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they have never experienced any change in their souls; while others, on account of the commotion raised there, are ready to despond, as though they were utterly abandoned by God But both of these may see their error, if they will duly consider this parable-To the former we would say, can leaven be put into the meal and no fermentation be produced? much less can the grace of God be in the heart and cause no commotion there.Be assured it will work as it did on the day of.. Pentecost, and cause you to cry out with earnestness, What shall I do to be saved?-Yea more, if it do not continue to operate, if it do not gradually pervade all your powers, and progressively change them into your Saviour's image, you may be sure that the leaven of divine grace has never yet been put into your hearts. To the latter we would say, Be not discouraged at the commotion in your soul, but be thankful for it-It is infinitely better to know our guilt and danger than to be lulled asleep in a fatal security-Your disquietude affords reason to hope that God has caused the heavenly leaven to blend itself with your souls-Give it time then to work If it be of God, it shall stand-And the effects produced shall discover the true cause from whence they sprang-O beg of God that it may work effectually, and that it may never cease till it has made you “perfect and complete in all his will”-) 2. To reform our hearts
[The true and uniform tendency of the gospel has been abundantly manifest It is incumbent therefore on every one to ask himself, What reason have I to think that this “kingdom of God is within me?” What change has it wrought, what assimilating and transforming efficacy has it discovered?
There is, it is true, a leaven in the heart of natural men; but it is either a “leaven of malice and wickedness,”m or a “ leaven of hypocrisy".Whichever of these it be, it must be “ purged out, that they may become a new lump”.Their souls must be impregnated with a very different leaven, even that of grace and truth-Let us then “hide the word of God within us” that by its influence we may be renewedp --Let our prayer be, Lord, “ sanctify me through thy truth?”
And "may the very God of peace sanctify us wholly, that thus our whole body, soul and spirit may be preserved blameless unto his heavenly kingdom'r
CCXXVIII. THE HIDDEN TREASURE.
Matt. xiii. 44. The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid
in a field, the which, when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath and buyeth that field.
THE gospel, as viewed in various lights, admits of va. rious representations
It is generally set forth as small in its beginnings, but increasing in importance
But we must not therefore suppose it to be of small va: lue
Our Lord sufficiently guards against this mistake by the parable before us
He shews us, that the gospel, even while hid from our view, is exceeding preciousmo
It will be proper to shew I. Why the kingdom of heaven is likened to a “ treasure
hid" “ The kingdom of heaven” is an expression peculiar to the New Testament
[By it we are not always to understand heaven itself It is frequently used to signify Christ's spiritual kingdom
And it is so called, because it is the re-establishment of God's empire over the hearts of men
And because what is thus begun in grace will be consummated in glory] This may well be considered as “ a treasure"
[There is no other thing so deserving of this name Every subject of it may say with truth, “ All things are mine"
He is “ blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things-in Christ”b_
Every earthly treasure is contemptible in comparison of it) But it is compared to a treasure “hid in a field"
[The mysteries of the gospel were from eternity hid in the bosom of the Father
Neither men nor angels could possibly have devised them
Who could have thought of bringing man back to God through the death of God's only Son?e I Cor. iii. 21.
b Eph. i. 3. c Eph. iii. 9.
And of reducing him to a willing subjection by the operation of God's Spirit?
A finite mind could never have conceived such an idea
But these mysteries, though revealed, are still hid from the natural mand
They still appear foolishness, and are a stumbling-block to manye
Paul, though so learned and religious, could not receive them in his unconverted state
Nor would he ever have embraced them, if God had not opened his eyes
The apostles, though instructed by our Lord himself all the time of his ministry, needed after all a divine illumination"
Nor is a spirit of revelation less necessary for us
To this very hour there is as much ground as ever for that devout acknowldgement
The “ field” indeed, wherein the treasure is hid, is open and accessible to allk
But we shall perish for lack of it, unless God do for us as he did for Hagar? We must all adopt the prayer of Davidm-]
Its intrinsic worth, joined with the difficulty of finding it, must render the acquisition delightful II. The emotions which a discovery of it will produce
The illustration given by our Lord is peculiarly apt
A man who should find a treasure, would have a conflict in his mind
[He would congratulate himself on his good fortuneAnd rejoice in his prospect of possessing so much wealth But he would feel some dread of detection
He would fear lest another should see it, before he had an opportunity of securing it for himself
He would cover it up carefully, if he could not then carry it away- ,
And if by purchasing the field he could gain the treasure, he would gladly pay down the price
In doing this he would use all the expedition and caution that he could
Nor would he hesitate to sell all that he had, in order to complete the purchase-]
di Cor. ii. 14.
el Cor. i. 23. f Acts xxii. 3, 4.
Thus is a man affected who finds the gospel salvation
[He is filled with joy at the glad tidings that he hears" He indulges a hope that he may be interested in themHe anticipates the happiness of having his sins forgiven And of being made an heir of the heavenly inheritanceStill, however, he is not without many misgiving fears
He knows that Satan is watching to steal away the treasure
Nor can he tell but that that serpent may beguile him. . He sees too that the world may deprive him of his hopel
Yea, he, perceives in his own heart a proneness to despise the proffered mercy
Thus is he agitated between hope and fear-
And it was, on one occasion at least, experienced by the apostlest
. But, in the midst of all, he is determined, if possible, to possess the treasure
He undervalues every thing that can stand in competition with it
He well knows that, whatever he pay for it, he can be no loser
He approves in his heart the conduct of St. Paulu
And is resolved to follow the advice of Solomon
[The field, which contains this treasure, is nigh at hand
The Holy Spirit alone can give success to their endeavoursb
And let them bear in mind the misery of those who faile
Let them guard against every thing that may rob them of it
Let them remember, it is not a small treasure, but an inexhaustible mine· Let them never regret any sacrifice they may make for it
But look forward to the complete enjoyment of it in heaven]
n Matt xjii. 20. © Luke viii. 12. P 2 Cor. xi. 3. 9 Mark iv. 19. Matt. xxii. 5. Isai. Ix. 5. Jer. xxxiii.9,11. * Matt. xxviii. 8. u Gal. i. 16. * Prov. xxiii. 23. y Matt. vii. 7, 8. ? Prov. viii. 35. a Eph. i. 17, 18. b John xvi. 13, 14. c 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. d Rev. ii. 25, and iii. 3, 11.
... CCXXXIX. THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE.
Matt. xiii. 45, 46. The kingdom of heaven is like unto a mer
chant-man seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
MEN are not easily wearied with renewed prospects of gain
· Advantageous bargains may be offered with the greatest frequency without fear of creating disgust
Our Lord well knew that a love of earthly things was deeply rooted in our hearts
And availed himself of that knowledge the more forcibly to impress our minds with better things
He repeatedly commended his gospel to us under the figure of a great temporal acquisition
In its general scope this parable agrees with that which precedes it
But it suggests many thoughts that are new and important
To elucidate it we may consider I. In what respects the kingdom of heaven may be com
pared to a pearl · The comparison is not properly between the kingdom and a merchant-man, but the kingdom and a pearl
The kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of grace esta. blished in the world i
And it may be compared to a pearl as ENRICHING
Some pearls are of very great value, and would be an ample fortune to a person who had nothing else
The gospel kingdom also is of inestimable value to us In this world
[It unfolds to our view the deepest mysteries And gives a just comprehension of all spiritual things · It is said to contain all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge"
It must therefore greatly enrich its possessorb.
a Col. ii. 3.
Prov. iii. 13-15.
c Rev. iii. 18.