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lies in the quarry of nature. Even the bodies of believers are taken from the earth, and are dust; and they are, in respect of them as well as their souls, on a level with the rest of mankind, for “ all are of the dust.” Thus, as the Lord's jewels come into the world, there is no difference between them and others. 66 They are heirs of hell, and children of wrath even as others.”
2. Jewels are polished. After men have digged them from the bosom of the earth, they are commonly at great pains in polishing them. Every art is used to cut and form them to the owner's mind. The Lord too polishes his jewels, and gradually takes away the ruggedness which is about them in their natural state, and smooths them for his own use. He files off every excrescence, and takes away
superfuity of naughtiness. He makes them all polished shafts for sanctuary building. This operation extends to all the parts of the man, and is of equal extent with the depravity of their nature. Holiness is implanted in their hearts, and pervades every faculty of the soul. Light is sown in the understanding, and the will is renewed: the affections are purified and set on things above, and the conscience is awakened and invigorated. There is a total and universal change. The strong man is cast out, and the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart. Grace may be small when first implanted, but it is under Divine care, and will increase. Holiness extends also to all the members of the body, and they become servants of righteousness. Sometimes it costs the artist long time and much labour before his jewel is completely polished;
but he is always coming nearer the desired end. We can only have very faint ideas of the great work which the Lord has to accomplish in polishing his jewels; the pains he must be at, and the obstacles which must be surmounted, arising partly from themselves, and partly from their enemies. Any other, but the Creator of the ends of the earth, would faint and be weary; but having begun a good work He will perfect it. One thing is comforting, the more labour that is requisite for polishing the jewel, the more brightly will it shine, and the greater honour will it reflect upon the great arist. 66 Christ will be admired in all them that believe."
The Lord intends all his jewels to be pillars in his temple above, and lively stones in his spiritual house. This makes him neither spare cost or pains in smoothing and fitting them for their particular position. They may with propriety be compared to the precious stones in Solomon's temple, all of which were hewed, carved, and “ made ready before they were brought thither, so that there was neither hammer nor ax, nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in building.” The Lord's jewels in the article of death, and before they are placed in the temple above, are perfectly polished.
3. Jewels are kept safely. When once the owners have polished them, they lay them up carefully in some safe place. The Lord's jewels are kept safely. They are in the Father's hand, and none can pluck them out of it. The apostle strongly asserts their safety when he affirms that they are kept as in a garrison by the mighty power of God. The eternal God
is their refuge, and underneath them are the everlasting arms. God is their dwelling-place; and all his perfections unite for their safety and preservation. Infinite love moves him to keep them safely, and his wisdom directs him how to do it: his goodness and grace have made him declare that he will keep them, and his power enables him to do as he has said; and he will faithfully perform his promise. He says to them all as to Abraham, “ Fear not, I am thy shield, and thine exceeding great reward: I am God almighty, walk before me and be thou perfect.” They are all “ set as a seal upon his heart and his arm.” It must be difficult to pluck a seal from the loving heart, or the all-powerful arm of omnipotent Jehovah. Never has the power of God been more remarkably displayed than in the preservation of his Church. He is a wall of fire about her, and the glory in the midst. A well-built wall of sufficient height and strength is a great defence to the city which it surrounds, makes it impregnable, and keeps the enemy without. But a wall of fire, while it enlightens, and defends those who are within, consumes all who approach it, and renders every attempt to break through it certain death, and inevitable destruction. In this manner is Zion defended, and the gates of hell can never prevail against her. In the language of our text, before a great personage can be robbed of his jewels, which he highly values, many walls and gates must be broke through: before Christ can be robbed of his, which he purchased with his blood, all the Divine perfections must be encountered and overcome. That Christ may make his jewels absolutely secure, he
keeps them himself and entrusts no other with them: hear his own words, “ A vineyard of red wine, I the Lord do keep it: I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.” And every individual saint
may be thus addressed, “The Lord is thy keeper; the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil; he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out, and thy coming in, from this time forth, and even for evermore.”
4. Jewels in general are kept in a secret place, and not exposed to the sight of all indifferently. They are only brought forth upon some particular occasions, and in certain companies. In many respects may the Lord's jewels be said to be kept secret. Their great value and dignity are hid from the men of the world, who reckon them only the offscouring of all things. The saints dwell alone, and are not reckoned among the nations. The life of grace and its real value are not fully understood by believers themselves; and far less are they acquainted with the just value and excellency of the life of glory. With infinite propriety does John say, “ Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." The Lord's people are hid and secreted from the bustle of the world, and like their great Master, neither cry nor make a noise in the streets. Often the believer lives in the mud-walled cottage, and is covered with tattered rags. The wealthy and gay
consider him as an object of pity, and his habitation as almost a nuisance. It does not now appear to them what he is. Little are they aware that he is one of Christ's jewels: but when he shall exchange his cottage for a crown, and his coarse clothing for the robes of glory, and shine as the sun, his true dignity will be known to all. The secrecy of believers is expressed in many passages of Scripture. They are called God's hidden ones, Psa. lxxxiii. 4. The apostle, Eph. i. 13, says that they are sealed of that Holy Spirit of promise; and a seal is used both for secrecy and safety. In Colos. iii. 3, their life is said to be hid with Christ in God.
While the new man, which is the chief part of the jewel, is the inner man, and greatly secret; the exercises of the Lord's people which are so pleasing to him, are many of them secret and invisible to the men of the world, and the great spring of all their exercises, love to the Redeemer, is what they can form no idea of. As to time, like Jacob, in many of their exercises, they wrestle “ till the dawning of the day,” or, like David, they rise at midnight. Most of their sorrowings, as well as their songs, are in the night. They regularly enter into their closets, and shut their doors behind them. The best of all their exercises are actings of the soul, and language is only the dress in which they are clothed. When they engage in private or social duties, they guard against ostentation, and are in some measure mindful that they are sinful dust and ashes. True, they make, and glory in making, a public profession of Christ, and are not ashamed of him; but little are the men