thus being given, there is the anchor also to be considered. And here we are to consider the anchor, not so much as something which we fling into the unseen, as something which out of the unseen is realized to us. It is as if, when a ship is drifting towards a dangerous shore, a beneficent hand should suddenly reach out of the waves and fling a rope to be fastened to the ship. Our great confidence, hope, and joy should be in this, that Jesus, vanished into the unseen, has still a living and active connection with a needy world, Note how full this whole passage is of strong words. Examine the passage in the original, and this will come out very dearly. Strong words in ordinary speech are too often the resort of weak men; but here they have to be used at every turn in order to set before us the stable anchorage and the solid, well-forged anchor which have been furnished to us by God himself. - Y.







Heirs of promise.
I. CONSIDER WHEREIN THE PORTION OF BELIEVERS CONSISTS: THEY ARE "HEIRS OF PROMISE." Though they have little in possession, they have much in prospect; if not rich in enjoyment, they are rich in faith and hope. Amongst men, promises are often of little worth; but all the promises of God are yea and amen in Christ Jesus, unto the glory of God by us.

1. With regard to their subject matter, they include all things pertaining both to life and godliness; ensuring support in this world, and glory in the world to come.

2. There are promises made to the church in general, and others to individual believers; and 'both are the portion of the saints. Of the former it is said, "God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall he)p her, arid that right early." Promises also are made to individuals, for their comfort and encouragement, and which are applicable to all the saints. "He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." "My grace is sufficient for thee; My strength is made perfect in weakness." "Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, fur I am thy God." "As thy day is, so shall thy strength be."

3. The promises of God are either absolute or conditional. Some of the promises are absolute, not suspended on any act or endeavour of ours, or on any previous qualification; and such are all those which relate to the first bestowment of grace. "For who maketh thee to differ; and what hast thou that thou hast not received? It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth; but of God that showeth mercy." But there are promises conditional to grace received, and which are made only to those who believe. "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

4. The Divine promises have various degrees of accomplishment. Some have already been fulfilled, either in whole or in part; as in the case with those relating to the coming of Christ, the establishment of His kingdom, and the universal spread of the gospel. Some are daily fulfilling, and others are yet to be fulfilled.

II. WHO ARE THE " HEIRS" OF PROMISE, AND WHAT CHARACTER DO THEY BEAR?

1. They may be known by their perception of the promises themselves. They view them not only more distinctly and clearly, but in a light very different from that in which other persons either do or can consider them. They are represented as seeing them afar off, and being persuaded of them. Thus they see the suitableness and excellency of the promises, that they are the fruit of free and unmerited love, and are adapted to all cases and circumstances. As David saw the commandments, so they see the promises to be exceeding broad.

2. The heirs of promise may be known by the powerful application of the promises to their own hearts.

3. They may be known by the regard they bear towards them, and the desire they feel for their accomplishment. The promises contain all their salvation, and all their desire; they meditate therein both day and night, and view them with a satisfaction similar to that of a man who looks over the title-deeds of an estate which secures to him the possession of a large inheritance.

4. The practical effects which the promises produce in us are another means of showing who are the prop .r heirs; for "every man that hath this hope in Him, purifieth himself, even as Christ is pure."Improvement —

1. If not heirs of the promise, what are we? Heirs of the curse — of that curse which cuts off on every side, and will one day enter into our bowels like water, and like oil into our bones.

2. If heirs of the promises, we are interested in all the blessings contained in them, relating both to this world and that which is to come. If the promises are ours, all things are ours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the words, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are ours, and we are Christ's and Christ is God's.

3. If heirs of the promises we are heirs of God; all that He is and has, that is communicable, is made over to us in a way of covenanted mercy.

4. Being heirs of God, we are also joint heirs with Christ Jesus, to whom the birth-right blessing properly belongs.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

The Bible is a book of promises, as well as of revelations, or Divine statements. These promises are our heritage. Faith in the promises makes the future present, and the heirship possession. It is thus " the substance of things hoped for." Shall the promises fail? Is God unfaithful? Shall a Queen Elizabeth value her promise, as when she gave the first vacancy to one unfit? Shall a Chatham have a wall rebuilt, rather than seem to break a promise to his son? Shall a Napier refuse an invitation that he may keep a promise to a poor girl? And shall God refuse to honour drafts made on His promises in the name of His Son? Shall the promises fail? Is there inability or unwillingness to perform?

(John Gill.)

The immutability of His counsel.
I. THAT THEIR SALVATION FROM SIN SHALL BE A COMPLETE AND PERFECT SALVATION. This is the avowed design of —

1. All His purposes (Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Hebrews 3:1; 1 Peter 1:2; Romans 8:29: Ephesians 2:10).

2. All His promises (Isaiah 1:18; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 11:19, 20; 2 Corinthians 12:1; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 1:9).

3. The earthly mission of His Son (Matthew 1:21; John 1:29; Corinthians L 21-22; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 1:7; Hebrews 9:26).

4. The constant operations of His Spirit (Ephesians 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:13).

5. The heaven which He has prepared for their eternal residence. Only the pure in heart shall see God. "Without holiness," &e.

II. THAT THEIR COMPLETE AND PERFECT SALVATION FROM SIN SHALL BE EFFECTED BY THEIR OWN PERSEVERANCE.

1. What is the perseverance of the sailors?(1) An increasing acquaintance with God's word, implying diligent examination, thoughtful investigation, careful comparison of part with part, and discriminating deductions from the whole.(2) An increasing confidence in God's promises; implying intelligent trust in Him for pardon of sin, sanctification of spirit for seasonable strength in temptation, support in trouble, and victory in death.(3) An increasing conformity to the image of Christ; implying the embodiment of Christianity in our lives, making our practice agree with our profession, yielding to Christian impulses, cherishing Christian affections, displaying Christian tempers, speaking Christian words, practising Christian actions

2. The proposition that God secures the complete salvation of His people by their own perseverance, is confirmed by —(1) The injunctions of Scripture.(2) The nature of the case. Can you teach a child to walk without its constant effort and perseverance?(3) The example of saints (Philippians 3:13, 14).

III. THAT THEIR PERSEVERANCE SHALL BE SECURED BY GOD'S OWN BLESSING.

1. It is God's counsel that the salvation of His people shall be a complete and perfect salvation.

2. It is also God's counsel that this shall be secured by their own perseverance.

3. It is also God's counsel that their perseverance shall be secured by His own blessing.

(B. Preece.)

Confirmed it by an oath.
The Divine hath is one of the mysteries of revelation. To one duly considering the majesty of God, and His relation to His creatures, nothing can be well more awful than His swearing to us, and swearing by Himself.

I. THE MEANING OF THE DIVINE OATH AND ITS GRACIOUSNESS FAIL TO BE CONSIDERED.

1. The Divine oath is represented as analogous to an oath among men, and yet different from it. The design in both is the same; it is for confirmation, whether of a fact or of a promise; and so for the ending of all strife and doubt (vers. 16, 37). There is a difference, however, between the two oaths, arising out of the difference between the parties swearing. Men swear by the greater (ver. 16). But this God cannot do; and therefore He swears by Himself (ver. 17). Still the appeal in both cases is virtually the same. What are the two immutable things which the oath of God, swearing by Himself, brings upon the field! What can they be but the Divine word and the Divine name or nature? Take first the Divine word. That is an immutable thing. The word or promise of God is always sure and trustworthy. But take in now the second of the two immutable things wherein it is impossible for God to lie; His name, His character, His nature, His being and continuing to be such as He is. What new security is thus given? Is it not in substance this: — That God discovers to us a ground or reason of what He designs to do farther back than the mere sovereign and discretionary fiat of His absolute will; deeply fixed and rooted in the very essence of His being? Is it not that He puts the certainty of that to which He swears, not only on the ground of His having intimated it beforehand, but on the ground of a stronger necessity, in the very nature of things, and in His own nature; lying far back and far down, in His being God, and being the God He is? The thing is to he so. not merely because God has said it shall be so, but also because it cannot but be so, God continuing to be, and to be the God He is. This is what, in swearing by Himself, He means to tell us.

2. The graciousness of the oath is as wonderful as its meaning. It is indeed more so. Even among men; if the heart is true, and the eye, even turned on empty space, beams keen with honour: there is a certain feeling of repugnance to being called to swear. And undoubtedly no one who possesses right feeling, as regards the sacredness of a spoken word, will volunteer an oath. It is on this principle that our Lord gives forth His utterance against not only false but promiscuous swearing, It is of evil that this practice of swearing, even when most right and fitting, cometh among men on earth; of the evil of men's deceitfulness, their proneness to prevaricate and lie. It is at the best a necessary evil. And is it anything else when it is God who swears from heaven? Of that oath also, of that oath pre-eminently, may it not be said that it cometh of evil? Not indeed of the evil of anything false or suspicious on the part of Him who swears; but of the evil heart of unbelief in those to whom He swears.

II. THE USES TO WHICH IT IS APPLIED IN SCRIPTURE MAY SERVE STILL FARTHER TO ILLUSTRATE THE REAL IMPORT AND THE GRACIOUSNESS OF THE OATH.

1. We have an instance of the Divine oath in connection with the mediatorial priesthood of Christ. And what is very seasonable and providential, we have an ample inspired explanation of it, as viewed in that connection. I refer to the oracle in Psalm 110:4, as expounded in Hebrews 7. The priesthood of Christ is no mere arbitrary, discretionary ordinance, which, as being expedient to-day, God may institute by His sovereign authority in His word or law, and which, by the same sovereign authority, He may supersede to-morrow, as no longer needed and no longer useful. No; it is an office having its deep root in the very nature, the essential glory and perfection, of God Himself. It is therefore unchangeable, not merely as God's word, but as His very being, is unchangeable. The word of God is indeed immutable, under the conditions attached to it when it is uttered. But it may be, according to these conditions, the basis of what is merely temporary, insufficient, and provisional. What is based on the absolute immutable nature of God must necessarily be both permanent and perfect.

2. Founded on this primary use, if I may so speak, of the Divine oath, as bearing on the constitution of the mediatorial economy in the person and work of the great High Priest, there are other instances of its use in Scripture, connected with the carrying out of that economy, to which it may be interesting and useful to advert.(1) The Divine oath may be viewed in its bearing on the gospel call. In that connection it occurs often virtually; and expressly it occurs in this at least among other passages: Ezekiel 33:11. Thus viewed, the oath of God is peculiarly significant. It places the assurance which you may have, all of you, any of you, of God's perfect willingness, His earnest longing, to receive you back to Himself, on a footing such as, if you would but consider it, must make you feel that you dare not doubt, and cannot withstand, His affectionate importunity.(2) The oath of God stands connected with the doom of unbelief. This is one of the most impressive and awful of all its uses. It is indeed a terrible thought. For it means that God executes His threatened judgments, not because He delights in the infliction of evil; nor even because He is determined to verity His word; but because, being such as He is, even He has no alternative!

3. The Divine oath is all-important in its bearing on the security of the believer's hope. That indeed is its immediate application here. The question of your progress and perseverance to the end has been raised; by the reproof and exhortation and warning contained in the previous passage. Your only safety against backsliding and apostasy lies, as you are told, in getting out of the mere elements of the gospel viewed as a method of personal relief, and passing on to the perfection of insight and sympathy, as regards the higher aspects and bearings of it, in relation to the glorious name of God. But, alas 1 one may say, what confidence can I ever have in that line? The perfection to which I am to go on, alas! how distant. The sin into which I may relapse, alas! how near. What is to give me confidence? Is it my own diligence in following; not slothfully, the saints that have gone before? Or is it my own carefulness to depart from the iniquity that dogs my steps behind? No. Both of these conditions are indispensable, but neither of them is to be relied on as giving assurance. But thou art in the hands of a God whose name, and nature, and character thou knowest. And, to put an end to all debate in thy heart, He swears By Himself to thee. He points to His essential perfection. He bids thee consider, not only what He says, but what He is; what thou in Christ hast seen and found Him to be. And He tells thee that, as surely as He is what He is, as surely as He liveth, so surely He pledges Himself to thee, and must keep faith with thee.

4. One other application of the Divine oath I can but touch upon; it is the connection in which it stands with the ultimate triumph of the Lord's Church and cause in the world (Isaiah 45:22, 23). The purpose of God to all the earth with the knowledge of Himself and of His glory is a purpose founded, not upon His mere sovereign word, but upon His essential nature. It is no arbitrary decree, but an absolute necessity of His very being, which requires that the light which has come into the world shall ultimately dispel the world's darkness, and that the kingdom which the God of heaven has set up in the earth shall in the end make all other kingdoms its own. The time may seem long; the struggle arduous and doubtful. But as surely as God continues to be the God He is; as surely as the Lord liveth; so surely shall His gospel make way among the nations, till all the earth is filled with His glory.

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

God doth not give it to make His word or promise sure and steadfast, but to give assurance and security to us of their accomplishment. Every word of God is sure and certain truth itself, because it is His; and He might justly require of us the belief of it, without any further attestation. But yet, knowing what great objections Satan and our own unbelieving hearts will raise against His promises, at least as to our own concern in them, to confirm our minds, and to take away all pretences of unbelief, He interposes His oath in this matter. What can remain of distrust in such a case? If there be a matter in doubt between men, and an oath be interposed in the confirmation of that which is called in question, it is to them, as the apostle fells us, an end of all strife (Hebrews 6:16). How much more ought it to be so on the part of God, when His oath is engaged? And the apostle declares this end of His oath, it is to show the immutability of His counsel (Hebrews 6:17). His counsel was declared before in the promise; but now some doubt or strife may arise, whether, on one occasion or other, God may not change His counsels; or whether He hath not charged it with such conditions as to render it useless to us. In what case so ever it be, to remove all doubts and suspicions of this nature, God adds His oath, manifesting the unquestionable immutability of His counsel and promises. What therefore is thus confirmed, is ascertained to the height of what anything is capable of. And not to believe it is the height of impiety.

(John Owen, D. D.)

Two immutable things.
Now what are those "two immutable things' which cannot fail? Some have seen in them the two covenants — the covenant which God made with Abraham; and the covenant which God made with Christ. Some have understood it to mean, first, the promise of the fact made to the patriarchs; and then the great fulfilment of that promise revealed in the gospel. But it appears to me far better, and much more accordant with the whole line of thought, to take it as meaning, first, the nature and the character of God; and then God's "oath," or covenant, whereby He has made over that character to man, and pledged Himself to our salvation. Here, then, every believer finds his double rest. First, I have the being of God — all faithfulness, all love. That God is my Father. I am dearer to Him than I am to myself. It is His glory and His necessity to be kind to me. In that great "I AM" I find my argument. He revolves within Himself. And it is for His own glory that His own creature should be happy, holy, useful here; and with Him and like Him for ever. But, after all, everything else — the Bible, redemption itself, is only a platform to exhibit the character of God. But then. as if this were not enough, 1 have all those attributes, and all that nature, made over to me, as my own, in solemn compact, sealed with blood. His justice is pledged to accept my Substitute, and to release me. His word is committed to it, that, if I am Christ's, however unworthy I be, I shall be "accepted in the Beloved" One. And that nature and that oath are my "two immutable things." Can the eternal Jehovah change? Can God's truth fail? Can He deny Himself? Has not He "made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure?" So, as the "anchor" has its two cables, my hidden "hope" has its two strong confirmations. And nothing can divide them. It lies in its own adamantine, indissoluble power. And its twofold power is one that never can be broken. Therefore, well did St. Paul say, "Sure and stedfast." "Sure," in God's being; "stedfast," in God's covenant; and in both it is just what a poor, wretched sinner wants, in such a world as this — "a strong consolation to those who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before them." They say the ship "always drops to her anchor." So, by secret influences, the soul, which is held to Jesus, will continually, and almost insensibly, be getting nearer and nearer to Him every moment; nearer in converse; nearer in likeness; nearer in love. Nor will it rest till it is as near Him now as the circumstances of this present life allow — looking for the time when there shall be no hindrances; and we shall be near Him, and one with Him for ever. But, though the "anchor" be cast — and though the holdings be sure — and though the ship "drops to her anchor" — still the winds beat on, the waves may roll, and the vessel toss. Only, so long as the chain holds, she can never break off; and she can never become a castaway. There is no warrant, brethren, you are in Christ, that, therefore, you shall not be buffeted by storms; or that you should not feel the roughnesses of this world's troubles. Rather because you are bound to Him, you may strain the more, that you may ride in perfect peace. No feat" that that "anchor" may slip. There may be trials, but there is no danger; distress, but not despair; and welcome even the tempest, in its fury, if it prove the firmness of the tenure by which you are held, and the goodness by which you are encouraged.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

I. God's single word is an immutable ground; having this, you have enough. And so it will appear if you consider the power and the certainty of it.

1. The power of God's word. His wind is nothing else but the declaration of His powerful will; the force of it was discovered in creating the world. God created all things by His word (Psalm 33:9). All the works of God subsist by the force of His word (Hebrews 1:3). Therefore if you have this immutable ground, if God bath deposited and plighted His word. you have enough to establish strong consolation, for it is powerful to all purposes whatsoever.

2. Consider the certainty of it. When the word is gone out of God's mouth it shall not be recalled. The Lord prizeth His faithfulness above all things. The Scripture must be fulfilled whatever inconveniences come of it. Mark the whole course of providence, and you will find that God is very tender of His word; He value it above all His works (Luke 21:33).

II. The main thing is, what ground of consolation we have in God's oath.

1. For the reasons why God should give this oath.(1) To show us the certainty of our privileges in Christ.(2) God sweareth, as for the confirmation of His grace in Christ, and to show the certainty of our privileges in Christ, so for the commendation and excellency of them. An oath is not lawful but in weighty matters; it must be taken m judgment, as well as in righteousness and truth (Jeremiah 4:2).

2. The advantages we have by God's oath. What greater assurance can we have?(1) Consider the sacredness of an oath in general. Perjured persons are the scorn of men, and they have forfeited the privilege of humanity. Well, then, if the oath of man be so sacred and valuable, how much more is the oath of God? It is impossible for God to lie. He can do all things which argue power, but nothing which argueth impotency and weekness, for this were to deny Himself.(2) This oath is so sacred, because the name of God is invoked in it. It is the name of God that giveth credit to all other oaths.(3) This advantage faith hath by God's oath, it is a pledge of His love and goodwill, that He would condescend so far to give us His oath for our assurance and satisfaction.(4) God's oath is an argument that He delighteth in our comfort and assurance. He would deliver us not only from hurt, but from fear.(5) Consider the special nature of God's oath. God appeals to the reverence and confidence we put in His holiness, excellency, and power; nay, and there is somewhat that answers the imprecation and execration, and all His excellency is laid at pawn, and exposed, as it were, to forfeiture, if He doth not make good His word.Application: —

1. We see the greatness of the condescension of God.

2. What reason we have to bind ourselves to God. There was no need on God's part why God should bind Himself to us, but great need on our part why we should bind ourselves to God. We start aside like a deceitful bow, and therefore we should solemnly bind ourselves to God (Psalm 119:106).

3. You see the great wrong you do to God in giving so little credit to His promises. You make God a liar (1 John 5:10).

4. To press us to improve these two immutable grounds, that we may grow up into a greater certainty. His saying is as immutable as His swearing; God's word is valuable enough of itself, but only because we count an oath more sacred. God hath added it over and above. Men are slight in speech, but serious in an oath. Well, then, since you have a double holdfast on God, make use of it in prayer and in meditation; in prayer, when you speak to God; in meditation, when you discourse with yourselves.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

Impossible for God to lie.
1. The impossibility of God to lie is a great aggravation of the heinousness of unbelief. For he that believeth not God, hath made Him a liar (1 John 5:10), which is in effect to make God no God.

2. This is a strong motive to believe: a greater cannot be given: for as there is no will, so neither power in God to lie.

3. This should make ministers who speak in God's name to be sure of the truth of that which they deliver for God's word, else they make God a liar, for their word is taken for Gods (Colossians 2:13). They are God's ambassadors. An ambassador's failing is counted his master's failing.

4. Though we cannot attain to such a high pitch of truth, yet every one ought to endeavour to be like God herein, namely, in avoiding lying. Lying is a sin unbesseming any man: but most unbeseeming a professor of the true religion.General arguments against lying are these: —

1. Lying is condemned by those who were led by no other light than the light of nature: as philosopher, orators, poets.

2. Every man's conscience condemns lying. If one be not impudent, he will blush when he tells a lie; and infinite shifts are ordinarily made to cloak a lie, which show that he is ashamed thereof, and that his conscience checketh him for it.

3. No man can endure to be accounted a liar.

4. Lying over throws all society.

5. A man taken tripping herein will be suspected in all his words and actions. He that is not true in his words ,'an hardly be thought to deal honestly in hi, deeds.Arguments against lying in professors of the Christian religion are these: —

1. Lying is expressly forbidden in God's word (Leviticus 19:11; Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:9).

2. It is against knowledge and conscience.

3. It is a filthy rag of the old man, and one of the most. disgraceful; and therefore first set down in the particular exemplification of those filthy rags (Ephesians 4:22-25).

4. It is most directly opposite to God, who is Truth itself, and concerning whom we heard that it was impossible that He should lie.

5. Nothing makes men more like the devil, "for he is a liar and the father thereof" (John 8:44). A lying spirit is a diabolical spirit.

6. As a lie is hateful to God, so it makes the practisers thereof abominable (Proverbs 6:16, 17; Proverbs 12:22).

7. Lying causeth heavy vengeance. In general, it is said, the Lord will destroy them that speak lies (Psalm 5:6). Memorable was the judgment on Gehazi (2 Kings 5:27). And on Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:5-10).

(W. Gouge.)

Strong consolation.
I. Who are THE FAVOURED PEOPLE OF GOD.

1. Observe, then, that the favoured children of God are first described as "the heirs of promise," by which at once most solemnly are excluded all those who are relying upon their own merits. Dost thou confess that thou hast nothing of thine own wherein to boast, and dost thou hope alone in the mercy of God in Christ Jesus? Then let me hope thou art one of the heirs of promise. "Heirs of promise," again. Then this excludes those who are heirs according to their own will, who scoff at the mighty work of grace, and believe that their own free choice has saved them. One more thought: "Heirs of promise," then heirs, not according to the power of the flesh, but according to The energy of grace.

2. A plainer description of the favoured people follows in the eighteenth verse. "Who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." Then all the people of God were once in danger.

II. Let us look to the ways and dealings of OUR CONDESCENDING GOD to these favoured people. Notice each word, "God willing." Whenever God does anything in a way of grace, He does it as we say con amore, He does it in the highest sense willingly. It is not the will of God that sinners should perish; but when He reveals Himself to His saints, He doeth it with a sacred alacrity, a Divine cheerfulness. It is an occupation divinely suitable to His generous nature. "Willing more abundantly." Do notice that expression. It has in the Greek the sense of more than is necessary, and is secretly meant to answer the objection concerning the Lord's taking an oath. God is willing to reveal Himself to His people, and He is willing to do that "more abundantly," up to the measure of their need. He would let them know that His counsel is immutable, and He would not only give them enough evidence to prove it, He would give them overwhelming evidence, evidence snore than would be or could be possibly required by the case itself, so that their unbelief may have no chance to live, and their faith may be of the strongest kind. "the word "to show" is remarkable; it is the very word used in the Greek when our Lord showed His disciples His hands and His side, as if the word would say that God would lay bare the immutability of His nature, would as it were strip His eternal purposes, and let His people look upon them, handle them, and see their reality, their truth and certainty. "God is willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel." Oftentimes a man will not give further assurance of the truth of what he states, when he believes he has already given assurance enough. Observe with wonder that our ever gracious God never standeth on His dignity in this style at all, but He looketh not so much at the dignity of His own person as at the weakness of His people, and therefore being willing more abundantly to show unto His poor, feeble, trembling people the immutability of His counsel, He not only gives one promise, but he adds another and another and another, till to count the promises were almost as difficult as to count the stars or number the sands on the sea shore. Yea, and when He has done all this, He comes in with a master clap to crown it all, and confirms every promise by an oath, that by not one immutable thing, but by two, the promise and the oath, in both of which it is impossible for Jehovah to lie, His people might never dare to doubt again, but might have strong consolation.

1. The first immutable thing upon which our faith is to stay itself, is the promise. Oh, what consolation is this, then, our refuge is secure, our confidence is firm! Look ye here, ye people of God. This promise of God was not made in a hurry. A man makes a promise on a sudden, and he cannot keep it afterwards; but through the everlasting ages the promise was on Jehovah's heart before He spoke it with His lips. Men sometimes make promises that they cannot fulfil, they are in circumstances which do not permit them. But can God ever he in a difficulty? Men sometimes make promises which it would be unwise to keep, and perhaps it is better to break them; but the Lord cannot be .unwise, His is infinite wisdom as well as infinite strength. The promise, then, because of its wisdom, will surely stand. Beside, the promise He has made is to His own honour. It redounds to His glory to show mercy to the unworthy. Moreover, His promise is made to His own Son, and His love to Him is interwoven with His promise. He could not break His word to one of us without breaking it to His dear Son, since we are in Him, and trust in Him. The Divine promise must stand good.

2. But it is added that God, in order to prevent our unbelief effectually, has taken an oath. God has with an oath sworn by Himself that all the heirs of pro-raise shall be blessed for ever, saying, "Surely blessing, I will bless thee." Now, who among us dare doubt this? Where is the hardy sinner who dares come forward and say, "I impugn the oath of God"?

III. But I must note THE STRONG CONSOLATION WHICH FLOWS OUT OF ALL THIS. There is strong consolation, says the text, for the heirs of grace, which implies that the children of God must expect to bare trouble. All the followers of the great Cross-bearer are cross-bearers too; but then there is the strong consolation for the strong tribulation. What is strong consolation?

1. I think strong consolation is that which does not depend upon bodily health. What a cowardly old enemy the devil is! When we are vigorous in body, it is very seldom that he will tempt us to doubt and tear, but if ,ye have been racked with hours of pain and sleepless nights, and are getting to feel faint and weary, then he comes in with his horrible insinuations: "God will forsake you. His promise will fail t" He is vile enough to put his black paws on the brightest truth in the Bible, say, upon even the very existence of God Himself, and turn the boldest believer into the most terrible doubter, so that we seem to have gone bodily over to the army of Satan, and to be doubting every good thing that is in the Word of God. Strong consolation even at such times, enables us still to rejoice in the Lord though every nerve should twinge, and every bone should seem melted with pain.

2. Strong consolation is that which is not dependent upon the excitement of public services and Christian fellowship. We feel very happy on a Sunday i ere when we almost sing ourselves away to everlasting bliss, and when the sweet name of Jesus is like ointment poured forth, so that the virgins love it. But when you are in colder regions, how is it? Perhaps you are called to emigrate, or go into the country to a barren ministry where there is nothing to feed the soul. Ah, then, if Son have not got good ground for your soul to grow in, what will ye do?

3. The strong consolation which God gives His people is such as no mere reasoning can shake. You might as well reason me out of the toothache, or convince me that I do not exist, as reason me out of my consciousness that I love Christ, and theft I am saved in Him. They cannot touch the essentials of vital godliness, and this is a strong consolation which reasoning no more woundeth than men come at leviathan with spears and swords, for he laugheth at them, and accounteth their spears as rotten wood.

4. Strong consolation, again, because it will bear up under conscience, and that is a harder pressure than mere reasoning can ever bring.

5. Ay, and we can deal with Satan with his horrible insinuations and blasphemies, and still can say, "I will trust in the Lord and not be afraid." To rejoice then, and say, "Though these things be not with me as I would have them, yet hath He made with me an everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure"; this is strong consolation.

6. And it will be proved to be so by and by with some of us, when we stall be in the solemn article of death.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

That the fruit of this certainty and assurance which we have by God's Word and oath is strong consolation.

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY STRONG CONSOLATION? Consolation. There ate three words by which the fruits of assurance are expressed, which imply so many degrees of it. There is peace, comfort, and joy.

1. Peace. That we have as a fruit of justification (Romans 5:1).

2. Then there is consolation which notes an habitual persuasion of God's love; there is an habitual serenity and cheerfulness of mind. Though there be not high tides of comfort, there is support, though not ravishment. It is called "everlasting consolation" (2 Thessalonians 2:16. 17).

3. Then there is joy, or an high and sensible comfort (Romans 15:13). The next term is "strong consolation.'"Why is it so called?

1. It is called so either in opposition to worldly comforts, which are weak and vanishing

2. Or else it is called " strong consolation" in comparison with itself, with respect to less or more imperfect degrees of comfort. There is a latitude in comfort, some have more and some less; some have only weak glimmerings and drops, others have strong consolation, "joy unspeakable, and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8). Now a Christian should aim at the highest degree; the stronger your consolation, the better is Christ pleased with it (John 15:11).

3. It may likewise be called strong in regard of its effects.(1) It marreth carnal joy, it puts the soul quite out of taste with other things. Men used acorns tilt they found out the use of bread.(2) It is stronger than the evil which it opposeth; it swalloweth up all our sorrows, whatever they be.

II. How THIS STRONG CONSOLATION ARISETH FROM ASSURANCE AND CERTAINTY. To establish joy and comfort, two things are necessary — excellency and propriety. The thing in which I rejoice, it must be good, and it must be mine. Suitably here in the text there is an assurance of excellent privileges; and then there is a qualification annexed that we may understand our own interest. God by His oath assures us of excellent privileges in Christ, and that is a ground of strong consolation. Then He requireth a duty of us, that we fly for refuge to take hold of the hope set before us.

1. For the excellency of our privileges. You know that which will minister solid comfort to the soul it had need be excellent. A small matter, though never so sure, will not, occasion a strong consolation; the joy is according to the object. Now, whether a Christian look backward or forward, there is matter of rejoicing to the heirs of promise. Backward, there is the immutability of His counsel; forward, there is a hope set before us. From one eternity to another may a believer walk and still find cause of rejoicing in God.

2. Another cause of strong comfort is interest and propriety. Besides the excellency of the privilege, there must be the clearness of our interest. The object of joy is not only good in common, but our good. It doth not enrich a man to hear there are pearls and diamonds in the world, and mines of gold in the Indies, unless he had them in his own possession; so it doth not fill us with comfort and joy to hear there are unchangeable purposes of grace, and that there was an eternal treaty between God and Christ about the salvation of sinners, and that there is a possible salvation, but when we understand this is made over to us.

III. HOW IT IS DISPENSED ON GOD'S PART, AND HOW FAR IT IS REQUIRED ON OURS BECAUSE EVERY HEIR OF PROMISE CANNOT SPEAK OF THESE LIVELY COMFORTS, THOSE SWEET AND STRONG CONSOLATIONS OF THE SPIRIT. First, on God's part. There is a great deal of difference between Christians in respect of God's dispensations.

1. Consider Christ, though He loved all His disciples, yet He did not use them all alike familiarly; some were more intimate with Him, and were more in His bosom. So though all the elect are dear to Christ, yet there are the elect of the elect, some chosen out above others, with whom God will be more intimate and familiar.

2. Though God deals here with great difference, yet it is usual with the Lord to give most comfort to three sorts of persons.(1) To the poor in spirit. A broken vessel is fitter to hold the oil of gladness than a full one, I mean such who are empty and broken, and possessed with a sense of their own wants.(2) Though God is at liberty, yet usually He fills those which are exercised with hard and long conflicts with their corruptions. Comfort is Christ's entertainment for those that return from victory over their lusts (Revelation @:17).(3) Those that are called forth to great employments and trials are seldom without comfort, and this strong consolation, that they may behave themselves worthy of their trial. Look, as men victual a castle when it is in danger to be besieged, so God layeth in comfort aforehand when we are like to be assaulted. This we have in the example of our Lord Himself. Just before Christ was tempted He had a solemn testimony from heaven (Matthew 4:1). Secondly, on our part. It is not absolutely required that we should enjoy it, but only to seek after it; and if we want it, to submit to God's pleasure. Comfort is seldom withheld when it is long sought and highly prized. I cannot say he is no child of God that bath not a feeling of this strong consolation, but he is none that doth not seek after it, and that hath low and cheap thoughts of the consolations of God (Job 15:11).

(T. Manton, D. D.)

I. WE HAVE FLED FOE REFUGE."

1. The man-slayer, the moment he had in the heat of passion killed a man, became an apt representative of an awakened sinner who discovers himself to be in an evil case. It is the work of the Spirit of God to convince men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come, and it is well when the soul begins to fear, for then it begins to live.

2. The alarmed man-slayer would next, if he could calm himself at all, consider what he could do, and he would soon come to the conclusion that he could neither defy, nor escape, nor endure the doom which threatened him. Thus in the days of our conviction no hope was discovered to natural reason, and our dread increased till fear took hold upon us there, for we saw what we had done, but we knew not what we could do to escape from the consequences thereof.

3. Then there came to our ear what perhaps we had heard before, but had heard so indifferently as never to have really understood it — we heard of a divinely provided way of escape. When under a sense of sin men value Christ Jesus. How wonderful is the system of grace! Here it is: that as in Adam we die through Adam's sin, so if we be in Christ we live through Christ's righteousness.

4. The text, however, not only implies that we need the refuge and have heard of it, but that we have fled to it. To flee away from self to the provided refuge is a main act of faith.

II. BUT WE HAVE COME TO "LAY HOLD." Here we have a change of figure, unless we recall the case of Joab. who fled for refuge to the temple and laid hold upon the horns of the altar Justification by faith in Jesus is set before us. What are we to do according to the text? We have to "lay hold" upon it. You are drowning; there is a rope thrown to you; what have you to do? "Lay hold." You are not to look at your hands to see whether they are clean enough. No, lay hold, dirty hand or clean hand. "But my hand is weak." Lay hold, brother, as best you can, weak hand or not, for while you are laying hold of Christ God is laying hold of you; you may rest assured of that. If you have the faintest grip of Christ, Christ has a firm grip of you such as never shall be relaxed. Your business is at this moment to lay hold and keep hold. What is to be done in order to lay hold?

1. Well, we must believe the gospel to be true. Do you believe it to be true that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them? Yes, I know you believe that God has sent His Son to, be a propitiation for sin. So far, so good. The next thing is to apprehend for yourselves this truth. Christ justifies believers; He is worthy of trust; trust Him, and He has justified you. "I do not feel it," says one. You do not need to feel it. It is a matter of believing. Believe in Jesus, and because you are a believer be assured that yon are saved.

2. While a man lays hold upon a thing he goes no further, but continues to cling to it. We have fled for refuge, but we flee no further than the hope which we now lay hold upon, namely, eternal life in Christ Jesus. We never wish to get beyond God's promise in Christ Jesus to believers, the promise of salvation to faith. We are satisfied with that, and there we rest.

3. Did you notice that the apostle speaks of laying hold upon a hope? This does not mean that we are to lay hold by imagination upon something which we hope to obtain in the dim future, for the next verse goes on to say " which hope we have." We have our hope now, it is not a shadowy idea that possibly when we come to die we may be saved. We know that we at this moment are safe in our refuge, and we lay hold on our confidence as a present joy. Yet that which we lay hold upon is full of hope, there is more in it than we can now see or enjoy. What is the hope? The hope of final perseverance, the hope of ultimate perfection, the hope of eternal glory, the hope of being with our Lord where He is that we may behold His glory for ever — a hope purifying, elevating, and .full of glory; a hope which cheers and delights us as often as we think of it.

III. This is our last point, WE ENJOY "STRONG CONSOLATION." We call that liquor strong of which a very few drops will flavour all into which it falls. How wonderfully the consolation of Christ has affected our entire lives! There is such potency in it that it sweetens everything about us. It is so strong that it masters all our fears, and slays all our scepticisms.

1. What I want you to note is that the consolation of the Christian lies wholly in his God, because the ground of it is that God has sworn, and that God has promised. Never look, therefore, to yourselves for any consolation; it would be a vain search.

2. Remember, too, that your consolation must come from what God has spoken and not from His providence. Outward providences change, hut the oath never changes, hold you on to that. Your comfort must not even depend upon sensible realisations of God s favour, nor on sweet communions and delights. No, but upon — He has said it and He has sworn it — those are the two strong pillars up n which your comfort must rest.

3. Remember, however, that the power of the strong consolation derived from the oath of God must in your personal enjoyment depend very much upon your faith. What is the consolation of a promise if you do not believe it, and what is the comfort of an oath if you doubt it?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

When stars, first created, start forth upon their vast circuits, not knowing their way, if they were conscious and sentient, they might feel hopeless of maintaining their revolutions and orbits, and despair in the face of coming ages. But, without hands or arms, the sun holds them. Without cords or bands the solar king drives them, unharnessed, on their mighty rounds without a single misstep, and will bring them, in the end, to their bound, without a wanderer. Now, if the sun can do this, the sun, which is but a thing itself, driven and held, shall not He who created the heavens, and gave the sun his power, be able to hold us by the attraction of His heart, the strength of His hands, and the omnipotence of His affectionate will?

(H. W. Beecher.)

Tinling's Illustrations.
It is impossible, wrote Dr. Doddridge, after an illness, to express the comfort God gave me on my sick bed. His promises were my continual feast; they seemed, as it were, to be all united in one stream of glory. When I thought of dying, it sometimes made my very heart to leap within me, to think that I was going home to my Father and my Saviour.

(Tinling's Illustrations.)

Who have fled for refuge
I. THE VIEW GIVEN OF THE SAVIOUR IN THE TEXT. He is called " the hope set before us." In the Scriptures we read of hope that is in us, hope that is laid up for us, and hope that is set before us. The happiness of heaven — heaven itself — its light and glory, its songs, and its blessedness — this is the hope laid up for us: that good work of the Holy Spirit's operation on the heart, here and now, whereby we look for the former, and for the earnest of it, is the hope that is in us; and our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the only foundation and hope, for sinner or for saint, for pardon or for holiness, is the hope set before us.

II. THE CONDUCT OF THE MAN DESCRIBED IN THE TEXT IN REFERENCE TO THIS BLESSED OBJECT. He is said to " flee for refuge," and to "lay hold upon it." In this there is an allusion to the flight of the man-slayer to the city of refuge. Methinks I descry the man-slayer looking behind him; he sees the avenger of blood; he sees the horrible burning frown upon his brow, he hears the dismal tramp of his feet, and away he flies; he stops not, turns not out of his course, but presses on and on with accelerated speed, until at length, all punting and breathless, he enters the hallowed gates of the city of refuge, and enters into peace. Such is the flight of the sinner's soul to the arms of Christ Jesus. This representation sets before us the case of a man struck with a conviction of guilt, smitten with an apprehension of danger, despairing of relieving himself, coming out of himself, and trusting to another. The very name of Jesus, which was before an insipid sound, is now to him like music. His soul leaps within him to know that " God is in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself not imputing to men their trespasses"; his heart dances for joy when he finds that "it is a faithful saying that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." But observe: his conviction of guilt, and danger, and ruin, being now no longer superficial, but pervading, individual, and thorough, he is not surf-fled with this merely general representation of the matter. It is not now enough for him to know in so many general terms that God is merciful, and that Christ is a Saviour; he now narrowly pries into the whole affair, into the authority and commission of Christ to save. into His ability and His qualifications to save, into His willingness and readiness to save.

