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    December 1904

    “‘Back to Nature’” The Medical Missionary 13, 12.


    E. J. Waggoner

    This very common phrase is much is understood and misapplied, both by those who advocate it, and by those who disparage it. This is unfortunate; for the term ought to be in good repute, and the thing which it really means ought to be the object of all men.MEDM December 1904, page 365.1

    There is no doubt that the objection to he tterm has arisen from the fact that the users of it quite frequently, if not always, refer to the habits of the lower orders of creation as models for men in their efforts to get “back to nature.” Whether or not the first users of the phrase had this idea in mind, can not be stated; but the fact is that it is now quite generally regarded in that light; at any rate those who discredit it do so on the ground that it means that we ought to copy the habits of beasts.MEDM December 1904, page 365.2

    The propriety or impropriety of the term can be settled only by considering that “nature” rightly means when applied to man. Man was not created a beast, however near or even below that level many have fallen; and therefore man’s true nature is entirely different from that of the beasts. “Primitive man” was not a prowling savage, closely allied to the beasts in everything except form; and a return to nature can not therefore mean a descent, but must, on the contrary, mean an ascent.MEDM December 1904, page 365.3

    The last verse of the third chapter of Luke tells us that the first man, whose name was man,-Adam,-was the son God. Hence it follows that man is properly a partaker of the Divine nature, and that the more nearly he approaches the Divine, the more nearly does he get “back to nature.” Man has fallen from his original high estate, and a return to or regaining of his true nature must necessarily be his elevation. What that high position is no one can have any adequate conception of, except in proportion as one approaches it.MEDM December 1904, page 365.4

    The key note of this perfect nature is simplicity, “the simplicity that is in Christ,-for we become the “perfect man” only when we attain to “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”MEDM December 1904, page 365.5

    This simplicity which is the measure of perfection, can not be attained by the fallen sons of Adam in a moment; but we ought constantly to be approaching it in everything that goes to make up the sum of life. For instance, some recall the fact that man in the beginning wore no clothes, that is, no tailor-made clothes, and they think to end all talk about returning to nature by saying that to be consistent the advocates of it ought to divest themselves of clothing. Now there is not the slightest doubt that those who do eventually get fully back to nature, that is, those who “go on to perfection,” will be clothed only with light; but it is a most grievous error to suppose that they will then be naked. They will, on the contrary, be clothed far more completely and perfectly than it is possible to be at the present time. Man never was naked, in the sense that one now divested of clothing would be nude; his primitive clothing of innocence and light constituted the most perfect covering. When man by sin lost this Divine dress (see Psalm 104:3), God Himself provided other clothing, suited to his circumstances. A return to nature means an approach to that state when God Himself can restore our proper clothing. So much for the objection in the matter of clothing. There are other lines, however, in which man may and should very quickly come close to the original standard, and one of the chief of these is in the matter of diet. To doubt some one will at once object that the same argument applies here as in the case of clothing,-that God Himself, after the fall, gave man permission to eat all sorts of things. It should be remembered that the inferior clothing that followed the fall was a matter of necessity; it was either that or no clothing at all, and God gave it to him. But it was not so with food. Here the original diet was available, and subsequent statements concerning food were only concessions to man’s degenerate habits, with the view of restraining their evil tendency as much as possible.MEDM December 1904, page 365.6

    It has never been necessary, except in rare instances, for man to eat flesh. Fruits, including all seeds and grains, that contain the surplus life of plants, have always been within man’s reach, and they are man’s natural diet, a return to which would go far toward giving him the strength of the primitive man.MEDM December 1904, page 366.1

    It is true that we may learn much from the beasts and the birds (Job 12:7); but the chief lesson that we are to learn from them is simplicity. They are fallen to a far less degree than man is; they retain more nearly the life which God designed for them than man does. What we are to learn from them is not so much their habits as it is such simple acceptance of God’s plan for us as will produce correct habits in us as men; and this is a course of study that can not be overdone. If every one would make it the business of his life, so far as relates to himself, to eat, drink, breathe, exercise, sleep, and work only in a way to satisfy the actual needs of the body, and to build it up, there would be such a reformation as has never been seen, and which is absolutely necessary to a perfect moral and spiritual reformation.MEDM December 1904, page 366.2


    “Daily Bread for Christian Workers” The Medical Missionary 13, 12.


