Now, having collected these things out of dissertations about stones, I say that the Saviour with a knowledge of the difference of pearls, of which some are in kind goodly and others worthless, said, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a merchant seeking goodly pearls;” 5190 for, if some of the pearls had not been worthless, it would not have been said, “to a man seeking goodly pearls.” Now among the words of all kinds which profess to announce truth, and among those who report them, he seeks pearls. And let the prophets be, so to speak, the mussels which conceive the dew of heaven, and become pregnant with the word of truth from heaven, the p. 418 goodly pearls which, according to the phrase here set forth, the merchantman seeks. And the leader of the pearls, on the finding of which the rest are found with it, is the very costly pearl, the Christ of God, the Word which is superior to the precious letters and thoughts in the law and the prophets, on the finding of which also all the rest are easily taken. And the Saviour holds converse with all the disciples, as merchant-men who are not only seeking the goodly pearls but who have found them and possess them, when He says, “Cast not your pearls before swine.” 5191 Now it is manifest that these things were said to the disciples from that which is prefixed to His words, “And seeing the multitudes He went up into the mountain, and when He had sat down His disciples came unto Him;” 5192 for, in the course of those words, He said, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine.” 5193 Perhaps, then, he is not a disciple of Christ, who does not possess pearls or the very costly pearl, the pearls, I mean, which are goodly; not the cloudy, nor the darkened, such as the words of the heterodox, which are brought forth not at the sunrise, but at the sunset or in the north, if it is necessary to take also into the comparison those things on account of which we found a difference in the pearls which are produced in different places. And perhaps the muddy words and the heresies which are bound up with works of the flesh, are the darkened pearls, and those which are produced in the marshes, not goodly pearls.
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