Matthew 13:44
Note, in introduction, that this fifth parable was not spoken from the ship to the multitude upon the shore, but within "the house;" and the character of it seems in some relative degree to alter. It is no longer a parable, illustrating the kingdom of heaven in respect of the manner of its operation, but emphasizing the value of itself, and the sense of its value as entertained and proved by some; and it is no longer a parable revealing the wide hold it shall establish over the mass of mankind, but the mighty hold it shall gain upon the individuals of whom the mass is composed. The parable exhibits these facts respecting the kingdom, and that which is of the very essence of it - the treasure of the gospel, the truth of Christ.

I. HOW SOVEREIGN AND FREE IT IS, IN THE NATURE OF ITS FIRST APPROACH TO ANY ONE! The present parable is not spoken of one who seeks already, but of one who, in the midst of his own duty, life's labour and toil, lights on the treasure. Why has he lighted upon it? In this case it will not do to say chance! Nor is it often given to us to say why. It is for the blest man himself, however, to count it an example of free, unmerited, sovereign goodness and mercy.

II. HOW IT IN A MOMENT EXCITES THE ATTENTION, AND LAYS HOLD OF THE DESIRE OF HIM WHO GETS BUT ONE REAL GLIMPSE OF IT! The effect in such cases is immediate; the man takes in at once the value of the opportunity that has opened before him.

III. HOW GREAT THE JOY OF THAT SUDDEN SURPRISE!

IV. HOW CAREFUL, AT THE SAME TIME, THAT JOY SHOWS ITSELF!

V. HOW CORRECT THE ESTIMATE PUT UPON THE VALUE! IT IS TREASURE, AND IT IS SUCH TREASURE, THAT HE WILL FORSAKE AND WILL SELL ALL ELSE FOR THAT. - B.







Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field.
Essex Remembrancer.
1. The Holy Scriptures contain an inestimable treasure — wisdom, grace, comfort, joy.

2. Many not aware of this. They are like some landowners, who can watch with delight the growth of grass, corn, and flowers in their fields, but who lose sight of the precious ore beneath the surface. Can cull a bouquet of flowers — the poetry, history, and imagery — but lack the tools (repentance, faith, hope) for delving to the rich mineral beneath.

3. This treasure can only be discovered by careful search.

4. The greater our desire for the blessings of Divine grace, the greater will be our fear lest we should fall short of them.

5. The discovery of this hid treasure should fill the believer with gladness — the Ethiopian Eunuch "went on his way rejoicing."

6. Having discovered the excellency of Divine things, we should be ready to renounce such pleasures and habits as hinder their attainment. Moses gave up the attractions of the Egyptian court, "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God." So now the true convert will give up worldly vanities, unfair dealing, uncharitableness, insincerity, and will learn to "crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts."

(Essex Remembrancer.)

I. There are certain estimates of the kingdom of God, and certain things that are done in relation to it, WHICH BOTH PARABLES AGREE IN REPRESENTING.

1. The first and most prominent is that both parables represent the gospel as a very precious thing, and as commending itself to men as a very precious thing. A forgiven soul the highest good of man.

2. The parables further agree in representing the secret character of the spiritual blessings of the new kingdom. It is a secret life as well as a visible society. Its truths require the spiritual faculty to discern them.

3. The parables agree further in their representation of the earnestness and determination with which the precious treasure of the gospel is secured.

II. But now they broadly diverge and teach important LESSONS CONCERNING THE DIVERSITIES OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.

1. The first point of difference is the way in which the riches of the kingdom are discovered. The treasure-finder stumbles upon his prize unexpectedly; the pearl-merchant finds his in earnest search. This is not the representation of a careless, unspiritual man, who does not so much find the gospel as he is found by it; but of a man whose desires and efforts are right, but who does not all at once find the thing that he wishes. The pearl-seeker seeks with determination. He has many pearls. It is one pearl amongst many that can satisfy him. Touching the law he was blameless, but what was gain he now counts loss for Christ.

2. But the different ways in which men meet God are also indicated in the contrasted emotions and conduct of the two finders of treasure; and these are in exquisite harmony with the character described. The man who unexpectedly finds treasure is impulsive in his joy; the other is joyous, but calm. The treasure-finder buys the entire field; this indicates the feverish, unintelligent way in which such characters realize their salvation. We must not think more of the field than of the treasure. The pearl-seeker buys only the pearl. He distinguishes the essential from the accidental.

(H. Allen.)

