"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

On Divine Hope by Richard Challoner, 1807

On Divine Hope 
by Richard Challoner, 1807

Consider first, that Hope is also a theological or divine virtue, and is no less necessary than faith to our eternal salvation. As by faith we believe in God, so by hope we put our whole trust in Him. Faith builds itself upon God's truth; hope builds itself upon His power, goodness, promises, and mercy. 
Faith believes all He teaches as coming from the sovereign truth, that cannot deceive nor be deceived; hope looks for all good from Him, as the inexhausted source of all good, with an assured confidence. that he will not fail on His part of showing mercy, giving grace, and imparting salvation to us, through Jesus Christ, if we fail not on our part, of applying to Him in a proper manner, and performing the conditions He requires of us. This divine virtue produces many excellent fruits; it comforts the soul under all the afflictions of this life, it supports her under all her labours, it encourages her to go on with vigour in her mortal pilgrimage, it raises her above this miserable world and all its toys, and fixes her heart in heaven. It is styled by the Apostle, Heb. vi. 19. "the anchor of the soul, sure and firm," (not fastened in the earth, but in Heaven "entering in, even within the veil," to the true sanctuary, where our "high priest Jesus Christ is entered for us," and there fixed in God Himself. O happy anchor, which keeps our souls ever steady in the midst of all the storms we are liable to in this boisterous sea of the world, and by the help of which they are raised up to God!

Consider 2dly, that divine hope keeps the golden mean between the two extremes, of despair on the one hand and presumption on the other, both of them reckoned amongst the sins against the Holy Ghost; because of their obstructing in a particular manner all the motions and graces of this divine spirit! despair, by wholly giving up the cause of God and the soul; and presumption, by rashly expecting salvation, without complying with the necessary conditions, or using the means for it. Despair shuts out the Holy Ghost, by wilfully shutting up the gate of prayer, and excluding all other means of grace; and presumption, by setting up a way to Heaven opposite to His divine appointments, and in which His grace will have no share. See my soul, thou fly these two rocks, both of them infinitely injurious to thy God, and destructive of divine hope. Never give thyself up to despondence or despair, seeing thou hast so good a God, so rich in mercies towards all that call upon Him, who has redeemed thee with the precious blood of His own Son, and who has promised all good through Him, to all such as properly apply for it. But then beware also of the opposite extreme of presuming upon what He has not promised, or expecting to come to Him by walking in a way that leads from Him.

Consider 3dly, that divine hope, as well as faith, serves very much for the arming the soul for her spiritual warfare, and for the overthrowing of all her enemies; because by the means of this virtue, we are "strengthened in the Lord, and the power of His might," Eph. vi. 10 ; we exchange our weakness for His almighty strength and power; and having our God with us and for us, we run to the combat with vigour and courage, and fight our way to heaven, in spite not only of flesh and blood, but of all the legions of hell. Yes, my soul, put thy whole trust in God, and thou wilt ever be victorious in all thy conflicts; He never forsakes them that put their whole trust in Him. Divine nope never confoundeth. "'Tis the helmet of salvation," which protects our head against the enemy, by covering it, as it were, with the Divinity itself, whose divine word and honour is engaged to stand by, and defend all such as put their trust in Him.

Conclude ever to pray and labour for this divine virtue of hope, the sweet companion of thy pilgrimage and safeguard in all dangers. She will teach thee to keep close to God, and engage Him to keep close to thee.

Hope is a firm expectation that one will be granted the means of salvation and will attain eternal happiness. It is based, not on a conviction of one's own power to achieve salvation, but on trust in God's promises and His mercy.

Prayer for Hope

O my God, relying on Thy almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen