ŇLay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.Ó Matthew 6:19-21.

 

 

ŇLay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor stealÓ (vv.19,20).

 

Here beginneth the fifth part of this excellent sermon, and it continueth to the end of this chapter; wherein our Saviour Christ intendeth to reform His hearers of covetousness, and to work in their hearts a moderate care and desire of worldly things. Now the order of this discourse is this: first, He lays down the substance of His persuasion, and then enforceth and amplifieth the same. The ground and substance of ChristŐs persuasion consists in a double commandment. The first shews what we must not do in respect of treasures (v.19), the second, what we must do (v.20); both of which He enforceth by their several reasons in the same verses; as also with a reason common to them both (v.21).

 

 

I.

For the first commandment: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth.

 

The Meaning.

The word here translated lay up, is more significant in the original than our English doth express; for it imports two things: first, to gather together; secondly, to hoard, or heap up in store things gathered, against the time to come (Rom. 2:5), Thou heapest up unto thyself etc.

 

Treasures; that is, worldly wealth in abundance, precious things stored up; as silver, gold, pearls etc.

 

Upon earth. Here Christ aims not so much at the place, as at the kinds of treasures; for heavenly treasures may be laid up while we are here on earth; and therefore He forbids hoarding of earthly treasures.

 

For yourselves; that is, respecting your private gain and benefit, all respect to the good of the church and commonwealth laid aside.

 

So the words bear this sense: Take heed that you gather not riches together, to hoard up here below, for you own private use and benefit alone, making them your treasures in which you put your trust, and place your joy and delight.

 

But yet that we may not mistake the meaning of our Saviour Christ, I will distinctly set down what things Christ forbiddeth not, pertaining to the gathering or keeping of worldly goods; and then what it is which he doth directly forbid. There be three things respecting the world which Christ forbiddeth not, viz.:

 

1. Diligent labour in a manŐs vocation, whereby he provides things needful for himself and those that depend upon him; for else he should be contrary to himself, enjoining man to eat his bread in the sweat of his face (Gen. 3:19), and commanding that he that will not labour, should not eat (2 Thess. 3:10).

 

2. The fruition and possession of goods and riches; for they are the good blessings of God being well used, and have been possessed of GodŐs children, as Abraham, Solomon etc.

 

3. The gathering and laying up of treasures is not simply forbidden, for the Word of God alloweth hereof in some respect (2 Cor. 12:14), The father must lay up for the children. And the disciplesŐ understanding of the general famine by the prophecy of Agabus, which should be in all the world (Acts 11:28-30), gathered provision beforehand for the brethren in Judea; and JosephŐs provident wisdom (Gen. 41:48; Acts 7:10) is commended by the Holy Ghost, for hoarding up the corn in Egypt against the time of dearth, for the common good. And the Temple of God (1 Chr. 28:12) had its treasuries by GodŐs appointment, for the upholding and repair thereof; so that Christ doth not simply forbid all gathering and laying up of treasure or wealth.

 

What is it then which Christ here forbids? Answer: Sundry practices of covetousness:

 

1. Whereas the first is excessive seeking of worldly wealth, when men keep no measure nor moderation therein; although God give sufficient, yet they are not content, their desire is so insatiable. And that we may see the danger of this practice, I will here shew how far forth a man may seek for and lay up worldly wealth. For the better understanding whereof, this distinction of worldly goods must be laid down for a ground: They are either necessary, abundant or superfluous.

