Sermon 2700. Growth in Grace
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, NOVEMBER 11, 1900.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT NEW PARK STREET CHAPEL, SOUTHWARK, ON A LORD'S-DAY EVENING, IN THE AUTUMN OF 1858.
"But grow in Grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 3:18.
IT is worth while to remark that this passage immediately follows the 17th verse, where the Apostle says, "Beloved, seeingyou know these things before, beware lest you, also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.But grow in Grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." He puts the one after the other, as if the onemust be the means of the other. There had been some, in the Apostle's day, who had twisted, to their own destruction, certainexpressions in the Epistles of Paul which Peter said were "hard to be understood." And, therefore, he warned Christian menand women to take heed lest they, "being led away with the error of the wicked," should "fall from their own steadfastness."
In order that they might know how to stand and to be preserved from falling, he gave them this direction-"grow in Grace,"for the way to stand is to grow. The way to be steadfast is to go forward. There is no standing except by progression. Ifyou see even such a simple thing as a child's top rolling along your floor at home, you will observe that it will always standupright as long as it keeps on rolling-but when it stops, down it goes! So is it with the Christian-as long as he is in motion,he stands-but if it were possible for the motion to cease, then the Christian would fall from his steadfastness. Glory beto God, he will be kept from falling, and he shall be presented faultless before the Throne of God! The way to stand, then,is to go forward. The way to be steadfast is to progress. The way to be alive, according to the Apostle, is to "grow in Grace,and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
We will offer, first of all, two or three remarks upon growth "in Grace" in general And, secondly, a few remarks upon growthin Grace being intimately connected with growth "in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. "
I. First, then, we shall offer some remarks upon GROWTH "IN GRACE" IN GENERAL. What shall we say about
The first remark we make is that there is a sense in which there is no such thing at all as growth in Grace. If you understandthe word, Grace, as signifying free favor and the love of God towards His people, there is not, and there cannot be any growthin that at all-
"The moment a sinner believes, And trusts in his crucified God"-
he is, by the Grace of God, then and there justified and complete in Christ Jesus! And if he lives till his hair is gray,he will never be more justified, and never be more beloved than he is the very first moment in which he believes in Christ.As soon as ever I have a vital connection with the Lamb of God, I am "in Grace." Let me live on, let my Grace grow, let myfaith increase, let my zeal become warmer, let my love be more ardent, yet I shall not be more "in Grace" than I was before!God will not love me more, He will not have a deeper and a purer affection in His heart to me then than He has the very firstmoment I turn to Him, nor will His Grace the less justify me, or less accept me, the first moment when I come to Him withall my sins about me, than it shall do when I stand before His Throne! We never grow in the Grace of election. We are always,as Peter says in his first Epistle, "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." And in that
sense of being, "in Grace," there is neither growth nor any retrograde movement. So also is it in the matter of justification-
"In union with the Lamb, From condemnation free, The saints forever were, And shall forever be."
And they are at any one time as much justified as they are at any other time. Give me to be justified today, then I was justifiedyesterday, and I shall be justified tomorrow. As soon as I put my trust in the Savior, I became complete in Grace, so faras that was concerned, I was made perfect in Christ Jesus. I cannot be more than perfect and, therefore, I cannot in thatrespect grow in Grace. I cannot receive more justifying mercy. I cannot receive more pardoning Grace, for I have had it allat once and have so become perfect in Christ.
But you will remark that our text does not say anything about Grace growing-it does not say that Grace grows! It tells usto "grow in Grace." There is a vast difference between Grace growing and our growing in Grace. God's Grace never increases-itis always infinite, so it cannot be more. It is always everlasting. It is always bottomless, it is always shoreless. It cannotbe more and, in the Nature of God, it could not be less. The text tells us to "grow in Grace." We are in the sea of God'sGrace-we cannot be in a deeper sea, but let us grow, now that we are in it. We cannot be more in it than we are, or than wehave always been. We are in God's Grace. We are in the Covenant. We are in the scheme of redemption. We are in union withJesus-we cannot be more or less so, for we are eternally secure through the blood of our Savior. But while itcannot grow,wecan grow more in it and so we shall "grow in Grace."
