First Assurance. Hope assures the soul that though God stays a while before he performs the promise, yet he doth not delay. ‘The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry,’ Hab. 2:3. How is this? ‘Though it tarry it will not tarry!’ How shall we reconcile this tarrying and not tarrying? Very well. Though the promise tarries till the appointed time, yet it will not tarry beyond it. ‘When the time of the promise drew nigh,’ it is said, ‘which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,’ Acts 7:17. As the herbs and flowers which sleep all winter in their roots underground without any mention of them, when the time of spring approacheth, presently they start forth of their beds, where they had lain so long unperceived. Thus will the promise in its season do. He delays who passeth the time appointed, but he only stays that waits for the appointed time, and then comes. Every promise is dated, but with a mysterious character; and for want of skill in God’s chronology, we are prone to think God forgets us, when, indeed, we forget ourselves, in being so bold to set God a time of our own, and in being angry that he comes not just then to us. As if a man should set his watch by his own hungry stomach rather than by the sun, and then say it is noon, and chide because his dinner is not ready. We are over greedy of comfort, and expect the promise should keep time with our hasty desires, which because it doth not we are discontented. A high piece of folly! The sun will not go the faster for setting our watch forward, nor the promise come the sooner for our antedating it. It is most true what one saith, ‘Though God seldom comes at our day, because we seldom reckon right, yet he never fails his own day.’ That of the apostle is observable. He exhorts the Thessalonian church there, ‘that they would not be shaken in mind, or be troubled, as that the day of Christ were at hand,’ II Thes. 2:2, 3. But what need of this exhortation to saints, that look for their greatest joy to come with the approach of that day? Can their hearts be troubled to hear the day of their redemption draws nigh, the day of refreshing is at hand? It was not therefore, I conceive, the coming of that day which was so unpleasing and affrighting, but the time in which some seducers would have persuaded them to expect it, as if it had been at the very doors, and presently would have surprised them in their generation, which had been very sad indeed, because then it should have come before many prophecies and promises had received their accomplishment, and by that means the truth of God would have gone off the stage with a slur, which must not, shall not be, as he tells them, ‘For that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition,’ II Thes. 2:3. And as that promise stays but till those intermediate truths, which have a shorter period, be fulfilled, and then comes without any possible stay or stop; so do all the rest but wait till their reckoning be out, and what God hath appointed to intervene be despatched, and they punctually shall have their delivery in their set time.