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'treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal.' Matt. vi. 20. The propriety of parting with all things to obtain these treasures, Jesus proposed on a certain occasion to the young man, of whom we read in Matt. xix. 21. "Go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven." Because it required a willingness in men to part with all earthly possessions for the kingdoin of God's sake, it was hard for a rich man to enter that kingdom. Ver. 23. The apostles forsook all, and followed Christ; and he assured them, that every one who had forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for his name's sake, should be abundantly the gainer thereby,— he should receive an hundred fold-he should enjoy that everlasting life, which the knowledge of the true God imparts to the mind. Compare Matt. xix. 29 with John xvii. 3.
Parable of the Pearl of great Price.
MATT. XIII. 45, 46.
“Again, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it."
THE design of this parable is the same with that of the last, viz. to show that the gospel is the greatest of all treasures, and that it was wise in the followers of Christ to surrender all things to obtain it, as the merchant sold all that he had, and purchased the pearl of great price. In the use of
this comparison, Jesus alludes to a well known maxim among the Jews, that true knowledge was better than silver, or gold, or precious stones. 'Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things thou canst desire, are not to be compared with her.' Prov. iii. 13-15.
As the observations under the preceding parable, apply with equal force to this, we shall pass to the consideration of another subject, without any further remarks.
Parable of the Net.
MATT. XIII. 47-50.
"Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just: And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
THE subject intended to be illustrated in the parable before us, is the same which formed the basis of the parable of the tares of the field The net gathered of every kind, good and bad; and the field contained both tares and wheat. The good were gathered into vessels, but the bad were cast away; and in the harvest, the tares were rooted up from among the wheat. The application of the
two parables is precisely the same. They were both to be fulfilled (en te sunteleia tou aionos) in the end of the age. Compare vers. 40 and 49. The angels, or messengers, were to separate between the good and bad in both cases; and in both it is said of the enemies of Christ, that they should be cast "into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." In the full explanation, therefore, which we have given of the parable of the tares, we may be said to have explained at length that of the net. It cannot be necessary that we go over again with the arguments and illustrations we have already advanced; the two parables are so plainly referable to the same subject, that if the reader will peruse what we have said on the former, he will be fully able to understand the latter.
It is worthy of remark, in this place, that our Lord was in the habit of drawing his images from present objects and circumstances. When he uttered the parable of the net, he was in a ship, upon the sea of Galilee, addressing a multitude who stood upon the shore; and this lake abounded with fish, a circumstance that evinces the propriety of the parable being uttered on that occasion, and shews the events that called it up to the Saviour's mind. Several writers have treated on this trait in his discourses, but none perhaps with greater effect than Arch-Bishop Newcome, who has collected the various instances in which our Lord's instructions were suggested by accidental objects, and arose in an easy and natural manner from present or recent occasions and circumstances. He brings the section to a close in which he has recorded various instances of this kind, with language like the following: "By so strongly marking
our Lord's peculiar mode of instructing, and, instead of repeated general lessons on religious and moral topics, introducing so many references to time and place, to occasional occurrences and present objects, the evangelists furnish a presumption that his discourses are not artfully and cautiously invented by them, but are always the substance of what he said, and often his very expressions. And as our Lord's conversations so constantly took this turn, it may be collected that his grand purpose was to be useful and instructive. His excellent lessons were likely to be better retained this way; as every object and event to which he had alluded served for a monitor and remembrancer. It may be added, that this manner of teaching must sometimes have given a peculiar animation to his discourses: that a proud display of knowledge and wisdom is best avoided by pursuing this method that it proves how full our Lord's mind was of the best thoughts, his mouth speaking out of the abundance of his heart: and that it may teach good men distantly to copy his admirable manner, by making a right use of common incidents on fit occasions."1
1 Newcome's Observations.
Parable of the Old Garment, &c.
MATT. IX. 16, 17-MARK II. 21, 22.-LUKE V. 36, 37.
“No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment: for that which is put in to fill it up, taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved."—Matt. ix. 16, 17.
THE better to understand the design of the Saviour in this parable, it will be necessary to notice the occasion which called it forth. By refering to the 14th verse, we perceive that the disciples of John came to Jesus with this question: "Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?" In reply he said, "can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast." As though he had said, fasting is a sign of sorrow. The children of the bridechamber are not sorrowful while the bridegroom is with them, so neither are my disciples sorrowful while I remain; but the time will come when the bridegroom shall be taken from them-when I shall be cut off, and then, being sorrowful, they will fast ; not however from a sense of duty, but because those who are sorrowful naturally refuse food. Fasting you regard as a duty under the law of Moses; but in my kingdom duty is of a higher nature, and consists in love. This is the difference between the two dispensations, the one places importance on rites and ceremonies, the other