I suspect that the next stage of growth consists in clothing these abstract notions, which we gain very early, and which are taught out of catechisms, with the facts of the history of the Lord Jesus Christ as they are narrated by the evangelists. 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. 2. "Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear: for verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them." So it is with regard to the knowledge of Christ. They do not use these records as building materials out of which to develop an ever-increasing conception of heavenly excellence.3. The thunder, whirlwind, and flood, though useful at the time, yet contribute but a small share in effecting the grand result of Nature's processes. No one who has eyes to see can ignore the cruel wrongs, the sickening spectacles of lust and crime with which the world is full. To us, so easily provoked, so hasty to resent, so strong in speech "not seasoned with salt," that person is a mystery. He has read the Bible, and he has seen no such evidence as that which his brother professes to have seen. Another person is put in circumstances by God's providence where he needs perpetual nerve and perpetual enterprise. The endless activity of God, according to its capacity to receive it, seems to have been imparted to His last and finest creation, man. It is the root of all the virtues. 1. Their whole progress is the other way. It is not ours by nature. But to live the life of Christ we need a nature balanced and sustained like His. Why, the whip that stood before my door has become a bush; and the bush has become a large shrub, and the shrub is mounting up into a tree, and the tree shall yet spread its branches wide abroad. 3:18.) 3. (Heb. The perfect type cannot be cultivated in this unsuitable soil and in this unfavourable climate. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." Without striving to grow in the graces of the painter's pencil, you will never understand the feelings of the painter himself. It is for all time, now and evermore. The apostle speaks of συμφυτοι γεγοναμεν τῳ ὁμοιωματι του θανατου, being "planted together in the likeness of his death." Is He your Master? And that little germ which first came up, and that vast tree, are the same, although they have differed every year more and more by development and growth. The ties of blood cease to bound the limits of affectionate regard, and a spiritual brotherhood unites you to a larger circle. Then, in the next place, let there be an actual arrangement of things, in so far as he has the power — of the employments and circumstances of the day — with express view to the accomplishment of this the supreme purpose.3. (3) When we have a more spiritual frame of heart. They must exercise grace more constantly.2. It is of all things the most calm, the most quiet, the most dignified. IV. For one Christian God has one form of trial; for another, another form. This is the type toward which nature was working all the time. I am your brother, though I may not gain the same conception of God that you do. III. It is declared that he who saves a soul from death shall shine like the stars of the firmament in the future kingdom of God. (2)Christ is willing to give Himself to you.2. Hence the blessed distinctive mark of Christian progress is that, in the midst of the most strenuous efforts, there may be perpetual calm. W. Beecher.To increase in the knowledge of God is distinctly commanded, not in this passage alone, but in very many. Compare all other knowledge with this, and see the vast difference in point of excellency.3. Is it so with a man-built cathedral? This will make the soul of the Christian a Divine sunflower. our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18), That’s our obligation-and (John 10:28, 29.) We do not want unison: we want harmony. It is declared that he who saves a soul from death shall shine like the stars of the firmament in the future kingdom of God. He is the Fountain of Life; He gives the life, He nourishes the life, He increases the life. Though the men of the world are disposed to despise religion, yet they are constrained to respect it in those professors who appear to be both knowing and growing Christians.2. Like stars, men are clustered in constellations, and move on in systems, mutually attracting, mutually repelling each other. Now, what is that purpose? And I lay this on your hearts, that growth in grace is not so much the blessedness of private, personal experience, or the welling up of certain emotions in heart and mind, as conduct in the life, aspiring after, and showing in exercise "whatsoever things are lovely and of good report." Beecher. Be adulterous in act, who does not transgress in desire?

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