III. THE PRIVILEGE AND HAPPINESS OF THOSE WHO HAVE THUS FLED TO CHRIST JESUS FOR REFUGE. "By two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie," they have "a strong consolation." What is consolation? It is the relief of the mind under any trouble or pain; or the presence and enjoyment of a good which is able to prevent altogether, or else carry away and bear down before it, as in a full tide or flowing stream, all evil felt or feared. Two things would occur to the mind of the man-slayer in connection with his flight to the city of refuge. One would be: "Is it true — is it really, incontrovertibly true, that if I get to the city of refuge, the avenger dares not, must not touch me?" The other would be: "Suppose I get to the city, and am secure against the stroke of the avenger, what kind of accommodation and provision shall I find within that city?" These two things would occur to him on his way to, or on his arrival at the city of refuge; and if he had had any uncertainty as to the one or the other, he would have been overwhelmed with confusion and dismay. But he had no doubt; he knew, he was quite sure, that if he got to the city of refuge, the avenger could not touch him, that he would be as safe in the city as if he were in heaven. He also knew that, if he got to that city, and should remain in it, all his wants would be supplied, everything necessary for his accommodation and support would be provided for him. Thus he had consolution. Now apply these two things as an illustration of the nature of the happiness of believing in Christ. "There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." "They that believe enter into rest." "Who is he that shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth." What is it you are afraid of? Is it the justice of God? I know the justice of God has the impenitent sinner by the throat, and says, "Pay me that thou owest! But I know also that the hand of the penitent sinner lays hold on the hope set before him, and justice takes his hand off. It must be so; otherwise God were unrighteous in demanding two payments for one debt. "He that believes shall be saved." "There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." What are you afraid of? Is it of the fiery law? The law is not roaring after you if you have got into the city of refuge: it is not muttering its tremendous maledictions against you if you have laid hold of the hope set before you. If you hear anything at all of the demands of the law, it is the echoes of those demands dying away amid the battlements of the city wall; for he to whom you have fled, and on whom you have laid hold, has "magnified the law and made it honourable." Then what is it you are afraid of? Is it of the roaring lion of hell? He is indeed "going about seeking whom he may devour"; but your faith in Christ is a shield wherewith you may quench the fiery darts of the wicked one. Then what is it you have to fear? Is it death? You may give up that fear along with all the other fears; for Jesus, to whom you have come, on whom you have laid hold, has put down death, abolished it, and buried it in His own grave; and has brought life and immortality to light. This is consolation, but that is not the whole of it. I said that the consolation of the man-slayer on reaching the city of refuge would also include an assurance that he should be provided for, while there, with everything necessary for his accommodation and support. This answers to the other half-the happiness of believing in Christ — which consists in the infinite assurance that God has given the believer that he never shall want any manner of thing that is really good, and that he never shall be in inextricable danger. "The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger"; and well they may; "but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing." Can that man want water who lives on the brinks of an everlasting spring? Can that man want light who lives in the centre of the eternal sun? Now look at the grounds on which this consolation rests. We have it, says the apostle, "by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie." What are these immutable things? Where are they to be met with? We cannot write the word immutable on the rock; it is constantly wearing away: nor on the sun; the sun himself shall grow old and dull. But there are two immutable things — the word of promise and the oath of God. These are called the "counsel of God," to intimate that His promise is the declaration of His counsel. Promises very often are the result of anything but counsel; but the promise of God is the counsel of God, the manifestation and publication of His counsel, The promises of God — what are they like? Whereunto shall I compare them? They are like so many silver cords let down from heaven, hanging out from the pavilion of infinite clemency, I had almost said, sent down from the heart of God itself, for the hand of faith to lay hold on. The promise of God is an immutable thing; and by that we have our consolation. But there is another ground of this happiness. God, knowing the million ills of human life, the million jealousies of the human heart, knowing the backwardness of your mind, and the slowness of your heart to believe His own eternal word of promise, hath condescended to superadd to that His solemn oath. What is that oath like ? Is it not as if Jehovah was laying all the perfections of His nature, staking the very glory of the Godhead, on the truth of His promise previously made? These are the two immutable things by which we have our consolation. Finally, let me mention the quality of this happiness. It is called in the text a "strong consolation"; a consolation amongst the most substantial, the most abundant and efficient; a consolation available for every exigency of life, for the solemnity of death, for the crisis of the judgment day. How strong is this consolation? It is stronger than the afflictions of life. It turns the dungeon into a gate of heaven, the place of stocks into the vestibule of glory. If, like the Hebrews, to whom the language was originally addressed, you were called to bear the spoiling of your goods for Christ's sake; with this consolation you would bear it joyfully. Soaring on the wings of grace, you may defy the power of affliction, calamity, sickness, and change. He, whose word of promise and solemn oath you have, has said He will be with you " in six troubles; yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee." Strong consolation! How strong? Stronger than the dread of wrath. Oh, what a mountain is gone when the fear of hell is gone! Oh, what a load is removed from the human spirit when the dread of the wrath to come is removed! And it is removed from the man who has fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before him. Strong consolation! How strong? It is not only stronger than all the afflictions of life, and stronger than the dread of the wrath to come, but stronger than the fear of death. "The wicked is driven away in his wickedness; but the righteous hath hope in his death." Go and see the righteous die. Death has come in at the window; laying his hand upon the heart; freezing up the life-blood of the fountain. Death is there; but Christ is there also. Death, the last enemy, is there; but Christ, the Lord of life and glory, is there too. Death is there as the servant; Christ as the Master. "I heard a voice from heaven saying, Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord." Strong consolation! How strong? Stronger than all the terrors of the final judgment, than the desolations of universal nature.

(J. Beaumont, D. D.)

The true heirs of promise, with whom God hath pawned His word and oath to do them good eternally, are such as have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before them. In the description there are two parts, "flying for refuge," and "taking hold of the hope set before them." The one relates to their justification, or their first acceptation with God in Christ, "Flying for refuge"; the other relates to their carriage after justification, "To take hold of the hope set before them."

I. For the first branch — "Flying for refuge." It is an allusion to the cities of refuge spoken of under the law.

1. That Christ is a believer's city of refuge, or the alone sanctuary for distressed souls.

2. It is the property of believers to fly to Christ for refuge. This flying may be explained with analogy to the two terms of every motion, which are terminus a quo and ad quem, from what we fly, and to what; and so we have the perfect method which the Spirit observeth in bringing home souls to God. In this flying to Christ as a city of refuge there is a driving and a drawing work; the first belongs to the law, the second to the gospel. The law driveth us out of ourselves, and the gospel draweth us, and bringeth us home to God.(1) Let us speak of thy terminus a quo, the term from which we come, or-the driving work; it is comprised in these two things — a sense of sin, and a sense of the wrath of God pursuing for sin.(2) Let us come to the terminus ad quem, from what we c me to what; they run to Christ as their city of refuge.(a) It implies earnestness, as in a case of life and death. A dilatory trifling spirit shows we are not touched at heart.(b) Running to the city of refuge implieth avoiding all byways. A soul that is rightly affected cannot be satisfied with any other thing; another place would not secure the man, nothing but the city of refuge.(c) This running implies an unwearied diligence. The man was running still till was gotten into the city of refuge, for it was for his life; so we are unwearied until we meet with Christ (Song of Solomon 3:2).(d) When they are got into their city of refuge, they stay there; having once taken hold of Christ, they will not quit their holdfast for all the world.

II. For the second branch, "To lay hold upon the hope that is set before us," and you must repeat the word "flying" or "running" again.

1. What is this hope? Hope is put for the thing hoped for, heaven with all the glory thereof; for it is a hope "that lies within the veil (ver. 19), or a hope "laid up for us in heaven" (Colossians 1:5). Mark the double end of him that cometh unto Christ, refuge and salvation; for in Christ there is not only deliverance from pursuing wrath, but eternal life to be found; first we fly from deserved wrath, then we take hold of undeserved glory. This is more easy of the two (Romans 5:10, 11).

2. Why is this hope said to be set before us?(1) To note the divine institution of this reward; it is not devised by ourselves, but appointed by God.(2) It is proposed and set before us for our encouragement. As it is said of Christ (chap. 12:2).(3) What is it to run to take hold of the hope set before us? Sometimes it implieth a challenging it as ours; as 1 Timothy 6:19: "That they may lay hold on eternal life." Here it signifies holding fast, never to let this hope go. It implieth diligence of pursuit, perseverance to the end, and all this upon Christian encouragement.(a) Diligence in pursuit of eternal life in the heirs of promise. It is expressed by working out our salvation, making it our business (Philippians 2:12). When we will not be put off with anything else, but have heaven or nothing, this is to seek heaven in good earnest.(b) This flying to take hold of the hope set before us imptorteth perseverance in well doing, notwithstanding the difficulties in the way to heaven.(c) All this upon Christian encouragements, for the hope that is before them. A man may know much of his spirit by what bears him up, and what is the comfort and solace of his soul (Titus 2:13). Application —

1. Comfort to those that can apply it, even to those who are thus qualified, that are driven and drawn to Christ, and then go on cheerfully with the work of obedience, waiting for their inheritance in heaven.

2. Conviction. It showeth the hardness of their hearts who have neither felt the law work nor the gospel work, but remain like the smith's anvil, softened neither with hammer nor with oil; neither driven by the threatenings of the law, nor drawn with the glad tidings of salvation; neither John nor Jesus worketh on them. Of such Christ speaketh (Matthew 11:17).

3. To persuade you to this temper. Three sorts of people usually we speak to —

(1)The carnal secure.

(2)Those that are affected with their condition.

(3)Those that esteem Christ, and embrace Him. that own Him as ready and willing to save sinners,

(T. Manton, D. D.)

I. EVERY SINNER IS JUSTLY EXPOSED TO DEATH. Pursued by the righteous avenger of blood, who will cast the wicked into hell, with all the nations that forget God.

II. GOD HATH APPOINTED JESUS AS THE REFUGE FOR CONDEMNED SINNERS. He came that men might not perish, but have everlasting life. He came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them. Now in this He was strikingly typified by the cities of refuge.

1. In their number we are reminded of the sufficiency of Christ. There were six of these cities. Doubtless amply sufficient for the cases which might require them. Jesus is the sufficient Saviour of all men. In Him is room for the whole world. Merit, mercy, and willingness for every child of man.

2. In their diversified localities we see the accessibility of Christ. These cities were placed in various parts of the land, so as to be near to every quarter, and accessible to the inhabitants throughout. Here we see at once pointed out to us the nearness of Christ to every portion of the family of Adam.

3. In the spacious well-directed roads to the cities of refuge, we are reminded of the free, full, and plain declarations of the gospel of Christ.

4. In the signification of the names of the cities we also perceive the glorious excellency of Christ. One of these cities was called "Kadesh," which signifies "Holy." Jesus is the Holy One of God. He redeems and saves men to holiness. Another was called "Shechem," which signifies "Shoulder," representing Christ as bearing the sins and burdens of the sinner. Another was called "Hebron," signifying "Fellowship." Thus Christ is the medium and ground of fellowship between God and men, and between the whole body of believers. In Christ we become the sons of God and members one of another. Another was called "Bezer," which signifies a "Stronghold." Christ is often thus described. He is our refuge, our fortress, and a stronghold in the day of trouble. In Him we are more secure than if surrounded by a munition of rocks. Another of the cities was called "Ramoth," which signifies "Exaltation." Jesus is the exalted Son of God. The Prince of life. The Lord of glory. The name of the last city of refuge was "Golan," which signifies "Exultation," or "Joy." Christ is the joy and rejoicing of His people. His gospel is the message of joy. His kingdom is not only righteousness and peace, but joy in the Holy Ghost.

5. In the deliverance of the man-slayer we see typified the salvation which is in Christ Jesus. Within the city he was safe. Now, by believing repentance, the sinner flees to Christ, and becomes interested in His all-extensive merit and saving benefits. But he must be in Christ. And he must abide in Him (John 15:1-7). Thus he shall be delivered from present condemnation, and from eternal death. In Christ is ample provision for his comfort, safer), and well-being.Application:

1. We see the awful misery and peril of the careless sinner.

2. The absolute necessity of repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And how necessary that this should be prompt and immediate.

3. How urgently should ministers make known the terrors of the Lord and persuade men.

4. How happy are those who are delivered from the power of Satan, and have been brought to enjoy the forgiving love of God. Within the city of refuge all their interests are secure both for time and eternity.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

It is said that a traveller by night fell into a dry well. His cry for help attracted a neighbour, who let down a rope and attempted to draw him up, but did not succeed because the rope kept slipping through the fallen man's hands. At length the rescuer, suspecting that the fallen man's grip was feeble because of his having something in his hand besides the rope, called out to him, "Have you something in your hands?" "Yes," replied the man at the bottom, "I have a few precious parcels which I should like to save as well as myself." When at last he became willing to drop his parcels, there was muscular power enough in his arms to hold fast the rope till he was delivered. Are you seeking purity of heart, and still finding yourself, day after day, in the horrible pit of impurity, though the golden chain of salvation is lowered to you from above; have you met something in, your hands? How about those precious parcels? Have you dropped them all? Then lay bold on the hope that is set before thee, and keep hold till thy feet are on the re k, and songs of deliverance burst forth from thy lips, and thy goings are henceforth established in the highway of holiness. Is that last parcel too precious to be dropped? Well, say then, "I will not give up my idol," and no longer dishonour God by saying, "I cannot believe."

Can you be safe too soon? Can you be happy too soon? Certainly, you cannot be out of danger of hell too soon; and therefore why should not your closing with Christ upon His own terms be your very next work? If the main business of every man's life be to flee from the wrath to come, as indeed it is (Matthew 3:9), and to flee for refuge to Jesus Christ, as indeed it is (Hebrews 6:18), then all delays are highly dangerous. The man-slayer, when fleeing to the city of refuge before the avenger of blood, did not think he could reach the city too soon. Set your reason to work upon this matter; put the case as it really is: I am fleeing from wrath to come; the justice of God and the curses of the law are closely pursuing me; is it reasonable that I should sit down in the way to gather flowers, or play with trifles? for such are all other concerns in this world, compared with our soul's salvation.

(J. Flavel.)

— "I have no hope in what I have been or done," said De. Doddridge, on "his dying bed, "yet I am full of confidence; and this is my confidence: there is a hope set before me. I have fled, I still fly, for refuge to that hope. In Him I trust, in Him I have strong consolation, and shall assuredly be accepted in this beloved of my soul."

Which hope we have
Local Preacher's Treasury.
I. "WHICH HOPE WE HAVE."

1. A living hope.

2. A blessed hope.

3. A good hope.

4. A sustaining hope; taken hold of it; we feel it. Our faith seizes it. Our hearts experience it.

II. WHAT THIS HOPE IS TO THOSE WHO HAVE TAKEN HOLD OF IT.

1. It holds the soul, as an anchor holds the ship, from drifting before the wind and currents of human opinions, personal doubts, &c.

2. It holds the soul from sinking in despair, in the midst of its sorrows, tribulations, and conflicts.

3. It is, therefore, a comfort to the soul to have this hope in times of trial and sorrow.

4. It is "sure and steadfast." Nothing can destroy it.

III. THE OBJECT OF THIS HOPE. It is not anchored in the uncertain and shifting things of time and of earth, but takes hold of the eternal and heavenly.

1. Of the crown of righteousness which "fadeth not away."

2. Of the many mansions which Christ has gone to prepare for us.

3. Of the inheritance incorruptible, underfiled, &c.

4. And in due time this hope shall realize its respective objects.CONCLUSION:

1. Rejoice in this hope.

2. Cherish this hope.

3. Cast it not away on any account.

(Local Preacher's Treasury.)

Hope is one of the noblest of the natural instincts. It is, as the poets say, the sunshine of the mind. Like the old sun-dial of Saint Mark's at Venice, it marks only the cloudless hours. It has a lifting power which raises and carries life on. The boy hopes to be a man, and you see, in his thoughtful moments, the dignity and energy of a man, so that you say, "He will be a credit to his family. He will conquer Silesia." The man looks through the years, bearing up Under their burdens, to the honours and rest of old age. Old age, stript of all else, ought at least not to live on the past, as is often said, but to be waiting in joyful expectation of something better that is beyond. There is this quality of hope in us which is the spring of our courage and of the capacity of recovery from disappointment and defeat. Prince Eugene was always more terrible in defeat than in victory. Hope, "the nerve of life," as Thackeray calls hope, without which man would lose half his happiness and power, and power of growth, making him "a man of hope and forward-looking mind even to the last," is that which gives life its impetus; but which native quality, strong though it be, ends in human nature and what it can do and compass. It is, like human nature itself, a thing of earthly uncertainty whose grounds are ever shifting; while the hope which is spoken of in the New Testament, or that which may be called Christian hope — even if it use the beautiful natural instinct while transforming it. into something spiritual — is a more enduring principle, partaking of the eternal state of being. If we look at the reasons why Christian hope, as distinguished from the natural or instinctive quality, is likened to an anchor that enters into the veil and is sure and steadfast, the chief reason of it we will find to be that it is a hope which is fixed upon God and His truth, where alone is stability. God's being is that which "is," not that which "becomes." Nothing can add to or take from the perfect One in whom all fulness dwells: though let us fairly understand that God is not unchangeable in the sense that His nature is one of immovable hardness like a rock; for His heart is touch,-d by the most delicate emotions that the purest spirit is capable of feeling; but He is unchangeable in the immutability of those moral qualities which form His character and upon which the government of the world rests secure. If we see the proofs of God's firmness in the unalterable operations of His physical laws — a principle on which all science is founded — so we may believe that the blessed promises of God will come true, and that He who brings forth the spring violets from under the snows of winter, rejoices to bring out from the most rugged and unpropitious circumstances the blossoming of every hidden seed of hope; and the rugged circumstances form a factor in the Divine plan. In God's wisdom misfortune is a blessing, and compels men t, use their powers boldly, and to do things that they could not possibly have done in prosperous times. And God does not desert a soul in misfortune. When we seem to be entirely hemmed in He makes a way of escape for the soul. In the dear immensity of the Arabian desert where nothing else grows you will find minute sand-flowers too small even for fragrance, and yet that cheer the wanderer and say, "Up, heart, there is hope for thee t " Another reason why Christian hope has in it the principle of stability is because it has a source of strength in the perfect character of the spiritual work which Jesus Christ has done for and in the soul. Not only the Divine, but even the human part of Christ's work, from His birth to His resurrection, gives no signs of failure or imperfection. Christ became true man that He might redeem man, and His human nature was that of one "made perfect through suffering," approaching the cross with slow and steady step. Christ went through what man goes through, or can go through, touching every human part, relation. and need, preserving His obedience to the end, doing all the will of the Father, and righteously triumphing for and in weak humanity, and then, stretched on the shameful tree, as He was about to yield His spirit, could He cry with a loud voice, "It is finished!" An offering for human sin was made by that strong and tender love, and nothing was incomplete. As even the clothes in the sepulchre were rolled up and laid by themselves when Christ arose, nothing was left undone. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the confirmation, and, as it were, celestial touch, or crown, put on Christian hope, that carries it across the confines of death into the worlds beyond. Christian hope may be seen to be something sure and stable in its nature, lastly, because as a matter of experience there is a strong and indestructible expectation the fruit of the spirit of Christ, which is awaked m the Christian soul and the Christian church, and has always been so in every age and every believing mind. There is nothing more inspiring in the study of history than to trace the beginnings of this new hope in Christian civilisation, and its ennobling influence in public morals, law, and government, the treatment of oppressed classes, the social elevation of woman, the higher uses of property, in art, science, literature, politics, and every phase of human life, forming the spring of progress, and having in it a certain faculty of prophecy, in which, as a German writer says, "the longing heart goes forth to meet beforehand great and new creations and hastens to anticipate the mighty future"; above all, making the soul invincible to evil, come in whatever shape it may, in poverty, old age, sickness, prison, wreck, war. the contempt of the world and the violence of active persecution; or whether it come in the more hidden trials and struggles of the spirit. There can be no delusion here. There is a hope which comes into the mind, however inexplicable, which was not there before — a new instinct of a new nature. It is, as the Scriptures call it, "a living hope," — an active principle working by love and purifying the heart. "He that believeth hath the witness in himself;" for it is faith in eternal things which is at the bottom of this hope, and it is the outcome of a new spiritual life within. He who has this hope enjoys a communion with the Divine. He wins the blessed unity which is in God. A " new marvellous light" arises in him and spreads through his being. There is a letting in of the love of God to the soul which expels its gloom and selfishness; and selfishness must be pressed out of true hope. Such pleasure experienced here in God, such openings of the soul into His love, must look forward at some time to a blissful enjoyment of Him — to the great vision of God and His eternal peace. It is this simple fact which makes Christianity, notwithstanding its solemn truths, a cheerful religion, and which gives it a quality of joy that fills it with a perpetual sunshine. In the apostolic church this awoke the voice of song and brought to the world the life of a new blossoming springtime rich in its promise of great things — its true golden age, not past but present and to come. This hope of the Christian, then, is a great hope. a bright, clear, and steady hope, surpassing all the vague desires of the natural heart, beautiful as the poetry of the heart sometimes makes these to appear-yet earthly and evanescent, like the painted clouds that pie up in the western sky of a summer's sunset turning ashy and deathly pale when the light fades out of them. But the "things hoped for" are too fair, too high, too pure, even to be conceived. The prayer, indeed, of thin hope is not for a life without trials, but, with the apostle, the believer would fight that he might win; he would endure self-denial that he might rise above the sensual into the spiritual; and while the hope sustains and cheers, he would also "know Christ " and the fellowship of His sufferings, and sound the depths of Christ's holy life and perfect victory. Is your hope thus ,veil-grounded? When the storm comes, does the anchor hold? When a strong and unexpected temptation fall- like a sudden blast on you, does the anchor hold? In the face of real affliction — of death — would it hold? Does your hope take hold of the unchangeable love of God? If so. when tempted, "rejoice, and show the same diligence, with the full assurance of hope unto the end." Armed with a hope which has in it this sure promise, go forth to a life of goodness. Expect to achieve great things.

