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Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.” 1 They were convinced; they believed Jesus to be the Son of God; but it was not in harmony with their ambitious desires to confess Him. They had not the faith that would have secured for them the heavenly treasure. They were seeking worldly treasure.
And to-day men are eagerly seeking for earthly treasure. Their minds are filled with selfish, ambitious thoughts. For the sake of gaining worldly riches, honor, or power, they place the maxims, traditions, and requirements of men above the requirements of God. From them the treasures of His word are hidden.
“The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
“If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
VALUE OF THE TREASURE
The Saviour saw that men were absorbed in getting gain, and were losing sight of eternal realities. He undertook to correct this evil. He sought to break the infatuating spell that was paralyzing the soul. Lifting up His voice He cried, “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a ma give in exchange for his soul?"4
He presents before fallen humanity the nobler world they have lost sight of, that they may behold eternal realities. He takes them to the threshold of the Infinite, flushed with the indescribable glory of God, and shows them the treasure there.
1 John 12:42
21 Cor. 2:14
8 2 Cor. 4:3, 4
4 Matt. 16:26
The value of this treasure is above gold or silver. The riches of earth's mines can not compare with it.
“The depth saith, It is not in me;
And the sea saith, It is not with me.
This is the treasure that is found in the Scriptures. The Bible is God's great lesson-book, His great educator. The foundation of all true science is contained in the Bible. Every branch of knowledge may be found by searching the word of God. And above all else it contains the science of all sciences, the science of salvation. The Bible is the mine of the unsearchable riches of Christ.
The true higher education is gained by studying and obeying the word of God. But when God's word is laid aside for books that do not lead to God and the kingdom of heaven, the education acquired is a perversion of the name.
There are wonderful truths in nature. The earth, the sea, and the sky are full of truth. They are our teachers. Nature utters her voice in lessons of heavenly wisdom and eternal truth. But fallen man will not understand. Sin has obscured his vision, and he can not of himself interpret nature without placing it above God. Correct lessons can not impress the minds of those who reject the word of God. The teaching of nature is by them so perverted that it turns the mind away from the Creator.
By many, man's wisdom is thought to be higher than the wisdom of the divine Teacher, and God's lesson-book is looked upon as old-fashioned, stale, and uninteresting. But by those who have been vivified by the Holy Spirit it is not so regarded. They see the priceless treasure, and would sell all to buy the field that contains it. Instead of books containing the suppositions of reputedly great authors, they choose the word of Him who is the greatest author and the greatest teacher the world has ever known, who gave His life for us, that through Him we might have everlasting life.
1 Job 28 : 14-18
RESULTS OF NEGLECTING THE TREASURE
Satan works on human minds, leading them to think that there is wonderful knowledge to be gained apart from God. By deceptive reasoning he led Adam and Eve to doubt God's word, and to supply its place with a theory that led to disobedience. And his sophistry is doing to-day what it did in Eden. Teachers who mingle with the education they are giving the sentiments of infidel authors, plant in the minds of youth thoughts that will lead to distrust of God and transgression of His law. Little do they know what they are doing. Little do they realize what will be the result of their work.
A student may go through all the grades of the schools and colleges of to-day. He may devote all his powers to acquiring knowledge. But unless he has a knowledge of God, unless he obeys the laws that govern his being, he will destroy himself. By wrong habits he loses his power of self-appreciation. He loses self-control. He can not reason correctly about matters that concern him most closely. He is reckless and irrational in his treatment of mind and body. By wrong habits he makes of himself a wreck. Happiness he can not have; for his neglect to cultivate pure, healthful principles places him under the control of habits that ruin his peace. His years of taxing study are lost; for he has destroyed himself. He has misused his physical and mental powers, and the temple of the body is in ruins. He is ruined for this life and for the
life to come. By acquiring earthly knowledge he thought to gain a treasure; but by laying his Bible aside, he sacrificed a treasure worth everything else.
The word of God is to be our study. We are to educate our children in the truths found therein.
It is an inexhaustible treasure; but men fail to find this treasure, because they do not search until it is within their possession. Very many are content with a supposition in regard to the truth. They are content with a surface work, taking for granted that they have all that is essential. They take the sayings of others for truth, being too indolent to put themselves to diligent, earnest labor, represented in the word as digging for hidden treasure. But man's inventions are not only unreliable, they are dangerous; for they place man where God should be. They place the sayings of men where a “Thus saith the Lord” should be.
Christ is the truth. His words are truth, and they have a deeper significance than appears on the surface. All the sayings of Christ have a value beyond their unpretending appearance. Minds that are quickened by the Holy Spirit will discern the value of these sayings. They will discern the precious gems of truth, though these may be buried treasures.
Human theories and speculations will never lead to an understanding of God's word. Those who suppose that they understand philosophy think that their explanations are necessary to unlock the treasures of knowledge and to prevent heresies from coming into the church. But it is these explanations that have brought in false theories and heresies. Men have made desperate efforts to explain what they thought to be intricate scriptures; but too often their efforts have only darkened that which they tried to make clear.
The priests and Pharisees thought they were doing great things as teachers, by putting their own interpretation upon the word of God; but Christ said of them, “Ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God.”' He charged them with the guilt of “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."2 Though they were the teachers of the oracles of God, though they were supposed to understand His word, they were not doers of the word. Satan had blinded their eyes, that they should not see its true import
This is the work of many in our day. Many churches are guilty of this sin. There is danger, great danger, that the supposed wise men of to-day will repeat the experience of the Jewish teachers. They falsely interpret the divine
1 Mark 12:24
2 Mark 7:7