Matthew 13:45
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls.
Parables of the Hid Treasure and the Pearl of PriceMarcus Dods Matthew 13:44-46
The Chief GoodJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 13:44-46
A Great BargainC. H. Spurgeon.Matthew 13:45-46
Christ the Pearl of Great PricePulpit Helps., E. Scobell, M. A.Matthew 13:45-46
Goodly PearlsDr. Talmage.Matthew 13:45-46
He Bought ItB. Keach.Matthew 13:45-46
How Must the Pearl of Great Price be SoughtB. Keach.Matthew 13:45-46
I Shall Now Show You What May be Meant by Selling All He HadMatthew 13:45-46
One PearlR. Winterbotham, M. A.Matthew 13:45-46
Parable of the PearlAnon.Matthew 13:45-46
Pearls an AdornmentDr. Talmage.Matthew 13:45-46
Pearls DurableDr. Talmage.Matthew 13:45-46
Pearls ValuableMatthew 13:45-46
Persevere in Quest of PearlMorgan Dix, D. D.Matthew 13:45-46
Satisfied Only with the BestR. Tuck Matthew 13:45, 46
Sham PearlsDr. Talmage.Matthew 13:45-46
The ParableMatthew 13:45-46
The Parable of the Pearl of Great PriceB. Keach.Matthew 13:45-46
The Parable of the Pearl of Great PriceMatthew 13:45-46
The Parable of the Pearl of Great PriceB. Keach.Matthew 13:45-46
The PearlW. Arnot.Matthew 13:45-46
The Pearl of Great PriceW.F. Adeney Matthew 13:45, 46
The Pearl of Great PriceMorgan Dix, D. D.Matthew 13:45-46
The Pearl of Great PriceExpository OutlinesMatthew 13:45-46
The Pearl SeekerMorgan Dix, D. DMatthew 13:45-46
The Priceless PearlT. T. Eaton, D. D.Matthew 13:45-46
The Superlative Prize Going to the SeekerP.C. Barker Matthew 13:45, 46
What Shall We BuyRobert Macdonald.Matthew 13:45-46

Many people regard religion as a matter of grave duty which it behoves them to attend to, but to which they turn reluctantly and with weariness, because they never hope to see in it any attractions or to make it an object of eager desire. To such people our Lord's words may be a new revelation. In his teaching the kingdom of heaven is supremely desirable.

I. THE PRECIOUSNESS OF THE PEARL. Our Lord is not speaking of the future heavenly reward, which most men vaguely imagine to be very valuable. What he means by the kingdom of heaven is a present possession - the rule of God in the hearts of his people. We have to see that this is an exceedingly good thing, here and now. It is good on its own account, not for the sake of its promises of the future, not because of any further advantages which may be got out of it. Religion is meant to he an end in itself; it is abused and degraded when it is treated as a means to some other end. To gain favour with the Church, to win a reputation for piety, even to court customers in business, may be the ends of some people in their religion. But it has to be seen that such low aims utterly obscure the true glory of the gospel. The soul's darkness and misery arise from enmity against God. To be reconciled to him is its sunrise and the advent of its peace. There is no gladness on earth so pure and deep and strong as that which springs from fellowship with God enjoyed through Jesus Christ. He who has this has the pearl of great price.

II. THE MERCHANT'S QUEST. We see a merchant seeking pearls. This point distinguishes our parable from the previous one, in which a man comes unexpectedly on a hidden treasure. That parable shows how God may be found even by those who do not seek him. Now we have the reward of one who does seek brought before us. Perhaps the merchant has travelled far, and sought carefully before he has lighted on his great prize. There are men and women who earnestly set themselves to seek for what is truly worth having in life - they crave for knowledge, hunger for righteousness, thirst for God. They may be long before they are satisfied, but if they will persevere they will not be disappointed in the end. The pearl is for them.


1. The pearl is found. This is the first step. But the pearl is not yet owned. We may see the kingdom afar off, we may be close to its borders, yet we may not have possession of it. We need to know the gospel, to see the kingdom. Then we must go further if we would make the prize our own.

2. The pearl is costly. The merchant must sell all he has acquired on his journey to buy this one pearl. Now, we know that the gospel is God's free gift; it was costly, for it cost the life of Christ on the cross; therefore it is not a cheap gospel; yet it is not bought by us, but by Christ. These facts, however do not exclude the necessity of sacrifice on our part. We can pay nothing to God. But we must renounce sin and self, and the idolizing and trusting in all things but God.

