God sets a high estimate upon the righteous, and that appears by bestowing more excellent titles on them than upon others.
1. God calls them His jewels. He laid His best jewel to pawn for them. They are jewels for their sparkling quality. They shine in God's eye. The saints have a kind of angelic brightness, as one of the ancients expresses it.
They are jewels for their price. Diamonds, said Pliny, were not known a long time but among kings and emperors. The price of a saint is above others, "Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that perverteth his ways, though he be rich", Proverbs 28:6.
2. God calls the righteous "hidden ones," Psalm 83:3. They are hidden, first, for their invisibility. Their excellence is not known to many. The world can see their infirmity, not their eminence. A saint has that eternal glory which cannot be beheld by a carnal eye; the fair face is hid under a veil Second, righteous are hidden for their safety. Diamonds are hid in the rock, so the saint's life is hid in Christ, the Rock of Ages, Colossians 9:5.
3. God calls the righteous "the excellent of the earth," Psalm 16:2, or 'the magnificent, " as Junius renders it. They are the spiritual phoenixes; they are the cream and flower of the creation; they are the purer part of the world, doubly refined, Zechariah 13:9.
4. God calls them "vessels of honor, 2 Timothy 2:21.Though they are earthen vessels, yet they have heavenly treasure in them. They are filled with the wine of the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18 Though they are scoured with affliction, yet it is to make them brighter, Daniel 12:10.
5. God calls them the apple of His eye Zechariah 2:8. The apple of the eye is the tenderest part of the eye, to express God's tenderness of them, said Salvian God cannot endure to have His eyeball touched.
6. God calls them "His portion, " Deuteronomy 32:9. As if riches lay in them. As a man seals a hag of money for his use, so the Lord seals His people as His portion with a double seal, one of election, 2 Timothy 2:19, the other of assurance, Ephesians 1 :13.
7. God calls them His "plant of renown. "Ezekiel 34:19. He hedges in this noble plant with His protection, waters it with the silver drops of His ordinances, blesses the springing of it, adorns it with fruit, and transplants it into the heavenly paradise where it grows continually in the sweet sunshine of His favor.
8. God calls them "joint heirs with Christ, "Romans 8:17. Jesus Christ is a rich heir. He is Lord of all. and the saints have shares with Christ.
9. God calls them the luminaries of the world. They give light by their precepts and example. "Among whom ye shine as lights in the world," Philippians 2:15, Lot was a bright star in Sodom. The world would be dark were it not for the children of light.
10. God calls them a "peculiar people," 1 Peter 2:9. He has taken them out of the world as out of the wild forest, and enclosed them to Himself by a decree. They are a purchased people. The righteous are the purchase of Christ's blood, and He will not lose His purchase.
11. God calls them a kingdom of priests. They are kings. They have their throne, Revelation 3:21, and white robes, Revelation 6:11, Robes signify their dignity and white their sanctity.