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rieth all the spheres of heaven about with it; so doth this little thing in the little world of man, animate all his operations. By heart I understand the rational soul, with all its faculties of understanding, memory, will, and affections; the chief part of man. The Jews compare the heart, 1. To the Holy of holies, or oracle, whence the Lord gave his answers.
2. To Solomon's throne, as the stateliest place where the King of heaven sat, as his throne of residence. 3. To the two tables of stone in Moses's hands, in which the Lord wrote the law, of wisdom; and I may add, 4. The heart of a Christian is the storehouse of the choicest treasures, and cabinet of the most precious jewels.
Bringeth forth,-emits or sends out suitable emanations, for his own soul's comfort, and the supply or profit of others. This is drawing off the fountain into several channels, an educing the habits of grace into various acts, the exercise and improvement of what has been laid up, a stirring up the gift of God, a trading with the talent, required of every soul that hopes to give a good account at the last day.
Good things. There are some things good only materially, good civilly, but these are good things spiritually, both as to matter, manner, and end; pleasing to God, profitable to man, and comfortable to him that brings them forth; these are streams flowing from the spring of true grace in the heart, through the banks and bounds of a divine command to the infinite ocean of God's glory.
The sum of all is this: every man is, and acts as principles are found in his heart; we judge of the heart by outward acts, but God judgeth of outward acts by the inward frame of the heart; and hence that of Luther is a great truth, that good works do not make good men, but first they must be made good men, before they can do good works, * for habits must be before acts; yet good acts make good men better, as evil actions make bad men worse; for acts strengthen habits, as we see by experience.
The doctrines are these :
1. Men’s layings out are according to their layings up.
2. Every sincere Christian is truly good. 3. Every gracious soul hath a good treasure. 4. True grace is a Christian's treasure. 5. A saint's treasure is in heaven, and in his heart. 6. A treasure in the heart vents itself in the life.
7. A treasure truly good, will send forth good things; the heart, so far as it is sanctified and doth act like itself, produces gracious acts and exercises.
But I shall comprise all in this one observation :
That a good treasure in the heart, is necessary to good expenses in the life. No man can do good, except he first be good ; there must be first a laying in, before there can be a laying out.
The Dutch have a proverb, “That a good saver, makes a well-doer.” I am sure it is so in a spiritual sense; he that lays in spiritual provision, is only fit to lay out in the exercises of religion.
I shall give but this one proof for the general doctrine, Matt. xiii. 52.-"A scribe" or minister “instructed unto the kingdom of heaven," that is, prepared to declare the mysteries of the gospel, " is like a householder” or steward, for so ministers are called, (1 Cor. iv. 1.) “which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old;" a plain allusion to a housekeeper's old store which makes a daily standing dish,
Bona opera non facere bonos, sed prius oportere bonos esse, quam faciamus bona : sic propriè mala opera non facere malos, sed malos facere mala.
and a new supply from the market upon special occasions. This scripture clearly holds forth, that he had laid up what he now lays out. Joseph laid up abundance of corn in the seven years of plenty, else there could not have been a supply in time of scarcity, Gen. xli. 47–49. But this is only for a hint in neral; for a more clear explanation and confirmation of this truth, I shall now endeavour to discover,
1. What laying up a treasure is.
ON THE NATURE OF A TREASURE.
A TREASURE imports the laying up of things for necessary use in aftertimes, and holds forth these seven particulars, all which suit with the laying up of spiritual provision in general.
First,--Laying up a treasure, implies carefulness, anxious thoughts, solicitous endeavours; it is easy to scatter, but it requires some industry to gather, yea it is easier to gether by filching and cheating than by trading or working; and things easily got by evil means, are as quickly lost by strange ways, Prov. xiii. 11. “Wealth gotten by vanity, shall be diminished,” that is, an estate procured by base shifts, devices, and juggling tricks, comes to nought; “but what a man gathereth by labour shall increase,” and in time become a treasure. Experience tells us, that they that would get a great estate, take pains in the day, and plan in the night, and desires to get and keep their abundance, will not suffer them to sleep:* it is so in spiritual things, there is hard tugging to get abiding provision ; spiritual goods are not got with a wet finger ; they drop not into the mouth of a careless loiterer; the choicer any thing is, the hardlier is it attained ;t a harvest-man's labour is hard toiling.
* Malè parta, malè dilabuntur.
O think not to get heaven by laziness; the kingdom of heaven is taken by violence, Matt. xi. 12. A resolute Christian as it were storms this uphill city; as soldiers run to get the prey, or racers to obtain the prize.
Secondly,—It imports choiceness in the things laid up. It is not all labour that obtains a treasure; " they labour in the very fire, that weary themselves for very vanity.” | Men may lay out money and labour for that which neither doth profit nor satisfy ; || there are many things better slighted, than sought and gained; stones and straws make no good treasure; no wise man will account himself rich with toys and trifles. A Christian's treasure consists in spiritual things, which only are of worth and value; gold and silver are but yellow and white clay, called thick clay, 9 because solid bodies; but compared with divine things they are but dross. Spiritual blessings only make believers blessed ; T nothing can be accounted a treasure, but what comes from, and leads to heaven : bona throni, the good things of the throne, are a saint's treasure; bona scabelli, the good things of the footstool, are the portion of wicked men, and they may have a large measure, yea, a treasure of them; their bellies are filled with hid treasures ;
yet these do not make them happy ; all under-moon comforts are but sorry trifles to make
Eccl. v. 12. # Hab. ii. 13. + Difficilia quæ pulchra. || Isa. lv. 2. ş Hab. ii. 6. 1 Eph. i. 3.
* Ps. xvii. 14.
a treasure of; the whole world cannot counterbalance a grain of grace. We account of things by their worth, not by their bulk; a little box of precious ointment is of more value and virtue, than whole tuns of ordinary liquor; only heavenly riches make up a soul's trea
Thirdly, Suitableness of the things stored
No man will lay up what he shall never need, and account it as his treasure; every tradesman lays up that which is fit for his calling; clothiers, staplers, tanners, husbandmen, have all their peculiar provisions, suited to their vocations : that may be a cumber to one, which is a treasure to another: kings have their peculiar treasure, that is, that which none but kings have;* so all God's kings have their peculiar treasure, which as it is different from all others, so in some respects different one from another. Moses had a treasure of meekness, Job of patience, Solomon of wisdom, John of love. As the child of God is to come behind in no gift, so is he to excel in that which he is more especially called to exercise.† It is a great duty and mystery in religion to be wise in observation, and prudent in provision; let Christians lay up supplies suitable to the several ages, estates, sexes, offices, burdens, duties, relations, places, trials, or temptations, through which they may have to pass, in the whole course of their lives; so shall they not be unprovided or unfurnished, but which way soever the Lord leads them in this uneven world, still their feet shall stand in an even place, and go straight to heaven. I
Fourthly,—A treasure imports sufficiency. Store hath no lack; it is abundance that constitutes a treasure; the granary of Egypt afforded plenty of corn : * Eccles. ii. 8. + 1 Cor. i. 7.
* Psa. xxvi. 12.