(J. M. Hoppin.)

II. WHAT IS ITS OBJECT? On what is this hope supremely fixed? "Upon that which is within the veil." Yes, it is attracted y the glory which is afterwards to be revealed by the fulness of grace, which is to come unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ, the "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," which eye hath not seen," but which will burst upon our enraptured souls when we awake up in the Divine likeness at the resurrection morn. O what a sublime anticipation! — The perfection of the soul in happiness, which in this world is so limited and interrupted — the perfection of the soul in purity, which is now only attained in part, because "the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and we cannot do the things that we would" — the perfection of the soul in knowledge, which here is so contracted, intercepted, acquired with so much difficulty, and so soon forgotten by the weakness of memory and the infirmities of age — the perfection of the soul in holy love, which on earth is so faint, cold, and beak — the unveiled vision of God and the Lamb — intimate and everlasting communion with the Great Jehovah. Again, we say, what a sublime anticipation! How elevating — how expanding — how purifying — how cheering — how attractive! Compare it with the hope of the worldling, whose portion is only in this life, and consists of houses arid lands, silver and gold, titles and emoluments — compare it with the hope of the sensualist, who fares sumptuously every day, and cries, "What shall we eat, what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed? " whilst his soul is unfed by the bread of life, untaught by the Spirit of God. Compare it with the hope of the ambitious, whose great object is to rise upon the scale of popularity.

II. WHAT IS YOUR AUTHORITY FOR CHERISHING THIS PLEASING ANTICIPATION? ON WHAT DOES YOUR HOPE BEST? Not upon your own merits, however amiable your temper, moral your conduct, charitable your actions, and just and uniform your dealings; nor is it founded upon the mercy of God unconnected with the doctrine of the Atonement, and the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. The believer's hope rests exclusively and entirely, as you will find in the context, upon "the two immutable things," the oath and promise of God relating to the sufferings and death of His beloved Son, as the only sacrifice for sin, and the strong consolation which is derivable from a humble dependence upon His merits and love.

1. The word and covenant of God are the charter of our hopes, which we are permitted to plead, saying, "Remember Thy word unto Thy servant upon which Thou hast caused me to hope"; recollecting that "whatsoever things were written aforetime, were for our instruction, that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope."

2. The finished work of Christ is the support and security of our hope; " as the law made nothing perfect, it was merely a shadow of good things to come, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by which we draw nigh unto God."

3. Our union with the Saviour, and the renewal of our soul by the converting grace of the Holy Ghost, are the evidence and the sanction of our hope, as "Christ is in us the hope of glory," and, by the witnessing of the Spirit, "we know what is the hope of our calling," and enjoy "the full assurance of hope unto the end."

III. THE BENEFITS WHICH RESULT FROM THIS DESIRABLE STATE OF MIND. "IT IS LIKE AN ANCHOR TO THE SOUL, BOTH SURE AND STEADFAST." Here a state of trial and exposure is implied. The soul, by this nautical phraseology, is compared to a vessel floating upon the uncertain and perpetually-changing surface of the ocean, where an anchor is indispensable to its safety. On what does the hope of a newly-awakened sinner rest? On what is the anchor of a believing penitent cast?

1. On the free mercy of the blessed God "who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness and live."

2. It rests upon the efficacy of the Saviour's blood, which is unto all and upon all them that believe; which is the price of our redemption — the purchase of our acceptance — the ratification of our place, and the balm of our consolation.

3. The invitations of the gospel are also the sanction of a penitent sinner's hope. These are the warblings of mercy's trumpet, the proclamation of redeeming love.

4. Nor can we omit. to notice the encouragement which the pleasing change produced in the sinner's mind affords to the energies of evangelical hope. Thus assured of his safety, he spreads his sails — launches forth and speeds his way towards the promised land, the better country, favoured with the superintendence of the Saviour as his pilot, the Word of God as his chart and his compass, and hope as his anchor. At length after many a storm and struggle, the believer reaches the peaceful port of everlasting bliss. Then, again, his hope, as an anchor to the soul, is most valuable. He is now waiting for the signal to disembark and to land upon the better country. He therefore resembles Paul, who, having " fought a good fight," finished his course and kept the faith, said, "I am now ready to be offered up, and the time of my departure is at hand." "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep," &c.

IV. THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS HOPE.

1. This will appear if you reflect on the insufficiency of all things here below to satisfy the immortal soul and render it happy.

2. Your peace and comfort depend in a great degree upon the possession of an evangelical hope.

3. The possession of the blessing in question is indispensable from the uncertainty of life, only during the limited span of which can the hope of glory be obtained.

4. And, finally, the satisfaction and comfort of your friends who may survive you are involved in your possessing a good hope.

(W. B. Leach.)

I. THAT THE HOPE OF THE CHRISTIAN MAN IS A SPECIFIC AND WELL DEFINED HOPE — a hope about which he can give an answer — a hope which he can trace to its origin, and the operations of which he is able, in some measure, to explain. This may be seen by the use made of the word "which," in the passage before us. The idea seems to be that these men, when awakened by the power of the Holy Ghost to a sense of their personal danger, look about them for some place of deliverance to which they may run and be secure. And the apostle says that for men in that condition, there is a hope set before them in the gospel, that is accessible to them: and there is the voice of mercy bidding them fly from the wrath ,o come; and the men here spoken of have hearkened to that vice. They have availed themselves of that provision, they have run there-unto, and they are saved.

II. THAT THIS HOPE, DERIVED FROM CHRIST, RELATES TO A CONDITION OF BLESSEDNESS — it entereth into that which is within the veil. Now who can tell us what there is within the veil? Who can conceive what it is to have Christ entered in amongst these things withing the veil, as our Forerunner and Representative? Jesus Christ, as our Forerunner, has removed the obstacles out of our way, and made all the necessary preparations for our safe departure from that which is seen and temporal to that which is unseen and eternal. "I go," He says, "to prepare a place for you, but I come again to take you to Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." All this is going on at this moment. His heart is towards you, His occupation is about you, and thus it is from hour to hour. In the multitude of your thoughts, then, you may rejoice that you are raised up together with Christ, made to sit together in heavenly places with Christ; and that be, use He lives you live also.

III. THAT THIS HOPE ACTS AS AN ANCHOR TO THE SOUL. It is not mere sentimentalism, but, as hinted in our text, a thing of the most powerful efficacy, without which men, in this world, could not live. It is called the "anchor of the soul." This leads us to think of the sea, of storms and tempests, and of some gallant vessel which, in order to be saved from the storm, must have all the appliances of deliverance, safety, and defence. Have you never seen such a vessel when suddenly a storm has come down upon her, and she has been unable to get out to sea? They then let go the anchor, as the only hope, the sole remaining chance of escape. Suppose the anchor drags, what then? Suppose it parts from the cable which unites it to the ship? Suppose the anchor breaks? The doom of the ship is sealed; for the anchor is everything; and this hope, which is so beautifully compared to the anchor, is everything to the Christian. Your trials and perplexities are not only like a storm, but as a storm from which you cannot get away. You cannot run before it. You cannot take advantage of a wider berth by getting out to sea. There is no alternative: you must "ride it out." What would you do under such circumstances but for your hope that you have an interest in the. great salvation? What could you do without it? I do not wonder that the Bible calls it a "living," "blessed," and "glorious hope." How often have you and I been saved from making shipwreck, thus far, of our profession and consistency by reverting yet once more to the everlasting covenant which "is ordered in all things and sure!"

IV. THAT THIS ANCHOR TO YOUR SOUL WILL NEVER FAIL. It is "sure and stedfast." Look at these two words: the word " sure" refers to hope itself, and the word "stedfast" to that which the hope relates to. Hence, then, we have the anchor, and the anchorage. The hope of the good man, in itself considered, is sure; no matter what the strain upon it, it is strong and infrangible. It was originated by the "God of Hope"; it is sustained and guarded by Him; and therefore it cannot be broken. It is a sure thing. We have heard men say, "What shall we do in an extremity like this?" But the answer is explicit enough — "My grace is sufficient for thee"; and the hope which is of God's own implantation, is a hope which will never fail. It is, in itself considered, inviolable and indestructible. God created it, and He will take care that it shall never be destroyed; we will therefore rejoice in it. But, moreover, it is not only "sure," it is also "stedfast." The former, as I have said, referred to the anchor itself, this latter related to the anchorage. "Steadfast," i.e., it has laid hold of that which will not let go. This seems to have been the apostle's thought. An anchor, you know, although it may not break, may drag. Its material and construction may be the very best, still there may be nothing like a tenacious bottom in which to embed itself. There may be none of the "bars of the earth," as Jonah calls them, upon which it may get hold; and therefore in the extremity — at the very crisis — their doom is sealed for want of anchorage! Now the anchorage of your hope will never let the anchor drag. If I were asked what this anchorage is I should say it has laid hold of the " exceeding great and precious promises, which are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus." It has laid hold of the everlasting covenant which "is ordered in all things and sure." It has laid hold of the Rock of Ages. It has laid hold of the "two immutable things by which God sware and cannot lie." It has laid hold of the foundation of God which standeth "sure," and against which" the gates of hell shall not prevail." It has entered into that which is within the veil, and embedded itself deep down into the Divine purposes, and enwrapped itself around the Divine all-sufficiency, and taken hold — with its firm, broad, seven-fold gigantic grasp-of the great high throne, which is from everlasting — the throne of God and of the Lamb, and that throne itself must drag ere your anchor will come home

(W. Brock.)

Faith accepts and credits testimony; hope anticipates. Faith says the fruit is good; hope picks and ears. Faith is bud; hope blossom. Faith presents the cheque; hope lays out the amount received. And such hope is the anchor of the soul. The comparison between hope and an anchor is familiar even to heathen writers, and it is easy to see how fit it is. It steadies the soul. Take an illustration from common life: A young man pledges his troth to a poor but noble girl. He is draughted for foreign service, and says farewell for long , ears. Meanwhile she is left to do as well as she can to maintain herself. Work is scanty, wages low, she is sometimes severely tempted and tried. But, amidst all, she is kept true to her absent lover, and to her nobler self, by the little strand of hope which links her to a happy and united future. So, when suffering, or tempted, or discouraged, our hope goes forward into the blessed future, depicted on the page of Scripture in glowing colours, and promised by the word of Him who cannot lie; and the anticipation of it fills the soul with courage and patience, so as to endure the trials of thee, in view of the certain blessedness of eternity.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

An anchor of the soul.
I. Our hope, we are here told, is "As AN ANCHOR OF THE SOUL" To the imagination of the writer, life is a sea, the soul is a ship, and hope is the anchor of the soul. It was not the first time that this emblem had been thus poetically applied. He had seen it in the Hebrew Writings which he had read at the feet of Gamaliel; in the course of his Greek studies, he had possibly met with the sayings of Socrates — "To ground hope on a false supposition is like trusting to a weak anchor." "A ship ought not to trust to one anchor, nor life to one hope." He had heard the Romans, in proverbial phrase, call a man's last desperate hope, Anchors sacra. Finding this metaphor in the service of common life, he baptized it, quickened it with a new meaning, and pressed it into the service of God, employing it to show the superiority of the Christian's hope to the hope of any other man.

II. Our hope, it is further said, ENTERETH INTO THAT WITHIN THE VEIL." The idea appears to be this: — h ship shattered with" the battle and the breeze," at length gets near the port; but owing to the shallow waters, or the sweeping tempest, or the temporary prohibition of the authorities on shore, she is not permitted at once to enter the harbour. The sailors then heave out the sheet-anchor, and by means of the boat it is carried within the royal ,lock; and though the ship cannot herself get in, she is thus prevented from being drifted away into the deep sea. To enter into that within the veil, is to enter within the harbour of eternal repose — this may not at present be permitted, bat we may cast our anchor there, and meanwhile wait in safety here. To convey the whole of the idea which the apostle has in view, two images are combined. Let us forget the nautical allusion, and think only on the image which is borrowed from the Temple. "The veil" is that which divides earth and heaven; and our anchor "entereth into that which is within the veil."

1. The words "within the veil" suggest the mysteriousness of heaven to the inhabitants of earth. It is natural that those who are on their way to the heavenly country should make it the frequent theme of conjectural thought. But, after all, heaven will be a secret us until we die. "My chief conception of heaven," said Robert Hall to Wilberforce, "is rest." "Mine," replied Wilberforce, "is love." Perhaps both conceptions are true, and union of perfect love wits perfect rest conveys our best idea of heaven, considered simply as a state. But what is the manner of existence there, and what is the true physical theory of another life? How shall we see without these eyes, hear without these ears, act without this material instrument of being? What are the visions, the emotions, the specific employments of heaven? Where and what is the region itself? Is it a star? Is it a sun? These questions are unanswered and unanswerable. The gospel is sent to show the way to glory, and not what that glory is. "The Holy Spirit teacheth how we may reach heaven, and not how heaven moves." In answer to all our questions respecting its nature, the Saviour replies, "What is that to thee? follow thou Me."

2. The nearness of heaven is suggested by the epithet "veil." Christians, there is only a veil between us and heaven! A veil is the thinnest and frailest of all conceivable partitions The veil that conceals heaven is only our embodied existence, and though fearfully and wonderfully made, it is only wrought out of our frail mortality. So slight is it, that the puncture of a thorn, the touch of an insect's sting, the breath of an infected atmosphere, may make it shake and fall.

3. The glory of heaven is suggested by the expression " within the veil." What was within the veil of the Hebrew Temple? Not the ark, not the censer, not the rod that budded, not one of these things apart, nor all combined, made the glory of the place, but its true glory was the mystic light that shone above the mercy-seat, and symbolised the presence of " the Great King." In like manner, the manifested presence of God, and that alone, is the true glory of heaven.

4. The holiness of heaven is here suggested. Within the inner veil was the "Holiest of all." All the Temple was holy, but this was "the Holy of Holies." It was a perpetual memorial of the fact that heaven is a place of exquisite and awful purity.

III. Our hope, entering within the veil, depends on the life of Jesus there. "WHITHER THE FORERUNNER IS FOR US ENTERED, EVENJJESUS." The forerunner of the ancient ship was the Anchorarius, the man who had charge of the anchor, and who carried it within the harbour, when there was not yet water sufficient to float the ship into it. In a spiritual sense, the forerunner of the worshipping Israelites was the high priest, who, taking with him the symbols of sacrifice, entered within the veil on their behalf. The forerunner of a band of pilgrims is one who precedes them to the place of destination, to give notice of their approach, to take possession in their name, and to prepare for their arrival.

1. The sense in which Christ sustains the office of forerunner in relation to the millions who are hastening to the world of light within the veil. He is the Sovereign Proprietor of heaven; He is the very glory of the place; yet He is thee leading "not a life of glory only, but a life of office." His perpetual presence there is the perpetual argument for our salvation. He is There to complete the removal of every impediment to the entrance of His followers; there as the sublime guarantee that we shall be there.

2. You are also taught by these metaphors to see how entirely your hope is identified with faith. Many a person will tell you that he hopes, only because he does not venture to say that he believes. Hope is thought to be something less decisive than faith; to imply a lower grade of Christian attainment, a weaker tone of spiritual life, or perhaps an uncertainty as to whether we feel even the first stirs and the faintest indications of that life. But hope, instead of involving less grace than faith, does, in reality, involve more. Faith — healthy faith — faith with a keen eye, a strong hand, and an unfaltering voice; faith that can say, "I know whom I have believed, and who has the charge of my anchor"; such faith as this must be in existence before you can have "a hope that maketh not ashamed."

IV. Our hope is an anchor of the soul which has peculiar recommendations. It is "BOTH SURE AND STEADFAST.''

1. The term "sure" seems to refer to the reliable nature of the anchor itself. It is not constructed of doubtful materials; its cable will not snap in the tempest; no stress or strain upon it, and no resisting force will drag it from its anchorage. The term "steadfast" seems to refer to the use of the anchor. An anchor is that which keeps the ship steadfast. While waiting on this fluctuating sea of life, a hope in Christ will keep you safe amidst all peril, and fixed amidst all change.

2. You will be steadfast in the calms of life. Amidst all brightness here, hope for something brighter there; amidst all earthly good, hope for a better and enduring substance; "set your affections on things above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God"; and through the powers of the world to come, earth will be disenchanted, the spirit will be kept upon its guard, and your faith will be "steadfast" to the end.

3. You will be steadfast amidst the storms of life. There are storms of carp, storms of conscience, storms of temptation; and all thoughtful natures know that the wildest storms that ever rage are those which are felt within, to which there are no human witnesses, and which sometimes spend their fury when all without seems placid and delightful. What deep Christian thinker has not sometime been nearly overwhelmed in waves of mental perplexity? What lonely wrestler in prayer is there who has not sometimes cried, "Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of Thy waterspouts: all Thy waves and billows are gone over me? " But if in such hours of dark tempest we can retain the conviction, however faint, that He who presides amidst the glories of heaven is our own Redeemer, that He still holds us with His mighty power and will not let us go, we shall survive the crisis; our ship, shattered though it be, will never founder; in the very rush and agony of waters we shall patiently hope on.

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

I. First, let me call your attention to THE DESIGN OF THE ANCHOR of which our text speaks. The design of an anchor, of course, is to hold the vessel firmly to one place when winds and currents would otherwise remove it. God has given us certain truths, which are intended to hold our minds fast to truth, holiness, perseverance — in a word, to hold us to Himself. But why hold the vessel?

1. The first answer which would suggest itself would be, To keep it from being wrecked. If every wind of doctrine whirled you about at its will you would soon be drifted far away from the truth as it is in Jesus, and concerning it you would make shipwreck; but you cost your Lord too dear for Him to lose you, to see you broken to pieces on the rocks; therefore He has provided for you a glorious holdfast, that when Satan's temptations, your own corruptions, and the trials of the world assail you, hope may be the anchor of your soul, both sure and steadfast.

2. An anchor is also wanted to keep a vessel from discomfort, for even if it be not wrecked it would be a wretched thing to be driven hither and thither, to the north and then to the south, as winds may shift. There are solid and sure truths infallibly certified to us, which operate powerfully upon the mind so as to prevent its being harassed and dismayed. The text speaks of " strong consolation." Is not that a glorious word — we have not merely consolation which will hold us fast and bear us up against the tempest in times of trouble, but strong consolation so that when affliction bursts forth with unusual strength, like a furious tornado, the strong consolation, like a sheet-anchor, may be more than a match for the strong temptation, and may enable us to triumph over all. Very restful is that man who is very believing.

3. An anchor is wanted, too, to preserve us Item losing the headway which we have made. Those who know anything experimentally about Divine things have cast their anchor down, and as they heard the chain running out, they joyfully said, "This I know, and have believed. In this truth I stand fast and immovable. Blow, winds, y-u will never move me from this anchorage; whatsoever I have attained by the teaching of the Spirit, I will hold fast as long as I live."

4. Moreover, the anchor is needed that we may possess constancy and usefulness. The man who is easily moved, and believeth this to-day and that to-morrow, is a fickle creature. Who knows where to find him?

