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LIV.

The First Great Group of Parables.

(Beside the Sea of Galilee.)

Subdivision G.

Parables of Treasure, Pearl, and Net.

A Matt. XIII. 44–53.

a 44 The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in the field; the which a man found, and hid; and 340in his joy he goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. [The three parables in this section appear to have been addressed privately to the disciples. In the absence of banks and other trust repositories, the men of that day hid their treasures as best they could. The sudden death of the hider often resulted in the loss of all knowledge as to the whereabouts of the treasure. The parable speaks of such a lost treasure. Technically it belonged to the owner of the field, but practically it belonged to him who found it. Hence the finder conceals it again until he had made perfect his title to it by the purchase of the field. The gist of the parable does not require us to pass upon the conduct of the finder, which was certainly questionable.] 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a merchant seeking goodly pearls: 46 and having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it. [In the preceding parable the treasure was found by accident; in this, the pearl was sought. Some find without seeking, as did the Samaritan woman (John iv. 28, 29); some only after diligent search, as did the eunuch— Acts viii. 27.] 47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 which, when it was filled, they drew up on the beach; and they sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but the bad they cast away. 49 So shall it be in the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the righteous, 50 and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. [Like the parable of the tares, this one indicates the continuance of the mixture of bad and good, and points to the final separation. The contents of a net can not be sorted while it is being drawn. The tares indicate such evils as can be seen and as tempt us to uproot them. The net shows that in the dark and turbulent waters, and in the hurry-skurry of its teeming life, there are things which can not be seen. The judgment shall be with care, as when men, in the broad light of day, on the 341quiet beach, sit down to sort the fish. If the parable of the tares emphasizes the waiting, the parable of the net emphasizes the careful sorting.] 51 Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea. 52 And he said unto them, Therefore every scribe who hath been made a disciple to the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. [As a householder graces his banquet with things already in the house, and with other things which have just been provided, so a religious teacher must refresh his hearers out of both his past and his present experiences and study. Old lessons must be clothed in new garments.] 53 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. [He went from the house to the sea in the afternoon, and entering a boat a little later, he stilled the storm.]

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