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The parables of the hidden

CHAP. XIII.

treasure, and costly pearl.

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A. M. 1031. the sun in the kingdom of their of goeth and selleth all that he hath, A. M. 4031. A. D. 27.

A. D. 27. An. Oryinp. Father. Who hath ears to hear, let and “buyeth that field.

An. Olymp." _ him hear.

CCI. 3.

|| 45 | Again, the kingdom of heaven 44 9 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly unto treasure hid in a field; the which when pearls : a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy there- 46 Who, when he had found done pearl of

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their primary meaning here ; but there are other inatters in bought the book for the sake of the salvation it described, the parable which agree far better with the consummation of but by the blood of the covenant, buys gold tried in the fire, all things, than with the end of the Jewish dispensation and white raiment, &c.; in a word, pardon and purity, which he polity. See on Mark iv. 29.

receives from God for the sake of Jesus. We should consider Verse 44. The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid the salvation of God, 1. As our only treasure, and value it in a field] Ongausw xexquppesiw, to a hidden treasure. We are | above all the riches in the world. 2. Search for it in the not to imagine that the Treasure here mentioned, and to which Scriptures, till we fully understand its worth and excellence. the Gospel salvation is likened, means a pot or chest of money 3. Deeply ponder it in the secret of our souls. 4. Part hidden in the field, but rather a gold or silver mine, which with all we have in order to get it. 5. Place our whole joy he who found out, could not get at, or work, without turning and felicity in it; and 6. Be always convinced that it must up the field, and for this purpose he bought it. Mr. Wake- | be bought, and that no price is accepted for it but the blood field's observation is very just ; “ There is no sense in the pur- of the covenant; the sufferings and death of our only. Lord chase of a field for a pot of money, which he might have l) and Saviour Jesus Christ. carried away with him very readily, and as honestly too, as byl Verse 45. A merchant man, seeking goodly pearls) A story overreaching the owner by an unjust purchase.”

| very like this is found in the Talmudical Tract Shabbath: JoHe hideth-i. e. he kept secret, told the discovery to no || seph, who sanctified the sabbath, had a very rich neighbour ; person, till he had bought the field. From this view of the the Chaldeans said, All the riches of this man shall come to subject, the translation of this verse, given above, will appear Joseph, who sanctifies the sabbath. To prevent this, the rich proper-a hidden treasure, when applied to a rich mine, is | man went and sold all that he had, and bought a pearl, and more proper than a treasure hid, which applies better to a went aboard of a ship; but the wind carried the pearl away, pot of money deposited there, which I suppose was our trans- || it fell into the sea, and was swallowed by a fish. This fwh was lator's opinion :-and kept secret, or concealed, will apply bet- ' caught, and the day before the sabbath it was brought into the ter to the subject of his discovery till he made the purchase, market, and they proclaimed, Who wishes to buy this fish? than hideth, for which there could be no occasion, when The people said, Carry it to Joseph, the sanctifier of the sabthe pot was already hidden, and the place known only to bath, who is accustomed to buy things of great value. They himself.

carried it to him, and he bought it, and when he cut it up he Our Lord's meaning seems to be this.

found the pearl, and sold it for thirteen pounds weight of The kingdom of heaven,--the salvation provided by the golden Denarii!” From some tradition of this kind our Lord gospel-is like a treasure—something of inestimable worth- might have borrowed the simile in this parable. hidden in a field; it is a rich mine, the veins of which run The meaning of this parable is the same with the other; in all directions in the sacred Scriptures; therefore, the field and both were spoken to impress more forcibly this great truth must be dug up, the records of salvation diligently and care- on the souls of the people : eternal salvation from sin and its fully turned over, and searched. Which, when a man huth! consequences, is the supreme good of man, should be sought found—when a sinner is convinced that the promise of life, after abore all things, and prized beyond all that God has eternal is to him; he kept secret--pondered the matter deeply made. Those merchants who compass sea and land for tempoin his heart; he examines the preciousness of the treasure, ral gain, condemn the slothfulness of the majority of those and counts the cost of purchase ; for joy thereof-finding that I called Christians, who, though they confess that this salvation this salvation is just what his needy soul requires, and what is the most certain, and the most excellent, of all treasures; will make him presently and eternally happy, went and sold yet seck worldly possessions in preference to it! Alas for him all that he had--renounces his sins, abandons his evil com- i who expects to find any thing more amiable than God, more panions, and relinquishes all hope of salvation, through his worthy to fill his heart, and more capable of making him own righteousness; and purchased that field not merely happy!

The parable of the drag-net,

Sr. MATTHEW.

and its explanation.