II. Secondly, I invite you to consider THE MAKE OF THE ANCHOR — "That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation." Anchor-making is very important work. The anchor-smith has a very responsible business, for if he makes his anchor badly, or of weak material, woe to the shipmaster when the storm comes on. If anything in this world should be strong it should be an anchor, for upon it safety and life often depend. What is our anchor? It is made of two Divine things. The one is "God's promise, a sure and stable thing indeed. To this sure word is added another Divine thing, namely, God's oath. Conceive the majesty, the awe, the certainty of this! Here, then, are two Divine assurances, which, like the flukes of the anchor, hold us fast. We have for our anchor two things, which, in addition to their being Divine, are expressly said to be immutable — that is, two things which cannot change. When the Lord utters a promise He never runs back from it — "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." Notice next of these two things that it is said — "Wherein it is impossible for God to lie." It is inconsistent with the very idea and thought of God that He should be a liar. A lying God would be a solecism in language, a self-evident contradiction. But now, what is this promise, and what is this oath? The promise is the promise given to Abraham that his seed should be blessed, and in this seed should all nations of the earth be blessed also. To whom was this promise made? Who are the "seed"? To Christ Himself, and to all who are in Christ, is the covenant made sure, that the Lord will bless them for ever and make them blessings. And what is the oath? That may refer to the oath which the Lord sware to Abraham after the patriarch had offered up his son, for which see the twenty-second chapter of Genesis: but I think you will agree with me if I say it more probably refers to the oath recorded in the one hundred and tenth Psalm, which I would have you notice very carefully — "The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." I think this is referred to, because the twentieth verse of our text goes on to say, "Whither the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." Now I want you to see this anchor. Here is one of its holdfasts — God has promised to bless the faithful, He has declared that the seed of Abraham, namely, believers, shall be blessed, and made a blessing. Then comes the other arm of the anchor, which is equally strong to hold the soul, namely, the oath of the priesthood, by which the Lord Jesus is declared to be a priest for ever on our behalf; not an ordinary priest after the manner of Aaron, beginning and ending a temporary priesthood, but without beginning of days or end of years, living on for ever; a priest who has finished his sacrificial work, has gone in within the veil, and sits down for ever at the right hand of God, because His work is complete, and His priesthood abides in its eternal efficacy. What better anchor could the Comforter Himself devise for His people? What stronger consolation can the heirs of promise desire?

III. OUR HOLD OF THE ANCHOR. It would be of no use for us to have an anchor, however good, unless we had a hold of it. The anchor may be sure, and may have a steadfast grip, but there must be a strong cable to connect the anchor with the ship. Formerly it was very general to use a hempen cable, but large vessels are not content to run the risk of breakage, and therefore they use a chain cable for the anchor. It is a grand thing to have a solid substantial connection between your soul and your hope; to have a confidence which is surely your own, from which you ,'an never be separated. Our text speaks plainly about this laying hold of the anchor in the end of the 18th verse — "That we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." We must personally lay hold on the hope; there is the hope, but we are bound to grasp it and hold it fast. As with an anchor, the cable must pass through the ring, and so be bound to it, so must faith lay hold upon the hope of eternal life. "Well," saith one, "but may we lay bold upon it?" My answer is, the text says it is " set before us," — to "'lay hold of the hope set before us." You may grasp it, for it is set before yon. Now, notice that our hold on the anchor should be a present thing and a conscious matter, for we read, "which hope we have." We are conscious that we have it. No one among us has any right to be at peace if he does not know that he has obtained a good hope through grace. May you all be able to say, "which hope we have." As it is well to have a cable made of the same metal as the anchor, so it is a blessed thing when our faith is of the same Divine character as the truth upon which it lays hold: it needs a God-given hope on our part to seize the God-given promise of which our hope is made. The right mode of procedure is to grasp God's promise with a God-created confidence: then you see that right away down from the vessel to the anchor the holdfast is all of a piece, so that at every point it is equally adapted to bear the strain.

IV. Fourthly, let us speak of THE ANCHOR'S HOLD OF US. A ship has hold upon her anchor by her chain cable, but at the same time the most important thing is that the anchor keeps its hold upon the ship; and so, b, cause it has entered into the ground of the sea bottom, holds the vessel hard and fast. Do you know anything about your hope holding yon? It. will hold you if it is a good hope; you will not be able to get away from it, but under temptation a, d depression of spirit, end under trial and affliction, you will not only hold your hope — that is your duty, but your hope will hold you — that is your privilege. How is it that our Divine anchor holds so fast? It is because it is in its own nature sure — "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast." It is in itself sure as to its nature. The gospel is no cunningly devised fable: God has spoken it, it is a mass of fact, it is pure, unalloyed truth, with the broad seal of God Himself set upon it. Then, too, this anchor is "steadfast" as to its hold, it never moves from its lodgment. It is sure in its nature, and steadfast when in use, and thus it is practically safe. The result of the use of this anchor will be very comfortable to you. "Which hope ye have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast." I may say to every believer in Jesus, that his condition is very like that of the landsman on board ship when the sea was rather rough, and he said, "Captain, we are in great danger, are we not?" As an answer did not come, he said, "Captain, don't you see great fear?" Then the old seaman gruffly replied, "Yes, I see plenty of fear, but not a bit of danger." It is often so with us; when the winds are out and the storms are raging there is plenty of fear, but there is no danger. We may be much tossed, but we are quite safe, for we have an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast, which will not start. One blessed thing is that our hope has such a grip of us that we know it. In a vessel you feel the pull of the anchor, and the more the wind rages the more you feel that the anchor holds you. Like the boy with his kite; the kite is up in the clouds, where he cannot see it, but he knows it is there, for he feels it pull; so our good hope has gone up to heaven, and it is pulling and drawing us towards itself.

V. And now, lastly, and best of all, THE ANCHOR'S UNSEEN GRIP, "which entereth into that within the veil." Our anchor is like every other, when it is of any use it is out of sight. When a man sees the anchor it is doing nothing, unless it happen to be some small stream anchor or grapnel in shallow water. When the anchor is of use it is gone: there it went overboard with a splash; far down there, all among the fish, lies the iron holdfast, quite out of sight. Where is your hope, brother? Do you believe because you can see? That is not believing at all. Do you believe because you can feel? That is feeling, it is not believing. But "Blessed is he that hath not seen and yet hath believed." Albeit our anchor is gone out of sight, yet thank God it has taken a very firm grip, and "entered into that which is within the veil." What hold can be equal to that which a man hath upon his God when he can cry, "Thou hast promised, therefore do as Thou hast said"? Note next, that when an anchor has a good grip down below, the more the ship drags the tighter its hold becomes. At first, when the anchor goes down, perhaps, it drops upon a hard rock, and there it cannot bite, but by and by it slips off from the rock and enters into the bottom of the sea; it digs into the soil, and, as the cable draws it on, the fluke goes deeper and deeper till the anchor almost buries itself, and the more it is pulled upon the deeper it descends. The anchor gets such a hold at last that it seems to say, "Now, Boreas, blow away, you must tear up the floor of the sea before the vessel shall be let go." Times of trouble send our hope deep down into fundamental truths. The text concludes with this very sweet reflection, that though our hope is out of sight we have a friend in the unseen land where our hope has found its hold. In anxious moments a sailor might almost wish that he could go with his anchor and fix it firmly. That he cannot do, but we have a friend who has gone to see to everything for us. Our anchor is within the veil, it is where we cannot see it, but Jesus is there, and our hope is inseparably connected with His person and work. Our Lord Jesus by His intercession is drawing us to heaven, and we have only to wait a little while and we shall be with Him where He is. He pleads for our home-bringing, and it will come to pass ere long. No sailor likes his anchor to come home, for if it does so in a storm matters look very ugly; our anchor will never come home, but it is drawing us home; it is drawing us to itself, not downwards beneath devouring waves, but upwards to ecstatic joys.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

In many respects the world, and human life on it, are like the sea. Itself restless, it cannot permit to rest any of the pilgrims that tread its heaving, shilling surface. At some times, and in some places, great tempests rise; but even in its ordinary condition it is always and everywhere uncertain, deceptive, dangerous. Currents of air and currents of ocean intermingle with and cross each other in endless and unknown complications, bringing even the most skilful mariner to his will end — making him afraid either to stand still or to advance. On this heaving sea we must all lie. The soul is tossed by many temptations; but the anchor of the soul is sure and steadfast within the veil. Without are fightings, within are fears, all these are against us; but one thing will overbalance and overcome them, "Our life is hid with Christ in God." Hope sometimes signifies the act of a human spirit laying hold of an unseen object, and sometimes the ,object unseen whereon the human spirit in its need lays hold. These two significations may be combined together: they are so combined here. "The hope set us" is Christ entered for us now within the veil; and the hope that "we have" is the exercise of a believing soul when it trusts in the risen Redeemer. These two cannot be separated. The one is the grasp which a believing soul takes of Christ, and the other is the Christ whom a believing soul is grassing. The anchor must not be cast on anything that floats on the water, however large and solid it may seem. The largest thing that floats is an iceberg. But although an iceberg does not shake like a ship, but seems to receive the waves and permit them to break on its sides as they break on the shore, it would be ruin to anchor the ship to it. The larger and the less would drift the same way and perish together. Ah, this stately Church, this high-seeming ecclesiastical organisation, woe to the human spirit that is tempted in the tossing to make fast to that great imposing mass! It is not sure and steadfast. It is floating: it moves with the current of the world: it moves to an awful shore. Not there, not there I Your hope, when you stretch it out and tip for eternal life, must enter "into that within the veil, whither the Forerunner is for us entered." Nor will it avail a drifting ship to fix its anchor on itself. Hope must go out for a hold, even as the ship's anchor must be flung away from the ship. 'l he eye is made for looking with, not for looking at. Away from all in ourselves, and out through all that floats like ourselves on this shifting sea, we must throw the anchor of the soul through the shifting waters into Him who holds them in the hollow of His hand. Mark, further, that hope in Christ is specifically the anchor of the soul. There is no anchor that will make our temporal possessions fast. Wealth and friends, and even life, may drift away any day on the flood, and no power on earth can arrest the movement. These bodily things may or may not abide with a Christian, but his anchor does not hold them. It is only an anchor of the soul, not an anchor of the body. We must not expect from the Lord what He never promised. There are contrivances not a few in our day for fixing material property, so that it shall not drift away in the currents of time. The system of assurances both on life and property has reached an enormous magnitude. Taking up the obvious analogy employed in this scripture, one of the insurance societies has adopted the anchor as its name. But the action of these anchors is limited to things seen and temporal. They cannot be constructed so as to catch and keep any spiritual thing. They may hold fast a wife's fortune, when the life of the bread-winner falls in, but they cannot maintain joy in her heart, or kindle light in her eye. Far less can they insure against the shipwreck of the soul. Only one anchor can grasp and hold the better part of man — and that is the hope which enters into the heavens and fastens there in Jesus. The anchor — in so far as it indicates the object which hope grasps — the anchor is "sure and steadfast." The expressions are exact and full; the words are tried words; they are given in order that we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to the hope set before us. There are two cases in which one's hope may be disappointed: the support you lean on may be unwilling or unable to sustain you; in the one case it is deception, in the other weakness. A Christian's hope is not exposed to either flaw; it is both "sure and steadfast," that is, the Redeemer who holds them is willing and able. He will not falsely let you go, nor feebly faint beneath your weight. He is true and strong; for these are the words; He both will and can keep that which we commit to Him against that day. Take now a series of practical lessons:

1. The ship that is kept by an anchor, although safe, is not at ease. It does not on the one hand dread destruction, but neither on the other hand does it enjoy rest. "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you"; "in the world ye shall hare tribulation, but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world."

2. But further, the ship that is held by an anchor is not only tossed in the tempest like other ships, it is tossed more than other ships. The ship that rides at anchor experiences rackings and heavings that ships which drift with the tide do not know. So, souls who have no hold of Christ seem to lie softer on the surface of a heaving world than souls that are anchored on His power and love. The drifting ship, before she strikes, is more smooth and more comfortable than the anchored one; but when she strikes, the smoothness is all over. The pleasures of sin are sweet to those who taste them; but the sweetness is only for a season.

3. When the anchor has been cast into a good ground, the heavier the strain that comes on it, the de, per and firmer grows its hold. It is thus with a trusting soul: temptations, instead of driving him away from his Saviour, only fix his affections firmer on the Rock of Ages.

4. The ship that is anchored is sensitive to every change of wind or tide, and ever turns sharply round to meet and resist the stream, from what direction soever it may flow. A ship is safest with her head to the sea and the tempest. Watch from a height any group of ships that may be lying in an open roadstead. At night when you retire they all point westward; in the morning they are all looking to the east. Each ship has infalliably felt the first veering of the wind or water, and instantly veered in the requisite direction, so that neither wind nor wave has ever been able to strike her on the broadside. Thereby hangs the safety of the ship. Ships not at anchor do not turn and face the foe. The ship that is left loose will be caught by a gust on her side and easily thrown over. As with ships, so with souls: those that are anchored feel sensitively the direction and strength of the temptation, and instantly turn to meet and to overcome it: whereas those that are not anchored are suddenly overcome, and their iniquities, like the wind, carry them away. "We are saved by hope" — saved not only from being outcast in the end, but from yielding to temptation now.

5. When the ship is anchored, and the sea is running high, there is great commotion at her bows. The waves in rapid succession come on and strike. When they strike they are broken, and leap, white and angry, high up on the vessel's sides. This tumult is by no means agreeable in itself, blot the mariner on board would not like to want it, for it is the sign of safety. If, while wind and waves continue to rage, he should observe that this commotion had suddenly ceased, he would not rejoice. He would look eagerly over the bulwarks, and seeing the water blue on her bows, instead of the hissing, roaring spray, he would utter a scream of terror. The smoothness at her bows indicates to him that her anchor is dragging. The ship is drifting with wind and water to the shore. Such, too, is the experience of a soul. If you are fixed, a great flood is rushing by, and it must needs cause a commotion round you. An impetuous tide of worldliness will dash disagreeably against you from time to time. Do not be too anxious to make all smooth; peace may be bought too dear. When the mighty stream of vanity on which you float produces no ruffling at the point of contact — when it is not disagreeable to you, and you not disagreeable to it — suspect that your anchor is dragging, that it has lost its hold, and that you are drifting into danger. Cast in the anchor while the sea is calm; you will need it to lean on when the last strain comes on.

(W. Arnot.)

I. Let us first of all note THE ANCHOR. It is necessary to have a very clear idea as to what the Holy Ghost means by this word "hope." Look at the previous verse, and you will see that we have the word "hope" there, "That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us"; then he adds, "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul." Now, I believe that the two hopes do not mean precisely the same thing. In the eighteenth verse it is a hope that is set before us; in that verse I bare God's promise. God's promise is the basis of my hope, Christ Himself is the object of my hope. But, then, having that promise, there comes into my heart the grace of hope. That which the apostle means here is something far more than the common notion that we attach to the word "hope." I don't think I shall be going too far when I say that nothing is more adverse to the scriptural idea of the word " hope" than the meaning we generally intend by it. In our ordinary conversation hope is something less than faith, in Scripture it is something more — it is faith developed into a full assurance. So when the apostle speaks of hope it is not of that kind which says, "Well, I hope I may get to heaven, but I don't much think I shall," but it is of the kind which says, "I know that I am safe; I know that my Forerunner has entered within the veil for me; I know that God's promise and God's oath together do ensure my eternal salvation; and this hope is the anchor that is hung at the bows of my ship." Now, the anchor must be made of the right stuff. One writer has said that "anchor-making is very important work." I should imagine it was, and I should say woe to the anchor-smith who tampered with the material of the anchor. Why is it of infinite importance that the anchor should be right in its material? Because there are times when the lives of captain, mates, crew, passengers will all depend upon whether the anchor is made of the right stuff or not. Cast-iron anchors won't do; they must be made of the best material, well wrought and welded; and I think I am correct in saying that in all our naval establishments there is an arrangement for testing every anchor; and when it is proven it receives the Government mark. I know that the anchor of which we are speaking is true, because there is heaven's own brand upon it — "sure and steadfast." Better have no hope at all than have a bad one; better be without hope than place confidence in a false one. Do any of you say, "What should our anchor of hope be made of?" I will tell you. Go and get a whole number of "Thus saith the Lord" and weld them together, for the only anchor that is worth anything is that anchor of hope, the very material of which is " God has said." I believe the best smithy for making an anchor is the empty sepulchre just outside Jerusalem. Go into that sepulchre where once the body of Christ lay; it is empty now; there fashion thy anchor, "begotten unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." Now, with the anchor goes the chain, and I cannot separate between the two. I know that some have said that hope is the anchor and faith is the cable; well, it may be so, but you cannot really separate between faith and hope. Faith culminates in hope, and if faith does not lead to hope it is not worth anything; and, on the other hand, I cannot imagine a hope that is worth anything that does not come from faith, so I take cable and anchor as one. And I remark here that the anchor must have its cable, and the cable to be worth anything must have an anchor. I think that in my time I have come across some who had a chain, but there was no anchor at the end of it. They did believe — at least they said so; and who are we that we should dare to question their veracity? They do believe, for if they believe nothing else they believe they have some doubts; and I have seen them always paying out the cable, and saying, "I believe, I believe," and yet somehow they have nothing at the end to grip. There is the chain, but it will drag over a hundred promises without laying hold of a solitary one. They have faith, so they say, but somehow or other it is not the faith that ever grips the Word of God sufficiently to bring their vessel round. The Lord save us from that sort of faith which is like a cable without any anchor at the end. But, on the other hand, I don't think the anchor would be very much use unless there was a cable attached to it. What would you think if in time of storm the captain said, "Overboard with the anchor," and overboard it goes; there is an end of it; there is no connection whatever between the anchor and the ship. An anchor thrown overboard without a cable is about as much use as a cable thrown over without an anchor.

II. Now I want you to see THE ANCHOR LET GO. Our hope, like other anchors, is of no use as long as we can see it, as long as the anchor is slung at the bows it is doing nothing. You would think that man a lunatic who should say, "I always feel so safe when I see the anchor." You would think that captain an imbecile who should say, "I always think my ship is safe when I have my anchor on deck." The real worth of the anchor begins when it is thrown overboard. The ocean bed holds the anchor, and the anchor holds you. Now you will observe, if you look into the text, my anchor enters into that within the veil. I wish I had the power for a moment to give you a glimpse within the veil and see where the anchor is. If you were to have passed through the veil of the Tabernacle you would have seen an oblong chest — that was all; and on the top of that oblong chest a slab of gold exactly covering it. If you had looked inside that chest you would have found two tables of stone containing the law, written by the finger of God. That was called the mercy-seat. There, you will see, was mercy based on justice; peace reposing on righteousness; a Divine salvation resting on the pedestal of accomplished law — treat was all that was within the veil; and, says Paul in our text, "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul which entereth" — now, I always find that nine people out of ten quote this text wrongly; they say, "which entereth within the veil," but it is, "which entereth into that within the veil"; in other words, the mercy-seat — God's mercy based on righteousness, or, if you like to put it so, Christ Himself. Now, for a moment note this. Am I not right in saying that the more the ship drags at the cable the more fixed becomes the anchor? Ah! when first my soul trusted Christ and I dropped my anchor, I don't think it had a very firm hold, but every strain on it has driven it deeper. It is always so, for if you look in Romans 5. you will see that experience leads to hope. The more a man trusts God the better he knows God, and the better he knows God the more he trusts Him. He learns to sing, "My heart is fixed to God, my heart is fixed."

III. I have tried to show you the anchorage; now look at THE SHIP RIDING AT ANCHOR. One thing I observe is that, though she is anchored, she does not necessarily escape rolling, nor her passengers avoid sickness. There may be considerable discomfort while there is no danger. Many souls as well as ships are anchored in the "downs"! I notice, too, that when a ship is at anchor she always faces the tide. I was travelling recently on the Chatham and Dover Railway, and just as we approached Whitstable we obtained a glimpse of the sea, and I said to a fellow-passenger, "The tide is coming in." "How can you know that?" he asked. "Why," I replied, ,' it's the simplest thing in the world; look at the boats that are anchored there, and see which way they face; anchored craft always face the tide." Ay, and so will it be with you; if you know what it is to have your anchor gripping that which is within the veil you won't be a man who is afraid to look the world in the face. The ship swings round with the tide and seems to say, "I am not to be caught, whichever way you come you will meet my bow." These are the sort of Christians we want at the present time — men who are so anchored on to God, who are so filled with His spirit, and who have so bright a hope within them that they must face the run of the tide of this world. A dying sailor was near his end, and the death sweat stood upon his brow. A friend said, "Well, mate, how is it with you now?" The dying man, with a smile, made answer, "The anchor holds, the anchor holds." God grant that ever one of you may be able to say this, for His name's sake.

(A. G. Brown.)

I. FIRST, THE STAY OR ANCHORAGE OF THE SOUL DURING THE 'VOYAGE OF LIFE IS CHRIST WITHIN THE VEIL, CHRIST IN THE HOLY OF HOLIES, CHRIST IN THE HEAVENLY HAVEN. UPON HIM IN HIS EXALTED GLORY THE SOUL STAYS ITSELF AND IS SECURE.

1. In the first place, He is the living Christ of intercession, not the dead Christ of sacrifice.

2. Secondly, although within the veil, the Living Christ has a vital interest in us who are yet without. His entrance into the heavenly place has not broken off His connection with our earthly lives and interests. The same redeeming purposes, the same tender human sympathies, the same great mediatorial solicitudes fill His Divine heart.

