1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Sermons
How God Justifies the Trust of All Who Hope in His MercyJ. Urquhart 1 Peter 1:3
The Introductory GreetingU.R. Thomas 1 Peter 1:1-3
A Lively Hope Generated by Christ's ResurrectionH. Melvill, B. D.1 Peter 1:3-5
A Right to HopeH. W. Beecher.1 Peter 1:3-5
A Seven-Fold Hymn PraiseE. A. Stuart, M. A.1 Peter 1:3-5
A String of PearlsC. H. Spurgeon.1 Peter 1:3-5
An Ascription of PraiseJ. J. S. Bird, B. A.1 Peter 1:3-5
An Outburst of PraiseU. R. Thomas.1 Peter 1:3-5
An Outburst of PraiseU.R. Thomas 1 Peter 1:3-5
Begotten to the Heavenly InheritanceW. Arnot.1 Peter 1:3-5
Begotten unto a Living HopeD. Davies.1 Peter 1:3-5
Benedictus DeusBp. Andrewes.1 Peter 1:3-5
By, Through, ForA. Maclaren, D. D.1 Peter 1:3-5
Christian Hope Well FoundedGeo. MacDonald.1 Peter 1:3-5
Christianity Provides a Future1 Peter 1:3-5
Divine Power and Human FaithD. S. Brunton.1 Peter 1:3-5
Easter HopesCanon Liddon.1 Peter 1:3-5
God's Abundant MercyJohn Rogers.1 Peter 1:3-5
God's Mercy ManifoldC. H. Spurgeon.1 Peter 1:3-5
God's Protecting AgenciesT. G. Selby.1 Peter 1:3-5
Great ExpectationsB. D. Johns.1 Peter 1:3-5
How God Keeps His Saints1 Peter 1:3-5
KeptA. G. Brown.1 Peter 1:3-5
Man Blessing GodN. Byfield.1 Peter 1:3-5
Of PerseveranceT. Watson.1 Peter 1:3-5
Salvation Ready for RevelationA. Maclaren, D. D.1 Peter 1:3-5
Salvation RemedyEssex Remembrancer1 Peter 1:3-5
Shadows of the FutureF. Binns.1 Peter 1:3-5
The Anthem of the RedeemedHomilist1 Peter 1:3-5
The Apostolic BenedictionW. Arnot.1 Peter 1:3-5
The Christian Salvation Described and AcknowledgedJ. Brown, D. D.1 Peter 1:3-5
The Christian's HopeStanley's Life of Arnold.1 Peter 1:3-5
The Christian's Living Hope and Incorruptible InheritanceE. D. Solomon.1 Peter 1:3-5
The Death Test1 Peter 1:3-5
The Divine KeepingE. A. Stuart, M. A.1 Peter 1:3-5
The End of Salvation Ready to be RevealedJ. C. Jones, D. D.1 Peter 1:3-5
The Heavenly InheritanceJ. C. Jones, D. D.1 Peter 1:3-5
The Inheritance of Moral ManhoodJ. Parker, D. D.1 Peter 1:3-5
The Key-Note of the Epistle - the Believer's HopeC. New 1 Peter 1:3-5
The Last Revelation of SalvationW. Arnot.1 Peter 1:3-5
The Last TimeN. Byfield.1 Peter 1:3-5
The Lively HopeThos. Brookes.1 Peter 1:3-5
The Right View of Christ's ResurrectionH. Marriott.1 Peter 1:3-5
The Risen Lord the Christian's HopeJ. E. H. Meier.1 Peter 1:3-5
The Security of the FaithfulJ. W. Reeve, M. A.1 Peter 1:3-5
The Security of the InheritanceW. Arnot.1 Peter 1:3-5
Salvation in its CompletionR. Finlayson 1 Peter 1:3-12
The "sojourners of the dispersion" were now entering on a season of severe trial; one purpose of the apostle, therefore, was to send them encouragement and support; and the purport of these chapters may be summed up in the word" hope." Paul was pre-eminently the apostle of faith; John, of love; Peter, of hope. This passage has additional interest as written by the Peter of the Gospels. He was one of those who had "thought the kingdom of God should immediately appear," and a party to the question, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom unto Israel?" ]n those early days they were captivated by the thought of an earthly heritage. How different now! Here his eye is fixed on the "inheritance reserved in heaven." We remember, too, that we here listen to him who, on that never-to-be-forgotten morning, whilst it was yet early, came breathless to the sepulcher, and looking in, saw the linen clothes, etc., and was assured that the place was empty, and how the sudden conviction of the Resurrection flashed on his mind with all the wonderful hope this would impart to the troubled heart of the Lord's denier. What he says here is what his whole consecrated, joyous life had been saying ever since that day and because of it: "Blessed be the God," etc.

I. THE CHRISTIAN'S HOPE. "The lively hope... of an inheritance."

1. It is that of the inheritance of sonship. "God hath begotten us" unto it; that is, God hath made us children a second time - by regeneration. "And if children, then heirs;" the inheritance is ours because we are God's sons. That brings its glory before us prominently. Fatherhood does its very best for the children ("Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children " - we'll do the work, if they see the glory). Apply that to the heavenly Father and the heritage he prepares for us. Prepares. "I go to prepare a place for you;" that will be God's best! What must that be which is proportionate to his resources and love?

2. This inheritance is permanent. "Incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away" (three almost synonymous words, characteristic of Peter's energy). They all include the idea of permanence, but they treat it in different aspects. "Incorruptible;" that is, spiritual, not material. The blessedness of that state will not depend on anything that can decay. The blessedness of heaven will be in the development of our spiritual nature. "Undefiled;" that is, untainted, unblemished. Here our spiritual blessings have some taint; there will be activity without weariness, love without coldness, hope without fear, purity without doubt, songs without sighs, light without shade. "That fadeth not away;" that is, all this to be everlasting; the beauties of that state will never diminish, its tasks never be monotonous, nor its tastes insipid, nor its fellowship ended.

"There the eye grows never dim,
Gazing on that mighty sun."

3. This inheritance is certain. "Reserved in heaven for you who are kept" for it. It is kept where waste or diminution cannot be known, and we are kept for its enjoyment. No earthly heritage is sure, but this is. "Reserved in heaven for you." Then that is safe. "You who are kept by the power of God for it." Then you are safe; the child of God is as sure of heaven as if he were there. We should be surprised if it were not so; for "as for God, his way is perfect." The word "kept" literally means "garrisoned." There is a picture in the word: "The angel of the Lord encampeth," etc. Garrisoned by the power of God, not by his weakness. Left to ourselves, we should lose it; but we cannot lose it thus.

4. This inheritance is the object of lively hope to God's children. Equivalent to "life-giving." This hope is life. What can animate us to fight like the assurance of victory, what make us steadfast in pilgrimage like the certainty of reaching the goal? what destroy the fascination of the present like the conscious possession of better things? what solace us in grief like the knowledge that we are on the way to the eternal home of tearless eyes? This hope brings with it a new being.

II. THIS HOPE IS JUSTIFIED BY THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD.

1. Christ's resurrection is the Proof of immortality. Man asks, "If a man die, shall he live again?" The natural heart thinks so, but cannot prove it. The Old Testament rather dimly hints it, Christ's resurrection is the assurance of it. He died - his enemies admitted that; he lay for three days in the grave; but then he rose, and that with undiminished powers and unchanged affection. The risen Savior was the proof that death was but like the plunging of the swimmer into the wave, from which he emerges on the other side essentially unchanged.

2. Christ's resurrection is, further, the assurance of the believer's justification. It settled the question with his foes as to who he was. He said he was the Son of God; they said he made himself equal with God, and they asked for some sign by which they could know it, and he replied that they should have the sign of the Prophet Jonas. He was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead. The Resurrection was the Divine endorsement of the claims of Jesus, another voice from heaven: "This is my beloved Son; hear him!" Thus Christ's teaching was endorsed (John 3:16), and the sufficiency of his atoning work. "God raised him from the dead and gave him glory, that our faith and hope might be in him."

3. And Christ's resurrection is the pledge of the believer's preservation. For he has risen into the inheritance, and that as our Representative. Before he rose he said, "Because I live ye shall live also;" "Where I am there shall also," etc.; "Father, I will that they whom," etc. But not only so. What is he doing there? He is there still as Savior, to keep by his intercession those for whom by his cross he atoned. "Who is he that condemneth? It is," etc.; "Wherefore he is able to save to," etc. How surely, then, we are "begotten to lively hope by the resurrection," etc.!

III. THE CERTAINTY OF THIS HOPE CONSTRAINS THE CHRISTIAN TO BLESS GOD. AS the apostle thinks of all this, he exclaims with fervor, "Blessed be the God," etc.!

1. The mote of joy is here. Grasp the hope revealed in the resurrection of Christ, and life loses its gloom, and songs rise in the desert.

2. And this is also consecration. For to bless God is to glorify him. When we realize what thus he gives to us, we shall already begin the heavenly life where from love and gratitude they praise him night and day. - C.N.







Blessed be the God and Father.
I. MAN BLESSETH GOD THREE WAYS.

1. In his heart, when, refreshed with God's favour and inflamed with the joys of His presence, he doth lift up his heart with affection, striving to laud God and acknowledge His mercy.

2. In his tongue, when he taketh to him words, and openeth his lips to confess and praise God either in secret or openly.

3. In his works, and that —(1) When he sets up memorials of God's great works or deliverances.(2) When he receives the sacrament, setting himself apart to celebrate the memory of Christ's death.(3) By the obedience of his life, striving to glorify God in a holy conversation.(4) And lastly, by showing mercy, and thereby causing others to bless God.

