An Exposition Upon the Epistle of Jude, pp. 50-51
The sanctification of none is in this life so complete, but it admits of multiplication. Mercy, peace, love, even to you (saith the apostle) be multiplied. There is no plenary perfection on this side heaven; the highest saint in this life is not come to the fullness of his measure, Eph. iv. 13. Blessed Paul thought not himself to have apprehended, Phil. iii.13. The most perfect Christian is perfectly imperfect when he begins, imperfectly perfect when he ends; when we have done all, we are unprofitable servants. The fullest vessel may have more wine poured into it, without any fear of bursting; none must bid God stay his hand. They who think have need of nothing, have truly received nothing. Till the sabbath comes, we must daily be gathering manna: he that rests in time of labour, shall labour, though in vain, in the time of rest. A Christian is not like a top, that moves by going round, and not by going forward: not like the sun in Hezekiah’s time, that stood still; but like the sun in its natural course, that goes forward to the perfect day. we must go from strength to strength, till we appear before the Lord in Zion, Psal. lxxxiv.7. Where there is no growing, there is some decaying. While we neglect to gain, we spend upon the stock. Sin is continually making breaches in our graces, and we must be daily making them up; our garment has daily rents, and therefore it wants constant mending; the dust daily falls in our houses, and therefore they want frequent cleansing; our hearts are like to children’s faces, after every washing, they soon grow foul again. Sanctification is nothing but a return to our first estate, to which we cannot attain till death. When the sting of sin is gone, the stain cleaves close, and we had need wash seven times daily to get it out.