The Review and Herald

326/1902

October 27, 1885

Seek First the Kingdom of God

EGW

[The Grimsby (England) News of August 25, 1885, contained the following report of a sermon delivered by Mrs. E. G. White, in the Town Hall in that city, June 23, 1885.] RH October 27, 1885, par. 1

On Sunday night, Mrs. E. G. White, a lady recently from the United States, where she has labored publicly for forty years, on temperance and other Christian duties, gave an address at the Town Hall to a densely crowded audience. The subject was, “The Love of God.” ... RH October 27, 1885, par. 2

Mrs. White, taking as her text Matthew 6:25-33: “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life,” etc., proceeded: Here is a rich promise on condition that we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. If we comply with the condition, God's word is pledged that all things needful shall be added. Our kind heavenly Father would have his children trust in him as a child trusts in earthly parents. But we too often see poor, feeble mortals loading themselves down with cares and perplexities that God never intended them to bear. They have reversed the order; they are seeking the world first, and making the kingdom of heaven secondary. If even the little sparrow, which has no thought of future need, is cared for, why should the time and attention of man, who is made in the image of God, be wholly absorbed with these things? God has given us every evidence of his love and care, yet how often we fail to discern the divine hand in our manifold blessings. Every faculty of our being, every breath we draw, every comfort we enjoy, comes from him. Every time we gather around the family board to partake of refreshments, we should remember that all this is an expression of the love of God. And shall we take the gift, and deny the Giver? Well may we inquire, “What is man that Thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that Thou visitest him?” RH October 27, 1885, par. 3

When Adam and Eve were placed in their Eden home, they had everything that a benevolent Creator could give them to add to their comfort and happiness. But they ventured to disobey God, and were therefore expelled from their lovely home. Then it was that the great love of God was expressed to us in one gift, that of his dear Son. If our first parents had not accepted the gift, the race would today be in hopeless misery. But how gladly did they hail the promise of the Messiah. It is the privilege of all to accept this Saviour, to become children of God, members of the royal family and to sit at last at God's right hand. What love, what marvelous love, is this! St. John calls upon us to behold it: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” Notwithstanding the curse was pronounced upon the earth that it should bring forth thorns and thistles, there is a flower upon the thistle. This world is not all sorrow and misery. God's great book of nature is open for us to study, and from it we are to gain more exalted ideas of his greatness and unexcelled love and glory. He who laid the foundation of the earth, who garnished the heavens and marshaled the stars in their order, he who has clothed the earth with a living carpet, and beautified it with lovely flowers of every shade and variety, would have his children appreciate his works, and delight in the simple, quiet beauty with which he has adorned their earthly home. RH October 27, 1885, par. 4

Christ sought to draw the attention of his disciples away from the artificial to the natural: “If God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith!” Why did not our heavenly Father carpet the earth with brown or gray? He chose the color that was most restful, the most acceptable to the senses. How it cheers the heart and refreshes the weary spirit to look upon the earth, clad in its garments of living green! Without this covering the air would be filled with dust, and the earth would appear like a desert. Every spire of grass, every opening bud and blooming flower is a token of God's love, and should teach us a lesson of faith and trust in him. Christ calls our attention to their natural loveliness, and assures us that the most gorgeous array of the greatest king that ever wielded an earthly scepter was not equal to that worn by the humblest flower. You who are sighing for the artificial splendor which wealth alone can purchase, for costly paintings, furniture, and dress, listen to the voice of the divine Teacher. He points you to the flower of the field, the simple design of which cannot be equaled by human skill. RH October 27, 1885, par. 5

I once had the pleasure of beholding one of Colorado's most beautiful sunsets. The great Master Artist had hung out on the shifting canvas of the heavens, for the benefit of all, both rich and poor, one of his finest paintings. It almost seemed that the gates of heaven were ajar that we might see the beauty there was within. Oh! thought I, as one after another passed without noticing the scene, if it had been painted by human hands, how many would have been ready to fall down and worship it! God is a lover of the beautiful. He loves beauty of character, and he would have us cultivate purity and simplicity, the quiet graces of the flowers. We are to seek for the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. RH October 27, 1885, par. 6