II. GREAT REASON HATH MAN TO BLESS GOD.

1. For God is blessedness itself, and whither should the water run but into the sea, from whence it is originally taken.

2. Besides, the Lord hath required our praise, as the chief means of glorifying Him.

3. And He hath blessed us, and therefore we have great reason to bless Him. He hath blessed us in the creatures, in His Son, by His angels, by His ministers; blessed us in the blessings of the gospel, blessed us in His house, and in our own houses, in our sabbaths, sacraments, the Word, prayer, etc., blessed us in our souls, bodies, states, names, etc.

(N. Byfield.)

I. THE SPIRIT OF DEVOTIONAL THANKFULNESS. "Blessed be the God and Father of Jesus Christ." A living Christian cannot receive Divine mercies like a dumb animal, but rejoices in the sunshine of thanksgiving.

1. It should be the ruling principle of our lives. How much happiness is lost by forgetting the privileges we enjoy! Thankfulness in our lives would enable us to appreciate what we already possess.

2. It should be the keynote of our prayers. It is discouraging to bestow favour on a hard and unthankful recipient.

3. It should permeate all our religion. There is something in praise that softens the heart and ennobles the mind.

II. THE GRAND REASON WHICH DEMANDS THIS SPIRIT. It is the regeneration which is in Christ Jesus. This regeneration is represented as introducing us to three grand privileges, which may well excite our praise.

1. A prospect of eternal life — "To a lively hope."

2. A prospect of unchanging possession — "To an inheritance incorruptible," etc.

3. A possession of perfect protection — "Who are guarded" by the power of God.

4. A prospect of perfect victory — "Unto salvation."

(J. J. S. Bird, B. A.)

The Epistle at this point where it begins to flow is Like one of those infant rivers which burst full bodied at their birth from a great inland sea in which their waters have been gathered. Unlike the waters of Ezekiel's vision, that gathered volume as they flowed, this is a river to swim in the moment that it breaks away from the fountainhead,

1. Who is this of whom the prophet speaks? — God.

2. In what aspect does the Supreme present Himself? — As the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

3. What has He done? — Begotten us again; made us new creatures.

4. From what motive has He acted? — According to His abundant mercy.

5. By what means has He accomplished this great change? — By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

6. To what end in the experience of His people does He thus work? — To a living hope burning in their hearts here, and an inheritance incorruptible beyond the grave.

(W. Arnot.)

I. PRAISE TO GOD.

1. Reverent.

2. Loving.

3. Intelligent.

4. Grateful.

II. Praise to God, FOR A BRIGHT HOPE OF A GLORIOUS FUTURE.

1. It is praise to God for a hope.

(1)Expectant desire.

(2)Living hope. In contrast with dead hopes; lying hopes; weak hopes.

2. It is praise to God for a future.

(1)In contrast with the present lot.

(2)A completion of what inheritance in Palestine might have been.

III. Praise to God, FOR HIS WONDERFUL METHODS OF ENSURING THE FUTURE AND INSPIRING THAT HOPE.

1. The future is ensured.

(1)God has reserved it in safe keeping.

(2)God will, in due time, let it be revealed.

(3)God has ensured it as an inheritance.

2. How is the hope of the future inspired and preserved?

(1)It is a hope that is born with man's new birth.

(2)It is a hope that is continued by God in connection with man's character. "Guarded by the power of God through faith."

(U. R. Thomas.)

1. "Abundant mercy." Everything must start from that. Our first cry must be, "God be merciful to me, a sinner." God's mercy is abundant wherever you see it. You see mercy in nature and in providence, but in Christ it seems to overflow its banks.

2. The new birth. If we are to enjoy heaven we must be born again, have new tastes.

3. A living hope. This irradiates all the future. Earthly hopes are dying hopes. The most that the worldly man can say is, "while I breathe I hope." But the Christian's hope is not crushed by death; it is a living hope in that He gives me life. See yonder swimmer tossed about by the waves; he is sinking, but at last they see him; a boat puts off; the cry is raised from the pier head; the rescuers are on their way; he lifts himself once more, he sees the boat sweeping towards him; he has a living hope; he struggles a little longer, until the rescuers are able to pull him into the boat. So it is with our hope; living hope inspires us with courage.

4. Then he comes to the blessing, which is like the central shaft of the candlestick — the blessing upon which all the rest depends — the risen Christ. "By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." We worship no dead hero, but a living, loving Lord.

5. "An incorruptible inheritance." I once received a letter asking me to preach a sermon about heaven. I cannot preach about heaven. St. Peter could not. He could only tell us what it was not.

6. The guaranteed preservation. "Kept by the power of God."

7. "Salvation to be revealed."

(E. A. Stuart, M. A.)

The sum of this text, and the name of it too, is set down in the very first word of it. A Benedictus it is from us to God, for something coming from God to or for us. Something? Nay, many. And many they are; we reduce them to three: Our regeneration which is past, our hope which is present, and our inheritance which is to come.

1. Regenerating, or begetting, is of itself a benefit; we get life by it if nothing else.

2. But to beget to an inheritance is more than simply to beget.

3. And yet more than that, to beget to such an inheritance as this, of which so many things are here spoken.For the order we will put the words in no other, for we can put them in no better than they stand.

1. God first, and the true God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2. Then His mercy, the cause moving.

3. Then Christ's resurrection, the means working.

4. Then our regeneration, the act producing.Producing hope of the inheritance, then after the inheritance we hope for. Of which two points there are: How it is qualified, uncorrupt, undefiled, not fading. Then, how seated, even in heaven there it is, there kept it is. Now then for these. For His mercy first: for our regenerating by His mercy; for the hope of this inheritance, but more for the inheritance itself, specially such a one so conditioned as here is set down; for keeping it for us in heaven; for keeping us for it on earth. For these all, but above all for the means of all, the rising of Christ, the gate of this hope, the pledge of this inheritance; for these owe we this Benedictus to God. To God the Father and to Christ our Lord, by whom and by whose rising, lose this life when we will, we have hope of a better; betide our inheritance on earth what shall, we have another kept for us in heaven. Thus every one naturally ariseth out of other. Blessed be God. Yea, blessed and thanked and praised; but here blessed suits best, that the most proper return for a blessing that we inherit is the blessing (1 Peter 3:9). The hope is a blessed hope (Titus 2:13). But the inheritance is the state of blessedness itself. Therefore Benedictus is said well. But thereby hangs a scruple; for what are we that we should take upon us to bless God? Yes, He us, and we Him too, as if they were reciprocal, one the echo, the reflection of the other. Equal they are not. It were fond to imagine the Father gives the child no other blessing but the child can give him as good again. What then? He that wisheth heartily would do more than wish if his power were according. What say we, then, when we say Benedictus? It is a word compound; take it in sunder, and dicere is, to say somewhat, to speak; and that we can; and bene is (speaking), to speak well; and that we ought. To speak, is confession; to speak well, is praise; and praise becometh Him, and us to give it Him. And what good can we wish Him that He hath not? Say we it, say we it not, He is blessed alike. True to Him we cannot wish; not to His person; but to His name we can, and to His Word we can; we can wish it more devoutly heard. God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the style of the New Testament, ye read it not in the Old. The sun was yet under the horizon, but now up, and of a good height.(1) Blessed be God; say that, and no more, and never a Jew, Turk, or Pagan but will say as much. We would not bestow our Benedictus upon any but the true God, so settle our Benedictus upon the right God.(2) For this cause, but not for this alone, when we bless Him I daresay we would bless Him with His best title. So hath it ever been. You shall observe in titles ever upon the coming of a greater, the less is laid down. For if this be to be God, to be bounteous, beneficial. In nothing was God ever so beneficial as in sending His only begotten Son into the world. This shall be His title forever. Forever to have a chief place in our Benedictus. And yet there is another on Christ's behalf, our Lord; even to bring Him in too. For, seeing all that which follows comes not but by the rising of Christ, we cannot leave Him out. All the good that comes to us, as it comes to us from God, so it comes to us by Christ. This is most plain; first, that did generate Christ; before that did regenerate us. If He not generate, we not regenerate; then no children, then no inheritance. For in Him this text, and all other texts, are yea and amen. By this time we see why this addition, it is His title of severance, it is the highest title of His honour; it takes in Christ, who would not be left out in our Benedictus. From the party whom we pass to the cause, why. For we say not this Benedictus, as we say many a one here, without any cause; Benedictus for nothing; nay, for God is ever aforehand with us. For generation is the proper act of a Father. But before we come to it let us not stride over that which stands before it. God did this, did all that follows, but upon what motive? According to His mercy. And mercy accords well with a Father; no compassion like His. But the benefits ensuing are too great to run in the common current of mercy. "Great," therefore according to His great mercy. Mercy, the thing; great, the measure; a word of number rather than magnitude. The meaning is, no single mercy would do it; no, though great, there must be many. For many the defects to be removed, many the sins to be forgiven, many the perfections to be attained, therefore, according to His manifold mercy. "According" is well said. For that indeed is the chord, to which this and all our Benedictuses are to be tuned. Yea, many times blessed for His manifold mercies. Mercy, then, first; regeneration second, the act of this mercy. Verily, even for our natural generation, we owe Him a Benedictus. No man by his first birth, be it never so high or noble, is a whir the nearer this inheritance. Now "re" hath in it two powers. "Re" is "again" the second time. For two there be, that old creation, and the new creature in Christ. But "re" is not only again, but "again" upon a loss. Not a second only, but a second upon the failing of the first. So doth redemption, a buying again, upon a former aliening. Reconciliation, upon a former falling out. Restitution, upon a former attainder. Resurrection, upon a fall taken formerly. Regeneration, upon a former degenerating, from our first estate. Our first would not serve; it was corrupt, it was defiled, it did degenerate. There was more then need of a new, a second, a regeneration, to make us children of grace again, and so of life. This act of regenerating is determined doubly, Αἴς is twice repeated. To hope first, then to the inheritance; ye may put them together, to the hope of an inheritance. But because an inheritance is no present matter; it is to come, and to be coming to. From begetting, we step not straight to entering upon our inheritance. There needs no great Benedictus for hope. For what is hope? What, but a waking man's dream? And such hopes there be many in the world. But this is none such. To show it is none such it is severed by two terms: regeneravit and vivam. They are worth the marking both.(a) Regeneravit, first; that it is spes generata. So this a substantial hope, called therefore by St. Paul the "helmet of hope" (1 Thessalonians 5), the "anchor of hope" (Hebrews 6), things of substance, that will hold, that have metal in them.(b) Then mark vivam. And vivam follows well of regeneravit. For they that are begotten are so to live, to have life. Vivam also imports there is a dead or a dying hope, but this is not such but a living.Nay, viva is more than vivens, lively, then living. Where viva is said of ought the meaning is they spring, they grow, they have life in themselves. And, indeed, regeneravit is a good verb to join with hope. There is in hope a kind of regendering power; it begets men anew. And viva is a good epithet for it. When one droops give him hope, his spirits will come to him afresh, it will make him alive again. And for such a hope blessed be God. And whence hath it this life? The next word shows it, vivam, per resurrectionem. The vigour it hath from Christ rising, and by His rising opening to us the gate of life at large. Life by the resurrection, the true life indeed. Not to live here still, but to rise again and live as Christ did. We for the most part put it wrong, for we put it in them that must die, and then must our hope die with them, and so prove a dying hope. But put it in one that dies not, that shall never die, and then it will be spes viva indeed. No reed, no cobweb-hope then; but helmet, anchor hope — hope that will never confound you. And who is that, or where is He, that we might hope in Him? That is Jesus Christ, our hope; so calls Him St. Paul (1 Timothy 1:1). Yet not Christ every way considered; not as yesterday, in the grave, nor as the day before, giving up the ghost upon the Cross, dead, and buried, yields but dead hope. But in Jesus Christ rising again. We pass now to the inheritance. But as we pass will ye observe the situation first? It is well worth your observing that the resurrection is placed in the midst, between our hope and our inheritance. To hope before it, before the resurrection, hope; but after to the inheritance itself, to the full possession and fruition of it. An "inheritance" accords well with "according to His mercy." We have it not of ourselves or by our merits, but of Him and by His mercies. Else were it a purchase and no inheritance. It comes to us freely, as the inheritance to children. Well with mercy, and well with regeneravit. For the inheritance is of children. Nor shall we need to doubt any prejudice to God, from whom it comes, by our coming to this inheritance. Here the inheritance comes not but by the death of the party in possession, but there no prejudice to the ancestor; he dies not for the heir to succeed. Nor no prejudice to the heir neither; to us by Him, not to Him by us. It is not as here, one carries it from all, and all the rest go without; or if they come in his part is the less. So say we again now, one thing to be born to an inheritance, another to such an inheritance as this here. For in inheritances there is great odds, one much better than another even here with us. St. Peter writes to the dispersed Jews, and by in caelo, he gives them an item, this inheritance is no new Canaan here on earth, nor Christ any earthly Messiahs to settle them in a new land of promise. "In heaven," then. There it is first, and there it is kept; the being there one, the keeping another. For that there it is kept is happy for us. Earth would not keep it, here it would be in hazard. It would go the same way Paradise went. Since it would be lost in earth it is kept in heaven. And a Benedictus for that too, as for the regenerating us to it here on earth, so for the keeping, the preserving of it there in heaven. Kept, and for us kept, else all were nothing, that makes up all that it is not only preserved, but reserved for us there. But reserved yet under the veil. But time shall come when the veil shall be taken off, and of that which is now within it there shall be a reveiling. Only it stayeth till the work of regeneration be accomplished. For these come we now to our Benedictus. For if God, according to His manifold mercy, have done all this for us, we also, according to our duty, are to do somewhat again. First, then, dictus, somewhat would be said by way of recognition; this hath God done for us, and more also. But to say Benedictus anyway is not to content us, but to say it solemnly. How is that? Benedictus in our mouth and the holy Eucharist in our hands. And yet this is not all; we are not to stay here, but to aspire farther, even to strive to be like to God, and be like God we shall not unless our dicere be facere as His is, unless somewhat be done withal. In very deed there is no blessing, but with the hand stretched out.

