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and this excites no envy, nor any dread of its loss.
But the design of our Saviour in referring to this subject was, to show, by the contrast, the superior importance of things unseen and eternal to any thing that this world can give. Heavenly treasures are not liable to the accidents which may befal earthly riches. They are not perishing in their nature. They cannot be taken away from their
possessor by any violence. To lay up treasure in heaven is otherwise described by our Saviour, as being rich toward God. 57 The Apostle James terms these persons rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised to them that love Him ;58 and they are spoken of by St. Paul, as rich in good works.59
To be rich in faith toward God, is to be enriched spiritually by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Saviour of lost sinners; or by giving credit to the testimony of the word of God respecting His Person and His work; and relying upon Him for those blessings which He came into the world to procure and to bestow upon the sinful children of men, or on them that believe in His name. The object proposed to the faith of those who would lay up for themselves treasure in heaven, is the Lord Jesus Christ. It is therefore said, Believe on the Lord
57 Luke xii. 21.
58 James ii. 5.
59 1 Timothy vi. 18.
Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. 60 Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, 61 all spiritual blessings; and out of His fulness all, who believe in His name, receive grace for grace.6. He gives them grace here, and He will give them glory hereafter. To be rich in faith implies having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sins. There is no pardon of sin to be obtained otherwise than through His atonement. He is the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world; by the shedding of whose precious blood, satisfaction was made to Divine justice for the sin of man, so that whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins. In Him we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
But faith has respect to the Lord Jesus Christ, not only in His atonement and propitiation, or what He suffered for sin as the substitute of the guilty; but also with regard to His perfect obedience to the holy law of God, through which, the Apostle declared, many should be made righteous. He who is rich in faith puts his trust in what our Lord Jesus Christ did in human nature in obedience to the law. As it is said in the Homily of salvation, “ Christ is now the righteousness of all them that truly do believe in Him. He for them paid their ransom by His death. He for them fulfilled the law in His life. So that now in Him and by Him every true Christian man may be called a fulfiller of the law; for as much as that which their infirmity lacked Christ's righteousness hath supplied.” Thus being justified, or accounted righteous before God, by faith in the obedience or righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have peace with God through Him, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. For faith not only relies upon what Christ has done and suffered to reconcile sinners unto God, but also looks forward to benefits to be received both in time and eternity, in consequence of the promises made in the holy Scriptures to believers in Him.
60 Acts xvi. 31. 61 Col. ii. 3. 62 John i. 16, 12. 63 Ephes. i. 7.
Faith has respect likewise to the whole revealed will of God. He who is rich in faith regards every thing that is made known to mankind in the holy Scriptures, as what God has been pleased to reveal by His Divine inspiration, for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 65
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the principal requisite under the gospel dispensation. The exercise of it is the first step that a man takes in seeking the kingdom of God. But this faith is not the production of our own efforts. It is the gift of God. It is of the operation of Godoy the Holy Ghost in the heart of man. It is the result of being born of God. Though it seems to be the simplest and easiest thing in the world to believe the gospel; yet this faith is not produced in the heart by human might or power, but by the Spirit of God alone; and is accompanied with the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord being shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost.63 The desire after this blessing proceeds from God, and He graciously promises to fulfil the desire of them that fear Him, and seek the gifts of His grace. If then the desire of our soul be to His name and to the remembrance of 69 Him, let us humbly ask Him to give us that faith, to which the promises of His grace are made; and we may be assured that asking we shall receive, that seeking we shall find, that knocking at the door of mercy it will be opened to us.
64 Romans v.
65 2 Timothy iii. 16, 17.
Thus being united to Christ by a living faith, we shall bring forth fruit unto God; we shall be rich in good works; and the fruit of the Spirit which is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truthto will appear in our conduct, to the glory and praise of God. As it is said in the Homily before quoted, “ These be the fruits of true
66 Eph. ii. 8. 67 Col. ii. 12. 68 Rom.v.5. 6° Isa. xxvi. 8. 70 Eph.v.9.
faith ; to do good, as much as lieth in us, to every man; and above all things and in all things to advance the glory of God.” So likewise it is said in our twelfth Article, • Good works do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known, as a tree discerned by the fruit.” It is thus by being rich in faith, and rich in good works, that we are to lay up treasure in heaven; or, as the Apostle terms it, to lay up in store for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that we may lay hold on eternal life.71 Our hope of pardon and salvation is to be founded on the Lord Jesus Christ; and we are to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, by a conversation such as becometh His gospel.72
If our treasure be thus in heaven, our Saviour informs us in the text, our heart will be there also. We may know what is our treasure, or what is in reality most valuable in our estimation, by considering what is the state of our heart and affections, or what it is that we most anxiously
The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life,73 are the things on which the hearts of the people of the world are set, their pursuit is after things earthly, sensual, or devilish.7* But they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. They
desire to possess.
71 | Tim vi. 19. 72 John ii. 16. 73 Phil. i. 27. 74 James iii. 15.