Jul 25, 2010

The substance of things hoped for - Robert Hawker

"The Church of GOD can never be sufficiently thankful to the HOLY GHOST, for this most precious Chapter. It forms a compendium of the most blessed things, all leading to JESUS. The antient fathers of the Church, were accustomed to call it, the book of GOD'S Martyrs. And to be sure, it doth contain some of the most precious things, by which we are led to see, how it was they lived so strong in faith, and died so triumphant in hope, by the grace of GOD, being made perfect in their weakness. In order to enter into a proper apprehension of the blessedness of that principle of faith, in which they were made so strong by the LORD; before that we look at the effects of it in their lives, and deaths, as here recorded, it may not be amiss to attend a little more closely to the LORD'S own account of faith, as stated in those words.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. There is somewhat very striking in this account of faith, as given by the HOLY GHOST himself. It is called by him a substance, meaning; that the object the soul resteth on being substantially formed in the mind; and which, so realizeth that object to view, as for the mind to become as perfectly assured of its existence and reality, as though seen. This is faith. And in this sense, it is the substance of things which are at a distance; but as perfectly alive to the soul; as though present to bodily sense. To explain great things by small. I have a child, a friend, a relation, whom I have never seen, and living at a distance from me. But I am continually receiving tokens from him by message, or by letter, both of his existence, and his affection towards me. Now, though I have never seen him, yet I no more doubt of his being and existence, than my own. I therefore substantiate, and realize in my mind, this certainty; and I am actuated by it accordingly. Such, but in an infinitely higher degree, are the great objects of faith, in relation to things supernatural, and unseen. I have received evidences upon evidences; and love tokens multiplied with love tokens from JESUS my LORD. By faith, therefore, I substantiate, and realize all those blessed things concerning JESUS. .And it is to me substance. JESUS saith, I will cause them that love me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures, Proverbs 8:21. Hence, therefore, as the Apostle saith, in relation to JESUS; Whom having not seen we love; in whom though now we see him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory; receiving the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls, 1 Peter 1:8-9. It was thus with the Patriarch and holy men of old. Their faith needed not the presence of what they believed in. GOD'S testimony concerning it was enough. It became therefore the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen." -Robert Hawker

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