But if we hope for that we see not - If we have a well-grounded expectation of our resurrection and final glorification, knowing that such things are necessarily future, and must for a certain time be delayed; then do we patiently wait for them, continue patiently to endure the common ills of life, and whatever tribulations we may be exposed to in consequence of our Christian profession; for we know, Faithful is he who has promised. Hope is a sort of universal blessing, and one of the greatest which God has granted to man. To mankind, in general, life would be intolerable without it; and it is as necessary as faith is even to the followers of God.
The ancients have a very instructive and elegant fable concerning it. "Prometheus having made a human body, went up to heaven, and stole some celestial fire to animate it: Jupiter, incensed at the theft, sent down Pandora, with a box full of diseases and plagues of every kind, as an ensnaring present to Prometheus; but he refused to accept it. Epimetheus took and opened it, and instantly all those diseases, etc., by which mankind have been made miserable, flew out, and spread themselves over the whole earth; and only Hope remained at the bottom of the box." This fable explains itself, as to its main design. Men find life, with its various and unavoidable ills, only supportable by the hope they have of not only getting safely through them, but of enjoying a state of blessedness in the end. Hope is still at the bottom; and therefore man is encouraged to bear up in all the pressures of life. Take away hope, and then black despair and indescribable wretchedness would be the instant result. Hope stands justly among the highest mercies of God.
But if we hope - The effect here stated is one which exists everywhere. Where there is a strong desire for an object, and a corresponding expectation of obtaining it - which constitutes true hope - then we can wait for it with patience. Where there is a strong desire without a corresponding expectation of obtaining it, there is impatience. As the Christian has a strong desire of future glory, and as he has an expectation of obtaining it just in proportion to that desire, it follows that he may bear trials and persecutions patiently in the hope of his future deliverance. Compared with our future glory, our present sufferings are light, and but for a moment; 2 Corinthians 4:17. In the hope of that blessed eternity which is before him, the Christian can endure the severest trial, and bear the intensest pain without a complaint.