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5.11.401. great price, went and sold all that he' 50 And shall cast them into the A.1. 4931. 4. D. 27.

A.D.27. an. Olymp. had, and bought it.

furnace of fire : there shall be wailing An. Olymp.

CCI. 3. v 47 | Again, the kingdom of heaven and gnashing of teeth.. is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, | 51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye underand ? gathered of every kind : .

stood all these things? They say unto him, 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to Yea, Lord. shore, and sat down, and gathered the good 52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every into vessels, but, cast the bad away.

scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of 49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the heaven is like unto a man that is a housholder, angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked which bringeth forth out of his treasure things from among the just,

new and old.

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Verse 47. Is like unto a net] A drag-net. This is the proper overwhelmed with the general destruction. See chap. xxiv. meaning of Laynion, which the Latins translate rerriculum, a ver. 30, &c. sweep-net, Quod in aquam jacitur ad pisces comprehendendos ; Verse 50. Into the furnace of fire] See the note on imprimis, cujus usus est extrahendis iis o fundo. MARTINIUS. chap. viii. ver. 12. Which is cast into the water to catch fish, and the particular 1 Verse 51. Have ye understood all these things?) Divine use of which is to drag them up from the bottom. As this is truths must not be lightly passed over.--Our Lord's question dragged along it keeps gathering all in its way, both good and here, shews them to be matters of the utmost weight and imbad, small and great; and when it is brought to the shore, portance; and that they should be considered again and again, those which are proper for use are preserved, and those which till they be thoroughly understood. are not, are either destroyed or thrown back into the water. Verse 52. Every scribe] Minister of Christ—who is in

By the net may be understood the preaching of the gospel structed-taught of God: in the kingdom of heaven-in the of the kingdom, which keeps drawing men into the profession mysteries of the gospel of Christ;-out of his treasury-his of christianity, and into the fellowship of the visible church of granary, or store-house, things new and old-a Jewish phrase Christ : By the sea may be represented that abyss of sin, error, for great plenty. A small degree of knowledge is not sufficient ignorance and wickedness in which men live, and out of which for a preacher of the gospel. The Sacred Writings should be they are drawn by the truth and Spirit of God, who cordially his treasure, and he should properly understand them. His close in with the offers of salvation made to them in the knowledge does not consist in being furnished with a great preaching of the Gospel.

i variety of human learning, (though of this he should acquire By drawing to shore, may be represented the consummation as much as he can;) but his knowledge consists in being well of all things, see ver. 49. when a proper distinction shall be instructed in the things concerning the kingdom of heaven, made between those who served God, and those who served and the art of conducting men thither. Again, it is not him not; for many shall doubtless be found who shall bear the enough for a man to have these advantages in possession : he name without the nature of Christ. By picking out the good, must bring them forth, and distribute them abroad. A good and throwing away the bad, ver. 48. is meant that separation pastor will not, like a miser, keep these things to himself to which God shall make between false and true professors, cast. please his fancy; nor like a inerchant traffick with them, to ing the former into hell, and bringing the latter to heaven. lcnrich himself, but like a bountiful futher or householder, dis

instead of ra xana the good, the Cod. Bezæ, and five copies tribute them with a liberal though judicious hand, for the of the old antehieronimian, or Itala version, read the xardista comfort and support of the whole heavenly family. the best, the rery best :-every reader would naturally hope that l A preacher whose mind is well stored with divine truths, this is not the true reading, or that it is not to be understood || and who has a sound judgment, will suit his discourses to the literally, as it seems to intimate that only the very best shall circumstances and states of his hearers. He who preaches the be at last saved.

same sermon to every congregation, gives the fullest proof that It is probable that this parable also refers, in its primary however well he may speak, he is not a scribe who is inmeaning, to the Jewish state, and that when Christ should structed in the kingdom of heaven. Some have thought that come to judge and destroy them by the Roman power, the old and new things here, which imply the produce of the genuine followers of Christ only should escape, and the rest bel past, and the produce of the present year, may also refer to

Christ preaches among his own

CHAP. XIII.

countrymen, and is rejected by thein.

A. 11.4031. 55 And it came to pass, that and Joses, and Simon, and Judas ? A. N.4031. A D. 27.

A. D. 97. An. Olymp. when Jesus had finished these parables, l. 56 And his sisters, are they not all A. Olymp. CCI. 3.

CCI. 3. - he departed thence.

with us? Whence then hath this man 54 · And when he was come into his own all these things ? country, he taught them in their synagogue, 57 And they were offended in him. But insomuch that they were astonished, and said, | Jesus said unto them, 'A prophet is not withWhence hath this man this wisdom, and these out honour, save in his own country, and in his mighty works?

own house. 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his 58 And he did not many mighty works there, mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, ll because of their unbelief.