Subject religion to the ordinary tests of value: there are four great tests of value.

I. The first is RARITY. An old master who painted pictures many a hundred years ago, and sent down a worthy name and fame to posterity, is represented in these days by only two or three. One canvas is hung here, we will say in the National Gallery, and another in Vienna, and another somewhere else: all the rest are burned by fire or rusted and moulded away by the influence of time. The bare fact that there are only three specimens extant of that man's master-pieces gives them a value that cannot be covered even though you cover that canvas with gold. According to their rarity is their value. For what is true religion? If there is anything in it at all, if it is not a gross deception, I will tell you what it is. It is holiness and happiness — rare things in the world, my masters, look for them where you will.

II. Let us take another test of value, one that you are all acquainted With more or less — I MEAN THE VERDICT OF A COMPETENT AUTHORITY. If a child is playing at the mother's door with what appears to be a piece of beautifully-coloured or transparent glass, it may flash so brightly that even the mother is curious enough to take it from the little palm of her child and hold it up to see how the sun rays dance around it; but she is content then to pass it back again as a thing of no more moment. But lo, a lapidary comes that way who, with keen and practised eye, catches the peculiar scintillations that rise from it, and he takes it in his hand, holds it between him and the sun, weighs it, judges of the comparative weight and measure, and then passes it into the mother's hand, saying, "Madam, are you aware that that is a diamond, and not glass? " In a moment the verdict of a competent authority has increased its value fifty thousand fold. So with a picture which has hung on a cottage wall for years, an unvalued heirloom, that hangs there simply because it is its accustomed place. There comes in one who knows, and he uses means to take away the canker and the rust of time, and unburies a patch of subtle colour that lies beneath, and he says in a moment, "Why that is a Rembrandt," and in a moment the verdict of a competent authority gives it a value that it never possessed before. I want to rest religion on the same ground, the verdict of a competent authority. "Ah," but I hear somebody there saying, "where will you find an authority that is sufficient for us? Where will you find one that we are bound to believe?" Brothers, on the principle that experience is the grandest teacher.

III. Not only rarity, not only the verdict of a competent authority, BUT DURABILITY IS AN IMPORTANT TEST OF VALUE. Why, you will scarcely give your child a sixpence to go and buy a toy without giving it a little wise motherly counsel at the same time not to buy something that will break almost before it gets home. That is true right along the whole of your business transactions. How long will it last? as old Humphreys says, is one of the wisest questions that a buyer can inquire after. Well, let us put that test to religion. You know beauty has a value, a wondrous value, as we have seen in the diamond already; but if you ask for the value of beauty alone, then I protest to you that I know nothing in this world that is more beautiful than a full-blown bubble rising from the lips of a schoolboy on a summer's afternoon, floating out in a stately silence of its own, a beautiful crystal globe, dancing in the sunlight as though it loved its congeners. As it passes over field and tree and house and passer-by, is photographed in many colours upon its brilliant walls, and as it rises higher and higher in the sunlight, you are ready to say, "How beautiful!" And yet you say, "As worthless as a bubble." Why? Because it will not last.

IV. Now, there is only one more that I know anything about myself, but I declare to you I THINK IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT OF THE FOUR, AND THAT IS THE TEST OF ADAPTATION. What is the use of a telescope that does not bring a thing nearer and magnify it to the eye? What say you of yonder sailor who is out on the seas shipwrecked; all his chance of life is his gripping power to a slippery, craggy rock that rises just above the surging seas; he can see nothing; no hope of life, blood starts from his fingers' ends as he grips, lest he plunges in the deep. What is the most precious thing in the world to him? You won't offer him a fortune, will you? Millions are of no use: the most precious thing to that man is a boat; it is adapted to his special necessity.

(J. J. Wray.)

I. THE EXCELLENCY OF THE GOSPEL IS NOT GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD BY MEN. It is a hid treasure. Illustrate the fact:

1. In its nature. The reference under this metaphor is not designed to apply so much to the case of men to whom the gospel is not exhibited, as with the heathen. It applies to men who have the gospel; yet they will not estimate it.

2. In its source. The cause is the universal depravity of the heart.

II. THE GOSPEL DOES INTRINSICALLY POSSESS VAST AND INESTIMABLE VALVE. It is a treasure. The value of the gospel will appear if you consider

(1)The source in which it originates;

(2)The blessings which it communicates;

(3)The mediation upon which it rests;

(4)The diffusiveness of which it is susceptible;

(5)The permanence with which it is invested.

