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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 treasure.
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. What ever 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 boundless riches for us. The world in its engagements 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 - ckness or of a worldly enjoyment, or in any other form, and it applies to everything that has within it anything from Christ to us: In this point of view, the field is indeed everything, because all things contain within them something from Christ to his people, inasmuch as "all things shall work together for good to them that love God.” And here we can take a new view of the parable of life. We can see hidden in each event, in each feeling, in each thought, in each duty, in everything, the very smallest in life even, something of the unsearchable riches of Christ, that inestimable treasure which, when discovered by any one, he counts all things but loss for the sake of possessing that field which containeth a treasure so boundless in its wealth, and so enduring in it permanence.
III. In the last place, our Saviour represents to us the practical value which that man set upon this treasure. He hid the treasure in the field, and went and made himself legal possessor of the field, that he might become lawfully possessed of its treasure. Here, then, we have indeed a deep instruction to our own souls. If that field applies to all the circumstances of our being, how are we, like this man, to become legally possessed of everything that may thus legally convey to us the treasure that is contained in it? There is but one way by which that can be done: we must obtain it by becoming his disciples, at the sacrifice of all things. This man could not become the legal possessor of the field, until for joy, at discovering the value of its treasure he went and sold all that he had, and bought that field. Now, our Lord tells us the same respecting himself, in the 14th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke, where he says, in the 33rd verse, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he
hath, he cannot be my disciple.” These are awful words, and they are blessed words. No man regrets giving a great deal, if he gets in exchange a great deal more. No man would object to give the gold that filled his house, if he were to get its weight in diamonds in return. He would not think upon that which he had given, but upon that which he had received. But why does it seem so difficult for men to have demanded from them all that they have? Just because they shut their eyes to all they receive. If Christ says, Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple," does he not tell us that he gives himself in exchange for the whole that is given, the gold of his unsearchable riches for the gold that perisheth? The apostle Paul had counted the cost of the value of the one in comparison with the other, and he tells us in the 3rd chapter of the Epistle to the Philippians, v. 7 and 8, “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ, yea, doubtless; and I count all things but loss for the excel. lency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but nothing that I may win Christ.” Here then is, according to the teaching of this parable, the very primary condition to becoming legally possessed of the heavenly treasure. We must for it forsake all that we have; we must continuously forsake it; we must depart from the one, that we may enter into the fulness of the blessedness of the other. So the prophet of old admonished, and in admonishing instructed the Jews of his time, as you will find in the 9th chapter of Jeremiah, v. 23-24 : “ Thus saith the Lord, let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches, but
let him that glorieth glory in this that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth : for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” On the one side there is our own chosen treasure; there is what our own soul would choose, what our own understanding would choose, and what our own energies would labour for. On the other there is a crucified Saviour, and a glorified Saviour, and the road that leads from the cross to the crown. You cannot keep on both roads : “no man can serve two masters." You cannot dwell part of the time in the one field, and then part of the time in the other field; you must transfer yourself from one possession to the other possession : “Whosoever he be that forsaketh not all that he hath,” cannot be the disciple of Jesus; he cannot be entitled to that heavenly, blessed treasure. How very solemnly was that taught by the prophet Haggai, when addressing the very best people on earth. We read in the first chapter of his prophecy, in the 5th verse : Now, therefore, thus saith the Lord of hosts, consider your ways." They had forsaken a great deal, but they had not forsaken all that they had. They had left the fertile plains of Babylon, they had left the comfortable protection of the Persian empire, they had showed a zeal for God beyond their other Jewish brethren who remained in those worldly comfortable dwellings; they had gone up to Jerusalem, and encountered disquiet and discomfort; they had built the walls of Jerusalem, and set up the altar of God in its streets ; they had shown such zeal and courage, as to labour with the sword in one hand and the trowel in the other; they had shown such earnestness for the worship of God, as in the very face of their enemy to build