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dered richly. And surely a great stock of Scriptureknowledge is a precious treasure. O what a blessed thing it is to have a man's breast the library of Jesus Christ! The sacred Scriptures are the treasures and pleasures of a gracious soul:* to David they were better than thousands of gold and silver. A mountain of transparent pearls heaped as high as heaven, is not so rich a treasure as these; hence that good man chose these as his heritage for ever, and rejoiced in them as in all riches. A covetous miser could not take such delight in his bags, nor a young heir in a large inheritance, as holy David did in God's word. + All the saints are priests unto God; now of Levi it is said, Mal. ii. 6. " That the law of truth was in his mouth, and his lips kept knowledge as a storehouse. So it is or ought to be with God's spiritual priests ; they have the law of God graven on their hearts, and in their tongues is the law of kindness and holiness. The word law, comes from a root that signifies to try as merchants that search and prove the wares that they buy and lay up; hence also comes the word for gems and jewels that are tried, and found right. I The sound Christian is the wise merchant, seeking goodly pearls, he tries what he reads, or hears, by the standard and touchstone of Scripture, and having found genuine truths, he lays them up to the great enriching of this supreme, and sovereign faculty of the understanding
2. Another spring that feeds holy thoughts is spiritual graces, the fruits of the Spirit, which exceedingly help the fruit of the lips; if the will and affections be
* Sacræ Scripturæ sunt sanctæ deliciæ et divitiæ animæ.
+ Psal. cxix. 72. also 14. and 111.. # Rad. 7 Explorare, scrutari : hinc nin Lex, Statutum, et Onn Gemma, margaritæ.
sanctified with a principle of true holiness, the lips and the life will bring forth heavenly expressions and actions in the conversation : hence “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,” Prov. xiv. 27. A gracious habit streams freely and fully into all acts of spiritual life, and at last is swallowed up in the ocean of eternal life. It is said of Jesus Christ, the origin of all grace, that the fear of the Lord is his treasure; and we may say also, it is a Christian's treasure: a head full of notions will not make the soul rich, without a heart full of grace; it is grace that ennobles the soul with heavenly excellencies, and enables the soul to bear burdens, and do duties. Without a principle in the heart, , there can be no holiness in the life; all works of piety, charity, and sobriety, must flow from a .pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned ; † all which do contribute their influence to every good work. Obedience (saith one) respects the command of a superior; love, the kindness of the lawgiver; faith, his bounty and reward : [ the first swayeth the conscience, the se. cond inclineth the heart, the third giveth encouragement; sure I am, without these there can be no spiritual actings in an evangelical manner. He only hath a gospel frame of spirit, that hath the law written in his heart, and the works thereof in his hand; whose life is a continual transcript of this blessed copy; for he that doth righteousness, is righteous; yea, it is he that moveth heaven-wards, from a living treasure of gracious principles, and not from external compulsion, as clocks and such dead, artificial, yet self-moving engines do: hence the church and a believing soul saith, “My soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib,” || or of a willing people. Song vi. 12. Though some say * Isa. xxxii. 6. + 1 Tim. i. 5. Manton on Jude, v. l.
ll By Populus et 373 Sponte moveri.
