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should not count any man in the world better than himself. This is to honour grace.
Use ii. Let The World Hence Learn Also, To Beware, How
THEY DESPISE THE MEANEST OF GOD'S CHILDREN.
Men are apt to esteem of others, according to their visible estate in the things of this world: and, if here they be low and poor, they trample upon them as vile and inconsiderable. .But, let such know, that every one of these slighted and despised ones is a great and rich person: they are rich towards God: they are God's jewels and peculiar treasure; and God also is their treasure and portion for evermore. It is wealth, I confess, that makes all the noise and bustle in the world; and challenges all honour as due to itself alone: says Solomon, The rich man hath many friends: well, let respect go by wealth; we are content togo and stand by this trial. Solomon tells us, The heart of the wicked is little worth: it is of no price nor value; and shall his estate be of worth and value, when his heart is not? The poorest Christian may vie estates with all the world: let the world drop down millions of gold and silver, boundless revenues, and crowns and sceptres: a poor contemptible Christian comes and lays down one God against all these, and beggars them: and shall this great and mighty Christian be contemned and slighted? You do not know him, now; but, hereafter, you shall see him sitting on a throne, clothed with robes of glory and awful majesty; daunting the grandees of the world, who shall then stand shivering before him, while he boldly sets his hand to the sentence of their damnation, and sends them to hell with a shout: how will they, with horror then cry out, "Is this that poor and despicable creature, that we mocked and despised? Behold, now he is exalted, and we are thrown down to hell." Certainly, you will have other esteem and opinions of men at the last and great day, than now you have; those, that are honourable now, will be despicable; and those, that are despicable now, will be truly honourable, if they belong to Christ.
Use iii. This might also serve To Discharge Thunder In The
TACES OF ALL THOSE, WHO ARE SO FAR FROM LAYING UP TREASURE IN HEAVEN, THAT THEY LAY UP TREASURE IN HELL.
Such treasures as these are, the Apostle speaks of, in Rom. ii. 5. who, after the hardness and impenitency of their hearts, treasure up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath an4 revelation of the righteous judgment of God. Such, who sin as though the ephah of their iniquities would never be full enough, and the heap of their sins never great enough; let these know, that, when they have done treasuring up sin, then God will begin to empty the treasures of his wrath and indignation upon them. For every sin they commit, God sets down so much wrath upon their scores; and he will be sure to pay them all, at the Last Day, to the full.
Use iv. Which is the Use I principally intend; and that is for
Let us now put it to the enquiry: "What is it, that we make our treasure? What is it, that we account our good things?" Our Saviour, 1 told you, hereby distinguishes between wicked men and the children of God: the one lays up his treasure in heaven; the other, on earth: and, therefore, the query is, What is thy Treasure? It is of great weight and moment.
Now, because usually a man's treasure is kept hid and secret, therefore we must the more inquisitively enter into the search of it: and, before the ransack be thoroughly made, few men, I fear, will be found rich and substantial men; but, more especially, those, that glitter most in the world, will be found to be but poor and despicable creatures.
1. Therefore, take that character, that our Saviour gives in the text: Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Put it now to the question: Where are your hearts? Truly, man's heart is not in his own keeping: no; but it will go along with his treasure; and where that is, this will be also. And, therefore, says the Prophet, speaking of them that made worldly things their treasure, their hearts run after their covetousness. Worldly possessions were their treasure; and their hearts did run after them, in covetous desires of them. The worldling seals up his heart, in the same bag with his treasure: and a child of God sends his heart to heaven before him, where it lies as a precious depositum among all the rest of his treasure; and, when he comes to heaven, there he finds his heart among all those precious things that he shall enjoy. That, which thy heart is most busied about and most taken up with, is thy treasure. Dive down now into the bottom of thy heart, and see how the musings and imaginations thereof do work: are they chained only to the things of this world? do they trudge to and fro, every one of them loaden only with burdens of earth? and, when they come thronging about thee, do they buzz nothing in thine ears but intelligence, either from some base lust or some worldly profit? If this be the constant and only employment of thy thoughts, assure thyself thy treasure is not laid up in heaven: no, nor on earth; but, which is worse, it is laid up in hell. The thoughts of a child of God are still taking wing, and flying upward towards heaven; and every one of them carries up his heart, richly fraught with divine grace: one thought is laden with the actings of faith; another, with the actings of hope; another, with the actings of love: and they never leave ascending, till they are got into the presence of God. and lay their rich treasure in his bosom: and God again fills them with Heavenly Treasure; and bids one thought carry a smile to the soul, and tell the soul how dear it. is to him; by another thought, he conveys strength; and, by another, comfort; and sends all away laden with precious treasure to the soul. If your thoughts traffic only in the world, your treasure is there; if in heaven, then your treasure is in heaven,
But you will say, " How can we judge of our treasure by our Thoughts? Is not the far greater swarm of every man's thoughts vain and sinful?"
