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and clearly ascertained consciousness of this favor. Then it possesses the peace which passeth understanding. Its satisfactions are all from within, and therefore independent of outward circumstances. Its joy is the exultant glow of a spirit in vital communion with the Supreme goodness, truth, and holiness; and it moves on in a path of brightening improvement-of jubilant progress-towards an endless home in Heaven, the glorious goal of its aspirations and efforts. These are the treasures which the gracious soul finds in the gospel, and finding is satisfied, and rejoices and is glad all the days of its earthly pilgrimage.
But, besides : the soul is immortal. Its conscious existence outruns the brief limits of its probationary term on earth ; survives the stroke of death which dissolves the body; and sweeps onward around the orbit of a measureless eternity.
" The spirit shall return to Him
Who gave the heavenly spark ;
When thou thyself art dark." Long after the transitory things of earth are passed away and forgotten, it shall remain young, fresh, hale, in the earlier stages of its immortal career. Nothing deserves the name of treasure-provision for the future—which does not embrace immortality, and take in, as the main element of its reckoning, the eternal destination of the soul. How strikingly does St. Peter describe, though in negative terms, the reversionary wealth of those who are “ begotten again”—as “ an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in the heavens." Their crown is “a crown of life;" their glory, “a far, more, exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Earthly treasures, on the other hand, considered not in the light of talents to be used for the glory of God and the good of man -rested in as sources of enjoyment,-trusted to as a means of meeting future necessities,-fail, as a matter of course, to answer the wants of our immortal nature. They are of the earth, earthy; they perish in the using; or we fly away and leave them forever. “ I have seen minute-glasses,” says one of the old men eloquent of the 17th century,_" glasses so short-lived. If I were to preach upon this text, to such a glass, it were enough for half the sermon; enough to show the worldly man his treasure and the object of his heart, to call his eye to that minute-glass, and to tell him, there flows, thero flies your treasure, and your heart with it. But if I had a secular glass, a glass that would run an age : if the two hemispheres of the world were composed in the form of such a glass, and all the world calcined and burnt to ashes, and all the ashes and sands and atoms of the world put into that glass, it would not be enough to tell the good man what his treasure and the object of his heart is."
“ Lay up for yourselves treasure in Heaven.” There is, finally, an exhortation addressed to us on the basis of the foregoing considerations, to lay up heavenly treasures. And how strong is the appeal when the incorruptibility, security, and satisfying nature of these are considered. It is worth our while to make accumulations, if these may be depended on. We spend not our strength for nought. We labor with animating encouragement when we are sure that our labor tells with certain effect upon ultimate success. There is a strong instinct in the human bosom which prompts us to acquisition ; which seeks for property; which goes out after a possession we can call our own ; which can be added to and increased by daily or yearly accumulations. This instinct is most commonly turned into earthly channels, and expends its energies upon earthly objects. Christianity comes to refine, expand, ennoble it. It shows us durable riches :
“ Riches above what earth can give,
And lasting as the mind." We are exhorted to add ; to give all diligence to add. Abundance is attainable. Ampler wealth, vaster resources, enlarged opulence, incite our ambition and stir our laggard pulses.
Is it of the nature of treasure to multiply? Then lay up treasures in heaven. He that had received five talents went and traded with them, and made them five talents more. “ Lay up,” by visiting the sick, and ministering to the wants of the destitute. «Lay up," by taking God's cause to heart. “ Lay up," by taking God's cause in hand. “ Lay up,” by resisting a temptation, by acquiring or strengthening a virtue. Do you possess earthly treasures ? Tremble at your danger; for “ how hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Avert that danger by taking heed to the Apostolic injunction : “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy : that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate ; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” Are you poor?