(Bp. Andrewes.)

According to His abundant mercy
A little mercy, such as is in man, or some reasonable store, as in angels, would not serve the turn.

1. Was it a small matter that moved God to choose thee to salvation, rather than thousands of others, or was it a small mercy to give us His only Son, to deliver us by suffering all the wrath due to us?

2. Is it a small measure of mercy to call us to the hope of salvation from our wretched estate when we went on in sin, and minded no good, nay, all evil?

3. They that have had their part in this abundant mercy must be stirred up to abundant thanksgiving (Psalm 116:12-14). We must testify our love in zealous obedience all the days of our life, showing forth the virtues of Him that hath called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.

4. It teaches us also to show mercy to one another: in giving, forgiving, and the like.

5. It shows also the miserableness of our estate, that without abundant mercy we can never be saved.

(John Rogers.)

I might almost entitle these three verses a New Testament psalm. They are stanzas of a majestic song. You have here a delightful hymn; it scarce needs to be turned into verse; it is in itself essential poetry. To lead the mind to praise God is one of the surest ways of uplifting it from depression. The wild beasts of anxiety and discontent which surround our bivouac in the wilderness will be driven away by the fire of our gratitude and the song of our praise. In these three verses we have a string of pearls, a necklace of diamonds, a cabinet of jewels.

I. I see in the text, as the source of all the rest, ABUNDANT MERCY. No other attribute could have helped us had "mercy" refused. As we are by nature, justice condemns us, holiness frowns upon us, power crushes us, truth confirms the threatening of the law, and wrath fulfils it. It is from the mercy of God that all our hopes begin. Mercy is needed for the miserable, and yet more for the sinful. Misery and sin are fully united in the human race, and mercy here performs her noblest deeds. God has vouchsafed His mercy to us, and we must thankfully acknowledge that in our case His mercy has been "abundant" mercy. Where sin hath abounded, grace hath much more abounded. Contemplate the abundant mercy of our blessed God. A river deep and broad is before you. Track it to its fountainhead; see it welling up in the covenant of grace, in the eternal purposes of infinite wisdom. The secret source is no small spring, no mere bubbling fount, it is a very Geyser, leaping aloft in fulness of power; the springs of the sea are not comparable therewith. Not even an angel could fathom the springs of eternal love or measure the depths of infinite grace. Follow now the stream; mark it in all its course. See how it widens and deepens, how at the Cross it expands into a measureless river! Mark how the filthy come and wash; see how each polluted one comes up milk-white from the washing!

1. It is God's great mercy that is spoken of herein. You must measure His Godhead before you shall compute His mercy.

2. But note again, it is the mercy of the "God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." When I see Jesus descending from heaven to earth, paying all the debts of His people, I can well understand that the mercy of God in Christ must be abundant mercy.

3. Note carefully another word, it is the mercy of "the Father." The Father of Him who is the perfect and the ever blessed is also your Father, and all His mercy belongs to you. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name."

II. The next great blessing in the text is that of INCORRUPTIBLE LIFE. Mark that, O believer. One of the first displays of Divine mercy which we experience is being begotten again. Our first birth gave us the image of the first Adam — "earthly"; our second birth, and that alone, gives us the image of the second Adam, which is "heavenly."

1. The new life of a Christian is Divine in its origin — God hath begotten us. The new life cometh not from man, it is wrought by the operation of the Holy Ghost. As certainly as God spake, and it was done, in the creation of the world, so He speaks in the heart of man, and it is done, and the new creature is born.

2. The new life in us, as it has a Divine origin, has also a Divine nature. Ye are made partakers of the Divine nature. The Holy Spirit Himself enters the believer and abides in him, and makes him a living man. What a great mystery is this, but at the same time what a blessing! Observe, to be begotten again is a very marvellous thing. Suppose a man born into this world with a predisposition to some sad hereditary disease. There he is, filled with disease, and medicine cannot eject the unwelcome tenant from his body. Suppose that man's body could be altogether new born, and he could receive a new body pure from all taint, it would be a great mercy. But it does not approach to regeneration, because our supposition only deals with the body, while the new birth renews the soul, and even implants a higher nature. Regeneration overcomes not a mere material disease, not an infliction in the flesh, but the natural depravity of the heart, the deadly disorder of the soul.

III. A third blessing, strictly connected with this new life, is a LIVELY HOPE. "He hath begotten us again unto a lively hope." Could a man live without hope? Men manage to survive the worst condition of distress when they are encouraged by a hope, but is not suicide the natural result of the death of hope? Yes, we must have a hope, and the Christian is not left without one.

1. He has "a lively hope," that is to say, first, he has a hope within him, real, true, and operative. A Christian's hope purifies him, excites him to diligence, makes him seek after that which he expects to obtain.

2. It is a "lively hope" in another sense, namely, that it cheers and enlivens.

3. It is also called a "living hope," because it is imperishable. Other hopes fade like withering flowers. The only imperishable hope is that which climbs above the stars, and fixes itself upon the throne of God and the person of Jesus Christ.

4. The hope which God has given to His truly quickened people is a lively hope, however, mainly because it deals with life. Charles Borromeo, the famous bishop of Milan, ordered a painter who was about to draw a skeleton with a scythe over a sepulchre to substitute for it the golden key of Paradise. Truly this is a most fitting emblem for a believer's tomb, for what is death but the key of heaven to the Christian? We notice frequently over cemetery gates, as an emblematic device, a torch turned over ready to be quenched. Ah, it is not so, the torch of our life burns the better, and blazes the brighter for the change of death.

