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to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Proficiency in one grace will not atone for deficiency in another; and therefore every christian ought to become more and more uniform, as well as constant, in every christian grace. While christians maintain con : stancy and uniformity in their gracious affections, they will increase in fervency and activity in every duty. Their coldness and backwardness and unfruitfulness always arise from the want of constancy and uniform-. ity in their holy exercises. Let them only become constant and uniform in their love to God and man, and they will be pure as God is pure, and completely obey his command, “to grow in grace.”

II. We are next to inquire, why growth in knowledge is necessary in order to the growth in grace. This necessary connexion between grace and knowledge is plainly intimated in the text. “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” God has always employed knowledge as the most proper mean to promote holiness in the hearts of his people. He has given them his written word, and appointed men to feed them with knowledge and understanding. And he has done this for the very purpose of promoting their spiritual edification and growth in grace. Accordingly we read, “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Some, however, have thought and said, that knowledge is of little, or no advantage to christians, and rather tends to obstruct, than to promote vital piety. It is, therefore, a

2. Uniformity, as well as constancy, is implied in growing in grace. By uniformity is meant, the exercise of all the various christian graces. These are numerous, according to the vast variety of objects with which christians are surrounded, and the great variety of circumstances in which they are placed. Want of uniformity is a very great and common imperfection of christians. They are often like Ephraim, “a cake not turned.” They are sound in some respects, but unsound in other respects. Their beauties are mixed with blemishes. They may be devout in their religious performances; but not so serious and circumspect in their common intercourse with the world. They may be very conscientious in some points; but more lax and inconsiderate in matters of equal, or higher importance. Some seem to have more love to God, than to man; while others seem to have more love to man, than to God. Some shine in one grace, and some in another; while very few shine in all the beauties of holiness. But Christ was uniform as well as constant in the exercise of every species of holy affections. And his followers ought to have grace for grace, and be as uniform as he was, in exercising right affections on all occasions and under all circumstances. This the apostle Peter plainly intimates is necessary in order to grow in grace. "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, ard to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherlykindness, and to brotherly-kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that

ye shall neither be barren, nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The more uniform christians become in their holy affections, the more they grow in grace, and the nearer they approach

fear of God, so it is necessary that they should grow in knowledge in order to

grow

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grace. 2. Divine knowledge not only increases the obligations of christians to grow in grace, but actually increases the holiness of all their holy affections. One exercise of love to God may be more holy than another. The degree of holiness in every exercise of love to God, is always in proportion to the light or knowledge, which the person has, at the time of exercising that particular grace. A christian has a much clearer and more extensive view of God, at one time, than at another, and his love is always virtuous in exact proportion to the degrees of his present knowledge. One exereise of faith is more virtuous than another, because the believer may have much greater knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, at one time, than he has at another. The same holds true of submission, joy, gratitude, and every other christian grace. The virtue of every holy affection bears a due proportion to the magnitude of the object towards which it is exercised. It is more virtuous to love Christ, than to love a friend of Christ, because he is a far greater and nobler object, than any individual christian. It is more virtuous to love God, than to love any created being, because he is a far greater and nobler object, than any created intelligence. The celebrated HOWARD, who spent his property and his life, in relieving the objects of charity in Britain and in various other parts of Europe, was a man of benev. olence, and his benevolence was in proportion to his knowledge. As he had a far more extensive view of the miseries of mankind, than christians in general, so his exercises of kindness and compassion were much more virtuous, than theirs towards similar objects. God is good unto all, and his tender mercies are over all his works; and of consequence, there is more virtue in one

exercise of his benevolence towards mankind, than in all the benevolent exercises of all his benevolent creatures. They never have had, and never will have, such a full and perfect view of the whole creation, as he has every moment; and their virtue can never exceed their knowledge, but only increase as that increases. Suppose an American prisoner should be converted in Algiers, and have no opportunity to read the Bible, to hear a sermon, or to converse with a single christian, after his conversion; he might, by meditation and prayer, grow in grace all his days till he died: but he could not grow in.grace so fast, as if he enjoyed all the means of light and instruction, which he once. enjoyed in his native land. He might, indeed, have as many holy exercises, as if he had been planted in the house of the Lord, and lived in the circle of the most lively christians; but his holy exercises would terminate upon fewer and less important objects, than theirs, and consequently be much less virtuous. The more real christians become acquainted with their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the better they understand the great and essential truths of the gospel, and the more they attend to the great things, which God has done, is doing, and has promised to do, to accomplish the glorious design of redeeming love, the more gracious exercises they will probably have, and it is certain, that the virtue of all their gracious exercises will increase, as their knowledge increases. The virtue of their desires to promote the glory of God, will be in proportion to their knowledge of God. The virtue of their desires for the spread of the Gospel, will be in proportior to their knowledge of the truths and importance of the gospel. The virtue of their desires for the enlargement of the Redeemer's kingdom, will be in proportion to their knowledge of the present and promised extent of

fear of God, so it is necessary that they should grow in knowledge in order to grow

in

grace. 2. Divine knowledge not only increases the obligations of christians to grow in grace, but actually increases the holiness of all their holy affections. One cxercise of love to God may be more holy than another. T'he degree of holiness in every exercise of love to God, is always in proportion to the light or knowledge, which the person has, at the time of exercising that particular grace. A christian has a much clearer and more extensive view of God, at one time, than at another, and his love is always virtuous in exact proportion to the degrees of his present knowledge. One exercise of faith is more virtuous than another, because the believer may have much greater knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, at one time, than he has at another, The same holds true of submission, joy, gratitude, and every other christian grace. The virtue of every holy affection bears a due proportion to the magnitude of the object towards which it is exercised. It is more virtuous to love Christ, than to love a friend of Christ, because he is a far greater and nobler object, than any individual christian. It is more virtuous to love God, than to love any created being, because he is a far greater and nobler object, than any created intelligence. The celebrated HoWARD, who spent his property and his life, in relieving the objects of charity in Britain and in various other parts of Europe, was a man of benevolence, and his benevolence was in proportion to his knowledge. As he had a far more extensive view of the miseries of mankind, than christians in general, so his exercises of kindness and compassion were much more virtuous, than theirs towards similar objects. God is good unto all, and his tender mercies are over all his works; and of consequence, there is more virtue in one

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