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  • CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX: THE PRIVILEGE OF GROWTH IN GRACE
  • Now beside all the former privileges severally, there is one that respects them all of great price [one that is worth more than all the others] that is the increase and growing up [maturation of] all those graces for God gives [more] than they would have sometimes [at anytime]expected or asked. Colossians 1:9.
  • An example whereof we may see in Moses, if we compare his later times with this former; [it is the same with] the Apostles. This privilege, if it be duly considered adds great courage and yields much comfort to God’s children: when they shall know that this grace is offered that by God, even that like plants should grow and increase in God’s house; and as the sun, they should shine more and more until midday.
  • And how so ever the devil raises many occasions of fainting, flesh, deadness of spirit, and earthly mindedness, neglecting of means, etc., yet may we not be discouraged, but press forward, depending on God’s promise, and following his direction.
  • The Encouragement of Perseverance
  • As he that makes a good beginning shall increase and grow in goodness, so he that increases daily shall make a good end at length: for all believers shall continue to the end in a good and godly course. Psalm 37:37, Philippians 1:6, Job 6:39 & 10: 28. Which as it is in itself a great privilege, so is it greater that God makes it known to his children, and draws their hearts to believe the same. 1 Peter 4:5, 1 John 5:1-3, 1 Thessalonians 5:9.
  • This is a treasure invaluable, mightily reviving the hearts of God’s children, and encouraging them with cheerfulness to follow the godly life, and all means of proceeding in it. For they which take occasion from this doctrine to wax slothful, worldly, idle vain & etc., they know not what it means, but pervert that which they know not – to their own destruction.
  • The truth and certainty of this privilege is not to be doubted of, though we see good men after death to show small tokens of grace and have a happy departure. For there may be many impediments. And howsoever it may seem, yet this is certain, of a good life comes a good death. Psalm 37:37. Sometime indeed for correction of some sin, or for example [to others], the Lord may send such a death as is less comfortable: as in 1 Kings 13:24, of the prophet that was sent to Jeroboam. Yea, sometimes a good Christian may offer violence to himself, not knowing what he does; yet being formerly of a holy and unrebukable conversation, he is not to be judged according to that one action, however unwarrantable and dangerous soever in itself.
  • Much less ought persecution seem so grevious as that it could not stand with a good estate and final perseverance, especially seeing we have much encouragement to the suffering of it, by examples, promises, and predictions in holy Scripture.
  • This perseverance then being so precious, and yet so certain, let us then nourish the hope of it in ourselves daily by keeping in us a willingness to die.
  • Frequently meditate on the vanity of this world, and all that is therein. Colossians 3:1. By holding fast our rejoicing in Christ. 1 Corinthians 5:31.By mortifying of sin and keeping our hearts from the love of it. Colossians 3:5.
  • Teaching ourselves to bear small afflictions, and so to deny yourselves that we may the better undergo greater when they shall be sent.