« PreviousContinue »
would have an inventory of all this store, St. John hath exactly cast it up, in 1 John ii. 16. and it amounts to this sum: All, that is in the world, saith he, is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life: that is, there are pleasures, suiting the propension of the flesh : there are Riches, for the greediness of the eye ; for, What, saith the Wise Man, is laid up for the owners thereof, save the beholding of them with their eyes ? and there are Honour and Dignity; that planetary, airy, good thing, that puffs up; that is the pride of life : and this is the world's all; and that, which many thousands make their treasure. Yea: but, saith Christ, do not you see how rusty and worm-eaten these things are? do you not see what a bustle there is among the men of the world to get them ? one pulls and hales them from another, and they are never certain in any man's possession: moth and rust corrupt them, and thieves break through and steal ; and, therefore, lay not up your treasure here: there is another treasury for you to store up your good things in, and that is Heaven; a sure and safe place, where no corruption doth infect, nor any violence intrude: therefore, lay up your treasure there : lay up your treasure in heaven. And thus you have the
scope of our Saviour in these words.
sure in heaven.
And that is from a double reason:
in heaven. It is there safe and free from all danger; which it could not be, were it any where else deposited.
All hurt and danger, that can befal a man's treasure, proceeds either,
First. From Inward Principles of Corruption, that do of them selves cause decay in it.
And thus it is with all Earthly Treasures. They are, of themselves, fading and perishing. Riches perish with the using: they rot out and wear away, while we are using them. All earthly manna, the sweet and luscious things of this world, breed worms, that eat upon and devour them. All the riches and treasures of the world have rust, that attends on them, and consumes both them and their beauty and substance. But spiritual manna never turns into worms: treasure, laid up
in hea. ven, is never eaten with rust. No, saith Christ, there rust doth not corrupt: that is, they are free and safe from all inward decays and perishing, from their own inward principle and nature. And
Secondly. 'Treasure may be unsafe, as from an inward prin. ciple that may corrupt, so also from Outward Accidents, that may consume them.
And thus we see oftentimes it comes to pass. Sometimes,
First. Insensibly, through a secret blasting curse of God, wasting them by little and little, and unperceived decays ; so that, while we hold them in our hands and look upon them, then they perish. And this is here compared to the eating of a moth. A moth makes not a sudden rent in a garment, but spoils it by unseen degrees: so fares it oftentimes with the things of this world: if they be not torne and rent from us, yet are they moth-eaten comforts: the moth is got into them, and destroys them unperceivably. And, sometimes,
Secondly. By sudden violence; compared bere to thieves breaking through and stealing good things and treasure'away. An unexpected turn of providence doth, at once, many times snatch
away all that men here prize and set their hearts on: and then, where is their treasure? In Hos. v. we find God threatening, both these ways, to destroy Ephraim. In v. 12. I will be unto Ephraim, saith God, as a moth; and to the house of Judah as rottenness : that is, the Lord would consume them silently and unperceivably, as a moth eats out in the spots of a garment. And, v. 14. I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah : and I, even I, will tear and go away: I will take away, and none shall rescue : that is, I will destroy him by a violent and sudden destruction.
But, treasures laid up in heaven are secured, both from insensible decays, and also from sudden violence; secured, both from the corruption of the moth, and from the stealing of the thief. It is rich and sure treasure, that is laid up there. And now is the time of your laying up: some few years hence, and it cannot be long first, but you shall have these treasures opened to you, let in, to see how rich
And you will find them augmented above what you could believe: there is not the least of all that you have laid up lost or diminished. And then you will wonder and question with yourselves, who laid
up this and that part of your treasure : you will then ask, “Is this glory mine, and that glory mine? this throne and that brightness, this diamond and those stars, this robe and that sun
you are. And
beam, all this precious and unconceivable treasure, are they mine? I cannot remember that ever I laid up so much and such precious treasure: my faith sometimes pried through a crevice into this treasure, and it told me that there were great and glorious things stored up, and it told me also that they did belong to me; but, O my dim-sighted grace, that could not discover to me the one half of that glory, wherein I am now lost and swallowed up!” Thus a Christian will then admire how he came by so much treasure, when he comes to the possession and enjoyment of it. There is a saying recorded in Plutarch, of a rich Roman, Crassus, that he did not think that man rich, that knew all that he had: truly, in this man's account, a Christian is truly rich: he hath laid up more treasure, than himself knows of. But, though a Christian knows not how niuch he hath, yet he shall lose none: it is safe, being laid up in heaven: every star is as a seal set upon the treasure-door, that none may break in and violate it.
