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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 excellency 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
up the altar of God, and to restore the priesthood and the sacrifices; and yet they had not done the whole. "Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? Now, therefore, thus saith the Lord of hosts, consider your ways." Let us suppose this congregation, obedient to the voice of God, were to leave our houses and our business here, and to go a distant journey to Jerusalem; that we were willing to dwell there, and to expose our families to the incursions of the enemies around, to submit to all the inconveniences which such a removal would cause, to rebuild that city at our own expense, at the devotion of our persons and the very risk of our lives; and that there we had shown such earnestness in divine worship, as to meet in the streets regularly, daily, morning and evening, for worship, would we not be looked upon by society around, as some of the most devoted people the world ever saw? And yet it was to a people who had done this that the Lord said, "Now, therefore, consider your ways. The heaven over you shall be stayed from dew, and the earth from her fruit, because ye dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lieth waste, saith the Lord.' Now, they were men who had forsaken all they had, for we read that that reproof sank deep into their souls, "For the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel, and the spirit of Joshua, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people, and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God." And they obtained the blessing, for we read in the next chapter, "Consider now, from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, from this day will I bless you."
Brethren, it is a solemn thing to hear these words of
Christ that man sold all that he had: have you sold all that you have? He who preaches, and they who hear, we all have need, great need, to ask ourselves the same question,-have we sold all that we have? Have we given up more than our own sins? Have we given up our own self-will? Have we given up our own wisdom? Have we given up our own treasures? Have we transferred ourselves from our own service to Christ's service? Have we chosen the unsearchable riches of Christ? Every hour and every day can test whether we have done so. Are we able to look upon all things as bringing some treasure from Christ to us? And are we willing to sell all to obtain that treasure? Can we account the loss of our goods a treasure to us, if it bring greater submission to Christ? Can we count the mortification of our vanity a blessing to us, if it makes us more humbly prostrate before Christ? Can we count like the apostle, the disappointments in the world, the things we lose in it as things filled with blessing, if they bring us to him who is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother, and who never disappoints the heart that waits upon him? Can we apply to ourselves this blessed language: "Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life or death, or things present or things to come, all are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's?" The apostle does not merely say, "I count all things but loss," but "I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." And now, if this parable teaches us thus to look at the hidden treasure contained in all things, what a view does it give us of the treasures that are in the world around us. Is not every human soul a treasure for which Christ died? Is not every uninstructed soul a treasure for which Christ