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Again, The Kingdom of Heaven is like
unto a Merchant seeking goodly pearls ; who, when he had found one Pearl of great price, went und sold all that he had and bought it. THE foregoing part of this chapter serm.
consists of a series of parables, vil which our Lord had been delivering to the people on the coast of the sea of Galilee. Having finished his discourse, he sent the multitude away and went into the house. At the desire of his Disciples, who continued to attend him, he explained unto them the more obscure or difficult of those parables, which he had recently spoken to the
SERM. people; and he likewise added other VII. parables, such as did not require so
much of his assistance to interpret : Again, 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. Again, The Kingdoin of Heaven is like unto a Merchant seeking goodly pearls; who, when he had found one Pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
These two parables are evidently the same in their design, being equally meant to shew the transcendent value of the gospel dispensation. For this is the Treasure hid in a field, this is the Pearl of great price, which he that finds it ought to purchase with the whole of his possessions.
The doctrine which they convey was designed in the first instance for the use of his Disciples to whom they were addressed. In the Gospel which he came to publish they had found a Treasure, which had hitherto been kept secret from the notice of the world; they had discovered a Pearl, which had never yet been estimated by the sons of men.
But they were not to imagine that so sekM. rich a Prize was of an easy purchase. VII. Their Master plainly gave them to understand, that in order to secure this sovereign good they should be willing to forego every temporal and worldly good. But then on the other hand he firmly assured them, that the Prize for which they strove would yield them incomparably greater blessings than any which the world could afford. When the Son of Man should sit on the throne of his glory, they also should sit thrones judging the twelve Tribes of Israel
And this instruction of their blessed Lord they followed in their practice. Having this high prize of their calling ever in their mind, they spared no cost, they grudged no sacrifice to render it their own
For this they' relinquished kindred, land, and home; for this they encountered every trial; for this they endured every labour; and finally for this they offered up their lives.
Thus the precept of Christ, as illustrated and exemplified in his Apostles, is a lesson to all who profess themselves
a Matt. xix. 28.
SERM. his Disciples, that they duly estimate VII. this divine treasure, so as to surrender
every good in life that comes in competition with it.
That we may be better competent to appreciate the blessing, which our Saviour offers for the object of our diligent pursuit, let us first consider the value of those things which in the estimation of the world are most desirable.—The three great idols of human desire are Pleasure, Riches, and Honour. · The first pursuit of man is commonly that of Pleasure. Her voice is highly attractive to the young and inconsiderate, especially if the means are in their power for the gratification of their hearts. It is the language of her votaries, by which they encourage one another in every intemperate and unlawful indulgence, Come on, let us enjoy the good things that are present; and let us speedily use the creatures in our youth: let us fill ourselves with costly wine and ointments: and let no flower of the spring pass by us : let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they be withered: let none of us go without his part of our voluptuousness :
let us leave tokens of our joyfulness in every serm. place: for this is our portion, and our lot VII. is this b. Alas! this dream of pleasure soon vanishes; and then what is the consequence of indulging every lawless and extravagant desire? The loss of fortune, the decline of health, a premature old age, the wreck of worldly
mfort, a fearful apprehension of divine wrath, and an overwhelming dread to look beyond the grave. Surely this is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Another pursuit, which engages men of all ranks and ages of life, is that of Riches. We have continual opportunity to observe, how the desire of worldly wealth encourages in every
toil and animates to every enterprize the children of the world. For this they rise up early and late take rest and eat the bread of carefulness ; for this they till the ground, they navigate the main : for this they explore the bowels of the earth, they ransack the caverns of the deep. In this pursuit they leave no care or exercise untried. And if the prize they so assiduously seek could supply them with a durable and sub
Wisdom ü. 6, &c.
- Psal. cxxvii. 2.