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It is recorded of Stigandus, archbishop of Canterbury, that he lived very poorly, saying and swearing
" that he had nothing, no, not a penny;* yet by a key fastened about his neck, there were found great treasures after his death, which he had hid under the ground; but, alas, that key would not open heaven's gates, nor would that treasure purchase glory. But the believing soul hath his treasure above, and by faith he hath interest in the Lord Jesus, who hath, indeed, the key of David, and is already entered into the holiest of all, and hath set heaven's gates wide open to his purchased and prepared ones, and who is gone to prepare a place for them. Oh sirs, fear not; you that have grace shall not miss of glory, as your Head is in heaven, so you shall be called to be with him; he will open the gates of glory to those that opened their hearts to receive the King of Glory. The treasure of grace raiseth the heart to this treasure above, and lays up provision for an eternal state. This stream runs to that ocean, and shall at last be swallowed up therein, where there “is fulness of joy, where there are pleasures for evermore.” † And let this excite all persons to hoard up a treasure in their hearts and in heaven, which “ neither moth nor rust can corrupt, nor thief break through and steal.” | Alas, poor creatures, if you get a treasure in the world, what will you do for a treasure when you must be gone hence ? Your earthly treasures will not purchase eternal happiness. You cannot always live here, therefore lay up in store for yourselves, a good “ foundation against the time to come, that you may lay hold on eternal life.”—1 Tim. vi. 19. Make friends of the
mammon of unrighteousness, that when these fail, you may be received into everlasting habitations.”—Luke xvi. 9. Like that provident King of the Spartans, who * Mr. Fox's Acts and Monum. fol. 174. + Psalm xvi. ll.
Mat. vi. 20.
observing the people to dethrone their kings at the year's end, and thrust them into a foreign isle to live in misery, did not figure away in that prodigality wherein his predecessors lived for one year, but provided a great estate for himself in that country where he was to be banished, that he might live comfortably when he was degraded : just thus must the wise and gracious Christian do; provide amidst the enjoyment of all things, for a day of darkness in the want of all things. As time is the seminary of eternity, so the soul is to lay up here for an eternal state hereafter Blessed is that soul that is found with these treasures in his heart; a crown of righteousness is laid up for those in whose hearts is found the work of righteousness, and upon whom are found the robes of righteousness. Let such bless God for grace, and long for glory.
10. Consider yet further, treasures of glory are proportioned to treasures of grace in the heart. It is true, they that have least glory in heaven shall want none; yet withal, it is very likely there will be degrees of happiness, and they that have had most grace will have most glory. My reason is, because grace doth widen and capacitate the soul for larger revenues of glory. Many vessels of great and small quantity cast into the ocean are all full, but some hold more, and others less ; such is the immense and inconceivable happiness of the saints above, that all shall have all, and none shall want any thing to complete their felicity. As it is impossible for a soul to be in heaven and not be happy, so there shall be no nook nor corner of a glorified soul, but it shall be filled with happiness. These clean vessels shall be filled with the new wine of the kingdom ; “ God shall be all in all,” all good to all souls, and in all souls; yea, such is the vast and infinite ocean of glory, that they VOL. II.
shall “ enter into their master's joy,” not it into them, though they shall be as full of it as their hearts can hold. Oh how will they bathe themselves in those rivers of pleasure! The mind shall be full of light, the will of holiness, and the affections of raptures and satisfaction; “when we awake we shall be satisfied with his image,” Psalm xvii. 15, nor shall there be any envyings of one another's happiness, though one star differ from another in glory, but every one shall bear his part in the lower or higher praises of God, as one saith, with a harmonious variety in perfect symphony. Certainly, that unfading crown of glory shall be as weighty upon every saint's head, as he is able to bear, though that weight shall be their joy; nothing is heavy in its proper element, and heaven is the proper element of the “ spirits of just men made perfect ;" hence it is said, “the four living creatures,” that is, the community of the faithful,“ rest not day nor night, praising God," Rev. iv. 8, yet their work is their rest, only some have an instrument of six, some of eight strings, others sing praise to God upon an instrument of ten strings, having more enlarged faculties fitted to that angelical duty. It may seem that as there are degrees of torments in hell, for it will be more tolerable for some than for others,* so there will be degrees of happiness in heaven, by the rule of contrarieties ;
of contrarieties; “ For,” saith Beza, f “ that Scripture of sowing and reaping sparingly, and liberally,” in 2 Cor. ix. 6. refers not only to charity and temporal advantages, but piety and eternal incomes.” Thus doth Calvin † interpret it also, and the parable of the talents, whose reward was propor* Matthew xi. 22. + Vid. Bez. Quæst. et Resp. p. 98.
Cæterum messis tam de spirituali mercede vitæ æternæ, quam terrenis benedictionibus, quibus Deus prosequitur homines beneficos exponi debet.-Calv. in loc.
tionable to the improvement.—Luke xix. 16–19. It is true, parabolical divinity is not argumentative, yet the main scope of a parable hath a demonstration in it, and it may seem probable that those whom God honours with most grace, and that honour God with most service and suffering should be most honoured with glory ; but nothing of merit is in all this, for giving heaven as wages for work is an act of commutative justice. But what equality is there betwixt finite services and infinite glory? None at all. No, no ; eternal life is the gift of God. Let proud papists say, they will not have heaven gratis ; let the real saint look upon gospel blessings as fruits of free grace, and the city above as built all of this free stone, and the way paved thither with the meritorious blood shed by our dear Redeemer; but whether there be degrees of glory or not, be sure the treasured soul shall have its share; we shall however be best able to resolve this question by experience,* vision and fruition will form the best determination. Now these great things are riddles and mysteries to us, because we look but through a glass darkly; we have but faint emblems and poor glimpses of that glory which shall be revealed, but then we shall see God as he is, and know all things fit for creatures to be acquainted with ; a thousand of these hard knots shall be untied, and our souls fully irradiated with the beams of divine light.
• See this question answered in Buch. loc. 36. De vitâ æternâ, page 446. Decided that there shall be degrees of glory from 1 Thess. ii. 19, Dan. xii. 3. 1 Cor. xv. 41.
SOME OBJECTIONS ANSWERED, AND THE EX
But here come in many doubting souls, with their several sad complaints and self-puzzling objections.
1. Alas, saith one, I fear I have no such treasure as is here described, for I have a very ignorant head, and therefore an empty heart; these treasures enter in by the door and window of knowledge, but I know nothing yet as I ought to know. I cannot conceive aright of one truth, and how should I then have a treasure of truths?
I answer, it is well thou art complaining; unsanctified knowledge puffeth up with conceits of imaginary attainments, gracious souls are sensible of defects and lament their ignorance. David was a saint welltreasured, yet calls himself a beast; Agur was a wise and holy man, yet professeth that he was more brutish than any man, nay, he saith “ he had not the understanding of a man.”—Prov. xxx. 2. It is a hopeful sign to hear Christians bewail their ignorance, but it doth not become any man to brag of his knowledge: the lowest humility is the highest attainment: selfdenial is a sign of, and means to spiritual riches : it is a sign thou hast profited, when thou discernest and bewailest thy non-proficiency. Besides, you must know, that you are not to determine on your treasure of truths, by the number of truths known, but by the manner of your knowing them, and your estimation of them. Do you value the truth so, as to buy it at any rate, and to sell it at no rate? nay, are you not willing to part with your lives rather than truth? Hath not