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for it; and seeing we are by nature dead and possessed with Satan more fearfully than any bodily possession (which is yet very fearful) and accounted miserable. "My daughter is miserably tormented with a devil." Let us for use hereof remember, that if this be a fearful slavery, how much more fearful is it, to be spiritually possessed by Satan in the soul? As, therefore, the blind men in the Gospel, when we discern that the Lord would open our eyes, that we may see this treasure, as they for redeeming of their bodily sight cried, "Lord', thou Son of David, have mercy upon us ;" so we, for the enlightening of our understandings, whereby we may see this hidden treasure, must call upon him for mercy. And as they, for the redeeming of their sight, desired him to open their eyes, so must we earnestly desire him to dispossess us of the prince of this world, who hindereth our eyes that we cannot see it, and like unto blind Bartimeus we must be earnest for the same, and being rebuked by impediments, we must call again and again, with so much the more vehemency. With him also, we must cast away all impediments and lets which hinder us from coming unto Christ, be they never so dear unto us. For you see what it is, which is here found, namely, a treasure, no small matter; and a treasure, though not seen by all, yet discerned by some; a treasure of infinite value. It followeth now, that we come to
The second part, how the party, who findeth this treasure, is affected. It is hid, valued above all things, all sold to purchase it.
When God now hath enlightened the eyes of a man, that he can see where this treasure is, that he discerneth it (for the richest) to be invaluable, that he is so inflamed with the love thereof, that he resolveth that he will have it, whatsoever it cost him, what doth he now? Why first his affections are full of joys, he is so glad of it, it is unspeakable. Then will he say, I have discerned mine own misery, my poverty, and nakedness. And I have found a treasure,
* Matt. chap. 15. ver. 22. m Mark, chap. 10. ver. 48.
Matt. chap. 20. ver. 30.
Christ Jesus, and his righteousness. It shall go hard but I will get it. Aye, but there is a price put upon it. It must cost thee dear, a great deal of sorrow, trouble, and other crosses. Tush, tell me not of any price; speak not of it: whatsoever I have shall go for it; I will do any thing for it. Why, wilt thou curb thine affections? Wilt thou give up thy life? Wilt thou be content to sell all that thou hast, and beg all thy life-time, so thou mayest have this treasure? I will do it with all mine heart, I am content to sell all that I have. Nothing is so dear unto me but I will part with it, my right hand, my right eye; nay if hell itself should stand between me and Christ, yet would I pass through the same unto him. This is that violent affection which God putteth into the hearts of his children, that they will have Christ, whatsoever it cost them. There are many excellent things which may be brought from hence, things very needful to be pressed, concerning the joys which God's children have, which is a property in them, when they hear the word. They joy not only in the bare hearing thereof, as did Herod, and as in the parable before", where mention is made of some, who heard it joyfully, and yet fell back again; but also when it crosseth their desires, in such things as are near unto them. Herod heard many things, yet he would not abide to be reproved of his beloved sin, to part with his brother's wife, this was contrary to his desire, and therefore he obeyed not. If, therefore, you will have God's mercy to be this treasure to you, you must forsake your sin. You cannot serve God and Belialo. You must forsake the service of honour; which thing will be, unto a natural man, most bitter, and maketh him (like the young man in the Gospel) depart sorrowful. Farewell Christ, I will have none of thee, at such a price. But he is the joy of God's children, who, finding the enjoying of Christ to be joyful unto them, nothing can separate them from them, but he will have him, though he were unto them in the harshest terms that may be. Our Saviour maketh this conclusion he whosoever, who forsaketh not all that he
n Matt. chap. 13. ver. 20.
• Matt. chap. 6. ver. 24.
hath, cannot be my disciple. Our Saviour meaneth not that a man should cast away all the wealth which God hath given him; but that we must cast away our corrupt dispositions, or whatsoever hindereth us from coming unto God, we must tread over them. Now it importeth thus much, our Saviour he propoundeth this to the multitude. Great multitudes follow him, but art thou his true follower, wilt thou know what it will cost thee? Why he giveth it thee for nothing, but yet thou must walk worthy of that heavenly vocation, when thou hast it.