 

(1) Necessary goods are of two sorts: either necessary to manŐs nature, without which no man can live, nor family stand; as meat, drink, apparel, lodging etc., or necessary to a manŐs state and condition of life, without which he cannot exercise the duties of his calling wherein God hath placed him; as books to a student, tools to a tradesman etc. Now here ariseth the question: How much of these things are to be counted necessary, and so may be provided for and laid up? Answer: The opinion and judgment of the covetous man must be no rule in this case; for his corrupt heart is insatiable, like the sea which cannot be filled, and (Prov. 30:16) like the fire, that never saith, It is enough. Now because of the diversity of menŐs estates, by reason of their difference in properties and conditions, there can be no certain rule set down; for that which is enough for one, will not suffice another. And therefore the judgment and practice of the godly wise, who know how to use the creatures as blessings of GodŐs providence, must be our rule to judge what is necessary. Other rules we have not in the Word, but what they judge needful, according to the Word, that must be esteemed necessary, and accordingly provided. Yet further this may here be added, that things must not be deemed necessary, only in regard of the present use, but also with respect to the time to come, wherein they may be needful.

 

Example: A tradesman having nothing besides his trade to live upon, may provide for things necessary, while his strength continueth, to maintain himself in old age, when through decay of strength or sight, he is not able to work. And so a man having many children, may in the use of lawful means, provide for their portions beforehand, that when their age requireth, he may therewith dispose of them in some good state of life.

 

(2) The second sort of worldly goods is abundance, whereby I mean that plenty and store, which serves not only for necessity, but for holy comeliness and delight.

 

(3) The third sort is superfluity, whereby I mean such abundance as a man hath neither use of for the present, nor in any likelihood shall have for the time to come.

 

Now these grounds thus premised, I set down this rule touching manŐs provision for worldly wealth: Things necessary for manŐs person and his calling, a man may seek for and lay up; bur for abundance and for superfluity, no man ought to labour or be careful. Hereto Christ hath put this bar, Lay not up treasures for yourselves. And Solomon prays as directly against superfluity as against poverty (Prov. 30:8,9), Give me not riches, nor poverty (saith he), but feed me with food convenient for me. And he renders this reason against abundance: Lest I be full and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? Now hence, I reason thus: Look what we may ask of God; that only must we seek for, and no more. But we may only ask for things necessary; for to pray for abundance we have no warrant, and therefore we must only seek for necessities, and not for abundance. Hereto the apostlesŐ rule agreeth well (1 Tim. 6:8,9), If we have food and raiment, let us herewith be content; for they that would be rich or abound (as the word signifieth), fall into temptation and snares.

 

Question: If we may not pray for abundance, what must we do if God give abundance? Answer: If God bless us with abundance, upon our moderate labour and care in our lawful callings, we must receive it thankfully, and as good stewards lay it up to be bestowed on good uses, either in our families, or in the church and commonwealth, as God in His providence shall offer us just occasion.

 

Now, this being evident, that we must only seek for things necessary, and no more; then we must all learn to beware of carking [burdensome] care, and be concerned with things necessary, when God gives them. And to move us hereunto, consider the reasons following:

 

(1) First, it is GodŐs commandment that we should be contented with things necessary (1 Tim. 6:8), and therefore we must make conscience of obedience in the practice of contentment.

 

(2) Secondly, they that are greedy after abundance, have many temptations to bad dealing, and so can hardly keep a good conscience. They fall into snares (as the apostle saith (1 Tim. 6:9)) and into many foolish and noisome lusts, which drown men in perdition and destruction.

 

(3) Thirdly, in time of persecution (which oft accompanies the gospel), the richer a man is, the more danger he is in to forsake the truth; for the heart of man is naturally so glued to the world, that without GodŐs special grace, it will sooner forsake Christ than worldly wealth. This we may see in Demas, who to embrace the world, forsook Paul (2 Tim. 4:10). Whereupon Christ saith (Mark 10:23), How hardly can a rich man enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 

And thus much of the first practice of covetousness, which is excessive care and labour after worldly goods.

 

2. The second practice of covetousness which Christ here forbids, is when men seek only or principally for worldly goods, neglecting spiritual graces in regard thereof. This appears by the opposition of the next verse unto this, Lay not up for yourselves earthly treasures, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. This was EsauŐs practice, who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage (Heb. 12:16). And the sin of the Gadarenes, that upon the loss of their swine, desired Christ to go out of their coasts (Luke 8:37). And this is the sin of our age, where in many things, nay, almost everything, which may yield profit or delight, is cared for above the Word; or else how could there be so much preaching and so little profiting, but that menŐs thoughts and delights are taken up with earthly things? But this is a preposterous and disordered care, which everyone must labour to reform, as Christ commands (v.31).