III. THE DISCOVERY OF THE ACTUAL VALUE OF THE GOSPEL MUST EXERT A MASTER INFLUENCE UPON THE PRINCIPLES AND HABITS OF THOSE BY WHOM IT IS ACQUIRED.

1. The discovery of the value of the gospel must arise from the influence of the Divine Spirit.

2. Then men practically abandon all that may interfere with their enjoyment of the blessings which the gospel exhibits.

3. This abandonment will never fail of procuring the desired result.

4. The treasure is offered to all freely and fully.

(J. Parsons.)

Says old Thomas Fuller, "Lord, this morning I read a chapter in the Bible, and therein observed a memorable passage whereof I never took notice before. Why now, and no sooner, did I see it? Formerly my eyes were as open, and the letters as legible. Is there not a thin veil laid over Thy Word, which is more rarified by reading, and at last wholly worn away?" The Word of God "is like unto treasure hid in a field." Its best things are ever below the surface. Then shall ye seek them and find them, when ye shall search for them with all your heart.

I. Vital religion is an individual matter.

2. To the individual it must come in direct, personal relations.

3. A man must be prepared for effort and sacrifice to gain a personal interest in religion.

(Anon.)

Owing to the insecurity of property in the East, from war and oppression, joined to the necessity of keeping valuable property in hand, for want of secure banks of deposit, the practice of hiding precious utensils and ornaments, money and jewels, has always been common. Often these are built up into the walls of the owner's house, often buried in fields and gardens.

(Kitto.)

According to Jewish law, if man found treasure in loose coins among the corn, it would certainly be his, if he bought the corn. If he had found it on the ground, or in the soil, it would equally certainly belong to him, if he could claim ownership of the soil.

(Edersheim.)

There is a twofold hiding of this treasure.

I. AN EVIL HIDING WHICH IS NOT INTENDED HERE. When a man hath received light and knowledge of Christ and Divine truth, and he (through Satan's temptations. and the evil of his own heart) strives to smother it in his own breast, or conceals what he knows, this is an evil hiding. Now the reason why some do this I shall show.

1. Because truth is only discovered to his understanding. They may be much enlightened, but his will consents not, subjects not to the power of it. Nor is he in love with it, his affections being not changed, or as the apostle says, "Such do not receive the truth in the love of it."

2. It may be occasioned through shame. He s ashamed of Christ and His word; the visible profession of religion exposeth much to reproach and contempt.

3. It may be through idleness he is not willing to be at further pains, nor at the charge to sell all that he hath to buy this field, or publicly to receive Christ.

4. Moreover, fear may be one cause of the sinful hiding of this treasure. He knows not what the losses may be he may meet withal, or what he may suffer for Christ's sake, if he visibly confesseth Him.

5. An evil hiding imports a non-improving of their light and knowledge (Matthew 25:18).

II. THERE MAY BE A GOOD HIDING OF THIS TREASURE, which may denote —

1. Such endeavour to the uttermost, whatsoever it may cost them, to make it their own, and will not wickedly conceal what Christ hath done for them (Psalm 66:16).

2. They make use of all means to secure it, and in prayer crying to God continually to help them to persevere and keep this treasure against all attempts of enemies whatsoever.

1. Rich treasure is counted an excellent thing, and therefore it is much desired; the hearts of mankind naturally run after riches and earthly treasure; Christ may upon this account be compared to treasure.

2. This spiritual treasure makes all that find it very rich (Revelation 3:18).

3. Much earthly treasure makes men to be envied and hated by many persons, and are in danger to be robbed by thieves. So a believer is hated and envied by the devil and wicked men. Satan, like a cunning thief, strives to rob them of their treasure.

4. Such who have much riches, or store of earthly treasure, live high; they feed or fare not as the poor do; also they are more richly clothed, and delivered from the care and fears which the poor are vexed with continually.

5. A man that hath much earthly treasure can do more good to his neighbour than multitudes of others are able to do. So believers, rich in faith, rich in promise, rich in experience, can do more good to others — they can give better counsel, more and better comfort (Proverbs 10:21).

6. He that hath much earthly treasure values himself accordingly, rich and honourable are his companions, and with them he communes every day. So he that hath much spiritual treasure values himself upon the best grounds; he is a child of God; he hath God for his portion; he is allowed communion with God; he is assured he shall never want any good thing (Psalm 119:63).