    E. J. Waggoner

    Thursday, Dec. 1. Stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. Job 37:14.

    Why should we do this?-Because “His work is honorable and glorious” (Psalm 111:3), and His wondrous works declare that his name is near. (Psalm 75:1.) God has “made his wonderful works to be remembered” because through them men learn of his goodness and compassion and the power of his salvation. It is God’s works that bear witness to him, and through which we may learn his ways. Every feature of the Gospel is illustrated in God’s creation; for redemption is simply the work of creating anew. The more we consider God’s mighty acts, the more shall we know of the power which works salvation in every one who believes. But in order to consider rightly, we must cease the hurry and rush that is miscalled “progress;” we must obey his injunction to “stand still.” The best work is done with the least outward show God works in quietness and “in quietness and confidence” do we become sharers of his strength.MEDM December 1904, page 379.1

    Friday, Dec. 2. Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee; or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10.MEDM December 1904, page 379.2

    AlI things in heaven and earth are our teachers, and will give us valuable lessons in wisdom, if we are only humble enough to learn of them. In them God shows us himself at work, that we may know his ways. Ancient Israel saw God’s works, but did not learn his ways; in these days men are closely observing the works of God, but are using the knowledge they gain only for selfish purposes—for commerce and war. Why should there not be a body of Christians who will show the world the truth for which God would have his works to be remembered, that through them they may be led to speak of “the glorious majesty of his kingdom.”MEDM December 1904, page 379.3

    Sabbath, Dec. 3. 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. Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you? Matthew 6:28-30.MEDM December 1904, page 379.4

    One of the most valuable lessons is to be learned from the lilies. Part of the lesson is that we should not worry, but trust in God. The life of the lily is but for a day, yet God clothes it with garments of surpassing beauty; man is created for eternity, and it therefore stands to reason that God will be at least no less mindful of his needs. But there is more than this. Solomon had unlimited wealth at his disposal, and all the lands brought their treasures to him, so that he could clothe himself with the richest fabrics, and as much variety of color as that of all lilies; yet in all his glory he was not arrayed as a single lily of the valley. Why not?-Because his clothing was all put on, and was no part of himself. Every day it had to be taken off. But the clothing of the lily is an essential part of itself,-the outshining of the life within. In the same way, but “much more” will God clothe those who trust in him, with the garments of glory and beauty-the robe of righteousness.MEDM December 1904, page 379.5

    Sunday, Dec. 4. Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do then reap, nor gather into barns: yet our heavenly father feedeth them. Are not ye much better than they? Matthew 6:26.MEDM December 1904, page 379.6

    One reason, undoubtedly, why Christians have not dwelt more upon this part of Christ’s teachings, and profited more by it, is that they have a feeling that it tends to produce idleness and carelessness. People have a distorted view of the importance of their own efforts in what is called “making a living,” compared with those of the birds. But trust in God for support does not mean laziness. No man is ever busier than the birds are, and no tiller of the soil does more toward getting his own living than the birds do in proportion to their needs. They do not sit on a limb waiting for God to place the food in their mouths, but they diligently gather what he gives them (Psalm 104:28); and no man can do any more. Men no more get their living by their own exertions than the birds do; both are absolutely dependent on God for their support and if men learned the lesson and accepted the fact as implicitly as the birds do, their lives would be full of song.MEDM December 1904, page 379.7

    Monday, Dec. 5. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. Deuteronomy 32:11, 12.MEDM December 1904, page 380.1

    Interesting stories are told of the way in which the eagle teaches her young to fly. When they have gained sufficient strength, she forces the young one out of the nest, thus compelling it to use its hitherto untried wings. Soon the little one gets weary, or frightened at the vast space beneath it, and begins to sink. More and more feeble grow its struggles, and at last it begins to fall as though shot. Then the mother swoops beneath it, and catches it upon her broad back. Here it rests in safety until it has fully recovered itself, when she drops from beneath it, leaving it again to use its wings, but yet she continually hovers near, ready again to bear it up. So the Lord teaches his people through adversity to use the strength that he provides, and to depend on him for more.MEDM December 1904, page 380.2