 

3. The third practice of covetousness here forbidden, is to put trust and confidence in worldly things treasured up. This is the idolatry of the heart, for look whereon a man sets his heart, that he makes his God, and therefore is covetousness called idolatry (Col. 3:5). Hence it is that Christ makes it so hard a thing for a rich man to enter into heaven (Matt. 19:23,24), because they trust in their riches (Mark 10:24). And if we mark well, we shall find it commonly true that rich men are proud hearted and secure, not regarding GodŐs judgments, nor the means of their salvation; for they take not God for their strength, that trust in their riches (Psa. 52:7). DavidŐs counsel therefore must be followed (Psa. 62:10), If riches increase, set not your heart thereon.

 

4. The fourth practice here forbidden, is when men lay up for themselves only, without regard to the church or commonwealth, or relief of the poor. This is a devilish practice; for everyone is but a steward of that he hath, to dispense the same for GodŐs glory to the good of other. The poor are GodŐs poor, and members of His family, and therefore He requires that every steward in His family should see they have their portion. God will call the rich to their account, when this will not be taken for good disposing, to say I kept my riches to myself. So much will the slothful servant say, that hides his talent in a napkin. And therefore let us learn to make conscience hereof, with the rest of these bad practices.

 

 

Where the moth and canker corrupt, and where thieves dig through and steal.

These words contain a special reason of the former commandment, to this effect: Earthly treasures, as riches, raiment etc., are subject to be carried away by thieves; and therefore we must not excessively or principally seek after them, set our hearts upon them, or hoard them up for ourselves.

 

The Exposition.

The word translated moth, signifieth a worm that eateth the finest cloth, and consumeth the best garment; yet here it must be taken more largely, for any worm that doth destroy or consume any creature. And so the word translated canker, must be largely taken for anything that by rust or fretting doth eat into and consume metal, or any other creature.

 

Here then Christ noteth a twofold vanity of the creatures, both in respect of their nature and of abuse. For their nature, they are subject to corruption by rust, moth and canker, be the creatures never so pure and costly, as gold, silver, pearls etc., for the heavens themselves are subject to vanity. And for abuse, they are subject to the injuries of ungodly persons, thieves may steal them, and covetous persons may hoard them up that they shall serve for no use. Now if all earthly treasures be subject to vanity both by corruption and abuse, then we must not make them our chief creatures, but seek for them, and use them in a moderate and sober manner.

 

Question: But whence came this vanity upon the creatures? Answer: God hath subjected them unto it for the sin of man (Rom. 8:20).

 

The consideration hereof must let us see the grievousness of our sins, and the greatness of GodŐs anger thereunto, in that He hath imprinted the stamp of His wrath upon every creature for the sin of man, by subjecting it to this twofold vanity. And therefore, when we see a moth upon apparel, or rust and canker upon metal, or other creatures corrupting them, we ought rather be humbled for our sins, than to suffer our hearts to be drawn to immoderate desire and delight after earthly things. Secondly, are the creatures that never sinned subject to vanity for manŐs sin? Then how vain a thing is man, that by his transgression bringeth vanity upon the creatures. Let us therefore in them behold our own vanity, and when we pity them, learn to lament our own iniquities.

 

 

II.

ŇÉ but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor stealÓ (v.20).

 

Christ having shewed what we must not do in respect of treasures here on earth, and knowing manŐs inclination to be such that he will needs have something for his treasure, doth here come to the second branch of His commandment; shewing what treasure we must lay up for ourselves, and enforceth us thereto by a special reason. The treasures we must lay up are treasures in heaven.

