1Pet. 1:13.---'Hope perfectly' [AV 'to the end'].

Hope has been called 'the nerve, the backbone, of all true life.' To take hope from a man is to paralyze him morally; if he lives on in so dreary a condition, we think of him as surviving himself. It is needless to dwell on a point so clear;but simply to advert to it is to illustrate the affinity between the testimony of Nature and the teaching of that gospel which has canonized as the second of its principal virtues. The stress which Scripture lays on true religious hope is emphasized by the stern distinctness with which it brands the counterfeits, the hopes that are ignorant or presumptuous, and therefore delusive, and therefore destructive---like broken reeds which pierce the hand that leans on them. Such hopes, falsely so called, are ever reappearing in new forms in accordance with individual faults and weaknesses, or with the moral condition of the time.

Christian hope, as St. Peter tells us, is seated in God: it is, as it has been called, one of the triad of virtues specifically theological; it takes its stand on Divine revelation, it looks on to the attainment of Divine promises. It draws its life-blood from no mere surmise as to what is possible for humanity in the race at large or in the individual, but from the manifestation of Divine truth and goodness in the Incarnate, whom St. Paul, in one passage, calls 'our hope,' because our hope is grounded on Him and centered in Him. St. Paul, indeed, cannot think of hope without thinking of Christ; it is characteristic of him that the object of his 'earnest expectation and hope' should be the glorification of Christ in his body, whether by life or by death. Christian hope, being rooted in faith, is, like faith, vivid, positive, and definite. It is, as St. Peter calls it, 'living,' because it is a fruit of the resurrection-life of Jesus; it gazes with calm trustful eyes, onward and still onward, into a future literally boundless, as illuminated by the Person and the work of the one everlasting Redeemer; it is a 'hope of eternal life,' as based on Him. Because we trust Him, or in other words, the Father speaking through Him, therefore we cherish this radiant, vigorous expectation that He will be as good as His word, that His 'promises are Yea and Amen.' And this assurance, this 'helmet-like hope of salvation,' carries with it a confidence as to what man may obtain, and what he may become, in Christ, and therefore a determination not to be 'borne down and cowed by evil,' but to cultivate a religious courage, befitting those who know that they are on the side that ultimately must triumph.

Christian hopefulness is not the shallow optimism founded on illusion, but the tranquil and assured confidence which is strong enough to face all the facts of life [including the spiritual facts] and to take account of them. It moves about not in a make-believe, but in a real world. it thinks not with a dull, narcotized mind, but with a clear and healthy mind. It gazes forth on things not with bleared and distorting eyes, but with steady, healthy vision. It sees all the poverty, pain, misery, sin and confusion of the world, deplores the existence of tyranny and the fact that men are willing to endure it; is enraged by the sight of injustice and cruelty and folly; considers the frightful imbelcility of war; groans with the groaning and travailing creation, and still hopes. 'Wherefore, girding up the loins of your mind, be sober [sadly sober, if you must], and hope.'

Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate. It is true that there is a state of hope which belongs to bright prospects and the morning; but that is not the virtue of hope. The virtue of hope exists only in the earthquake and eclipse. . . . As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is a mere flattery or platitude. It is only when things are hopeless that it begins to be a strength at all.

In Christ, timothy. maranatha [our Lord's coming]