Luke 12:2
There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.
A Call to CourageR.M. Edgar Luke 12:1-12
Christians Weighed in the BalanceW. Harris.Luke 12:2-3
Eastern ProclamationsLuke 12:2-3
Everything is RecordedW. H. Baxendale.Luke 12:2-3
Guilt Strangely RevealedClerical LibraryLuke 12:2-3
Hidden ThingsW. Clarkson Luke 12:2, 3
No Secrecy for SinC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 12:2-3
The Inner WorldH. Palmer.Luke 12:2-3
The Quickening of ConscienceLuke 12:2-3
The Revealing ProcessW. Neill.Luke 12:2-3
Our Lord's affirmation implies that there is a great deal which has been long beneath the surface, and we naturally ask - Does God hide? And the answer is - Yes, truly, "thou art a God that hidest thyself." He hides his own glory, that we may not be dazzled thereby; he hides the bliss of the beatified, that we may not be discontented thereby. Like as a father hides from his children many things which they will better learn a little later on, or had better make out for themselves, so God hides many things from us for the very same reasons. But he has so hidden treasures of truth and wisdom from us, that we have every possible inducement to search for them, and fall capacity to find them.

I. THE PROVISION MADE FOR OUR TEMPORAL WELFARE. Did he not hide the coal, the copper, the iron, the lead, the silver, the gold, that we might discover, might raise, might refine, might shape them to our use? And the corn which he gives us to eat, the raiment to wear, the music to enjoy, - these are only to be had by searching, by inquiry, by study, by endeavor. The powers of steam, of electricity, were long hidden from the knowledge of mankind, but they, with the other secrets of the world, are being known.

II. HIS SAVING AND SANCTIFYING TRUTH. Paul speaks much of "the mystery hidden from the generations," i.e. God's great purpose to redeem, not a nation from political bondage, but the whole human race from spiritual servitude and degradation; his purpose to accomplish this by coming to the world in the Person of his Son Jesus Christ. This was hidden in Old Testament promises, and in the Law given by Moses; it was there, undiscovered by any but a few discerning souls; and it was "not revealed unto the sons of men" until, enlightened by the Spirit of God, the apostles made known the riches of his grace. There are still some things in connection with Christian doctrine which may be said to be hidden, but which sooner or later will be revealed and known.

III. HUMAN CHARACTER AND HUMAN LIFE. There are depths of secrecy in these human hearts of ours. Evil thoughts may hide there unknown to any but to those that entertain them; nay, may lurk and work within the soul unsuspected even by that soul itself. For men are both better and worse than they know themselves to be. What purity and gentleness and self-sacrificing love may steal silently through life, and may pass and be forgotten! what deeds of truest heroism may be wrought which no pen records and no tongue recites] Yet the wrong shall be exposed, and the right be understood and honored; human character shall be read in the light of truth; the guilty shall be humbled and the upright be exalted "in that day."

1. Our duty. It is that of:

(1) Exposure. Tear the mask from the hypocrite; let the covering be torn off the false man, the charlatan, the betrayer of the soul, with a firm and fearless hand; make him stand out before his fellows stripped of his pretences; make it true that "there is nothing covered," etc.

(2) Disclosure. Live to teach, to enlighten, to enlarge. Let the secret of health, of wisdom, of usefulness, be published on every hand. Tell all you can reach - the children in the school, the sick by the bedside, the loiterers by the wayside, the congregation in the cottage, or the hall, or the church - the secret of pure and lasting joy, of real and true success.

2. Our danger. Since God will cause the hidden things to be known, since he will "bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of all hearts," since he "will judge the secrets of men," well may the guilty shudder, well may we all ask - Who shall abide that solemn hour? But there is an alternative. "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin." True penitence and genuine faith will secure for us such a covering that nothing shall be revealed. There is a Divine forgiveness which swallows up and hides for ever the wrong that we have done.