 

Question: How should we lay up treasures in heaven? For we cannot of ourselves come there; no man can save himself; the beginning, progress and accomplishment of our salvation is of God in Christ wholly. Answer: It is usual with God in Scripture, to ascribe the work of the principal efficient cause to the instrument thereof. Thus in the last verse of Obadiah, preachers are expressly called saviours; and (1 Tim. 4:16), In doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee; and (1 Cor. 4:15), I have begotten you through the gospel; and yet both salvation and regeneration are the works of God alone, preachers are only the instruments thereof. So in this place, to make us rich with heavenly treasures, is the work of God alone; for we rather treasure up unto ourselves wrath against the day of wrath (Rom. 2:5) by our transgressions. And yet because we are instruments by His grace, in the use of means to get this treasure, therefore He giveth this commandment unto us, as though the work were wholly ours, though Himself be the principal author.

 

But yet that we may the better conceive of, and practise this commandment, two points are to be considered: First, what this treasure is; Secondly, how a man must lay it up for himself. Both these we must mark with reverence, because thy are points of great weight and moment, in the practice whereof standeth our salvation.

 

1. For the first: In searching it out, we will first consider what is erroneously thought to be this treasure which Christ would have us to lay up. The church of Rome hath for many hundred years, abused the world hereabouts, making the overplus of ChristŐs merits, and of the merits of saints and martyrs, to be the treasure of the church, which being gathered together and put into a store-chest, is (say they) in the popeŐs custody; and he alone hath the plenary opening and shutting of this chest, and the ordering and disposing of these merits. By virtue whereof he gives out indulgences and pardons when and to whom he will. And hereby indeed he maintains and upholds his kingdom; for hereby comes infinite wealth and revenues. But this cannot be the true treasure; nay, it is corrupt and deceitful for two causes: For first, hereby they abase the true treasure, which is ChristŐs merits, by adding supply thereto from the merits of saints. For if ChristŐs merits receive increase from the merits of men, then it is not all-sufficient of itself, and so but a poor treasure. Secondly, hereby they make the merits of saints departed, to be the merits of others which live long after them, by the popeŐs application; which is a thing impossible and absurd; for no man can merit of himself. But say he could, yet should his merits be for himself alone and for none other; for every man in regard of salvation is a private man, and the reward of his works he doth that way can only redound unto himself, only Christ Jesus our Mediator, God and man, who was by God Himself made a public person for this end, can merit for others.

 

The true treasure then (to let the other pass) is in a word the true God, that one only eternal essence in three Persons, who made all things, and governs all things. In Him alone is all goodness and happiness to be found (Gen. 15:1), I am thy buckler, and thine exceeding great reward, saith God to Abraham. And (Psa. 16:5,6), The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance (saith David), É.I have a goodly heritage; which is as much as if he had said, The Lord is my treasure. And for this end we must conceive of God as He hath revealed Himself unto us in Christ; for out of Christ He is not our God, and so not our treasure; but God incarnate is our treasure; (Col. 2:3), In whom, that is in Christ, are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col. 3:3), Our life, even eternal life, is hid with Christ in God, as in a treasure. (1 Cor. 1:30), Christ is made unto us of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. And (John 1:16), Of His fulness, as out of a full treasure, we all receive grace for grace. Now we must not rest in His incarnation, but conceive further of Him as He was crucified for us in our nature, and is set forth unto us in His Word and sacraments. For His obedience, death and passion is our treasure, which is revealed and applied in the Word of promise and in the sacraments. And this is that thing prepared of God for them that love Him, which eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither ever entered into the heart of natural man to conceive (1 Cor. 2:9).

 

But why (will some say) should Christ crucified be called our treasure? Answer: Because He is the fountain and storehouse of all true blessings conveyed from God to man. Wouldest thou have remission of sin, and righteousness with God? Why, Christ was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). Wouldest thou have life everlasting? This same Jesus Christ is very God, and life eternal, and he that hath Him hath life  (1 John 5:11,12). Wouldest thou have comfort  in distress, and true delight in temporal blessings? Then get Christ Jesus; for He is life in death; and without Him, the good things of this life be no blessings unto us.