I must make another remark. It is certain that while the Grace of God toward us does not grow, yet there is such a thing asthe development of Grace. There are some persons who strongly object to the Doctrine of Progressive Sanctifica-tion and toour mentioning anything like growth in Grace. My Brothers and Sisters are welcome to object if they like, but I am sure, ifthey read the Scriptures (they will surely not object to Scriptural terms), they will find growth in Grace very frequentlymentioned. If that does not mean progressive sanctification, then I do not understand the term, "growth in Grace," at all!It is quite certain that there are degrees in the development of Grace. You will surely not say that the young man who hasbeen converted only for the last few months, knows as much of Grace, understands as much about it, and has as much faith andas much love, as the man who has for the last 20 or 30 years been earnestly engaged in his Master's service!
You will not tell me that one man, who is scarcely ever seen coming up to the House of God, and who is daily in a state ofreligious starvation, stands on a par in Grace with a man who is laboring for his Master, whose love is evident to all, andwhose faith is testified before the whole congregation! You will not tell me there is a dead level in Christianity which allalike reach. If you do say so, I shall tell you that you have no eyes, or that you do not look about you. For it is certainthat there are some who are further advanced than others are, some with greater faith than others have. There are "great faiths"as well as "little faiths," great loves as well as little loves! There are men of ardent spirits who have Grace more fullydeveloped in them than it is in others. It is true, they are not more loved of God than others are, and not more justified,nor more accepted, for in that respect we all stand on a level, and there is no difference. But as to the development of Gracein our souls and the display of Grace in our lives, everyone must admit that there is a difference between different saints.
I cannot understand the difference existing between various ministers of Christ, if it is not because of the difference inthe degrees of Grace which they possess. Some have just started in the Christian ministry and have preached a little aboutredemption, but they have not gone far enough to preach about election, or, at least, not about the vital union of every blood-boughtchild of God with the person of Emmanuel. Or if they should now and then preach upon that blessed Truth of God, they cannottalk about the eternal security of the saints and declare how, against wind and tide, they shall all sail safely into theheavenly harbor. They have not grown enough in Grace to preach on such themes as these-so will not everyone admit that thereare degrees of development in Grace-while it is also true that there are none of us more justified, more elect more chosenof God and loved of Him than any other Believers are?
Now for a third remark, which is that growth in Grace is not to be measured by weeks, months and years. There are personswho think that the age of a man will tell how much he knows about Divine things. "Oh," say some, "So-and-So is such a youngman-what can he know about Divine Grace? There is a hoary-headed father there-he must know a
great deal more." If you talk like that, you will soon find out your mistake. God often delights to show how He scorns andscoffs at all the distinctions of man. He makes the young men prudent and He even gives to children, knowledge and discretion!Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings He ordains strength because of His enemies. It is true-we do believe and we shouldbelieve that there is more knowledge beneath the gray hairs than under the youth's curly locks-generally speaking, it is so.Yet God, in order to display His Sovereignty, has so arranged that He sometimes puts His treasures into an earthen vesselthat has not been fashioned more than a few years!
Do not suppose that persons grow in Grace according to their years. Some grow faster in Grace in five minutes than othersdo in 50 years. I believe that some saints progress further in Grace in one single month than others do in 12 months or 12years. I am sure I may speak concerning myself. I have sometimes grown more in Grace in one hour, than I have at other seasonsin a week, a month, or a year-when God, in His Infinite Wisdom, has been pleased to give me a vision of the Savior, or tobreak up the fountains of wickedness that lay hidden in my soul. I have learned more in one hour, when the Holy Spirit's handhas been upon me, than I have in weeks and months simply with my own study. God's people grow like trees grow. Sometimes theytake a start and grow upward. At another time, they are growing downward. Sometimes, apparently, the sap sleeps within thebranch-a winter time comes over it and it is asleep.
