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money; purity and peace of conscience are valued at a higher rate, they cost the precious blood of Jesus Christ, and are not bought but given in God's way and in God's time. He was a fool that pleased himself with conceits of filling his soul with his full bags and furnished houses, or fruitful fields; what are these to the immortal soul, which is of a spiritual nature? No, no; riches profit not in a day of wrath; you cannot stop the mouth of conscience in the pangs of death with a little worldly trash; try this in lesser things, and see whether "money, which answereth all things," will fill your hungry bellies, cure the head-ache or tooth-ache, or remove fevers;* alas, it cannot, you know it cannot. How then, can riches satisfy, or sanctify, or save the immortal soul? A time is coming when the careless and covetous worldling would be glad to exchange earth for heaven, and would be willing to cast all his rare commodities overboard to save the precious vessel of his never-dying soul; but he that has made the world his god, will have no God to relieve him when he is leaving the world; he that has spent his strength and time to compass his worldly ends, will have nothing but his labour for his pains, in the upshot; what hath he gained, (let him brag of his bargain) when God taketh away his soul?" Nay, this very treasure that he hath + heaped up, shall rise "up in judgment against him;" so Heinsius reads, ‡ James v. 3, as though their gold and silver would become a treasure of tormenting fire to the rich and wretched misers; and, oh what an astonishing consideration is this, that a covetous man
* Non domus et fundus, non æris acervus et auri, Ægroto Domini deduxit corpore febres.—Hor.
+ Job xxvii. 8.
† ̔Ως πὺς· ἐθησαυρίσατε ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις.---Heins. Εxercit. page 563.
should gather the fuel to that fire which shall torment him for ever, and that his beloved minion, the world, with which he hath committed adultery, shall be the instrument of his torment; yea, some think further, that this earth, where wicked men have had their heaven, shall be the place of hell-torments after the great day of judgment. Certainly, this world, which hath bewitched sensual souls, shall be burnt with fire; and how just is it, that where men have acted their pleasant comedy, they should suffer this last and everlasting tragedy? Oh sirs, think of this betimes, do but in cold blood consider whether your great estates will form a screen betwixt God's flaming wrath and your sinning souls another day. Bethink yourselves betimes, whether you would have God or the world to stand your friend at death or judgment, whether you would have a heart laden with this heavenly treasure, or a conscience loaded with guilt, and filled with excruciating worms; whether you would hear that sad word, "Woe unto you that are rich, for ye have received your consolation," or "Come, my friends, enter into your master's joy." Remember you were forewarned of those things, look about you betimes.
Here I might admonish all ages and sexes to get their hearts full of this treasure. You young men, begin the world with this stock, this alone will fit you for all callings, places, relations and conditions; you are entering the world, and you know not what you may pass through betwixt this and the grave; without this treasure you are fit for nothing; this will fit you for any thing, this will render you well-accomplished gentlemen, merchants, ministers; this will carry you through all companies with credit and profit; it will be an excellent guide and guard in your journeys; this will season your younger years with gravity, prudence, and
humility, and ripen your souls for heaven as your bodies are ripening for the grave.* Oh my brethren, set up with this stock, begin in grace, and you shall end in peace; begin with this treasure, and you shall end in everlasting pleasures.
And you that are aged, look after this treasure; old men are addicted to hoarding; why, here is work for you; be hoarding up in your hearts, divine truths, graces, comforts, and experiences; in "malice be ye children, but in understanding be ye men." Give me leave to admonish old men, and fathers, to labour to "know him that is from the beginning;"† you delight much in antiquity, here is an object for you to contemplate, even the ancient of days." Oh mind not toys and earthly treasures, even the best of them; let your hoary heads be found in the way of righteousness, and your hearts be filled with the fruits of righteousness. Alas, shall you be full of days and empty of grace? Shall you be drawing to a period of your lives, and be destitute at the end of your lives? Ah sirs, that you should be taking your leave of the world, and yet have laid no foundation, made no preparation for a better life; alas, what shall become of you? the Lord be merciful to you, and lay hands on you and pluck you "as brands out of the fire." It is a monstrous sight to see a wicked old man! how unbecoming is it to hear an old man swear, to see an old man drunk, or unclean! it is, indeed, a shocking sight! such are worse, because they should be better; the grey hair which should be a crown of glory, is a testimony of sloth, and monitor of approaching wrath. Ah sirs, think it not strange, if at the great day you be set on the left hand, that have all
Read Proverbs i. 4; ii. 1; and iv. 1; or rather, read the first nine Chapters in Proverbs.
+ 1 John ii. 14. VOL. II.
your days made choice of left hand blessings. The God of heaven awaken you to provide for eternity, before the flames of hell awaken you when there is no remedy.
Let all, and every one, without fail, without dallying or delay, look after this treasure. Oh let your souls be furnished with a store of holy thoughts, you are always thinking, the mind is active, never idle, always in motion. Oh get it furnished for contemplation! bring some work to this millstone, else as Luther saith," it will grind itself thinner," or be as a lamp that is soon extinct without a fresh supply of oil. You can neither discourse in company, nor spend your time in solitary retirement profitably, without this treasure. But I have been too tedious. Let not all these words be in vain to you, or rise up in judgment against
A few words to those precious souls into whose bosom the Lord hath dropped this heavenly treasure. These, I might urge to bless God for it, live up to it, make much of it, maintain and increase it, and be sure you do not part with it upon any terms. In giving your attention to this treasure, let it not be in the least impaired, wasted or injured. It is, I may assure you, a greater loss to lose one grain of grace, than a mine of gold, or both the Indies. The gaining of the world cannot countervail the loss of a soul, and if your treasure be gone, your souls are gone. Take fast hold of instruction, let her not go, for she is thy life."—Prov. iv. 13. Let all go rather than part with your treasure. Cæsar, swimming through a river to escape his enemies, carried his books above water with his hand, but lost his robe; so do you. Though you should swim through a sea of sorrows, yet be sure you keep fast the Lord's deposit, make not "shipwreck of faith and a good con
science." Let neither the treasures nor pleasures of the world rob or cozen you of this glorious treasure. Take two famous instances of constancy in the primitive times. * The one is of a soldier, whom the Prætor could not with torments remove from his christian profession, at last he commanded him to be laid in a soft bed, in a pleasant garden among flourishing lilies and red roses, and being left alone, a beautiful harlot came to him, and embracing him wantonly, solicited him to sin; he resolutely opposed; at last, for very vexation, and to prevent by his pain the danger of pleasure, he bit off part of his tongue and spit it in her face, and so bravely overcame. This valiant soldier would not endanger his treasure for sensual enjoyment. The other example is, of one Hormisda, a great nobleman's son, who, for religion was condemned to keep the king of Persia's elephants, and to go naked. One day, the king looking out, and seeing him tanned with the sun, commanded a shirt to be put upon him, and to bring him before him, when the king asked him “if he would now deny Christ." Hormisda tore off his shirt, saying, "if you think I will deny my faith for a shirt have here your gift again." See here, a young man stripped naked, rather than lose his inward treasure. Imitate his resolution. Say as Job did, chap. xxvii. 5, 6, "Till I die, I will not remove my integrity from me, my righteousness I hold fast and will not let it go; my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live." Live upon your stock, make use of it upon all occasions, draw forth the seeds of grace, bring "forth much fruit," improve your treasure for maintaining constant intercourse with God. Josephus tells us, † that there was a tumult raised among the Jews, because their
* Acts and Mon. par. 1, fol. 63, fol. 100.
+ Joseph. de Bello Jud. lib. 2, cap. 8.