3. The price is gladly paid. The merchant is a connoisseur, and he at once recognizes the value of his great discovery. He feels that he has made a good bargain, though he has sold all to buy the pearl of great price. He who gives up all for Christ requires no commiseration, but rather congratulation, because his gain is great. - W.F.A.

Seeking goodly pearls.
I. The soul seeking good.

II. The soul seeking good will always want a better.

III. The soul, seeking good, wants a better until it finds Christ the best.


Salvation is the pearl.

I. This pearl cost a vast amount to procure it for the children of men.

II. It is of great price in that it is of inestimable value.

III. It is of great price because it loses none of its brightness and beauty by length of time or constancy of use.

IV. Its great price is proved by the efforts the mere chant made to secure it.

V. This pearl costs heavily the one who procures it.

VI. This pearl costs the surrender of all sin.

(T. T. Eaton, D. D.)

I. Christ may be compared to a pearl because He is hidden, and to be sought after.

II. Christ may be compared to a pearl because of its durability and its unchangeableness. Time does not rust a pearl.

III. Christ may be compared to a pearl because lie is such an adornment to the soul that seeks him.

IV. Christ may be compared to a pearl because of its value.

(Dr. Talmage.)

The fact is they would rather have a sham pearl than a genuine pearl. The factories of Bohemia and Nuremburg are full of activity making artificial pearls. With alabaster, and scales, and glue, and wax, they manufacture something which is a sham pearl, and substitute it for the real pearl. And so the whole world now is full of attempts to manufacture a new salvation, a new pearl of great price. They take a few grains of good works and a few grains of fine poetic sentiment, and they put them together, and they call it a pearl. But it will not wear; it will crumble to pieces at the last in the fires which shall be kindled around about our world. In Brazil, when a slave finds a diamond beyond a certain value, he gets his deliverance. He may have searched for days and months and years for a diamond, but finding it of a certain size, he hastens home to his master, shouting, "Free! free!" And if to-night you would only find this pearl of great price, it would insure you eternal emancipation. Oh l plunge this hour into the deep ocean of God's mercy, and though you may be submerged for a while in darkness and doubt and convictions, your soul will come up after a while enriched and sparkling with an immortal brilliant.

(Dr. Talmage.)

Time does not rust a pearl. It passes down from one royal family to another, from one generation to another, the same beautiful, exquisite thing — worth as much now as it was ever worth — always to be valuable, and a type of Him who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Other gems may be split or ground, but this pearl of great price is unbroken of the wheel, and it is uninjured of fire. Paul wore it through imprisonment, and darkness, and shipwreck, and martyrdom. Howard wore it through the plague in festering lazarettos. It heaved on the dying heart of Robert South and of Jeremy Taylor. Shadrach carried that gem through the furnace seven times heated. It is always bright. It is always beautiful. Rutherford, in his dying moments, caught a glimpse of it, and was filled with infinite exultation, and there are multitudes of the suffering who, after all other staffs were broken, and all other lights were extinguished, and all other strength was exhausted, cried out, "Pearl of great price, comfort me!" The sapphire, and the topaz, and the emerald, and the diamond shall perish; but this pearl of great price shall go uninjured long after the globe has been tossed, a miserable hulk, charred, dismasted, and shipwrecked, amid the howling blasts of the judgment gale.

(Dr. Talmage.)

Again, I remark that Christ may be compared to a pearl, because He is such an adornment and decoration to the soul that seeks Him. I have no sympathy with the Puritanic notion that God despises jewellery. I think if God despised jewellery He would not make so much of it. Instead of the variegated seasons, the earth would have had the same colour all the year round; the tree would have yielded its fruit without leaf or blossom; Niagara would let down its water without thunder or winged spray; the clouds would have drawn their black bodies through the skies where now they resemble silvery skiffs with angelic crew, sailing through the archipelago of stars. If God had despised beauty and adornment, He would not have made the caverns of the ocean great gardens of coral, and sponge, and seaweed, and pearls. No. God loves adornment from the fact that He has made it, and allows Jesus Christ to be compared to a pearl. I know there are some people who suppose that religion distorts one; that religion damages a man's nature; that religion cows him down; that religion takes all the spirit out of him; that it turns a man into a snuffling bigot; that it puts handcuffs on the wrists and hopples on the ankles, and that, like a retreating army, it poisons all the wells along where it goes. No, no. It is a decoration; it is an embellishment; it is a pearl. Why, my friends, as an adornment religion was mere than philosophy to Bacon, more than prowess to Havelock, more than geology to Silliman, more than science to Agassiz, more than music to Mozart. Religion! It has sung the sweetest songs, and it has built the highest monuments, and it has lifted the noblest arches, and it has painted the finest pictures, and it has worked the richest embroideries, and it has composed the sublimest tragedy.

