The Signs of the Times


December 12, 1878

Reflections on a Colorado Sunset


As the cars bore our company into the city of Denver, we were charmed in beholding one of the beautiful sunsets of Colorado. The sun was passing behind the snow-capped mountains, leaving its softened beams of golden light to tint the heavens. As the blending tints were deepening and extending athwart the skies, with indescribable beauty, it seemed the gates of heaven were ajar to let the gleamings of its glory through. The golden hues were every moment more and more entrancing, as if to invite our imagination to picture the greater glory within. We loved to think that God had let some of the glorious rays of the light abounding in heaven appear to our senses, that our imagination might grasp the more perfect glories still unrevealed. Yet the inspired apostle tells us “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.” If this so charms our senses, what must be the fullness of the glory in heaven itself. ST December 12, 1878, par. 1

We have an infinite God, high above all heavens; and yet he condescends to dwell with him who is of a meek and contrite spirit. It is when we turn our eyes away from this world that we behold the beams of light from heaven. By faith a far more surpassing glory than the world can give dawns upon our senses. Here we see but the faint rays of what will be revealed to those who love God. ST December 12, 1878, par. 2

Heaven seemed very near. From its golden gates light seemed beaming forth, to bless and comfort, and make joyful the heart of man. As the eye was turned from the dazzling glories of the closing day, we could but reflect that should we see more of heaven by the eye of faith, greater light, more peace and joy would be all along life's pathway. We keep our eyes fixed so closely upon the low land of earth, looking upon the transient and deceptive attractions of worldly things, that in beholding we become changed to the earthly. If the eye of faith were uplifted to see through the veil of the future and discern the tokens of God's love and glory in the promised life beyond, we should be more spiritually minded, and the beauties and joys of heaven would mingle with our daily life. We should be fitting up for the faithful performance of our work in this life, and for the higher life beyond. ST December 12, 1878, par. 3

The compassion of the infinite God is expressed to man in the blessings he bestows. The greatest, the wisest, and the happiest man that lives upon the earth is he who sees most of God in his created works; who walks most closely with him in his every day life. The man who walks with God will exert an influence that will make the world better for his having lived in it. The beautiful, well-balanced, symmetrical character is developed by individual acts of duty. The character is formed by the conscientious attention to the little things of life, courteous acts of kindness, unselfish deeds of charity. Kind words make the life beautiful and noble; for in them is the spirit that pervades heaven. ST December 12, 1878, par. 4

A wise improvement of God's gifts and blessings; a diligent cultivation of the little talents given by the Master; a patient continuance in well-doing, even if but little encouragement is received from those around us, will make life in this world a success, and will secure to us the higher immortal life. These things make the world's great men in the sight of God. The world will not know these men, even as they knew not Christ; but they are known and acknowledged of heaven. If the musings and the purposes of man were of a more elevated character, spirituality would not be waxing cold. ST December 12, 1878, par. 5

The striking figures and pictures God has given in his heavens should thrill our souls and lead our minds to a contemplation of heavenly glories. While engaged in this the mind will have no leisure for worldly imaginings, worldly schemings, lusting for worldly honors or distinction. While in converse with the God of nature, in viewing with sanctified eyes his created glorious things in nature, the yearnings of the heart will be for higher and holier attainments. ST December 12, 1878, par. 6

The high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity claims and deserves our highest thoughts and holiest affections. God is the source of all power. From his infinite love flow blessings to every creature formed in his image. Our heavenly Father has hung out glories in the firmament of the heavens, that men may have an expression of his love in the revealing of his wondrous works. God would not have us indifferent to the symbols of the glories of his infinite power in the heavens. David delighted to dwell upon these glories. He composed psalms which the Hebrew singers chanted to the praise of God. “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” ST December 12, 1878, par. 7

Christ finds men clinging to the earth and building their foundation upon the sand. He presents to them subjects in the heavens worthy of thought, and inspires them with desire to take hold on God and build upon the rock for time and for eternity. All the powers of our being, every means of our existence and happiness, all the blessings of the warm sunshine and the refreshing showers, causing vegetation to flourish, every comfort and every blessing of this life, comes from God. He sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. The treasures of heaven are poured out to all. ST December 12, 1878, par. 8

