« FöregåendeFortsätt »
more dissatisfied and unhappy since he had left off trying to be useful, than he was before; although just now he did not say that to his cousin.
" Then, Ned, dost thou think," asked Gill, “ that we who say we are Christians, and that God is our Father, and Jesus our Friend, and heaven our home, should go moping about as though we were ever so miserable ? Poor enconragement, I think, to anybody to be religious, if this is all one's religion can do for us.'
Here the conversation ended. It was close upon posttime, and it was Benson's duty to fetch the letters for the bank from the post-office. Besides, Gill's boys, who had been rambling a little farther along the river-side, rejoined him. They were glad and happy; and Benson could not but see in their joyousness the reflection of their father's sunshine
Benson walked on towards the town alone, Gill begging to be excused accompanying him on account of the boys, who wanted to enjoy the fine summer evening a little longer.
“There's a good deal of truth in what he said,” thought Benson, as he walked along by himself, although he was now and then a bit hard on one. I've been a poor discontented fellow; and I'll try, by God's help, to be more cheerful and happy."
-MATT. xiii, 44.
are no banks or other public investments for
to keep it safe from the attempts of thieves, and the depredations of hostile tribes. When those who thus deposit their treasure in the earth are suddenly destroyed, either by violence or by such diseases as plague and cholera, the secret of their money dies with them; for they did not intrust it to any friend, not even to wife or children. The hoard, therefore, remains concealed for many years or ages. Vast treasures are now supposed to lie buried in the ground, to seek for which is a favourite employment of some of the people. So that when a traveller passes near the deserted remains of an ancient town, he sometimes
finds men actively engaged in digging amongst the ruins of houses, and in the gardens which once surrounded them.
This practice of hiding wealth in the ground prevailed long before our Saviour's time. We find it mentioned in Joshua vii. 21, where Achan confesses that he had secreted the stolen property “in the earth in the midst of his tent.” When the Syrian army raised the siege of Samaria, and fled in haste, leaving their camp full of property, some lepers entered the deserted tents, and “ carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and hid it; and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence also, and went and hid it.”* So our Saviour represents the slothful servant as hiding his lord's talent in the earth, instead of using it to advantage. Those men who are digging for “ hid treasure
are not the indolent creatures they usually appear to be. They have laid aside their ordinary sluggishness, and are now vying with each other in ransacking every spot of ground, and examining every bit of rubbish. If they alight upon any pieces of money, they will become greatly excited with the hope of finding a hoard, and will pursue their search with an eagerness approaching to frenzy. There seems to be something fascinating in the idea of becoming thus suddenly rich-of obtaining money without the trouble of labouring for it in the ordinary employments of life. Job represents himself as longing for death, more than those who dig for bid treasure. I
Our Saviour spoke a short parable based upon these wellknown customs and feelings : “ 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.” § This means that a man had discovered some treasure to be hid in a field that did not belong to him; so he carefully concealed the matter until he had inquired the price of the ground. Finding that he could not raise enough money to make the purchase without selling off all his property and goods, he gladly did so, in order to possess the field, and so make the treasure which it contained his own. Such is the grace of God, and such is the devoted earnestness with which it is sought by an enlightened soul, When Christ * 2 Kings vii. 8. + Matt. xxv. 18.
Job iii. 21. § Matt. xiii. 44.
is perceived to be “ the true riches,” he is esteemed of more value than the wealth and honours of this world. “ All the things that may be desired are not to be compared with it."
This “ kingdom” of God, or neavenly treasure, is concealed from general observation. “ The natural discerneth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Though you have been brought up in the midst of gospel privileges, you may not perceive their value, nor feel their comfort, nor taste their sweetness. You may be like the multitude who daily pass by a spot where treasure is deposited, without knowing what lies under their feet. You may walk in the midst of gospel glories, which are hid from the eye of your understanding. They are very near to you, but you discern them not, because a veil of unbelief is spread over your heart. But “when it shall turn unto the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.” Jesus Christ said, “Seek, and ye shall find ;" for “ he that seeketh, findeth.” So also Solomon wrote: “ If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for bid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God : for the Lord giveth wisdom.”*
We can give a practical illustration of these truths.
