Godefridus Udemans (c. 1581–1649) on hope

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Godefridus Udemans (c. 1581–1649) was one of the most influential Dutch Nadere Reformatie divines of his generation. With the exception of Willem Teellinck (1579–1629), no 17th century theologian from the Zeeland province exerted greater influence upon his contemporaries than Udemans, the preacher from Zierikzee. in his book The Practice of Faith, Hope, and Love (Practycke), the first of his works to be translated into English (by the Dutch Reformed Translation Society), was originally published in 1612. In this book, Udemans, as a Reformed pietist,  presents faith, hope, and love as experientially active Christian virtues. Justification, which establishes the believer’s union with Christ, is presented as the experiential commencement of sanctification, and therefore faith itself cannot but produce good works. Here is an excerpt from chapter 1, p. 25-26:

“The word hope also has several meanings. Sometimes the word refers to faith, as in 1 Peter 3:15. Other times it refers to the foundation of faith, as in 1 Timothy 1:1. It may also refer to the things hoped for, such as eternal life (Col. 1:5). And sometimes it refers to the instrument with which we expect the promises, as in 1 John 3:3. Let us concentrate on this fourth meaning to offer the following description: Hope is the fruit of the Spirit whereby we look forward with patience and endurance to the fulfillment of God’s promises. Let us look at the Author of hope, the nature of hope, and the foundation of hope.

1. The Author of hope. The Author of hope is the Holy Spirit. Hope is a fruit of the Spirit, for the Holy Spirit not only seals God’s promises in our hearts (Eph. 1:13), but also sheds God’s love within our hearts so that we may rejoice in oppression and hope in God’s greatness (Rom. 5:5). The Spirit also gives us hope in the midst of our infirmities (Rom. 8:26).
2. The nature of hope. The nature of hope is patient and steadfast expectation. Romans 8:25 tells us, ‘But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.’ James declares: ‘Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh’ (5:7–8). After Abraham patiently endured years of waiting for a promised son, he finally obtained the promise (Heb. 6:15). By contrast, the unbelieving Israelites in the wilderness constantly put God to the test by doubting His promises (Ps. 78:41). The result was that they did not enter the Promised Land.
3. The foundation of hope. The foundation of hope is God’s promises alone. Titus 1:2 says, ‘In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.’ Abraham believed in God’s promises ‘against hope,’ says Romans 4:18, for he did not doubt God’s promises.”

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Godefridus Udemans (c. 1581–1649) on true faith

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Godefridus Udemans (c. 1581–1649) was one of the most influential Dutch Nadere Reformatie divines of his generation. With the exception of Willem Teellinck (1579–1629), no 17th century theologian from the Zeeland province exerted greater influence upon his contemporaries than Udemans, the preacher from Zierikzee. in his book The Practice of Faith, Hope, and Love (Practycke), the first of his works to be translated into English (by the Dutch Reformed Translation Society), was originally published in 1612. In this book, Udemans, as a Reformed pietist,  presents faith, hope, and love as experientially active Christian virtues. Justification, which establishes the believer’s union with Christ, is presented as the experiential commencement of sanctification, and therefore faith itself cannot but produce good works. Here is an excerpt from chapter 1, p. 22:

“We know that the word faith has several meanings. Sometimes the faith refers to the whole teaching of the gospel (Gal. 1:23; 1 Tim. 4:1). But faith may also mean a basic head knowledge of and assent to the truth of Holy Scripture that produces no joy. This is historical faith, which even devils have and which causes them to tremble (James 2:19). At other times, faith means some knowledge of and assent to God’s Word mixed with the brief joy that results from having tasted God’s grace. But in times of temptation, this belief, which is called temporary faith (Luke 8:13), disappears. Or faith can mean the ability to do miracles in the name of Christ supported by the special revelation of Christ’s promises. This is called miraculous faith (1 Cor. 13:2; Matt. 17:20). Last, it may mean justifying faith (Rom. 5:1). If we have justifying faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We will now deal with this kind of faith and describe it.

True faith is a fruit of the Spirit, planted in our hearts by the hearing of the Word and confirmed by the use of the sacraments. By this faith, we not only understand and firmly assent to the truth of God’s written Word, but we also firmly believe in the promises of the holy gospel in Jesus Christ, and appropriate the forgiveness of sin and eternal life to ourselves.”