Parents, what kind of an education are you giving your children? Are you teaching them to cherish that which is pure and lovely, or are you seeking to place their hands in that of the world? Are you spending time and means that they may learn the outward proprieties of life, and secure the superficial, the deceptive adornments of the world? From their earliest childhood, open before them is the great book of nature. Teach them the ministry of the flowers. Show them that if Jesus had not come to earth and died, we should have had none of the beautiful things which we now enjoy. Call their attention to the fact that the color and even the arrangement of every delicate bud and flower is an expression of the love of God to man, and that affection and gratitude to their heavenly Father should be awakened in their hearts for all these gifts. Jesus, the greatest teacher the world ever knew, drew the most valuable illustrations of truth from scenes in nature. Parents, imitate his example, and use the things that delight the senses to impress important truths upon the minds of your children. Take them out in the morning, and let them hear the birds carolling forth their songs of praise. Teach them that we too should return thanks to the bountiful Giver of all for the blessings we daily receive. Teach them that it is not dress that makes the gentleman or the lady, but that it is true goodness of heart. RH October 27, 1885, par. 7

Mother's, “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that moves the world.” Yours is a work that lives through the ceaseless ages of eternity. The lessons of early life are most firmly stamped upon the mind. You cannot afford to let Satan sow the first crop. Let not an impatient, fretful word escape your lips. Bring Jesus into your homes. If heaven is a good place, why not make home a little heaven below? In your zeal to secure the things of this life, or to make elaborate preparations for company, do not neglect your children. When wearied and worn with cares and perplexities, we cannot properly train them, neither can we take that comfort and peace that we might. Christ commanded us not to lay up for ourselves treasures on the earth. He knew that if we did, it would cause us needless anxiety and sorrow. If you have means, do not hoard it. There are precious souls to save. Instead of caring for self alone, lift up the fallen; instead of petting lap-dogs, care for the needy, those who have souls to save. There is earnest work to be done. All that we need means for, is to use to the glory of God. I would present before you Christ and him crucified. Give him your heart's best affections. Give him your intellect; it belongs to him. Give him your talents of means and of influence; they were only lent to you for improvement. Jesus laid aside his robes of royalty, stepped down from his eternal throne, clothed his divinity with humanity, and for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might become rich. Rich in money? in lands? in bank-stock?—No; that we might secure eternal riches. There is no salvation except that which comes through Christ. He came to earth to lift up the fallen. With his human arm he encircles the race, while with his divine arm he grasps the throne of the infinite, thus connecting finite man to the infinite God, and uniting earth to heaven. RH October 27, 1885, par. 8

Through sin our world was divorced from the continent of heaven. But Jesus bridged the gulf that sin had made. He is that ladder, the base of which rests upon the earth while the topmost round reaches into the highest heaven. We can reach heaven only by climbing this ladder. Think not it is a step down to become a Christian. It is placing the feet on the ladder of progress. What can yield comfort and peace and joy like the divine favor? What can lighten the soul like beams from the Sun of righteousness, and evidence of sins forgiven? What can impart true nobility to the fallen men and women like the restoration to the image of God? The religion of Christ elevates the receiver, refines his taste, sanctifies his judgment, strengthens his intellect, and prepares him for the society of the pure and holy angels. Is it position and honor that you desire? To be acknowledged members of the Lord's family is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon man. Is it gold that you are seeking? You will find it in the city of God. Its streets are paved with gold. It is not the worldly wealthy who bear the heavenly credentials. Not many great men, not many mighty, are chosen. But God has chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom. RH October 27, 1885, par. 9

The followers of Christ have a cross to lift in separating themselves from the world. Their names do not stand among the great ones of earth, but they are written in the Lamb's book of life. They confessed Christ and stood in defense of the truth through conflict, through trial, through evil as well as through good report; “and they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” Truly, we have every reason to love and serve God; for the love that he has manifested for us is without a parallel. RH October 27, 1885, par. 10