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the old and new covenants--a proper knowledge of the old likely. Why should the children of another family be brought Testament Scriptures, and of the doctrines of Christ as con- in here to share a reproach, which it is evident'was designed tained in the New. No man can properly under-tand the for Josep! the carpenter, Mary his wife, Jesus their son, and Old Testament but through the medium of the Neiu, nor can their other children? Prejudice apart, would not any person the New be so forcibly or successfully applied to the conscience of plain common sense suppose from this account, that these of a sinner, as through the medium of the Old. The Luw is were the children of Joseph and Mary, and the brothers and still a schoolmaster to lead men to Christ-by it, is the know- sisers of our Lord, according to the flesh. It seems odd that ledge of sin, and without it, there can be no conviction--where this should be doubted; but through an unaccountable preit ends, the Gospel begins, as by the Gospel alone is salration judice, Papists and Protestants are determined to maintain as frein sin. See the whole of the coinment on the Pentateuch. la doctrine, that on which the Scriptures are totally silent,

Verse 5t. And when he was come into his own countryviz. the perpetual virginity of the motber of our Lord. See Probably Nazareth, where his parents lived, and where he had ch. i. ver. 25. continued till his thirtieth year, though it appears he had a l Verse 57. And they were offended in inim.] They took oflodging in Peter's house, at Capernaum.

fence at him, soxardan orto sy avow, making the meanness of They were astonished] It appears hence, that our blessed his family, the reason why they would not receive him as a Lord had lived in obscurity all the time above specified; for prophet, though they were astonished at his wisdom, and at his countrymen appear not to have heard his doctrines, nor his miracles, ver. 54. So their pride and their envy were the seen his miracles until now. 'Tis a melancholy truth, that causes of their destruction. those who should know Christ best, are often the most igno A prophet is not without honour] This seems to hare been a rant, of himself, the doctrines of his word, and the operations proverbial mode of speech, generally true, but not without of his spirit.

some exceptions. The apparent meanness of our Lord was one Verse 55. Is not this the carpenter's son ?] Seven copies of l' pretence why they rejected hiin; and yet, God, manisested: the old Itala have, Is not this the son of Joseph the carpenter? | in the flesh, humbling himself to the condition of a servant, and But it is likely our Lord, during the thirty years of his abode to the death of the cross, is the only foundation for the salra at Nazareth, wrought at the same trade with Joseph; and tion of a lost world. Perhaps our Lord means, by prophet perhaps this is what is intended, Luke ii. 51. He went down in this place, himself alone, as if he had said, My ministry is with them (his parents) to Nazareth, and was subject unto i more generally reputed, and my doctrine better received in any them. An honest trade is no discredit to any man. He who | other part of the land than in my own country, among my own spends his time in idleness, is fit for any business in which the relatives; because, knowing the obscurity of my birth, they Devil chooses to employ him,

can scarcely suppose that I have these things from heaven. Is not his mother-Mary, and his brethren James, &c.) This Verse 58. And he did not many mighty works there, becuusc.of insulting question seems to intimate, that our Lord's family their unbelief.] Auropeus miracles. So the word is used, ch.vii. was a very obscure one; and that they were of small repute 22. xi. 20. Acts xix. 11. I Cor. xii. 28. Gal ini. 5. Feb. ii. 4. among their neighbours, except for their piety.

The Septuagint translates 180183 niphleoth el, the mirucu.. It is possible that brethren and sisters may mean here near || lous works of God, by durapsy xugie. relations, as the words are used among the Hebrews in this ! Unbelief and contempt drive Christ out of the heart, as laliude of meaning; but I confess it does not appear to me they did out of his own country, Faisk seems to put the

Dissertation on parables,

St. MATTHEW.

fables, similitudes, &c.

almighty power of God into the hands of men; whereas might exasperale, when too plainly spoken, rather than corunbelief appears to tie up even the hands of the Almighty. rect, could be conveyed with delicacy and success under the A man, generally speaking, can do but little good among disguise of parable. Even to the present time, information his relatives, because it is difficult for them to look with concerning grievances, oppressive acts of government, &c. is the eyes of faith upon one, whom they have been accustomed conveyed to the despotic Asiatic rulers, under the guise of to behold with the eyes of the flesh.—Quesnel.

parable. An ancient instance of this we find in the reproof

conveyed to the heart of David, by the prophet Nathan, in A DISSERTATION ON THE NATURE AND USE OF PARABOLICAL | the parable of the poor man's ewe lamb. WRITING.

