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Advantage: Decays Help You See the Necessity of Pursuing and Obtaining Better Treasure

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation and Counsel to Earthly Traders

Counsel Five: Get Advantage from Decays to Further Heavenly Trade

Advantage: Decays Help You See the Need to Obtain Better}


By this loss of earthly things, the soul realizes the necessity of seeking after and surely obtaining better treasures. “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14 ESV). Uncertainties on earth should cause souls to look more intently to Heaven. The prodigal son never thought of returning until he had lost all (Luke 15:14–18).1259 The unjust steward never considered how to make his future state sure until goods were wasted and his stewardship was in danger of ending (Luke 16:1–4).1260 “Think of swimming ashore,” said Mr. Rutherford, “after a shipwreck. It is a mercy in this stormy sea to get a second wind for none of the saints gets a first [but they must take the winds as the Lord of the seas causes them to blow].”1261 If you have nothing and seek to enjoy all things, but the world flies away from you, it is advantage indeed that it causes you to pursue Heaven more quickly. Could a heathen say, “I never gained more than when I lost all,” because his shipwreck became the occasion of obtaining knowledge? Will not you Christian, by your earthly losses, be motivated to go after heavenly concerns?


1259But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. "But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you”’” (Luke 15:14–18 NKJV).

1260Now He was also saying to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. And he called him and said to him, “What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.” The manager said to himself, “What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes”’” (Luke 16:1–4 NASB).

1261This quotation is actually a mix of two statements by Samuel Rutherford, and Ashwood leaves the second incomplete, rendering it incomprehensible. Rutherford’s letters are available at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/42557/42557-h/42557-h.htm (as of January 14, 2020). The first quotation is from letter CCXX.—To my Lord Craighall: “Think upon swimming ashore after this shipwreck, and be pleased to write your humble apology to his Majesty…” The second quotation is from letter LVI.—To my Lady Kenmure: “It is a mercy in this stormy sea to get a second wind; for none of the saints get a first, but they must take the winds as the Lord of the seas causeth them to blow, and the inn as the Lord and Master of the inns hath ordered it. If contentment were here, heaven were not heaven.”

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