I answer: It is true they are so, Some are vain and sinful: some are idle and impertinent: some are worldly: and some are wicked; and few, comparatively, are the holy and spiritual thoughts, that any man sends up to heaven. We must not, therefore, judge by the crowd or numerousness of our thoughts; but, by the entertainment which they find in our affections, by the stay and abode which they make in our hearts. Jer. iv. 14. . How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee? It is not, what the sudden flashings of our thoughts are; though that indeed should deeply humble us: but, mark what it is that thy heart fixes and dwells upon; what flowers these intellectual bees, thy thoughts, suck most sweetness and honey from: when thy thoughts have been foraging abroad, and bring home some sin, and present it before thee, doth thy heart rise against it, and shut it out of doors, and dost thou shut thy heart upon it? but, when thy thoughts bring home God and Christ, and the things of heaven and eternity in their arms, do thy affections clasp and twine about them? doth thy heart enlarge and expatiate to entertain them? dost thou give up thysslf, in full strength
and latitude, to such heavenly thoughts as these are? This is a good sign that thy treasure is laid up in heaven, because thou art so much there thyself.
But others again will say, " My thoughts are necessarily taken up with the world: my calling devours them; so that I have no opportunity to sequester myself for heavenly meditation: must I therefore be excluded from having my treasure in heaven, because mythoughts are necessarily employed in the world?"
First. Thoughts,' of all things in the world, are most free.
There is no man's calling doth so confine him, but, were his heart and affections heavenly and spiritual, his thoughts would force a passage through the crowd of worldly businesses, to heaven. Ejaculations are swift messengers, that need not much time to deliver their errand, nor much time to return again to the soul. You may point your earthly employments with heavenly meditations, as men do their writings with stops; ever now and then sending up a thought unto heaven: and such pauses arc no hindrance to our earthly affairs.
Secondly, It is the property of grace and holiness, when there are no actual explicit thoughts of God, then to be habitually in the fear of God; possessing the heart and overawing it, that it shall not do any thing that is sinful or misbecoming a Christian.
And therefore says the Wise Man, excellently, Prov. xxiii, 17. Be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. Whatever business you have, the fear of the Lord may constantly abide, overawe, and possess your heart.
Thirdly. Observe how your thoughts work, when you have vacancy and remission from your employments.
Are they spiritual, then? Do they betake themselves to God? Do they lock up themselves in their Heavenly Treasure? Dost thou spiritually improve the times of thy leisure? David called to mind his song in the night, and his spirit made diligent search: when he awaked, he was ever with God: he slept with God, in his thoughts; and he awaked with God again, in his thoughts. Whatever employments a man hath, he hath some time of leisure. When thou hast been drudging in the world, and hast gotten a little vacancy and freedom from it, dost thou spend that little time in the thoughts of God and of the things of eternity? or, do the world and the things of the world interpose and take up thy thoughts? if so, how canst thou say thy treasure is there, when thy thoughts and thy heart are never there? as Delilah said unto Sampson, How canst thou say that thou lovest me, when thy heart is not towards me? so, how canst thou say, that Ay treasure is in heaven, when thy heart and thy thoughts are not there?
2. A second mark, whereby yon may know where your treasure is, is this: That, which bears the chief sway and command in a marts affections, is a man's treasure.
Affections are the wings of the soul, that carry it forth to its several objects: and these move to nothing more swiftly, strongly, and constantly, than to what is the soul's treasure. When your souls take these wings and fly abroad, follow them, and see what it is upon which they light: as the eagle will hover over the carcass, so the affections will be still hovering: over the soul's treasure: see now whither it is your desire and love, your joy and delight, do carry you forth. Is it only to the things of this world? certainly, if these wings be clotted only with mire and dirt, if they only flutter up and down the surface of the earth and mount up no higher, your treasure is not a Heavenly Treasure. The affections of the children of God still ascend upwards; and bear up their hearts with them, till they lodge in that Divine Bosom where first they were enkindled: I need not tell those happy ones, what it is to have their hearts so extended in love to God and the things of God, as to cause a kind of loss, pain, and torture: what it is to have that joy springing up in the soul, that is unutterable; yea, such unsupportable joys, as have melted them into ecstasies. How infinitely would they now disdain, that any soul should be so grossly foolish, as to prefer the world before, or equalize it with, God! ten thousand worlds are not so much to them, as one momentary glimpse of God, in communion with him: nay, they think their happiness so great, that, though they do believe, yet they cannot conceive how it should be more and greater in heaven itself. Then the soul claps its wings, and fain would take its flight and be gone: it breathes, and breaks, and pants after God. -See what an agony holy David was in : Ps. xlii. 1, 2. As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul ihirsteth for God, for the Living God: when shall I come and appear before God? Indeed the whole Psalm is the most mournful and pathetical composure in all the Scripture, of a heart, that heats and throbs after God, with vehement love and desire afte,r