Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it.…
This passage is justly famous for its graphic description of ancient mining. It gives us a picture of the miner's toil and peril, his industry, his skill, and his adventure. Let us see what lessons may be learnt from the miner and his craft.
I. GOD HAS LAID UP GREAT RICHES FOR MAN. People talk foolishly about exhausting the mines. Particular mines may come to an end, and certain lodes may be worked out. But the earth is not one mine or one English county. No one can calculate what vast stores of metal lie under the surface of the ground. The great treasury has scarcely been touched; ages upon ages will not suffice to ransack its stores. When we learn about Australia, Asia Minor, South America, etc., we discover that there is still boundless wealth under the soil. Thus God has made ample provision for the wants of his children.
II. THESE RICHES ARE HIDDEN BENEATH THE EARTH. Men must sink shafts and blast racks. God gives us great possessions, but we must put forth energy in acquiring them. Thus Israel had to fight for Canaan. Wisdom is got through toil and effort. Spiritual wealth is won at the cost of spiritual conflict. Though the chief conflict was Christ's, and though the best treasures are freely given, we must seek if we would find (Matthew 7:7).
III. THE MINER'S WORK IS TOILSOME. Few men have so disagreeable or hard a task. In dark subterranean regions, often breathing a close, unwholesome atmosphere, suffer'-ing from tremendous heat, labouring with axe and shovel, the miner has no idle lot. He may be forgotten by those who tread the greensward over his head. But we all profit by his industry. It is only right that his brave and arduous work should be generously recognized. In our happy homes and beautiful churches we should do wall to think of the miner, and pray for him just as we pray for "those in peril on the sea."
IV. INGENUITY AND ENTERPRISE CHARACTERIZE THE WORK OF THE MINER. What thought and effort and daring are put into mining! Surely this is nobler work than the killing which all the world honours in the soldier? We can understand why God has hidden the precious metals in the bowels of the earth, when we see what manly traits are evolved in the work of obtaining them. But if so, should not the same high qualities be brought forth in the search for the hidden treasure of the kingdom of heaven? Its gold, and silver, and iron, and copper are worth so much trouble, are not wisdom and goriness and eternal life deserving of the most strenuous efforts?
V. THERE IS PERIL IN THE MINER'S LIFE. Mining disasters are more fatal than shipwrecks. The miner needs to know a refuge more secure than any that art or science can contrive. He, indeed, should have his trust in God. But for others his peril is an occasion to rouse interest and deepen sympathy. We all profit by his labours; at least, then, let us all do what we can to protect him from the dangers which carelessness and selfishness create. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it.