Persons thus addressed, not perceiving at first the relation As parables occupy so distinguished a place in the Old and under this artificial form, to be directed against themselves, New Testaments, especially in the latter, and as the most iin- lost sight of their selfishness and preiudices, and were fra portant information relative to the nature of God, the æco-li quently induced, by their unsuspecting replies, to acknownomy of heaven, the state of separate spirits, the punishment | ledge the justice of the reprehension, and to pronounce the of the wicked, the beatification of the godly, and the doctrines condemnation of their conduct, from their own mouth; as in of salvation, is conveved to mankind in parables, it becomes a the case of David above referred to. This therefore was one matter of the utmost importance, fully to understand their important use of this mode of instruction. nature and their use.

Though fable, similitude, and parable are nearly of the same The word Parable we have from the Greek IIagaboan, nature, and have been indifferently applied to the same purwhich comes either from faça near, and Gardw I cast or put, poses; yet it may not be amiss to examine the meaning of or sogxedadesy to compare, properly different things together, 1, each distinctly. so as to discover their relations and similarity ; in order to 1 SIMILITUDE implies a proper resemblance between two subwhich, the things to be compared are placed or put together, jects, the one well known, the other not at all, or less known; or near to each other, that by a close inspection of both, the re- the leading properties of the one serving clearly to illustrate lations and likenesses may be the more accurately ascertained. those of the other. Five rules have been given by the an

Parable and proverb are called in Hebrew yun mashal, cients, for the regulation of similitudes. from sun mashal, to govern or rule, either because the para- | 1. The first is, that the similitude must be clearer than the bolic and proverbial mode of instruction was of general use, subject it is brought to illustrate. and had a sort of universal presidency, which we know was 2. That it be not in general derived from common or well the case among the Hebrews; or because a parable or pro- known things, which are in themselves uninteresting; as it is verb was the chief, or principal illustrative point in the dis- | well known, the more novelty a thing possesses, the more it course. Hence we may discover the proper meaning of all is calculated to excite the attention and impress the mind. proverb—it is a word or saying, forming a maxim for the 1 3. It should not be false in itself, as in this case the mind government and regulation of a man's conduct in domestic, revolts not only against the thing itself, but against the concivil, religious, or political life.

clusion drawn from it. On this rule I shall take the liberty Parable has been generally defined, “ A comparison or of making the following observations : Several of the ancients similitude, in which one thing is compared with another, || illustrated and endeavoured to prove the truth and certainty especially spiritual things with natural, by which means these of the resurrection, by the history of the phænix, a bird supspiritual things are better understood, and make a deeper im- i posed to be produced in Arabia, once in one hundred years; pression on the attentive mind.” This definition is pretty there never being more than one at a time. It is reported, correct, especially in reference to the parables of our blessed that when this bird finds its end approaching, it builds itself Lord.—Or parable may be more generally defined, “ A repré- || a nest of the most fragrant spices and aromatic plants, which sentation of any matter accommodated in the way of simili- í being set on fire by the rays of the sun, the bird is contude to the real subject, in order to delineate its different partssumed in it; but from its ashes a worm or grub is formed, with the greater force and perspicuity.” This definition is out of which another phenix, in process of time, arises; applicable to parables in their more general and extended sense others say that it dies in the nest, and a grub is formed out

The method of conveying instruction by parables or moral of the marrow of its bones. Both these relations are equally fictions, sometimes in the form of similitudes, allegories, fables true. Herodotus, Dion Cassius, Tacitus, and Pliny, mentiou or apologues, was very common, and in high esteem among this fabulous animal; and I have met with this account all ancient nations; but the Asiatics used it most frequently, seriously produced by Clemens Alexandrinus, and other and brought it to a higher degree of perfection than any other Christian fathers, to prove the resurrection of the body. people on the earth. The despotic and tyrannical nature of Now it is well known no such bird ever did, or ever could their government led them often to make use of this method. exist; that the supposed fact is impossible, and that the concluReproof and censure, which it might not on many occasions sion drawn from it, is not only not solid and convincing, but be expedient or safe to deliver in explicit language, and which absurd, because the premisses are all false. The same objectionis

Dissertation on parables,

CHAP. XIII.

fables, similitudes, fc.

ind ihsome pain ways c

ancy of the

would lie against a similitude which is dubious in its nature ;| fountain of truth. We must not, however, suppose that the because if it be brought to enforce conviction, and impress word parable always conveys the same meaning: I have truth, this is impossible; as the conclusion must rest on the taken some pains on this subject, and if I mistake not, I premisses. If, then, the premisses be dubious, the conclusion find the word has the ten following significations in Scripwill be uncertain ; and consequently, the hesitancy of the ture: mind must necessarily continue.