 

 

2. Having found what this treasure is, let us now see how everyone must lay it up for himself; for so Christ here commandeth, Lay up for yourselves etc. That we may lay up Christ crucified for our treasure, we must be careful to do five things, intimated in the parable of him that bought the field wherein the hidden treasure was (Matt. 13:44): 1. We must find this treasure; 2. We must value it; 3. Obtain and get it; 4. Assure it to ourselves; 5. Use it as a treasure.

 

(1) We must needs find this treasure first of all, else we cannot value it, nor obtain it, we cannot assure it to ourselves, nor use it. And thus much is implied in that parable, where it is called an hidden treasure; for we cannot have a thing that is hid before we find it. Now the finding of this treasure stands in GodŐs revealing of it unto us, letting us see that naturally we want it, and making us feel that we are poor without it, and therefore stand in great need of it, whereupon we begin to seek it. Every revealing of this treasure is not the finding of it, for God enlightens the mind of man two ways: First, generally, whereby a man in reading the Word is able to conceive the true sense and meaning of it. Secondly, more specially, when beside the general sense, God makes a man feel the truth and power of the Word in His own conscience. And in this special illumination stands the true finding. This indeed is a great blessing of God, but not common to all; for our natural eyes cannot discern it, and the more we are dazzled with the sight of worldly treasures, pomps and vanities, the blinder we are about this spiritual treasure. Yea, this treasure is hid from many that are able to expound the Word of God truly; as Christ saith (Matt. 11:25), These things are hid (oftentimes) from the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes; for till the Lord give this special illumination whereby a man sees his own misery in himself, and his great need of ChristŐs righteousness, Christ is a hidden treasure unto him. In regard whereof we must descend into our own hearts, and there try whether by the sense of our own misery in ourselves, and our own desire and hungering after Christ, God have revealed this treasure unto us. We may say (John 9:41), We see, with the Jews, and yet be blind, unless we truly feel the want of Christ in our own souls. Oh, therefore labour for this special illumination; for the doctrine of the gospel will never be sweet and pleasant to us, till we find this precious treasure hid therein.

 

(2) Having found this treasure, we must highly prize and value it, even above all that we have or can get; nay, more worth than all the world besides. So did the man in the parable (Matt. 13:44) esteem the treasure hid in the field above all his goods. And Paul (Phil. 3:8) so esteemed of Christ crucified, that counted all things loss for the excellent knowledge sake of Christ, and judged them as dung that he might win Christ. This high esteem of Christ is needful, if ever we mean to lay Him up for our treasure; and then have we made good progress in this heavenly purchase, when we truly value Christ in our hearts at so high a rate. And therefore we must endeavour ourselves hereunto, and labour so to frame our whole conversation in speeches and in action, that they may testify at how high a rate we value Christ. And because the Word of God reveals Christ Jesus unto us, in which regard it is called a treasure (2 Cor. 4:6,7), therefore it also must be highly valued, even above all earthly things. Thus David did (Psa. 119:72), The law of thy mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver; (v.127), I love thy commandments above gold, yea, above much fine gold. Hereof, Wisdom saith (Prov. 8:19), My fruit is better than gold, even than much fine gold, and my revenues better than fine silver. It were happy for us if we did thus value the Word of God. Many hold there is but one truth, and so that be known, it is no matter whence it is learned, whether out of GodŐs Word, or the writings of men; but they are far deceived, for the Scriptures of God only are that truth which is according to godliness; and they alone discover unto us this heavenly treasure, and therefore they must have the preeminence in our hearts, and be esteemed far above all the writings of men; which if we would do, we should feel that power and comfort of the Word in our hearts, which naturally we lack.

