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ied in time, and the ample reward of glory, honour, and immortality, with which it shall be followed through eternity. To some of these I shall briefly direct your attention; and O that the Spirit of God would so impress them on your heart, that you may be powerfully inclined to abound in the fruits of righteousness!
1. By growing in grace you will promote the glory of God.-Our blessed Lord presses this consideration on the attention of his disciples. After describing himself as the true vine, and his people as branches graffed into him; and reminding them of the necessity of abiding in him, in order to their fruitfulness, he immediately adds; "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit."* To the same purpose the apostle Paul, when writing to the saints at Philippi, thus expresses himself;-" And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence, till the day of Christ: being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God." +
When God created man at first, and stamped on his soul a resemblance to his own moral image; his design was to manifest his own glorious perfections, by qualifying him to show forth his praise. And when any of our race are created anew in Christ Jesus, he has still the same end in view. They are thus re-fashioned after his image, in righteousness and
holiness, that they may honour his great name. Then they are bound by the strongest of all ties to live to his praise. A son is bound to love and honour his father. But that son who has rebelled against his father, and yet been pitied by him, ransomed from captivity at a costly price, and restored to privileges, is doubly bound to these duties. is with all the redeemed children of God. As Paul addressed believers at Corinth, so it may be said to all the members of the family of grace,-" Ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your hody, and in your spirit, which are God's." * The force of this obligation is powerful indeed, yea, irresistible. All who have properly felt it, are ready to exclaim; "The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead and that he died for all, that they who live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again." +
When the children of God demean themselves, in some degree, suitably to their high and holy calling, it tends powerfully to illustrate and promote the divine glory. The change which has been produced in bringing them from darkness into light, and from sin to holiness, illustrates the greatness of God's mighty power, and the exceeding riches of his grace. To see men who were once remarkable for impiety, become distinguished for godliness,-men who profaned the name of God, venerating and adoring it with holy awe,-men who were active in the service of
Satan, zealous for the honour of Christ,-men who contemned the authority of Jehovah, running in the way of his commandments with alacrity and delight, and solicitous that all should unite with them in his service,—is a brighter demonstration of his power and goodness, than can be learned from all his works of creation. The fruits of righteousness brought forth in the conversation and deportment of such men, exhibit a bright display of his marvellous grace; and call loudly on all who behold them, to mark what God has wrought.
Animated by these considerations, let it be your study, my reader, thus to promote the glory of your heavenly Father. If you sincerely love him, his honour must be dear to your heart; and you must be desirous to advance it, according to your ability. In no way can you do this, except by a life of holiness. The more you abound in every good word and work, the more will you testify your respect for his authority, and contribute your mite to farther his glory.
2. Growth in grace will advance your own peace and comfort.-No man can enjoy true and solid peace, till he be in a state of acceptance with God. "The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."*
ever apparent tranquillity and happiness such persons may seem to possess, they are altogether unsubstantial and transitory. They abandon them when they stand most in need of support, and leave them the
* Isaiah lvii. 20, 21.
prey of remorse and despair.—As none but genuine saints can taste that peace of God which passeth all understanding; so none even of them can experience it, except when they are making progress in a life of holiness. It is then only that these evidences of their acceptance with God, from which evangelical peace springs, can be satisfactorily perceived. When they are in a declining state, and, so far from advancing in gracious attainments, seem to be going backwards, they must be stripped of joy and peace in believing. It is only by the present evidences of grace that these blessings can be enjoyed. How plain and decisive soever these evidences may have been in time past, if they be deprived of them in the mean while, their spiritual comfort in a great measure must for the present be lost. Though it is a cheering truth, that wherever God has begun the good work, he will not forsake it utterly, but will assuredly perform it till the day of Jesus Christ: yet he has wisely so ordered it, that his children cannot experience the joy which this truth is calculated to inspire, when they depart from the path of duty, and give themselves up to sloth and security. In every such case he chastises their faults, by hiding from them the light of his countenanee, and withholding the quickening influences of his Spirit. The consequence is, that they can derive no peace and comfort from their former experience. Spiritual darkness overspreads their horizon,-doubts and fears fill them with perplexity,and their wonted gladness is turned into mourning. That Christian, on the contrary, who is growing
in grace, advancing in the path of duty from one attainment in holiness to another still greater, is a partaker of spiritual peace and comfort. In some degree he is enabled to trace the work of the Holy Spirit in his heart and temper, his affections and practice; and, with holy joy, to discover in himself the marks of God's children, as these are delineated in his word. By some this is more sensibly experienced than by others. But in general it is the happy attainment of all saints, in exact proportion to their diligence and progress in the ways of godliness. It is the blissful reward by which God testifies his approbation of their obedience and activity in his service,—a reward which none but they who exert themselves do enjoy. To expect this "calm sunshine, and heart-felt joy," without growing in grace, is just as unreasonable, and will prove as unsuccessful, as to hope for verdure, blossoms, and fruit on the trees of a garden in the midst of winter.-If you, therefore, value spiritual peace, and desire to experience that joy which springs from the assured hope of eternal life; forget not that they are to be found only by increasing sanctification and fruitfulness. And let this stimulate you to a diligent and persevering improvement of the means of grace.
3. By growing in grace, you will prove beneficial to those who are strangers to godliness.-This motive is particularly specified by Christ, and urged as a cogent reason why his disciples should endeavour to exemplify a conversation becoming the gospel :Let your light so shine before men, that they may