    Tuesday, Dec. 6. Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south? Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? Job 39:26, 27.MEDM December 1904, page 380.3

    These questions without an answer, coming in the midst of God’s address to Job, in which the patriarch was made to feel his own insignificance in comparison with the Almighty, are full of instruction. They teach us that the birds are guided by God in their flight southward, and that they build their nests in harmony with Divine directions. This explains why there is so little “improvement,” as men would say, in the construction of their nests. Being guided by supreme wisdom, they build in the place and manner best adapted to their needs, and there is no reason for changing. The lesson that we are to learn is that however well our work may be done, we have no occasion for boasting or pride; for the wisdom that enabled them to do it was wholly the Lord’s.MEDM December 1904, page 380.4

    Wednesday, Dec. 7. The stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord. Jeremiah 8:7.MEDM December 1904, page 380.5

    People say, “How can we know?” and the answer is, God has revealed it in his word. From the argument that since the birds know their seasons, God’s people ought to know of the times and the seasons, we learn that both have the same source of knowledge. The migration of birds presents a mystery that no naturalist has yet been able to solve. It is not known how they can guide their flight accurately across long stretches of sea, so as to come back to the exact spot from which they started, although that would be a remarkable feat for a man without a compass; but those who have for many years watched the flight of birds from and to the same place, tell us that the young birds invariably start away about two weeks ahead of the old ones, to a place which they have never seen. We know, therefore, that they are guided by the same One who conducted Abraham to land which he knew not of. And thus the birds become our teachers in faith that will make us children of Abraham.MEDM December 1904, page 380.6

    Thursday, Dec. 8. So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. Mark 4:6, 7.MEDM December 1904, page 380.7

    The yearly round of seasons, no less than the yearly round of service in the Jewish temple, is an object lesson concerning the kingdom of God. In the growth of the seed, and the mysterious way in which it reproduces itself in scores and hundreds of other seeds, each having the same life as the parent seed, and to the same degree, we have a perfect representation of the increase of the Government of Christ, who is the true Seed. People sometimes cavil at the teaching of the Gospel concerning the incarnation and resurrection of Christ and the work of the Spirit in man; they say that such things are “not reasonable,” meaning that they are beyond the power of reason to explain or comprehend. But the same mystery confronts them when they consider the sown seed. It springs and grows up, “he knoweth not how.” The natural scientist, like the writer of the Gospel, can only describe what he has seen, but is unable to explain the how and why. It is enough for us to know that “power belongeth God.”MEDM December 1904, page 380.8

    Friday, Dec. 9. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” Mark 4:28.MEDM December 1904, page 381.1

    Literally, the earth bringeth forth fruit “automatically.” Yet the earth is inert, having no life in itself. Dust is not only the emblem, but the very substance of death. The earth brings forth to-day, just as on the third day of the creation week, in obedience to the word of God. It is the word of God that is the seed whence all living things come. The covering of the face of the earth with fruit is the manifestation of the miracle of bringing life from the dead by the power of God’s word. Even so with the fruit that man brings forth “to the glory and praise of God.” They come from man, and are his own works, yet it is God that worketh in him, “both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” We are but dust; and as we can not conceive of the dust of the earth initiating action on its own account, so we ought never to conceive of anything that we have done as due to any inherent power in our flesh. Of ourselves we can do nothing. The machine that acts automatically, acts only in response to the power continually exerted in it.MEDM December 1904, page 381.2

    Sabbath, Dec. 10. All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field; ... surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand for ever. Isaiah 40:6-8.MEDM December 1904, page 381.3

    There is nothing that grows out of the ground that is less imposing than grass. The oak tree and the cedars of Lebanon are symbols of strength and endurance; but grass is used in Scripture as the symbol of frailty. To say that all flesh is grass is to say that all nations together are but for a day. Ordinarily, when a person becomes impressed with the consciousness that he is weak and helpless, he becomes discouraged. If a man thought that he had no more power than a single blade of grass, he would consider his case hopeless; yet this very thing is a part of God’s message of comfort to us. See the chapter from the beginning. The secret is found in 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10.MEDM December 1904, page 381.4

    Sunday, Dec. 11. I am the true Vine, and My Father is the husbandman.... I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for apart from me ye can do nothing. John 15:1, 5.MEDM December 1904, page 381.5

