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HOPE

From the January 1915 issue of The Christian Science Journal


After Paul has classified the "diversities of gifts" which come from the one Spirit, he summarizes their excellence as follows: "And now abideth faith, hope, love" (Rev. Ver.). Let us slightly reverse the order of the climax and see that next to "the greatest of these" is hope; not hope, however, as it is understood in ordinary speech and experience. The "I hope so" that is often spoken sadly and fretfully is but the anxious craving for the attainment of some crying and rightful need. It is only desire founded on no substantial evidence; it knows no guiding Principle, and at best is addressed to an undefined providence or far-off God who demands that His own creation should sustain itself, a victim to all the evils that spring from ignorance of Truth. Such hope is not the true hope, for it is without the true God.

Even that storehouse of human knowledge, the dictionary, gives of hope a higher meaning when it defines it as "confidence in a future event;" and what is greater, "a well-founded expectation in God." Perhaps the writer of such a scientific definition of a spiritual gift which is next to the highest of all God's good gifts, did not realize that he touched a substantial truth and posited God as creator and sustainer. Else, why look to the creator for the expectation of his hope? Art thou cast down by the claims of bodily sense and disquieted by consequent fears? "Hope thou in God," says the psalmist, and he adds, "I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." No anxious desire, but confident expectation of health from the source of health; no fearful pleading, but joyful expectation in the source of all joy.

Christian Science can never suffer the reproach cast upon other faiths that locate the source of good but fail to show the approach to it. Founding its method on Scriptural authority, Christian Science not only determines the source, but gives him who is cast down the mental manner of his uprising. He must begin his regenerative process by faith, the faith that is "the substance of things hoped for," or, as the Revised Version phrases it, "the assurance of things hoped for, and proving of things not seen." This looking to the divine source is the higher hope that belittles and looks beyond discord, and lets in the light of spiritual intuition and illumination, so that the ensuing peace is its own conviction—faith has advanced to understanding.

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