on Hebrews 6 :19
Which hope we have as an anchor - The apostle here changes the allusion; he represents the state of the followers of God in this lower world as resembling that of a vessel striving to perform her voyage through a troublesome, tempestuous, dangerous sea. At last she gets near the port; but the tempest continues, the water is shallow, broken, and dangerous, and she cannot get in: in order to prevent her being driven to sea again she heaves out her sheet anchor, which she has been able to get within the pier head by means of her boat, though she could not herself get in; then, swinging at the length of her cable, she rides out the storm in confidence, knowing that her anchor is sound, the ground good in which it is fastened, and the cable strong. Though agitated, she is safe; though buffeted by wind and tide, she does not drive; by and by the storm ceases, the tide flows in, her sailors take to the capstan, wear the ship against the anchor, which still keeps its bite or hold, and she gets safely into port. See on Hebrews 6:20 (note).
The comparison of hope to an anchor is frequent among the ancient heathen writers, who supposed it to be as necessary to the support of a man in adversity, as the anchor is to the safety of the ship when about to be driven on a lee shore by a storm. "To ground hope on a false supposition," says Socrates, "is like trusting to a weak anchor." He said farther, ουτε ναυν εξ ἑνος αγκυριου, ουτε βιον εκ μιας ελπιδος ὁρμιστεον· a ship ought not to trust to one anchor, nor life to one hope. Stob., Serm. 109.
The hope of eternal life is here represented as the soul's anchor; the world is the boisterous, dangerous sea; the Christian course, the voyage; the port, everlasting felicity; and the veil or inner road, the royal dock in which that anchor was cast. The storms of life continue but a short time; the anchor, hope, if fixed by faith in the eternal world, will infallibly prevent all shipwreck; the soul may be strongly tossed by various temptations, but will not drive, because the anchor is in sure ground, and itself is steadfast; it does not drag, and it does not break; faith, like the cable, is the connecting medium between the ship and the anchor, or the soul and its hope of heaven; faith sees the haven, hope desires and anticipates the rest; faith works, and hope holds fast; and, shortly, the soul enters into the haven of eternal repose.
on Hebrews 6 :19
Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul - Hope accomplishes for the soul the same thing which an anchor does for a ship. It makes it fast and secure. An anchor preserves a ship when the waves beat and the wind blows, and as long as the anchor holds, so long the ship is safe, and the mariner apprehends no danger. So with the soul of the Christian. In the tempests and trials of life, his mind is calm as long as his hope of heaven is firm. If that gives way, he feels that all is lost. Among the pagan writers, "hope" is often compared with an anchor. So Socrates said, "To ground hope on a false supposition, is like trusting to a weak anchor." Again - "A ship ought not to trust to one anchor, nor life to one hope." Both sure and steadfast. Firm and secure. This refers to the anchor. That is fixed in the sand, and the vessel is secure.
And which entereth into that within the veil - The allusion to the "anchor" here is dropped, and the apostle speaks simply of hope. The "veil" here refers to what in the temple divided the holy from the most holy place; see the notes on Matthew 21:12. The place "within the veil" - the most holy place - was regarded as God's special abode - where he dwelt by the visible symbol of his presence. That holy place was emblematic of heaven; and the idea here is, that the hope of the Christian enters into heaven itself; it takes hold on the throne of God; it is made firm by being fastened there. It is not the hope of future riches, honors, or pleasures in this life - for such a hope would not keep the soul steady; it is the hope of immortal blessedness and purity in the world beyond.
on Hebrews 6 :19
6:19 Which hope in Christ we have as an anchor of the soul - Entering into heaven itself, and fixed there. Within the veil - Thus he slides back to the priesthood of Christ.