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semblance to the infinite Jehovah, because he hath a principle of motion within himself, and not from without; for as God is a free agent, yea a pure act, so in a sense are the saints, acting from an inward principle. Hence those Scripture expressions, of a man's spirit making him willing; and the heart smiting a man, or witnessing for him, or with him. * And in the exercise of repentance, it is said of Lot, “he vexed his righteous soul;”+ or put himself upon the rack. Wicked men are dead, but grace is a principle of life, and resembles the Author of it:
he Author of it: “ for that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” John iii. 6. The decayed liberty of the will is in part by grace restored; and so far as the soul is spiritual, the soul of a saint is a flame of fire ascending to and acting for God; and the greater treasure of this a man hath in his breast, the more he resembles God.
The Tenth argument, to evince the necessity of this heart treasure, is drawn from the profit and advantage in having it; and that principally in facilitating the hardest duties of religion, and furnishing the soul for every good work. And here I shall keep close to the treasure of holy thoughts, fed with those four streams of-truths, graces, comforts, and experiences ; not only a saving principle, but such a measure thereof as will make up a treasure.
Now the frame of a treasured soul for duty is— ready—sincere_uniform—and perpetual.
1. A treasured heart is ready for duty. Like a well stored housekeeper, you cannot take him unprovided a well accomplished scholar, that is never non-plustand a watchful soldier, that is always fit for service. The Christian hath prepared materials to build the
Exod. xxxv. 21. 2 Sam. xxiv. 10. Rom. ix. 1. + 2 Pet. ii. 8. ψυχήνα-έβασάνιζεν. # 2 Tim. iii. 17.
house, and wants nothing but its setting up in actual performance; yea, the house is built and furnished, in some degree, for the entertaining of this royal guest“Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits,” Canticles iv. 16. The bow is strung, the heart fixed, the fire glowing in the embers upon the hearth, and one blast of the Spirit's breathing heightens it to a flame. Yet suppose the heart be not in actual readiness, still habits are sooner educed into act than new habits infused; and this the foolish virgins knew by sad experience.
But observe it, the more of this treasure, and the more readiness. The reason why we are not so free to prayer, conference, and meditation, is because we are not so filled with grace; otherwise gracious acts would flow from us as naturally as streams from the spring. Had we a treasure, we should never want suitable matter, and lively affections ; we should not need to force ourselves to offer sacrifice, as Saul in another respect, nor with main strength to bind the sacrifice to the horns of the altar; but we should come off freely, cheerfully, delighting in God's ways as in our proper element, and running with enlarged hearts. The glorious angels, and glorified spirits of the just made perfect, have a perfect treasure of divine faculties, and are therefore ready prepared to do God's will. Now we pray that God's “will may be done on earth, as it is done in heaven;" and that will never be, without this living treasure. But, О how quickly shall we hear a command, and how swiftly shall we obey, if we have a treasure! A good soul is like the centurion's servant -half a word will make him run. When God said to David, “Seek my face,” his heart quickly echoed, “Thy face, Lord, will I seek.”* His warrant carried the force of an argument—he needs no persuading when he knows his Master's pleasure. This is one choice advantage of having a treasure.
* Psalm xxvii. 8.
