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commanded to avoid all vain and evil speaking, and to converse instructively and profitably on all occasions. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.” There are a great many christians, who might be extremely useful, if they would aim at edifying, rather than gratifying one another, in talking upon experimental religion. It is their duty freely and frequently to converse together upon those glorious truths and objects, which they will delightfully converse upon, when they shall meet and dwell together in the kingdom of glory

3. If divine knowledge has a tendency to promote all the christian graces and virtues; then growing christians have an increasing evidence of their good estate. Our Saviour compares grace in the heart to seed sown in the earth, which springs up and grows very gradually and insensibly. Though the best of christians grow very gradually, yet they carry about with them marks of their increasing holiness, which is an increasing evidence of their being the subjects of a saving change, and of their having gone forward, rather than backward, in their religious life. And if they critically and impartially examine the exercises of their own hearts, they will find more or less of the following effects of the growth of grace.

They will find that they have become more and more sensible of the essential difference between nature and grace. Natural and spiritual affections often put on a similar appearance, when they flow out towards the same objects, which renders it the more difficult to distinguish them from each other. Christians are very liable to put nature for grace, and selfishness for benevolence. When their natural affections unite with Moses, who gave up the most promising prospects, in obedience to God, and for the good of his people; and it produced the same effect in the apostles and primitive christians, who suffered the loss of all things, to promote the cause of Christ, and diffuse the blessings of the gospel through the world. Growing christians are not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. They bring forth fruit, some thirty, some sixty, and some an hundred fold.

These are some of the happy effects of the growth .of grace, which all growing christians may discover in their own hearts, and which may give them satisfactory evidence, that they are born of God, and are ripening for heaven. But declining christians carry about with them the marks of their declension. Their own hearts testify against them, that they have been cold and backward in duty; that they have abused the word and ordinances of the gospel; and that they have grieved the holy Spirit, and provoked him to withdraw his gracious and comforting influence from them. Their unhappy and dangerous case calls upon them, to remember from whence they are fallen, to repent, and to do their first works. It is their immediate duty to make their calling and election sure, by growing in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As new born babes, let them desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby. God has promised to give his holy Spirit to them that ask him. Let them wait upon the Lord, and they shall renew their strength; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

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unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts.” The apostle Paul, while pressing for: ward towards sinless perfection, had a deep and growing sense of his remaining depravity, and moral turpitude. “O wretched man that I am, said he, who shall deliver me from the body of this death.” David often sighed and groaned under a sense of his sin and guilt. Though growing saints really increase in holiness; yet the more grace they have, the more clearly they discern their remaining corruptions, and the more they loath and abhor themselves for them.

Hence growing christians have a growing sense of the grace of God in their salvation. The more they grow in the knowledge of their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and the clearer views they have of the divine character, and of the divine law, and of the difference between nature and grace, the more they are astonished at the great things which wave been done for them. They are ready to adopt the grateful language of the apostie, “By the grace of God, we are what we are.” They are astonished at the grace of God, in providing a Saviour; at the grace of Christ in dying for them; and atthe grace of the holy Spirit in subduing their stubborn hearts, and continuing to carry on a work of sanctification in them. The whole scheme of redemption appears to be full of the riches of divine grace.

Hence growing christians have a growing desire to bring forth fruits of righteousness. Io whatever station they are fixed; in whatever business they are employed; in whatever condition they are placed; they feel more and more disposed to lay out themselves, to promote the glory of God and the good of mankind. The growth of grace produced this effect in Abraham, who left his country and friends, and offered up his Son, for the glory of God; it produced this efiect in

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Moses, who gave up the most promising prospects, in obedience to God, and for the good of his people; and it produced the same effect in the apostles and primitive christians, who suffered the loss of all things, to promote the cause of Christ, and diffuse the blessings of the gospel through the world. Growing christians are not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. They bring forth fruit, some thirty, some sixty, and some an hundred fold.

These are some of the happy effects of the growth of grace, which all growing christians may discover in their own hearts, and which may give them satisfactory evidence, that they are born of God, and are ripening for heaven. But declining christians carry about with them the marks of their declension. Their own hearts testify against them, that they have been cold and backward in duty; that they have abused the word and ordinances of the gospel; and that they have grieved the holy Spirit, and provoked him to withdraw his gracious and comforting influence from them. Their unhappy and dangerous case calls upon them, to remember from whence they are fallen, to repent, and to do their first works. It is their immediate duty to make their calling and election sure, by growing in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As new-born babes, let them desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby. God has promised to give his holy Spirit to them that ask him. Let them wait upon the Lord, and they shall renew their strength; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

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out sinking or degrading themselves in the least degree.

Furthermore, humility is something different from condescension which is the part of a superior, and consists in stooping to an inferior. Thus the Creator may condescend to a creature, the prince to a subject, the rich to the poor, and the aged to the young.

But though condescension is stooping, yet it is by no means degrading. Real condescension always displays a noble and amiable spirit. I may now safely say, that humility essentially consists in self-abasement, which is self-degradation, or a voluntary sinking not only below others, but below ourselves. It is therefore, wholly founded in guilt. None but guilty creatures have any cause or reason for abasing themselves. But every guilty creature ought to abase himself, whether he is willing or unwilling to perform the mortifying duty. For sin is of a degrading nature, and always sinks the sinner below himself. Sin degraded Satan from the highest to the lowest creature in the universe. The moment he rebelled against his Maker, he lost his original rank in creation, and supk below himself and all the holy angels. Sin degraded Adam, and his first offence sunk him below the lowest creature on earth. Sin has had the same effect upon all his posterity, and made them more vile and abominable than the beasts that perish. The higher and nobler any intelligent creatures are by nature, the lower and meaner they become by sin.

Hence the humility, which sinners ought to exercise, consists altogether in self-abasement. They ought voluntarily to sink down to that place, which their sins deserve, or to be willing to lie as much below themselves and others, as their guilt can sink them. This is totally different from mere abasement. They

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