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reckoned according to this standard: when heaven, and earth, and all things are laid before a man, Self comes in, and views them all, and sees what is useful for it, and accordingly sets a price upon it; and all things are slighted, and nothing is current with the soul, but as Self hath stamped and printed its own image upon it. And, therefore, in Luke xii. 21. you find this expression, So is he, that layeth up treasure for himself: if any man lays up treasure, he lays it up for himself. Whatever may pre. serve self, whatever may answer the propensions and inclinations of self, whatever may promote the cause and interest of self, that is a man's treasure and nothing else.
ii. CARNAL AND UNREGENERATE SELF RATES EARTH AND EARTHLY THINGS AS ITS TREASURE, BECAUSE THERE IS A SUITABLENESS AND PROPORTION IN THE ONE TO THE OTHER.
Earthly treasure for an earthly self. And, therefore, the Apostle tells us, 1 Cor. vi. 13. meat is for the belly, and the belly for meat: that is, they are suited each to other. So are earthly things suited to carnal self; the things of this world, to a worldly mind; and a worldly mind, to the things of this world. Carnal self relishes no other things: bring spiritual things to him, he tastes no sweetness in them: you may as well • please a brute beast by whispering into his ears the deep discourses of reason, as you can a carnal man by the discoveries of God and Christ: talk to him of the world and of carnal concernments, his ear tastes and relishes such discourse as this is; and the reason is, because these things are accommodated and suited to that carnal unregenerate self, that is in man. The Apostle tells us, All, that is in the world, is the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life: that is, Pleasure, Profit, and Honour: all centre in this, to please and maintain carnal self, as all its interest, and all its concernments; therefore, this is made by wicked men their treasure.
iii. In The Soul's Conversion Unto God, Upon That Great
CHANGE THAT IS MADE IN A MAN'S SELF, THERE WILL ALSO BE ANOTHER RATE AND VALUE SET UPON THINGS THAN FORMERLY THERE WAS.
Conversion is the great shipwreck of the Old Man, and all his goods.
1. In Conversion, there is a great Change made in Self.
The Apostle, in Rom. vii. 17. tells us it was no more he, but
sift that dwelt in him. Formerly, before his conversion, " It was J, that breathed out threatenings: I persecuted the Church: I raged and was mad against them t still, it was I myself, that acted then. But, since my great change, it is not I that am guilty; no, not so much as of infirmities: no, it is not 1, that fail in the performance of what is good; not I, but sin that dweUeth in meP So that, in conversion, there is a mighty change passeth upon self: so that a man may say it is not he, but sin; that body of corruption, that dwelleth in him. It is true, in a regenerate man there remains much of corruption, and of the old self: but yet, grace being the supreme prevailing principle, it will be that, that gives the self to a man; and then that, which before was a man's self and was 'loved, now is become a traitor, and rebel, and enemy to that new self that is wrought in a Christian by regeneration.
2. Man's self being changed, his Treasure must also necessarily be changed. S.
The new regenerate self cannot subsist and live upon its old treasure: all is but husks and swine's-meat to the soul now, that is begotten anew, and born of God: the seed of God dwelleth in it; and, therefore, now it looks after that, that is conformable to its divine original and constitution What the Apostle presseth the Colossians to, in Col. iii. 1. If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, is truly the necessary practice of every heaven-born soul: whoever is born again, whoever is risen with Christ, will infallibly seek the things that are above. He will do it: there is a natural instinct in the new creature, that carries it out naturally to spiritual and heavenly objects: as the infant, that is new-born, doth by instinct seek after the breast, though it never before received nourishment that way; so the new-born Christian, that hath imprinted upon it the divine nature, hath such an impulse and instinct in it, that naturally moves it to spiritual objects, as the only suitable nourishment and good for the soul: and, therefore, to intimate the tenderness of this new infancy, the Apostle tells us, as new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word: the new-born babe receives nourishment no loneer from the navel; and so the new-born Christian no longer creeps upon his bell}7, and licks the dust of the earth, but feeds upon and desires the sincere milk of the word. That, which is bom of the Spirit, is spirit, and therefore will long and breathe after that which is spiritual; because it is spiritual, and bears a proportion to its own being. In, John vi. 63. says Christ,
VOL. III. ^ e
The words, that I speak, they are spirit and they are life: that is, they are able to maintain you in life, that you may live upon them as sustenance: why so? because they are spirit and life: they are spiritual words suited to a spiritual soul, to a soul that is born again of the Spirit; and therefore fit to nourish you, and such as will keep you alive. Look, as the angels live, so lives a Christian's spiritual part: it is the same good, that is common to both; and that, which they both desire, embrace, and twine about: can you bribe an angel, by all the profits of the world? can you effeminate him, by all the pleasures of the world ? can you elevate and puff him up, by all the honours and dignities of the world? no; all these things are below his nature, and he cannot descend to them: they are not suitable to him: he lives in his God, and eternally suns himself in the light of the beams of his countenance. So lives the new creature also: it is spiritual; and, therefore, clasps only about spiritual things: the world bears no more affinity and proportion to the spiritual part of a Christian, than it doth to angels: but bring God, the Father of Spirits, and here both angels and it cling about the divine essence, and nestle themselves about him for ever, and fill and satisfy themselves in him: here is meat suitable to their natures; a spiritual God, for spiritual things. Indeed, sometimes the carnal part may throw in so much earth and rubbish, that may for a time bury the new creature under it; but, when it is in its own element, it never ceaseth heaving and working, till it hath got above earth, and got into the enjoyment of its 'God again.
