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
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 strangers.
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 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
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
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 life.
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
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!