3. Our hope. "And then" - at that day - "shall every man have praise of God;" i.e. every man who is, in the true sense, praiseworthy; every man to whom Christ will be free to say, "I was hungry, and ye gave me meat; for inasmuch," etc. He who does good "to be seen of men" has his reward now; his recompense is exhausted here. But he who works for Christ and for men in the spirit of his Master has not his reward now; he has only a foretaste of it. The best of it has yet to come. And it will come; for there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed. Blessed is the quiet, humble life of unpretending goodness, which is like the silent spring that makes the meadows green; from such lives as these come deeds of loveliness and usefulness to be made mention of by the lips of the Lord himself, when the things that are covered now shall be revealed, and the things which man overlooks God will own and honor. - C.

Nothing covered, that shall not be revealed.
There is a tendency in things everywhere to manifest their natures, and make themselves known. Seeds that are buried, seek the light; shells deep in the sea grope their way to the shore; the processes of nature are to bring things to the surface. What is true in matter has certainly its counterpart in mind. Human character, notwithstanding all efforts to keep itself back, also tends to development; what is not seen at once is found out in a lifetime. The strong passions of the soul, like smothered fires or hidden springs, at last burst their way through, and become known. There is certainly going on around us in the operations of nature, and in the unfolding of events, a revealing process, as if creation and Providence had determined to let light into all dark places, and at last uncover human hearts. This, we suppose, is the general idea taught in the text.

I. THERE ARE REVEALING PROCESSES GOING ON IN THE WORLD AROUND US, AND UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH MAKE IT EXCEEDINGLY PROBABLE THAT, IN THE WORLD TO COME, THEY WILL CONTINUE TO GO ON WITH ACCELERATED AND OVERWHELMING POWER. One fact often discloses a great deal, when brought into connection with another fact, which, when it stood by itself, told nothing. The ancient kings of the East were aware of this, when they sent messages from one to another on business which they wished to be kept secret from all but themselves. The message was written upon a piece of parchment, but so written that it could not be deciphered unless first bound upon a staff, which contained a counterpart and key to that which was sent, and each king kept one of these staffs; hence, if the messenger should lose the scrip, the secret would not be divulged, because not intelligible, unless wrapped round the wood: the one was read by the help of the other, though each spoke nothing by itself. So with events in human life; they throw light on each other when brought together.

II. ALL THE HINDRANCES WHICH PREVENTED A PERFECT REVELATION OF THE CHARACTER IN THIS WORLD, WILL, IN THE NEXT, BE REMOVED. If even in such a world as this, where the body, and old associations, and friends, and forgetfulness, and ignorance of the consequences, contribute to quiet the goadings of conscience, men are still driven by remorse to give a detailed and minute account of the evil they have done, what may not be expected when, with conscience all alive, and memory quickened, the soul dismantled of its clay, stung by its sins, bereft of friends, and hindered by nothing, meets the eye of its Maker without a veil? Surely there is a provision in our nature, by reason of which every one shall give an account of himself unto God.

III. MUCH OF THE BIBLE IS WRITTEN, AND ALL PROBATION ARRANGED, WITH REFERENCE TO A JUDGMENT IN THE MIDST OF MINUTE AND AMAZING REVELATIONS. There is a foretokening all along our earthly way. If the wicked hear a "dreadful sound," what does he hear? If he sees a hand others do not see, what is it that he sees? The fear of God is not before his eyes, and yet he is afraid. There was a sound, a rustle of a leaf, yet to him a sound that spoke of discovery — a whisper of betrayal and development; he sees things around him working to the surface. Even a stain upon his robe, a paler hue upon his cheek, may have a voice to some one; many things have come out in ways most unexpected and who shall say, after all, he may not have been observed! Perhaps the words of the aged preacher peal again upon his soul — "Every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil." "For every idle word which men shall speak, shall they give account"; "Whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light"; and "The sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and the grave the dead which were in them, and they were judged, every man according to his works," out of the things that were written in the books.


(W. Neill.)