3. The use of the term "Forerunner" conveys to us an additional idea not included in that of the palest-hood. The high priest was not a forerunner; no one was to follow him into the holy place; but Christ is strictly a forerunner. "Where He is, there His servant is to be also" — where He is, and as He is, for we are to be "like Him when we see Him as He is." At present He is our interceding Priest, but the consummation of His intercession is our reception into the heavenly place with Him. As the Forerunner Be enters the holy place, not alone, but only first. "I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there shall My servant be also." Very great and very precious are the assurances thus conveyed to us. First, that in virtue of His entrance to the heavenly place we shall surely enter also. He has "opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers"; by His own blood He appears in the presence of God, and secures our appearance also. "Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." He prepares the place for us in the sense of making a place for us certain. But more than this is meant. As the Forerunner He secures our entrance under the same conditions; we enter as He has entered; our humanity glorified as His is glorified. We shall enter as He has entered, with a proper resurrection body; with all the marks of personal identity that distinguish us here, that are the means of intelligent communism and friendship.

II. IN THE SECOND PLACE. THE ANCHOR WHICH HOLDS THE SOUL STEADFAST TO THE LIVING FORERUNNER WHO IS WITHIN THE VEIL IS HOPE; HOPE MOORS THE STORM-TOSSED SOUL TO THAT WHICH WILL SECURE IT. Our hope must be "a good hope through grace"; our anchor must have length of cable sufficient, and must lest only upon Christ. Hope is so far more than faith. That which is seen is not hope. Hope is that trust in the future and the unseen which calculates probabilities, which hits the mean between possible failure and certain security. We feel uncertainty enough to make it hope, and assurance enough to make the hope strong and animating. We "give all diligence to make our calling and election sure." We cast out the anchor of our hope with cable enough, so to speak, to fasten it upon the unseen Christ. A great and blessed hope, the hope of being with Christ, and of realising the exceeding great and eternal weight of glory. A good hope, warranted by accumulated evidence — by God's wonderful revelation — by His assured and unchangeable promises; a hope warranted by His words, by His resurrection, by His entrance into the holy place as our Forerunner, who hath "brought life and immortality to light," and who is Himself " the Resurrection and the Life." We are "begotten again to this lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."

III. OBSERVE, IN THE THIRD PLACE, HOW HOPE FIXED UPON CHRIST MAKES THE SOUL STEADFAST AND SECURE. Unregenerate men are described as "having no hope"; they are "without God and without hope in the world"; that is, they have no hope that is not delusive, that will not fail them in the testing hour, and make them ashamed. "The God of hope" is not their hope; they hope in something else, they do not know the hope that comes "through patience and comfort of the Scriptures." There can be no hope for a man who has not fled for refuge to Christ, "the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our hope." To Christ, then, the redeemed man has come; he has fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before him, and this hope is the anchor that keeps his soul firm It is a thing of practical, powerful efficacy, that secures both our present steadfastness and our ultimate salvation. It is "an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast."

1. The first suggestion of the metaphor is of a tempestuous and perilous sea, which our ship of life has to navigate, and that we are in danger of "making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience." What image could give a more vivid representation of our spiritual condition? — of the rough sea upon which we ride? — the hurricane above us, and the sunken rocks and quicksands around us.

2. How beautifully in this representation are both worlds brought together! Our ship sails upon the ocean of this life, has to bear its tempests, navigate its perils, but she finds her sure anchor within the veil — the anchor of her hope is fixed in the glorified Christ. The ship rides upon the sea of time; its anchor is fixed in eternity. Here there is no sure anchorage — hence the anchor is " hope," the expectation of things not seen. The immortal soul can fix securely only upon an immortal stay; and when after vain hopes in other things she has fixed her anchor upon Christ, it is as though she had laid hold upon the bases of the everlasting hills, as though with sevenfold strength she had grasped "the bars of the earth."

(H. Allon, D. D.)

The Study.
I. The soul, like a vessel, is in quest of a desired haven. Mind is made to look out of itself, our desires not satisfied with temporal things. All men look into the future, live by hope, and are sailing in expectation of peace. But the expectation of some reaches no further and gets no higher than earth, while the spiritual anchor in the calm depths of the Eternal Presence, and the solid moorings of eternity.

II. Hope of heaven, like an anchor, preserves the soul in its passage. Some sail without a ripple or a swell, under propitious gales which fill their sails and press them homeward. Others, like Paul in the Adriatic, wrestle with the billows, "exceedingly tossed with a tempest," with neither sun nor stars in sight. But the soul is preserved, and outrides the storm. "He bringeth them to their desired haven."

III. This hope is sure and steadfast. Sure — will not disappoint us — a good hope through grace. Steadfast in its nature, taking good hold, unchangeable in its promise and purpose, "a lively (living) hope which maketh not ashamed." Lay hold upon this "hope set before you in the gospel."

(The Study.)

Homilist.
I. THE VOYAGE OF LIFE EVEN TO THE GOOD IS TUMULTUOUS. Because of —

1. Physical infirmities.

2. Secular anxieties.

3. Social afflictions

4. Spiritual conflicts.

II. THE GOSPEL PROVISIONS ARE EQUAL TO THY. EMERGENCIES OF THE VOYAGE OF LIFE.

1. It has an anchor — Hope.

2. It has a refuge.

III. THE EFFICACY OF THE GOSPEL PROVISIONS FOR THE VOYAGE OF LIFE IS IMMUTABLY GUARANTEED.

1. God has an "immutable counsel" concerning the safety of His people.

2. God desires to demonstrate to His people the immutability of His counsels in relation to their safety.

3. God furnishes this demonstration by some most solemn declarations.

4. God's declaration cannot but be true.

(Homilist.)

I. THE NATURE OF CHRISTIAN HOPE.

1. The object of hope is always really or imaginarily good enjoyment of God — of His favour, smiles, and blessings to end of life, and of His presence for ever.

2. The object of hope must be future good. What God has laid up for them that love Him.

3. The object of hope must be attainable. "God will withhold no good thing from them that walk uprightly."

II. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS HOPE.

1. The anchor is essential to secure the vessel in time of storm and peril.

2. The anchor is only of service when connected with a good cable.

3. The anchor must be employed.

4. The anchor must be cast on good ground.

III. THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS HOPE.

1. It is of importance to our Christian character. It is as indispensable to the believing soul as the anchor is to the vessel.

2. It is of importance to our labours. All must be done in hope. We must sow in hope; pray and wrestle in hope.

3. It is of importance to our happiness.

IV. THE CERTAINTY OF THIS HOPE. "Both sure and steadfast." The Christian's hope cannot fail, unless —

1. The Divine veracity fails.

2. Christ's precious blood should lose its saving efficacy.

3. Christ's presence in heaven and intercession should be unavailing.APPLICATION.

1. Let the believer increase in hope, rejoice in hope, until its enrapturing anticipations shall terminate in glorious fruition.

2. Let the hopeless come to the blessed Saviour, who will, by the gracious manifestation of Himself, banish darkness from the mind, and despondency and sorrow from the heart. There is, in the gospel, ample ground of hope to all who receive the record God has given of His Son.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

One of the sights in Rome is the " Gallery of Inscriptions" in the Vatican. Inscriptions from old heathen tombs cover the one side, and inscriptions from the early Christian tombs cover the other. There is a heaven-wide difference between the two. On the heathen side there is one long wail of despair — the shriek of friends as the dying were hurried from them into the hateful abyss. But the Christian side breathes only peace and hope. The names of the departed are mixed up with the name of CartEr, and some rudely carved symbol of the faith is usually added. The ship and the anchor are the greatest favourites. At the side of the anchor the Christians often carved the words, "Hope in Christ," or "Hope in God," thus uniting and explaining, as our text does, the word and the image.

I. OUR ANCHOR. "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul." The hope of the Bible is not like the hope of the world. The old fable says that Pandora shut up all the miseries of men along with hope in a box. The box was offered to Prometheus. or Forethought, who would not have it; and then to Epimetheus, or Afterwit, who took it. Rashly opening it, all the miseries flew abroad, and when he hastily closed the lid, only hope remained in the box. And so, they said, every one has hope. You hope to be rich some day, but your hopes won't make you rich unless you take the right way. What a poor, broken, hopeless thing our hope often is! Hugh Miller tells that when his father was drowned at sea. he was a boy five years old. Long after every one else had ceased to hope, the little fellow used to climb, day after day, a grassy knoll, and look wistfully out over the Moray Firth for the sloop with the two stripes of white and the two square topsails. But months and years passed by, and the white stripes and square topsails be never saw. That poor boy looking seaward is a true parable of mankind. Here is a wicked man, who hopes to be saved a last. You hope so and I hope so; but his hopes, and yours, and mine won't help him, unless he leave off his sins and come to the Saviour. The hope of the soul is often the most uncertain thing in the world, for many are content with a hope they dare not examine. But the Christian's hope is sure, and never disappoints; for it is just saving faith with its eye full upon a glorious future. The anchor here (including cable and all) stands for everything that links a Christian to Christ, everything that gives heaven a hold on him, and him a hold on heaven. Our anchor is "sure and steadfast." God says and swears by Himself, that if you trust in Christ, you shall never perish. But remember you must trust in the living Saviour, not in some dead thing belonging to Him. Our Greek schoolbooks introduce us to the simpleton at sea in a storm. A sailor found him grasping the anchor on deck. The simpleton explained that the anchor was the sign of hope, and that, as he had it in his arms, there was no fear of his drowning. You are no wiser than he if you trust in any sign, or mere hope, or dead word. Hope was not crucified for you, nor were ye baptised in the name of Hope. The hope of our text means the thing hoped for, just as a "will" means not the parchment but the request.

II. THE FAR END OF THE ANCHOR IN HEAVEN. The sailor casts out his anchor, which rushes through the sea to the bottom out of sight, The source of his safety is hidden from his eyes. And so the Christian casts his anchor up through the unseen, even to the very heart of heaven, the holy of holies in the Temple above. The sailor in a storm seeks a safe anchorage. Some of our sheltered bays, with a stiff clayey bottom, are crowded with vessels in squally weather. As doves to their windows, the sailors " flee for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before" them by their charts: they cast anchor and smile at the storm. It is plain that your hope must anchor in something outside of yourself. Two fishermen at sea were once talking about heavenly things. The one was busied with his frames and feelings, always looking into his own heart, and not unto Christ. His comrade r, plied, "Ah, John, you are for anchoring in the hull; you must throw your anchor out." Well spoken; for no refuge or safety can we find in self. And further, earth has no safe anchorage for the soul. Not within, not around, but above lies the firm ground in which you must sink your anchor. "Hast thou hope?" they asked John Knox, as he lay a dying. He spoke nothing, but raised his finger and pointed upwards, and so died. Yes, our anchor finds holding-ground only in heaven. But heaven is a large place, and there are many things in it, you may say. True, but our hope is fixed not on the things, but on the Person in heaven.

III. THIS END OF THE ANCHOR. "Which hope we have," or hold, "as an anchor," or anchor-cable. The hope is set before us that we may lay hold upon it. Think here of a boat at anchor, and a boy in it holding the anchor-rope. If he lets go his hold he drifts out to sea. "Hold on," you cry to him, and "hold on" is the apostle's appeal to the Hebrews. Look now at that corn-ship of which Paul, though a sickly man of books, and no seaman, is really the captain and the saviour — showing us that the Christian should always be of men the most manly, and of heroes the most heroic. There he stands, calm and erect; tossed, but not drowned. Such is the Christian soul, tranquil amid the wild waves. All the storms of life come to him as they come to other men, but his Christian hope steadies his soul.

(James Wells, M. A.)

There is a certain hope which Christian people have: a hope set before us: which is like an anchor: an anchor which has caught firm hold, and which is holding on, somewhere within this veil. The meaning seems to be that the cable from that anchor reaches to us; and we hold on to it. The soul "lays hold upon the hope set before us": and then this hope does for the soul what an anchor does for the ship that keeps an unbroken hold of its anchor. This is what the imagery, the comparison in the text means. Well, is it true? I do not ask now, True to our own experience? Put that away just at present. But is it true as a general principle? That is, If a man had "laid hold of the hope set before us," would it be like an anchor of the soul? Yes, plainly it would be. The hope of eternal life, of happiness with Christ and all we love in heaven, is well fitted to keep the soul steadfast amid the waves and storms of this world — that is, to do to the soul the anchor's part. It will keep the soul from drifting away, or being driven away, by gales or currents, or upon rocks and quicksands near. Think of sorrow: sorrow in its widest sense, including all that makes us sad and unhappy — losses, privations, disappointments, bereavements, pain, sickness, death — the instinctive feeling of our race has discerned in all these the storms and tempests of the world within. "Not a wave of trouble"; pleasant the prospect, apt the similitude! You remember good Juxon's words, as the ill-fated king knelt to the block: "One last stage, somewhat turbulent and troublesome, but still a very short one": life's last brief storm must be gone through. We take the good hope with all that comes with it, and from which it cannot be separated. We take it with the conviction, amid all sorrows, that this is the right way; that it was Christ that led us into them and will lead us through them; that for all this there is a need-he; that it is all for our best good — our sanctification, our weaning from sense and time; that it is educating us for higher and better things than we ever could be fit for without it. Think now of temptation: temptation in the largest sense: everything from within and without that would lead us into sin — that would seek to make us make shipwreck of our souls. It, returns the hope of heaven, and all that is bound up along with the hope of heaven, will hold up against all these. And here there is something especially fit in the similitude of an anchor. For the special business of the anchor is to keep the ship from drifting away. Now there are temptations which come like a sudden blast or squall upon the anchored ship; and there are other temptations which are like an insensible current, drifting away and away. But whether temptation addresses us as the strong single impulse, or as the gently and perpetually gliding current, it is plain that in either case we must have something to hold us up against it: something which shall be to the soul as the anchor that keeps the ship from driving or drifting, and makes it hold its ground. There is but one thing that can be that: only grace from above; the good hope through grace — and all that is implied in having that good hope; the faith, resting simply on a crucified Saviour; the sight of sin, as it is seen in the light from Gethsemane and Calvary: the realising anticipation of all the rest and joy and purity above, which permitted sin would fling away. In discourses founded upon my text, it is a common thing to point out that the good hope which comes of a firm faith is as an anchor of the soul in that it is what will hold up the soul against doctrinal error. St. Paul likens the man, ready to catch up every new idea or crotchet, if attractively put, to one "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine": and the comparison is apt. Now, in these shifting days, no doubt a real personal interest in vital Christian truth — a personal hope through that — is the great anchor that shall keep us in the good old ways, and save us from making shipwreck of our faith. Just a word now of the assurance the text gives us that the anchored hope which is to preserve us steadfast amid the storms of life must have its hold "within the veil." That is, to really do us any good, our great daily hope must be of something beyond this life and this world. The hope must take hold "within the veil"; realise, in some measure, the substantiality of the possessions there which seem so vague and far away to mere sense. Only thus can it serve as an anchor, amid the failing of earthly stays and hopes. And a further thought is suggested by the text. The anchor is not holding on where you might sometimes have uneasy doubts of its holding securely; not amid the waves and storms of this uncertain world; but in the calm within the veil, where our Redeemer, our Forerunner, He who walked first the way which it is appoint-d that we should walk, has entered in; for us entered in; entered in our never-ailing Intercessor, and abides the Remembrancer of His one great atoning sacrifice, our High Priest upon the throne. If He be not with us here, visible King of His Church, ready to resolve many weary questions about it with which we would wish to go to Him, it is because it is better for us He should be there; and meanwhile He has sent the Blessed Spirit to more than fill His place; and His Church is left to pray that it may more and more "know Him, and the power of His Resurrection"!

(A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)

I. I call your attention, in the first place, to THAT WITHIN THE VEIL, WHICH IS AT ONCE THE GROUND AND THE OBJECT OF THE BELIEVING HOPE OF EVERY TRUE CHRISTIAN.

1. A manifestation of God under the new and evangelical relation of God reconciled to His offending creatures.

2. The priesthood of our Saviour.

3. "All spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." This refers more particularly to the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the communication of spiritual blessings through Him.

4. In a terse which follows the text there is an expression of great emphasis. "Whither," says the apostle, "the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus." Well, then, if Christ is the Forerunner, others have followed Him, and have entered within the veil; all the apostles have passed within the veil; all the first disciples, who followed Him through the reproaches and persecutions of the first ages; all, in fact, from that time to the present, who have died in the faith, have gone within the veil of our great Forerunner. Here, indeed, is a scene for hope to fix her steady gaze up m; and when we thus beheld the multitude which no man can number, who keep their eternal Sabbath in that sanctuary above, shall we not be cheered with the songs sung there, and which we hope ourselves one day to learn, and encouraged to pass through the various troubles and exercises of this present state, seeing that the way into the holiest of all is indeed made manifest, and that we may follow those who have entered the veil, and are now in the presence of God?

II. There are PRACTICAL LESSONS which we may learn from this subject.

1. And the first is, the necessity of fleeing for refuge, as the apostle expresses it, to lay hold on the hope thus set before you.

2. Let those who have thus fled for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before them, feel the duty they owe to others who are still exposed to the danger which themselves have happily escaped.

3. Let those who have entered into this port, and have cast their anchor there, be prepared for storms.

(R. Watson.)

This comparison of hope with an anchor is opposed to common modes of thought and expression. The more natural figure to most minds would be that of a buoy. I apprehend that, where that of the anchor is employed, in nine cases out of ten it is quoted from the Bible without any definite meaning. Yet I do not believe that it was used at haphazard in our text; but it seems to me one of the numerous cases in which a profound wealth of spiritual significance is condensed into a single word of Scripture. All hope is not anchor-like; or, if it be, there are many hopes which are anchors with cables too short to reach the bottom, and which therefore only expose the vessel to quicker, more irregular, and more violent pitches and plunges in the storm-lifted deep. The anchor needs a length of cable sufficient, but not too great; adequate weight; and the adjustment of stock, shank, and flukes, which will most effectually hold the ship to her moorings. These characteristics applied to spiritual things would give us adequate remoteness, vastness, and certainty as the requisite properties of a hope that shall be an anchor to the soul.

I. ADEQUATE REMOTENESS. Remote in point of time we cannot, indeed. pronounce the objects of the Christian hope; for there may be at any moment but a step between us and death. Yet the doe effect of distance is produced in part by the indefiniteness of our term of life here, and in part by our imperfect knowledge of the details of our future condition. The hopeful Christian sees heaven near enough to furnish every possible motive for virtue, fidelity, and spiritual affections, yet not near enough to detach him from the relations in which God would have him conscientiously faithful — from the field of duty of which the Master says, "Occupy till I come."

II. Our Christian anchor is of SUFFICIENT WEIGHT. Time presents no attractions that can vie with the promises of eternity. Our conceptions of heaven are enough to more than fill the soul with their fulness, and to outshine all things else by their Divine radiance. The imagery of the New Testament carries fancy on to its utmost limits and up till its pinions can soar no higher. In these boundless and infinite prospects we have more than a counterpoise for whatever might beguile our souls from their high calling and destiny.

III. Our Christian anchor has ITS FIRM HOLD OF CERTAIN AND IMMOVABLE EVIDENCE, Little as we know where or what heaven is, no law of our being is made more sure to us than our immortality. Its evidence is not intuition, surmise, speculation, or longing, but fact which cannot he gainsaid unless we pronounce the whole past a dream and all history a fable. We have the same proof that the dead have risen which we have that countless multitudes have sunk into the death-slumber. The resurrection of Christ is not even an isolated fact of authentic history, but a fact which has left surer traces of its reality, deeper channels of its influence, than any other event that has occurred since the creation of man. It was the initial cause, and the only possible cause, of a series of events and experiences that have been developing themselves for eighteen hundred years. In thus laving intense stress on the historical argument, I forget not the intimations of immortality, the hopeful analogies, he onward pointings, of which nature and life are full. The spring flowers that bloom around the sepulchre of Jesus never wither. Again, there are times when our sculls seem almost conscious of immortality, spring forth into a higher sphere, behold their celestial birthright, and read the words of eternal life in capacities which they have no room to develop here, in longings which earth cannot satisfy, in aspirations that transcend all created good. But weariness, care, or sorrow comes; and then the wings of the spirit droop, its heaven is clouded over, and to him who depends on his own clear intuition all looks dark and desolate. But the Christian thus bowed down stoops to look into the place where the Lord lay, hears the voice of the resurrection angel, and sees, through a cleft in the clouds, the shining path of the ascending Redeemer. We have, then, a hope fitted to be an anchor of the soul. and we need it to give us stability equally among the temptations, the duties, and the trials of life.

