Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
I. THE EARTHLY TREASURY.
1. Its locality. A treasury on earth. The thought is of the accumulation of material wealth. This may be of the choicest kind - works of art, gold, and jewels. Still, it is all earthly, and it does not imply any share in heavenly things, any portion in the unseen world.
2. Its imperfection. Even while its treasures remain in it they may be spoiled. The moth devours the Babylonish garment; the rust corrodes the bright steel and tarnishes the polished silver. Shares depreciate in value while we hold the scrip. Worse than all this, the value to us of earthly treasure may be corrupted; because we may toil successfully for wealth, and yet when we have got it we may discover to our dismay that we have lost the capacity to enjoy it.
3. Its insecurity. What cannot be spoiled by insect or atmosphere may be stolen. Without waiting for the slow action of rust and moth, riches may take themselves wings and flee away. The thief may dig through the mud-built house (see Job 24:16); the skilled burglar may break open the iron safe; the trusted banker may abscond with the stock that is lodged with him. At last the great thief death will rob us of all our earthly store by one irresistible stroke.
II. THE HEAVENLY TREASURY.
1. Its nature. What is this heaven in which we are to store our treasures? Heaven is not an astronomical locality, nor is it simply the abode of the blessed dead; it is wherever God's presence is manifested and enjoyed. Therefore to lay up treasure in heaven is to store it with God; to have our possessions in him; to entrust our all to him; to know that when we go to God we shall find our wealth.
2. Its riches. The nature of the treasury determines the sort of wealth that is to be stored in it. Possessions of land cannot be kept in a cash-box; works of art must not be stowed away in a wine-cellar. If heaven is our treasury, only heavenly riches can be collected there. It will not do for us to reckon our property by gold or any material things, for heaven has no room for such sordid wealth. The "unsearchable riches of Christ" are there - faith and love, pardon and peace, life and gladness, purity and power.
3. Its security. This heavenly treasury is safe. No corruption can breathe in the pure atmosphere of heaven; no thief can break open its mighty gates; death is powerless to enter its realm of eternal life. Nothing can destroy or rob us of our spiritual possessions in Christ.
III. THE GROUNDS OF CHOICE. Enough reason for preferring the heavenly treasury might be found in the great contrast between its security and the deceptive insecurity of all earthly treasuries. But Christ introduces a much higher consideration. "Where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also." Therefore if the treasury is on earth, the heart will dwell in this lower region; but if the treasury is in heaven, the heart will soar to the heights of God. Our thoughts, our very selves, dwell with what we prize most highly. Here is a greater danger than that of the disappointment of loss - viz. that of the permanent degradation of a low affection. The chief reason for choosing heavenly treasures is that we may not set our affections on things of the earth, that we may have our thoughts and desires drawn up to what is heavenly. Thus only shall we escape from the sordid mind that gloats over sordid treasures, and win the pure and heavenly mind that aims at highest good. - W.F.A.
Treasures upon earth.
1. By selecting for our friends and companions those who are children of God, so that each departing one is an actual increase of the holy treasure which is awaiting us in another state. To Christian man, death only sweeps the field to house the harvest. The treasures of his heart are only locked up from him for a little while, to be opened presently, in greater loveliness, where everything is real, and every reality is for ever. It will be our greatest joy to meet in heaven those to whom we have been useful in this life.
2. The motive of any action will carry it higher than its present and visible scope. Every man has his time, talents, influence, and money, as working materials. If he so use these that he is constantly considering their value for eternity, he is putting treasure in God's bank.
3. It is the power of faith to appropriate everything it grasps. You send on your affection to occupy heaven; you have a present enjoyment of your reversion. You increase your treasure in heaven by continued acts of faith in Jesus Christ.
4. By thus throwing yourself into another world this life will appear an impoverishment thing.
(J. Vaughan, M. A.)I. THE TREASURES REFERRED TO.
1. The treasures of earth are evanescent.
2. The lawful possession of earthly treasures is no sin.
3. The text does not object to your getting rich in a righteous way.
II. LAY UP TREASURES IN HEAVEN.
1. Because its bank is strong in its independence. Banks and firms are much like ninepins with which children play; when one pin falls the others fall also. But as for the bank of heaven, it is strictly independent; it is the only bank of its kind in the universe.
2. Because the omniscience of the Banker is the very best security. Could men foresee financial disaster they would avoid it.
3. Because this bank can never be broken into.
4. It is the only bank that can help you at death. You cannot very well trade in France with English money. You must change it into French money. But no earthly bank can change its coin so as to ferry you across Jordan.
5. Bank not with evil any longer.
(J. O. Davis.)
(J. O. Davis.)
(H. W. Beecher.)I. THE CONDUCT PROHIBITED.
1. The heart of man is the governing principle of his actions.
2. This too high estimation of the things of the world leads to an undue degree of solicitude for their acquisition, which the precept under consideration is designed to repress.
II. THE OPPOSITE DUTY which we are required to discharge.
1. The objects exhibited to our attention — "Treasures in heaven."
2. The exhortation to secure an interest in this felicity.
III. The SATISFACTORY REASONS on which these directions are founded.
1. The uncertainty of earthly good.
2. The reality of that which is Divine.
3. And the powerful influence which our possessions have over our affections. Learn:
1. The folly of the worldly-minded man.
2. The wisdom of true piety.
(J. E. Good.)
I. As an ENTIRE PROPOSITION IN THEMSELVES.
1. Every man has something which he accounts his treasure or chief good. This is apparent —
(1) (2) 2. Whatsoever a man places his treasure in, upon that he places his heart also. (1) (2) (3) (4) II. As AN ARGUMENT. TWO rivals for the affections; man cannot fix on both. 1. Consider how far inferior the world is to man's heart. Its enjoyments are (1) (2) (3) (Dr. South.)
(2) 2. Whatsoever a man places his treasure in, upon that he places his heart also. (1) (2) (3) (4) II. As AN ARGUMENT. TWO rivals for the affections; man cannot fix on both. 1. Consider how far inferior the world is to man's heart. Its enjoyments are (1) (2) (3) (Dr. South.)
2. Whatsoever a man places his treasure in, upon that he places his heart also.
(1) (2) (3) (4) II. As AN ARGUMENT. TWO rivals for the affections; man cannot fix on both. 1. Consider how far inferior the world is to man's heart. Its enjoyments are (1) (2) (3) (Dr. South.)
II. As AN ARGUMENT. TWO rivals for the affections; man cannot fix on both. 1. Consider how far inferior the world is to man's heart. Its enjoyments are (Dr. South.)
II. As AN ARGUMENT. TWO rivals for the affections; man cannot fix on both.
1. Consider how far inferior the world is to man's heart. Its enjoyments are