Do not imagine, my dear Friends, that because you are getting old, you are growing in Grace. People are continually warningyoung men of their danger. No doubt we are in danger, but let me remind you that there is not an instance in Sacred Scriptureof a young man disgracing his profession-but there are instances in Scripture of men of middle age and of gray hairs doingso. It is thus we, who are young, are in the greatest danger and, therefore, God upholds us to show the power of His Grace.But some of you older folk conceive that you are not in peril and, therefore, God allows you to fall, that He may stain thepride of your self-glorying and let you see that it is not anything in flesh-neither age, nor standing, nor rank, nor conditionwhich ensures our safety-but that He holds up the humble and casts down the proud! David did not fall into his great sin untilhe had certainly come to maturity and into the very prime of life-then he sinned with Bathsheba. Lot did not transgress sogrossly before he became an old man.
If you turn to the pages of Scripture, you will notice that wherever there has been a lamentable fall-as in the case of Peter-ithas been a man who has grown up and become strong in years. God thus shows us that it is not mere years that can teach usGrace-in fact, that years, and age, and learning, and talent have nothing to do with Grace-and He could, if He pleased, takea child six years old and pour wisdom and knowledge into the lips of that child that could puzzle the seers of this world!He often takes the most unlikely instruments and uses them for the accomplishment of His purposes. And because men have saidthat experimental preachers must have gray heads, he says, "No, it shall be a youth who shall lead the multitude! It shallbe a child, out of whose mouth I will pour words of wisdom, for I will overthrow all human glory and show mankind that itis not the preacher who is to be praised, but God." Salvation is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs but it is Godthat shows mercy! It is not the man who preaches, who accomplishes the work, but God working through the man. He could dispensewith the man altogether if He pleased. At any rate, He will have the man He pleases, and at what age He pleases, and qualifyhim as He pleases.
Once more, growth in Grace is not to be estimated by our feelings. There are some of you, Beloved, who think you are not growingin Grace because you do not feel so lively as you used to do. "Ah," you say, "when I was young, everything was bright. Whatpeaceful hours I then enjoyed! I would go over hedge and ditch to hear the Gospel preached. I had such an intense desire tohear about God and Jesus Christ, such love to the Gospel that when I once got to hear a minister preach, it mattered not whoeverhe might be, it all seemed sweet. But now I am so depressed that I cannot enjoy the Truth of God as I used to do." Do notthink because your wild heat is gone, that you have not grown. When we light a fire, we always put the straw and kindlingat the bottom. And when we first light it, there is a deal of flame and a great deal of smoke. But, afterwards, when the flamegets hold of the coals, there is not so much blaze, but there is really more heat. You may have lost some of your flame andsmoke, but you have more solid fire! We would rather warm our hands by the coals than by the straw, for that must soon go.
So is it with Divine Grace-it begins with a flame which catches the lighter substances and lays hold on the imagination andthe passions. But, later in life it appeals to the judgment, and makes the man one solid lump of burning fire. He is not alittle flame, rising towards Heaven, that the wind might blow out with a puff, but he becomes so strong a fire
that the wind shall but increase the flame, and shall make the heat the greater! So it may be with you. Perhaps you have becomemore solid though you are less fiery.