I. Now, we believe that God has dealt with man according to his temperament. He knows us far better than we know ourselves; and He would therefore work upon us in a manner most likely to produce a good effect. It may be, indeed, that the abstract idea of the Lord's coming to judgment, would have been in itself too lofty for a man fully to appreciate; so that in order to make man realize it, and thus to let it have a practical bearing upon our conduct, it has been necessary to enter into the detail, and describe one of the scenes connected with it. Or, to regard the subject in another light, it is noticeable that man feels no shame of God's knowledge of sin. This may be proved from the fact that we are guilty, all of us, of many secret sins, which we should blush to own to our dearest friend, but which we are ready enough to acknowledge to God. On the other hand, we are not often content that our good deeds should be known to God alone, but the majority of persons would seem to wish that men should regard them also. These considerations may lead us to understand, that it was from a complete knowledge of human nature that Christ warned His disciples by the announcement of the truth — that all secrets would eventually be brought to light. "Beware," He says, "of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.

II. By laying as de a 1 further reference to God's perfect knowledge of human nature implied in the text, we would lead your minds to the doctrine which the text conveys — and, indeed, it is a most important one. Christ here speaks of the revealing at the last day, of all that we now hide in the closest secrecy. He tells us that there is nothing, hide it as we now may from the knowledge of others, which He will not reveal before the masses of the universe. The actions of a single day, who can number them? Go, examine your own hearts. Each man for himself must go down to the region of his own soul, and find out what is there going on. Thoughts and passions, motives and wishes, hopes and fears, hatred, lusts and affections, intentions of good, and designs of evil; these are the shadowy dwellers of that weed within, whose name is legion, for indeed they are many. At one time they prompt us to external deeds; at another time, our external deeds are only the cloak beneath which they disguise themselves, so that men perceive them not. Oh, who can turn the mental eye inwards, and not marvel at, and fear the secret world which toils and burns in the heart? Yet we see it not all. He knows all things now, and there shall come a day when they shall be known no longer to God alone, but they shall be all declared to the gathered masses of the universe; for Christ has told us, that "there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed."

III. And if this be true, does it not especially behove us constantly to regard the state of that heart which God so closely inspects?

IV. And here we may notice a remarkable distinction between the judgment passed on our conduct by man on the one side, and by God on the other. Man takes into account our wicked actions only, while God often discerns matter of condemnation, long before the wicked action is committed. As viewed by an earthly tribunal, it is of little account what designs we may have had, if those designs have never been put into execution. If we are placed in positions where unavoidable circumstances really debar us often from those privileges which the gospel of Christ affords to man, we may safely commit ourselves to the hands of God; He knows our hearts; and the day will come when it will be proved that, although debarred from many privileges, it was not really our own fault; our inclinations were good, and these inclinations shall be openly declared; for "there is nothing covered," no secret wish, no concealed desire, "that shall not be revealed; there is nothing hid that shall not be known."

(H. Palmer.)

If we had eyes adapted to the sight, we should see, on looking into the smallest seed, the future flower or tree enclosed in it. God will look into our feelings and motives as into seeds; by those embryos of action He will infallibly determine what we are, and will show what we should have been, had there been scope and stage for their development and maturity. Nothing will be made light of. The very dust of the balances shall be taken into account. It is in the moral world as it is in the natural, where every substance weighs something; though we speak of imponderable bodies, yet nature knows nothing of positive levity: and were men possessed of the necessary scales, the requisite instrument, we should find the same holds true in the moral world. Nothing is insignificant on which sin has breathed the breath of hell: everything is important in which holiness has impressed itself in the painted characters. And accordingly "There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; and hid that shall not be known." However unimportant now, in the estimation of man, yet, when placed in the light of the Divine countenance, like the atom in the sun's rays, it shall be deserving attention; and as the minutest molecule of matter contains all the primordial elements of a world, so the least atom of that mind shall be found to include in it the essential elements of heaven.

(W. Harris.)

