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A LENT SERMON PREACHed to the kING, AT WHITEHALL, FEBRUARY 12, 1629.
MATTHEW Vi. 21.
For, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
I HAVE seen minute-glasses; 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 wordly man his treasure, and the object of his heart (for, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also) to call his eye to that minute-glass, and to tell him, there flows, there 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 godly man what his treasure, and the object of his heart is. A parrot, or a stare, docile birds, and of pregnant imitation, will sooner be brought to relate to us the wisdom of a council-table, than any Ambrose, or any Chrysostom, men that have gold and honey in their names, shall tell us what the sweetness, what the treasure of heaven is, and what that man's peace, that hath set his heart upon that treasure. As nature hath given us certain elements, and all bodies are composed of them; and art hath given us a certain alphabet of letters, and all words are composed of them: so, our blessed Saviour, in these three chapters of this Gospel, hath given us a sermon of texts, of which, all our sermons may be composed. All the articles of our religion, all the canons of our church, all the injunctions of our princes, all the homilies of our fathers, all the body of divinity, is in these three chapters, in this one sermon in the Mount: where, as the preacher concludes his sermon with exhortations to practice, (whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doth them') so he fortifies his sermon, with his own practice,
1 Matt. vii. 24,
(which is a blessed and a powerful method) for, as soon as h came out of the pulpit, as soon as he came down from the Mount, he cured the first leper he saw, and that, without all vain glory : for he forbade him to tell any man of it.
Of this noble body of divinity, one fair limb is in this text, Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Immediately before, our blessed Saviour had forbidding us the laying up of treasure in this world, upon this reason, that here moths and rust corrupt, and thieves break in, and steal. There, the reason is, because the money may be lost; but here, in our text it is, because the man may be lost for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also: so that this is equivalent to that, What profit to gain the whole world, and lose a man's whole soul? Our text, therefore, stands as that proverbial, that hieroglyphical letter, Pythagoras's Y; that hath first a stalk, a stem to fix itself, and then spreads into two beams. The stem, the stalk of this letter, this Y, is in the first word of the text, that particle of argumentation, for: Take heed where you place your treasure: for it concerns you much, where your heart be placed; and, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. And then opens this symbolical, this catechistical letter, this Y, into two horns, two beams, two branches; one broader, but on the lefthand, denoting the treasures of this world; the other narrower, but on the right-hand, treasure laid up for the world to come. Be sure ye turn the right way: for, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
First then, we bind ourselves to the stake, to the stalk, to the staff, the stem of this symbolical letter, and consider in it, that firmness and fixation of the heart, which God requires. God requires no unnatural things at man's hand: whatsoever God requires of man, man may find imprinted in his own nature, written in his own heart. This firmness then, this fixation of the heart, is natural to man: every man does set his heart upon something and Christ in this place does not so much call upon him, that he would do so, set his heart upon something; as to be sure that he set it upon the right object. And yet truly, even this first work, to recollect ourselves, to recapitulate ourselves, to
assemble and muster ourselves, and to bend our hearts entirely and intensely, directly, earnestly, emphatically, energetically, upon something, is, by reason of the various fluctuation of our corrupt nature, and the infinite multiplicity of objects, such a work as man needs to be called upon, and excited to do it. Therefore is there no word in the Scriptures so often added to the heart, as that of entireness; Toto corde, omni corde, pleno corde: Do this with all thine heart, with a whole heart, with a full heart for whatsoever is indivisible, is immoveable; a point, because it cannot be divided, cannot be moved: the centre, the poles, God himself, because he is indivisible, is therefore immoveable. And when the heart of man is knit up in such an entireness upon one object, as that it does not scatter, nor subdivide itself; then, and then only is it fixed. And that is the happiness in which David fixes himself; not in his Cor paratum, My heart is prepared, O God, my heart is prepared; (for so it may be, prepared even by God himself, and yet scattered and subdivided by us :) but, in his Cor fixum, My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; awake my glory, awake my psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early, and praise thee, O Lord, among the people. A triumph that David returned to more than once: for he repeats the same words, with the same pathetical earnestness again". So that his glory, his victory, his triumph, his peace, his acquiescence, his all-sufficiency in himself, consisted in this, that his heart was fixed for this fixation of the heart, argued and testified an entireness in it. When God says, Fili, da mihi cor; My son, give me thy heart; God means, the whole man. Though the apostle say, The eye is not the man, nor the ear is not the man"; he does not say, the heart is not the man: the heart is the man; the heart is all: and, as Moses was not satisfied with that commission that Pharaoh offered him, that all the men might go to offer sacrifice"; but Moses would have all their young, and all their old; all their sons, and all their daughters; all their flocks, and all their herds ; he would have all; so, when God says, Fili, da mihi cor, My son, give me thy heart, God will not be satisfied with the eye, if I contemplate him in his works: (for that is but the godliness of the natural man) nor satisfied with the ear, with hearing many ser5 Psalm cviii. 1.
