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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, ar.d 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

1. They must exercise grace more constantly. It is generally and justly supposed, that the best of christians in their present state of imperfection, are not always in the actual exercise of grace. Whether there can be any such thing as grace, without exercise, I shall not stand to consider; but supposing the common opinion to be true, that christians are not always in the exercise of grace, it must be allowed, that they ought to exercise grace more constantly, which is actually growing in grace. For the more constantly and uninterruptedly they exercise purely holy affections, the more they conform to the divine will, and do really advance in the divine life. They follow the example of the apostle Paul, while growing in grace

and pressing forward towards the mark of sinless perfection. So far as they fail in the constancy of their gracious exercises; just so far they fall short of that moral perfection, which is their indispensable duty. If they let their thoughts wander with the fool's eyes to the ends of the earth, their gracious affections will certainly be interrupted, and vain thoughts and evil affections will creep into their hearts. Some christians, who are circumspect and watchful, and keep their hearts with diligence, have many more right affections than others, who are in a low and declining state of religion. They carry about with them the spirit of the gospel, and pursue their secular concerns, as well as perform their religious duties, with gracious sincerity. Whether they eat, or drink, or whatever they do, they mean to do all to the glory of God. They live as seeing Him who is invisible, and endeavour to keep themselves in the fear of the Lord all the day long. This is what all christians ought to do, to grow in grace, and make progress in a holy and devout life,

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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

in grace.

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

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 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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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 proportion 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

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