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clears the way, I freely consent: the Lord do with me and it, as seems good in his eyes.
The subject, I am sure, is of great importance, nor have I ever seen any Treatise of this nature; if it were profitably handled, it might be of singular use—with respect to what is merely of man, I hope God will pity, and pardon the unworthy instrument, and what proceedeth from his blessed Spirit, may that, through the help of the Spirit, reach and teach the spirit; as this occupation hath been, in a measure, painful, so hath it been very pleasant and delightful to me; and this I can say, I I never found such variety of matter flowing into my mind at any time, as I have experienced in writing this book; if the Lord do good by it, I have my end.
Devout Bernard begins an Epistle to a great man with this text, “ A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things ;” and towards the close of that Epistle, he hath these words, “ Truly, for myself, I read myself in thy letters, not what I am, but what I would be, and what I am ashamed that I am not.” Just so may I say in this case. I have written on the Heart's Treasure, but alas, how little have I attained of that whereof I have written! The Lord grant that my own Book may not rise up as a witness against me; but it is the desire of my heart to have such a treasure as is here described--if it make our souls long and pray for it, some good is done.
I shall not any longer detain you in the porch, I entreat you to read deliberately, and practice what you read and find backed with the Scripture of truth, and God forbid that my preaching or this writing should rise up in judgment against you ; God forbid that any of you should be found without this Heart Treasure of saving grace, at death or judgment.
My dear Friends, pray for me, who have you much upon my heart, when I am upon my knees ; pray for me, that utterance may be given unto me—“ that I may make known the mystery of the gospel. Pray, that I may come unto you
with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed, for the perfecting of that which is lacking in your faith," * that so you may have a treasure of grace in your hearts laid up in you, and a treasure of glory in the heavens laid up for you, which is the constant prayer of A sinful Worm, That desires to continue with you,
For your furtherance and joy of faith.
MATTH. XII. 35. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart,
bringeth forth good things.
Our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, like a skilful alchymist, extracts the pure gold of wholesome doctrine from common objects and occurrences : as from material water, he proceeds to discourse on spiritual water of life ; * from common bread, he ascends to soul-nourishing conferences on his own flesh and blood, that living bread that came down from heaven.t As he passed through the vineyards, he takes occasion to speak of the true vine himself, and of those saints that are really grafted into him, and bring forth proportionable fruit. † Christ could preach an excellent sermon from any text; but here he takes an occasion of uttering precious medicinal truths, from the poisonous blasphemies of the Scribes and Pharisees; distinguishing the fruit of the lips into good and bad words, which evidence the nature of the root to be either good or bad. The occasion of the words was this,—when our soul-saving and body-healing Redeemer had cast out a blind and dumb devil, that glo• John, iv. 10. + Ibid. vi. 27.
Ibid. xv. 1. VOL. 11.
rious miracle had various effects : upon the possessed person, it wrought soundness; (ver.22.) upon the people, amazement; (ver. 23.) upon the Pharisees, madness and blasphemy (though that was only accidental) whereby they charge God himself with imposture. (ver. 24.) To these last, Christ speaks by way of apology for himself, and confutation of their impudent slander ; his answer consists of three members.
1. He refutes the calumny by clear arguments, demonstrating his divine power in the miracle, from ver. 25—31.*
2. He detects the heinousness of the slander, calling it an irremissible blasphemy, ver. 32.
3. He exhorts them to repentance, by a severe and serious challenge, urging them to conceive more soundly and soberly of divine works; and to speak more spiritually and profitably, since they must give an account of every idle, much more blasphemous expression ; from whence there will be drawn sufficient matter of their condemnation: this exhortation he directs to the Pharisees, ver. 33 and 34. parabolically; and to all, 35–37. properly and doctrinally.
Or our Lord Jesus shews, that thoughts are the first-born of the heart the fountain of expressions, words are the echo of heart-language; much may be in the heart that is not vented with the lips, but there is nothing comes out, but what was first within ; “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” ver. 34. This is illustrated by two similitudes, Of a tree, ver. 33. and a treasure, ver. 35.
There is much ado amongst expositors to determine what is meant by tree; but it is clear, by tree is meant a man or woman, who must be good before good can be done: but the latter resemblance of a treasure, is our present subject, which consists of two parts; relating, the first, to good men, and the second, to bad men. *
* Vide Pareum in cap.
In both which, are-layings up, called a treasure, -and layings out, expressed by bringing forth.
But to explain a little.
A good man—there is good, 1. Absolutely; so there is none good but God, that is, essentially, perfectly, originally, independently. 2. Comparatively; so godly men are truly good, that is, sincerely, if compared with profane men, or hypocrites. It is said of Barnabas, that he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and faith, Acts xi. 24. There are also good men, as compared with froward, 1 Pet. ii. 18. or choice instruments, compared with persons of an inferior rank, Rom. v. 7. as David was worth ten thousand of the people. This good man in the text is to be taken in the former sense, in opposition to wicked men.
Good treasure.— This is a metaphorical expression, and alludes to the husbandman and tradesman laying up in store what must be used in aftertimes it or provision laid up for the whole year by the mistress of a house. This crosses not Christ's prohibition, Matt. 6. 19. “ Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,” for that is in opposition, this in subordination to the true treasure and divine providence, as Joseph's hoarding corn was; and it is called a good treasure in opposition to treasures of wickedness, Prov. x. 2.
Of the heart. The heart in man is the first mover of the actions of man, f even as the first mover car
* Bonus est, non qui talis videtur, sed qui intus habet cor bonum, id est, à malitiâ naturali, Spiritu Dei, repurgatum et regeneratum. -- Par. in locum.
+ Onoaópos, mapà tò čiç åvplov ríbeo fai, quod in crastinum reponitur.
. * Weems's Portrait. page 26. "