Psalm Lvii. 7.
61 Cor. xii. 17.
7 Exod. x. viii.
mons: (for that is but a new invention, a new way of making beads, if, as the papist thinks all done, if he have said so many aves, I think all done, if I have heard so many sermons.) But God requires the heart, the whole man, all the faculties of that man for only that that is entire, and indivisible, is immoveable: and that that God calls for, and we seek for, in this stem of Pythagoras's symbolical letter, is this immoveableness, this fixation of the heart. And yet, even against this, though it be natural, there are many impediments: we shall reduce them to a few; to three; these three. First, there is cor nullum, a mere heartlessness, no heart at all, incogitancy, inconsideration: and then there is, cor et cor, cor duplex, a double heart, a doubtful, a distracted heart; which is not incogitancy, nor inconsideration, but perplexity and irresolution: and lastly, cor vagum, a wandering, a wayfaring, a weary heart; which is neither inconsideration, nor irresolution, but inconstancy. And this is a trinity against our unity; three enemies to that fixation and entireness of the heart, which God loves: inconsideration, when we do not debate; irresolution, when we do not determine; inconstancy, when we do not persevere and upon each of these, be pleased to stop your devotion, a few minutes.
The first is, cor nullum, no heart at all, incogitancy, thoughtlessness. An idle body, is a disease in a state; an idle soul, is a monster in a man. That body that will not work, must not eat, but starve: that soul that does not think, not consider, cannot be said to actuate, (which is the proper operation of the soul) but to evaporate; not to work in the body, but to breathe, and smoke through the body. We have seen estates of private men wasted by inconsideration, as well as by riot; and a soul may perish by a thoughtlessness, as well as by ill thoughts: God takes it as ill to be slighted, as to be injured: and God is as much slighted in corde nullo, in our thoughtlessness and inconsideration, as he is opposed and provoked in corde maligno, in a rebellious heart. There is a good nullification of the heart, a good bringing of the heart to nothing. For the fire of God's Spirit may take hold of me, and (as the disciples that went with Christ to Emmaus, were affected) my heart may burn within me, when the Scriptures are
82 Thess. iii. 10.
opened, that is, when God's judgments are denounced against my sin; and this heat may overcome my former frigidity and coldness, and overcome my succeeding tepidity and lukewarmness, and may bring my heart to a mollification, to a tenderness, as Job found it; The Almighty hath troubled me, and made my heart soft for there are hearts of clay, as well as hearts of wax; hearts, whom these fires of God, his corrections, harden. But if these fires of his, these denunciations of his judgments, have overcome first my coldness, and then my lukewarmness, and made my heart soft for better impressions; the work is well advanced, but it is not all done: for metal may be soft, and yet not fusile; iron may be red-hot, and yet not apt to run into another mould. Therefore there is a liquefaction, a melting, a pouring out of the heart, such as Rahab speaks of, to Joshua's spies; (As soon as we heard how miraculously God had proceeded in your behalf, in drying up Jordan, all our hearts melted within us, and no man had any spirit left in him.) And when upon the consideration of God's miraculous judgments or mercies, I come to such a melting and pouring out of my heart, that there be no spirit, that is, none of mine own spirit left in me; when I have so exhausted, so evacuated myself, that is, all confidence in myself, that I come into the hands of my God, as pliably, as ductilely, as that first clod of earth, of which he made me in Adam, was in his hands, in which clod of earth, there was no kind of reluctation against God's purpose; this is a blessed nullification of the heart. When I say to myself, as the apostle professed of himself, I am nothing"; and then say to God, Lord, though I be nothing, yet behold, I present thee as much as thou hadst to make the whole world of; O thou that madest the whole world of nothing, make me, that am nothing in mine own eyes, a new creature in Christ Jesus: this is a blessed nullification, a glorious annihilation of the heart. So is there also a blessed nullification thereof, in the contrition of heart, in the sense of my sins; when, as a sharp wind may have worn out a marble statue, or a continual spout worn out a marble pavement, so, my holy tears, made holy in his blood that gives them a tincture, and my holy sighs, made holy in that Spirit that breathes them in me, have
Job xxiii. 16.
10 Josh. ii. 11; and v. 1.
2 Cor. xii. 11