Well then, if any man will come unto him, he must forsake all, his father, his mother, if they may hinder him. A man would think this to be a dear price, and there are many, when they hear of this, will be well advised, whether or not they will have him at such a rate. But let such know what our Saviour saith, which is this, that their lives they have, in regard of that love they should bear to their Redeemer, should be nothing. We should even hate them. "He that taketh not up his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." Now for the matter of cost. Consider with yourselves (as he that buildeth a tower'), first, what it will stand you in, first set down the charges, for howsoever thou mayest have him freely, yet, notwithstanding, thou must have him as thy Lord, thou must be his subject, he thy king, and thou his servant. If thou thinkest his service nothing, thou hadst best to sit down and see what it will cost thee. Consider the matter well. Thou must account upon thy crosses, losses, and many troubles that will befal thee; for thou must not think to be carried to heaven upon a feather bed.
If then we can say and endeavour so, that we will undergo any thing, whatsoever befalls, for Christ; assuredly then this treasure is ours. The parables are many and full of depths, and there remaineth yet a great deal of this. Thus much for this time shall suffice to have spoken of this treasure. Now let us pray, &c.
P Matt. chap. 10. ver. 3.
r Luke, chap. 14. ver.28.
9 Ibid. ver. 38.
1 THESSALONIANS, CHAP. II. VER. 13.
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, that when ye received of us the word of the preaching of God, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is indeed the word of God, which also worketh in you that believe.
a 1 Thess. chap. 2. ver. 9.
In the former words of this chapter, the apostle propoundeth to the Thessalonians, the great love which he bare to their persons, and the great care he took to bring them into the love of the truth, wherein he showeth that the pastor must put on tender affections to the people, that thereby they may win them unto the love of the truth. And the people in this case who carry not, nor are kindled with the like affections to their pastors again mutually, it is, I say, a miserable thing, and no good is done. Again he showetha that this work of the ministry is no idle business, that there must be a great deal of care and pains taken in travail therein night and day, and at all times; he saith he spared no pains with such an affection, that he would willingly not only thus bestow the Gospel amongst them, but even his own soul to have done them good, so dear they were unto him, whom he (gently sparing them in their weakness) did nurse as children. This was his tender affection unto them, and should also be of every pastor to his people, and also, as he now speaketh, to take pains, and not be loitering in their business. For he showeth that he would not be chargeable unto them in any wise, rather (as in another place he showeth) he would work in the night that thereby he should not be chargeable unto them. Heb proceedeth, appealing unto themselves, as witnesses of all. Ye are witnesses and
b Ibid. ver. 10.
God also (saith he) how boldly, and justly, and unblameable we behaved ourselves among you that believe; and notwithstanding that these things have not been without offence unto some, whatsoever slanders be, yet I appeal unto your conscience of my diligence in the ministry, in all things, which became a faithful pastor. As he taketh them as witnesses that he is free from the blood of all men, and that he had not ceased night nor day, to preach and admonish them with tears, these hands of his ministering to his necessities. So here he telleth them (showing his great pains amongst them) that he had exhorted them diligently by all means, yea he had comforted them, and besought them as children to walk worthy of God, and of that high calling of the kingdom of glory, whereunto they were called.
Now in this 13th verse which I have read, the apostle cometh to show what fruits these his great labours had brought forth amongst them, how they entertained it, they received it as the word of God, and not as the word of man, as the powerful word of faith in them which believed. Now from hence we may mark this particular observation, that the thankful receiving of the word here comforteth the apostle, to hear of the joyful effects the word had wrought, producing such excellent fruits in their hearts. From whence we may observe the point of doctrine, that there is no comfort equal to the comfort a minister receiveth in the fruits of his labours when he seeth people drawn unto God. Sometimes, I confess, there ariseth small comfort unto him of his pains. But what, must they therefore give over? Ezekiel also had but small comfort, being sent to stiff-necked, hardhearted, and rebellious people. They are thus, and thus, they will not hear, yet the Lord commandeth him to go on, So (saith he) for all this, discharge thou a good conscience amongst them, make them inexcusable, let them know that there hath been a prophet amongst them. There are some who will still be stiff-necked and rebellious, who, let the Lord threaten judgments, let his ministers pipe or dance, never
Acts, chap. 20. ver. 26.