IV. We notice another delightful possession which ought effectually to chasten away from all of us the glooms of this life, and that is a risen SAVIOUR. Jesus Christ died, not in appearance, but in reality; in proof whereof His heart was pierced by the soldier's spear. He was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, truly a corpse. He really and literally rose from the dead, — the selfsame Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary, who suffered under Pontius Pilate, and afterwards ascended into heaven. Now, note ye well the comfort which arises out of this fact, since it proves that we possess a living advocate, mediator, and high priest, who has passed into the heavens. Moreover, since all believers, being partakers of the incorruptible life of God, are one with Jesus Christ, that which happens to Him virtually happens to them. They died in His death, they live in His life, they reign in His glory.

V. The fifth is AS INCORRUPTIBLE INHERITANCE. A heavenly nature requires a heavenly inheritance, heaven-born children must have a heavenly portion.

1. First, as this substance — it is "incorruptible.

2. Next, for purity — it is "undefiled."

3. And then it is added for its beauty, — "it fadeth not away."

4. And then for possession, it is secure reserved in heaven for you.

VI. The sixth blessing is INVIOLABLE SECURITY. The inheritance is kept for you, and you are kept for the inheritance. The word is a military one, it signifies a city garrisoned and defended. Each believer is kept by that same power which "bears the earth's huge pillars up," and sustains the arches of heaven. VII. Out of the seven treasures of the Christian the last comprehends all, is better than all — it is a blessed God. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." It is joy to have heaven, it is joy to possess a new life to fit me for heaven, but the greatest of all is to have my God, my own Saviour's God, my Father, my own Saviour's Father, to be all my own. God Himself has said, "I will be their God, and they shall be My people."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Homilist.
Gratitude is happiness, and happiness speaks in poetry, and delights in song. Music is the language of a jubilant heart.

I. WE HAVE HERE THE "ABUNDANT MERCY" OF GOD IN PRODUCING A LIVING HOPE IN THE BREAST OF REBELS AGAINST HIS AUTHORITY. This expression implies three things:

1. That humanity once had a living hope. The breast of man, in the short but bright period of innocence, was indeed inspired with a living hope.

2. That mankind have somehow or Other lost this living hope. We know how they lost it. It was sin that quenched this glorious lamp.

3. That the reproduction of this living hope is a wonderful display of Divine mercy. Justice overwhelms the sinner with terror and midnight despair.

II. WE HAVE HERE THE "ABUNDANT MERCY" OF GOD, IN THE TRANSCENDENT VALUE OF THE OBJECT ON WHICH THIS LIVING HOPE IS FASTENED. "An inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, etc. Hope always implies an object. The value of the hope depends upon the nature of the object.

III. WE HAVE HERE THE "ABUNDANT MERCY" OF GOD, IN THE WONDERFUL INSTRUMENTALITY BY WHICH THIS LIVING HOPE IS REPRODUCED. It is "begotten again by the resurrection of Christ from the dead." How does the resurrection of Christ appear necessary for the reproduction in man of this living hope?

1. Christ taught the existence both of the desirable and the obtainable in connection with the future state. In the nature of the case hope implies both of these things. This something Christ presented in His teaching. He revealed to men heaven in all its glories, and He revealed too the manner in which that heaven could be obtained. Hence His teaching was in every way adapted to generate this living hope in the minds of men.

2. His resurrection from the dead was an incontrovertible proof of the truth of what He taught.

IV. WE HAVE HERE THE "ABUNDANT MERCY" OF GOD, IN THE ALMIGHTY AGENCY HE EMPLOYS, TO SECURE THE ULTIMATE REALISATION OF THIS LIVING HOPE.

1. The implied necessity of God's preserving agency "Who are kept." No power but that of God can keep us.

2. The expressed method of God's preserving agency. "Through faith." He always works by means.

3. The glorious designs of God's preserving agency. "Unto eternal salvation." And in this constant agency what "abundant mercy"! "Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for His mercy endureth forever."

(Homilist.)

As John Bunyan says, all the flowers in God's garden are double; there is no single mercy; nay, they are not only double flowers, but they are manifold flowers. There are many flowers upon one stalk, and many flowers in one flower. You shall think you have but one mercy, but you shall find it to be a whole, flock of mercies. Manifold mercies! Like the drops of a lustre, which reflect a rainbow of colours when the sun is glittering upon them, and each one, when turned in different ways from its prismatic form, shows all the varieties of colour, so the mercy of God is one and yet many, the same, yet ever changing, a combination of all the beauties of love blended harmoniously together.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Begotten us again unto a lively hope
If I had to say in a word what the Christian's hope is, I should say it is the hope of an unfading inheritance, the hope of being made meet for it, the hope of what is condensed into that all-comprehensive word "salvation!" And can you make mention of any other hope that does not pale when placed beside this?

I. IT IS A LIVING HOPE.

1. The living hope of a living man. A man spiritually dead cannot possess this hope. It is not a phantasy. It is not an effeminate wish, or a masculine wish for that matter; it is not a mere sentiment or a fond desire. It is a living hope! It is an indivisible, inalienable part of his new life, and it cannot exist in any other heart than that of the spiritually transformed man — the man who is "begotten again."

2. It is a living hope because it centres in a living Christ. Begotten to it, how? "By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." The life of Christ, so full of goodness, and love, and purity, and self-sacrifice, and His death, so awful, the culminating sacrifice of all, were not enough. He must come back into life, or no sinner can be forgiven. Blessed be God! He did come back!

3. The Christian's hope is a living one as contrasted with and opposed to hopes that perish. God hath pledged its realisation under the seal of His own oath.

II. GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF THIS HOPE. He hath begotten us again to it. It is all of His abundant mercy. Therefore let us bless Him for it. And let us show our gratitude to Him by letting the light of our hope shine on others.

III. THE INHERITANCE TO WHICH THE CHRISTIAN'S HOPE POINTS.

(E. D. Solomon.)

To the Christian the future life is not merely a subject of anticipation, but of confident and well-grounded assurance. Our Saviour seemed specially anxious to impress this fact on the minds of His disciples. He said to them, "Because I live, ye shall live also." Well, now we know that Christ lives. The existence of the Church of Christ today is an unmistakable evidence of the existence and continued activity of Christ. And if Christ lives, then we shall live also. What ought to be the influence of these anticipations on our life as Christian men and women here?

I. THESE ANTICIPATIONS OUGHT TO HAVE A PLACE IN OUR THOUGHTS, IN OUR CONVERSATIONS, IN OUR PRAYERS, IN OUR AFFECTIONS, AND IN THE ACTIVITIES OF OUR LIVES. It is the fashion of some preachers to decry this "other world religion," as they call it. They say, "We have nothing whatever to do with the other world; the present life demands all our care," and they would severely repress all interest in the future life. The human heart rebels against all such unnatural restriction. You may just as well say to the mariner, "Because there are rocks and quicksands in the course which you have to take you must never lift up your eyes to the stars, but keep them steadily fixed on the waters you have to cross." "Why," he would say, "I guide my way across the waters of this world by the light of other worlds." And so the Christian mariner can say, "I guide my course through this world by the light and the hope and the influence of the other world."

II. OUR THOUGHTS OF THE FUTURE LIFE SHOULD BE CHARACTERISED BY MODERATION, REVERENCE, AND SPIRITUALITY. Let us be content with the beautiful simplicity and lofty spirituality of the New Testament representations as a life of glorious spiritual progress, of freedom from sin, holy love, honourable service, delightful fellowship, and a growing likeness to Christ; "We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is," We shall be with Him, and we shall do Him service.

(F. Binns.)

I. CHRISTIAN HOPE IN THE EXCELLENCY OF ITS NATURE. Life's pathway strewn with withered hopes. Gold, pleasure, fame, etc., disappoint.

II. CHRISTIAN HOPE IN THE DIVINITY OF ITS SOURCE.

III. CHRISTIAN HOPE IN THE MEDIUM OF ITS PRODUCTION. Jesus, by His resurrection, the proof, pledge, and pattern of our future heavenly happiness.

IV. CHRISTIAN HOPE IN THE GLORY OF ITS OBJECT.

1. Vast "inheritance."

2. Righteous — gotten rightly and enjoyed rightly.

3. Everlasting.

V. CHRISTIAN HOPE IN THE CERTAINTY OF ITS REALISATION.

(B. D. Johns.)

I. THE TRUE CHARACTER OF THE CHRISTIAN'S HOPE.

1. It is lively in the sense of living. It is not delusive. It is no self-excited sentiment — the fruit of ignorance and presumption. It has a real, a well-defined, and well-ascertained existence in the heart.

2. It is a lively hope in the sense of activity. It produces courage, patience, holiness.

II. THE OBJECT OF THE CHRISTIAN'S HOPE. "An inheritance," etc.

III. THE METHOD OF ATTAINING THIS HOPE.

1. Its author is God. It is a Divine creation in the heart.

2. This gift of God is prompted by His abundant mercy.

3. Yet the mercy which restores hope to man is not indiscriminate — it is the mercy of righteousness.

4. The medium through which this blessing reaches us — "the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." This was pre eminently the Divine attestation of the truth of the Saviour's Messianic mission.

IV. THE SECURITY OR THE POSSESSORS OF THIS HOPE.

(Thos. Brookes.)

I. THE BLESSINGS ACKNOWLEDGED.

1. Divine sonship. We become the children of God — both in reference to state and character, to condition and disposition — through the belief of the truth; and this belief of the truth is produced and maintained by the influence of the Holy Spirit.

