ROMANS, v, 5.

"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us."

You are already, we trust, enough familiarized to the distinction that has been offered between the hope of faith and the hope of experience. God promises to all who trust in Him, that He will give them an inheritance on the other side of death; and that He will also give them, in the shape of certain personal graces and endowments, an earnest of the inheritance on this side of it. On the very first moment that you hear these promises, if you believe in the honesty of both, you will hope for the fulfilment of both; and this is the hope of faith. Should the promise that is of earlier fulfilment come to pass at its proper time, this will be to you a satisfactory confirmation of your first belief, and of the hope that comes out of it; and you will look forward with surer anticipation than ever, to the latter of the two fulfllments. This is the hope of experience - a hope that brightens with the growth of grace on the person of the believer; and with every new finding within himself of the working of that Spirit of holiness, by which he is made meet for the everlasting abodes of holiness. In this way, there is formed a distinct and subsequent ground of hope, additional to the original one. The original ground was your faith in the honesty of the promiser, that He would fulfil all His engagements. The additional ground is your actual experience of His punctuality, in having liquidated those of His engagements which had become due. It operates like a first instalment, which, when paid with perfect readiness and sufficiency, certainly brightens all the hope of a thorough fulfilment of the various articles of agreement, which you had when it was first entered upon. And thus it is that, though there is a hope in the second verse that is appended immediately to your faith in God - there is also a hope in the fourth verse, that has been wrought in you by experience.

You must also be sensible what the effect would have been, had there been a failure instead of a fulfilment of that promise, which falls to be accomplished first. It would have darkened and overthrown, not merely your hope of the near, but also your hope of all the ulterior good things that you had been led to depend upon. There is nothing which brings the feeling of shame more directly into the mind, than the failure of some confident or too fondly indulged expectation. " They shall be greatly ashamed that trust in graven images." "They shall not be ashamed that wait for me." And lest," says the apostle, " we should be ashamed in this same confident boasting."

"Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us". The love of God may signify either our love to God, as in the passage - " this is the Love of God that ye keep his commandments;" or it may signify God's love to us, as in the passage - " In this was manifested the love of God towards us, bccause that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that. we might live through him." In the verse under consideration, we apprehend that the love of God must be taken according to the latter signification. It is thus that, speaking strictly and literally, one being when kind to another, sheds upon him the fruits of that kindness, rather than the kindness itself. But the use of language has been so far extended, as to admit of the latter expression. It is quite according to established usage to say, "I have received much kindness from another, though I have properly received nothing but his money or his attentions or his patronage. And in like manner, do I receive love from God when I receive the Holy Ghost. And as a beneficent proprietor is said to shed abroad of his liberality among the habitations of the poor, when he causes food or raiment or fuel to enter into their houses - so does God shed abroad of His love in our hearts, when He sends the Holy Ghost to take up His residence, and there to rule by His influences.

It is through the Spirit of God, that the spirit of man is borne up in the midst of adversities. It is He who upholds the perseverance of a disciple, when all that is around him lowrs and looks disrnal. It is He who causes a luminousness to rest on those eternal prospects, which are seen afar, through the dark vista of a pilgrimage which is lined on the right hand and on the left, with sorrows innumerable. It is when a bitterness comes upon man which is only known to his own heart, that a secret balm is often infused along with it, with the joy of which a stranger does not intermeddle. There is a history of the soul that is unseen I by every eye, but intimately known and felt by its conscious proprietor; and often can he testify of a tribulation that would have overwhelmed him to the death, had not a powerful influence from on high supported him under it. And when the season of it at length passes over his agitated spirit, and leaves the fruit of a solid peace, and an augmented righteousness behind it - you perceive, how in him the process is exemplified, of tribulation working. in him a more strenuous perseverance in all the habits and principles of Christianity; and of perseverance working in him such an experience of himself, as argues his state of discipline and preparation for another world; and of this experience working in him the hope that He who thus fulfils upon him, the guidance in time that He has promised, will finally bestow upon him the glory He has promised in eternity.

