CHAP. VII. The Saints Trading for Heaven, opened in Seven Particu∣lars.
NOW in the Saints Trading for Heaven there are these several things considerable.
First, As in trading you know it is requisite in those that are trades-men to any Countrie, that they should have skill in the Commoditie that they trade Page 218 for; so the Saints they have skill in Heavenly things; there's many poor Christians who have little skill in the matters of the world, speak to them about them they un∣derstand but little, but speak to them about Heaven, and you may quickly perceive that they have skill in heavenly Commodities, they have a skill from God, they are Wise Merchants.
Secondly, A Trades-man, he must have a stock to trade withal: Now the Saints they have a stock to trade withal for heaven, they have grace in their hearts, grace in the heart is a stock for a trade. If you leave your Children no lands, yet if you leave them a good trade and a stock, you think you leave them a plentiful portion. Now the Saints though they have but little in the world, yet they have skill in the Commodities of heaven, they have a good trade and a good stock too, they have a stock of grace that shall never be lost, how ever they perhaps may not have those In comes that they do desire somtimes, yet they shall never lose their stock, their portion, and it should be their care to improve their stock for heaven, and indeed then they have their Conversation in heaven, when they improve and lay out all their stock that way about heavenly Commo∣dities.
And then a third thing in trading is, To take advan∣tage of the Market for Commodities: Great bargains may be had sometimes that cannot be had at another; so the trade of a Christian for Heaven it is in the observing his advantages that he hath for heavenly things, and those that have their Conversations in heaven they are very wise and understanding this way; they are able to know their times and seasons; other men that have not skill in the matters of heaven they do not know their times and sea∣sons, and therefore they neglecting their markets, it may be upon their sick and death bed then they begin to think of heaven, and then, Oh that they might but know that their souls might go to Heaven when they go from their bodies! I but thou art unskilful in heavenly Commodi∣ties, Page 219 thou didest not know thy time, thou shouldest have had thy Conversation in Heaven in the time of thy life, and so have observed what advantages God gave thee for tra∣ding for heaven; Oh that we were but all wise this way, to make it appear that our Conversations are in Heaven in this respect, namely, That we are wise to observe our ad∣vantages, Oh! the advantages that God hath given us all at one time or at another for Heaven, there's not any one of you but God hath given you much advantage for Heaven had you but taken it, If you will reflect upon your own hearts, the course of your lives in former times, your consciences may tell you, Oh sometimes what fair advan∣tages had I for Heaven! How did the Spirit of God be∣gin to stir in me? What truths were there darted into mee at such a season! What motions flowing in had I at such a time? Oh how happy had I been if I had taken such an advantage for Heaven, I had even been in Heaven already: Now those who do converse with Hea∣ven, they watch at those advantages, they come not to hear the Word but they watch for the time to have God stirring in their hearts, and they follow that advantage, they watch for the time of the softening of their spirits, and the enlivening of their souls, and they follow hard those advantages, and so trade for Heaven, and grow rich in Heavenly Commodities.
Fourthly, Where there is a trade from one Country to another, there's much intercourse. A man that trades to such a Town or Country, ther's much intercourse between that man and those that live there: so a Christians tra∣ding for Heaven is in this, there is very much intercourse between Heaven and his soul, every day he sends up to Heaven, and every day he hath something from Heaven sent down to his soul! Oh do but examine what inter∣course there hath been between Heaven and you: how is it with many of you? even as if there were no Heaven at all? Men that are no trades-men to the Indies, 'tis as if there were no such place at all to them. So it is with many Page 220 that lives even in the bosom of the Church, there is very lit∣tle intercourse between Heaven and them; but a trader for Heaven hath much intercourse with heaven.
Fifthly, A man that trades to any place, if he trade for great matters he hath the chief of his stock where he trades; though he be not present in his body, yet the chief of his estate is there: If a man be a Spanish or a Turkish Merchant and trade thither, the chief of his estate lies there, in Spain or Turkey more than here. So it is with one that trades for Heaven, the chief part of his estate lies there, he accounts his riches to lie in Heaven; indeed he hath somwhat to live upon here in this world for a while, but there's his riches, he looks at Heaven as the place where his greatest treasure lies.
Sixthly, A man that trades, is willing to part with some∣thing where he is, that he may receive advantage in the place where he trades: So it is with the Saints that trade for Heaven, they are willing to part with much that they might receive afterwards in Heaven: they are willing (I say) to part with any thing here in this world, to the end that they may receive it when they come home. A man that is abroad, and is going to his own Country, and there he is trading for Commodities, he is very willing to part with all his money where he is for receiving Commodities in his trade; or those that give their moneyes here that so they may receive commodities in another place where they are trading: A carnal heart that doth not know the cer∣tainty nor excellency of the Commodities of Heaven, they are willing to part with nothing, but will keep all, they think with themselves, what we have here we are sure of, but that that they talk of Heaven we do not know what it is, it may prove to be but an imagination, therefore we wil keep what we have and be sure of that: Oh! thou art no trader for heaven, if thou wert thou wouldst be willing to part with any thing here, that so thou mightst receive com∣modities there, thou wouldest be content to live poorly, and meanly in this world so be it that thou mightest have Page 221 thy riches when thou comest into thy mansion of glo∣ry.
Seventhly, Trades-men that trade for great matters, they must trust much, they cannot expect to have present pay in great sums. It's true, men that trade for little matters, that trade by retale, they usually take in their pence and two pence as their commodities goes forth; but it's not so with Merchants that trade for great things in whol-sale: So 'tis in traders for Heaven, they trust much; and indeed, the grace of Faith it is the great grace that helps in the tra∣ding for Heaven, they have a little earnest for the present. You that are traders, and go to the Exchange and sell bar∣gains for many thousands, you have not perhaps above twelve pence or a crown for the present, it may be only a promise, but you expect the great sums afterwards. So those that are traders for Heaven, they have some earnest, they be contented with a little for the present, the first-fruits of the Spirit, or a bare promise from Christ, this is that that binds the whole bargain, and they expect to have the full pay hereafter when they come to Heaven. It is a happy thing when God gives men and women hearts to be willing to trust God for eternity, and if they have but a little comfort and grace now, yet to look at that as an ear∣nest peny of all the glory that Jesus Christ hath purchased by his blood, and that God hath promised in his Word, thou art not fit to be a trades-man for Heaven that canst not trust, that canst not be content that great bargains should be bound with a little earnest. But that's the soul that trades in Heaven, that can be content to wait for the fulfilling of promises, & to take what they have from God for the present though it be but a very little, as an earnest to bind all those glorious things that God hath promised in his Word. Here you see a trader for Heaven in these Se∣ven things. Now put all these things that you have heard together with these; and you may see what it is to have our Conversations in Heaven.