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for him? It is true, I have done so; but, in doing so, I have but lost a loss, I am but rid of a damage. 1 count all things but loss; and I suffer the loss of all things, for Christ."
This is the low and villifying account, that a child of God makes of every thing that is not his treasure. God and Christ, and the things of eternity, are his chief and choice good; and whatever he hath besides, is but dung, but loss, but a damage. In the heart of a carnal man, all things lie in a confused order; heaven below, and earth a-top: earth seems to him to be vast and infinite; but heaven a little inconsiderable spot. But, in the heart of a child of God, every thing keeps its natural posture: there earth sinks, as being the dregs of his thoughts and cares; but heaven shines above, very bright and glorious: earth, to him, seems to be but a little spot, as indeed it is, which is seldom seen or noted by him; but heaven is as an infinite boundless sea of mercy, which he is still looking into and admiring. Thus things keep their natural posture, in the heart of a child of God; but they are all disordered, in the heart of a wicked man. . ••....
I. To prosecute this farther, I shall endeavour to OPEN TO YOU THE RICHES OF THIS HEAVENLY TREASURE; that it may appear how rationally the children of God act, in valuing this above all things, and in haaking it their choice good and chief treasure. .'-,,. .i -...;•'
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i. It is an evident demonstration of the preciousness of this treasure, in that It Makes Those Things Precious Also, That Are BUT Conversant ABOUT IT; and therefore, certainly, it is mighty precious itself. It bestows a lustre, excellency, and beauty upon every thing, that lies near it, or that hath any relation to it. . . - .:•; ..;..,.
I will mention but Two things.
1. The Deeds of Conveyance, whereby this treasure is made over to us and becomes ours, are therefore precious, because they convey such a treasure. .1 • ....•.:
And what are they, but the Promises? Every promise is a ticket, given us by God, to take up mansions of treasure in heaven: it is vocal glory: it is happiness, in words and syllables: it is eternity, couched in a sentence. And, therefore, n«
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wonder that the Apostle speaks so magnificently of them: Whereby, says he, are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises.
Tell me, therefore, O soul! didst thou ever see the glory and riches, that there are in a promise? Wert thou ever ravished with that infinite sweetness and deliciousness, that thou suckest from them? Didst thou ever sit down amazed at the free and boundless love of God in them; that spake good to thy soul, for a great while to come, as David speaks? Didst thou ever find the excellency and preciousness of these things? Think, then, how precious that glory itself is, that fills these promises. If a star be so bright and sparkling, that shines only in a borrowed brightness, how transcendently bright then is the sun, that lends so much light to it! If the conduit-pipe be ready to burst, through the abundance of streams that flow from it; bow inexhaustible is the fountain and spring-head, that supplies this treasure! If the gleanings be so rich and full, what will the vintage be? The glory and happiness of heaven is so great and boundless, that it overflows and spills itself abroad in Promises; and, if the overflowing drops be so sweet, what then will the ocean itself be? What says the Apostle, in 1 Pet. ii. 1? Unto you, that believe, Christ is precious: How is he now precious unto believers, but as he is held forth in a promise? that is all the way, in which he becomes precious to us now. And will he not be far more precious to us, when we shall no more stand at the distance of a promise from him? when we shall no more need the hand of faith; but shall clasp and cling about him, in the immediate fruition of him? Will he not be more precious to us, when all our hopes shall be made good to us in actual present possession? And, therefore, if the promises be so exceeding great and precious, it argues, certainly, that that treasure, that makes these promises to be so, is wonderfully and infinitely glorious and precious.
2. As the Deeds of Conveyance, so the very Eye, that sees and views this treasure, is made precious by the sight of it.
And what is that eye, but the eye of faith? and, though it be but weak, yet it is that, with which, by the help of a promise as by a prospective-glass, we look into heaven itself, to see that mass and those heaps of treasure laid up there for the soul. The eye of faith sees them: the hand of faith tells them out: and, therefore, St, Peter calls it precious faith: 2 Pet. i. 1.
T« ihem, that have obtained, lilce precious faith with us. You may look upon earthly treasure till your eyes be dazzled, yea^ possibly, till they be weakened and wearied by it; but never will they be made more rich and precious by it: but, by looking upon this Heavenly Treasure, the eye that sees it becomes a jewel itself; more precious, saith the same Apostle, than the gold that perisheth; 1 Pet. i. 1.
And that is the First excellency of this heavenly treasure. It is precious treasure, in that it makes those things precious, that are but conversant about it; Precious Faith, and Precious Promises.
ii. Heavenly Treasure is Soul TREASURE, sufTED To The Soulj And, therefore, look how much more noble and excellent the soul is than the body, so much more excellent is Heavenly Treasure than Earthly Treasure. For what serve these things on earth, but to clothe and feed the body; and yet, for all this, the soul may be naked, and miserable, and want suitable pro-r vision. Truly, we may lament the condition of the richest sinners on earth; and say over them, in compassion, O poor souls, what husks and awine's-meat do you give your soulsj while you set the whole world before them! for, all in the world is no better* There is nothing in it, whence you can pick out suitable nourishment for them: and therefore Christ justly brands the rich man in the Gospel for an arrant fool, who, when he had filled his barns with corn, said to his soul, Soul, thou hast
much goods laid up for many years eat, drink, and be merry.