    This is not a figure of speech; it is not a parable; it is the statement of a reality-a fundamental truth. When Jesus looked upon the vine that night with his disciples, and said, “I am the true Vine,” he expressed the truth that “in him all things consist.” He is the parent stock whence all vines on earth spring; and therefore when that same night he took the cup containing the fruit of the vine, he could say, “This is my blood.” And we are in reality branches of him. The fact that we do not see any connection between him and us, as we see the apple hanging from the limb, makes no difference. “The things that are seen are temporal; but the things that are not seen are eternal,” and therefore more real than the visible. When we have the clearer, deeper sight that faith gives, we shalI draw real vital sap from the Divine Branch for our daily life as consciously as we drink the juice of the grape.MEDM December 1904, page 381.6

    Monday, Dec. 12. The spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed me... to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:1, 3.MEDM December 1904, page 381.7

    Whoever reads and believes the first and second chapters of Genesis must know that man is in reality what the Scriptures represent him to be-a plant, a growth from the soil. Whether we shall be “filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God,” or “turned unto the degenerate plant of a strange vine” depends entirely upon our attitude to the grace and the mercy which the Spirit of God gives. The first psalm presents a glorious possibility for the trees of God. But we must not forget that our test as trees of righteousness will be the character of the fruit that we bear, as a food product. Fruit grows in order that it may be eaten, and may thus go to build up new life. If we truly minister life to others, then are we what our text calls for.MEDM December 1904, page 381.8

    Tuesday, Dec. 13. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Matthew 13:43.MEDM December 1904, page 381.9

    The “fruit of the Spirit” is the “fruit” of the light (see Ephesians 5:9 in both versions): and this is true of all fruit-bearing trees, whether they stand immovably fixed in a forest or an orchard, or move about as human beings. The luscious fruits of autumn are the produce of the sunlight that the tree has stored hp. The tree may be very plain and dull, but hour after hour during the long days of summer it is storing up the gorgeous sunshine; and this hidden light “shines forth” in the service it renders to man, either in yielding food for his table or warmth and light for his dwelling. So in the harvest the righteous will shine forth the light while the Sun of righteousness has “shined in” their hearts. Then all men will know the true light. But the disciple of Christ will not wait till then to shine. At the marriage at Cana, at the grave of Lazarus, and through his whole life, Jesus manifested the glory of God, which was none the less brilliant because there were not eyes to see it.MEDM December 1904, page 381.10

    Wednesday, Dec. 14. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but except it watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth. Isaiah 55:10, 11.MEDM December 1904, page 382.1

    Every drop of rain that comes down from heaven returns thither, but not until it has accomplished the purpose for which God sent it. The rain is an illustration of the lavishness that God displays in the bestowal of his grace. He sends rain on the rocky soil where nothing grows, and even on the sea where there is abundance of water; but nothing is in vain. The falling rain, with sun and wind, in time makes even the rocks support vegetation in some form, or else the water appears as a spring. So God’s word works God’s will, whatever opposition it may meet.MEDM December 1904, page 382.2

    Thursday, Dec. 15. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness. Isaiah 45:8.MEDM December 1904, page 382.3

    The rain does more than merely to show us how freely God bestows his gifts. It is the flowing forth of the stream of God’s own life (Psalm 65:9, 10), and is therefore literally God’s righteousness. We may learn this from the fact that the Israelites drank from Christ, the living Rock, and the flowing of that water was proof to them that the Lord was among them (Exodus 17:7); yet the water which they drank was identical with the rain that falls from heaven. The rain, in that it causes the earth to bring forth, is life to us; if, therefore, we always recognized it as God’s life, the effect would necessarily be to produce righteousness in us.MEDM December 1904, page 382.4

    Friday, Dec. 16. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God. Hebrews 6:7.MEDM December 1904, page 382.5

    What is the blessing which it receives from God, which that which bears thorns and briers does not receive? Manifestly the blessing is the fruit which it brings forth, since it is in that respect alone that it differs from the unfruitful soil. Both alike receive rain, and in this respect both are equally blessed. But one appropriates the blessing, and is therefore blessed, while the other rejects the same blessing, and is cursed. Thus we see that the curse is the blessing rejected; and the good that we bring forth in response to God’s blessing is our real blessing from God.MEDM December 1904, page 382.6

