A Knowledge of God
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 been
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
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
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 spiritual.
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!