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THE MYSTERIES OF THE KING])OM.
THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE.
St. MATTHEW xiii. 45, 46.—“ Again, the kingdom of heuven 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.”
“Who will show us any good ?” is the cry of the deep necessities of our nature. We must seek our satisfaction somewhere, and we seek it everywhere, where we think we have any chance of finding the satisfaction of our nature.
Our blessed Saviour represents to us by these two parables, that of last Sunday and this one again to-day, “the pearl of great price," a different aspect of the kingdom of heaven from what he had done in the former. In the former we have men very much passive : there is the sower sowing the seed, and the heart is the passive recipient of the seed; and there was the wheat and the tares; but here, as in the former one, we have man laying hold of the good that is presented to him. Unexpected and unsought as was the treasure hid in the field, yet when the man found that treasure lie had to sell all that he had to buy it. Not unsought, but yet perhaps unpaid for, is the representation given to us here of the merchantman seeking goodly pearls. The
A she wants of his heart was in this,- he wave pris He was willing to lay out A W * went to which he desired in his heart,
" A Week is like unto a merchantman, van een were you are in " The sort of thing for which he
gele isigile she expression, “a goodly pearl." Kinondo casily obtained ; goodly ones, such as
Mickwilltid was looking for, are not easily obswini ha represents this merchantman, as not What Work with the common treasures which could : Nedlani chery day. The kingdom of heaven is like se enchantman, seeking goodly pearls.” It was a
uoble object, so far as concerns. earthly treat What's that this man had before him. It was the goodas the pearl that our Saviour especially brings before Melihat shoughts. Here, therefore, the kingdom of heaven. int presented to us under the aspect of a human being, pelo hug his need of something great and good to satisfy un nature, but not the expectations of that human boing, for he looked to many sources of gratification. He was not seeking one pearl of great price, but seeking many pearls, that from each one he might .obtain some degree of satisfaction, hoping from the whole together to obtain the fulness of his joy. He is like unto a mer. chantman, seeking goodly pearls :" looking to one thing and another, to each for its own channel of satisfying power to him, that he might have the riches that his heart sought for. Now, while engaged in this search, he finds one pearl incomparably, beyond all others : its price was very.large, because its value was very great: its price demanded everything that he had, but its value was so inestimable in his eyes that he counted all that he had worth. giving for it.
" When he had found one pearl of great
price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it." Such is the resemblance of the kingdom of heaven, which our Saviour presents to our thoughts here. If we consider the nature of a pearl, we shall find that it has one or two striking features which render it peculiarly descriptive of the value of the kingdom of heaven. Christ does not speak here of the diver who went to the bottom of the sea to find the pearl, but of the merchantman who would purchase it from the hand of him who had gone down into the depth of the sea to find that pearl: and Christ was not found at the bottom of the sea, by man ; it was another than man who had sought and found Christ there. Just as the pearl is formed in the waters of the ocean, so was Christ, produced from the midst of the sea of our humanity, brought up from the depths of the same, and presented in all the glory and all the beauty of his person by Him alone who could do so. “The holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” This goodly pearl did not differ in its nature, it differed only; in its perfectness from all other pearls that could be presented for sale to that merchantman. It is, indeed, a rare thing to find a pearl large, and perfectly pure : it is a common thing to find small pearls, but tainted ones. And is it not thus with Him who is indeed “the pearl of great price,”:who is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh; for he took not on him the nature of angels, but took on him the seed of Abraham,' made in all points like unto his brethren, sin only excepted. 'From heaven came down the Divine nature of Christ, but from the sea of our humanity came up his human nature; and it came like this goodly pearl, without spot, or stain, or wrinkle, or any such thing, that if the heart of man needs the heart of a man on which to rest for satisfac
tion), and if it cannot rest upon the heart of a spotted anı sinful humanity for the fulness of its joy and satisfaction, it finds the heart of a man in Him unspotted, untainted, holy, and pure. “For such an high-priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens :" have not an high-priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but we have one who was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.” And here, indeed, in the midst of the many other pearls that could be found at the bottom of the ocean is this, the only pearl of great price, untainted, unspotted, worth the price of all we have to get it.
There is another very striking feature connected with the pearl : it is especially the jewel fitted for the daylight. We do not find the diamond spoken of in Scripture in the same connexion as we do the pearl. Our festivals are most of them by night, and the diamond glitters in the brightness that we can kindle in our nightly lights : but the pearl shines best by day, and so it is indeed a beautiful image of Him whose human nature, in the resplendance of the Divine brightness, is the true day, that alone can pour pure light upon this world, and is thus the refulgent pearl of great price, fitted to shine forth to the praise and glory of the Divine Being, received upon the beauteous surface of perfected humanity; the one pearl of great price, who is especially the jewel of the day; the prize that is chosen by the heart, and precious to the souls of those who are not children of the night, with all its pleasures of darkness, but are the children of the day, with all its pleasures of holiness and blessed enjoyment. And in this point of view we do not find the pearl in all the precious stones that form the garnishing of that heavenly city, that holy Jerusalem that cometh down out of heaven from God. All the walls of that city were built of various precious stones : there the jasper, athe sapphire, the chalcedony, the emerald, sand ithe sardoiyx, and other precious stones, but ano pearts. It is couily at the gates of that city that we find the specil. "There each gåte was one pearl. And this fixes the pearl of great price upon our blessed Saviour: it is the image that is intended to set before us the Lord Jesus Christ, the true gate íinto the city of the everlasting God, the true entrance into the holy city, the new Jerusalem, which has the glory of God; the divine and heavenly city, which can alone be the light of the glory of a purified and glorified world. Every separate gate was one pearl, not a collection of pearls joined together with any curious skill of the workman, but each one pearl, such as earth: never saw for greatness or for glory. One pearl, large enough to be the gate of the eternal city, and pure enough to stand there unspotted in the brightness of everlasting light. Although there were twelve gates to that city, each gate was formed only of one thing, one whole undivided thing, one pearl, in order to show us the true entrance into God's everlasting kingdom, into the heavenly city; not that it is intended to set before us twelve saviours, but each being but a symbol, they all set before us the one Saviour. And the same we find in the tabernacle built by Moses, we have a curtain at the entrance, a curtain into the priestly part, and a curtain into the entrance of the holiest of all, made of the same materials. Christ in the beginning, Christ in the middle, Christ in the end. So it is with this. heavenly city : into whatever gate you desire to enter, wherever you can final