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PREACHED FEBRUARY 3, 1771.
St. Matth. xiii. 51, 52.
Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood
all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure ühings new and old.
If there be any difficulty in these words, it will be removed by considering the manners of that time, in which Jesus lived, and the ideas of those persons, to whom he addressed himself.
The Israelites were a plain, frugal people; abundantly supplied with all things needful to the convenient support of life, but very sparingly with such as come under the notion of ornaments or superfluities. They drew their means of subsistence chiefly from pasturage, agriculture, and other rural occupations. Gold and Silver was scarce among the ancient Jews; and the less necessary to them, as they had little traffic among themselves, and still less with their pagan neighbours; the wisdom of their Law having purposely restrained, and, upon the matter, prohibited, all the gainful ways of commerce.
Now, to a people, thus circumstanced, unfurnished, in a good degree, with arts and manufactures, and but slenderly provided with the means of exchange for the commodities they produce ; management, thrift, and what we call good husbandry, must have been a capital virtue. Householders were especially concerned to hoard up, and keep by them, in readiness, all such things as might be requisite either to cloath or feed their respective families. And therefore, as they were continually making fresh additions to their stock, so they carefully preserved what things they had, provided they were of a nature to be preserved, although
time and use had impaired the grace, or diminished the value, of them. Thus, they had things new and old laid up in their store-house, or treasury (for these provisions were indeed their treasure), which, as the text says, they could bring forth, on any emergency that called for them.
And to this Jewish Householder, thus furnished and prepared for all occasions, our Lord compares the scribe, instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, in other words, the minister, or preacher of the Gospel. Every such scribe was to be suitably provided with what might be serviceable to those committed to his charge: And the Text delivers it, as a general inference from the example of Christ himself (who, from a variety of topics, some new, some old, had been instructing his disciples in this chapter), that we, the teachers of his religion, should likewise have in store a variety of knowledge for the supply of his church, and that we should not be backward or sparing, as we see occasion, in the use of it. THEREFORE, says he, that is, for this enda that your re
a dià Tãto— referring to the good effect of this way of teaching on the disciples, whom it had enabled, as they confessed, to understand the things, which Jesus had taught them.