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of the Thessalonians, your faith groweth exceedingly.'
· Alas!' I replied, I fear I do not grow at all. I cannot perceive in myself any progress.' • Do not say so,' he answered, “ for this borders on unthankfulness. In our desires aft greater measures of knowledge and grace, let us never overlook the less ; nor, while we earnestly beg the LORD to bestow more, unthankfully forget what he hath already given. It is very true, as the Apostle observes, that our highest attainments in the present state, are only as the at-, tainments of children; and that, "if any man think he knoweth any thing, he knoweth no thing yet as he ought to know.'. Nevertheless, an apprehension of the very first principles in grace, nay, the circumstance of being matricu: lated in the school of Jesus, is an unspeakable mercy, which a whole life of thankfulness is not sufficient to acknowledge.
Look back, my brother," he added, from the first traces you can discover of God's manifestations in your mind, to the present period and compare your situation then with now, and you will at once perceive what rapid advances you have been making in the divine life, under the teachings of God the Holy Ghost. And this is, in fact, the only method whereby to
form a true estimate of ourselves. For when we draw conclusions from the present only, or calculate our growth merely by our desires of be. ing finally saved, or when we erect as a standard, whereby to judge ourselves, the excellency of others more advanced : all these models, being ill-constructed and ill-chosen, must invari. ably induce mortifying views of ourselves by the comparison. This is not, therefore, the right plan by which we are to ascertain our state. But if we so judge of our progress in grace, as we estimate proficiency in the works of nature, the method will be more accurate. In the vegetable kingdom, for instance, however certain an advance in growth may be, yet the most in. tense eye can never discern any one plant actually growing. But by the comparative observation of a few days, every one is enabled to discover that a progression has taken place.
6 And while I am speaking of this subject of growth in
I would desire to add another observation, which is intimately connected with it. The Apostle says, 'grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Now, if I really grow in grace, (as increasing grace humbles more and more the soul,) I shall grow more sensible of my own worthlessness, and Christ's all-sufficiency ; deeper views of sin in my fallen nature will induce all those gracious effects which tend to enhance the Saviour; a conscious sense of want, will awaken as conscious a desire of haying those wants supplied, and every day's experience will make self more lowly, and Christ more exalted. This is to grow in
and in the knowledge of our Lord together. The progress of grace, therefore, connected with the progress of the knowledge of the Lord, must ever produce those effects. A little
like the dawn of day, when shining in the heart, enables the believer to discover by this twilight somewhat of the darkness around. In proportion as the light advances, he sees the objects clearer. But he then only becomes sensible of all the evils lurking within, when the meridian brightness is completed. Grace, in like manner, shining in its full lustre, discovers to us more clearly the corruptions of our nature; and while it accomplisheth this purpose, it an. swereth the other blessed purpose also, which the Apostle connects with it, of giving us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.'
It became a matter of much satisfaction, I be. lieve, to my fellow-traveller, as well as to myself, to behold the appearance of an inn on the road; for we both needed, rest and refreshment, so that without any deliberation we entered the door. «Can you accommodate us.?' said
friend to the host, who happened to be near the passage as we approached the house. Certainly, answered the man, and showed us into a room.
"You do not forget, my brother,' whispered my
fellow-traveller to me,' which it was among the pilgrims passing through this world, who could not find this accommodation; there was no room for him in the inn. How sweetly is it arranged in all the various circumstances of life, to discover somewhat of his bright example going before us in almost every situation; not by way of reproach, but of pointing out to us, in numberless instances, the superiority of our accommodations to his !
• There is something in the very nature of an inn,' continued my friend, ' which serves, as it appears to me, to promote the sacred purposes of a pilgrimage like ours, more effectual
ly, than almost any other situation ; and had I my choice on this point, I should like it, of all others, for my abode in the dying hour; for every one is so taken up with his own concerns, that there is neither time nor inclination to attend to the affairs of others : so that here a man might be free from the troublesome importunity of attendants, which sometimes becomes a sad interruption to the soul, in her preparations for her journey into the invisible world, while the carriage is at the door.'
Our refreshment, consisting of a little tea and bread, was soon served up; which, my friend having first implored the divine blessing to sanctify the use of it, we really enjoyed. "Tea is a very pleasant beverage,' said my friend, ! to my taste; and I should find some difficulty to get any thing as a substitute, were I to be deprived of the use of it. I have heard many speak of it as pernicious; but I verily believe, that one great reason why it proves so is, because it is a graceless meal. If we do not beg God's blessing over our food, how can we be surprised, if, instead of being wholesome, it proves hurtful?'
After we had finished our repast, and like well-fed guests had arisen from the table, blessing the kind Master of the feast who giveth us