(Dr. Talmage.)

Again, I remark; Christ may be compared to a pearl because of its value. It does not take a very large pearl to be worth thousands of dollars. The King of Persia paid six hundred thousand livres for one pearl; Cleopatra had a pearl worth three hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars, and she dissolved it at a feast, and then drank it to the health of Marc Antony; the King of Portugal had a pearl of almost indescribable value — so that the pearl most appropriately becomes a symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is of infinite value. I come to u soul that has just awakened out of sin and been pardoned, and I say: "O! soul, what is Christ worth to you?" and the soul responds, "All in all to me is Christ."

I. I shall show you why Christ is compared to a pearl — to the richest pearl. Pearls, naturalists tell us, have a strange birth and original.

II. Some pearls are of great worth. Our Lord Jesus Christ no doubt is compared to a pearl of great price upon this account chiefly — He is of inestimable value (Isaiah 43:4).

III. Pearls have a hidden virtue in them, though but small in bigness, yet great in efficacy. Jesus Christ had a hidden virtue in Him — though little in the eyes of carnal persons, yet such as receive Him in faith, find wonderful virtue in Him (Luke 8:46). Such is the hidden virtue of Jesus Christ, of this Pearl, that when a man finds it, and partakes thereof inwardly — it fills him with joy and earthly comfort.

IV. Pearls are of a splendid and oriental brightness — both without and within. Jesus Christ may be compared to a pearl on this account (Hebrews 1:3).

V. Pearls — nay, one pearl of great price, enriches him that finds it. So they that find the pearl of great price, Jesus Christ, and lay hold on Him, are greatly enriched, they are spiritually rich, eternally rich (Ephesians 3:5).

VI. Some men, when they have found a pearl of great price, they know not the worth of it. They perhaps think some other pearls are of equal value, or as rich us that which they have found. So some, when they have found Christ, know not the worth, the riches of Him, but are ready to esteem other pearls equally with Christ.

VII. This being so, it followeth hence, that it behoveth him that finds a pearl of great price to know it well what it is, and also its just value, Jest he be cheated and part with it for pearls of little value in comparison of that.

VIII. Pearls, rich pearls of great price, are commonly kept in the possession of noble persons, who are adorned with them, and are known to be noble persons. So the saints, born of God, are the most excellent in all the earth, and these only are adorned with goodly pearls (Ezekiel 16:11).

(B. Keach.)

of the pearl: — As to the place where you should seek Jesus Christ, the Pearl of great price. Pearls must be sought where they are to be found.

I. You must seek Him in the depths of God's eternal councils, there you may find Him — for He lay there from everlasting.

II. You must seek Him in the depths of eternal wisdom.

III. You must seek Him in the covenant of grace, and of redemption, as the head and great representative of God's elect.

IV. You must seek Him in the depths of God's eternal love.

V. You must seek this pearl in the revelation of God's council, in the types and sacrifices under the Law. You must seek Him in the revelation God made of Him in the prophecies of the prophets. And more especially you must seek Him in the glorious gospel.

VI. You must seek this pearl by faith.

VII. You must seek this pearl in the promises of God, in the promises of the New Covenant, or of the Gospels.

VIII. You must seek Christ in the way of .your duty, in reading, meditation, and prayer, as well as hearing theWord. Now I shall show when you should seek Him.

