The Earnest of Coming Glory
Hope is one of the motive powers of the soul; but hope itself needs to be fed, just as the fire under the boiler of the engine needs fresh fuel. We are conscious of this in our everyday life. A very small raise in salary keeps our hope bright, and causes us to wait patiently for the day of larger things of which we dream. In the dark winter God sends us an emotional burst of sunshine to revive the heart. It cheers the invalid with the promise of coming spring and the hope of renewed health; it lifts the heart of the “shut-in” with the prospect of coming liberty, of fresh air on the front porch, of a chair in the yard under the shadow of the trees. How blessed is such a warm day in winter! It is an earnest of the springtime: it stimulates the poor with the encouraging thought that the scant supply of coal will hold out, like the widow’s cruse, and tide the household over the days of cold. To one and all such a day comes as a benediction and a heaven-sent promise, and under its influence we feel that God cares and will care.
But here on this table is the Christian’s sunshine: here is his earnest of the glory to come. In his days when the heart is sick, he finds in these emblems the promise of that coming day when he shall be strong in the Lord, and when the weaknesses of his nature shall be swallowed up in the victory of the Lord, and when the frailties of his mortal body shall be supplanted by the power of the body celestial, incorruptible and eternal, which is fashioned in the likeness of the glorified body of the Christ. At those times when the mildew of despondency possesses the Christian’s soul, this feast comes like a luminous sunburst from the glory of the Lord, like a breath of heaven warm from the heart of Christ, and purges away the soil of his spiritual garments. It is true that we now walk by faith in this dark winterland of sin, but we know that there cometh an eternal day when the light of God’s countenance shall consume this darkness, and leave in all the realm of his redeemed no shadow. As it shall be ours to enjoy the full fruition of our hopes, let us now bless God for this blissful earnest, or foretaste, of them which God has given us to keep our hopes from languishing. — Philip Y. Pendleton, in the book, On the Lord’s Day, Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1904.