Riches of Christ, and glorious treasure of heavenly joys
RICHES OF CHRIST,
Glorious treaſure of heavenly joys,
HELD FORTH AND
Expounded to all good Chriſtians,
Wherein unſpeakable Bleſſings are pro-
poſed for the Encouragement and
Comfort of all that will ſtrive and
labour to work out their salvation
with fear and trembling.
By Mr. JOHN BUNYAN.
PRINTED AND SOLD BY C. RANDALL.
THE RICHES OF CHRIST.
2 COR. viii. 9.
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jeſus
Chriſt, that tho he was rich, yet for
your ſakes he became poor, that ye thro'
his poverty, might be rich.
UPON this conſideration, we may raiſe our largeſt thoughts to an exceeding height. For, if wc purchaſe this pearl of great price ; if we buy this field. We have a portion laid up, ſufficient to ſatisfy the moſt deſirous mind and craving appetite, not only in this world, but in the world to come ; the conſideration of which made the apoſtle cry out, as in a rapture, ‘ O the heighth and depth 'of the riches and mercy of God in 'Chriſt Jeſus.’ In this there is no fading richeſ, that ‘ make themſelves wings and fly away,’ or are periſhng and cannot reprieve us in our greateſt neceſſity : But this is an unſpeakable and everlaſting treaſure, beyond what the world can afford ; this treaſure of riches is above the value of a thouſand worlds. Would you have length of days ? here you may,find it held out in one hand. Would you have riches and honour ; it is to be found in the other hand. Would you aſpire to true greatneſt? here you
have a crown, not for a time, but for e ver and ever. 'Be thou faithful unto 'death, and I will give thee a crown of ‘life, ſays our bleſſed Lord and Saviour. Would you be a king? here is a kingdom worthy of the higheſt ambition, where you shall reign with our bleſſed Lord, not only for an age, but endleſs ages, even to all eternity, as kings and prieſts. Would you have joy and comfort? here it is, for holy David witneſſeth, ‘Thou wilt ſhew me the path of life, in thy preſence is fulneſs of joy, and at thy right hand are pleaſures for evermore,’ Pſal. xvi. 12 Would you have wherewithal to refresh you? here flows the river of the waters of life; here’s the heavenly manna, the ſpiritual food of angels. Would you be always in light? here needs no ſun by day, nor noon by night ; the Lamb is the lamps, and the light of his countenance fills the
manſions ot eternity with daſſling glory and rays of brightneſs, tranſcending all the brightneſs this world is carable of, far beyond what the ſun affords, when ſhining in his full luſtre.
compared with a glimmering taper. If the queen of Sheba came to admire the wiſdom of Solomon, ‘ Behold a greater ‘than Solomon is here !’ Behold here the wiſdom of the Father, the eternal Word, by whom all things were made that are made ; and yet he offers himſelf with all that can be counted rich and glorious, to thoſe that will freely embrace his tender love. O what would not ſome men do for a ſmall portion of earth, which at laſt they muſt be seperated from ? How do we behold worldlings grovelling below after vain transitory things, and ſparing no pains, coſt, haſard, nor danger, to acquire transitory trifles, and neglect to purchaſe, when ſuch a pearl of price is to be had ! nay, even neglect to deſire it ; preferring a ſmall weight of periſhing earth, before an exceeding weight of glory; referring ſickneſs. trouble,and diſeases,before life, eaſe, and immortal happineſs; O conſider, how infinitely unequal the terms are ; what infinite gain may be had for the like time, if well improven, that is ſpent in ſeeking after riches, even tranſcending the largeſt account: for, as the apoſtle tells us, ‘ Eye hath not ſeen ear hath not heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive what God hath laid up for thoſe that love and obey him.’ All precious things to which this world gives a name and moſt eſteem, are not comparable to them, as a drop of water to the ocean, or a grain of ſand to the whole maſs of earth. And how great then ought our love to be towards him, that not only renders us this treaſure, but ſhed his rich redeeming blood to purchaſe it for us, and to draw us out of the ſnares of deſtruction when we lay in darkneſs and the ſhadow of death.
