MANY are the ways in which God is seeking to make
Himself known to us and bring us into communion with Him. Nature speaks
to our senses without ceasing. The open heart will be impressed with the
love and glory of God as revealed through the works of His hands. The
listening ear can hear and understand the communications of God through
the things of nature. The green fields, the lofty trees, the buds and
flowers, the passing cloud, the falling rain, the babbling brook, the
glories of the heavens, speak to our hearts, and invite us to become
acquainted with Him who made them all.
Our Saviour bound up His precious lessons with the things of nature.
The trees, the birds, the flowers of the valleys, the hills, the lakes,
and the beautiful heavens, as well as the incidents and surroundings of
daily life, were all linked with the words of truth, that His lessons
might thus be often recalled to mind, even amid the busy cares of man's
life of toil.
God would have His children appreciate His works and delight in the
simple, quiet beauty with which He has adorned our earthly home. He is a
lover of the beautiful, and above all that is outwardly attractive He
loves beauty of character; He would have us cultivate purity and
simplicity, the quiet graces of the flowers.
If we will but listen, God's created works will teach us precious
lessons of obedience and trust. From the stars that in their trackless
courses through space follow from age to age their appointed path, down
to the minutest atom, the things of nature obey the Creator's will. And
God cares for everything and sustains everything that He has created. He
who upholds the unnumbered worlds throughout immensity, at the same time
cares for the wants of the little brown sparrow that sings its humble
song without fear. When men go forth to their daily toil, as when they
engage in prayer; when they lie down at night, and when they rise in the
morning; when the rich man feasts in his palace, or when the poor man
gathers his children about the scanty board, each is tenderly watched by
the heavenly Father. No tears are shed that God does not notice. There is
no smile that He does not mark.
If we would but fully believe this, all undue anxieties would be
dismissed. Our lives would not be so filled with disappointment as now;
for everything, whether great or small, would be left in the hands of
God, who is not perplexed by the multiplicity of cares, or overwhelmed by
their weight. We should then enjoy a rest of soul to which many have long
As your senses delight in the attractive loveliness of the earth,
think of the world that is to come, that shall never know the blight of
sin and death; where the face of nature will no more wear the shadow of
the curse. Let your imagination picture the home of the saved, and
remember that it will be more glorious than your brightest imagination
can portray. In the varied gifts of God in nature we see but the faintest
gleaming of His glory. It is written, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath
prepared for them that love Him." 1 Corinthians 2:9.
The poet and the naturalist have many things to say about nature, but
it is the Christian who enjoys the beauty of the earth with the highest
appreciation, because he recognizes his Father's handiwork and perceives
His love in flower and shrub and tree. No one can fully appreciate the
significance of hill and vale, river and sea, who does not look upon them
as an expression of God's love to man.
God speaks to us through His providential workings and through the
influence of His Spirit upon the heart. In our circumstances and
surroundings, in the changes daily taking place around us, we may find
precious lessons if our hearts are but open to discern them. The
psalmist, tracing the work of God's providence, says, "The earth is full
of the goodness of the Lord." "Whoso is wise, and will observe these
things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord."
Psalm 33:5; 107:43.
God speaks to us in His word. Here we have in clearer lines the
revelation of His character, of His dealings with men, and the great work
of redemption. Here is open before us the history of patriarchs and
prophets and other holy men of old. They were men "subject to like
passions as we are." James 5:17. We see how they struggled through
discouragements like our own, how they fell under temptation as we have
done, and yet took heart again and conquered through the grace of God;
and, beholding, we are encouraged in our striving after righteousness. As
we read of the precious experiences granted them, of the light and love
and blessing it was theirs to enjoy, and of the work they wrought through
the grace given them, the spirit that inspired them kindles a flame of
holy emulation in our hearts and a desire to be like them in
character--like them to walk with God.
Jesus said of the Old Testament Scriptures,--and how much more is it
true of the New,--"They are they which testify of Me," the Redeemer, Him
in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. John 5:39. Yes, the whole
Bible tells of Christ. From the first record of creation--for "without
Him was not anything made that was made"--to the closing promise,
"Behold, I come quickly," we are reading of His works and listening to
His voice. John 1:3; Revelation 22:12. If you would become acquainted
with the Saviour, study the Holy Scriptures.