Do not suppose, when you are depressed, that, therefore, you are not growing in Grace. Many of God's plants grow best in thedark and He often puts them in the dark to make them grow. When you are growing upwards, remember that there is such a thingas growing downward. You may have had, yesterday, a Divine manifestation that took you up to the top of the Delectable Mountains.You must not think you are big because you are up on high, for pigmies perched on Alps are still pigmies. And if you wereever so little, it would not make you any bigger if you were taken to the top of St. Paul's. If, on the other hand, you aredeep down in a mine, do not imagine that you are any the smaller for that reason. I can tell you that you will often growfaster in the dungeon than on the top of a mountain, but it is not a pleasant place to be. When our depravity is revealedto us, when our desolation of spirit and our utter hopelessness and powerlessness are uncovered and made manifest by God'sHoly Spirit, we grow, I believe, even faster than we do when, on the wings of seraphs, we are privileged to mount on high!So, do not measure your growth in Grace by your feelings. Some of you make a kind of barometer of your feelings. Do not doso! If we are in Christ, we are in Christ by faith, and not by feelings, and remember, whether your feelings are good or bad,you are no more or less a child of God. Your faith, Sinner, unites you with the Lamb-not your feelings! Trust Him in darkness,trust Him in distress, lean on Him when you cannot see Him. And when there seems nothing to walk on, still walk, for the groundis firm beneath the foot of faith!
Just by way of warning, let me urge you not to think that you are growing in Grace because you happen to be doing a littlemore for the church externally. ' 'Oh," we often say, "now I am progressing, am I not? I am busy in the Sunday school, laboringhard there! I am preaching! I am doing this, or that, or the other-now I am truly growing in Grace." Ah, it is a proper thingto be diligent in good works and to be abounding in acts of righteousness, but if you begin to say, "Now I am growing," becauseof this or because of that, you have made a great mistake! It often happens that when we are very full of public labors, weare very short in private devotions. I must confess that it has been so with me-and that is a very lamentable thing-for thenI was not really growing at all. A man may have his hands ever so full before the world and think he is doing much, but hemay not be really growing in Grace, after all.
Do not think that this is an excuse for anybody who is not doing much, you Issachar-like people, like "a strong ass betweentwo burdens," too lazy to lift either! I am not giving you a word of comfort. You are not growing, for you are doing nothing-andthose who are doing something must not boast of their growth. It has more to do with private devotion than with public exercise.It has more to do with meditation than with explanation. It has more to do with contemplation and adoration than with publicservice. We must look more to the state of the internal'matters, keeping up private prayer and attending to the reading ofthe Scriptures. If we do not, however much we may seem to progress outwardly, we are not any richer-we are only beating outthe little gold we had into a thinner plate, and spreading it over a wider surface. The more we do for Christ, the more Hewill do for us, but let us take heed that while we water other people's vineyards, our own is not neglected, and that thestones of the hedges are not cast down. May God grant you, Brothers and Sisters, to grow in Grace!
II. Now we come to the second thought, THAT GROWTH IN GRACE IS INTIMATELY CONNECTED WITH GROWTH "IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORDAND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST." In fact, there cannot be any
Grace at all except as we know Christ! And there can be no growth in Grace except as we grow in our knowledge of Christ. Wemay always test whether we are growing by this question-Do I know more of Christ today than I did yesterday? Do I live nearerto Christ today than I did a little while ago? For increase in the knowledge of Christ is the evidence as well as the causeoftrue growth in Grace. In order to prove this, I will mention one or two Christian virtues, and you will see that they mustincrease as we know more of Christ.
With regard to love, s ome of us say, "How little we love Christ!" Many of you sing-
"'Tis a point I long to know,
Oft it causes anxious thought-
Do I love the Lord, or no?
Am I His, or am I not?"
That is a very good hymn-I find no fault with it-but please do not sing it too often! Now and then, you are welcome to it,but get through it as quickly as you can. I would far rather hear you sing that grand hymn of Toplady's-
"A debtor to mercy alone,
Of Covenant mercy I sing!
Nor fear, with Your righteousness on,
My person and offering to bring."
