Old heads on young shoulders

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(J.C. Ryle)

Let us settle it in our minds, that grace must have a beginning in every believer’s heart; and that we have no right to say a person has no grace, because it does not come to full ripeness at once. We do not expect a child to do the work of a full-grown man — though he may one day, if he lives long enough. Just so, we must not expect a new Christian to show the faith, and love, and knowledge of an old soldier of the cross. He may become a mighty champion of the truth by and by. But at first we must give him time. There is great need of wisdom in dealing with all young disciples.

Kindness, and patience, and gentleness, are of the first importance. We must not try to pour in the new wine too quickly, or it will run over. We must take them by the hand and lead them on gently. We must beware of frightening, or hurrying them, or pressing them on too fast. If they have only got hold of the main principles of the Gospel — let us not set them down as godless, because of a few lesser matters. We must bear with much weakness and infirmity — and not expect to find old heads on young shoulders, or ripe Christian experience in those who are only babes.

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