A man broke into a small church in Scotland, with the sacrilegious intention of stealing the communion plate. Hearing steps outside the building, and expecting that he should be discovered, he hurried to the end of the church, where, seeing a long rope depending to the ground, he laid hold of it for the purpose of climbing out of sight. But it proved to be the bell rope, and his weight rang the bell, which attracted his pursuers immediately to the spot. The man, of course, was caught; and thus wittily addressed the unconscious cause of his detection: — "If it had not been for thy long tongue and empty head I should not have been in my present predicament." This is the story as we get it from Mr. Gatty's book "upon the Bell"; but it has its lesson. Those who sin are pretty sure, sooner or later, to turn king's-evidence against themselves. There is a voice in wrong-doing; its long tongue will not always be quiet. All unaware, the offender puts out his hand and pulls the bell which tells against himself and summons vengeance to overtake him. Let no man dream that he can secure secrecy for his wickedness. Every timber in floor or roof is really to cry out against him, and before he is aware of it, he will himself be ringing out his own infamy. What will be his dismay when he stands self-convicted before the assembled universe!

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Clerical Library.
Once, in a certain part of Germany, a box of treasure that was being sent by railway was found to have been opened and emptied of its contents, and filled with stones and rubbish. The question was, Who was the robber? Some sand was found sticking to the box, and a clever mineralogist, having looked at the grains of sand through his microscope, said that there was only one station on the railway where there was that kind of sand. Then they knew that the box must have been taken out at that station, and so they found out who was the robber. The dust under his feet, where he had set down the box to open it, was a witness against him.

(Clerical Library.)

Just as the manipulations of the photographer in his dark chamber bring forth a picture which has been burnt into the plate by rays of light before, that when completed it may be brought to light again, and set before men that they may see what manner of persons they were; so, in the dark chambers of the dead, in the hidden spirit-world, there shall be a quickening of conscience. Many a dull picture, burnt into the mind amid the brightness of life shall be made terribly clear, the whole to be exposed as a finished view in the light of the judgment throne, and of Him who sits thereon. We are taught that we had better cultivate this photography of life ourselves. God has given to us the dark chambers of the night, no chambers of horror, but chambers in which, away from busy life, we may still be workers for Him, bringing forth the pictures of the day that are imprinted on conscience, and that may all be lost, unless we thus draw them forth.

It is related that, some time since, a gentleman visiting England called upon a gentleman there living in princely grandeur. After being passed from one liveried servant to another, with almost as much ceremony as if he were about to be brought into the presence of the Queen, he was shown into a large and elegantly furnished drawing-room, where he was received by the gentleman whom he sought. He saw that there were two other persons seated at a table in the room, but not being introduced to them, proceeded with his business. At the close of the interview, as he was about to leave, the gentleman remarked, "I am accustomed to have conversations with me recorded, and, that there may be no misunderstanding, these my amanuenses will read to you what you have said." The visitor was thunderstruck. He little thought, while sitting there, that two pairs of ears were catching up every word he uttered, and two pairs of hands were putting it into a permanent record. So with many in this world. They seem not to know that there is a Being about their path who hears every syllable they utter, and who, "when the books are opened," will bring everything to view. In a late work of fiction the Recording Angel is represented as dropping a tear, just as he enters the celestial gates, upon an oath uttered in haste by a favourite character, and blotting it out for ever. But that is fiction, and not truth. A greater than man declares that "whatsoever is spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light," and that "every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."

(W. H. Baxendale.)

Our Lord spent most of His life in villages; and, accordingly, the reference here is to a custom observed only in such places, never in cities. At the present day, writes Thompson, local governors in country districts cause their commands thus to be published. Their proclamations are generally made in the evening, after the people have returned from their labours in the field. The public crier ascends the highest roof at hand, and lifts up his voice in a long-drawn call upon all faithful subjects to give ear and obey. He then proceeds to announce, in a set form, the will of their master, and demands obedience thereto.

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