"Oh!" you say, "I long to grow in love. I want to know that I love Jesus. I want to feel my heart going out after Him, andmy soul knit to Him." Well, the way to grow in love is to know more of Christ. The more you know of the Savior, the betteryou must love Him. The more you discover of His beauties, of His excellences, of His virtues, of His perfections, and of Hisglories, the more your soul will be drawn towards Him. I tell you who do not love Christ at all, it is because you do notknow Him, for if you knew anything of Him, you would love Him in proportion to your knowledge! The more you know of my Master,the more you will love Him. You have only lifted one corner of the veil that shrouds His forehead, you have seen but one portionof His visage, so you love Him-but if you had faith to lift the veil entirely, to see all of His blessed Countenance, to markthe majestic sweetness which sits enthroned upon His lofty brow. If you could focus on His eyes, which are "like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-Rabbim"-if you could describe Him as being "altogether lovely," ah, you would love Himmore!
Blessed are the men that improve upon acquaintance! Jesus Christ is one of those blessed ones-the more you know of Him, themore you love Him. Sweet Jesus! When I first saw You, I loved You! When first Your wounded hands and bleeding side were uncoveredto me, then I loved You. Ah, but that love is nothing compared with what I have now. And oh, when I shall see You as You are-whenmy soul becomes changed into love-the love I have now shall seem to have been nothing but a spark compared with that vehementflame of love which I shall have to You then! Know more of Christ. Read more of Him. Think more of Him. Ask about Him morebecause you will be sure to grow in the Grace of love in proportion as you know more of Christ!
So is it with regard to faith. What is the reason why so many of us groan because our faith is so feeble? It is because wedo not know enough of Christ! There are many people who need to know a great deal more about Jesus than they know at present.And if they knew more about Jesus, they would have more faith. "Oh," says one, "when I look at myself, I think, 'Oh, whatis to become of me?' Then I search to see if there are not some evidences of Grace." That is all wrong! You have no businessto look there-you will not grow in faith by looking at yourself! One look at Jesus is worth 50 at yourself! If you would havemore faith, keep your eyes on Jesus! The wounds of Christ on Calvary are the mothers of faith-these are the breasts from whichfaith must draw its nourishment. If you would grow in faith, you must live near to the Cross. The sweet flower of faith wasfirst sown in Christ's precious blood-and it must be watered by it every day. Know more of Christ! Think more of Him and yourfaith will increase! Your little faith would soon get strong if you lived more on Jesus. If you would become Great-Hearts,by-and-by, and knock those giants about as terribly as Mr. Great-Heart did of old, live near to Jesus! Live with Jesus. Feastat His banqueting table, for there is no food so strengthening to the spirit as the flesh of your Lord, and no wine can soinvigorate your soul as the blood of Jesus Christ your Savior.
So is it with regard to our courage, for that is a Christian Grace, and one in which many are terribly deficient. Our Christiancourage will always increase in proportion as we know Christ. We have far too many timid Christians who have not enough courage,I was about to say, to speak to a cheese-mite-they would not be able to profess the name of Christ before the smallest creaturein the world! They would almost be ashamed to declare that they loved the Savior even within bare walls, for fear some birdof the air should hear them and go and tell the tale. They are so ashamed of their own faith (and yet it is real faith) thatthey scarcely dare to speak! The smallest stone in the road would make them stumble. A straw would be almost as great to themas a range of mountains like the Himalayas would be to others. They would be entirely cast out of the road if they had theleast prospect that there could be a shadow in it for them to pass by! It is because we do not know enough of Christ thatwe are afraid of anything.
