Summary: There is a difference between worldly knowledge and godly wisdom.
Do Not Be Fooled, Galatians 6:1-10
Job 28:18 says, “No mention shall be made of coral or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.” In Matthew 13:46 Jesus says of a man in a parable, “Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” (Following adapted from Spurgeon’s “The Bible and the Newspaper”)
A certain jewelry manufacturer had grown so clever at imitating pearls, that at an exhibition there was a necklace which purports to be a mixture of true pearls and false, and the manufacturer challenges his customers to single out the real ones if they can. Nobody at the exhibition was able to do so.” The art of pearl-making is by no means a new discovery; by various methods imitation pearls have been manufactured in diverse countries for many years. The French have, however, proved themselves superior to all competitors. Specimens of their artificial productions exhibited at the Exposition of 1867 could neither in their luster nor color be distinguished from oriental pearls, even when the genuine and the sham were laid side by side. We are told that there is only one way by which they can be detected, and that is by their specific weight, they are much lighter than the real pearls. There is “one pearl of great price” about whose genuineness there can never be a question, but all the goodly pearls which this world can yield need to be weighed before we may conclude them to be of any great value; indeed, the choicest pearls of earth are insignificant in price compared with him who is more precious than rubies, and of whom it is written, that “all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto him.” Even real pearls, the best of them, fit to adorn an emperor’s crown, and to heighten the beauty of the fairest of maidens, have been known to sicken and die and vanish in a day. Every now and then we hear of magnificent ancestral pearls, the pride of noble families, turning of a sickly color and crumbling into dust. In the last century the crown-jeweler of France solemnly applied to the Academy of Science for the means of preventing the decay and corruption of the precious gems in the royal crown. No satisfactory answer was given, and many highly-prized jewels have since then passed away. “Behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.”
In a work entitled “The Wonders of the Deep,” M. Schele de Vere tells us the following story, of which we leave our readers to draw the moral for themselves: A dusky fisherman in the far-off seas of India once found a pearl in an oyster. He had heard of such costly gems, and sold it to an Arab for a gold coin which maintained him for a whole year in luxury and idleness.
The Arab exchanged it for powder and shot furnished him by a Russian merchant on board a trading vessel, who even yet did not recognize the dirty, dust-covered little ball as a precious jewel. He brought it home as a present for his children on the banks of the Neva, where a brother merchant saw it and bought it for a trifle. The pearl had at last found one who could appreciate its priceless value. The great man — for it was a merchant of the first class, the owner of a great fortune — rejoiced at the silent fraud by which he had obtained the one pearl of great price, without selling all and buying it fairly, and cherished it as the pride of his heart. Visitors came from all parts of the world to see the wonder. He received them in his merchant’s costume in a palace plain without but resplendent inside with all that human art can do to embellish a dwelling, and led them silently through room after room, filled with rare collections and dazzling by the splendor of their ornaments. At last, he opened with his own key the carved folding-doors of an inner room which surprised the visitor by its apparent simplicity. The floor, to be sure, was inlaid with malachite and costly marble, the ceiling carved in rare woods, and the walls hung with silk tapestry; but there was no furniture, no gilding, nothing but a round table of dark Egyptian marble in the center. Under it stood a strong box of apparently wonderful ingenuity, for even the cautious owner had to go through various readings of alphabets, and to unlock one door after another, before he reached an inner cavity, in which a plain square box of Russia leather was standing alone. With an air akin to reverence, the happy merchant would take the box and press it for a moment to his bosom, then devoutly crossing himself and murmuring an invocation to some saint, he would draw a tiny gold key, which he wore next his person, from his bosom, unlock the casket, and hold up his precious pet to the light that fell from a large grated window above. “It was a glorious sight for the lover of such things; a pearl as large as a small egg, of unsurpassed beauty and marvelous luster. The sphere was perfect, the play of colors, as he would let it reluctantly roll from his hands over his long white fingers down on the dark table, was only equaled by the flaming opal, and yet there was a soft, subdued light about the lifeless thing which endowed it with an almost irresistible charm. It was not only the pleasure its perfect form and matchless beauty gave to the eye, nor the overwhelming thought of the fact that the little ball was worth any thing an emperor or a millionaire might choose to give for it — there was a magic in its playful ever-changing sheen as it rolled to-and-fro — a contagion in the rapt fervor with which the grim old merchant watched its every flash and flare, which left few hearts cold as they saw the marvel of St. Petersburg. For such it was, and the Emperor himself, who loved pearls dearly, had in vain offered rank and titles and honors for the priceless gem. “A few years afterwards a conspiracy was discovered, and several great men were arrested. Among the suspected was the merchant.