6 Godliness with contentment is great gain.” What is time to eternity ? 6 If a son, then an heir; an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ.” Well may you be content, with such a destiny before you. Be rich in faith. Cherish the patience of hope. Your earthly capital may be small, and your accumulations may correspond. It matters little : your spiritual capital-your soul-treasure, is the main thing. Industry, activity, consecration to God—what accumulations will they not secure! Let shame flush our cheek when we seo men of the world in pursuit of gold : toiling by day, scheming by night, diverted from their object by no obstacle, alarmed by no danger, periling health, reputation, life itself, that they may lay up earthly treasures. We profess to put a right estimate upon these, in contrast with heavenly treasures ; and yet how is our lagging zeal put to the blush, our feeble endeavors shamed, by the example. Lay up, lay up heavenly treasures ! Dwarf not your expectations to the mean ambition of merely escaping hell—of reaching Heaven, so to speak, by shipwreck. Go for an ovation ; more still, for a conqueror's triumph ! Covet an abundant entrance. Aspire to a crown. Win a palace. All Heaven smiles on aspirations like these. Jesus himself bids you lay up. Build your accumulations higher, and higher still. Shine out, 0, City of God, with jeweled gates and golden walls and streets ! Attract us by the vision of thy loveliness, win us by the melody of thine anthems! Thou art our true and proper home ; where else should be our treasures ? .
The exhortation of our Lord, in the text, finds its closing consideration in the fact, that where our treasure is there will our heart be also. Now, nothing is more certain than that God claims our heart. The first and great commandment is, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” This law is paramount. It lies against that subtle idolatry which is so often paid to wealth. No shrine may be set up; no pageantry of outward worship may mark the devotee. He may not bend the knee before an idol, the symbol of the divinity which rules his heart; and yet the homage may be profound as the depths of the soul. We have only to ask what subject engrosses the thoughts, and possesses the greatest attraction for us. We recoil from the grosser forms of idolatry; and yet wealth may as effectually dethrone the supreme God, usurp the ascendency over us, and constitute for us the great good of life, as though we considered the exchange a temple of worship, our ledgers sacred books written in cabalistic letters, and the various investments of money the household gods to which the homage of profound trust and daily devotion was due. Our attention, our delight, our confidence, may all be transferred from the Creator, blessed forever, to the creature. Satisfied with the stream we may forget the fountain ; engrossed with the augmentation of worldly resources, we may become blind to the primary, originating source of whatever is desirable on earth. Thus, to love the world so as to make it practically our great good, to trust in riches, is to deny the God that is above. Here then we are brought to a solemn pause. We must choose the one or the other ; God or the world; heavenly or earthly treasures.
Oh, for that faith which is the evidence of things unseen!—which, passing through the shadowy phantoms of the present and the visible, grasps the eternal substance. That alone which is solid, substantial, abiding, is worthy of the heart of man; fills its ideas and its hopes; realizes its expectations, and exhausts its capacities of enjoyment.
“ Now, unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God, our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.” Amen.
LABOR AND REST.
BY JOS. CROSS, D. D.,
“ For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption."-Acts xiii, 36.
“God seeth not as man seeth, nor judgeth as man judgeth.” Very different, often, from ours, is his estimate, even of the same persons and the same actions. The reason is, that man judgeth according to the appearance, but God looketh upon the heart.” He sees through what is outward and accidental, and discerns clearly what is inward and essential. He disregards mere external forms and aspects, and values all things according to their real and intrinsic qualities. Men judge the motive by the act; God judges the act by the motive.
It is our true wisdom, to unlearn our own method, and learn the method of God. But this is a wisdom which we are little inclined to seek. Naturally, we are averse to it; and if by grace we ever acquire it, it is ordinarily with great difficulty, and by slow degrees. It is no easy task to climb the mountain, whence we may look down upon the world, with all that it contains, and behold it as it is. Death, however, will place us instantly upon the summit; and the panorama of all terrestrial things, in all their relations and influences, will lie around and beneath us. Then the cloud will be lifted from the landscape, the veil will be rent that intercepts our vision, and all false lights will be extinguished, and all distorting media will be removed, and gold will cease to charm, and fame will cease to allure, and the vain pomp and unsubstantial pageantry of earth will lose their bewildering splendors, and we shall see things as God sees them, and estimate them by the same perfect standard. Even now—such is the wise and gracious arrangement of our Heavenly Father-every season of affliction, overy disappointment of our hopes, every sickness which brings us near the verge of life, every bereavement which throws over us the shadow of death, forces us to anticipate that judgment and those feelings which the last great change shall fix unalterably and forever.