Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6


God and Nature

Next to the Bible, nature is to be our great lessonbook. But there is no virtue in deifying nature, for this is exalting the thing made above the great Master Builder who designed the work, and who every hour keeps it operating according to His appointment. As we sow the seed and cultivate the plant, we are to remember that God created the seed, and He gives it to the earth. By His divine power He cares for that seed. It is by His appointment that the seed in dying gives its life to the blade and to the ear which contains in itself other seeds to be treasured and again put into the earth to yield their harvest. We may also study how the co-operation of man acts a part. The human agent has his part to act, his work to do. This is one of the lessons which nature teaches, and we shall see in it a solemn, a beautiful work. 6T 185.3

There is much talk about God in nature, as if the Lord were bound by the laws of nature to be nature's servant. Many theories would lead minds to suppose that nature is a self-sustaining agency apart from the Deity, having its own inherent power with which to work. In this men do not know what they are talking about. Do they suppose that nature has a self-existing power without the continual agency of Jehovah? The Lord does not work through His laws to supersede the laws of nature. He does His work through the laws and properties of His instruments, and nature obeys a “Thus saith the Lord.” 6T 186.1

The God of nature is perpetually at work. His infinite power works unseen, but manifestations appear in the effects which the work produces. The same God who guides the planets works in the fruit orchard and in the vegetable garden. He never made a thorn, a thistle, or a tare. These are Satan's work, the result of degeneration, introduced by him among the precious things; but it is through God's immediate agency that every bud bursts into blossom. When He was in the world in the form of humanity, Christ said: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” John 5:17. So when the students employ their time and strength in agricultural work, in heaven it is said of them, Ye “are laborers together with God.” 1 Corinthians 3:9. 6T 186.2

Let the lands near the school and the church be retained. Those who come to settle in Cooranbong can, if they choose, find for themselves homes near by, or on portions of, the Avondale estate. But the light given me is that all that section of land from the school orchard to the Maitland road, and extending on both sides of the road from the meetinghouse to the school, should become a farm and a park, beautified with fragrant flowers and ornamental trees. There should be orchards, and every kind of produce should be cultivated that is adapted to the soil, that this place may become an object lesson to those living close by and afar off. 6T 187.1

Then let everything not essential to the work of the school be kept at a distance, that the sacredness of the place may not be disturbed through the proximity of families and buildings. Let the school stand alone. It will be better for private families, however devoted they may be in the service of the Lord, to be located at some distance from the school buildings. The school is the Lord's property, and the grounds about it are His farm, where the Great Sower can make His garden a lessonbook. The results of the labors will be seen, “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” Mark 4:28. The land will yield its treasures, bringing the joyousness of an abundant harvest; and the produce gathered through the blessing of God is to be used as nature's lessonbook, from which spiritual lessons can be made plain and applied to the necessities of the soul. 6T 187.2