Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 28, 1898

Teaching From Nature


March 2, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in 2MCP 423, 465, 564; 3BC 1143-1144.

The Gospel deals with individuals. Every human being has a soul to save or to lose. Each has an individuality separate and distinct from all others. Each must be convicted for himself, converted for himself. He must receive the truth, repent, believe, and obey for himself. He must exercise his will for himself. No one can do this work by proxy. No one can submerge his individuality in another’s. Each must surrender to God by his own act, and the mystery of godliness. 13LtMs, Ms 28, 1898, par. 1

The work of preparing to carry the truth to others is a work that every human agent must take hold of for himself. He must obtain an individual experience that no one else can have for him. The Word is to be his guide; it is the way, the truth, and the life. He must eat and drink the Word of God, which Christ represents by the Bread of life, His flesh and blood. The mysteries of the kingdom cannot be learned by reasoning. Man is required to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling; “for” says the apostle, “it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.] This is the cooperation of the divine and the human. Every soul must give account of himself and God. Man has an individual work to do in securing an experience that will be of value not only to himself but to others. 13LtMs, Ms 28, 1898, par. 2

God works through the laws of nature. Nature is his great lesson book, open to every mind. Christ employed the things of nature to explain the mysteries of the kingdom of God. How often we hear of men reaching out after and taking to themselves the honor of presenting the theories of “higher education.” These do not understand what they are talking about. There are great possibilities in the human understanding when connected with the true Teacher, who, separated from the perverting influence of priests and rulers, in the study of the natural world received truth in its practical bearings. God works all unseen upon the human heart, for without the divine power operating upon the understanding, the mind of man cannot originate the sentiments of elevated, ennobling truth; it cannot read the book of nature, and understand the simplicity of godliness found therein—obedience to the laws of God in human life and experience. 13LtMs, Ms 28, 1898, par. 3

Christ says, “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life.” [John 6:54.] The Word of inspiration declares, “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” [John 1:14.] This was in human flesh. When Christ came as the Word, and the Light of the world, He gave His exposition of the kingdom of heaven, calling upon nature to bear testimony to the workings of God, to bear witness to the truth. The earth has a history that man will never understand until he walks with his Redeemer in the paradise of God. “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” [Revelation 7:17.] 13LtMs, Ms 28, 1898, par. 4

John pointed to the world’s Redeemer as “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] Higher education is the simplicity of godliness; and the unlearned in our schools, in abiding in Christ, in doing His will, through simple faith in His Word, may have a knowledge of God. This will lead them to obedience as they read a “Thus saith the Lord.” And thus they will be putting into practice their higher education. 13LtMs, Ms 28, 1898, par. 5

When the Son of man came among men, He brought the intelligence of heaven with Him, for He created the worlds and all things that are therein. Man’s study of the sciences and of nature, unaided by the divine instruction, falls short of the precious things Christ would have him learn in the things of the natural world. He fails to be instructed by the little things in nature, which teach large and important truths essential for the salvation of the soul. 13LtMs, Ms 28, 1898, par. 6

Obedience to natural laws is obedience to divine laws. Christ came to all as the God of nature. He came to reflect upon all the things of nature, in their relative importance, the glory of heaven, to impress human minds with the glory of Him who created all things, to teach men to obey His voice, and impart the science of true education, which is the simplicity of true religion. 13LtMs, Ms 28, 1898, par. 7

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech where their language is not heard. Their line is gone out to 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 rejoicing as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the ends of heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it; and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” [Psalm 19:1-6.] 13LtMs, Ms 28, 1898, par. 8

Then the Psalmist connects the law of God in the natural world with the laws given to His created intelligences: 13LtMs, Ms 28, 1898, par. 9

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the law is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart, the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned, and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent of the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” [Verses 7-14.] 13LtMs, Ms 28, 1898, par. 10

This Psalm reveals that higher education which all must receive or perish in their sins. Man alone is disobedient to the laws of Jehovah. When the Lord bids nature bear testimony to the things which He has made, instantly they witness to the glory of the Lord. 13LtMs, Ms 28, 1898, par. 11

Christ represents the earthly things, that they may represent the spiritual. The parable of the sower and the seed has a lesson of the highest importance. As a lesson book Christ has opened it before us to represent the Spiritual sowing. The Lord calls attention to the things which He has created, and these things repeat the lessons of Christ. He bids the things of nature speak to the senses, that man may take heed to the voice of God therein. The things of nature speak eternal truths. 13LtMs, Ms 28, 1898, par. 12