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09 August, 2014

All Saints Are Not Alike Holy

Thomas Brooks, 1662 
All saints are not alike holy. Some are more holy, and others are less holy; in some saints the springs of holiness runs low, in others the springs of holiness rise very high. Holiness thrives not alike in all saints. In the parable some brought forth thirty, some sixty, and others a hundredfold—and yet all was good ground, Mat. 13:8, 23. And in that other parable, everyone had not ten talents—some had but five, others two, others but one, Mat. 25:14-15; Luke 19:12-21. God never distributes holiness alike to all. To some he gives more, to others less, according to the good pleasure of his grace. God never intended that all should thrive alike in holiness. 

Though there were many who feared God in Nehemiah's time—yet he tells you that his brother Hanani feared God above many, Neh. 7:2. And though Job's three friends came to visit him in the days of his sorrows, namely, Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad, were doubtless all holy men, Job 1:8—yet they fell very much short of Job in grace and holiness, as is evident not only by that high testimony that God himself gives concerning Job, "That there was none like him upon the earth, a perfect and upright man, one who feared God, and eschewed evil;" but also throughout that whole book of Job.

It is true, all saints are equally justified, and equally pardoned, and equally reconciled, and equally accepted—but all saints are not equally sanctified. All saints are not of equal standing in the house of God. All saints have not been partakers of equal means, all saints have not had equal gales of the Spirit, all saints have not alike acted that holiness they have; and, therefore, no wonder if all saints are not alike holy. David's worthies were not all of equal strength, nor all the stones in the building are not of equal proportion, nor all the members in the natural body are not of equal magnitude; and so it is also in the mystical body of Christ. In God's house there are vessels of gold, and vessels of silver, 1 Cor. 3:12 Tim. 2:20, that is, there are some who are more eminently sanctified and purified than others are.

You read in Scripture of babes—as well as of strong men; of lambs—as well as of sheep; of plants—as well as of trees. Besides, you read of a little faith, and of smoking flax, and of a bruised reed, and of a grain of mustard-seed. And what does all this evidence—but that God gives different measures and degrees of grace and holiness to his people? Christ has not work alike for all saints to do, nor burdens alike for all saints to bear, nor mercies alike for all saints to improve, nor temptations alike for all saints to resist, nor difficulties alike for saints to grapple with, nor dangers alike for all saints to encounter with, etc., and therefore he gives not a like measure of holiness to all—but to some more, to others less, according as their condition requires; some saints stand in need of a great deal more grace and holiness than others do. Their place, calling, condition, and employments in the world, calls for a greater stock than others need.

One man may better keep house with a hundred a year, than another who has a great family and great resort to his house, can do with a thousand a year; and so it is here. A little may serve a little farm—but it must be a great stock that must serve a great farm. A little stock of holiness will serve some Christians—but it must be a great stock of holiness that must serve to supply the necessities and the lacks of other Christians; and therefore God gives different measures and degrees of holiness among his people as their needs require.

Look! as one sinner excels another in wickedness—just so, one saint excels another in holiness; and therefore let not those who have much holiness despise those who have but little; nor let not those who have but a little holiness censure or judge those who have more holiness than themselves. All that holiness which any man has, whether it is little, or whether it is much—is all of grace, it is all of free-grace. Therefore let every man improve it, be thankful for it, and walk humbly under it. 

(Read the 77th and the 88th Psalms. And indeed most of the psalms of David are a full proof of this position, as all may see that will but read them with a spiritual eye, and with an understanding heart.)