1. Among its temptations. How close their pressure! How intense their disturbing force! Like the swell of a storm-lifted octan, they break upon our youth, dash against the strength of our maturer years, and burst over the hoary head. Appetite and passion, pride and gain, ease and indolence, how do they essay by turns their single and their combined power upon every soul of man! How do they toss and dash from breaker to breaker, and from shallow to shallow, every unachored spirit! And their hold upon us is as unanchored spirits — through our intense desire of immediate gratification and our detachment from the unseen future. But let me only behold in faith my risen Saviour, and hear from Him those Divine words, "Because I live, ye shall live also," then I can cast away the withening wreath from the earthly vine for the amadanthine crown. I can dash from me the cup of sensual gratification, for the water which I may drink and thirst no more for ever. I can tread the rough and steep path, while at every step the celestial city rises clearer and brighter to my view.

2. But we no less need this anchor when we have escaped the temptations which assail the lower nature, and find ourselves on the shoreless sea of duty. Here again the waves lit up their voice. How vest the extent, how complex the demands, how imperative the claims, how earnest the calls of spiritual obligation! How liable we are, even with a quick and tender conscience, to let some of these voices drown others — to select our easy or our favourite departments of duty instead of aiming at entire fidelity — to let waywardness modify principle, and convenience limit obligation! How does the random, errotic course of many who mean to do right and well, resemble that of a ship driven by the wind and tossed on the billows 1 And here our anchor comes into use, to keep us in the moorings where God has placed us. It is earthly breezes — human opinion, fear, and favour — that sway us hither and thither. The consciousness of our immortality alone can make us firm and resolute, with every real demand of duty before us in its relative claimers and just proportions, with the work given us to do present to the inward vision, and with the whole power of the world to come making its strength perfect in our weakness.

3. We need our anchor among the trials and sorrows which are the lot of all. However calmly the sea of life may roll for a while there are times when the waves and the billows so over us, and the floods lift up their voices around us — times when, if in this life only we have hope, we at. ready to pronounce ourselves of all men the most miserable. When the gains of a lifetime are swept away in an hour, and a prime spent in affluence sinks into a needy old age, when, agonised by violent disease, we pass at once from vigorous health into the very jaws of death, or, crippled by chronic infirmity, we drag our limbs after us as a prisoner his chain; when the light of our eyes is quenched, and the voices that made sweet melody in our hearts are silent in the grave: when, as with not a few among us, our dead outnumber our living, and the monuments in the cemetery are more than the olive-plants around our table — we then have encountered griefs beyond the reach of human comforters. They set adrift the soul that has no hold on heaven. They abandon it to empty regrets, fruitless complainings — often to a despondency which can find relief only in the self-forgetfulness of sensual indulgence. They are, in an earthly point of view, intense and unmitigated evils. Ver. with the anchor of an immortal hope, how serenely may the Christian outride these storms, and at the very acme of their violence hear the voice which ever says to the a winds and to the waves, "Peace! be still!"

(J. P. Peabody.)

That the soul needs an anchor none will deny. There is scarcely a time in its experience when it does not feel its need of a stay. Even in the harbour the ship is safe only as she is securely moored; and at sea her only chance of safety frequently depends upon her possession of these essential safeguards.

I. WE NEED AN ANCHOR IN PROPORTION TO THE SHIP. A small kedge wall hold a smack, but the best bower is required for others; while some can do with nothing less than the great sheet anchor. Other things being equal, the greater the ship, the larger must be the anchor which is to hold her. But with the utmost possible precaution many a ship has perished. One of Her Majesty's ships, the Megaera, was totally lost through the badness of her anchors. One by one, no less then three gave way, and they were obliged to let the vessel drive on to the beach. But if it be important that the ship should be provided with proportionate anchors, how much more important is it that the soul should be well supplied with that which will be adequate to its emergencies! And what will suffice to meet these emergencies? What is there that can meet the requirements of the priceless, never-dying soul? Formalism is wholly inadequate as an "anchor of the soul." It may do very well for fine weather, but it will not hold in a gale There is but one good anchor. "A good hope through grace" alpine can hold thee there, and, blessed be God, that is sufficient. But there are not a few who, to make assurance doubly sure, have zone to yet another quarter, whence they have hoped to obtain an anchor which, together with the first, would be more than sufficient to meet their case. They are hoping that, through their go-d works, they will be enabled to outride the dangers of death and the judgment. The place from whence this article comes is kept by old Legality. Anxious sinner, believe me, "It is of faith, that it might be by grace." It is "not of works, lest any man should boast." But there are some who, to these two, seek to add even yet another. Their idea seems to be that no one, nor even two anchors, are sufficient. They go off to feeling in order to strengthen the other two. If legality has slain its thousands, feeling has slain its ten thousands. People are foolish to imagine that because they can work themselves up to a certain pitch of religious feeling, that therefore they are saved. It is an anchor that will not hold; nay, it is an anchor that will not even sink.

II. WE NEED AN ANCHORAGE IN PROPORTION TO THE ANCHOR The best anchor in the world will not hold in a bad ground. We can easily imagine that a bad anchorage, like a bad anchor, may do very well for fine weather, but will fail in the storm. We had, I remember, an anchor that had held us well in any weather whenever we had cast it. But one day, being near the shore, we threw it over as usual, and went below to dinner. We had not been there many minutes, however, when the wind freshened, and a sudden squall with heavy rain came whistling through the shrouds. Of course, because our anchor had held us through weather worse than that, we listened with the greatest composure to the music of the storm, and were not a little entertained by it as we proceeded with our meal. But while we had not the least apprehension of danger, we were suddenly aroused by the lurching of the vessel as, dragging her anchor with her, she was being driven from her anchorage, it was no fault of the anchor; it was bad ground. We found our anchor, good as it was, could not get a hold on the indifferent anchorage into which we had cast it. It was well for us that the wind came off the land, for had it come the other way nothing could have saved us from being driven on the shore. As it was, we escaped with a drenching. I need not say that such a contingency can never happen in true spiritual navigation. The anchorage indicated in our text is equal to the anchor. It is "that within the veil."

1. The blood-sprinkled mercy-seat. Mercy through Christ is the one ground of the sinner's hope, and the blood-sprinkled mercy-seat is the only place at which he may draw near to God.

2. The sinner's Great Advocate. What a source of comfort to the convinced sinner! Look at it, anxious heart. Surely, when such an Advocate has undertaken your cause, you can leave it in His hands. Give it up to Him now.

3. The ark of Jehovah's covenant. What an anchorage! Are you conscious of daily shortcomings and oppressed continually with a sense of guilt? You may see here how, always, the "sin is covered" over, and how Jehovah Himself, as in His Shekinah glory He dwells between the cherubim, sees no spot upon you. As the broken law was hidden in the ark under the blood, so the believing sinner is hidden in Christ. This is our hope! Are you feeling your weakness? As you have to confront the dangers and difficulties of life, do you feel your need of help? The manna here reminds you of His faithfulness, whose name is still Jehovah-Jireh. You cannot look within that sacred ark, and not remember that He has said, "As thy days, so shall thy strength be," and "My grace is sufficient for thee." Are you in distress because of God's chastening hand? In the budding rod you may see the type of every sorrow that befalls the saint. It may be a rod, but it is a rod that buds and blossoms, and brings forth fruit.

4. And then, besides all this, we are reminded of the everlasting covenant. What a world of satisfaction we find there! "A world," did I say? What a heaven of height, and depth, and breadth, and length of infinite sufficiency is discovered to us there!

III. WE NEED A CABLE PROPORTION TO BOTH. It is not enough to know that you have a good anchorage and a good anchor: you must also be persuaded that you have the God-wrought cable of living faith: "By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gilt of God." But though the anchors of feeling, and formality, and legality, and orthodoxy may be, and are, cast cableless into the sea, if you obtain the anchor "good hope," the cable of living faith is always possessed with it. For —

1. These are ever connected. Faith is the blessed cable which holds the ship here, and the anchor there. As the one strong chain ever vibrates and keeps up a communication between the anchorage and the ship, so faith, while it dwells here in the h art, ever dwells there "within the veil."

2. These can never fail. It is quite possible for a man to have an anchor and a cable of the most genuine quality, and yet, through ignorance of their nature, to be all the time in jeopardy; and it is equally possible, through the same kind of ignorance, for a man having an anchor and a cable that are bad, to repose in a false confidence until he is awakened to a terrible discovery of his mistake. Sailors have often ridden out a gale with fear and trembling, expecting every moment to find themselves adrift, while others have been suddenly astonished to find that the anchor upon which they could have staked their lives has actually given out. And these represent two very large classes of people in the religious world. There are thousands who have a good hope, but who fear that it is bad; and there are millions who have a false hope, but who believe that. it is good. To show either class their mistake is most difficult. If you try to remind the hypocrite that his hope "will perish," the sincere seeker immediately appropriates the warning as intended for himself; while if you endeavour to assure the broken-hearted that "the Lord is nigh unto them " to save them, the hypocrite will at once claim the comfort as his own. Believe me, sorrowing soul, if you are taking hold of "that within the veil" — if Christ, and Christ alone, is your trust — if His blood is your plea, and His advocacy is your daily joy, then you have the almighty anchor cast in the all-sufficient anchorage, and you are held by the omnipotent cable of living faith. With these you are safe; disaster is impossible. You must and will ride out every possible change.

3. These ever remain unchanged. It will be a Ideated thing if we can always realise this. Let our hope be" sure and steadfast." The cable will sometimes be very much shaken; in all her changes it sill rise and fall with the vessel; but, beloved friends, having taken, let hope keep its hold on that which is within the veil. The strongest cable will tremble, and so will the strongest faith; but the trembling cable holds a "sure and steadfast " anchor, and that anchor moves not though the chain may shake.

(W. H. Burton.)

There are many things which a sailor holds to be essential when he goes out to sea. The captain who should go out to sea without an anchor would be decreed a madman. Life is a restless, unquiet sea, full of trouble and danger. You are the ship, that sail this sea, and are exposed to its changes and storms. Many of you are now just leaving the peaceful harbour of home with all its tender influences, and are putting forth upon the wide and open main. I remember hearing of an infidel who, when laid upon his last bed of sickness, was urged by his godless companions not to show the white feather, but to hold on. What do you think was the answer of the dying man? With a face fuller hopeless dismay, he looked at them and said, "How can I hold on when I have nothing to hold by?" Ah! he felt the need of a spiritual grapnel, something " sure and steadfast" to which he could cling. But it is not only in the hour of death we require it; we need it all through life. Let us then have a little talk together about this "anchor of the soul."

I. WHAT IS IT MADE OF? You all know what ordinary anchors are made of. In very early times there were no such things known; but large stones with a rope attached to them were used for the purpose. By and by the Greeks began to make them of iron, and their example has been followed by all maritime nations. If anything in the world needs to be robust and reliable it is an anchor, for on its strength hundreds of precious lives may depend. Well, what about our spiritual anchor? Ah! of how much more importance it is that it tie durable, seeing the interests here at stake are everlasting. You cannot afford to run any risks with the soul, for it is more valuable than the whole world. Now, having seen what the anchor of the soul is made of, I want you think of this question.

II. WHY DO YOU NEED IT? Why does a ship need an anchor? To keep it steady, yet say, and save it from being carried away by wind and tide. Oh, how many influences there are around us that put us in danger. Then an anchor is of great value in preventing a ship from drifting. Young converts will soon find themselves in danger of backsliding. When you get out into the world you will find a strong current running dead against you; the influence of irreligious society, and of a spurious charity, will tempt you to abate your zeal, and to give up, one by one, holy practices and vital truths which once were dear to you as life, and you will glide unconsciously back into an easy-going formalism; and then, alas! for your spiritual and eternal interests! Therefore, as St. John says, "Look to yourselves, that ye lose not those things which ye have wrought, but that ye receive a full reward." Keep fast hold of your hope in Christ, and you will be able to maintain your ground, Never let go your spiritual anchor and you win successfully resist the strong currents around you. Now we come to the last point.

III. WHERE ARE YOU TO CAST THIS ANCHOR? The same apostle speaks of it "entering into that within the veil"; and, perhaps, the expression strikes you as a very" curious one. Undoubtedly it is not usual to east anchors within curtains or veils. But when you think over it the meaning is clear and beautiful. The meaning of the word "veil " takes us back to the worship of the ancient Jewish sanctuary. Although the pious Jewish worshipper never entered within that curtain, never saw behind it, yet he knew perfectly what was there; he knew the blessed truth set forth by that mercy-seat, and all his spiritual hope was based upon it. The anchor of his soul entered into that within the veil and took hold of the blood-besprinkled mercy seat of God. Ah! it won't do to throw out your soul's anchor upon the mere clemency or indulgence of an amiable God. The anchor must be fixed in the ground God has provided, and nowhere else. It must lay hold on covenant mercy, on nothing less than the finished work of Jesus. Ah! perhaps some of you have as yet got no anchor! You are going forth into the future, with its unknown dangers and storms, and are wholly unprepared! Oh! it is a sad thing to live " without God, and without hope in the world." Sir Humphrey Davy, a brilliant and successful man of science of last century, with almost everything that the world could give t, make a man happy, once wrote to a friend, "There is but one person I envy upon earth, and that is the men who has a clear and fixed religious belief." Alas! how many all around us who will still lack this. Intelligent and amiable and with much to make them happy, but still dark within. "All at sea" in very deed as regards spiritual things, and with no anchor to cling to! What are you going to do in the coming storm? To-day the air may be calm and the sky serene; but the clouds are gathering for such a tempest and riot of elements as earth has never seen; and woe betide those who in that hour have no Saviour they can call their own!

(J. T. Davidson, D. D,)

During the short naval battle between the Merrimac and the Congress and Cumberland, the anchor of the former, being unprotected, was shot away. Ever afterwards the ironclad battle-ships were constructed so as to include an anchor-well, in which the anchor, when out of the water, might be stowed away in safety.

(H. O. Mackey.)

I. LIFE IS A SEA. Two sorts of peril.

1. Drift — from routine, custom of society, currents of popular feeling, habits of commerce, &c.

2. Storms — to health, circumstances faith, love.

II. THE SOUL IS A SHIP. Not a rock, nor a waif, but a vessel — capable of progress, and under proper guidance able to reach a right haven.

III. HOPES AND ANCHORS.

1. Common.

2. Manifold.

IV. CHRISTIAN HOPE HIS THE ONLY SUFFICIENT ANCHOR.

1. Fixed on God through Christ.

2. Fastened by chains of faith and love vouchsafed through Christ.

(U. R. Thomas.)

Professor, whose masterly work on the "Physical Geography of the Sea," and others of like value, have given him a reputation wherever learning is valued, was a devout, humble-minded Christian. In his youth he had paced the quarter-deck of a man-of-war, in the capacity of midshipman, and long years after, in his dying hour, the scenes of early days came back. He fancied himself in the midst of a storm, when the goodly ship, holding by her anchors, seemed threatened with destruction, even under the shadow of the shore. Turning his languid eye upon his son, who nursed him, he asked, in the language of the ruling passion of his soul," Do I seem to drag my anchors?" The answer, "They are sure and steadfast," gave him gratifying assurance. After he had been silent for some time, and was Supposed to be speechless, a friend asked how he felt, when he promptly said, "All is well!" and forthwith left the shores of time for the fairer scenes of the eternal world. This only refuge for the soul is what we should prize above all things else: and the most important question to be settled is whether, or not, we have sought and found it.

(J. N. Norton, D. D.)

The apostle had just been speaking of "laying hold on the hope set before us," by which he seems to denote the appropriation of those various blessings which have all been procured for us by Christ. And when the apostle proceeds, in the words of our text, to describe this hope as an anchor of the soul we are to understand him as declaring that the expectation of God's favour and of the glories of heaven, through the atonement and intercession of Christ, is exactly calculated to keep us steadfast and unmoved amid all the tempests of our earthly estate.

1. Now the idea which is immediately suggested by this metaphor of the anchor is that of our being exposed to great moral peril, tossed on rough waters, and in danger of making shipwreck of our faith. And we must be well aware, if at all acquainted with ourselves and our circumstances, that such idea is in every respect accurate, and that the imagery of a tempest-tossed ship, girt about by the rock and the quicksand, as well as beaten by the hurricane, gives no exaggerated picture of the believer in Christ, as opposition, under various forms, labours at his ruin. We first observe that there is great risk of our being carried about, as an apostle expresses it, "with every wind of doctrine"; and whatever, therefore, tends to the keeping us in the right faith, in spite of gusts of error, must deserve to be characterised as an anchor of the soul. But, we may unhesitatingly declare, that there is a power, the very strongest, in the hope of salvation through Christ, of enabling us to stand firm against the incursions of heresy. The hope presupposes faith in the Saviour; and faith has reasons for the persuasion that Jesus is God's Son, and "able to save to the uttermost"; and though the individual is ready enough to probe these reasons, and to bring them to any fitting criterion, it is evident, that where faith has once taken possession, and generated hope, he has so direct and overwhelming an interest in holding fast truth, that it must be more than a specious objection or a well-turned cavil which will prevail to the loosening his grasp. We observe, next, that the believer in Christ is in as much danger of being moved by the trials with which he meets as by attacks upon his faith. But he has a growing consciousness that "all things work together for good," and therefore an increasing submissiveness in the season of tribulation, or an ever. strengthening adherence to God as to a father. And that which contributes, perhaps more than aught besides, to the producing this adherence, is the hope on which the Christian lays hold. If you study the language of David when in trouble you will find that it was hope by which he was sustained. He describes himself in terms which accurately correspond to the imagery of our text. "Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of Thy waterspouts; all Thy waves and Thy billows are gone over me." But when the tempest was thus at its height, and everything seemed to conspire to overwhelm and destroy him, he could yet say, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul! and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." It is hope, you observe, to which he turns, as the principle through which the soul might best brave the hurricane. And can we wonder that a hope, such as that of the believer in Christ, should so contribute to the steadfastness of its possessor that the winds may buffet him, and the floods beat against him, and yet he remains firm, like the well-anchored vessel? Is it the loss of property with which he is visited, and which threatens to shake his dependence upon God? Hope whispers that he has in heaven an enduring substance; and he takes joyfully the spoiling of his goods. Is it the loss of friends? He sorrows not " even as others which have no hope," but is comforted by the knowledge that " them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." Is it sickness — is it the treachery of friends — is it the failure of cherished plans, which hangs the firmament with blackness, and works the waters into fury? None of these things move him; for hope assures him that his " light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for him a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Is it death which, advancing in its awfulness, would beat down his confidence, and snap his cordage, and send him adrift? His hope is a hope full of immortality: he knows "whom he hath believed, and is persuaded that He is able to keep that which he hath committed unto Him against that day." We go on to observe that the Christian is exposed to great varieties of temptation: the passions of an evil nature, and the entirements of a "world which lieth in wickedness," conspire to draw him aside from righteousness, and force him back to the habits and scenes which he has professedly abandoned. The danger of spiritual shipwreck would be comparatively small if the sea on which he voyages were swept by no storms but those of sorrow and persecution. The risk is far greater when he is assaulted by the solicitations of his own lusts, and the corrupt affections of his nature are plied with their correspondent objects. And though it too often happens that he is overcome by temptation, we are sure that if he kept hope in exercise he would not be moved by the pleadings of the flesh and the world. Let hope be in vigour, and the Christian's mind is fixed on a portion which he can neither measure by his imagination nor be deprived of by his enemies. And now if, at a time such as this, when it may almost be said that he has entered the haven, that he breathes the fragrance, and gazes on the loveliness, and shares the delights of the Paradise of God — he be solicited to the indulgence of a lust, the sacrifice of a principle, or the pursuit of a bauble — can you think the likelihood to be great that he will be mastered by the temptation, that he will return, at the summons of some low passion, from his splendid excursion, and defile himself with the impurities of earth? We can be confident that if hope, the hope set before us in the gospel, be earnestly clung to, there will be no room in the grasp for the glittering toys with which Satan would bribe us to throw away our eternity. And therefore — to bring the matter again under the figure of our text — we can declare of hope that it ministers to Christian steadfastness, when the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, combine to produce wavering and inconstancy.

