the glamour of the inaugural week, that a lot of Americans

To kindle then, to quicken, and to anchor your hope, my brethren, may I have God's help to speak for a little longer to your hearts concerning this neglected grace! For, what is hope? Hope is a passion of the soul, wise or foolish, to be ashamed of or to be proud of, just according to the thing hoped for, and just according to the grounds of the hope. Hope is made up of these two ingredients--desire and expectation. What we greatly desire we take no rest till we find good grounds on which to build up our expectations of it; and when we have found good grounds for our expectations, then a glad hope takes possession of our hearts. Now, to begin with, how is it with your desires? You are afraid to say much about your expectations and your hopes. Well; let us come to your hearts' desires.--Men of God, I will enter into your hearts and I will tell you your hearts' desires better than you know them yourselves; for the heart is deceitful above all things. The time was, when, like this young pilgrim before he became a pilgrim, your desires were all set on houses, and lands, and places, and honours, and preferments, and wives, and children, and silver, and gold, and what not. These things at one time were the utmost limit of your desires. But that has all been changed. For now you have begun to desire a better city, that is, an heavenly. What is your chief desire for this New Year? { 2} Is it not a new heart? Is it not a clean heart? Is it not a holy heart? Is it not that the Holy Ghost would write the golden rule on the tables of your heart? Does not God know that it is the deepest desire of your heart to be able to love your neighbour as yourself? To be able to rejoice with him in his joy as well as to weep with him in his sorrow? What would you not give never again to feel envy in your heart at your brother, or straitness and pining at his prosperity? One thing do I desire, said the Psalmist, that mine ear may be nailed to the doorpost of my God: that I may always be His servant, and may never wander from His service. Now, that is your desire too. I am sure it is. You would not say it of yourself, but I defy you to deny it when it is said about you. Well, then, such things being found among your desires, what grounds have you for expecting the fulfilment of such desires? What grounds? The best of grounds and every ground. For you have the sure ground of God's word. And you have more than His word: you have His very nature, and the very nature of things. For shall God create such desires in any man's heart only to starve and torture that man? Impossible! It were blasphemy to suspect it. No. Where God has made any man to be so far a partaker of the Divine nature as to change all that man's deepest desires, and to turn them from vanity to wisdom, from earth to heaven, and from the creature to the Creator, doubt not, wherever He has begun such a work, that He will hasten to finish it. Yes; lift up your heavy hearts, all ye who desire such things, for God hath sent His Son to say to you, Blessed are ye that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for ye shall be filled. Only, keep desiring. Desire every day with a stronger and a more inconsolable desire. Desire, and ground your desire on God's word, and then heave your hope like an anchor within the veil whither the Forerunner is for you entered. May I so hope? you say. May I venture to hope? Yes; not only may you hope, but you must hope. You are commanded to hope. It is as much your bounden duty to hope always, and to hope for the greatest and best things, as it is to repent of your sins, to love God and your neighbour, to keep yourself pure, and to set a watch on the door of your lips. You have been destroyed, I confess and lament it, for lack of knowledge about the nature, the grounds, and the duty of hope. But make up now for past neglect. Hope steadfastly, hope constantly, hope boldly; hope for the best things, the greatest things, the most divine and the most blessed things. If you forget to-night all else you have heard to-day, I implore you not any longer to forget and neglect this, that hope is your immediate, constant, imperative duty. No sin, no depth of corruption in your heart, no assault on your heart from your conscience, can justify you in ceasing to hope. Even when trouble "comes tumbling over the neck of all your reformations" as it came tumbling on Hopeful, let that only drive you the more deeply down into the true grounds of hope; even against hope rejoice in hope. Remember the Psalmist in the hundred-and-thirtieth Psalm,--down in the deeps, if ever a fallen sinner was. Yet hear him when you cannot see him saying: I hope in Thy word! And--for it is worthy to stand beside even that splendid psalm,--I beseech you to read and lay to heart what Hopeful says about himself in his conversion despair.

the glamour of the inaugural week, that a lot of Americans

And then, as if to justify that hope, there always come with it such sanctifying influences and such sure results. The hope that you are one day to awaken in the Divine likeness will make you lie down on your bed every night in self-examination, repentance, prayer, and praise. The hope that your eyes are one day to see Christ as He is will make you purify yourself as nothing else will. The hope that you are to walk with Christ in white will make you keep your garments clean; it will make you wash them many times every day in the blood of the Lamb. The hope that you are to cast your crown at His feet will make you watch that no man takes your crown from you. The hope that you are to drink wine with Him in His Father's kingdom will reconcile you meanwhile to water, lest with your wine you stumble any of His little ones. The hope of hearing Him say, Well done!--how that will make you labour and endure and not faint! And the hope that you shall one day enter in through the gates into the city, and have a right to the tree of life,--how scrupulous that will make you to keep all His commandments! And this is one of His commandments, that you gird up the loins of your mind, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

the glamour of the inaugural week, that a lot of Americans

"They are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away."--Our Lord.

