BLTC Press Titles

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Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner

The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian

The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner

Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Eliphas Levi

Bible jewels

by Richard Newton


Many years ago there was a learned man in Sweden who found this out about pearls. He told it to the King of Sweden, and proposed that they should establish a manufactory of pearls. The king was greatly delighted with the idea. He gave him a large present, to show how much he was pleased. Then he sent to the East Indies, where the best pearloysters come from, and got a large quantity of them. With these they formed a bed of pearl-oysters in one of the rivers near the sea. They put little beads in the shells with the living oysters, and thought in this way they could make as many pearls as they wanted. But it didn't succeed. They made a few indeed, but found that it cost more to make them than they were worth; and so they gave it up.

The pearl-oysters are found in many parts of the world. But the principal place is near the Island of Ceylon, in the Indian Ocean. The pearl is one of the most beautiful of all the jewels. The smaller pearls are worth from fifty cents to three dollars apiece. A necklace of pearls, as large as peas, will sell for different prices, varying from five hundred dollars to fifteen thousand dollars. Sometimes a single pearl will be found, of very large size, which will be truly "a pearl of great price." The largest pearl now known in the world, and the most perfect in color and form, is about an inch in width at the broadest part, and about an inch and a half long. It is like a small pear, and is said to be worth two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

We read in Roman history about Queen Cleopatra. She was a very beautiful woman, and very rich; but very wicked, and very foolish. One night she gave a great feast, in honor of the celebrated Roman general, Mark Antony. She had two of the most valuable pearls then known in the world. They were both alike, large, round, beautiful, and perfect in shape and color. Each of them was said to be worth more than four hundred thousand dollars — or almost half a million of dollars. Well, the story is, that in order to show how rich she was, and how much she thought of that brave soldier, she dissolved one of those valuable pearls in vinegar, and gave it to Antony to drink. I don't believe the story, but it has been told now for nineteen hundred years; and, if it be true, then that Roman soldier had the most costly drink that anybody ever had. Only think, nearly half a million at a draught! It must have tasted pretty strong of gold, or silver. The mate of that beautiful pearl of Cleopatra's afterwards fell into the hands of Augustus, the Roman Emperor. He had it split in two, and used it to ornament the ears of the statue of the Goddess Venus. What became of it afterwards no one knows.

Now it is because the pearl is so beautiful, and so valuable, that Jesus is compared to this jewel. He speaks of a merchant-man seeking goodly pearls. Presently he "found one pearl of great price, and went and sold all that he had and bought it." Jesus is called a pearl because he is so beautiful, — so precious. He is called "the Pearl of great price," because there is no one else like him. I wish to give two reasons why it is proper to speak of Jesus as "the Pearl of great price."

The first reason is because he was Hard To GET.

I don't mean by this that it is a hard thing now for you, or me, or anybody that wants this pearl to get it; for this isn't hard, at all. It's very easy. But what I mean is, that Jesus had a hard time to make it so easy for us to get this precious pearl.

For instance, suppose I had a small box here full of pearls. And suppose I should say to you, "Come to me, my dear boys and girls, and I will give each of you one of these beautiful pearls." It wouldn't be hard then for you to get a pearl, would it? No. You would only have to walk a few steps from where you are sitting, to come up to me, hold out your hand for the pearl, and it would be yours. That would be very easy. But suppose, after you had got your pearls, I should say to you, "Now, my dear young friends, I want you to take great care of these pearls, and prize them highly, for they were very hard to get. Just listen and I will tell you what I had to do before I could get them for you." For we will suppose that I had been to the pearl-fisheries and had gotten these pearls for you myself. And the things which I describe myself as doing, are just the things which somebody has to do for all the pearls you see shining on ladies' head-dresses.

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