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good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things.” And I told you the manner of laying out was, in holy meditations, savoury expressions, suitable actions, and patiently bearing, and profitably improving of afflictions. Why, now, lay judgment to the line, and compare your own course of life with these practices of religion. How do you trade with heaven, and for heaven ? What do you more than others ? Where is the life and power of religion? Do you indeed exercise yourselves to godliness? What large expences do you lay out for that God from whom you have such liberal incomes ? When we see rich men lay out abundance of money in household goods, housekeeping, building, and recreations, we guess, certainly, such have a good stock beforehand, a great yearly revenue. Thus it is here; though many make a great show of what they have not, yet a ready, real, uniform, and constant performance of duty—a serious, sensible course of walking with God—and exercise of grace in all conditions, do evidence a suitable inward treasure. What say you to these things? Can our hearts witness for us, “that in simplicity and godly sincerity,” by the assistance of grace, " we have had our conversation ?"* Can our relations and neighbours witness for us, that we have served the Lord with all humility of mind, with many tears and temptations ? Can our closets, chambers, shops, and fields testify our secret groans, meditations, self-examinations? Have we performed our relative duties with all care and conscience--as magistrates, punishing sin—as ministers, faithfully preaching at all seasons, suitably to all persons as householders, instructing, correcting, and leaving a good examplemas husbands, wives, parents, children, masters, servants ? That man is not good at all that is not good in all re
Cor. i. 12.
lations. Doth the treasure of grace and truths prompt our tongues, employ our hands, guide our feet ? Do those sentiments in our heads, and that principle in the heart, dictate to us our duty, and assist us in doing it? Are we fruitful in good works, words, and meditations; and are we useful in our generation ? Let us not deceive ourselves, it is not a conceit of some good meanings within, that will serve our turn; but the Apostle tells us roundly and plainly, “He that doth righteousness is righteous," 1 John iii. 7. Acts do evidence the state, and a man cannot be good, unless he do good.
4. How do you increase this treasure? “ To him that hath shall be given.” Truth of grace is the prologue to growth in grace; and growth in grace arrives at full strength of grace—the saints “ go from strength to strength,” Psalm lxxxiv. 7. The true Christian, like his Master, “increaseth in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man,” Luke ii. 52. These waters of the sanctuary rise up to the ancles, knees, loins, neck, till the soul come to the head, Christ, and so be swallowed up in the unfathomable ocean of glory. It is monstrous in grace, as well as nature, to grow none, but continue as a dwarf. It is a sad shrewd sign you have no grace,
grace enough. He was never good that desires not to be better ;* they are hypocrites, and sure to be apostates, that are contented with a taste : the true believer is unsatiable, still hungering and thirsting after righteousness, daily adding one cubit after another to his spiritual stature, that he may be a tall man in Christ, and at last attain to the “measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," Eph. iv. 13.f That is, not so much with respect to
Minime bonus est qui melior fieri non vult.-Ber. + Habet enim augmenta sua fides, habet suam infantiam, habet ætatem virilem, habet senectam.--Mar. in loc.
the complete stature of our bodies at the resurrection, proportionable to Christ's full age upon earth, as some expound it, though that may be true; but we must be increasing, till Christ's mystical body grow to ripeness and perfection, both in respect of all the members to be added thereunto,and also particular members' growth in grace, till they advance to a full maturity in knowledge and hol ness. What say you to this ? are you any better than you have been ? are your last works more than your first ? What light of knowledge in saving truths, what heat and warmth in sanctifying graces what heart-refreshing experiences and comforts have you laid up? Are you grown more solid, humble, holy, watchful, faithful and fruitful ? Do you get more power against your lusts, and more ability to walk with God ? Do you forget what is behind, and press forwards to perfection ?* Are you stirred up more to holiness, and strengthened with all might by his Spirit in the inward man?t Are you still sensible of defects, craving for more spiritual riches, as a beggar for alms ? I confess I have sometimes wondered at this strange paradox in Christianity, that there is nothing doth so fill the soul as grace, and yet nothing makes the soul so hungry for more grace as a principle of grace; nothing contents but a dram of grace, yet a dram of grace will not content. Believers desire more knowlege, more faith, more love, and accordingly they are still perfecting holiness in the fear of God. I So that, as the apostle saith of some, their faith groweth exceedingly, and charity aboundeth even till it become a treasure; || for observe it, this spiritual treasure is made up, and increased by accumulation, by adding more graces, or strengthening graces already conferred. * Phil. iii. 13, 14.
+ Eph. iii. 16. # 2 Cor. vii. 1.
ll 2 Thess. i. 3.
Several good Divines* have done worthily in satisfying scrupulous souls in this important case about growth in grace. Let such as doubt of sincerity read them, it would be a digression here to speak fully to this point : only take this observation, the more life you have added to your light, the more humility to your graces, the more watehfulness to your lives by your experiences; and the more tenderness of conscience, and cheerfulness in holy performances by your comforts, the more have you grown in grace and increased your treasure : and thereby have given a clear evidence that you have a spiritual treasure in your hearts.
NEGLECT OF HEART TREASURE REPROVED.
If it be so necessary to have a heart treasure within, that a Christian may be fitter to walk, speak and act holily, then this falls with weight upon the head of four sorts of persons, namely
Careless loiterers, vain-glorious boasters, impious offenders, and unprofitable Christians.
I. Careless loiterers, that sleep out a fair summer's day of grace, and forget the day of their visitation. Many poor ministers have cause to weep over their dear people, as Christ over Jerusalem, and say, “ If thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes,” Luke xix. 41, 42. If any soul be without
• See Symonds' Deserted Soul's Case and Cure, p. 4164421. Manton on Jude, v. 2. p. 122–127. Barlow's Sermon, 2 Pet. iii. 18.
grace, under precious means of grace, let such tremble at present providences, lest they lead on to the loss of ordinances : if thou hast sat under the droppings of the sanctuary, and art yet barren, be afraid, lest God either command the clouds to rain no rain on thee, or the curse of the barren fig-tree be pronounced against thee,—“Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever,” or else, "cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground ?"* Oh sirs, have your souls been till now empty of grace, amidst ordinances which are the channels of grace ? have you lived thus long in Goshen, and are you yet in Egyptian darkness ? where is the fault, what can you say for yourselves ? Suppose God should put you to it, to bring forth your strong reasons, (as he expostulated with the man that wanted the wedding garmentt) and should say, friend, (for so wilt thou needs be accounted, and as such thou wast invited) where hast thou lived ? in my Church ? and didst thou not there hear of a rich wardrobe provided for naked souls, even the fine white linen of Christ's perfect righteousness? Was there not a well-furnished shop and storehouse of the gifts and graces of the Spirit to fill and adorn the house of thy heart? How comes it then that thou art so devoid and destitute of what is good ? Hadst thou lived in Turkey or India, where I did not set up such an office of mercy, thou mightest have more to say, but now what apologies canst thou make? What fig-leaves canst thou find to cover thy shameful nakedness, or colour thy wretched negligence? How camest thou hither? quá fronte ? What canst thou say to excuse thy brazen impudence, that darest approach such a presence in so sordid a habit, or rather miserably naked ? The truth is, though witty sinners can find shifts enough to put off * Matt. xxi. 19. Luke xiii. 7.
+ Matt. xxii. 12.