And that is the first argument: Lay up treasure in heaven, because there only it is safe : there, only, the moth doth not corrupt, and thieves do not break through and steal.
SECONDLY. And then, secondly, another enforcing reason you find in the next verse; and that is, because, by laying up treasure in heaven, you lay up your Hearts also in Heaven: for, where your treasure is, says Christ, there will your hearts be also and where your
are, What an argument is this, () Christians! Would you yourselves be laid up safely in heaven, before you come to be laid down in your graves ? would you pre-occupy your own immortality and glory? would you send all your thoughts and all your desires, as spies into the Land of Promise, to discover the riches and beauty of it? Then lay up your treasure there: this will centre all your thoughts, this will fix all your affections on itself; and, though now you are on earth and walk on earth, yet this will make your conversation to be in heaven, if your trea. sure be there. It is impossible that you and your treasure should be at a distance. If your treasure be on earth, your minds will be there also : you will grovel here below: the serpent's curse will be upon you; Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. But, if your treasure be laid up in heaven, it will attract and draw up your hearts unto it; and make them heavenly hearts, as itself is a heavenly
there are you.
Now all this is backed with another consideration, in the beginning of the words; and that is, Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. You may indeed lay up treasure on earth, but it is a hazard whether it be for yourselves. Here men sweat and toil to get estates, and heap up treasures; but they know not who shall enjoy and possess them: they labour all their days to purchase a few uncertain riches; while, usually, by that time they purpose to reap the fruit of them, death comes and snatches away their souls; and the greatest use they can make of them is, only to bequeath them unto others. He only, that is rich towards God, layeth up treasure for himself; and lays up those riches, that he needs no legacy to dispose of. A Christian is his own heir; and, what himself hath gotten, he bimself shall eternally enjoy and possess.
And thus you have the parts of the text: Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.
There is nothing in the words, that needs much explication: I shall, therefore, only in brief enquire into Two things.
What is here meant by Treasure.
What is meant by Laying up this treasure in Heaven. First. What is here meant by Treasure. I answer: It is a metaphorical expression, and denotes to us that, which we set the highest rate and value upon ;: that, the getting of which we most endeavour, the enjoyment of which we most prize, the loss of which we most bemoan. In a word, that, which we account as our greatest and best good, is our treasure, be it what it will.
Secondly. The next enquiry is, what is meant by laying up this treasure in heaven.' icin
I answer: It is nothing else, but to esteem heaven and the things of heaven, thus to be our treasure; to rate and value them above all things else, and to look upon them as our chiefest good, and accordingly to seek and labour after them.
I might now propound many Observations to you, as indeed every word of this precious Scripture is pregnant with them : but I shall only inention one; intending only to insist upon that: : and it is this :
Doct. That HEAVENLY AND SPIRITUAL THINGS ARE, AND OUGHT TO BE, OF THE GREATEST VALUE WITH EVERY TRUE CHRISTIAN.
i Or thus :
A TRUE CHRISTIAN DOTH ESTEEM, AND HE. OUGHT TO ESTEEM, HEAVENLY THINGS ABOVE ALL THINGS.
What are these heavenly things, but God and Christ, grace and glory, spiritual and eternal concernments? These are the choice things of a Christian : whatever else he may possess, yet these are his treasure.
See how Abraham stings Dives with a sad item of what he made his treasure, on earth, in Luke xvi, 25. Son, says he, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things : but did not Abraham himself, in his lifetime, receive good things also ? Might not Dives have retorted back again,“ Wert not thou, Father Abraham, rich and potent on earth ? Hadst not thou great, power, and great possessions in the world? And, must I. be tormented and thou glorified, when thou hadst a greater portion of them than myself?" No, the emphasis cuts off this exception: Thou, in thy lifetime, receivedst the good things. “ I received' good things; but not my good things; not the chiefest that I valued. Comforts they were ; but not treasures :: and, while I possessed these good things, I sought after better; and therefore I now possess and enjoy them also,
So holy Asaph views this treasure, that here he had got, in a divine rapture, in: Psal. Axxiiis 25. Whom have. I; in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth, that I can desire, besides thee. He was so far fronı desiring any thing above God, that he desires nothing besides God. What is there on earth, that I can desire besides thee? ¥,
! 11 - See St. Paul also, in 1 Cor. ii. 2. I determined not to know any thing among you, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified: but, especially in Phil. ii. 8. Doubtless, says he, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord': for whom I suffer the loss of-all-things; and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. Observe how the Apostle doth there contemn all, that the world counts:its treasure: he reckons it but dung, in which a manmay rake long enough, before he finds any true treasure: nay, not only dung si but loss, in com parison of Christ.
And, what tell you me of losing all things