I. Early (Proverbs 8:17).

II. To seek Him early is to seek the Lord while He may be found (Isaiah 4:6).

III. When we have a full gale of the Spirit, when we have a strong operation of the Word and Spirit upon our hearts.

IV. Seek Him to-day (Hebrews 3:7).

V. Seek Him before it is too late.

I. Diligently.

II. With skill and divine wisdom.

III. With full purpose and resolution of heart and soul.

IV. As one that knows the great want, need, and necessity of Christ.

V. As one who is convinced of the great worth and excellence of Christ.

VI. Believingly, not doubting.

VII. With longings after Him.

VIII. With a heart touched with the loadstone of His love (Proverbs 2:1-4).

IX. Constantly, unweariedly; never cease till thou hast found Him.

X. Sincerely, not for the loaves, nor for applause, not simply to be saved, but for His own sake (John 6:26).

(B. Keach.)

Why He must be sought, Why sinners should seek Him.

I. Sinners should seek Christ, the Pearl of great price, because He came to seek them.

II. Sinners should seek Christ because seeking and finding Him are coupled together (Jeremiah 29:13).

III. Because the promise runs to them that seek (Matthew 7:7).

IV. Sinners should seek Him, because they are commanded to do so (Isaiah 5::6).

V. Because salvation is only in Jesus Christ. All that seek justification and eternal life, and do not seek Him, shall certainly perish (Acts 4:12).

VI. Sinners should seek Christ because by nature they are without Him (Ephesians 2:12). How will sinners lament their folly in seeking other things more than Christ; nay, have utterly neglected Him. Those who have got Christ, who have found this pearl, are the most happy people in the world.

Selling all, signifies no more than parting with whatsoever his heart was inordinately set upon before he found this pearl.

I. With all his sins and horrid lusts; all that find Christ, part willingly with every evil habit, and with every evil act of sin; and by the spirit and grace of Christ, he is enabled to do this.

II. All his old company with whom he took delight, and among whom he dishonoured God.

III. All his former hopes of heaven, and the foundations he built those hopes upon.

IV. All his own external privileges.

V. All His own good works — and inherent righteousness — in point of justification he sold all.

I. He that buys a pearl, must know where it is to be had, and seek it. A sinner must know where to find Christ.

II. They that buy must know the market-day, and repair thither to buy. So must a sinner attend on the word and ministry that would have Jesus Christ.

III. Buyers commonly ask the price of what they buy. So sinners must learn the terms on which they can have Christ, that is without money, and without price.

IV. Some come only to cheapen — to ask the price, that is all. So do some here — they think there is time to buy hereafter.

V. Some who come, like not the terms — they are full of money and scorn to receive freely. They are proud.

VI. Some come too late, the market day is over.

VII. In buying, some things are parted with. Such as would have Christ — must part with all that is gain to them.

VIII. Some refuse to buy at the proper season and afterwards cry out against their own folly.

(B. Keach.)

I shall show, in what respects a man, in seeking after heavenly things, may be compared to an earthly merchant.

I. A merchant is one that trades or deals for the good things of this world, and he makes it his chief business. So a man that seeks after heavenly firings, trades or deals in spiritual commodities, and he makes religion his chief business. Hence saith Paul to Timothy, "Meditate upon these things, give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all men." (1 Timothy 4:15).

II. A merchant sometimes trades and deals in things of great worth, as here in this parable is expressed, viz., goodly pearl. What is more valued than gold, silver, precious stones, and goodly pearl?

III. A merchant sets his heart, his mind, and chiefest thoughts upon his merchandize; I mean he prefers these things, and in good earnest pursues after them above all things upon the earth. So a spiritual merchant or Christian sets his heart and chiefest thoughts upon heavenly things; he sets his affection on things above, and not on things that are upon the earth.

IV. A merchant sometimes ventures to sea, and runs many dangers (in seeking goodly pearls, and after rich merchandize both by storms, rocks, sands, and pirates also. So a true Christian is exposed to great difficulties, and runs many dangers, who ventures out into a visible profession of religion; on the sea of this world, what storm's of reproaches, temptations and persecutions, is he oft exposed unto?

V. A merchant at first hath not that skill in trading as he attains or gets afterwards. Old dealers have more judgment and greater experience than such who have newly begun to trade. So a man when he first begins to seek after God, or to mind heavenly things, he hath not that understanding, that knowledge and judgment in religion, as an old Christian.

VI. A merchant ought to know the nature and value of those commodities he deals in, and the whole mystery of merchandizing. So a true Christian or spiritual merchant labours to know the transcendent worth, nature and value of all spiritual things, and the whole mystery of godliness; indeed, this knowledge is not easy to attain unto.

