Richard Sibbes, from The Bruised Reed:
There are several ages in Christians, some babes, some young men. Faith may be as `a grain of mustard seed’ (Matt. 17:20). Nothing so little as grace at first, and nothing more glorious afterward. Things of greatest perfection are longest in coming to their growth. Man, the most perfect creature, comes to perfection by little and little; worthless things, as mushrooms and the like, like Jonah’s gourd, soon spring up, and soon vanish. A new creature is the most excellent creature in all the world, therefore it grows up by degrees. We see in nature that a mighty oak rises from an acorn. It is with a Christian as it was with Christ, who sprang out of the dead stock of Jesse, out of David’s family (Isa. 53:2), when it was at the lowest, but he grew up higher than the heavens. It is not with the trees of righteousness as it was with the trees of paradise, which were created all perfect at the first. The seeds of all the creatures in the present goodly frame of the world were hid in the chaos, in that confused mass at the first, out of which God commanded all creatures to arise. In the small seeds of plants lie hidden both bulk and branches, bud and fruit. In a few principles lie hidden all comfortable conclusions of holy truth. All these glorious fireworks of zeal and holiness in the saints had their beginning from a few sparks.