How great ought our veneration to be for ſo tranſcendant a love and favour as this! when the innocent ſubmitted to die to ſave the guilty from the power of the ſecond death; ‘for he hath delivered us from the wrath that is to come,' 1 Theff i. 10. ſo that, ‘to them that are ‘ in Chrift, there is no condemnation,'Rom. viii. 1. This being the main promiſe of God, That whoſoever believeth in him, ſhould not periſh, but have everlaſting life' John iii. 15, 16. For this great conqueror has overthrown him that had the power of death, (that is, the devil,) delivering them, who through fear of death, were all their life-time, ſubject to bondage, having ſpoiled principalities and powers, and made a triumph over 'death and hell; baffles the king of terrors, and the enemy of mankind, who laboured earneſtly to enſlave and bring to final deſtruction all the ſons of Adam; and had undoubtedly ſeen his implacable malice accompliſhed upon the whole race, had not this great Prince diverted himſelf of his glory for a time to free us from bondage, and put us into a ſtate of poſſibility of ſalvation.
How can we, in theſe thoughts, do otherwiſe than break out in a rapture with holy David, ‘I will magnify thee, and I will praiſe thy name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and marvellous, worthy to be praiſed. There is no end of thy righteouſheſs. The memorial of thy abundant kinndness shall be showed, and men shall ſing of thy righteouſneſs: that thy power and thy glory, and the mightiness of thy kingdom is an everlaſting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all ages. The Lord upholdeth all ſuch as fall, and lifteth up thoſe that are bowed down. The he eyes of all wait upon thee, O Lord, and thou giveſt them meat in due ſeaſon' Pſalm cxxv. i , &c.
Theſe conſiderations, I think, ſhould raiſe and influence the minds of men with deſires ſuitable to the longing after a treaſure ſo ineſtimable, a pearl worth more than ten thouſands, a jewel no where elſe to be purchaſed, no where elſe to be found; a kingdom of all pleaſures and delights: theſe thoughts made the kingly prophet to have but a mean eſteem of earthly pomp and grandeur compared with this, when he cried our
'How amiable are thy dwellings, O 'Lord of hoſts! my ſoul panteth after 'thee, as the hart panteth after the water-'brooks,’ &c. And St. Paul counted all things as dung and droſs to the love of Chriſt, and courageouſly affirmed,‘That neither heighth nor depth, princi'palities nor powers, things preſent, nor ‘things to come,’ &c. ſhould be able to ſeparate him from the love or God, which was in Jeſus Chriſt, the bleſſed and amiable Lord of life, glory and immortality, the faireſt among ten thouſand.
need nor Hand in fear of them, according to that of Iſaiah xiv. 2. ' Fear not, ‘for I have redeemed thee;' but as we are taught in the next words, we ſhould all the days of our life worſhip him without fear; and when at any time we have grieved ſo good and gracious a God, by ſinning againſt him, remembrance of our redemption ſhould encourage us to return unto him, ſeeing he, as our Saviour, hath redeemed and bought us with ſo great a price, therefore, we ought to acknowledge him to be our Lord, in right of redemption, and ourſelves not to be our own, but his ſervants; for, therefore, Chriſt died and roſe again to life, that he might be the Lord of the
quick and the dead, Rom. xiv. 16. And, if we acknowledge him to be our Lord, we muſt be careful to do his will, or elſe we in vain do call him ſo, as did thoſe he reproved, &c. ‘ Why do ye call me Lord, and do not the things that I command you ?’ Luke vi. 4. Chriſt died
for all, that thoſe who live, ſhould not henceforth live to themſelves, but to him that died for them, and roſe again, 1 Cor. iv. 5.
