18. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
18. Qui præter (vel supra) spem super spe credidit, ut esset 1 pater multarum gentium, secundum quod dictum erat, Sic erit semen tuum.
1 "Ut esset:" this may indeed be rendered according to our version, "that he might become;" but the drift of the comment seems to favor the other view, that he believed that he should be, and not that he believed in order to be, or that he might be, the father of many nations
2 This is a striking instance of the latitude of meaning which some words have in Scripture. Here hope, in the first instance, means the ground of hope; and in the second, the object of hope. So faith, in Romans 4:5, and in other places, must be considered as including its object, the gracious promise of God; for otherwise it will be a meritorious act, the very thing which the Apostle throughout repudiates with regard to man's justification. Faith, as it lays hold on God's promise of free acceptance and forgiveness, can alone, in the very nature of things, be imputed for righteousness: it is not indispensably necessary that the way, or medium, or the meritorious cause of acceptance and forgiveness, should be clearly known and distinctly seen; the gracious promise of God is enough, so that faith may become a justifying faith.