He, says the apostle, who hath wrought us for immortality is God, who hath also given to us the earnest of the Spirit, and therefore we are confident.
It is very true, that an early fulfilment is often the satisfying token of some later fulfilment; and that grace imparted to us on this side of death, is a pledge of glory being conferred upon us on the other side of death; and, in particular, that the Holy Ghost, bestowed upon us so as to work a meetness for the inheritance, is symptomatic of our future transhation into the inheritance itself, and thus superadds the hope of experience to the hope of faith. But you must remark, that the very hope of faith, the hope which you conceive at the outset of your belief in the gospel, is wrought in you by the same Holy Ghost. It is not of yourself - it is the gift of God. It was by demonstration of the Spirit, that your eyes were opened at the first to perceive the truth of the promises; and by a fuller demonstration He can make you see this still more clearly, and rejoice in it still more confidently than before.

The effect then of an additional and subsequent supply of this divine influence, is, not merely to furnish you with a pledge upon earth of the preferment that awaits you in heaven, and so to furnish you with a new ground of hope upon the subject, even the ground of experience; but it is also to brighten the ground upon which all your hope rested originally, even the ground of faith. It is to give you a more full and satisfying manifestation of the direct truth of God in the gospel than before. The Holy Ghost does not merely put into your hand another and a distinct hold, by giving you in the performance of an earlier promise, a proof of the sureness with which the later promise shall be performed also; but He strengthens the hold which you had by faith upon the promises, prior to all experimental confirmation of them in your own personal history. He does not merely supply that evidence for the truth of the gospel promise which is seen by the eye of experience; but He also casts an additional light on the evidence that you had at the first, and which is only be seen by the eye of faith. Never, in the course of the believer's pilgrimage, never does the hope of experience supersede the hope of faith. So far from this, in the very proportion that experience grows in breadth, does faith grow in brightness. And it is this last which still constitutes the sheet-anchor of his soul, and forms the main aliment of its peace and joy and righteousness. It is well, that, on looking inwardly to himself, he sees the growing lineaments of such a grace and such a character forming upon his person, as vouch him to be ripening for eternity. But, along wilh this process, will he also look outwardly upon God in Christ; and there see, in constantly increasing manifestation, the truth and the mercy and the unchangeableness of his reconciled Father, as by far the firmest and stablest guarantees of his future destiny. The same agent, in fact, who brings about the one effect, brings about the other. He causes you not merely to see yourself to be an epistle of the Spirit of God, and to read thereon the marks of your personal interest in the promises; but He also causes you to see these promises as standing in the outward record, invested with a light and an honesty and a freeness, which you did not see at the first revelation of them - so that it is not only the hope of experience which is furnished you anew, as you proceed on the career of actual Christianity; but, in proportion to your advancement on this career, are you also made to abound more and more in the hope of faith, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Thus we trust, you perceive, that the good works and the graces of personal religion, not merely supply you with fresh evidences for your hope, but also brighten your original ones. They cast backwards as it were a good reflex influence on the faith from which they emanated. It is said of the Holy Ghost, that He is given to those who obey him. Follow out the impulse of a conscience which He hath enlightened in every practical business that you have on hand; and you will find, as the result of it, a larger supply of that light which makes clearer than before, all those truths and promises of Christianity, on which a firm dependence may be laid by an act of believing. It is thus too that, if you keep the sayings of Christ, He will manifest Himself; and though works are of no value unless they are wrought in faith, yet the very doing of them is followed up by such larger revelations of the truth and doctrine of God, that by works is your faith made perfect.
Give us a man walking in darkness, and having no light, from whose mind the comfort of the promises is fading away, and whose fits of thought and pensiveness speak him to be on the borders of some deep approaching melancholy. It is sin in all probability that has conducted him onwards to this mental dejection; and that not merely by its having obliterated those traces of personal character, the observation of which, had at one time wrought the hope of experience in his bosom - but by its having grieved and exiled the Holy Spirit for a season, whose office as a Revealer and as a Remernbrancer of all truth, is therefore suspended, and who has therefore left the tenement of his heart desolate and uncheered by that hope of faith, which shone in a beam of gladness on the very outset of his Christianity. For the treatment of such a spiritual patient, we are often bidden tell him of the fulness that there is in Christ; and tell him of the power which lies in His blood, for turning guilt of the most crimson dye into the snow-white of purest innocence; and to tell him of the perfect willingness that there is in God, to hold out to him over the mercy-seat the sceptre of forgiveness by the touching of which it is, that he enters anew into reconciliation before Him.
And it is right, it is indispensably right, to tell him of all this; but we would tell him more. The voice of man, if the visitations of the Spirit do not go along with it, will not force an entrance, even for these welcome accents of mercy, into the heart that lie had so recently abandoned. And, to win the return of this gracious and all-powerful monitor, we would bid him work for it. We would tell him, that it is by toiling and striving and pains- taking, he must recover the distance which he has lost, and call the departed light and departed influence back again. If there be a remaining sense of duty in his heart, we bid him work with all his might to prosecute its suggestions; and never cease to ply his labours of obedience till He, who still it appears is whispering through the organ of conscience what he ought to do, shall be so far satisfied with the probation, as again to shed a sufficient manifestation on the doctrines which he must never cease to contemplate. And this not merely to restore to him the hope of experience, but to revive in him the hope of faith; and, full of penitential labour as well as of penitential rneditation, to make his light break forth again as in the morning, and his health to spring forth speedily.

