God and Nature

God and Nature.

The most difficult and humiliating lesson that man has to learn, if he is kept by the power of God, is his own inefficiency, and the sure failure of his own efforts to read nature correctly. Sin has obscured his vision, so that, of himself, man can not interpret nature without placing it above God. He is in the same position as were the Athenians who erected their altars for the worship of nature, upon which they might well inscribe, "To the unknown God." Nature is not God, and never was God. The voice of nature testifies of God, declaring his glory; but nature itself is not God. As God's created work, it but bears a testimony of his power. 

The ancient philosophers prided themselves upon their superior knowledge, but God has said of them: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. . . . Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever." In their human wisdom, the wise men of the world, knowing not God, foolishly deify nature and the laws of nature. Those who have not a knowledge of God by their acceptance of the revelation God has made of himself in Christ, will obtain only an imperfect knowledge of God in nature. Those who think they can obtain a perfect knowledge of God, aside from the Representative whom the Word declares is the "express image of his person," will need to become fools in their own estimation before they can be wise. This knowledge, so far from giving elevated conceptions of God, so far from elevating the mind, the soul, the heart, and bringing the whole being into conformity to the will of God, will make men idolaters. 

Though it is impossible to gain a perfect knowledge of God from imperfect nature; yet the things of nature, marred though they be, inculcate truths regarding the skillful Master Artist. One omnipotent in power, great in goodness, in mercy, and love, has created the earth; and even in its blighted state, much that is beautiful remains. Nature's voice speaks, saying that there is a God, the Creator of nature. Nature in its imperfections can not fully represent God; it can not reveal the character of God in his moral perfection. 

Those who have a true knowledge of God will not become so infatuated with the laws of matter and the operations of nature as to overlook or to refuse to acknowledge the continual working of God in nature. Deity is the author of nature. The natural world has in itself no inherent power but that which God supplies. How strange, then, that so many make a deity of nature! God furnishes the matter and the properties with which to carry out his plans. Nature is but his agency.

The hand of God is continually guiding the globe in its continuous march around the sun. The same hand which holds the mountains, and balances them in position, guides and keeps in order the respective planets. All the wonderful glories in the heavens are but doing their appointed work. Vegetation flourishes because of the agencies employed by the great and mighty God. He sends the dew and the rain and the sunshine that verdure may spring forth, and spread its green carpet over the earth; that the shrubs and the fruit-trees may bud and blossom and bring forth fruit. It is not to be supposed that a law is set in operation for the seed to work of itself,--that the leaf appears because it must do so of itself. It is through the immediate agency of God that every tiny seed breaks through the earth, and springs into life. Every green leaf grows, every flower blooms, through the working power of God.

Idolatry of nature is a farce; it is the invention of men who know not God, and who are trying to keep out of sight a knowledge of the true God. The words of Holy Writ say nothing of the independent laws of nature. They teach us that God is the superintendent as well as the Creator of all things. The divine Being is engaged in upholding the things which he has created. God has laws which he has instituted; but they are only his servants, through which he effects results. It is God who calls everything into order, and keeps all things in motion.

We may look up, through nature, to nature's God. The beautiful things of nature have been given us for our pleasure. Then let us not turn our blessings into a curse by being led away from God in the worship of the creature rather than the Creator. Let nature's beautiful ministers of love answer the purpose of God, drawing our hearts to him to adore his goodness, his compassion, his inexpressible love, and to be filled with the beauties of his character.

E. G. W.

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Tested and Tried

Tested and Tried

Christians will be tested and tried. But if they are sincerely trying to serve God, strength will be given them for every conflict. They are not to listen to the false reports that come to their ears, but are to go straight forward in the path of duty. They are to learn to think for themselves, and their actions are ever to be in accordance with the word of God.

Do not go out of your way to call your enemy to account. His words of censure and malice are like sparks which, if not blown upon, will go out of themselves. Live down the evil reports of those whose tongues are set on fire of hell. If you stop to dispute, you will but open the way for further abuse. Often difficulties may be healed by silence. Let the evil talker alone. Go about your own work as one who has a sacred trust to fulfil. When you are criticised, move on as one who hears not. Your heart may be wounded: nevertheless, do not allow yourself to be turned aside from your work. Give your time and attention to matters of eternal interest.

Christ is your example. He came to this world, and in humanity lived the life that He desires you to live. Study His plans and methods and purposes. His life is our lesson book. A divine-human Saviour, He stands before us with the invitation, "Come unto Me, . . . and I will give you rest. . . . .My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

The life of Christ is a perfect revelation of the character of God. What then is our duty? Paul tells us. Christ revealed Himself to Paul as he was persecuting the saints, and the apostle declares. "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision." Henceforth his one desire was to preach Christ and Him crucified. Writing to the Ephesians he says, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ: and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

To us, also, this trust has been given,--the work of making known the unsearchable riches of Christ. How high a privilege is ours, and how willingly we should make all else secondary to the fulfilment of this trust!
E. G. W.

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Book Of The Day – Luther At Worms by J. H. Merle D’Aubigne

Today's free book of the say is Luther At Worms by J. H. Merle D'Aubigne. This book is an extract from D'Aubigne's much larger work on the reformation of the sixteenth century. You can get this book for free in our free stuff section. Click here to get this free book.