2. The inheritance provided for them.

3. The living hope of the inheritance, through the resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead. This hope rests entirely on God's free sovereign kindness, manifested in harmony with His righteousness; but it is only in the belief of the truth that this sovereign kindness can be apprehended as a ground of hope.

II. THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THESE BLESSINGS.

1. God is the author of these blessings.

2. It is as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ that God bestows these blessings. In the riches of His sovereign mercy He determined to save an innumerable multitude of sinful men, and in the depth of His wisdom He formed a plan for realising the determination of His mercy, not merely in consistency with, but in glorious illustration of, His holiness and justice.

3. These blessings originate in the "abundant mercy" of God.(1) Think on the character of Him who bestows these blessings — the absolute, independent Jehovah, perfectly, infinitely, unchangeably, happy in Himself.(2) Think on the nature of the blessings, — the very highest that can be conferred on creatures, and in their measure limited by nothing but the capacity of the recipient.(3) Think on the character of those on whom they are bestowed — sinners, guilty, depraved, condemned; deserving everlasting destruction.(4) Think of the number of those on whom these blessings are bestowed (Revelation 21:24; Revelation 7:9).(5) Think of the means through which the blessings are communicated — the Incarnation, the sacrifice of God's own son (1 John 4:10; John 3:16).

4. These blessings are of vast magnitude and incalculable value. They include deliverance from guilt, depravity, degradation, death, everlasting misery; the enjoyment of the favour of God, tranquillity of conscience, ever-growing conformity to the Divine image, and happiness throughout eternity.

5. The proper method of acknowledging these benefits is "to bless" their munificent giver. This is one of the purposes for which we are begotten again (Isaiah 43:21; 1 Peter 2:9). Our whole life should be a hymn of praise to the God of our salvation (Psalm 103:1-4; Psalm 86:12, 13; Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:15, 16; Revelation 5:13).

(J. Brown, D. D.)

We are not surprised that Peter attached special importance to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The most significant fact about the crucifixion was that it culminated in the resurrection. If Christ had not risen from the dead, there would have been no adequate message for the world. Now, though the story of the resurrection was to all the apostles specially inspiring, it was that which brought hope to Peter above all others. After his three-fold denial of Christ, he had gone out, weeping bitterly. Hence the special emphasis with which our Lord mentioned Peter in His message to His disciples: "Tell My disciples, and Peter, that I am risen from the dead," etc. Thus the resurrection of Jesus Christ was everything to Peter. It was that which brought; with it hope to the man who, of all the apostles — excepting Judas — had lost most hope.

I. PETER'S HIGH CONCEPTION HERE OF GOD'S MERCY. Peter does not undertake to measure or to describe it. It is a mercy that has filled him with wonderment and with boundless gratitude. Peter speaks these words out of the exuberance of his own joy. That word "us" has a "me" at the heart of it. The powerful preacher is the man who preaches out of his own experience; and thus the greatest sinner forgiven must always be the greatest witness, if he is only true to his privilege. No other disciple had experienced the intense grief which Peter had felt. Hence the special significance of these words upon his lips. This word "again" further emphasises the testimony. All hope had practically died out of Peter. He thought everything had ended in darkness; hence the thanks he gives to Him who had begotten him and his brethren unto a lively hope.

II. PETER'S HIGH CONCEPTION OF THE HOPE UNTO WHICH HE AND OTHERS HAD BEEN BEGOTTEN. It was a hope full of life. Peter had no patience with anything that did not abound with life. He himself was all alive, whether he confessed or denied his Lord. His was an intense nature. And when hope was rekindled in him, it was a living hope. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, had that living hope. Then he spoke in the face of the mightiest opposition, spoke only as a man with a flaming heart and a fiery tongue could have spoken. He attributed all this hope to God's mercy. "It was the gift of another," said Peter, practically; "I never could work myself up into this enthusiasm. All my energy was gone, and my enthusiasm had died out of me; but He who gave His Son has given me again this lively hope."

III. PETER'S HIGH CONCEPTION OF THE INHERITANCE IN STORE FOR US — "AN INHERITANCE INCORRUPTIBLE AND UNDEFILED," etc. This assurance, if you possess it, ought to make a difference to all your life. Here is a man who believes that this life of fifty, sixty, or seventy years, as the case may be, embraces everything: that there is nothing beyond it for him. What noble heroism can you expect of that man? But here is another man who feels that, after all, this life is but the preparatory period, the time of schooling for an inheritance in which life shall show its full meaning, and every capacity of our being shall be ennobled and find full exercise. I will tell you what such a man ought to be. I do not say what those who profess to believe this often are, but what each of them ought to be.

(D. Davies.)

My father said once, "Harriet, I have been reviewing my evidences. I have been putting the question to myself, just as I would press it on a sinner, or a person newly converted; and I have come to the conclusion that I have a right to hope." That kind of mechanical or conventional test used to prevail in churches as now; and here was this old saint, that had been for fifty or sixty years working almost beyond human strength in the midst of the world, as sweet as honey in the honeycomb in his disposition, putting himself on the rack of self examination, and coming, with great hesitation and modesty, at last, to the conclusion that he had a right to hope! Hope! When a man has any conception of Jesus Christ, how can he have anything else? Hope! When the heart of Christ is pouring forth salvation, and is made manifest, as the shining of the sun, and has enough and to spare, how can one do otherwise than hope? And yet there are a great many persons who cannot do it. There are a great many who do not realise the blessing which is vouchsafed to them, sometimes from their bodily condition, and sometimes from their mental training; sometimes from one reason, and sometimes from another.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Dr. Arnold's whole countenance would be lit up at his favourite verse in the Te Deum: "When Thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, Thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers."

(Stanley's Life of Arnold.)

God would never show us a thing He did not mean to give us. This is the way one boy teases another.

(Geo. MacDonald.)

A few hours before Bishop Jones's death (Methodist Episcopal Church), his son-in-law, anxious for some dying testimony, bent over him and asked, "Bishop, say something to us, some parting words." The brief, emphatic reply was, "I am not disappointed."

A converted Japanese artist said recently to a missionary, "I suppose the reason why English artists put so much perspective into their drawings is because Christianity has given them a future; and the reason why Oriental artists fail to do so, is because Buddha and Confucius do not raise their eyes above the present."

By the resurrection of Jesus Christ
I. To say that WE CANNOT GET ON WITHOUT HOPE is a truism. Hope is not the salt, it is the sinew of man's moral life. His capacity for excellence is exactly proportioned to his power of throwing himself onward into a future, which is as yet beyond his reach, and which may even be always beyond it. This truth holds good whether we look at man as an individual or as a member of society. The great object of a wise educator is to set before the boy whom he is teaching some future to which he may aspire, and which may fire his best enthusiasms; some future which may supply him with a strong motive for making the most of his present opportunities; some future upon which, during the drudgery and toil of his earlier tasks, his eye may rest, as upon the prize which will reward"" him, the object of his hope. And does not the same rule hold in later life? The boy becomes a man, the father of a family, and he transfers to his children some of the hope which he cherished for himself. He thinks less of what they are than of what it is probable that they will be a few years hence. So strong and penetrating is his sympathy, that in them he lives his own boyhood over again, only with the larger experience and wider horizon of his manhood. Nor is this less true of a professional work in life: hope is ever the motive principle of the exertions which command success. Minds of a lower type look forward to the reputation which will be won by success; minds of a higher order look forward to the happiness of doing work for God by rendering some real service to their generation or to posterity. And it is this hope which sustains them under all discouragements. Nor is hope less essential to associations of men than to man in his individual capacity. An army is never thoroughly demoralised until the hope of victory is gone. A nation is not ruined until it, has reached a point at which it remarks that it can make out for itself no prospect of expansion in coming years. And as hope is thus necessary to the temporary well-being of societies of men, and of individual men, so is it essential to the highest well-being of man as man. The hope upon which states, institutions, artists, painters, military men, politicians rest, is directed to objects within the sphere of sense and time. But man, as man, must look beyond sense and time. The man who has no clear belief in a future life may undoubtedly have, within some very restricted limits, a strong sense of duty. He may even persuade himself that this sense of duty is all the better and purer from not being bribed by the prospect of a future reward or stimulated, as he would say, unhealthily, by the dread of future punishment. But, for all that, his moral life is fatally impoverished. It is not merely that he has fewer and feebler motives to right action; it is that he has a false estimate of his real place in the universe. He has forfeited, in the legitimate sense of the term, his true title to self-respect. He has divested himself of the bearing, the instincts, the sense of noble birth and high destiny which properly belong to him.

II. Man then needs a hope, RESTING ON SOMETHING BEYOND THIS SCENE OF SENSE AND TIME. And God has given him one, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Our Lord indeed taught, in the plainest language, the reality of a future life (John 14:2; Matthew 25:46; Matthew 6:20; Luke 20:38). He contributed to the establishment of this truth in the deepest convictions of men, not merely many lessons taught in words, but a fact, palpable to the senses. His resurrection converted hopes, surmises, speculations, trains of inference, into strong certainties. Not that the fact of Christ's resurrection could force itself upon reluctant minds, or rather upon reluctant wills, in the earliest ages, as now, there were expedients for evading its force. The evangelical narrative, the convictions of the earliest Church, the moral strength of the Church, advancing through blood and suffering to the heights of a worldwide empire, resist these expedients, as inconsistent with fact, inconsistent with reason. There are at least three forms of interest which might be accorded to such a fact as the resurrection. The first, the interest of curiosity in a wonder, altogether at variance with the observed course of nature. This interest may exist in a high degree; observing and registering the fact, yet never for one moment getting beyond it. The second, the interest of active reason, which is satisfied that such a fact must have consequences and is anxious to trace them. This interest may lead a man to see that the resurrection does prove the truth of Christianity, even though he may know nothing of the power of Christ's blood and of Christ's life as a matter of experience. A third kind of interest is practical and moral. It is an effort to answer the question, What does the resurrection of Christ say to me, mean for me? If it is true, if Christianity is true, what ought to be the effect on my thoughts, my feelings, my life? Now St. Peter answers that all should be invigorated by a living hope. Burthen this absorbing moral interest does not come of ordinary powers of observation and reason, like the two earlier forms of interest. We are, says St. Peter, "begotten" unto it. Of this birth, the Father of souls is the Author, and His Eternal Spirit the instrument, and union with Christ the essence or effect. It does much else for us; but it does this among other things, and not least among them: it endows us with a living hope.

