The Signs of the Times


June 29, 1888

Praise the Lord


The lovers of the truth of God should be the happiest people in the earth, because “he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Holiness is happiness, because holiness is a part of Heaven. How can we be unhappy when we see so many evidences of the love of God to us, expressed in his created works? How many look with indifference upon the tokens of God's regard for their happiness! When I look upon the lofty trees, and contemplate the loving heavenly Father who has planted them for us, my heart is drawn out in praise and thanksgiving. We should seek to see the relation of natural things to the spiritual truths of God; then, in looking upon the works of nature, the mind will be instinctively drawn to the Giver of every good and perfect gift. ST June 29, 1888, par. 1

The glorious things of nature seem to have been designed for the very purpose of illustrating Bible truth. It is evident that the Author of nature is the Author of the Bible. God is a lover of the beautiful, and he has given unmistakable evidences of his love for man, in the beauties of the material world. He has garnished the Heavens with matchless and wonderful splendor. He has clothed the earth with a carpet of velvet-like green, and given to the flowers their beautiful and varied tints. Everywhere we look we see reasons for praising the God of Heaven. ST June 29, 1888, par. 2

Suppose that a benevolent person should provide a beautiful home, and surround it with everything to be desired, and then present it to a poor man who had nothing to give in exchange for it but a grateful heart. The benevolent man has no other motive in this act than to make the poor man happy, and give him an evidence of his love for him, and his interest in his welfare. Suppose that the recipient of these gifts should regard them with indifference, and even manifest dissatisfaction, by pointing out defects in the beautiful arrangements, would you not disapprove of this course? Would you not say this man is not worthy of such blessings, for he has no grateful remembrance of the loving giver? ST June 29, 1888, par. 3

Well, what are we doing with the gifts that God has so richly bestowed upon us? Do we not overlook the most precious things in nature? Do we not fail to appreciate the things that are lovely and charming to the senses, and manifest no gratitude, and have no thankfulness to return to God, who has provided these very things as an expression of his love toward us? Do we closely investigate these treasures in various ways, that we may take in all the depth of his love in providing them for our comfort and delight? Do the glories of earth, and sea, and sky, kindle in our hearts grateful, happy thoughts of God? Do you read in the lofty trees, in the waving grass, in the flowers of the field, the lesson that is taught there,—that God loves you? ST June 29, 1888, par. 4

I listen to the happy songsters caroling forth their hymns of praise to God above, and joy kindles in my own heart. But how does our heavenly Father regard the indifference with which men receive the tokens of his love to them? How can he look upon those who never give to him the glory that is due unto his great name? He is described in his created works, and nature teaches you of his character and majesty. ST June 29, 1888, par. 5

Said Jesus, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” And shall we be inconsiderate of the flowers of God? Shall we regard with indifference these tokens of the wonderful love of God toward fallen man? In contemplating the works of his hand, our imaginations are to be put to the stretch. We are to look up to the royal gifts that await the faithful and obedient child of Heaven. The apostle declares, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love him.” ST June 29, 1888, par. 6

We see the varied gifts of God in nature, but we see but the faintest gleaming of his glory. Our hearts should be filled with praise to him who will ever act in harmony with his own greatness; and in looking upon the works of God, by faith we may contemplate what we shall behold if we are fitted for the mansions that Jesus has gone to prepare for those who love him. Then let us not go through the world neglecting to see and to appreciate the wonderful things with which God has surrounded us. Let us not forget to talk of the compassion of our heavenly Father, who hath provided all things richly to enjoy. Let us not begin to grumble, because we see thistles and thorns. God did not tell you to look upon these. He did not bid you grasp the thorns, that would wound and bruise your flesh, and grieve your spirit. Turn your eyes away from these things to the attractive loveliness of that which is beautiful. Think on these things, talk of the wonderful works of your Creator and Redeemer. Talk of the price that was given to win these things for you. Dwell upon the theme of salvation. Talk of the tender love of God, who gave his only begotten Son to die on Calvary, that we might come into possession of eternal riches. ST June 29, 1888, par. 7