the glamour of the inaugural week, that a lot of Americans

"Well, then, did you not know about ten years ago one Temporary in your parts who was a forward man in religion? Know him! replied the other. Yes. For my house not being above three miles from his house he would ofttimes come to me, and that with many tears. Truly I pitied the man, and was not altogether without hope of him; but one may see that it is not every one who cries Lord, Lord. And now, since we are talking about him, let us a little inquire into the reason of the sudden backsliding of him and such others. It may be very profitable, said Christian, but do you begin. Well, then, there are in my judgment several reasons for it." And then, with the older man's entire approval, Hopeful sets forth several reasons, taken from his own observation of backsliders, why so many men's religion is such a temporary thing; why so many run well for a time, and then stand still, and then turn back.

1. The fear of man bringeth a snare, said Hopeful, moralising over his old acquaintance Temporary. And how true that observation is every evangelical minister knows to his deep disappointment. A young man comes to his minister at some time of distress in his life, or at some time of revival of religion in the community, or at an ordinary communion season, and gives every sign that he is early and fairly embarked on an honourable Christian life. He takes his place in the Church of Christ, and he puts out his hand to her work, till we begin to look forward with boastfulness to a life of great stability and great attainment for that man. Our Lord, as we see from so many of His parables, must have had many such cases among His first followers. Our Lord might be speaking prophetically, as well as out of His own experience, so well do His regretful and lamenting words fit into so many of our own cases to- day. For, look at that young business man. He has been born and brought up in the Church of Christ. He has gladdened more hearts than he knows by the noble promise of his early days. Many admiring and loving eyes have been turned on him as he took so hopefully the upward way. But a sifting-time soon comes. A time of temptation comes. A time comes when sides must be taken in some moral, religious, ecclesiastical controversy. This young man is at that moment a candidate for a post that will bring distinction, wealth, and social influence to him who holds it. And the candidate we are so much interested in is admittedly a man of such outstanding talents that he would at once get the post were it not that the holder of that post must not have his name so much associated with such and such a church, such and such political and religious opinions, and such and such public men. He is told that. Indeed, he is not so dull as to need to be told that. He has seen that all along. And at first it is a dreadful wrench to him. He feels how far he is falling from his high ideals in life; and, at first, and for a long time, it is a dreadful humiliation to him. But, then, there are splendid compensations. And, better than that, there are some good, and indeed compelling, reasons that begin to rise up in our minds when we need them and begin to look for them, till what at first seemed so mean and so contemptible, and so ungrateful, and so dishonourable, as well as so spiritually perilous, comes to be faced and gone through with positively on a ground of high principle, and, indeed, of stern moral necessity. So deceitful is the human heart that you could not believe what compelling reasons such a mean-spirited man will face you with as to why he should leave all the ways he once so delighted in for a piece of bread, and for the smile of the open enemies of his church, and his faith, not to say his Saviour. You will meet with several such men any afternoon coming home from their business. Sometimes they have still some honest shame on their faces when they meet you; but still oftener they pass you with a sullen hatred and a fierce defiance. This is he who heard the word, and anon with joy received it. Yet had he not root in himself, but dured for a while; for when tribulation or persecution arose because of the word by and by he was offended. They went out from us, says John, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