III. St. Peter calls THIS "HOPE" A LIVELY, OR LIVING, ONE. What does he mean by this? There are within many a soul trances of powers, ideas, feelings, which once lived, but which have died away. We investigate them from time to time, like the buried ruins of Pompeii or Herculaneum. But a Christian's hops endures. Earthly disappointments do but force us to make more of it. The lapse of time does but bring us nearer to its object. Surely we can ask ourselves few questions so important as "Have I this hope?" Not to have this hope is to be living at random; it is to be drifting on towards eternity without a chart in hand, or a harbour in view. And if we humbly trust that we have this hope, what are the tests of our possessing it?

1. A first test is that earthly things sit easily upon us. We are not uninterested in them: far from it. We know how much depends on our way of dealing with them. But, also, we are not enslaved by them. To have caught a real glimpse of the eternal is to have lost heart and relish for the things of time.

2. A second test of our having this hope is a willingness to make sacrifices for it. "What difference do my hopes of another world make in my daily life? What am I doing, what do I leave undone, that I should not leave undone or do, if I believed that all really ended at death? What changes would be made in my habits, occupations, daily modes of thought and feeling, if — to put a horrible supposition — I could awake tomorrow morning and find that Christ's conquest of the eternal world for me was a fable?"

3. A third test is progressive efforts to prepare for the future life (1 John 3:3).

(Canon Liddon.)

I.THE GROUND OF THIS HOPE.

II.THE POWER OF THIS HOPE.

III.THE DESTINY OF THIS HOPE.

(J. E. H. Meier.)

I. THE DIFFERENT EFFECTS PRODUCED UPON THE MINDS OF MANY, WHO HAVE ONLY AN OUTWARD BELIEF OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST FROM THE GRAVE. Of all the wonderful events which marked the Saviour's abode upon earth, there does not appear one for which so much was done to make it clearly proved by its evidence as His resurrection. It was proved by the angels, by the confession of the Roman soldiers who guarded the sepulchre. It was proved by the single testimony of some of the apostles. It was proved by the testimony of the eye, the ear, and the hand (1 John 1:1). The consequence has been, that all who profess to believe Christianity believe the fact of Christ's resurrection. But with many it goes no further than to convince their reason. It brings no personal conviction of the deep interest which the soul now has, and the soul and body hereafter shall have, in this great truth. Then, again, many believe the resurrection of Christ, not only as an established fact, but as a certain pledge of the general resurrection in the last day. But here they also stop. The belief of their own resurrection has no effect upon their will. They cannot look forward with the certain hope of holy Job (Job 19:25-27). How different a view does St. Paul give us of what the belief of the resurrection of Christ, as the pledge of our own, ought to produce upon the soul (Romans 6:4). St. Paul shows that there must be a conformity of the soul to Christ while it is in the fleshly body, if we would be partakers of the glorified body "at the resurrection of the just" (Colossians 3:1). I will name one other class of persons, who, in a certain way, believe in the resurrection of Christ. Many believe it because it stands as an article in the creed. But here they also stop. The fact of the resurrection of our Lord produces no soul-stirring feelings of wonder, gratitude, and love towards this triumphant Conqueror of Satan, sin, and death; neither does it beget in them any holy desires to be conformed to His image in the converting power of the Holy Ghost. Beware of this deadening view of any of the great doctrines of the gospel of our salvation.

II. THE ONLY RIGHT VIEW OF THIS GREAT AND MOST IMPORTANT FACT OF THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST FROM THE GRAVE. The text shows us what effect true faith in this great fact had produced upon the first Christians: by it they were "begotten again unto a lively hope." It was in them a practical truth — it touched their hearts. Through the power of it, in the presence and influence of the Holy Ghost, they were anew created, new born unto God. It was a hope which was embodied in their whole character, gave strength and substance to all they did, and was to them that "hope which" was "laid up for them in heaven" (Colossians 1:5). Hence we see that a real and justifying belief of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ acts immediately upon the will and the affections.

(H. Marriott.)

By speaking of our being "begotten again to a lively hope," the apostle would simply indicate something of a universal change having passed, through Christ's resurrection, over this earth and its inhabitants. And such a change did actually pass. There was substituted a living hope for a dead throughout every department of this creation, amongst its irrational as well as its rational tenants. It was not that heretofore there had been no hope whatsoever; for man is so constructed that he cannot live without hope; he must follow a meteor where there is no star on the firmament. There was hope amongst men, even when truth had almost departed, and ignorance of God pressed heavily on all countries and classes. There was hope that Deity might be propitiated; that in some better world the disorders of the present might be rectified. Reason did something, in the midst of ponderous night, to keep men from quite parting with the expectation of immortality; and, combining the teachings of conscience with the lingerings of tradition, it caused a spectre of hope to flit to and fro amid the cloud and the darkness. Yes, a spectre of hope! — a dead thing, though, at times, it appeared amongst the living, and wore something of the hues which had belonged to the fresh and beautiful visitant that had gladdened the earth, whilst yet untainted by sin. A living hope! a hope that is not merely performing some of the actions, but possessing all the energies, of life — that should not merely beckon onward, but waited to be examined and handled — this never sprang from the reveries of philosophers, but eluded the searchings of those who laboured most gravely at the opening a path to happiness hereafter

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

To an inheritance incorruptible
The greatness of God's mercy is to be seen —

I. IN THE GREAT NUMBER OF THE SAVED.

II. IN THE GREATNESS OF THE CHANGE which takes place in this great multitude. The very life of God is transmitted to the soul of the believer in regeneration.

III. IN THE GREATNESS OF THE INHERITANCE.

1. "Incorruptible." Heaven has in it the power of endless rejuvenation.

2. "Undefiled." Its worth is intrinsic; it does not sometimes go up and sometimes come down; its value is the same the centuries through; it was worth the blood of Christ two thousand years ago, and it is worth the blood today again.

3. "That fadeth not away" — amaranthine, evergreen, always fruitful, always beautiful. No autumn winds strip the trees of their foliage, no winter blasts rob the fields of their verdure. A pamphlet was being lately circulated in this country to persuade English men to emigrate to Texas, and one reason adduced was that the soil being so rich and the climate so equably soft, two harvests could be gathered in one year. A very cogent reason, doubtless, if true. But my text speaks of a better country than Texas — a country which will yield not two crops, but twelve crops in the twelve months (Revelation 22:2).

IV. IN THE GREATNESS OF THE EXPENSE to which He went to be able to confer this great inheritance.

V. IN THE GREATNESS OF THE POWER that is pledged to bring the great multitude to the possession of the inheritance.

(J. C. Jones, D. D.)

I. THE INHERITANCE OF THE GOOD IS DISTINGUISHED BY EVERY SPECIES OF EXCELLENCE.

1. "Incorruptible." The principle of decay is not in it. The pyramid crumbles at the touch of time, and the long-during mountains shake under the footstep of ages; but eternal cycles roll over the plains of heaven without impairing the beauty or paling the brilliance of the "incorruptible" inheritance.

2. "Undefiled." Inherently and essentially pure.

3. "Fadeth not away."

II. THE INHERITANCE OF THE GOOD IS IN SAFE KEEPING — "RESERVED IN HEAVEN." This "inheritance" could not be on earth. Its vitality would perish. Its purity would be sullied. Its brightness would be dimmed. It is necessary that it should be "reserved" or kept back for a season. You may have seen a parent reach down from an eminence some valuable article and show it to the child; the child has lifted his tiny hands to grasp the prize, but the parent has interposed, saying, "No, my son, this is for you when you are a man." Precisely so with us; wait until you are "made meet to be partakers of the inheritance with the saints in light." In what does this meetness consist? Undoubtedly in moral manhood. The soul is to "become of age" by growth in moral purity and moral power.

1. A recognition of God in everything. In battle, and storm, and plague, the clear eye of moral man looks up, knowing that Omnipotence guides that storm, and guards the child's "inheritance."

2. Power over every combination of circumstances. The man is perfectly calm in positions which alarm the child. The "heir" knows that even if circumstances should press so heavily upon him that his "earthly house of this tabernacle should be dissolved," he has "a building of God — a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2 Corinthians 5:5).

3. An intelligent decisiveness of character. Is your conviction strong and intelligent? Is your purpose high and determined? Never was fixedness of moral view more essential to progress than in the present day. Every breeze seems laden with refined error and mystic heresy. Know well your doctrines; fix your eye earnestly on the beacon lights of immutable truth.

III. THE INHERITANCE IS THE PORTION OF A SPECIAL CLASS. "Kept."

1. By the supreme love of their omnipotent Saviour (John 10:28, 29). The Lord Jesus not only redeemed His people, He is at this hour interceding for them; and His intercession keeps the saints. Peter was kept (Luke 22:31) by the Saviour's mediation.

2. By the ministry of angels. This reflection is illustrative not only of the goodness of the Lord, but also of the dignity of the saved. No guardian band keeps watch over the sun in his glorious palace, no eyes glitter upon the stars as upon an appointed charge; but spirits, pure and strong, hover around the humble child of God. They constitute the military guard of the minor heir, and when he attains his majority they cease to be his protectors only that they may become his companions.