A fool, indeed! to reckon his soul's goods by barns'-full! ha might as wisely have boasted, that he had provided barns full of thoughts for his body, as barns full of corn for his souL And, yet, such is the provision, that most men make for their precious souls. Tell me, Sirs, do you really believe, that this is such provision as your souls can live upon? or, do you think your souls need no provision? What! must your bodies, that at first were kneaded out of the dust and must ere long be crumbled into dust again, must these bodies engross all your care, how to provide for them, and to please them; and shall your spiritual and everlasting souls be wholly neglected by you? It is not long hence, before your bodies shall never more know a difference, between treasure and poverty* between fulness and hunger; and, then, what serve all these things for, that, with so much pains and industry, you have laid up? Truly, it is a long journey into the other world; and gold, and silver, and Earthly Treasure are too heavy a portage to be carried with you thither. Those, that now make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience to get them, will, ere it be long, make shipwreck of them also. When you come to launch out into eternity, you shall carry nothing with you of your earthly treasure into the other world; unless it be the rust of it, to witness against you: nothing of your gold; unless it be the guilt of it, to condemn you. These are unfit things, therefore, to be laid up by you as your souls' treasure. •
But Heavenly Treasure is suitable treasure; suitable to your souls: and that, in a Twofold respect.
Heavenly Treasures are suitable to the Nature of your
Souls. And, They are suitable to the Necessities of your Souls. I. Heavenly Treasures are suitable to the Nature of your Souls. And that, in these Two respects.
They are Spiritual Treasures, for an Immaterial Soul.
And, They are Durable Treasures, for an Immortal Soul. And, therefore, they are suitable treasures. (I) Heavenly Treasures are Spiritual; and therefore suited to a soul, that is of a spiritual and immaterial substance.
Hence the Apostle, Eph. i. 3. blesseth God, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things in Christ Jesus. Truly, heavenly things are these spiritual blessings, refined from all dull and earthly mixtures. God himself, who is the total sum of all the treasures of all the saints on earth, is a spirit himself: his love and favour, interest in him, communion and fellowship with him, are all spiritual things, that a carnal eye cannot see, neither can a carnal judgment value. The most suitable are they, therefore, to a soul, that is a spirit. Of all things belonging to a man, the breath of a man is the most subtle, invisible, and spiritual: but the soul is called the Breath of God metaphorically, Gen. ii. 7. and, therefore, is of a very high degree of spiritualness. Now, bring spiritual things to spiritual: debase not thy spiritual and high-born soul, by matching it to the low and inferior things of the world: let not thy pure and spiritual soul be unequally yoked with the dregs and dross of any worldly enjoyment. God and Christ and the things of eternity are suitable to the soul: they are spiritual, like thy spiritual and better part; and, though to a carnal heart these seem but empty and notional things, yet a child of God tastes more sweetness and comfort in these things, than in whatever the world can present unto him. The love of God, the consolations of his Spirit, actings of grace, hopes of glory, these invisible things, these are the true riches.; And, then,
(2) Heavenly Treasure is the only Durable Treasure, and therefore suited to an immortal soul.
The things of this world will not go one step with you beyond this present life. And, what a sad parting hour will that be to the soul, to go into another world, and to leave all its treasure behind in this world:! How will it .protract and linger; and how loth will it be to enter upon so great a journey, without a treasure to defray the charges of it! How ghastly will the soul look back upon those things, that it made its treasure! ,*' What!" will it say, "must not I carry this estate and that treasure out of the world with me,? Must we thus part for ever?" Yes, O Sou1, for ever: for none of these things canst thou carry with thee. And, oh what a sad thing will it be^&jr the poor soul to be set ashore upon the vast ocean of eternity, and to have nothing at all to relieve and support it, all its treasure being in another world!
Jhit^ Heavenly Treasure is durable treasure. It is current not only in this, but in the other world which is to come. In Prov. via. 18.. says Wisdom, Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.. Indeed, righteousness is this durable riches. .When all things in the world stare on thee, and thou on them, and so take leave of one another eternally; yet then the love of God, interest) in Jesus Christ, his divine and heavenly graces, these will then stand by thee and keep thee company, yea and enter into heaven, and there abide with thee to all eternity. It is true, thy faith, that is now a busy and active grace, that like Moses doth here get up to Mount PisgaB and there take a view of the Land of Canaan, must itself die before it comes there: yet this 'is,no lessening of thy treasure, though thou dost lose thy. faithJ, for, indeed, .it is not so much the loss of thy faith, as the swallowing of it.up, a changing of it into,sight .and vision;, faith;and fntitiflPiare inconsistent one with another. But all thy other graces, love, joy, and delight, which are now often eclipsed and. faint, and; languish in: their actings, shall then keep.aj\ eterual jubilee.:..Never fear the