This conſideration cauſed the primitive Chliſtians to ſeal their teſtimonies with their blood, running valiantly to flames and tortures, and not accepting any deliverance that might render them unworthy of the riches and mercy of their Redeemer, who had ſo freely laid down his life to purchaſe them glory and immortality, in a kingdom that laſt as long as God is God, and that is endleſs, and to all-eternity ; here we have (even in cur beſt ſtate) but a glimpſe of the glory that ſhall be revealed, and I how often have good Chriſtians deſpiſed and trampled on all the riches, honour and glory, this world could give, and embraced all the miseries we ſuppoſe can make a man tho mod miſerable of creatures, to follow the guidance of that marvellouſ light that has been revealed; nothing but the riches of Chriſt held forth in his meritorious death and paſſion, could ſatisfy to bound the large deſire of their ſouls: No worlds below, tho’ immutable, adorned with all the gaudy vanities and momentary pleasures, could balance the lead thought of eternal happineſs, and many times raptures of joy, in holy and pious contemplations, have raiſed them to heaven itſelf, in imagination, whilſt their bodies have remained on earth, and made them with St Paul cry out, 'That they deſired to be diſolved and to be with Christ'. The holy martyrs have held up their finger ends, blazing with the fire like ſo many torches, to light their ſouls to the mansions of eternal bliſs, prepared for them by their Redeemer, and ſung triumph and praises to the Lord Jeſus, who strengthened and ſupported them in the midſt of their trial ; and ſome have confeſſed, when the flames have compassed them, and part of their bodies were consumed, that they felt no more pain than a bed of down; and that the coals of fire and devouring flames, appeared like a pleaſant garden of roses and lilies round them.
O that men would be wiſe, and consider theſe things, that they would, with St Paul, die daily to ſin and the curruption of the fleſh, to live to Christ in righteouſneſs and purity of ſpirit; that ſo they might justly lay claim to his merit, and the riches and treaſures of his mercy. For no doubt the conſideration of the ſtupenduous redemption that he had wrought for the ſons and daughters of men, occaſioned what St. John saw, Rev iv. 9 'And when theſe beaſts (whoſe character you will find at large in that chapter) gave glory and honour, and thanks to him that ſat opon the throne, who liveth for ever and ever; the four and twenty elders fell down before him that ſat upon the throne, and worſhipped him for ever and ever; and caſt their crowns before the throne, ſaying, Thou an worthy, O Lord, to receive honour and power; thou haſt created all things, and for thy pleaſure they are and were created.'
Could we have a proſpect, though in a viſion, of holy men, whole ſouls are redeemed from the earth, and triumphing, ſing praiſes and hallelujahs in the highed heaven ; with what wonder and amaſement the riches and mercy of our bleſſed Lord, tranſport and carry them away; we would truly and ſeelingly I ſay, with the apoſtle, 'It is good for us ‘to be here; that is, to be in a state and poſſibility of gaining the like happy viſion of the divine beatitude ; we ſhould then look upon every thing elſe as dark and dull, and conclude them but droſs and dung. St. Paul, when wrapt into the third heavens, though he knew not whether in the fleſh or ſpirit, ſaw and heard things ſo unutterable, that his tongue perhaps was not capable of expreſſing words ſuitable to give mankind an account of them, tho’ he had thought ſir, or been diſpoſed to reveal them, and after that we find his mind inflamed after fuller fruition of them; life itſelf (that was to diſmiſs him from the lower world) ſeemed tedious to him, and made him court death, the king of terrors, ſo dreadful to the greateſt part of men, to ſet him at liberty, as appears by his deſiring to ‘be diſſolved, and to 'be with Chrift.’ Whilſt worldlings are contending for earthly treaſure, that is of small duration, and cannot give the least real content, let us raiſe our ſouls to take a proſpect of the true riches, the treaſures of everlaſting duration, even the riches of Chriſt’s mercy and love towards miserable ſinners; who, when laid in darkneſs and the ſhadow of death, gave his life a ranſom for us, to appeaſe his Father’s juftice.
O let not the confideration of worldly treaſure make you turn aside from following this rich mine, this golden vein of heavenly treaſure; let nothing ſtand in competition, or be thought too dear to part withal upon this account, ſo that we may not loſe, for trifles, this moſt excellent of all riches promiſed to us in the goſpel. ‘And-every one (ſays our bleſſed Saviour) that has forſaken houſes, or brethren, or ſiſters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s ſake, ſhall receive an hundred fold, and ſhall inherit eternal life,’ Mat. xix. 29.