 

(3) Having found out, and rightly valued this true treasure, we must seek to get it for ourselves, and make it our own. So did the man in the parable (Matt. 13:44) when he had found the treasure hid in the field; and so Christ here commandeth, lay up treasures for yourselves. Now that we may get this treasure to ourselves, we must conscionably use such means as God hath appointed for this purpose; to wit: (i) Hear the Word of God preached, with all reverence, care, and diligence, labouring to mix it with faith in our hearts. (ii) Pray to God in faith earnestly and constantly for the pardon of our sins, and the fruition of this treasure. The reason hereof is plain: for the Word and sacraments are as it were the LordŐs two hands, wherewith He reacheth out this heavenly treasure and all spiritual blessings unto us; and our faith is the hand of our soul, wherewith we receive them. Now by our prayers we testify this faith, and sanctify unto ourselves the two former means.

 

(4) Having gotten this treasure, we must labour to make it sure unto ourselves. And to this purpose we must follow PaulŐs counsel and charge to rich men (1 Tim. 6:17-19), Charge the rich men in this world, that they be not high minded, neither trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God: that they do good, and be rich in good worksÉ. Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may obtain eternal life. Where mark how by trusting in God, and by liberality and bounty, we are exhorted to lay a good foundation. What (will some say), must we be saved by our alms-deeds and good works? Answer: Not so; for the ground of our salvation is GodŐs election and love in Christ, which He Himself hath laid up in heaven for us. But the foundation which we must lay up for ourselves, is in our own conscience, for our assurance in GodŐs foundation; and this we lay by our good works of love, mercy and justice; all which be fruits of faith; and being done in faith, and with singleness of heart to GodŐs glory, they are sure testimonies of our portion in the true treasure Jesus Christ; for hereby we know we are translated from death to life, because we love the brethren (1 John 3:14).

 

(5) Having got this treasure sure to ourselves, we must use it as a treasure. Hereunto three duties are required:

 

(i) We must have our conversation in heaven, for there Christ our treasure is; and where our treasure is, there will our hearts be. And if our hearts be on Christ in desire, in joy and delight, it cannot be but our lives will be holy and heavenly, though our bodies be here on earth. But let us beware that our affections be not set on things below, for then is not Christ our treasure at all.

 

(ii) We must turn our earthly goods into heavenly treasures. This we do by employing them in works of mercy, for he that gives unto the poor, lends unto the Lord (Prov.19:17), so that the merciful man hath the Lord for his debtor; for the Lord sends the poor man as His messenger unto the rich, to borrow of him such things as the poor man lacketh. And the LordŐs return of payment is in heavenly blessings; and therefore Christ Himself as it were explaining this point, bids (Luke 12:33), sell that ye have, and give alms: make you bags which wax not old, a treasure that cannot fail in heaven, where no thief cometh, neither moth corrupteth. This then is the LordŐs own direction, for this happy exchange of earthly goods for heavenly treasures, than which, who can wish a better increase.

 

(iii) We must rather part with all that we have, than with Christ Jesus; friends, goods, country, liberty, nay, our own life, and dearest heartŐs blood must all go for this treasureŐs sake. So doth the good purchaser, part with all he hath, for to buy the field in which this treasure is (Matt. 13:44). But if we will rather part with Christ, than with some, or with all of these, then we use not Christ as the true treasure.

 

Thus we see how Christ becomes our treasure. Let us therefore make conscience to practice these five duties so long as we live; for when Christ becomes our treasure, mark what will follow: we shall find in our hearts such sweet content therein, that neither prosperity shall lift us up too high, nor adversity cast us down too low; nothing shall daunt us while we have this treasure sure; no kind of death, no, not the day of judgment.

 

Thus much of the commandment, now followeth the particular reason thereof:

 

Where neither moth nor canker corrupteth etc.

This reason is drawn from the unchangeable certainty and safety of this treasure. Earthly treasures are subject to corruption, and to loss by stealth; but this heavenly treasure is free from all such things. For the highest heaven is not subject to corruption, nor to the violence of thieves and robbers; and therefore our treasure must be there.