So, then, because the soul is not self-sufficient, because it is an indigent creature, therefore it must have the addition of some other good to it, to eke out and supply its defects. And because the indigent and necessitated soul hath, in regeneration, a supernatural principle implanted in it, therefore spiritual and heavenly objects only comply and suit with it. These, therefore, are the treasure of the soul: and you see whence it is, that the soul doth account heavenly and spiritual things to be its treasure; because suited to that heavenly and spiritual principle, that is implanted in the soul in conversion.
Now, these things are its treasure:
(1) God himself.
So God tells out, and gives himself unto Abraham, Gen. xv. 1. / am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. So David reckons up to you, what a large and great estate he had, in the possession and enjoyment of God, in Psal. xvi. 5. The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.
(2) Jesus Christ is its treasure also.
Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich : Rev. iii. 18. His blood, his righteousness, his merit, are an inexhaustible treasure; and all becomes ours, upon which we may live and subset. In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge: but what is this to us? yes, these treasures of wisdom, that are hid in him, are made over unto us also: 1 Cor. i. 30. He of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Oh, how rich is a true Christian, that hath such a treasury; and such a treasure, as Christ is, to be his treasure! You find, Heb. xi. 26. that Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures in Egypt: certainly, if the reproach of Christ be such a treasure, what then is Christ himself; and all those glorious benefits, that do accrue unto the soul in and by him?
(3) The Promises also are a Christian's treasure.
They are the veins, wherein this gold runs; the mines, wherein this unsearchable treasure is: and the work of faith upon the promises, is, to stamp this golden ore into ready money, for the present necessity of the soul: so faith lives on the promises.,
(4) A Christian's Graces also are his treasure.
Yea, though we have this treasure in earthen vessels; yet is it heavenly and precious treasure. Yea, though there be much dross mixed with this gold; yet, still, it is precious faith, rich love, firm hope, tried patience. Yea, every grace, that shines in a Christian, is glorious: the crown of grace, as well as the crown of glory, hath not a sparkle in it, but what is more precious than the world itself.
These are a Christian's treasure.
III. I come now to make some IMPROVEMENT of this; to bring down what hath been said to some Practical Use.
Use i. Hast thou so rich a treasure laid up in heaven? Then, 0 Christian, Be Conscious Of Thine Own Worth. Henceforth know thyself to be no contemptible person.
Shall worldly men ruffle, and brave it, and think none comparable to them, only because their heap of dung is bigger than another's? And shalt thou be low and abject-spirited, that hast God himself for thy portion, and Christ for thy Husband r Indeed, if you will value yourselves according to the world's estimation of you, then you are no better than the dross and dung of the world, and the off-scouring of all things. But see how the Scripture accounts of poor, persecuted, despised Christians: Heb. xi. 37. They wandered up and down in sheepskins and goat-skins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented: a strange generation of despicable persons! but, says the Holy Ghost, of whom the world was not worthy. And how doth David prize them, and call them, the excellent ones of the earth: Psal. xvi. 3! My delight is in the saints, and in the excellent ones of the earth! Therefore, O Christian, begin to know thyself. Know what great relations thou hast: thou art no less than the son of a Great King. Know thy great possessions: thou hast no less, at present, than the love and favour of God; *nd every thing thou hast, thou hast it with a blessing: jea, though thou hast nothing in the world besides afflictions, yet thou hast that Nothing with a blessing; and thou rather enjoyest, than sufferest, those afflictions, that lie upon thee. Know thy great reversions also: thou art an heir of glory, a co-heir with Jesus Christ; and, what he hath purchased for himself, he hath also purchased for thee: and thou, in due time, shalt be instated into that inheritance, whereof Jesus Christ is heir, and thou »lso shalt be co-heir. Wilt thou now, who hast so vast a treasure as this amounts to, go drooping and disconsolate, as a helpless and hopeless person, when thou wantest nothing less than to pity those that scorn thee? Let the world know, that a Christian hath self-sufficiency; and that, at all times; and that he can live plentifully and splendidly upon his own stock: let the world know and see this by thy conversation. It was a noble and gallant speech of St. Paul, when he stood in bonds and fetters before king Agrippa, who sat upon the judgment-seat to sentence him; Would to God, says he, that thou wert such a one as I am: what! such a prisoner as thou art? a strange compliment for a prisoner to use to a judge! yet you see how he values himself: he"was not dazzled with Agrippa's crown and pomp, and all that fancy that he came with into the judgment-hall; for he said not, "Would I were as thou art!" but, " Would to God thou wert such a one as I am, and then thou wouldst be truly happy."