    Sabbath, Dec. 17. I will be as the dew unto Israel. Hosea 14:5.MEDM December 1904, page 382.7

    All that dew is to the grass and herbs, that God is to his people who trust in him. How literally this is true may be understood when we remember that God is “the fountain of living water,” and that in the New Jerusalem “the glorious Lord will be to us a place of broad rivers and streams.” “All flesh is grass,” and therefore it must necessarily have dew, or else it will perish. Isaiah 58 tells us how we may be as “a watered garden.”MEDM December 1904, page 382.8

    Sunday, Dec. 18. Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. He shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. Isaiah 27:6. Hosea 14:3.MEDM December 1904, page 382.9

    How does the lily grow? Man “knoweth not how.” It grows because the life of God is in it, and it is not rebellious against it. It makes no effort to grow; it simply grows, and growth means continual advancement. So all our real growth in grace is made when we are unconscious of ourselves, and conscious only of God.MEDM December 1904, page 382.10

    Monday, Dec. 19. God stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people. Psalm 65:7.MEDM December 1904, page 382.11

    Seas are used to represent people, and the raging of the sea represents strife among nations. But all are in God’s hand, as the seas are; and the ease with which he stills the seas when they roar, shows how easily he can make wars to cease unto the ends of the earth and deliver his people from all enemies.MEDM December 1904, page 382.12

    “As a mother stills her child,
    Thou canst hush the ocean wild
    Boisterous waves obey thy will
    When thou sayest to them. ‘Be still.’
    Wondrous Sovereign of the sea,
    Jesus, Saviour, pilot me.”
    MEDM December 1904, page 383.1

    Tuesday, Dec. 20. Fear ye not me? saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it; and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it. Jeremiah 5:22.MEDM December 1904, page 383.2

    The inert sand of the seashore shows the power of God even more than the mighty sea itself. It is not the rock, but the light, shifting sand, that God sets as the bounds of the sea. While the exhibition of the mighty power of God in holding the sea within bounds is calculated to make us tremble, it at the same time produces confidence, in that it shows us how God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.MEDM December 1904, page 383.3

    Wednesday, Dec. 21. God thundereth marvelously with his voice; great things doeth he which we can not comprehend. Job 37:5.MEDM December 1904, page 383.4

    Many a child that stops its ears and trembles with terror when it thunders, would listen to the sound with delight if it had been taught that thunder is the voice of God. It is awful in its majesty, it is true, as the voice of God might be expected to be; but thunder does not necessarily mean wrath. The law was proclaimed from Sinai in thunder tones, yet it was given because “he loved the people.” (Deuteronomy 33:3.) Thunders and lightnings come from the throne-that throne of grace to which we are exhorted to come with boldness; and when Christ shall come, his voice will shake earth and heaven, and yet it will be the voice of mercy, because it will bring the dead from the graves in the freshness of eternal youth.MEDM December 1904, page 383.5

    Thursday, Dec. 22. The voice of the Lord... strippeth the forests bare. Psalm 29:9.MEDM December 1904, page 383.6

    Why do the leaves fade and fall on the approach of winter?-It is in order to protect the tree from being frozen to death; and this is accomplished by stopping the transpiration. But what makes them fall? It is popularly supposed that it is the frost; but this is not the case. The leaves fall, or are at least practically severed from their connection with the tree before the frost comes, in order to guard against injury by the frost. Kerner, undoubtedly the best botanical authority in the world, says: “The late cause of this instinctively adapted periodicity is certainly not yet explained; it is as mysterious as those life processes and phenomena which regularly recur at certain periods, which are perhaps hastened or retarded by favorable or unfavorable external conditions, but can not be stopped by them, and which the plant carries out, or endeavors carry to out, without immediate external stimulus.” The explanation, as far as any is possible, is found in our text: “The voice of the Lord strippeth the forests bare,”-the same voice that says to the snow, “Be thou on the earth,”-the same voice that says, “Let the earth bring forth.” How wonderful is God’s care for the trees: Are we not of more value than they?MEDM December 1904, page 383.7