VII. A merchant is very careful of his business, when he hath met with loss, lest he run out and waste his substance, and so at last be undone. So a spiritual merchant is very thoughtful, and full of trouble, and takes the more care, when he sees he goes backward rather than forward, or decays in zeal, love, faith, etc.

VIII. A merchant, if he know not what pearls be, may soon be easily cheated by false and counterfeit pearls. So many a spiritual merchant, if he know not what the person of Christ is, may easily be cheated of the true Christ, and believe in a false Christ.

IX. A merchant trades to foreign parts, they fetch their treasure from afar. So a spiritual merchant trades to heaven, a far country.

X. A merchant has his correspondent in those far countries to which he trades, who receives his merchandize, and makes returns. So all true Christians have their Blessed Correspondent in heaven, who manageth all their concerns; viz., the Lord Jesus.

XI. A merchant is very careful to attend the exchange, or place where merchants meet together, and where they hear, and learn how their affairs go abroad, and these have opportunities to sell or buy more goods. Moreover, if they neglect or are remiss in their attendance, it gives cause of suspicion that they may soon break, and cease to be merchants. So spiritual merchants are very careful to attend solemn meetings of the saints, where they hear of and from Jesus Christ, and as they there receive from Him, so they make returns of praise to Him.

XII. Merchants take great care to keep their books or accounts well, they are oft in their counting-house — that they may know whether they gain or lose; that they may see a good end of their affairs, and that they are not wronged.And thus also do the saints, they labour to cast up their accounts, viz., examine and try their hearts. Secondly: I shall show you these are the best and chiefest merchandize in the world, or no merchandize like spiritual merchandize.

I. Because the nature of these things these merchants trade in, far excel all the things in the world. All other things are of little worth to the grace of God, the love of God, union and communion with God, to trade in gold tried in the fire (Revelation 2:3-18).

II. "All things of the world are vanity" (Ecclesiastes 1:2). But there is real substance in these merchandize.

III. These merchandize are best because incorruptible, neither moth nor rust can corrupt, fire consume, or thieves steal these goodly pearls.

IV. The rareness or scarcity of these merchandize, show their most excellent nature. Things are not only esteemed for their worth, but for their rarity. Now these things that spiritual merchants seek, are exceeding rare; hardly one man in a thousand finds these goodly pearls, the pearl of great price.

V. These merchandize were bought with a great price, by the Son of God. He first laid down the full sum that Divine justice demanded, and got them into His own hand for His elect.

VI. They are soul treasures such that suit with and answer all the wants of the precious and immortal soul of man.

VII. These merchandize are the best, because of their duration; all the things of this world are but momentary, sometimes gone in a moment — the world passeth away; but spiritual things, which are not seen, are eternal.

VIII. Their correspondent, with whom these merchants trade, that manages all their concernments, and is engaged to make them sun- and safe, returns from afar. Now, as Jesus Christ is their correspondent, so he if such an undertaker that they need not fear anything can miscarry, which is in His hand.

IX. These merchandizes are the best merchandizes, and these merchants the wisest merchants doth appear in respect of the terms on which they trade. They are the best merchandize because their commodities are freely given, "without' money, without price." It cannot indeed stand consistent with the design of redemptive grace, which is to advance the glory of God in His goodness, and to cut off all boasting, and cause of boasting, to admit of anything of the creature that looks like money, to procure a right to these things.

X. These are the best merchandize — this the best trade — because of the returns these merchants have from Jesus Christ. They have quick returns (Isaiah 65:24). It is the best trade — they only trade for things of inestimable worth. The returns are certain — sure of growing eternally rich. Not only rich, but great and noble. These merchants are advanced to mighty honour (Proverbs 12:26).

(B. Keach.)

When the pilgrims were in Vanity Fair, one chanced mockingly to say to them. "What will ye buy? " But they, looking gravely on him, said, "We buy the truth." At that there was occasion taken to despite them the more; some mocking, some taunting, and some calling upon others to smite them. Nevertheless, in spite of all the abuse, these good pilgrims would only buy the truth; and when they bought it, not for any price would they sell it again. Usually, in ordinary merchandize, what we buy we are at liberty to sell; but it is not so here, for the command is express, "Buy the truth, and sell it not." And a most merciful provision it is; for, as one says, "Those who sell the truth sell their own souls with it."