———Here is a promiſe worth a thouſand worlds ; worthy the ſhaking off and ſacrificing all our darling affections that ſtand between us and Chriſt, to hinder us from running into his bleſſed arms, and, wholly caſting ourſelves upon the riches of his mercy, in which alone there is comfort and rest for weary ſouls ſouls ‘ The king (ſays holy David) ſhall joy in thy ſtrength, O Lord, and in thy ſalvation how greatly ſhall he rejoice,' Pſalm xxi. 1. If we caſt our anchor here, we have a ſure foundation, and he that is the wiſe diſpoſer of all things, will not ſuffer us, even in this life, to want what he ſees convenient for us. ‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fulneſs thereof; the world and them that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the ſeas, and eſtabſhed it upon the floods,’ Pſalm xxiv. 1, 2.
Many times we find indeed that God withholds his hands from the righteeous, and gives them no ſuch plenty of earthly things as the wicked commonly poſſeſs. This made David almoſt ſtumble, but when he had better conſidered, he greatly rejoiced. For. as our bleſſed Lord confeſſed that his kingdom was not of this world, we may well believe that thoſe whom he loves ſhould not have their portion here, but receive it in the kingdom prepared for them, in all fulneſs of joy and bleſſedneſs, even the riches of Chriſt ſhall be their part. Then they may truly say their lot is fallen in a fair land, the Lord is their heritage, even the Lord of glory the King of ſaints and angels, who has ſubdued death and the grave, who died and roſe again that he might become Lord both of the living and the dead. And in this caſe the Chriſtian may aſſure himſelf with holy David : 'The Lord is my ‘ſhepherd, I ſhall not want: He maketh 'me lie down in green paſtures ; he lead-'eth me beſide the ſtill waters. He re- 'ſtoreth my ſoul, he leadeth me in the'paths of righteouſneſs, for hiſ name’s 'ſake. Yea though I walk through the 'valley of the ſhadow of death, yet I 'will fear no evil. For thou art with me, 'and thy rod and thy ſtaff ſhall comfort 'me. Thou prepared; a table for me in 'the preſence of mine enemies. Thou 'anointeſt my head with oil, my cup 'runneth over. Surely goodneſs and 'mercy shall follow me all the days of 'my life, and I will dwell in the houſe 'of the Lord for ever.’ Pſalm xxiii. Now, ſeeing all in heaven and earth is ien to our bleſſed Lord, how can we doubt but the riches of his mercy will extend to thoſe that love him, and keep his word in truth and righteouſneſs,
O let us ſtrive to ‘run the race that is ſet before us,’ that we may have the standard Chriſt offers in the riches of his mercy, which nothing can come near in value. If we can poſſeſs ourſelves to that, we have all that ought to be deſireable, all that can make us eternally happy.———Theſe are the only aims and hopes of the ſaints of God ; they deſire to purchaſe nothing but Chriſt, and in him find all that is rich, glorious, and good, all that is lovely and amiable: the only pearl of price, the rich treasure in the field, for which we ſhould part with all to purchaſe; and the net in without fail will enrich us for good and ſatisfy the vaiteſt deſire that thoughts can conceive.
O that I had wings like a dove, (ſays holy David in the rapture of his thoughts ‘that I might fly away and be at reſt And certainly there remaineth (as the holy writings mention) a rest for the people of God, which, through the riches and mercy of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt and his merits, may be obtained, if we con fider, 'even in this our day, the things 'that belong to our peace.' Which grant O Lord, for thy infinite mercy’s ſake that we may praiſe and magnify the holy name world without end.
O BLESSED JESUS, conſider in this miſerable wretch, whom, in the riches of thy mercy, by ſhedding your moſt precious blood, thou haſt redeem ed from death to life : My soul is raviſhed with the thoughts of thy transcendent compaſſions. O draw me, to you I ſhall follow with joy and delight turn not away thy amiable eyes, I faint, for my ſoul is ſick of love. Guide me in thy truth, and let me ſo be that when I die, my ſoul may reſt with thee. Amen.
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