## Linearising a set of nonlinear equations using finite-difference methods

Ok, this should be a simple problem, but for some reason it is taking me far too long to solve, and I'd like to see if anyone could help me towards the solution. I hope I've put this in the correct section.

So...

I have a set of nonlinear equations, which I'm trying to linearise about some equilibrium condition. I could do this analytically, but I since the equations are pretty complicated, I would like to computationally calculate them first as a starting point so I can at least get some preliminary results, and then I have a result to aim for when I do form the analytical solution.

My equations can be written in this form...
$\dot{x_1} = f_1(x_1,x_2,x_3...)$
$\dot{x_2} = f_2(x_1,x_2,x_3...)$
$\dot{x_3} = f_3(x_1,x_2,x_3...)$
and so on. Or, in short hand
$\dot{x} = f(x,t)$
where $x$ is the full vector of all the equations I'm solving. I can obtain an equilibrium condition, $x_0$ and $\dot{x}_0$, and then linearise the equation to
$\Delta\dot{x} = A\Delta x$, where $\Delta x$ is a perturbation to the system, i.e., $x = \Delta x + x_0$, and $A$ is the matrix I'm trying to calculate, which could be written as
$A=\frac{\partial f}{\partial x} =
\[
\begin{bmatrix}
\frac{\partial f_1}{\partial x_1} & \frac{\partial f_1}{\partial x_2} & \cdots & \frac{\partial f_1}{\partial x_n} \\
\frac{\partial f_2}{\partial x_1} & \frac{\partial f_2}{\partial x_2} & \cdots & \frac{\partial f_2}{\partial x_n} \\
\vdots & \vdots & \ddots & \cdots \\
\frac{\partial f_n}{\partial x_1} & \frac{\partial f_n}{\partial x_2} & \cdots & \frac{\partial f_n}{\partial x_n}
\end{bmatrix}
$
.

To calculate $A$, I am cycling through each element of the $x$ vector, and perturbing it by some value $h$. I can then calculate each column through finite elements, such that
$\frac{\partial f}{\partial x} = \frac{f(x_0+h)-f(x_0)}{h}$.

However...all the states that make up my $x$ vector are of different orders. Some are very big, and some very small. Therefore, I need to have a different value for $h$ depending on which row of the $A$ matrix I'm calculating to ensure that that row is sufficiently accurate.

Currently, I'm cycling through the whole $x$ vector, and just calculating the $
\[
\begin{bmatrix}
\frac{\partial f_i}{\partial x_1} & \frac{\partial f_i}{\partial x_2} & \cdots & \frac{\partial f_i}{\partial x_n}
\end{bmatrix}
$
row of the $A$ matrix with an initial estimate of $h$, then reducing it by an order of magnitude, and recalculating. Somehow I hope to show convergence of the new matrix and the previous one through norms of some description, and then, once the matrices are sufficiently converged, I move onto the next row. However, I don't know how to fairly compare two matrices to ensure accuracy, and to prove that the matrix is converging to the right value.

I hope that you can understand my query. Please message me if not and I can clear any misunderstandings.