This holds out to us another view of the indissoluble alliance, that obtains between the faith of Christianity and the obedience of Christianity. It is not saying all for this, to say that the former originates the latter. It is saying still more to say that the latter strengthens and irradiates the former. The genuine faith of the gospel never can encourage sin; for sin expels that Spirit from our hearts, who perpetuates and keeps alive faith in them. And by every act of disobedience, there is a wound inflicted on the peace and joy, which a belief in the gospel ministers to the soul. It is by practically walking up to the suggestions of this heavenly monitor, that we brighten within us all His influences; and thus, as the result of a strict and holy practice, is there a clearer and fuller light reflected back again, on the very first principles from which it emanated - so that Antinomianism, after all, is very much an affair of theory, and can only be exemplified in the lives of those who either profess the faith; or imagine that they possess it, when they are utter strangers to it. The real faith which is unto salvation, not only originates all the virtues of the gospel; but, should these virtues decay into annihilation, it also would fall back again to non-existence along with them; and, on the other hand, does it uniformly grow with the growth, and strengthen with the strength of a man's practical Christianity.

On two distinct grounds therefore, do we urge on every believer, a most persevering strenuousness, under every temptation and difficulty, in all the ways of righteousness. The first is, that he may brighten his personal evidences, of being indeed one of those whom God is enriching and beautifying with grace in time; and thus will he strengthen that basis on which the hope of experience rests, when it looks forward to a preferment of glory in eternity. The second is, that he may strengthen that very faith, by which he relied at the first on the promises both of grace here, and of glory hereafter, for, after all, it is by faith he stands; and the whole of his spiritual life will forthwith go into decay, should he only look to the hope reflected from himself, instead of drawing it direct and in chief abundance from the Saviour. An exuberance of fresh and healthy blossom upon a tree, affords a cheering promise of the fruit that may be expected from it. But what should we think of the soundness of that man's anticipations, who should cut across the stem because he thought it independent of the root, which both sent forth this beauteous effiorescence and can alone conduct it to full and finished maturity? And the same of spiritual as of natural husbandry. Were there no foliage, no fruit could be looked for- yet still it is union with the root, which produced the one and will bring on the other. And, in like manner, if there be no foliage of grace in time, there will be no fruit of glory in eternity. But still it is by abiding in Christ, that the whole process is begun, and carried forward, and will at length be perfected. Give up the hope of faith, because you have now the hope of experience; and you imitate precisely the man, whom the leaves had made so sanguine of his drest and supported vine which he had trained along the wall, that he cut asunder the stem and trusted to the abundance of his foliage. And therefore we reiterate in your hearing, that the hold of faith is never to be let go; and that from Christ, who ministers all the nourishment which comes to the branches, you are never to sever yourselves; and that the habit of believing prayer, which is the great and perpetual ahiment of all virtuous practice, is never to be given up; and thus it is, that, let the hope of the 4th verse brighten to any conceivable extent upon you, from the light which is reflected by your person - yet still it is the faith by which you are justified, and the hope of the 2nd verse directly emanating therefrom, that form the radical elements of your sanctification here, and your meetness for the inhentance hereafter.
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