(Robert Macdonald.)

The true lessons of the parable, as I understand them, are briefly these: —

I. It represents the experience, not of a careless or a profane man, who stumbles suddenly upon the gospel when he was in search of other things, but of one who is awakened, and has begun to seek the true religion, endeavouring to add attainment to attainment sincerely, according to his light. His conscience is uneasy. There is truth in the man, though not wisdom. He is honestly seeking the way, and the Lord leads him. He is seeking; he shall find.

II. It represents the unparalleled, inconceivable richness of God's mercy in Christ, taking away all a sinner's sin, and bestowing on him freely the peace and privileges of a dear child.

III. It represents that these riches lie, not in an accumulation of goodly attainments, such as men are wont to traffic in, but in one undivided, indivisible, hitherto unknown and unimagined treasure.

IV. It represents that the inquirer, the instant he discovers that this one incomparable, all-comprehending treasure exists and is offered to him, cheerfully, eagerly, unhesitatingly gives away all that he possesses, in order to acquire it. That is, he gives all for Christ, and then enjoys all in Christ.

(W. Arnot.)

I. Those who would find pearls must search diligently for them. and encounter many dangers by diving, etc.

II. Pearls are very valuable.

III. Pearls possess a splendid brightness. Their beauty is as much within as without.

IV. Pearls are so firm, strong, and compact, that fire cannot consume them, nor ordinary strength break them.

V. Pearls are a rich ornament, and those who wear them are accounted the honourable of mankind.

VI. Yet many are ignorant of them, and many esteem them no more than pebbles.

(Pulpit Helps.)How visibly the providence of God appears to favour honest perseverance in our worldly callings. Man seeks for the chief good — He seeks for this pearl in the mines of learning, business, ambition, pleasure. The true pearl lies not in these.

(E. Scobell, M. A.)

No gem, in the estimation of the ancients, surpassed the pearl in value. The old writers speak of it as altogether wonderful, and to be honoured above all jewels that the eyes of man have beheld. Nothing else was so pure, so rare, so exquisite. As for its origin, they thought it was at first a drop of dew from heaven, condensed within the sea-shell, and doubling there its native perfections. They thought, moreover, that though born beneath the waves, it retained some unknown connection with its home in the sky, taking its beauty from the aspect of the heavens, and drawing virtue from them, limpid and clear when they were serene, turbid and cloudy when they were overcast. Its irridescence seemed the result of sympathy with the seven colours of the sunbeam: even the -hell which enclosed it partook of its silver beauty and many-hued reflections; while it was accounted the very queen of gems, as that to which no graver's tools nor implement of man can add a charm.

(Morgan Dix, D. D.)

This merchantman is no lover of the degraded and the base: no profligate, no sensualist; the pearl is not the type of the delights by which such men are attracted. Rather is he one of those who follow after things worthy of immortals; who, though in error as to what our real good is, and where it is to be found, are true, notwithstanding, to pure and honest ideals; who wish to do right, whose hearts are the home of high and worthy thoughts, who love and honour virtue and righteousness, and, like the scribe of old, are not far from the kingdom of God The quest for pearls had been the aim of this man's life: he was not prompted by sordid views of gain, but simply by the desire for the loveliest, purest, and best that can be found in this troubled world. And when at length he discovered what outshone all he had ever seen or imagined, his resolve was instant — to give up all he had for that one thing, knowing that having it he was rich indeed, though everything else was gone from his hands for ever This is no fancy sketch: it is a picture of what happens day after day; is occurs as often as any noble soul, long astray, finds at last his rest in God. He only who guides them into that rest can tell how many such there be; yet even we suspect the number to be considerable, and have seen such instances ourselves. We have seen men who have long sought for true joys, without finding them; who have had in possession many excellent gifts, yet not the highest; who, after much experience, felt sure that there must be somewhere a better thing, which fadeth not away. At length, perhaps late in life, they find it; whereupon their former thoughts are replaced by another mind — the wisdom of this world is given up, pride of soul suppressed; trust in self also goes, with the confidence which once was felt in earthly things. A man, in a spiritual and metaphorical sense, may be said to sell all he has, to become poor in spirit, and lowly of heart, because he has found the pearl of great price, after travelling many years through waste places, and because self-renunciation is the price for which that treasure is to be bought.