3. By the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

IV. THE INHERITANCE OF THE GOOD CAN BE ENTERED UPON ONLY IN GOD'S OWN TIME. "Ready to be revealed in the last time." The Bible does not hold out heaven as an inducement to cease from earthwork, nor as a prize to be seized unconditionally. Is it your highest wish to enter heaven yourself, and leave your fellow creatures to do the best they can for themselves? Is there no moral work to be done before you enter on your promised rest? Is there no prodigal to reclaim, no aching heart to comfort? We must add labour to hope, and patience to faith. It is in this fashion that we prove the practical value of Christianity. Lessons:

1. Seek to be assured of your heirship.

2. Remember that you are under age.

3. Rise superior to your troubles.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

These two terms, "begotten again" and the "incorruptible inheritance," are made for each other, like the two halves of a seashell. They shut accurately upon each other, but upon nothing else. Our inheritance by the first birth is neither undefiled nor unfading. To escape the curse of the first birthright we must have another birth. The new creature in Christ is joint heir with Him- heir of all things. The inheritance is —(1) Incorruptible. It is not liable to complete dissolution, like a dead body that returns to dust. It is —(2) Undefiled. It is not liable to have all its beauty dimmed by some unclean spot falling on its form. Often an earthly inheritance, while its substance abides the same, loses all its attraction for the owner. The eldest son, perhaps, for whom it was fondly cherished, has thrown away his good name. Henceforth the father cannot look with complacency on his green fields and waving woods. A glance at the landscape makes him shudder. His inheritance is defiled. Not so the heritage to which the children of God have, in the regeneration, been served heirs. The inheritance is —(3) Unfading; its bloom will never wither. The Lamb is the light thereof, and there shall be no night there. The silence of Scripture, especially in contrast with the coarseness of earth born systems, is sometimes as emphatic a testimony to its Divine origin as its positive revelations. Lights on the shore flash far over the ocean, and conduct the voyager to the land; but they do not reveal to him while at sea the particular features of the landscape; it is thus that the Bible exhibits lights sufficient to guide inquirers safe to heaven, but not sufficient to reveal its interior beauties. Those who reach the better land will discover its glories after they arrive.

(W. Arnot.)

Some are born to a great inheritance, and yet miss it. In our days thrones are frequently shaken, and their occupants cast off. Princes who were born to a royal heritage wander as exiles in a foreign land. But there are no revolutions in the kingdom of heaven. Every one gets his own there. The laws of nature give a token of the certainty that prevails in the region where the Lord reigns. Although a globule of air were imprisoned for a thousand years within a shell at the bottom of the ocean, the moment its prison house decayed it would rise sheer through the water, though it were miles in depth, and never halt till it emerged with a bound into its native element, the sky. Behold a specimen of His power, who has promised "none of them shall be lost."

(W. Arnot.)

Who are kept by the power of God
It is not Divine power alone, which would make man a mere passive creature; not human faith alone, which were to risk salvation on human strength. Were heaven "reserved" for man, and man left to himself to fight his way there, even with all the grand revelation of the Gospel, who would ever enter there? The Divine power is the efficient cause, faith the instrumental cause, in salvation. All worlds that revolve in space are upheld by Omnipotence: but the God of All-might upholds them by means of the grand law of gravitation. A flower is the work of Divine wisdom and beneficence, the forthputting of the Divine power of life; but it is by means of root and soil, and moisture and warmth, and light, that the flower shoots and blossoms into beauty. Such, however, are illustrations of means in the lower sphere of nature. We are sustained in life by the will and power of God. But He has given us instinct and reason, so that in the use of food, air, exercise, sleep, our bodily powers are maintained. There are two keepings: heaven for us, us for heaven. How does God guard His own? A large question, which admits of two main answers, the second of which will bring us to speak of the grace of faith. God guards His people by outward defence and by inward help. By outward defence, that is, by providence. No man ever can know in this life how much he owes to the restraining and overruling providence of God. He may be able to mark some things, but who can fully trace the all-guiding hand of God? Two ways there are in war to relieve a beleaguered city. One is by force from without to compel the enemy to raise the siege and abandon the attack; the other, to throw in succours — troops, provisions. We may know that God by His power can do either. For wise reasons He does not drive off the assaulting hosts. He throws into the city of Mansoul, succours. This is grace. Supplies of grace make the Christian strong. And he rejoices in not only the incoming of new life, but in the mortifying of inbred sin. Observe God's method. He saves no man against his will or without his will. Salvation is of God. How then? God deals with man as a reasonable being. Faith is really the movement of the whole soul. There is in all this no force, no compulsion, no violation of the laws of mind. All is natural, while supernatural.

(D. S. Brunton.)

I. BY WHAT MEANS NO CHRISTIANS COME TO PERSEVERE?

1. By the help of ordinances; prayer, word, sacraments.

2. By the sacred influence and concurrence of the ,Spirit.

3. By Christ's daily intercession.

II. BY WHAT ARGUMENTS MAY WE PROVE THE SAINTS' PERSEVERANCE?

1. "From the truth of God." God hath both asserted and promised it (1 John 2:9, 27; John 10:28; Jeremiah 32:40; Hebrews 2:19; Malachi 2:16).

2. From the power of God.

3. From God's electing love.

4. From believers' union with Christ.

5. From the nature of a purchase. Would Christ, think ye, have shed His blood that we might believe in Him for a while, and then fall away?

6. From a believer's "victory over the world."

III. WHAT MOTIVES AND INCENTIVES ARE THERE TO MAKE CHRISTIANS PERSEVERE?

1. It is the crown and glory of a Christian to persevere. The excellency of a building is not in having the first stone laid, but when it is finished. The excellency of a Christian is, when he hath finished the work of faith.

2. You are within a few days' march of heaven.

3. How sad not to persevere in holiness! You expose yourselves to the reproaches of men and the rebukes of God.

4. The promises of mercy are annexed only to perseverance (Revelation 3:5; Luke 22:28).

IV. WHAT EXPEDIENTS OR MEANS MAY BE USED FOR A CHRISTIAN'S PERSEVERANCE?

1. Take heed of those things which will make you fall away.

(1)Presumption.

(2)Hypocrisy.

(3)An evil heart of unbelief.

2. If you would persevere in sanctity —

(1)Look that you enter into religion upon a right ground; be well grounded in the distinct knowledge of God; you must know the love of the Father, the merit of the Son, and the efficacy of the Holy Ghost.

(2)Get a real work of grace in your heart. Nothing will hold out but grace; paint will fall off.

(3)Be very sincere.

(4)Be humble.

(5)Cherish the grace of faith.

(6)Seek God's power to help.

(7)Set before your eyes the noble examples of those who have persevered in religion.

(T. Watson.)

We have in this verse and the preceding one a grand picture of the double operation of the Divine power on the two sides of the veil. God works amidst the unseen realities, preserving the inheritance for us; and God works here, keeping us for the inheritance. It were vain to prepare the house unless He prepared its occupants. It were vain to nourish in human hearts desires and fitnesses for that supernal bliss, unless He were preparing the fruition of our desires. These two processes go on side by side, and at last the results of the two shall fit together like the two halves of a tally, and neither shall the saints be wanting for the inheritance, nor the inheritance for the saints.

I. What are we kept BY? The Divine strength is as a fortress, protecting our weakness, and we lie safe in the hollow of that great sphere like some weaponless creature in its shell. We are imbedded, surrounded, over-arched above, and under-propped, and guarded on either side, and therefore we lie secure. The weakest of us can get behind that great shelter of the power of God. The fortress defends us, if we abide in it, from sin that would wreck our souls, but it does not shelter us, though we abide in it, from sorrows and all the ills and wearinesses and toils that flesh has to encounter, not because it is flesh, but because God is good. We are kept from the evil that is in the evil. The very exposure to the one often becomes the defence from the other. Then let us remember, too, that this power in which we are kept is a power which keeps us by itself being in us. So Paul speaks about being strengthened within with "a Divine might." We are kept in God when God is kept in us.

II. What are we kept THROUGH? Faith is the condition, but it is no more than the condition. "The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it," and is safe. And so one of the Hebrew words which expresses "trust" or "faith," literally rendered, means to flee to a refuge. That figure sets forth picturesquely the nature and effects of faith. We are in the shelter of the enclosing walls, when by faith we enter into them. When we "trust in the Lord" we "have a strong city," and "salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks." Faith is conscious need. Faith is humble dependence. Faith is brave confidence. And if we go into our daily conflicts with the world and the flesh and the devil, wanting either of these three things, we want an indispensable link between our weakness and God's strength, and therefore want a necessary condition for the influx of His power which brings the victory.

III. What are we kept rob? It is salvation in its rudimentary state here, it is salvation in its loftiest development yonder. All the crystals of one mineral have precisely the same angles and the same facets and planes, whether they be so small that it takes a strong microscope to see them, or large as basalt pillars of a Giant's Causeway. The little salvation here and the giant salvation of the heavens are one and the same thing, and the difference is wholly one of degree.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Two persons may be in a lifeboat, and both being in the boat are therefore equally safe; yet one may be full of fear, because he understands neither the qualities of the boat nor the principles upon which it is constructed: he sees the waves rolling, and he fears he shall be drowned; while the other man, well acquainted with the principles of construction, and knowing also those laws by which it is governed, has peace because he is confident. So it is with regard to the character of the Lord Jesus. If you have been taught by the Spirit of God to know what Christ is — to know the preciousness of His blood — to know its saving power — to know its superiority even to Satan, then you may sit under His shadow with great delight, and perfect confidence and comfort. But, at the same time, if you are really trusting in Christ, although your faith be feeble, you are not less secure. The timid man is as safe in the boat as the courageous man, because they depend, not upon their frames and feelings, but their safety consists in the fact of their being in the boat. So all that are really trusting in the Lord Jesus are equally secure, although there may be great differences in the power of faith.

