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If we go back to the `second verse` we shall find the thing spoken of is wisdom.
Webster says that, "in Scripture, theology wisdom is true religion." What does religion mean? The word is taken from Religo, to bind anew, or to rebind. It is used in a general sense to signify "any system of faith and worship." Notice it is a system. This brings us to the conclusion (if we take Webster for the standard of words, and we have no reason to differ) that wisdom is the true system of faith and worship. Then it follows that we are to seek for the true system of faith and worship as men seek for silver. But, says one, silver is out of sight in the earth, and is hard to be found, but what is necessary to be known of the true system of religion is revealed so plainly that the wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein. I know the Prophet speaks of a good time coming, when it shall be so revealed that "the wayfaring man, though a fool, (like the rich man who had to pull down his barns and build larger) shall not err therein." Now, we think there is a strong analogy between seeking for a knowledge of the true system of faith and seeking for silver. Paul says, `Heb. 5:11`, there are many things… hard (difficult) to be uttered," and Peter, `2 Pet. 3:16`, speaks of "things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned (in the word) and unstable, wrest, as they do also the other Scripture, to their own destruction."
Experience, as well as the word, teaches us that as there is much and persistent search and pains-taking required to find the "vein" or "lead" of precious metal concealed in the earth, so there is to find the vein or lead of precious truth hidden away in the mine of God's word.
We think it a duty to find out all we possibly can of God's "system of faith," and what we cannot find out will be only that which he has so completely hidden. But some one may ask, why has He hidden it? If it is right for us to know it? We answer, that it may not be found until it is needed. God's wisdom has hidden it just far enough away to be found by our finite minds, after diligent search, just at the right time, or, as the Spirit says, due time; and it is those who are interested and earnest enough to search and find the jewels, who are to be vested with regal authority.
One might just as well say that the silver and gold, the coal and the oil were hidden away in the earth because it was not right for us to have them, as that it is not right to search for the true system of faith.
But, says one, we have had the true system of faith all along through the past–what more can we have? Did not our fathers understand it? Yes, they understood (those who searched) what was necessary for them to know, but that was not enough for us to know, any more than the supply of silver and gold which was in the world at the time of the discovery of America was sufficient for the world without any addition up to the present time. Our fathers worked the same mine, but did not exhaust it, thank God. There are nuggets of gold coming to the light all the time.
But let us see what Scripture evidence we have that these things are so. Jesus said, when weeping over Jerusalem, "if thou hadst known at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes;" but were they to remain hidden? No! Isaiah, looking down through the ages (the remainder of the Jewish age, and through the Gospel age to the coming age–in the restitution age), says, then the eyes of the blind shall see. Jesus before had called them blind, and that was how these things were "hid from their eyes."
Paul, in `Col. 1:26`, says, "the mystery" of the word of God "hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now (in this good-news age) is made manifest to his saints.
Again, in `Eph. 3:4,5,6`, he says "the mystery of Christ…in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto the Holy Apostles and Prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs and of the same body," and he tells us that he was made a minister to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery which, from the beginning of the world, hath been hid in God."
O, how glorious are these things to those who search for them as for hid treasure. Truly, here is the knowledge of (about) God.
Men in mining have lights fixed upon their heads, and they bend low, sometimes prostrate in search. We need to be humble and have our minds illuminated with the Spirit. When men have found silver in the mine it has to be separated from materials which are useful in themselves, but detract from the value of the precious metal unless separated. So the child of God, like Timothy, needs to "rightly divide the word of truth." Let us, dear brethren, continue our search after wisdom, which shall result in finding "the knowledge of God," for "it cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious Onyx or the Sapphire."
The gold and the crystal cannot equal it, and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. And when we have found it let us not waste nor hoard it, but "put it to the exchangers, that at His coming He may receive His own with usury."
J. C. S.
— January, 1881 —