I believe that when we come truly to know Christ, we shall be afraid of nothing at all. Shall we be afraid of man? No! Weshall say, "Whether it is right to obey God rather than man, you judge." Shall we be afraid of the devil when we know Christ?No! We shall say, "Christ has the devil chained and He can always pull the dog of Hell in when he attempts to bite us. Christhas hold of the dragon and he cannot inflict deeper wounds than Christ wills." We shall not be afraid of the messenger ofdeath, for we shall regard him as an angel of the Covenant sent to fetch God's people up to Heaven! Courage will always beincreased in proportion as we know more of Jesus and if we could have Christ for our daily and
hourly Companion, I believe all the hosts of Hell, marshaled in battle, would no more frighten us than would a flock of smallbirds that might settle upon our path! But we would say, "In the name of the Lord, we will destroy them." If you would havemore true Christian courage, get more of "the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
So is it with regard to our zeal, which is a Grace sadly lacking in these times. If we would be more zealous, we must livenearer to Christ. If the Son of Man were to come now, would He find zeal upon the earth? His own question was, "Shall He findfaith?" But, would He find zeal It would be difficult even for Him to discover much of it among Christians. There is soundorthodoxy, but no zeal. There is heterodoxy, but still no zeal. Where do you find it? Just here and there. There is a remnant,according to the election of Grace, who are zealous for God, but, in these times-we are sorry to say it-religion has degeneratedinto a kind of formality. It is a fashionable thing to be pious. We have been going on in the same track as other people-thereis an old cart-rut, and we all drive along it. We have kept on at the same pace as our fathers, but, oh, if we knew more ofChrist, we would have more zeal!
I cannot think it possible for men to lack zeal when they know Christ. They would then say, "Did my Savior shed His bloodfor me and shall I fear even to die for Him? Did He come all the way from Heaven to earth to save souls and shall not I alsoseek to win them for Him?" Would we have so many lazy preachers if they had more of Christ in their hearts? If they understoodmore of Jesus, would we have so many slothful, sluggish members in our churches, with so many who can make any excuse ratherthan labor for Christ, patching up any empty apology for idleness? No, Brothers and Sisters, if we knew more of the Savior,if we had more frequent visions of Him, if we saw Him more often on His Cross and viewed Him more frequently sitting withthe crown upon His head, we would say, "I vow revenge against my sloth! All I can do will be too little for so good a Lord-
'All that I am, and all I have, Shall be forever Thine. Whatever my duty bids me give, My cheerful hands resign. Yet if Imight make some reserve, And duty did not call, I love my God with zeal so great, That I should give Him all.'"
It is no use to try to get more zeal except in the right way, knowing more of Christ. And if we seek to grow in zeal as certainpeople we might mention have done, we shall have a zeal like a house on fire! It will do more mischief than it will do good.There may be some heat and a great deal of illumination, but it will die away, by-and-by, into black ashes, poisoning thechurches everywhere. I have seen a certain kind of revival in England and I can always tell where such "revivals" have beenby the scarred state of the places after them. These so-called "revivals" have been worked by excitable meetings, held bysundry preachers who have invented strange doctrines, but have said nothing about the Grace of God. They have for a time stirredup the people to a kind of religious furor, and they have left behind them a very desert. Before them it was like a gardenof the Lord, but behind them barrenness and desolation. The church has been divided- there has been a reaction, and the peoplehave sunk into the most lamentable condition. If we would have true zeal, it must be by the preaching of the good old doctrine,proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him Crucified, for anything else comes of the devil, and to Hell it shall tend. Its issue shallbe destruction-not salvation!
But if we keep to the Truth of God, there will be "revival" enough. We want nothing but the good old-fashioned Gospel to stirthe world again. Though men have tried new schemes, God will not claim them. All these heresies must be swept away and thetrue Gospel-distinguishing Grace of God in all the Sovereignty of election-must yet again be preached! And when it is preachedin all its fullness, then shall the church be zealous and then shall Zion arise and shake herself from the dust, and put onher beautiful garments.
Further, if we would grow also in the Grace of brotherly kindness, we must know more of Christ. O Beloved, we must lamentthat there is too little brotherly kindness in the world! There is a great deal of that mawkish, mistaken kindness which says,"We must never say anything contrary to anybody else's opinion. If we know of a doctrinal error, we must not expose it, becauselove of our brethren implies that, even if they are wrong, we would not tell them of it." But I think true brotherly kindnessis always to preach the Truth of God and tell our brethren where they are wrong and give them the opportunity of getting setright. Brotherly kindness is to preach whatever we believe to be true, and to
maintain what God has taught us. And then, after all, to say, "Well, Brother, you differ from me. I am not infallible. I stilllove you." But that is no love which makes us hide the Truth of God! True love will make us honest, zealous and affectionate.