1. It means a simple comparison, (as I have already noted In like manner, the similitude must be useless if it be when defining the Greek word.) Which comparison is inabsurd; for as soon as the mind perceives this, it becomes tended to shew the relation between two dissimilar things; armed both against the similitude and the subject it was in- or, how one fact or circumstance may be fitly introduced to tended to illustrate or prove.

illustrate and explain another. Such is that comparison of 4. A fourth rule of similitude is, that the mind should our Lord, between the state of the Jewish nation, and that of gain real information, and useful knowledge from it. Lel the world in the days of Noah, mentioned Matt. xxiv. 32–38. the similitude be ever so true, clear, and correct; yet if it! 2. It signifies an obscure similitude, such as that mentioned convey no more information than was before known, it is Matt. xv. 13—15. where the whole system of Pharisaism, useless; and the time is lost which was employed in propos- with all its secular and spiritual influence, is represented ing it.

under the notion of a plantation not planted by God, and 5. It should be calculated to make deep impressions on which was shortly to be rooted up. the mind, by leaving such images on the imagination as may 3. A simple allegory, where one thing is represented by become, in all cases to which they apply, motives of conduct. | another, the leading circumstances and principal design of As many preachers and public speakers delight in the use of that one, being produced to illustrate and explain the design similitudes, I thought it necessary to make these observations | and leading circumstances of the other. Such is our Lord's on the subject, that we might be preserved from copying parable concerning those invited to a marriage supper; of bad examples, or, that if we followed the custom at all, we the sower-tares and wheat-grain of mustard seed-leaven might make it truly useful, by subjecting it to its properl-hidden treasure-precious pearl-drag-net, &c. contained rules.

in the preceding Chapter, Matt. xiii. Fable is very nearly allied to similitude and parable, and 4. A marim, or wise sentence, to direct and govern a man in has been applied exactly in the same way, to convey lessons | civil or religious life. In this sense we have already seen the of moral instruction by pleasing images and interesting dia-|| Hebrew word bwn mashal employed. In 1 Kings iv. 32. we are logue.

informed, that Solomon spoke 3000 of this kind of parables But fable, in its nature differs widely from the others. or proverbs ; and in this sense the original word is frequently Every subject of inanimate creation may be employed by

used. similitude and parable ; but the grand subjects in fable are 5. It means a by-word, or proverb of reproach ; such God borrowed from the animate and rational creation only. Of|| threatened to make the disobedient Jewish people. See this sort are the Heetopades commonly called the Fables of Pil- 2 Chron. vij. 20. I will pluck them up by the roots out of my pay, written originally in Sanscrit, the oldest fables, probably,|| landand this house I will cust out of my sight, and will make in the world; and the fables of Lockman, the Arabian Æsop.it a proverb and a by-word among all nations, where the In all these, human actions, speech, and intelligence, are original word for proverb is swn mashal. Such we may transferred to brute and irrational animals.

Il conceive the following to be: As rebellious as Corah-as Though the former methods have been long, often, and coretous as Judas--as wicked as the Jews--as bad as the Devil. successfully used to convey miscellaneous instruction; yet the || In all which parables or proverbs, respect should be paid to parabolic method has been chiefly employed to illustrate the similitude between the object of comparison, and the divine subjects, and to convey instruction to the heart on thing with which it is compared. In this sense it is used those matters which concern the salvation of the soul.

Psalm xliv. 14. lxix. 11. Jerem. xxiv. 9. The most important truths are by our Lord conveyed both 6. As parables, proverbs, and useful maxims for the reguto the disciples and to the multitude in parables; not that lation of life, and instruction in righteousness, had, before they might not be discovered, but that they might be sought the Babylonish captivity, lost all their power and influence earnestly after. In this, our Lord, who was well acı, uainted among the wicked Jews; so they were generally disregarded, with all the springs and secret movements of human nature, and those who made use of them, became objects of reproach consulted a well known propensity of the mind, which leads and contempt; hence, parable, at that time at least, was used a person always to esteem that most, which is, or appears to be a to signify a frivolous uninteresting discourse. In this sense discovery of his own. Christ speaks a parable, and in it gives || alone, I suppose the word to be used, Ezek. xx. 49. “ Then a clue by which we may discover the will of God. He that I said, Ah Lord God! They say of me, Doth he not speak loves his soul's prosperity, takes up the thread, and guided by || parables ?” ise, he delivers frivolous discourses, of no weight it through all the labyrinth of error, he safely arrives at the lor importance.

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