 

Question: Why should the highest heavens be free from that vanity, whereto all creatures else are subject by the sin of man? Answer: The heavens above, which we look upon, and the earth below, with all creatures in them, belonged to man by the right of creation, but the highest heaven is the throne of God. Now, when man fell, he was punished not only in his own person, but in all the creatures that belonged unto him, which by his sin were made subjects unto vanity. But the highest heaven was free from that curse, because it did not belong to man by the right of creation, but is a supernatural gift, whereto we have right and title only by the grace of adoption and redemption in Christ Jesus. Now sith man hath no right thereto by creation, it was not meet that the sin of man should make it subject to vanity or corruption. If therefore the safety of an enduring substance can allure our hearts to love and like, then let us set ourselves for this heavenly treasure.

 

 

ŇFor where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.Ó (v.21)

 

This verse contains a reason of the former commandments, common to them both; tending to persuade us to the obedience of them both. The reason standeth thus: Where your treasure is, there will you hearts be also. But your hearts should not be on earth, but in heaven. Therefore lay not up treasures upon earth, but in heaven.

 

The Exposition.

By treasure (as we said before) must be understood things precious and excellent in our estimation laid up for time to come, wherein we repose our trust, and take a special joy and delight. By heart, we must conceive not only the affections, which are seated in the heart, as love, joy, care, desire, and delight; but the more inward powers of the soul in thought and imagination; yea, the effects hereof, in action, as labour, study and endeavour. As if He should say: Your treasure and your heart are joined together, look where that thing is wherein you trust, and take chief delight, and thereon will your thoughts run; your love, fear, desire, and care will draw unto it; and your chiefest pains, study and endeavour will be after it.

 

The Use.

Do heart and treasure go together?

(1) Then here first we learn to search out and try the state of our own hearts. For though it be a bottomless gulf, and deceitful above all things (Jer. 17:9), so as none can thoroughly know it, yet if we apply this sentence aright unto ourselves, we shall be able to give true judgment of the state of our own heart. An earthly treasure, and an earthly heart; but heavenly treasure, and an heavenly heart. These cannot be severed. And therefore look whereon thou spendest thy thoughts, and settest thy love, thy care and delight, and bestowest thy wit, industry and labour, and thereby judge of the disposition of thy heart. If the thing be earthly and worldly, then thy heart is earthly and carnal. Thou mayest plead that thou hearest the Word, receivest the sacraments, and prayest often; yet all this will not prove thee to have Christ Jesus for thy treasure; for thine heart being set upon the world, there undoubtedly thy treasure is, and that proves thy heart to be earthly and carnal. And on the contrary, if thy principal thoughts, thy chief love, joy, and delight be on Christ crucified, thy special care and industry be after His merits and righteousness, then is Christ thy treasure, and thine heart is heavenly.

 

(2) Secondly, hereby we may know whether we have any portion in heaven; for look where our heart is, there our portion is. If our heart in thoughts, desire and industry, be set on earthly things, then is our portion upon earth. But if we mind heavenly things, if we delight in them, and labour after them, then is our portion in heaven. It is not the exercise of religious actions now and then, but the settling of the heart either on earth or heaven that shews where our portion is.

 

(3) Thirdly, this coupling of the heart and treasure together, teacheth us not to regard this world, and temporal life, in respect of heaven and life eternal; nay, in this regard we must despise the world and temporal life, so far forth as it may be done without ingratitude to God, and without hatred of the works of His hands, and of His temporal blessings. For as earthly creatures are the workmanship of God, so temporal life is His good blessing, given us as a time wherein we are to prepare ourselves for life eternal. And therefore simply we may not despise it, but only in respect of life eternal. Now we must shew this high respect to heaven, and to life eternal, above that we have to this world and temporal life, by heavenly meditations, and by spiritual desires, joy and delight; for if heaven be our treasure, then must our delight be drawn from worldly things, and set on heaven.