Through Jesus Christ comes all these bounties. And how do men receive them? The great mass of mankind take the gift from their heavenly Father's hand but make no acknowledgment to him. They seem to take it for granted that these bounties are their rightful due, and forget that God is the giver. They do not even acknowledge their obligations by thanking God for his mercies. Indeed they treat no other friend so ill. They sit at the family board, loaded with bounties from his hand, and render no thanks to him. They enjoy the gifts, but despise the giver. ST December 12, 1878, par. 9

The worst feature of this picture is, many who profess to be followers of Christ pursue the same course as the unbeliever and thankless worldling. They take the gifts of heaven without lifting the heart and voice to God in sincere thanks. God has blessed them with comfortable homes. They lie down to rest in safety because of the guarding care of his ministering angels; but they arise in the morning with scarcely a thought of God. This is unlike the world's Redeemer. Although he owned all things, he never broke bread without lifting his eyes and hands to heaven in thanks to his Father, craving his blessing upon it. Yet finite man, wholly dependent upon God, has no sense of the debt of gratitude he owes. ST December 12, 1878, par. 10

Many parents professing to be Christians pass the morning without prayer to God or a thought of him. Worldly business is the subject of their thoughts the last thing at night and the first thing in the morning. They do not gather the family about them and read to them from the word of God, which teaches the whole duty of man. They do not make the reading of instructive lessons from the precious book of any importance, or the hour of prayer a sacred privilege. They do not, by the form of prayer, teach the children their dependence upon God, and the necessity of divine aid to help them to overcome temptation through the day, and to draw the mind upward to God and heaven. A prayerless house, a house where Christ is not entreated to come in, there the prince of darkness abides. There are scores of families who profess to love God, that love him a great way off; for they do not invite Jesus into their dwellings. They do not erect the family altar and offer up fervent petitions morning and evening. They do not render to God grateful praise, acknowledging his gifts, and entreating his blessing. How can those who bear the name of Christians rise morning after morning and partake of the bounties God has provided for them and be so ungrateful to the Giver as not to breathe a word of thanks? In such a house a cold and chilling influence prevails. The warming beams of the Sun of Righteousness do not penetrate the darkness of a prayerless house. ST December 12, 1878, par. 11

Parents should associate in the minds of their children, our heavenly Father with the blessings of life and health and the gifts of his bounties which they daily enjoy. They should not neglect to open to their impressible minds the great book of nature, and teach them lessons of God's love; show them that every bud and blooming flower, formed and tinted by a divine hand, is an expression of the love of God to them. Every spire of grass, every lofty tree, is an evidence of God's love to man. Children may be made acquainted with God in his created works by having their minds directed to the glories of the heavens in the light of the setting sun. His hand has strewed the skies with everlasting gems of light. Worlds are peopled by his power, and yet the humblest creatures of the earth are the objects of his love and care. A contemplation of these things will give to both parents and children more exalted views of the Ruler of the universe. ST December 12, 1878, par. 12

Christian parents may write upon the tablets of the hearts of their children lessons of the greatness and majesty of God which neither time nor circumstances can efface. The God of such riches and power, who had no need of man to increase his might and glory, gave his only and beloved Son to a life of ignominy and a cruel death, because he loved man whom he had created, and whom he would save from ruin, and bestow on him the gift of everlasting life. Teach the children that the cross of Christ is the instrumentality of God to save perishing man. And he has commanded us, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Christ has given us an example in his life, and he commands us to follow in his footsteps. ST December 12, 1878, par. 13

Those who are absorbed in their own sorrows, who can enjoy only their own blessings, and labor only for their own good, are miserable indeed. As we receive the gifts of God, we should impart to others the blessings Heaven has so richly bestowed upon us. To be happy ourselves we must live to make others happy. Our hearts will be filled with joy and peace when we impart blessings to others. The youth who are faithful in the minor duties of life, who will heed the demands of duty without consulting their own pleasure, and who will speak words of kindness and perform deeds of love to the poor, and carry comfort to the homes of the desolate, will be the ones upon whom the Master will call to make sacrifices to carry the truth to those who are in darkness. These can be intrusted with this work, for they have proved themselves faithful in that which is least. A wise improvement of the talents bestowed will make the faithful doer great in the sight of God. The work of faithfulness must begin at their own door; in their own home must they show an unselfish spirit in all their acts, to those of their own households. ST December 12, 1878, par. 14

All the glories of God in the heavens, and everything lovely in our world, is to give us a correct knowledge of the character of God the giver. The power, truth, and glory of the gospel are displayed all around us to bring us in harmony and love with our gracious Benefactor. ST December 12, 1878, par. 15

Mrs. E. G. White