7. Hid treasure is not found without much pains and diligent searching, no more is this spiritual treasure (Proverbs 2:2, 5).

8. He that hath much earthly treasure, commonly sets his heart upon it, and it is his chiefest delight; so he that hath found this treasure, sets his heart upon it. God and Christ are his chiefest delight (Matthew 6:21).

9. Such who find great treasure rejoice; so he that finds Christ, this spiritual treasure, rejoiceth; he selleth for joy all he hath to buy that field. A believer has cause of joy, he is happy for ever.

1. It is heavenly, not earthly, treasure; as far as heaven excels the earth, so far heavenly treasure excels all the riches and treasures of this world.

2. It being heavenly and spiritual treasure, it followeth that it must be incorruptible treasure.

3. It is soul-satisfying treasure, the treasures of this world can never satisfy the immortal soul of man.

4. It is durable and everlasting treasure, not uncertain riches, which are compared to vapour (Proverbs 23:5).

Christ is like hidden treasure.

1. He was long hid in God, or covered and out of sight of men. The salvation by Jesus Christ was hid from the Jews who believed not under the law, under dark shadows and beggarly elements, so that they could not find this treasure.

2. Christ and His benefits are hid in the dispensation of the gospel, so that very few can find this rich treasure. They have the field, viz., word and administration of the gospel, but carnal men see not the mysteries of the gospel.

3. This treasure was hid (and is still); dark, parabolical, symbolical, or tropical expressions uttered by our blessed Lord. Many had the field; the parables and similitudes were spoken to multitudes, but the treasure in them few saw. It is evident that the treasure is still hid from most in our days.

4. This treasure is hid by the Lord from multitudes, as an act of His Sovereign will and pleasure (Romans 9:18; Matthew 21:25, 26).

5. That may be said to be hid which mankind cannot find without God reveals it to them in a supernatural way. Now the knowledge of Jesus Christ and the mysteries of the gospel mankind naturally cannot know.

6. That which needeth many gradations to unfold it is a hidden thing, but the knowledge of Christ the Redeemer, and mysteries of salvation, needed many gradations to unfold it. To our first parents it was made known by the promise, "The seed of the woman shall break the serpent's head." Then to Abraham God gave a further discovery thereof (Genesis 22:18). Afterwards it was revealed by types, ceremonies, and sacrifices of the law, and then we come to the gospel dispensation.

7. That which requires our uttermost skill, wisdom, and diligence to search and find out is a hidden thing, but the true knowledge of Jesus Christ requires our uttermost skill, wisdom, and diligence in searching to find out, and therefore it is a hidden thing (Proverbs 2:1-5). As men know not the price thereof, so many know not the place thereof where it is hid. It is hid from many by the devil (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4).

He that finds this treasure, finds the Lord Jesus Christ, the Pearl of great price, which far exceeds all hid treasure and mountains of prey. Therefore it is from the worth of this treasure that a believer that finds it cloth rejoice. It may be from the great use of this treasure to him. He was poor before, this treasure enricheth him; he was naked, he is gloriously clothed; he was forced to feed on husks, now he is fed with rare food, the Bread of Life. This treasure mainly consisteth in the saving knowledge of God and Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:21. It is an experimental, not a mere speculative knowledge. It is a practical knowledge (Job 22:21, 22; 1 John 2:4). It is an enlivening knowledge (Colossians 3:10). It is a translating and transforming knowledge (Romans 6:3, 4, 6). It is a progressive knowledge (2 Corinthians 3:18). He that finds this treasure makes the field his own, he secures the field.

(B. Keach.)

I. THESE PARABLES DO NOT TEACH THAT THE BLESSING OF SALVATION IS COFINED TO ANY ONE PARTICULAR ENCLOSURE.

1. It is not confined to the Church.

2. The field is not confined to the Bible. Many are saved who do not know the Bible: In whatsoever connection it is that a man first discovers Christ, that to him is the field.

II. THESE PARABLES ARE NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS TEACHING THAT SALAVATION IS A THING WHICH A MAN CAN BUY. It is not a commodity outside of the man which he can transfer by purchase; it is a nature within him that can be imparted only by God.

III. THESE PARABLES DO NOT COUNSEL CONCEALMENT IN THE MATTER OF OUR SALVATION. Men hide that of which they are ashamed; none need be ashamed of Jesus and His salvation. Men hide that which they are afraid of losing, or of having stolen from them; but who can deprive of that which is within us. No man has any exclusive property in salvation. The new life will make itself felt.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

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