2. A treasured soul is sincere and serious; not complimental and forced. Israel of old made covenants, and seemed very religious; and God himself attested that they had well said, but adds, “O that there were such a heart in them !"* We have a strange passage in Jer. v. 2. “Though they say, the Lord liveth, surely they swear falsely.” Why, is not that a truth? Yes, a great truth. God alone is the living God; but when they say so, their heart gives the lie to their lips ; they say it with a deceitful heart, and that they may deceive; though it be a truth in itself, yet they speak it not as a truth, wanting a heart to assert the same. It is but a fond and frolic ostentation to invite a friend to dinner, when nothing is prepared. It is a mocking of God to bring Cain's sacrifice, a body without a heart, a carcase without spirit—it is as if a Jew had brought the skin of a beast for sacrifice, and no more. But where the treasure is in the heart, there the essentials of the service are made up—the work is filled up, or complete before God, † Rev. iii. 2; that is, it is not lame or defective in any considerable constitutive part thereof—it is such as may be truly called a real good work. This is the chief thing that God expects; and if a good heart be wanting, the work is as undone still. But a sincere Christian finds his prayer in his heart, which he utters with his lips : “ Thy servant hath found in his heart to pray this prayer,” 2 Sam. vii. 27. He found it not only in his book, but in his heart; he fetcheth his prayer from a treasure. Such a man will pray a prayer, as David here, and not only say a prayer, when he finds it in his heart. What cares God for * Deuter. v. 28, 29.
a little lip-labour. He may say, “Who required these things at your hand ? Did I not require them of your hearts? A mock feast or fast will not content me; I shall not be put off with an empty show: I will have your hearts, or nothing; and I must have a treasure in your hearts, or all you bring is worth nothing.” The truth is, God takes principal notice of the heart, and observes how that stands affected. If idols be set up in the heart, God takes no notice of a people's prayers;* therefore we had need look to the frame of the heart.
3. A heart treasure makes the Christian uniform, and without reserve, in the duties of religion. He takes a christian course as it lies, carries on religion before him without halting or halving-he practiseth all righteousness at all times. There is a sweet harmony and exact symmetry in a saint's performance of duty. Some can framet to some easier duties, not to more difficult; but the treasured soul can frame to any thing which God in the word hath made his duty; and hence it is, that he is “complete in all the will of God,"I Col. iv. 12. The law of God in his heart carries an aspect to every part of his will in the written word; graces and duties are concordant one to another, like “a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariot-their
heeks are comely with rows of jewels, their necks with chains of gold,” Song, i. 9, 10. That is, the soul of a believer is handsomely adorned with a comely train of graces and duties. Yea, such a person will at all times act like himself, so that one part of his life will not cross another, as a liar's tales and hypocrite's carriage do. He doth not serve God by fits and starts, in good
* Ezek. xiv. 3, 4. + In the dialect of Yorkshire and Lancashire, "to frame," signifies to set about a thing properly, or to proceed in the perforinance of any thing with readiness and like a workman.-Ed.
* Πεπληρωμένοι εν παντί θελήματι του Θεού.
moods and motions, so as to be off and on in religion; but he hath a constant, settled spirit, which David prays for, and the translators call " a right spirit ;* (and truly so it is)-disposed for God, fitted for duty, bringing forth good fruit in due season ; like a constant good housekeeper, that is never so suddenly surprised, but can make a prudent shift to treat his friend according to his degree. The truth is, man in his fallen estate is uncertain, intricate, and multiform in all his ways; you cannot tell where to find him, "gadding about to change his way,” Jer. ii. 36. But being renewed, he is in part, and in some proportion, reduced to that original rectitude, simplicity, and stability of spirit and practice that was in Adam; so that according to the degree of grace received, he hath a constant, uniform frame and tenor of spirit, and holds one straight, direct, and even course towards heaven. In all this suitable to the motion of the wheels in the Prophet Ezekiel's vision, chap. i. 17. “When they went, they went upon their four sides;” there is their squareness and suitableness to all God's will: “and they returned not when they went;" there is their constant, permanent, and unchanging motion. That will lead us to the next head : only consider what an excellency and beauty there is in uniformity in religious duties. When works of nature or art are uniform, what lustre they have! We are much taken with a building that is compact and proportionable. A garden drawn exactly, an army marshalled in complete ranks and postures, are comely sights—just such are the fruits of holiness, proceeding from a well treasured heart. And indeed without this treasure there can be no such harmony in holy performances ; but the actings will be like the legs of the lame, very unequal.
* Psalm li. 10. 017 7203 Spiritus constans, firmus, dispositus.