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He wished to get it in such a way as that the law will secure him in the possession of it, and therefore he hides the treasure in the field, discloses to no one what he had found there, goes and buys the field from its legal owner, and thus becomes the legal possessor of the treasure of the field, and becomes legally entitled to the treasure: "He goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field."
Whether this was a right thing for him to do or not is not the purpose of this parable. The object of the parable is not to teach whether the man that found the treasure did right or did wrong, but whether we may learn from the conduct of the man something that suits our own circumstances in life. In comparing things, parabolic teaching consists simply in the resemblance, not in the excellence or otherwise of the thing from which the resemblance is drawn, for sometimes that resemblance is to be carried out in moral contrast rather than in similarity of imitation. For example, the unjust judge Christ presents to us as something to remind us of the all-just Judge, the maker of all the earth, who cannot but do right; the comparison in that parable is by contrast, that if an unjust judge will deliver an importunate widow, how much more will the just Judge do so. And again, in the unjust steward, the comparison is by contrast, that if a man whose desires, and hopes, and fears were merely bounded by the grave, if he calculated upon and acted prudently for the future, how much more should those whose desires, and hopes, and fears are as boundless as heaven, and as enduring as eternity? And so, in this parable, it does not necessarily belong to the instruction, whether the man did right or did wrong, in concealing the knowledge of the treasure. What Christ
brings before our thoughts in this was the joy he had in finding that treasure, the earnest desire he had to obtain possession of it: "he went and sold all that he had, and bought that field." From this parable, then, we must consider three things:
I. Man's universal desire for a treasure.
II. The unexpected discovery of a treasure.
Man's universal desire for a treasure arises out of the very nature of creatures; no being but God is self-containing, no being but God is self-satisfying, and it could not be that the creature could find within himself the satisfaction of his own nature,—that belongs alone to God. We must, therefore, of necessity seek outside ourselves for that which is to satisfy our nature and our being and here is one deep truth intimated to us in this parable, this man found a treasure that suited his desires, and he went and sold all that he had, that he might obtain possession of that treasure. Let us examine our own nature, brethren; and is there one of us who does not feel, that it is from what is external to ourselves that we must find our satisfaction? The heart must find some object or other, the mind must find some outward subject upon which to exercise itself, the energy of body cannot be occupied solely with itself, it must find something upon which to exercise its energies; we all need some treasure, something that can satisfy our nature, that can fill our being; and therefore that universal cry that rises from the whole world, "who will show us any good?" This, then, is the first truth which our Saviour brings before us here, the feeling of the want of some treasure, of some satisfying portion in every human being, and I might say in every created being.
II. Now, in considering the manner in which this treasure was found, our Lord brings before us this thought respecting the kingdom of heaven,-it was found unexpectedly: "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." Here, then, is the treasure not looked for but found, unexpectedly found. How much is implied in that one word, found. Men think that they know how to seek their own satisfaction when they are crying out, "Who will show us any good?" We are all looking for the good that our own hearts choose, for the good that we think will make ourselves happy: the mighty man rejoices in his strength, the wise man rejoices in his wisdom, the ambitious man longs for honours, and all men by nature long for that which their own hearts will choose, the treasure that will satisfy their hearts. And God permits all men to make the choice, and to a certain extent to try the choice; and it is not solely by disappointments in not attaining to the objects of our desires, but by the bitter disappointments of the attainment of our desires that God teaches this serious and bitter lesson which our nature has to learn before we can find the treasure. We make our choice according to the predominant character of our nature, not necessarily sinful things, but even lawful things. It is not what we choose for ourselves that can give us the true treasure of our being, or of our nature. And that is a great lesson taught us here. He gives the treasure; it is a hidden one; it is a thing found. It is, indeed, true of every human being, what our Lord Jesus Christ said of those chosen privileged ones that were permitted to accompany him
through his ministry, and to see him, and to learn where and whose was that heavenly treasure that can satisfy our being: "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit." It was not we that loved him, but he that loved us, and gave himself for us. Therefore Christ says, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field;" unseen, unknown. Men are in its neighbourhood, but they know nothing about it; their feet, perhaps, upon the soil that covers it, and yet they are unaware of the treasure in the field, until some apparently accidental circumstance discloses that treasure to them, which indeed can satisfy their nature, and they are gladdened with joy, and they sell all that they have to get it.
Now, brethren, what can this treasure be of which our blessed Saviour speaks, but that which could indeed be a treasure? The apostle tells us, that in the blessed Saviour are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in him is to be found the blessedness and the fulness of all satisfaction, and the gladness of all joy. It was to make men acquainted with him that the apostle says, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." This is the treasure of which our blessed Saviour speaks, “the unsearchable riches of Christ:" that which was not desired by human hearts, that which was not thought of by human wisdom, that which was not obtained by human strength, but that which was found by human beings to the praise and glory of him that gave that unsearchable
But the treasure is declared to be hid in a field. It had something to cover it up, and then it was found
within. It is not onething or another, but all the things which Christ has to give us, "the unsearchable riches of Christ." It is not only Christ himself, nor is it one doctrine or another about Christ, but it is Christ with all the riches that he has to bestow upon us; Christ with all his imparted graces, and with all his imparted bounties, this is the hidden treasure for which we must sell all that we have, if we would buy that treasure. Whatever are the fruits of the Spirit,-love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,-whatever are the satisfying portions of our nature, these are to be found in Christ. But they are hid in Christ, and as the Lord speaks here of a field that concealed and at the same time contained that treasure, so Christ has various dispensations of his providence to each of us, that conceal and also contain the treasures of Christ's unsearchable riches. It is not in one moment that we can obtain these riches. The Lord is not merely speaking here of the doctrine of justification by faith, in which the sinner can look to the Saviour and be pardoned, but he is speaking comprehensively of all the riches which the kingdom of heaven has to bring before us. And so the field here is not the world as it was in some of the other parables; nor is it the church, as some would make the field, but it is each dispensation of Christ's dealings towards us that contains some hid treasure of Christ's The world in its engagements
boundless riches for us. is part of that field, the church with its ordinances is part of that field, the family scene with its duties and enjoyments is another part of the same field. It is, in a word, each one thing that contains something within it from Christ unto souls. It may come in the form of a sickness or of a worldly enjoyment, or in any other form,