Fill the whole heart with the words of God. They are the living water,
quenching your burning thirst. They are the living bread from heaven.
Jesus declares, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His
blood, ye have no life in you." And He explains Himself by saying, "The
words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John
6:53, 63. Our bodies are built up from what we eat and drink; and as in
the natural economy, so in the spiritual economy: it is what we meditate
upon that will give tone and strength to our spiritual nature.
The theme of redemption is one that the angels desire to look into; it
will be the science and the song of the redeemed throughout the ceaseless
ages of eternity. Is it not worthy of careful thought and study now? The
infinite mercy and love of Jesus, the sacrifice made in our behalf, call
for the most serious and solemn reflection. We should dwell upon the
character of our dear Redeemer and Intercessor. We should meditate upon
the mission of Him who came to save His people from their sins. As we
thus contemplate heavenly themes, our faith and love will grow stronger,
and our prayers will be more and more acceptable to God, because they
will be more and more mixed with faith and love. They will be intelligent
and fervent. There will be more constant confidence in Jesus, and a
daily, living experience in His power to save to the uttermost all that
come unto God by Him.
As we meditate upon the perfections of the Saviour, we shall desire to
be wholly transformed and renewed in the image of His purity. There will
be a hungering and thirsting of soul to become like Him whom we adore.
The more our thoughts are upon Christ, the more we shall speak of Him to
others and represent Him to the world.
The Bible was not written for the scholar alone; on the contrary, it
was designed for the common people. The great truths necessary for
salvation are made as clear as noonday; and none will mistake and lose
their way except those who follow their own judgment instead of the
plainly revealed will of God.
We should not take the testimony of any man as to what the Scriptures
teach, but should study the words of God for ourselves. If we allow
others to do our thinking, we shall have crippled energies and contracted
abilities. The noble powers of the mind may be so dwarfed by lack of
exercise on themes worthy of their concentration as to lose their ability
to grasp the deep meaning of the word of God. The mind will enlarge if it
is employed in tracing out the relation of the subjects of the Bible,
comparing scripture with scripture and spiritual things with
There is nothing more calculated to strengthen the intellect than the
study of the Scriptures. No other book is so potent to elevate the
thoughts, to give vigor to the faculties, as the broad, ennobling truths
of the Bible. If God's word were studied as it should be, men would have
a breadth of mind, a nobility of character, and a stability of purpose
rarely seen in these times.
But there is but little benefit derived from a hasty reading of the
Scriptures. One may read the whole Bible through and yet fail to see its
beauty or comprehend its deep and hidden meaning. One passage studied
until its significance is clear to the mind and its relation to the plan
of salvation is evident, is of more value than the perusal of many
chapters with no definite purpose in view and no positive instruction
gained. Keep your Bible with you. As you have opportunity, read it; fix
the texts in your memory. Even while you are walking the streets you may
read a passage and meditate upon it, thus fixing it in the mind.
We cannot obtain wisdom without earnest attention and prayerful study.
Some portions of Scripture are indeed too plain to be misunderstood, but
there are others whose meaning does not lie on the surface to be seen at
a glance. Scripture must be compared with scripture. There must be
careful research and prayerful reflection. And such study will be richly
repaid. As the miner discovers veins of precious metal concealed beneath
the surface of the earth, so will he who perseveringly searches the word
of God as for hid treasure find truths of the greatest value, which are
concealed from the view of the careless seeker. The words of inspiration,
pondered in the heart, will be as streams flowing from the fountain of
Never should the Bible be studied without prayer. Before opening its
pages we should ask for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and it will
be given. When Nathanael came to Jesus, the Saviour exclaimed, "Behold an
Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" Nathanael said, "Whence knowest
Thou me?" Jesus answered, "Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast
under the fig tree, I saw thee." John 1:47, 48. And Jesus will see us
also in the secret places of prayer if we will seek Him for light that we
may know what is truth. Angels from the world of light will be with those
who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance.
The Holy Spirit exalts and glorifies the Saviour. It is His office to
present Christ, the purity of His righteousness, and the great salvation
that we have through Him. Jesus says, "He shall receive of Mine, and
shall show it unto you." John 16:14. The Spirit of truth is the only
effectual teacher of divine truth. How must God esteem the human race,
since He gave His Son to die for them and appoints His Spirit to be man's
teacher and continual guide!
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