2. Guilt, again, Hopeful went on, and to meditate terror, are so grievous to most men, that they rather choose such ways as will but harden their hearts still more and more. You all know what it is to meditate terror? "Thine heart shall meditate terror," says the prophet, "when thou sayest to thyself, who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" The fifty-first Psalm is perhaps the best meditation both of guilt and of terror that we have in the whole Bible. But there are many other psalms and passages of psalms only second to the fifty-first Psalm, such as the twenty-second, the thirty- eighth, the sixty-ninth, and the hundred-and-thirtieth. Our Lord Himself also was meditating terror in the garden of Gethsemane, and Paul both guilt and terror when he imagined himself both an apostate preacher and a castaway soul. And John's meditations of terror in the Revelation rose into those magnificent pictures of the Last Judgment with which he has to all time covered the walls of the Seven Churches. In his own Grace Abounding there are meditations of terror quite worthy to stand beside the most terrible things of that kind that ever were written, as also in many others of our author's dramatical and homiletical books. I read to you the other Sabbath morning a meditation of terror that was found among Bishop Andrewes' private papers after his death. You will not all have forgotten that meditation, but I will read it to you to-night again. "How fearful," says Andrewes, in his terror, "will Thy judgment be, O Lord, when the thrones are set, and the angels stand around, and men are brought in, and the books are opened, and all our works are inquired into, and all our thoughts are examined, and all the hidden things of darkness! What, O God, shall Thy judgment that day be upon me? Who shall quench my flame, who shall lighten my darkness, if Thou pity me not? Lord, as Thou art loving, give me tears, give me floods of tears, and give me all that this day, before it be too late. For then will be the incorruptible Judge, the horrible judgment-seat, the answer without excuse, the inevitable charge, the shameful punishment, the endless Gehenna, the pitiless angels, the yawning hell, the roaring stream of fire, the unquenchable flame, the dark prison, the rayless darkness, the bed of live coals, the unwearied worm, the indissoluble chains, the bottomless chaos, the impassable wall, the inconsolable cry. And none to stand by me; none to plead for me; none to snatch me out." Now, no Temporary ever possessed anything like that in his own handwriting among his private papers. A meditation like that, written out with his own hand, and hidden away under lock and key, will secure any man from it, even if he had been appointed to backsliding and reprobation. Bishop Andrewes, as any one will see who reads his Private Devotions, was the chief of sinners; but his discovered and deciphered papers will all speak for him when they are spread out before the great white throne, "glorious in their deformity, being slubbered," as his editors say, "with his pious hands, and watered with his penitential tears."

Thomas Shepard's Ten Virgins is the most terrible book upon Temporaries that ever was written. Temporaries never once saw their true vileness, he keeps on saying. Temporaries are, no doubt, wounded for sin sometimes, but never in the right place nor to the right depth. And again, sin, and especially heart-sin, is never really bitter to Temporaries. In an "exhortation to all new beginners, and so to all others," "Be sure," Shepard says, "your wound for sin at first is deep enough. For all the error in a man's faith and sanctification springs from his first error in his humiliation. If a man's humiliation be false, or even weak or little, then his faith and his hold of Christ are weak and little, and his sanctification counterfeit. But if a man's wound be right, and his humiliation deep enough, that man's faith will be right and his sanctification will be glorious. The esteem of Christ is always little where sin lies light." And Hopeful himself says a thing at this point that is quite worthy of Shepard himself, such is its depth and insight. He speaks of the righteous actually LOVING the sight of their misery. He does not explain what he means by that startling language because he is talking all the time, as he knows quite well, to one who understood all that before he was born. Nor will I attempt to explain or to vindicate what he says. Those of you who love the sight of your own misery as sinners will understand what Hopeful says without any explanation; while those who do not understand him would only be the more stumbled by any explanation of him. The love of the sight of their misery, and the unearthly sweetness of their sorrow for sin, are only another two of those provoking paradoxes of which the lives of God's true saints are full--paradoxes and impossibilities and incoherencies that make the literature of experimental religion to be positively hateful and unbearable to Temporary and to all his self-seeking and apostate kindred.

3. But even where the consciences of such men are occasionally awakened, proceeds Hopeful, in his so searching discovery of Temporaries, yet their minds are not changed. There you are pretty near the business, replied his fellow; for the bottom of all is, for want of a change of their mind and will. Now, one would have been afraid and ashamed for one moment to suspect that Temporary's mind was not completely changed, so "forward" was he at first in his religion. But, no: forward before all his neighbours as Temporary was, to begin with, yet all the time his mind was not really changed. His forwardness did not properly spring out of his true mind at all, but only out of his momentarily awakened conscience and his momentarily excited heart. A sinner with a truly changed mind is never forward. His mind is so changed that forwardness in anything is utterly alien to it, and especially all forwardness in the profession of religion. The change that had taken place in Temporary, whatever was the seat of it, only led him to bully men like Christian and Hopeful, who would not go fast enough for him. "Come," said Pliable, in the beginning of the book, "come on and let us mend our pace." "I cannot go so fast as I would," humbly replied Christian, "because of this burden on my back." It is a common observation among mountaineers that he who takes the hill at the greatest spurt is the last climber to come to the top, and that many who so ostentatiously make spurts at the bottom of the hill never come within sight of the top at all. And this is one of the constant dangers that wait on all revivals, religious retreats, conferences, and even communion seasons. Our hot fits, the hotter they are, are only the more likely, unless we take the greatest care, to cast us down into all the more deadly a chill. It is this danger that our Lord points out so plainly in His parable of apostasy. The same is he, says our Lord, that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while. In Hopeful's words, his mind and will were never changed with all his joy, only his passing moods and his momentary emotions.

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