Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Heart Of The Gospel. Part 16.

By Francis Patrick Donnelly


Where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also. 


LOVE was and is the first and greatest monopolist. The heart and the heart's object tend to union; they are jealous of any intrusion that would interfere with that intimate union; they form a closed circle and a closed circuit, through which the current of affection passes from loving to loved. The monopoly is not formed and completed at once. According to the teaching of our Lord, there are three main stages in the process: the transfer of the heart, the transfer of the mind, the transfer of all the rest. When Christ issued His warning against avarice and against making riches the object of love, He said that where the treasure is there also shall be the heart; that the light within becomes darkness; that the lover of wealth becomes the slave of mammon. Heart, mind and all are consigned to the treasure, and the monopoly is formed. The soul is enticed, entranced, enslaved. For each stage Christ uttered a warning, Before you are enticed, before you lose your heart, consider the contrast between the treasures of earth and Heaven. Moth, rust or thieves destroy the treasures of earth. Beauty has its enemies as well as wealth. Disease is the moth that preys upon the fair face; age will rust the charms of youth, and death is the thief that is no respecter of the handsome form. Moth will attack the king's robes and rust will eat up the king's crown, and usurpers and successors will steal away his throne. Wealth, beauty or power are not safety-deposits for human hearts. There is only one place in the universe where moth-balls, rust-removers and burglar-alarms are not needed If you are to be enticed into parting with your heart, our Lord warns you to put it where it will not be moth-eaten or devoured by rust or carried away by thieves.

Since the heart will follow the treasures, it will suffer their fate. "Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven."

The wish is father to the thought, and has, it might be added, a very large family. Can the pale clerk cooped up in the city remain long at the seaside without being tanned? Can the Eskimo take off his furs without feeling cold? The questions would be easy in the kindergarten, and in the class of physics the scholars would say that heat radiates
constantly until all the environment becomes of the same temperature. What, then, will become of a pale, anemic mind when subjected to a blazing heart, or a thinly clothed mind when exposed to an arctic heart? The mind assumes the temperature of the heart. To say that the mind is thermometer to the heart is only another way of saying that the wish is father to the thought.

If the heart is in the cash-box, the mind will not be in the poor-box. The heart, which means the will with its desires, will bring the thoughts its way. Entrancement will follow enticement, or, as our Lord puts it, entering His warning against this second stage of an illegal monopoly: "If the light that is within thee is darkness, the darkness itself how great shall it be!" His meaning is that the mind is the eye of the soul, and whatever blinds it, blinds the soul. Passion and enticement, in a word, the heart buried in treasures
eclipses the sight of the mind. "There are no ugly loves," some one has said. The loving heart keeps the rarest cosmetics for the object of its love. The mind, therefore, is bewitched, infatuated, entranced. The doom pronounced by Christ against this second advance in the process of evil love, is darkness, and He hesitates to determine its intense blackness. "The darkness how great shall it be!"

The last stage of love's degradation is enslavement. "No man can serve two
masters." This is the solemn warning of Christ. Where a man's heart and mind are, there also shall be the rest of him. There does not seem to be any place for bimetallism in the human heart. The single standard rules there, the gold of God or the gold of earth. A river cannot flow north and south at the same time. When the heart's currents wear out a channel for themselves and develop an impetus, who will turn back the strong floods? Some saints have been known to have been in two places at once, bilocated, as it is called. The heart cannot be bilocated. If it is heaped over with gold and swathed in greenbacks, then it is not kneeling in sack-cloth and ashes before God. A man may have both riches and God, but he cannot serve both. He cannot belong to two nationalities, to two opposite political parties. If he is of the race of God and an upholder of the views of God, then he is not of the race of mammon and his adherent. It is, therefore, Christ's solemn warning to the enticed and infatuated heart, exhorting it to avoid enslavement: "You cannot serve both God and mammon."