Why don't we love one another as much as we ought? It is because we do not love the Savior enough, and we have not seen enoughof Him. If we had known more of the Savior, I am sure we should love Him better. I met with a strange idea the other day whenreading a book by old Burroughs. He says, "If Jesus Christ were to come down to His Church now, He would see some of His childrenwith black eyes. Some others would be seen scratched in the face and some bruised all over. He would say to them, 'What haveyou been doing?' If one should answer, 'Lord, I have been fighting with my brother, and he did this,' the Lord would say,'Children of one family fight? The birds of one nest disagree? How sad it is!'" It is a strange thought, but it may be a profitableone, for if our Lord Jesus Christ finds His people quarrelling, what will He say?
You may remember a story I have told you before. An old Scotch elder had been disputing with his minister at an elders' meeting.He said some hard things and almost broke the minister's heart. Afterwards, he went home and the minister went home, too.The next morning, when the elder came down, his wife said to him, "Eh, Jan, you look very sad this morning. What's the matterwi' you?" "Ah," he said, "you would be sad too if you had had such a dream as I've had." "Weel, and what did you dream about?""Oh, I dreamed I had been at an elders' meeting and I said some hard things, and grieved the minister. And as he went home,I thought he died, and went to Heaven. A fortnight after, I thought I died, and that I went to Heaven, too. And when I gotto the gates of Heaven, out came the minister, and put out his hand to welcome me, saying, 'Come alang, Jan, there's nae strifeup here, and I'm happy to see you.'" The elder went to the minister to beg his pardon, but he found that he was dead. Andhe laid it so to heart that, within a fortnight, the elder, himself, departed. And I should not wonder if he did meet theminister at Heaven's gate, and hear him say, "Come along, Jan, there's nae strife up here." It will be well for us to rememberthat there is no strife up there. Glorified saints have no strife among themselves and we would love one another more in brotherlykindness if we thought more of Heaven, and more of our blessed Jesus!
Lastly, there is another Grace in which we need to grow. That is, the Grace of humility. I am sure we would increase in thatGrace if we lived nearer to Christ. O Humility, most precious thing, you are most rare! He who talks most of it has leastof it. He who preaches of it best, full often is least the subject of its power! O Humility, I have sometimes thought thatyou were a phantom, and that pride was the reality! Humility, where are you? The depths of poverty say, "You are not in me,"for the poor are often proud. The heights of riches say, "You are not here," for the rich are often proud, too. O Humility,you are not to be found in science, for philosophy puffs up. You are not to be found in ignorance, for that is the motherof pride. O Humility, where can I find you? Where are you? Nowhere can I see you, or know what you are-unless I sit at thefeet of Jesus and behold myself a lost, ruined sinner purchased by Divine Love. If you, dear Friend, would be truly humble,you must look at your Savior, for then you will say-
"Alas, and did my Savor bleed?
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?"
You will never feel yourself such a worm as when, by faith, you see your Savior dying for you! You will never know your ownnothingness so well as when you see your Savior's greatness. When you grow in the Grace and knowledge of our Lord and SaviorJesus Christ, you will be sure to grow in humility!
Growing Christians think themselves nothing, but, full-grown Christians think themselves less than nothing. The nearer weget to Jesus, the smaller self will appear to be. Self and Christ can never come close together. When I stand near self, Christis small. When I stand near Christ, self is small. May God grant to you, dear Friends, to grow in the knowledge of Christ!Read the Scriptures more. Seek more the influences of the Holy Spirit upon them. Spend more time in devotion-ask God the HolySpirit to give you a fresh sight of Calvary. Be more often on the Mount of Transfiguration, in the Garden of Suffering, inthe Hall of Agony, under the Cross of Crucifixion! Live with Jesus and near to Him-and so, changed from glory to glory asby the Spirit of the Lord, you shall, each one of you, grow unto the stature of a perfect man or woman in Christ Jesus!