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Fair Lasts, they could make it their Own, for a Hundred Pieces of Silver: They'd take up so much Money, though at the highest Usury. And shall the Children of Light be so short in their Conduit, as not to make sure of that Pearl, which would fct 'em up, for the most Rich and Blessed for ever I When they are neither put to* Borrow upon Usury; nor to run here and there seeking for what's to be given in Exchange: Bat it will be to full Content, If they do but willingly Give what they have ; Though their Strength be so Low, That they cannot reach above Two Mites* Therefore , O Lord God , shine with thy Light into our Hearts; That we may know the Inestimable worth of thy Pearl i and how Low is the Price that thou dost ask. Add this to thy Mercies, Lord,That the precious Pearl may not be offer'd to us in vain. And thou that hast forbid us to Cast Pearls before Swine, Mat. 7. 8. Q grant, by thy Grace , That though we have fometims been so like the Swine , as not to know the Worth of thy Pearl, but to prefer Acorns and Husks before it ; Yet now Enlightned and better Taught of Goo1, We may so well Understand our selves, and thy Pearl, as most earnestly to Desire k, and gladly part with all to Secure it.
C H A P. Iff.
Of the^iurnal Peny.
THE Third Parable follows, concerning the Peny, promis'd by the Houfholder to them that Labour'd in his Vineyard. Mat. 20. 1. And at first hearing, this may seem very much to Depreciate and Disparage the Reward of Eternal Life, to Compare that with so small a Stipend, which before was valued at the rate of a» vast Treasure, and a Pearl of the greatest Price. But such an Extenuation is heremade, only that the Reward may seem better to Correspond with the Work. For the Similitude might sound Extravagant, If a mighty Treasure, a Precious Pearls a Scepter, a royal Diadem should be paid to them, that work'd but one Day, or piece of a Day, in the Vineyard..
But then, Let us not think so Diminutively and basely, as only of" the Peny in ordinary. For 'tis no such matter here meant: But a Heavenly Piece, that will. abundantly Suffice , for Food and Rayment, and all that^ may stand us in stead, and for ever do us Good. Such a Piece as is given by the Lord of the ViAeyaidj who calls it a Kingdom 1 And that, noc _ ' without without pood Reason, when it Represents no Less than Christ himself; who is the Treasure, and the precious Pearl. For on the Peny there's the Image of the Prince, with his Inscription, and the Round Figure. And Christ is the Image of the Invisible God. Ccl. 1. 1f. One that has no Beginning of Dij/Sy ver End of Life. But his Being is forever the fame: and his Duration that Circle of Eternity, which is still Revolving into it self; And abundantly more than any Money, does he truly Arfwer all things. For he is Lord of AU. All. 10. 56 The true God, and Eternal Life. 1 Job y. 20. And if He himself be the Peny here given to the Labourers, Then nothing Greater , Nothing so Great can ever be Given.
But to w horn is that Given; which a^ter they have it , They'll never Want any Thing else ? To whom but the La~ heurersi Not to the Loiterers, that stand Idle in the Market-Place :. Not to such as spent tbeir 'lime in Sauntring or Prating in Carding and Dicing , ,in Cocking and Drinking , In Spoiling and Fooling; 'Such as know not what to do wijh
* themselves and their Time; And so,
* fiom. doing of Nothing, they fall to do
* worse. Ohow c?n seen Truants andTric Hers ever expect the gracious Call, to
* Rest from their; L'bmn I And for what
1 that they have done, to be cheer'd up, * with Well done good and Faithful Servants? Seeing our Lord has assur'd us, That he "will give to every one according to his Works. u e. in some Proportion, to the Services that they have done: and thereafter as they have PeHirrd and acquitted themselves; So shall they find Welcome. and degrees of Glory accordingly. For tho the fame Peny be given to every Labourer, Yet we are not from thence to Infer, That the Rewards in the Kingdom of Heaven will be all Alike. God and Christ, and the same Eternal Life, (it's true,) shall be Communicated to all that Enter there. But as the same Sun is more clearly beheld by the Eagle, than by other Birds: And as the same Fire more Warms them that are Near it, than the more Re~ mote from it: So is it here , in Eternal Life, among the Blessed that fee God and Christ , One shall more clearly See, and more highly and sweetly Rejoyce, than another; According to the different Capacities and Qualifications oi the several .Recipients.
* But that the Reward is the due Price 'of the Work, and no more than the 'Labourers have Descrv'd; That the 'Saints do so Win it, and Wear it; and 'that Heaven is no more than their just '. Pajx Owing to their Merits.; is a Do
'ctrine ctrine too Arrogant , to be found in the holy Scriptures: which teach us better Manners and more Humility , than so to Vaunt and Glory. The Word Meritt so rise at Rome, is never found in all the Bible: Nor Desert, but once j and that not for pious Men's Reward , but the Wickers Punishment. Psal. 28. 4. Render to 'em their Desert. And how doleful will be that Rendring? Yea, Wo to the Best man upon Earth, that Receives from the Lord but just what he Deserves. Therefore, what we read of any being Worthy, is to be understood only , That thro' God's Grace, they are made Eic and Meet, Qualify d- and Prepar'd , to Enter into his Holy Place: Adorn dr as a Bride for her Husband j thro' the Comliness that he puts upon 'em. Ezek. i6„
* And what some of the Fathers speak of Meriting j They mean no more than Obtaining. Not Deserving Heaven, foe their Work's sake j But getting in there, For Christ , their Lord's fake. Or if ever it.be used in a farther Sense, by any. others, It may ,. and must be Reckon'd among their Errors. Whenas the whole Stream of holy Strictures carries the Reward for Grace; and not for Works: And tells us all along , That we are Saved by Grace j and that not of