There was a young man, of good education, whose general conduct was upright, and his morals unimpeachable. He had a great respect for religion, an admiration of its truths, and a regard for its ordinances. He spent the sabbath in attending the sanctuary and in reading good books. But though he had all the form of godliness, he did not possess its renewing and sanctifying power. He was steady in the pursuit of worldly advancement, being resolved to gain as much as possible of its boasted good. And though he made some unpleasant discoveries of the emptiness of the world's pleasures, by learning that they often produced "vanity and vexation of spirit ;" yet he hoped that he should fare better in this respect than some of his acquaintances.
At last however he felt really disappointed. He could not get the good that he seemed to want; and there was always an "aching void the world could never fill.” Then he was led by Divine grace to think that the fault might possibly be in himself. Though not conscious of any particular defects in his heart or life, yet he feared that ail might not be right, since he had not that inward peace and satisfaction which the Bible declares to be the fruits of “ wisdom.” So he searched the Scriptures, with prayer for Divine instruction, that he might know the true will of God. He continued in tbese exercises for a week or two without making any important discovery. He sought for hid treasure, but did not find it immediately. Yet he persevered, till at length the truths of the gospel appeared in a new light; they contained a spirituality of meaning which he had not formerly perceived. He felt the reality of God's pardoning mercy through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. His sins seemed all to be forgiven. The springs of his heart were changed. His desires and affections were set on things above; his hopes and fears, his joys and sorrows, were new modelled. He knew for himself, that “ if any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature; old things are passed away ; behold! all things are become new." And he rejoiced as one that hath found great spoil.
* Prov. ii. 3—6.
What are the “true riches ? What does the kingdom of God bring into the soul which it enters with saving power? Peace is an acquisition of the choicest kind; and a believer has “ the peace of God which passeth understanding, keeping his heart and mind.”
Love is a very blessed feeling; and the “ love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given to us.” Contentment with godliness" is great gain." Good tempers and desires are worth more than a mint of money. Faith gives us access to a heavenly storehouse full of precious promises. Christian hope sustains the heart when called to part
with what it holds dear on earth, and with life itself. These are riches which the world cannot give and cannot take away; therefore, they are of the right sort.
The man mentioned by our Saviour went and sold all that he had, in order to buy the field which contained the treasure. He counted the cost, compared it with the expected reward, and believed that he would be a great gainer by the transaction. The result showed that he acted wisely. Christ says that if you are not willing to part with everything, even with life itself, you cannot be his disciple. This means, that you must renounce everything that is contrary to the faith and love of God; every
practice or idol which would prevent your realizing the Divine favour, or which would mar your efforts to serve the Lord in holiness and righteousness. Yet you will gain far more than you give up. You will obtain an inward treasure here, and a crown of glory in the world to come. It will be a profitable and a joyous exchange.
When the finder of “hid treasure went to sell off his his goods, that he might buy the field, his conduct would necessarily attract the attention of his neighbours. Many would ask, “What is he about? What new fancy has come into his head? Is he in his right mind to spend so much money on that piece of ground ?” But he quietly pursued his plans until he had accomplished his purpose. Then, when his friends saw that he had become rich by his bargain, they envied his prosperity, and wished they had been sagacious enough to have done the same. So it will be in the end. It will be a terrible thing to see heaven opened, and all the faithful entering it with joy, and to be yourselves cast into outer darkness, from which hope is for ever banished.
We beseech you, therefore, to lose no time in coming to Jesus, to seek for those riches of grace and glory which are laid up in him for guilty, needy man.
He hath declared, “ Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." “ Then shall ye
me, when yo seek me with your whole heart."
A NOBLE ACT.
discovered, quite early one morning, that a
of railway passed. Knowing that a train was almost at that very moment due at the spot, he started off at once to meet it, and warn it of the danger which it was unsuspectingly approaching. So, soon as it came in view, and it did so almost immediately, he began shouting and gesticulating very vehemently, in the hope that he might attract the attention of the driver of the train, and make him understand that there was danger to be avoided. He succeeded in attracting to himself the attention of the engine-driver, but he could not make him understand the intimation he was so anxious to convey. The driver seeing only an ordinary labourer standing on the line of road,