(J. W. Reeve, M. A.)

I. WE ARE KEPT SAFE.

1. God hides His people (Psalm 27:5; Colossians 3:3).

2. God guards His people.

II. WE ARE KEPT UP. A corpse might be kept safe, but it would only be preserved corruption. Let us remember that He who keeps our spiritual life secure from outward attack, also keeps it from internal decay. With perpetual preservation there is continual renovation.

III. WE ARE KEPT BACK. He who knows anything of the tendencies of his heart praises God as much for restraining as sustaining grace.

IV. WE ARE KEPT ON. If ye are found still running with patience give glory to Him unto whom alone it belongs.

V. WE ARE KEPT THROUGH. There is as much need for us to be taught how to bear with equanimity, as how to serve with unceasing zeal. We are kept through faith's trial as well as in faith's service.

VI. WE ARE KEPT CLEAN. We who are kept safe in our title are kept meet in our persons for the coming glory.

VII. WE ARE KEPT IN ORDER. The grace that saves places us in Christ's school house for instruction.

VIII. WE ARE KEPT ALWAYS. The keeping of the text extends unto "the last time." We are kept "unto the end." What is there before us? Well, there is sickness for sure. But the promise is, "He," that is the Lord, "will make his bed in his sickness." Beyond sickness stands grim death, but that has lost all power to sting. Beyond death there yawns an open grave. But here the Lord's keeping shines forth most magnificently. Yes, kept for the resurrection morning. Kept by invincible might for reunion with the glorified spirit. Nothing short of eternal keeping becomes the ever-living God, or meets the requirements of our immortal souls.

IX. WE ARE KEPT FOR A PUBLIC EXHIBITION (Ephesians 2:7).

(A. G. Brown.)

When God promises that we shall be "kept by the power of God," He does not mean that we shall be kept from temptation, struggle, and trial. You know that in times of war a commander would throw his strong garrisons into those towns which would be attacked. We have not many soldiers in Islington, but at seaport towns like Dover and Portsmouth you will find large numbers, because they are towns more likely to be attacked. And so when I read in God's Word that the Christian is "garrisoned by the power of God," I learn that the Christian must expect to be attacked, must expect temptation, must expect to be in the midst of the battlefield. But it also implies this, that the commander considers that a most important point, and He throws a garrison into it, And not only because He expects it to be attacked, but because He means to keep it.

(E. A. Stuart, M. A.)

Those who wish to see the Scottish regalia, kept in Edinburgh, have to climb the hill to the castle, then pass guard after guard, and through room after room, until they come to a narrow, steep, winding stair. Ascending it they enter a room, and there before their eyes are the Scottish crown jewels. They are openly displayed, in full view; but while they are where every eye can see them, they are where no hand can touch them. Strong iron guards cover them, so close that, while they do not interfere with sight, no hand could go through. That is how God keeps His precious ones, His crown jewels, so that every eye can see them, but without His permission no hand can touch them. God fences them round so that no one may approach them to do them evil.

The traveller on the Highland railway can hardly fail to be struck, as he journeys north, with the unusual sight of a picturesque and well-kept flower garden blooming in the angle of ground formed at the junction of two rail way lines. The helpless flowers thrive there in spite of the terrible forces that come so near them on every side. If you were to put an untaught savage inside the garden hedge, and let him hear the screaming engines, and see the files of carriages, or the trucks laden with coal, timber, and iron, converging toward this fairy oasis, he would be ready to say, "These beautiful things will be torn to shreds in a moment." But behind the garden fences there are lines of strong, faithful steel, keeping each engine and carriage and truck in its appointed place; and though the air vibrates with destructive forces, the pansy, primrose, and geranium live in a world of tremors, not a silken filament is snapped, and not a petal falls untimely to the earth. In the very angle of these forces the frailest life is unharmed. To all these possibilities of destruction the steel puts its bound. So with the fine spiritual husbandries that foster faith in the souls around us. That faith some times seems a thing of hair-spun filaments, a bundle of frailties, a fairy fabric of soft-hued gossamers trembling at every breath. The avalanche of nineteenth century atheism is poised over it. The air hurtles with fiery hostilities. The mechanisms of diabolic temptation encroach on every side upon our work. Public house, gaming club, ill-ordered home, threaten disasters, of which we do not like to think. The air quivers with the anger of demons. Yet the work is God's, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. In the very angle of these demoniac forces the work shall thrive, for the hidden lines of His protecting power are round about it.

(T. G. Selby.)

Salvation ready to be revealed
Essex Remembrancer.
I. A DELIGHTFUL THEME.

II. AN INTERESTING FACT. "Ready to be revealed." What is implied here?

1. Concealment partial or entire for the present.

2. Preparation.

3. Completeness.

III. AN IMPORTANT CRISIS. "The last time."

(Essex Remembrancer.)

The complete future salvation is both negative and positive. There is a grand indefiniteness which means comprehensiveness in the word. In its narrowest literal sense it means being made whole; in its wider signification it means being delivered from threatening perils, discomforts, and the like. On the positive side the word implies the bestowal of all true good. So what is ready to be revealed is, on the one hand, absolute emancipation from everything, be it sorrow, be it sin, be it ignorance, which is of the nature of darkness, and is to any part of the human sensibility a pain or evil. And on the other side, what waits to be revealed in us is the absolute fulness of all good of every sort which fits any part of a man's nature, and makes it feel blessed and at rest. For heart, and mind, and will, and taste, and intellect, and imagination, and the desire for society, and the desire for love, and the desire for progress, and the desire for change, and the desire for enterprise, and the desire for service, and all else that makes up human nature, the full salvation of the heavens has a corresponding gift. And, says Peter, it is all lying just on the other side of the curtain there. A curtain is a very thin thing, very easy to push aside; a finger's touch and it goes. And, as at some great civic pageant the preparations for tomorrow's show are carried on behind some interposing thin veil of canvas or the like, where we can hear the hammers at work, and catch a light now and then that tells of preparing glories, so, on the other side of the thin partition, through which there come furtive gleams and sounds that tell what is going on, the inheritance is being prepared for the great unveiling. It is ready to be revealed, but the universe is not ready for the revelation. That unseen order of things has present existence. All that is "future" about it is its manifestation. Unseen, it lies around this little visible life. A touch, a crumb of bread in your windpipe, a clot of blood as big as a pin's head on your brain, and the future, as we call it foolishly, proves itself the present, the all-encircling. There is but a thin veil between us and it. It is ready to be revealed when He puts out His hand and draws back the curtain for us one by one, as He will at the last for a universe.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

But is salvation not already revealed? No; the way of salvation is revealed, but the salvation itself is hid out of sight. If the road that leads to the city of God fills us with such wonderment and praise, what ecstasies will possess us once we find our feet on the golden pavements! Imagine not that you will have to spend eternity in mental indolence. No; when you shall have exhausted the revelation of the way, the revelation of the end will still remain; when you shall have gone through this Bible which teaches us how to attain salvation there will be another Bible, the Bible of eternity, to disclose to your wondering gaze the contents of that salvation.

(J. C. Jones, D. D.)

The finished work of Christ, the prepared home in heaven and the peace of God within a believer's heart — these are both alike hidden, secret things. But these things are although they are not seen. They are all ready underneath the covering veil, and when that veil is removed every eye shall see them. When the Lord shall come again His coming will be like the morning. As the daylight reveals the green herbs and growing flowers which the veil of night had concealed, the coming of the Lord will expose to view a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. The flowers and forests, the hills and streams, were all there in the night though they were not seen. They needed not to be made in the morning. They were ready to be revealed. Suppose a creature with the intelligence of a man, but with the term of life allotted to some of the insects — a day. Suppose that creature's life begins after sunset. At midnight and in the early morning watches he looks around, but sees nothing. He reasons, and loses himself in dark speculation. A voice from the abyss above reaches his ear, and tells him that a beautiful furnished world is ready to be revealed, and will be revealed in the morning. He believes and waits; the promise is fulfilled. The glory of the world when the sun is up surpasses all his expectation. Such a creature is redeemed man. All is ready. The inheritance needs only to be unveiled. The unveiling only remains for the last time. Now is the time for seeking and obtaining it; then it only remains that it should be fully displayed.

(W. Arnot.)

In the last time
I. GOD'S LAST WORKS ARE HIS BEST WORKS, which should teach us to imitate God, and never fear the forbearance of God; time cannot change Him, He will be never the worse for delay.

II. If we mark what days these last days are we may also note THAT GOD DOTH HIS BEST WORKS WHEN MEN DO THEIR WORST. For of these last days it is that the apostle speaks, that they should be wicked and perilous days, and this we should learn of God also, to let our piety and patience then shine most.

III. THERE IS A TIME WHEN GOD WILL AT ONCE FULLY DELIVER AND SAVE HIS SERVANTS, and judge for them, and therefore we should no be weary of well-doing.

IV. GOD'S SERVANTS MUST NOT THINK TO BE FULLY DELIVERED TILL THESE LAST TIMES, and therefore they must walk circumspectly, and always stand upon their guard.

V. IT IS THE WILL OF GOD THAT THE DAY OF JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT BE KNOWN TO ANY MAN OR ANGEL FOR THE MOMENT OF IT, and therefore it is here described by ages, not by days and hours, which may confute curiosity, and teach us to watch at all times.

VI. THE WORLD SHALL HAVE AN END, THERE IS A LAST TIME, and therefore woe is to them that so greedily mind transitory things, and that place all their happiness in the things of this life.

(N. Byfield.)

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