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How to Quench the Spirit

Fire is quenched by pouring on water or withdrawing fuel; so the Spirit is quenched by living in sin, which is like pouring on water; or not improving our gifts and grace, which is like withdrawing the fuel.

—Thomas Manton
Works, 9:491.

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Growth in Grace

When I speak of “growth in grace” I only mean increase in the degree, size, strength, vigour, and power of the graces which the Holy Spirit plants in a believer’s heart. I hold that every one of those graces admits of growth, progress, and increase. I hold that repentance, faith, hope, love, humility, zeal, courage, and the like, may be little or great, strong or weak, vigorous or feeble, and may vary greatly in the same man at different periods of his life. When I speak of a man “growing in grace,” I mean simply this,—that his sense of sin is becoming deeper, his faith stronger, his hope brighter, his love more extensive, his spiritual-mindedness more marked. He feels more of the power of godliness in his own heart. He manifests more of it in his life. He is going on from strength to strength, from faith to faith, and from grace to grace.

—J. C. Ryle
Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots, 121–122.

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Little Faith

Little faith is true faith, as well as great.

A little man is a man as well as a great man; a little water is as truly water as the ocean sea. The disciples had true faith, and yet very weak, weak in knowledge, though they believed that Jesus was the Messiah that should save the world, yet how, they could not tell.

They were ignorant of His death, for when He told them of His sufferings, it is said they understood not that word. And Peter took his Master aside and counseled Him not to go to Jerusalem to die. They were ignorant also of His resurrection. For when Mary told them of it, they believed it not. Of His ascension, when He spoke of a little tarrying with them, and then of His going away, they understood it not, they knew not where He went, they said, and knew not the way Now how weak was this their knowledge, to be ignorant of such main articles? . . .

But weak faith may prove strong in time: the most learned clerk was in his grammar book, the greatest giant was in swaddling clothes, the tallest oak was a twig, and faith grows from a grain of mustard seed to a tall tree. As from a child to a man, so corn grows from a weak blade to a stalk and ear, and ripe corn therein.

—John Rogers (1572-1636)

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Growing Nearer To Christ

It is true, indeed, that Christ is perfectly and completely applied to the soul in the first act for righteousness. “Justification being a relative change, properly admits no degrees, but is perfected together, and at once, in one only act; though as to its manifestation, sense, and effects, it has various degrees,” says William Ames.

But the application of Christ to us, for wisdom and sanctification, is not perfected in one single act, but rises by many, and slow degrees to its just perfection. And though we are truly said to have come to Christ when we first believe (John 6:35), yet the soul after that is still coming to Him by further acts of faith: “To whom [coming] as unto a living stone” (1 Pet 2:4). The participle notes a continued motion, by which the soul gains ground, and still gets nearer and nearer to Christ; growing still more inwardly acquainted with Him.

The knowledge of Christ grows upon the soul as the morning light, from its first spring to the perfect day (Pro 4:18). Every grace of the Spirit grows, if not sensibly, yet really; for it is in discerning the growth of sanctification, as it is in discerning the growth of plants, which we perceive to have grown, rather than grow. And as it thrives in the soul, by deeper movements of the habits, and more promptitude and spirituality in the acting; so Christ, and the soul proportionally, close more and more inwardly and efficaciously, till at last it is wholly swallowed up in Christ’s full and perfect enjoyment.

—John Flavel

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