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of the world acquainted with their secret groanings. In one word, the saints, while in this world, are like a bright gem wrapped up in a coarse covering, or overspread with some rust, the true value of which is not seen. In heaven, like gems highly polished and properly placed, they will so reflect the rays of the sun as to dazzle the beholding eye with their brilliant splendour!
5. Jewels are highly esteemed. Men commonly put more value upon them than all other things which they possess; and, unless reduced to the last extremity, will by no means part with them. Christ values his jewels in the highest degree. This seems to be chiefly meant in the text. The term translated jewels is SEGULLAH, a word well known to the learned, but the force of which can scarcely be conveyed to an English reader. The same word is used, Exod. xix. 5, where it is translated “ a peculiar treasure unto me above all people, for all the earth is mine." It is also used and translated in the same manner, Psal. cxxxv. 4, “ The Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.” A man is enriched by his treasure; and though the Lord in one sense cannot be so, yet he reckons himself more enriched by his people than all the world besides. Believers are his jewels, while the rest are only lumber. He expresses that particular pleasure and complacency in his people, which men find in their treasure. As a man's treasure enables him to make a figure in the world ; the Lord is peculiarly honoured by his saints. They not only glorify him themselves, but by their good works procure a revenue of glory
from others. They are his witnesses, and a city set upon an hill. The church is the pillar which exhibits truth that others may learn and receive it. They express too in their lives the wonderful power of his grace, which is admired by angels and fellow-saints. As a man cannot live and be happy without his treasure, neither can Christ without his jewels. Accordingly he says, “ because I live ye shall live also;" and it is a part of his continued intercessory prayer, “ I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am." Christ's heart is where his treasure is, he is always with them, and never leaves them.
The Scripture is filled with expressions of the esteem which Christ has for his people. In Isa. xliii. 3, 4, he expresses himself thus: “ I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.” In Jer. xii. 7, he calls his people “ his heritage, and the dearly beloved of his soul :” and in Zech. ii. 8, he speaks of them as the apple of his eye,
and declares that whoever touches them, touches him in that feeling part.
There is a near relation subsisting between Christ and his people expressive of the highest esteem : often he is spoken of as their Father, and has the most fatherly pity: sometimes he compares his affection to the tender feelings of a mother: thus he says, Isa. lxvi. 12, 13, “ Then shall ye suck, ye shall be
borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort
shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” He is expressly called their Friend, Husband, and a Brother born for adversity. When all these tender relations meet in one person, his affection must be strong and inconceivable. Christ speaks with remarkable complacency about the relation between him and his people; and dwells upon it with peculiar delight. Thus in Song viii. 12, he says,
My vineyard which is mine is before me.” He never says in all the Scripture, my world, to express his delight in it; but he always speaks about his people in the language of appropriation, and says, My treasure, my vineyard, my people, my sheep, and my jewels.
6. Jewels shine, and have a peculiar brightness and lustre. They differ in beauty and lustre from the common pebble. This is eminently true of Christ's jewels, to whom it is said, Isaiah lx. 1, 2, “ Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee,” and whom Christ addresses, Matth. v. 16, “ Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven;" and they are called in express terms “ The light of the world.” Believers have an external polish through the robe of righteousness, by which they are guiltless in the eye of justice and the law. This is the bright robe of salva
tion, the glorious wedding garment which makes them shine conspicuously at the marriage supper of the King's son. In allusion to the proverb, this robe at once defends from all the storms of Divine wrath, clears all their debt, and is security against every future claim. Though originally lying in the dunghill, it entitles them to a seat with the princes of God's people. It is a robe of finer contexture, brighter colour, and superior excellence, than that which covers the angels. It is perfect in its nature, subject to no pollution or decay, infinitely adapted to the person who wears it, and makes him the admiration of every beholder. Besides, Christ's jewels are “ all glorious within, they are brought unto the king in raiment of needle-work.” This is the inward holiness of the saints which pervades their hearts and lives. Cultivating it, they aim at walking worthy of their vocation, and having their conversation in heaven. They walk in the Spirit, and as Christ walked. It is true, that while in this world they have some spots ; but they shine compared with the lumber of the world, and with what they were themselves before the Lord began to polish them. It is their happiness that they are sensible of these spots; and they make daily application to the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness. One spot is washed away after another, till at last " they are found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless,” or, in the language of Jude, “ presented faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,” and “ shine as stars in their Father's kingdom.” Then the lustre and brightness of believers will exceed the
sun in his meridian glory! and Christ will even so
be fashioned like unto his glorious body." What a sight will the believer then be! Comparing himself with what he was in the quarry of nature, he will eternally cry out, О to grace how great a debtor! But, even in this world, the lustre of Christ's jewels is remarkable, and, as it were, constrains the wonder of the Redeemer himself, who is represented in Song vi. 10, crying out, “ Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners !" If the men of the world were not blind to true worth, and enemies to holiness, they would also admire the lustre of the saints. As matters stand, it often carries a ray of conviction into their hearts, and if it has no greater influence, it makes them desire to die the death of the righteous.
May not the believer, when he thus shines, be allowed to indulge a self-applauding thought? Boasting is excluded by the law of faith. That question, 66 Who maketh thee to differ, and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?” at once produces gratitude and humility. Besides, they are clothed with humility, which constitutes a distinguishing part of their lustre. It is owing to their being polished by Christ that they shine; and they are comely only through his comeliness put upon them.
7. Jewels are rare. They are not to be found in every house. They are costly, and few possess