they are the words of Christ, yet they are applicable to every gracious soul, that is acted by a new and living principle towards God, and goodness. Christ's people are volunteers in the day of his power, in the way of duty, being acted by a free and princely spirit, the renewed will being the great engine that moves the soul in a Christian course; their own spirits make them willing for God.*
3. Another spring that feeds holy thoughts is well gathered experience: the Christian's breast is to be a treasury of experimental observations, which may be improved as good props to uphold a tottering faith. It is said of those mentioned in Luke i. 66. that they laid up all the strange passages concerning John, in their hearts. And thus we find several saints carefully gathering, and seasonably recollecting their former experiences, as Jacob, David, Paul, Samuel, Manoah and his wife. Time would fail me to recount all the instances of this nature; recording the time, place, and manner of divine discoveries, hath been of singular advantage to believers. Experience begets hope;t we lose much through neglect thereof: signal memorials of received mercies help to present duties, and quicken faith in the greatest future difficulties. All artists gather knowledge, by recording experiments; and he is the wisest Christian, that in this respect with Solomon, hath his heart filled with experience of wisdom and knowledge;f experience is the best instructor, and helps a man best in instructing others; an experienced physician or lawyer, is seldom non-plust; an expeperienced soldier comes off with honour. O Christians ! lay up in your hearts, what you have seen with your eyes, and felt in your souls, of the vanity of wordly, and the excellency of heavenly attainments, and enjoyments. You cannot be too young to collect experiences; you cannot be too old to recollect and improve them ; if your green heads would use diligence, your grey hairs would arrive at large experiences; by which means, the works and loads of old age would be easy, which were almost intolerable in your younger years.* A young carpenter is long with a little, and makes many chips, that an experienced workman dispatcheth, both more quickly, and more neatly: it is so in religion, experience facilitates every work of it. And how doth experience feed thoughts ? Thus; when a soul is at a pinch, and the heart struck dead with a sudden surprisal, so that the thoughts are puzzled, experience comes in to bring relief, and represents the matter as feasible, since it calls to mind as arduous a case, which yet was not insuperable; and why mayest thou not get through as well as formerly, saith experience? And thus it marshals the soul's faculties in their proper ranks, and brings it through the present attempt with order and victory, whether the undertaking be of doing duty, or enduring trial.
* Exod. xxv. 2, and xxxy. 21 and 29. + Rom. v. 4.
# Eccles. i. 16.
4. The last refreshing stream that supplies the heart with heavenly thoughts, is from the wells of consolation; this like the last, yet not the least river of Paradise (Euphrates) doth as the name has been thought to import, refresh the heart with cheering incomes and influences. This makes the soul both cheerful and fruitful; in the midst of terrifying thoughts, these comforts delight the soul, Psal. xciv. 19. O the joy that these beget in the midst of sorrow! Nothing can make sad, if divine comforts make glad. These
* Seniores sunt saniores, incipientes insipientes; 'quæ laboriosa fuere juventuti studia, ea sunt jucunda senectuti otia.
bright beams of light chase away the dismal mists of darkness, and disconsolate horror ; these pure streams of comfort wash away the bitter effects of despairing thoughts. These comforts infinitely exceed wine, which philosophers have called the chief allayment of men's miseries,* but the sense of this love is better than wine; one drop of these divine joys would even mitigate hell torments. This is a treasure indeed, which, as it is of great efficacy, so it is the satisfying result of the forementioned provision; saving truths, savoury graces, and sensible experiences, beget solid peace. But besides those, there are two clear streams that much promote the soul's comfortable thoughts; which are,
Precious promises, -and a clear conscience.
(1.) Proinises are the storehouse of comfort, the charter of our privileges, the conveyances of our heavenly inheritance. Promises are the breasts of consolation, the evangelica mulctralia, the milk-pails of the gospel ; the great receptacles of that ädodov yálu sincere milk of the word, stored up for babes in Christ. The promises, saith a good divine, are bills of exchange given you, that you may draw your estate into another country. † Nothing can cheer up the heart so much as a word of promise. Hence David desires to “ hear the voice of joy and gladness,”I that is, in a promise. There is a probatum est|| upon this means of spiritual comfort, whether it concern life or godliness, present or future enjoyments.s It is said of the Duke of Guise, that he was the richest man in France, though not in lands, yet in bills and bonds, and great friends : so is a right Christian, he is the richest man in the world, in possession and reversion, for he inherits all
* Miseriarum humanarum ualaktika. + Manton on Jude, page 152.
Ps. li. 8. || It has been tried and approved. § 1 Tim. iv. 8.