(Morgan Dix, D. D)

He who seeks what is honest and good is journeying in the right direction; it does not follow that all such men will find at last what the Lord promises. He who can be content without that pearl of great price, will never find it. The danger is that we may rest content with some lower forms of good, without discerning how much is beyond them, and how poor they are in comparison. When we go about this world, buying whatsoever of rare and precious we can lay our hands on, for our own satisfaction, or for a name among men as possessors of things which many covet, or to adorn our persons, our life, or those whom we love; when self is thus at the bottom of the pursuits to which we give our years away; when the pearls which we thus collect are gathered only for our own delectation, as if to deck our garments now, and light up our houses, or perchance to be inwoven with our winding-sheets or strewed about our coffins; when this search for what is good has reference to time only, to the pride of the eyes, and to the greater glory of this fading life — then all that we gather shall be vain and without profit, nor shall we see those Divine things in which there is no spot now and no fading hereafter. But, when a man hears the voice of God speaking to him of riches that cannot be taken from him, and of something worth more than the world, which he ought to possess and may have if he will. at the price fixed for the same; and when, at such tidings, he feels that he must arise and go to his Father, taking his possessions to give in exchange for that best thing: then is the parable fulfilled.

(Morgan Dix, D. D.)

In these days of safety, easy transport, and credit, the bulk of any object of desire makes comparatively little difference to its worth. But in the former ages of insecurity, difficult conveyance, limited commercial transactions, when there were no railways, banks, or paper money — one of the great recommendations of precious stones was the ease and safety with which they could be transported from one place to another .... The merchant might have to pass through districts torn with wars, or infested by robbers; if he attempted to take his gold and silver and precious wares with him, he was more than likely to be relieved of them all before he got far, and to lose his own life as well; what was he to do then? This — he might sell all he had, and invest it all in one gem of surpassing value! this he might safely hide about his person; then, clothing himself in mean attire, and taking his staff in his hand, he might set forth on foot, and travel as a pilgrim or a beggar towards his destination. Then, when the perils of the way were past, and he had reached the city to which he was bound, he had but to show his pearl, and its immense value would at once be recognized. This is a parable of ourselves. We have a journey to go, to a far city. It is useless for us to attempt to take our wealth with us: those old thieves, sin and death and hell, beset the road; they have robbed all who have passed their way. and how can we escape? Besides, a thousand enemies lay wait to make us afraid — flood, drought, fire, the dishonesty of some, the incompetence of others — all these are ready to deprive us of our wealth. Even our loved ones we cannot take with us. Lonely we came into this world, lonely we must go out of it; no human companion can go down with us to the grave. Is there then nothing, no treasure, which we may take in safety with us, and keep securely by us? Yes, there is one; even the pearl of great price, Jesus Christ. No one can deprive us of that treasure; it is beyond the reach of any enemy or thief. And when we reach the end of our journey, with Him for our Saviour and Friend, then shall we find ourselves passing rich, although we have nothing at all beside, where Jesus is Lord of all, and where everything takes its value only from Him, there is He Himself the one possession which includes in itself the possession of everything worth having.

(R. Winterbotham, M. A.)

Expository Outlines.

1. The rarity of a gem greatly enhances its value.

2. i gem that is entirely free from flaws is regarded as highly precious. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.

3. The value of a gem materially depends upon the size of it. To measure Him, not physically, but morally and spiritually, is far beyond our power.


1. Of this truth the case of the Jews affords a convincing demonstration.

2. To reveal Jesus in His matchless worth is the special office of the Holy Spirit.


1. We must be willing to part with our own righteousness.

2. With the favour of our dearest friends, should their claims clash with His.

3. With every known sin, however agreeable or profitable.

(Expository Outlines.)

The merchantman: —


1. He has his mind aroused and engaged. His heart is in his business.

2. He has a fixed definite object. He has given himself to pearl hunting.

3. He had an object which was not at all commonplace. Other people might go for stones, he for pearls.

4. He sought them with diligence.

5. He used discrimination at the same time.

6. He went into the business with moderate expectations.


1. This find was a remarkable one.

2. He found all in one.

3. He was resolved that he would have it.


1. Sell out old prejudices.

2. Self-righteousness.

3. Sinful pleasures.


1. An immediate purchase.

2. A joyful one.

3. An enriching one.

4. A final purchase.

5. A- purchase he never regretted.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

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