THE TRUE FOUNDATION OF HOPE
By Karl H. Bogatsky
Let the reader be careful to distinguish between a state of safety by faith in Christ, and a state of assurance arising from sensible comforts in the heart. The best Christians experience great changes in the frame of their minds: sometimes they are lively and comfortable, then they are low and depressed; now they have sensible tokens of Divine favour, then, again, these are withdrawn, and they begin to question the safety of their state before God. The enemy often takes advantage of their uncomfortable frames, and would have them question the reality of grace in their heart; and the consequence generally is great anxiety and distress. In order to remove this, it is necessary to consider what is the true foundation of
hope, and to distinguish between what is durable and what is changeable.
The work of the Redeemer is a perfect work; nothing can be added to it, and nothing must be taken from it. It is everlasting in its duration and efficacy; upon this the eye of faith should be invariably fixed, and hence comfort and support in every state is to be drawn. Christ’s blood is a constant propitiation. His righteousness is a perfect covering; to these, reader, have daily recourse for cleansing and recommendation before God; by these you may silence all the accusations of Satan, all the clamours of conscience, all the threatenings of the law; for in Christ the believer is complete, and here he may safely rest in his dullest and heaviest moments. Happy frames, on the contrary, are bestowed or withheld as it pleases God;
you may safely pray for them, because great peace is promised to the children of GodÂ—and, generally speaking, the diligent and watchful are most frequently favoured with them; and when you are blessed with them, be thankful; but beware of depending upon
them, for this is the readiest way to have them withdrawn: spiritual pride may arise from this quarter, while a feeling sense of weakness and unworthiness keeps the soul humble, and continually dependent upon the Lord Jesus Christ alone for pardon, strength, and salvation.
In spiritual conflicts, it will often happen, when God is about to work some great deliverance from some particular sin, or pressing temptation, that before deliverance comes, the believer will think th has never been so wicked or oppressed before; his corruptions are permitted to stir up in him, and he is apt to say with Moses respecting the Israelites, that “God has not delivered him at all.” Reader, beware of such a conclusion: the greatest darkness is generally a little before sunrise: “the Israelites groaned by reason of their task-masters and heavy burdens,” just when God was about to deliver them. Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity; out of darkness He brings forth light; out of unbelief, faith; and out of pride, humility: His design is to bring down your self-righteousness and vain confidence; to cut the very sinews of an arm of flesh; to convince you that deliverance is of Himself alone, to bring you to a steady dependence upon His power, that His strength may be perfected in your weakness, and that He may have all the glory. Then will He appear for you, and work wonderfully, and in all your after-conflicts of a spiritual kind, follow this advice: build not your comfort of pardon upon your victory, but your victory upon your pardon and acceptance with God through Christ: strive not, thinking that you will only have forgiveness of sin when it is conquered: but seek the pardon of sin first, through faith in Christ, and then that it may be manifested to your heart.