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The Acts of Hope are,

1. To rely upon God with a confident expectation of his promises; ever esteeming that every promise of God is a magazine of all that grace and relief which we can need in that instance for which the promise is made. Every degree of hope is a degree of confidence.

2. To esteem all the danger of an action, and the possibilities of miscarriage, and every cross accident that can intervene, to be no defect on God’s part, but either a mercy on his part, or a fault on ours; for then we shall be sure to trust in God when we see him to be our confidence, and ourselves the cause of all mischances. The hope of a Christian is prudent and religious.

3. To rejoice in the midst of a misfortune, or seeming sadness, knowing that this may work for good, and will, if we be not wanting to our souls. This is a direct act of hope to look through the cloud, and look for a beam of the light from God; and this is called in Scripture ‘ rejoicing in tribulation, when the God of hope fills us with all joy in believing.’ Every degree of hope brings a degree of joy.

4. To desire, to pray, and to long for the great object of our hope, the mighty price of our high calling; and to desire the other things of this life as they are promised, that is, so far as they are made necessary and useful to us, in order to God’s glory and the great end of souls. Hope and fasting are said to be the two wings of prayer. Fasting is but as the wing of a bird; but hope is like the wing of an angel, soaring up to heaven, and bears our prayers to the throne of grace. Without hope, it is impossible to pray, but hope makes our prayers reasonable, passionate, and religious; for it relies upon God’s promise, or experience, or providence, and story. Prayer is always in proportion to our hope, zealous and affectionate.

5. Perseverance is the perfection of the duty of hope, and its last act; and so long as our hope continues, so long we go on in duty and diligence; but he that is to raise a castle in an hour, sits down and does nothing towards it; and Herod, the sophister, left off to teach his son, when he saw that twenty-four pages, appointed to wait on him, and called by the several letters of the alphabet, could never make him to understand his letters perfectly.

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