Oh, what value we may see every day in the unspeakable gifts of God! Shall we not rid the heart of the base thing that has taken possession of it, which makes us incapable of appreciating the matchless love of our heavenly Father? Shall we not now tune our hearts to praise God from whom all blessings flow? Let us stop every breath of complaint, and shape our words into songs of joy and thankfulness for the gift of his dear Son to save a perishing world. If we would be among those who will praise God in the world to come, we must begin to praise him here, and now. We must tune our hearts to the music of Heaven, which is praise to God and to the Lamb forever and ever. Let Christians show that they are Christ-like, that they are breathing in the atmosphere of Heaven. ST June 29, 1888, par. 8

Jesus says, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” If Christians would manifest the joy that Christ is willing to give them, they would represent the religion of the Bible much better than they now do. We are to be in the world, but we are not to be of it. We are to see and appreciate all the beauties in nature, and we are to let the favors of God lift up our minds to the bountiful Giver. We are to express, by precept and example, that we are the possessors of peace, and trust, and fullness of joy. We are to cultivate gratitude and love and praise in our hearts, that through his promises, richer than precious pearls, we may discern the purposes of God toward us. As the flowers gather for themselves the hidden properties of earth and air, and develop into things of beauty to delight our senses, so Christians are privileged to gather from the garden of God's promises, faith and hope, peace, joy, and support. They are to give out again to others a life fragrant with good works. ST June 29, 1888, par. 9

In the promises, God withdraws the veil from Heaven, and bids us look into the glory prepared for those who love him. Why do we so constantly take our gaze away from these things of unsurpassed loveliness in the inheritance of the saints in light, and fix our eyes upon the things that are dark and forbidding? Why do we gather up the clouds of unbelief about our souls, and enshroud ourselves in an atmosphere that is only discouraging, and will bring death to our spirituality? God would have us learn lessons from the lily that opens its pure white blossoms upon the bosom of the lake. The flower reposes in spotless loveliness, while all around it, on the surface of the water, are unseemly and obnoxious things. The lily strikes its stem deeper and still deeper into the pure waters and sands, far beneath the surface of the lake, and refuses everything that would taint and pollute its purity. It only draws to itself those properties that will aid its development into a spotless lily. ST June 29, 1888, par. 10

Shall we not learn lessons from this lily? Although we are in a world teeming with moral corruption, we have no need to gather to our souls the disgusting pollutions of earth. We may refuse the evil. We may choose the good. We may gather to our souls the precious, the pure, the heavenly; we may put into our character-building solid timber, that will make a fit temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand we may gather to our souls evil suggestions, and doubts and impurities. We may communicate with the prince of darkness, and refuse the Prince of light. We may put unworthy, unsound timbers into our character-building; and our thoughts, our words, our influence, will lead others into darkness. Our words and works will not be a savor of life unto life, but of death unto death. While we claim to be Christians, if we do not gather with Christ we shall be agents of Satan, to beguile souls away into the paths of destruction. God forbid that this should be the case. Let your life be a continual testimony that you belong to Christ. Represent your Lord in kindness, in forbearance, in long-suffering, in patience, in thinking no evil, in cheerfulness, in fullness of joy. You will do this, if you let your faith penetrate every cloud. Draw to yourself the graces of the Spirit, weave them into a character that will develop itself in good works. Let men see that because you have become a partaker of the divine nature, you have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. ST June 29, 1888, par. 11

In the work of overcoming sinful habits, special grace will be given to all that sincerely desire it. We may come to the divine Helper, who is able to succor those who are in the midst of temptation and evil. The loving kindness of God is not all reserved for the future, eternal reward, but it is abundant for the present needs of his people. All the changes of life, all the hard places in the way to Heaven, will be blessed by the grace that is sufficient for every trial. We have assuring promises of protection and help. The everlasting arms will be beneath us to encourage, sustain, and uphold. Poverty or wealth, sickness or health, simplicity or wisdom, all are provided for in the promises of his grace. There is light for the intellect, love for the heart, and vigor for every faculty. If we will not lay hold on the blessings God has provided for us, if we will only grasp hold of the thorns and the thistles, to wound and bruise ourselves, we have no right to complain of God's dealings with us. ST June 29, 1888, par. 12

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Praise God, brethren and sisters. Praise him with heart, and soul, and voice, and thus you will be learning to sing the songs of Heaven. ST June 29, 1888, par. 13