2. Now, throughout these illustrations we have rather assumed than proved that Christian hope is of a nature widely different from that of any other. But it will be easily seen that we have claimed for it nothing beyond the truth if we examine, the apostle's statement in regard of a Christian's hope, that it "entereth into that within the veil." The allusion is undoubtedly to t, he veil, or curtain, which separated the holy place from the holy of holies in the Temple at Jerusalem. By the holy of holies was typified the scene of God's immediate presence, into which Christ entered when the days of His humiliation were ended. And hence we understand by the hope, or the anchor, entering within the veil, that, in believing upon Jesus, we fasten ourselves, as it were, to the realities of the invisible world. This throws new and great light on the simile of our text. It appears that the Christian, whilst tossing on a tempestuous sea, is fast bound to another scene of being, and that, whilst the vessel is on the waters of time, the anchor is on the rock of eternity. Within the veil are laid up joys and possessions which are more than commensurate with men's capacities for happiness when stretched to the utmost. Within the veil is a glory such as was never proposed by ambition in its most daring flight; and a wealth such as never passed before avarice in its most golden dreams; and delights such as imagination, when employed in delineating the most exquisite pleasures, hath never been able to array. And Jet hope fasten on this glory, this wealth, these delights, and presently the soul, as though she felt that the objects of desire were as ample as herself, acquires a fixedness of purpose, a steadiness of aim, a combination of energies, which contrast strangely with the inconstancy, the vacillation, the distraction, which have made her hitherto the sport of every wind and every wave. The object of hope being immeasurable, inexhaustible, hope clings to this object with a tenacity which it cannot manifest when grasping only the insignificant and unsubstantial; and thus the soul is bound, we might almost say indissolubly, to the unchangeable realities of the inheritance of the saints. And can you marvel if, with her anchor thus dropped within the veil, she is not to be driven from her course by the wildest of the storms which yet rage without? Besides, within the veil is an Intercessor whose pleadings insure that these objects of hope shall be finally attained.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Entereth into that within the veil
I. LET US REGARD THE NECESSITY FOR THIS HOPE. We have to show here that there are difficulties which render Christian endurance an impossibility, apart from the sustaining power of a hope that enters within the veil.

1. There is a veil over the spiritual world. By the spiritual world I mean all the unseen realities which surround us now. He who is in the highest sense spiritual, feels the world to be a Divine temple, because he realises God in it — His infinite presence shining from the deep sky above, and His love revealed in every flower. To him Christ is everywhere, hallowing, as of old, the relationships of life, and colouring by His sympathy its struggles and its sorrows. He can reverence men, not because they are rich, or successful, or powerful, but because they are living and immortal spirits; and his standard of life is not the expedient, or the pleasurable, or the popular — but the righteousness, the truth, the love of the eternal world. Still, that world is veiled: only the eye of a strong faith can see its beauty. We are so encircled and enchained by the fleshly and material, that we can only clearly realise the eternal in moments of meditation or prayer; while the transient presses incessantly upon us, and by its strong glare absorbs us — while passion, with its coloured light, blinds the vision of the soul. Is it not evident, then, that to be faithful to thy end demands a hope that enters within the folded veil which hides from us the spiritual world?

2. There is a veil over the discipline of life. Indeed, the meaning of human life generally is profoundly veiled. Here we have often to sow in tears while the reaping is veiled — just as in the natural world we cast the seed into the ground in utter ignorance of the manner in which it will he quickened into life. The sowing is seen, the leaping may be believed in, but the connection between the two" is concealed. The sower must trust to the dark laws of nature. He cannot see the marvellous forces that cause the seed to germinate; the mysterious influences of winter snows and summer rains; the silent electric currents by which the sowing is linked to the harvest that will wave in golden glory beneath the autumnal sky. So in spiritual life. We have to live for eternity. We have to work in faith. We feel the effort, realise the duty, see the thing to be done, but the laws which cause our toil to bear fruit are as hidden and mysterious as the laws of natural life. If, then, we could not rest on a hope which enters within the veil, and in its strength believe in the certainty of the harvest, how could we be steadfast to the end?

3. There is a veil over the heaven of the future. I know of course there is a veil over its employments, relationships, locality — which how earnestly we long to pierce I But here a great problem meets us. Taking the Scripture teaching that this life is the germ of the future life; that its present discipline is but the prelude to that " exceeding weight of glory"; that this is but the bud ,,f which the future life will be the flower, how is this earthly life to develop into the blessed life of heaven? But here comes in the hope which "enterets within the veil." Just as in the natural world the inscrutable activities which darken the seed-time, and create the fear of the seed's failure, do yet mature its fruitage; so in the spiritual life the Divine law of growth is at work, though it may be hidden from us. Our life here must be imperfect, because we live for eternity, and God is causing our life and work to move on an eternal scale. We, in this "time world " see but the minute commencement of that which reaches on into the everlasting. Every true effort must have its completion.

II. But the practical question meets us — HOW CAN THIS HOPE, AS A POWER IN LIFE, RE ATTAINED? The words following our text give us the reply — "Whither the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High Priest for ever." They suggest —

1. Faith in Christ our Priest. Without that we should tremble at the drawing aside of the veil. Like the high priest of old we must be sprinkled with atoning blood before our hope can enter within it.

2. We must have fellowship with Christ our Forerunner. Don't let this become a vague idea, it leas a meaning for us which is intensely real. Remember that He is our example, inasmuch as He is a "High Priest who is touched with a feeling of our infirmities, having been tempted in all points even as we are." Remember how He struggled against temptation — how He met it by instant, unconquerable resistance, arid then " angels came and ministered unto Him." So with us. After Christ like conflict we become "more than conquerors through Him that loved us," and are strengthened with angelic hopes.

(E. L. Hull, R. A.)

There in the temple, in the day of the old Hebrew service, there hung the veil, heavy, gorgeous, mysterious itself, and in its fabrication concealing mystery; made and suspended "after the pattern given in the mount." Very glorious was the embroidery of that impressive symbol, "the purple, the blue, the scarlet, inwrought with the fine twined linen," and the forms of the golden cherubim spread over the richly coloured vesture (Exodus 26:31, 32). Thus, behind the veil, lay enshrined all the gorgeous symbols and heraldries of the Jewish history and faiths; the veil concealed their splendours, and defended their beauty — it was a parable and a mystery.

I. WHAT WAS THAT VEIL, AND WHAT DID IT SAY TO THOSE WHO BOWED PROSTRATE BEFORE IT, AND WHAT DRIES IT SAY TO US NOW? When the Jew bowed there, and heard from behind the veil the sound of the bells upon the beautiful vestments of the priest, and heard the echo of feet moving to and fro, and saw the priest stepping in whither he could not follow, lifting that veil, entering that door; what think you were the feelings of the ancient Jew? what did it all say to him? This was what it said, "Separated, separated! cut off from holiness; cut off from God." That was what it said, and the echo within the heart of the Jew said, "Separated, separated." What do you feel, and what are you able to realise now? What is that veil to us? What says the apostle? "The veil, that is to say, His flesh." Behold that broken body, behold that pierced side; this is the world's great wonder, and the church's too. That is the tree veil. It is sinful humanity which hangs between our happiness and God. It is our human nature which cannot go up into the holy of holies. Christ took up that infirm, sinful human nature, bore it, lived in it, died in it, and resumed it after He had laid it down. He took it again, glorified it, and by it " broke down the middle wall of partition contained in ordinances, and by Himself made one new man, so making peace." I look down to my nature, laden with sin, and I despair; I look up to Christ's nature, and rejoice with "joy unspeakable, and full of glory, receiving the end of my faith, even the salvation of my soul." I look down to my nature, and I see my helplessness; I look up to Christ's nature, and see my hope. I look down to my nature, and see my sin; I look up to His, and see His holiness, and I know it is mine. That veil which separated me from God, becomes now the "fine linen which is the righteousness of the saints," in which I approach him, and say, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God, for He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, and with the garments of salvation."

II. And now, WHAT IS WITHIN THE VEIL, WHAT DOES MY TEXT OR CONTEXT FIND?

1. And lift up thine heart, Christian; lilt it up, for IT is there — the immutable and the unchangeable will. We need strong consolation, and the apostle fetches the strong consolation for the heirs of promise from behind the veil. Surely I need not detain you by so trite a remark as that we stand in the midst of mystery. "The day breaks, and the shadows flee away," where we understand the body of our Lord, where we pass through that sacred veil. There is a life not to be accounted for by human conditions, and time, and space. His will is "the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever," immutable! Hence, within the veil, is God's Divine map; there is the plan to Him all known, and clearly seen; infinite consciousness, and prescience, provision, and providence — this is the everlasting and unchangeable God.

2. Within the veil. Who is within the veil? He is there. Do you find it difficult to realise it? Do you find it difficult to send your heart to Him, and to see Him? But where is He but there? Where should He be but there? "Yet a little while," said He, "and the world sooth Me no more, but ye see Me, and because I live, ye shall live also." Dying saints have seen Him. Yes, He lived, He died, He rose to be revived, and He is there waiting till He shall come without sin unto salvation.

3. Within the veil. What is there P They are there, they are there. The loved but not the lost; why, then, their loss deplore? They are there, the holy, and the immortal, and the pure, and the true. They are there! Beyond the flesh. "Where should the dying members rest?" All mystery supposes a solution of the riddle; they are beyond the enigma. All is plain now within the veil.

III. "SEEING, THEN, IT IS SO, WHAT MANNER OF PERSONS OUGHT WE TO BE?" Such is the plea of the apostle. All this veil must be dissolved. They can hear us and see us, even behind the curtain. Therefore believe, and wait, and rejoice, and aspire. Within the veil! Are not these comfortable words? Within the veil! Even now has not "the darkness passed"? Is it not true that "the true light now shineth" beyond the veil? Henry

IV. was told of the king of Spain that he had great acquisitions, and was asked what he had to say to it? He replied, "I am king of France:" but he is king of Castile; "I am king of France": but he is king of Navarre; "I am king of Franc": but he is king of Portugal; "but I am king of France: "He is king of the Sicilies; "but I am king of France": he is king of the New Indies; "but I am king of France." To he king of France answered all questions, and was to him equal to all. So thou and I, oh, Christian, have an answer for all questions, and equal to all, "within the veil." Your church is imperfect and erring, and small in the world's esteem. Ah, but "within the veil"! You are yourself dark and cloudy, and desponding, and you cannot see the promised land or the Saviour. Yes, but "within the veil!" And as with the world, so with your family; death invades and breaths in on your household, and your household loves. True, but "within the veil." And sin accuses you, and conscience stings, and beyond is the judgment-seat. But " within the veil."

(E. P. Hood.)

I. What is this "soul" of ours? Always like a barque, tossed about and sure to drift and drift, on shoals and on rocks. What a bitter picture is the history of this "soul" of ours! All unstable, and never continuing long in one strain; with no power of itself to help itself.

II. And WHERE is it? In an ocean? And all the while that soul is so rich an argosy, laden with treasures which cannot be told; bought at the highest possible price, carrying in it an eternity into the very presence of God.

III. WHAT, THEN, DO WE WANT? "An anchor." "An anchor" which is " sure" to be "steadfast."

IV. Now look at SOME OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS WONDERFUL CONNECTION OF THE "SOUL " WITH THAT "ANCHOR WITHIN THE VEIL,"

1. And first, how perfectly safe that soul must be. God's eternal counsel, God's very being, and God's oath passing into Christ. A Christ unseen; wearing a body Himself in heaven; who secures and seals your pardon. Your strength, your peace, your life, your glory.

2. Then how restful should your soul so "anchored" be! What mean all these doubts and fears? What though you be tossed about, you are held as by chains of adamant, and your soul shall never perish! You cannot be lost! There cannot be any shipwreck to a soul that is "anchored" "within the veil."

3. And by that token that you are "anchored," you cannot be very far from shore. You may not see the land of promise; you may not yet hear the songs of its inhabitants; but there is no anchorage out in the mid-sea, you must be near the coast, nearer perhaps than you guess now, in this dark night; but you will be surprised to find how close you are all the while when the morning breaks. Therefore you must make haste to be ready to go ashore, for the voyage may be nearly done, and you only wait the order to step out, and be at home.

4. Meanwhile, remember this, a ship always drops towards her anchor. And before you land you must be nearing and nearing Christ and heaven: your thoughts there, your focus there, your tastes and your desires there; and your "hope" must become more real and more perfect every day. There must be more realisation of the land you are about to touch; more affections there; more appreciation of its loveliness; more familiarity with its language, and love, and praise. You must be practising what you will have to do when you arrive.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

The nearness of heaven is suggested by the epithet " veil." A veil is the thinnest and frailest of all conceivable partitions. It is but a fine tissue, a delicate fabric of embroidery. It waves in the wind; the touch of a child may stir it; an accident may rend it; the silent action of time will moulder it away. A mere cord breaking, a mere" socket of silver " starting from its place would have opened the veil of the temple. It was lifted up by the priest " once in the circuit of a year"; and at the crucifixion it was parted by an invisible hand. The veil that conceals heaven is only our embodied existence, and though fearfully and wonderfully made, it is only wrought out of our frail mortality. So slight is it that the puncture of a thorn, the touch of an insect's sting, the breath of an infected atmosphere, may make it shake and fall. In a bound, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, in the throb of a pulse, in the flash of a thought, we may start into disembodied spirits, glide unabashed into the company of great and mighty angels, pass into the light and amazement of eternity, know the great seer, t, gaze upon splendours which flesh and blood could not sustain, and which no words lawful for man to utter could describe!

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

The Forerunner is for us entered.
I. There is A PLACE referred to, here. "Within the veil " is heaven, the shrine and dwelling-place of Deity. This is the goal of the believer's sanctified ambition, the very consummation of his best and holiest desires — to enter in within the veil, to gaze on the unclouded glories of Jehovah's face, and dwell forever with Him.

II. There is THE PERSON who has entered within the veil, even Jesus, by whom an entrance has been effected. To tell one of any one of my fellow-men, who has passed from earth to heaven, does not that proclaim that a way has been opened up into the holiest of all; that there is no impassable gulf, no insuperable barrier in the way, but that an entrance may in like manner be ministered to a great multitude? How much more so, that it is Jesus who has entered in! For none ever loved us like Jesus; never heart glowed and yearned like the heart of Jesus; and we may well feel assured that wherever He is, He will never forget us; and that He will be found just as willing to help us in heaven as He showed Himself to be walling to help us on earth.

III. There is THE CHARACTER HE SUSTAINS in thus entering; it is as a Forerunner for us. This character is not personal, but official and mediatorial; and therefore it exerts a pregnant influence upon all His people.

1. As a Forerunner He announces our future arrival in heaven. He makes it known that in coming up from this dim and distant region, where for a season He had dwelt, He comes as a pioneer on the march, — that His footsteps will be followed by myriads of the ransomed, so that from that day forward all heaven has been in an attitude of expectation.

2. As the Forerunner He takes possession of heaven on our behalf; for He enters in our nature and in our name.

3. As a Forerunner He bids His people welcome when they come, and presents them before His Father, and assigns them their position in the new Jerusalem. It is enough to insure to us no ordinary place in the affection and regard of the unfallen, to find that we are ushered in and welcomed there as friends of Jesus; to sustain a right relation t- Jesus is to stand right with all the upper universe of God. Above all, what a gracious reception will it insure to us from God the Father! None so dear to God as Jesus, and next to Jesus none so dear to Him as those who are His.

(Thee. Main, D. D.)

The expression, "Forerunner," here made use of by the apostle, is a military one, and refers to the custom which obtains in days of warfare, of the victor in a hard-fought battle despatching a messenger to the seat of government with the news of the successful valour which the army had displayed, that at head-quarters the welcome intelligence might be proclaimed, and purposes formed, and plans executed, and honours awarded, that might be meet and congruous with the happy results which had been achieved. No doubt, on such an occasion, a forerunner is generally inferior to those who come after him, under whose skilful management tee victorious prowess has been put forth; and he is so because he is a forerunner, and nothing more. Thus restricted, however, the term has no meaning when applied to Jesus Christ; for though He be the Forerunner of His people, yet the splendour of His character in this respect is to be traced to the circumstance that He is much more. Upon His shoulders was laid the conducting of that matter, on account of which He is now entered as a Precursor within the veil. He fought the battle; He slew the enmity; and He was Himself the Forerunner, because of the greatness of that which He had accomplished, and because it was not fit either that the enunciation, or the following of it up, should be committed to another.

I. CHRIST IS OUR FORERUNNER ENTERED IN WITHIN THE VEIL. We have several notices given to us in Scripture that the scheme of human redemption did ever excite great interest among the heavenly inhabitants — that it is a subject on which their curiosity is awakened, and their emotions roused, and their inquiries set on foot — that its commencement, its progress, its consummation, are apprehended as important, and felt as attractive, and worthy of the most solicitous investigation. Now, this desire was gratified on Christ's visible departure out of the world, in the form of a literal ascent — on His entrance within the veil as the Forerunner of His people; and this is the first view that we may take of His character in this respect. He went into heaven proclaiming what He had done upon earth — that He had finished transgression — that He had made an end of sin — that He had brought in an everlasting righteousness — that He had sealed up the vision and the prophecy which did centre in Him — that, having sustained the pressure of avenging justice, He opened up a medium of access, a door even to the most rebellious — that, by virtue of His blood, He had obtained remission for sinners, paid the price of redemption for those who were captives, made reconciliation for enemies — that, in harmony with God's attributes, and even while He did conserve the sacredness of His law, He had redeemed, from the power of all who did hate her, the Church whom He had eternally chosen — that he had delivered her from the dominion of sin, from the final dominion of death, and made that which was the fruit and punishment of transgression the door through which she enters on the sanctuary of immortality. Such is the intelligence with which Christ, as our Forerunner, has entered into that within the veil. And the very act of His going up did presuppose and ratify to them the most important truths, that He led captivity captive, just because He had ascended up on high. But again, our Lord has entered as a Forerunner within the veil, and there Be ever liveth. Now, there is a threefold life which Christ lives above. There is a life which He has as the Eternal Son of God, the life which belongs to His Divine nature; for as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself — given it to Him by eternal generation — given it to Him by communicating all His own attributes. There is also a life which belongs to Him, and which He doth live for Himself, in consequence of His having become man — a life of glory inconceivable in His nature as man. But, over and above these two different kinds of life which the Lord Jesus Christ doth enjoy, and which shall never come to an end, there is a life which He leads as Mediator in heaven, and in respect of which it is that He is a Forerunner within the veil. Though removed beyond the cognisance of the senses, He is still carrying on His great work in heaven, and is there the Prophet, Priest, and King of His Church as really and as effectively as when He dwelt upon earth. He died on our account, He liveth still on our account, and is entrusted with all power for the service of His Church; and though this life differs not essentially from that life of glory in His human nature which He liveth for Himself, it yet so far differs from it that it shall one day have an end. He will throughout eternity enjoy the life which He possesses as a Divine Being, He will throughout eternity e-joy the life which He possesses in His glorified human nature; but His life as Mediator, His life as a Forerunner, He shall cease to have when the work of His mediation shall have been finished, when the elect shall all have been gathered into the fold of the Good Shepherd, and the kingdom delivered up to God, even the Father. And what is it that, in this view of His character as a Forerunner, He is not fitted to procure? Are we not to trace to it all the gifts which are bestowed on the Church in general, for common edification, and on each member of it singly, for His particular benefit?

II. LESSONS in which this great truth is fitted to instruct us: —

1. This view of Christ's character is a proof of the perfection of His atonement. Can it for one moment be imagined that He should in this manner have been taken up, had there been any defect in His redeeming work, bad it come short in anything which the fitness of a righteous Government could require.

2. A forerunner, one who goes before, suggests the idea of some who are to follow after.

(John Paul.)

The forerunner of the ancient ship was the Anehorarius, the man who had charge of the anchor, and who carried it within the harbour, when there was not yet water sufficient to float the ship into it.

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

1. Is Christ gone before to heaven? Then let us be willing to follow Him in the way of obedience, and in the way of suffering, as well as to meet Him in the end.

2. To make haste after Him. Did He fly as an eagle towards heaven, and shall we creep like a snail? Is not the bosom of Christ more desirable than the arms of our dearest friends? Shall we not enjoy all comforts in the enjoyment of our Comforter?

3. Let our hearts at present be with Him. Oh[ where should our hearts be, but where our Head is?

(W. Burkitt, M. A.)

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