    Friday, Dec. 23. By the breath of God frost is given. Job 37:10.MEDM December 1904, page 383.8

    The same silent voice that strips the forests bare in anticipation of the coming cold, sends the frost. Who has not been struck by the beautiful forms which frozen breath on the window-pane assumes, and noted similar forms in the frost on the stone pavement, where no person has breathed? But how many have thought that the frost was an evidence that God is near? In the cold, dreary winter God’s presence and working are as manifest as in the glorious, fruitful summer. So we may know that God is just as near in adversity as in prosperity, since both come from him for our good.MEDM December 1904, page 383.9

    Sabbath, Dec. 24. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. Psalm 104:21.MEDM December 1904, page 383.10

    When the wild beasts utter their cries, so terrible to us, they utter articulate speech in the ears of God. He understands what they say, and gives them their desire. They are dependent on God for their food, just as much as little children are upon their parents; and they eat only what he gives them; yet he satisfies even their perverted appetites. Should not this be a source of confidence to God’s people? Can they not be sure that their Father will not feed them to the wild beasts? Jesus in the wilderness, among the wild beasts, and Daniel in the lions’ den, are assurances that if we are serving God we are as safe in the midst of ravenous beasts as in our own homes.MEDM December 1904, page 383.11

    Sunday, Dec. 25. Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Matthew 1:23.MEDM December 1904, page 383.12

    Centuries ago this was written, yet it is living truth to-day. The birth of the child of the virgin, who, being the Son of God, was God manifest in the flesh, was not merely God with her, but God with us. The Son of God was born of woman, to teach us that every “son of man” is by birth a son of God (read Luke 3:23-38); and that to the extent that we do not exhibit “the Divine nature” we come short of our privileges.” As many as received him, to them gave he power [right or privilege] to become the sons of God;” but he is given to “all people” alike, and therefore everybody has the same privileges by birth that any other one has, whether he accepts and uses them or not. What an “unspeakable gift” is ours! The more we meditate upon it, the more wonderful and unspeakable will it appear to us.MEDM December 1904, page 383.13

    Monday, Dec. 26. He covereth his hands with the lightning; and giveth if a charge that it strike the mark. Job 36:32, R.V.MEDM December 1904, page 384.1

    The Danish has it still more plainly: “He giveth it orders against whom it shall strike.” There are no accidents in God’s universe. The lightning does not dart about at random, but is under Divine control just as much as the plants are in their course. Light, in whatever form it appears, is from God; for God is light. So when we see the sharp lightning we need have no fear that it will accidentally strike us. It is in God’s hands, and can do nothing except at his command.MEDM December 1904, page 384.2

    Tuesday, Dec. 27. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. Matthew 10:29.MEDM December 1904, page 384.3

    Sparrows are even cheaper than that, for in Luke 12:6 we read that five are sold for two farthings. But humble and insignificant as they are, they are given a place in God’s house (Psalm 84:3), and not one of them is forgotten. “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows;” and God’s care for us is in proportion to our superior value to the sparrows. “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Think of the exactness of God’s knowledge of his vast dominion, and his infinite care for details! He knows the number of the stars, and calls them all by name; and he knows the number of hairs on every head, keeping accurate count, however they may vary from day to day. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I can not attain unto it.”MEDM December 1904, page 384.4

    “Beneath His watchful eye
    His saints securely dwell
    That hand which bears creation up
    Shall guard his children well.”
    MEDM December 1904, page 384.5

    Wednesday, Dec. 23. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Matthew 23:37.MEDM December 1904, page 384.6

    What more striking figure of solicitous care and tender protection could be given than this. The hen’s wings afford a safe shelter for the young chickens, to which they flee for protection and warmth. Under the mother’s wings the little ones rest content, knowing and fearing nothing of want or danger. Just such a hiding place does the Lord afford for his people; and our text tells us how his heart yearns to receive even those whose stubborn rejection of his love is exposing them to destruction. The illustration is several times used in the Bible. “How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God; therefore the sons of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.” “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust.”MEDM December 1904, page 384.7

    “O, God, how excellent thy grace,
    Whence all our hope and comfort spring
    The sons of Adam in distress
    Fly to the shadow of thy wing.”
    MEDM December 1904, page 384.8

    Thursday, Dec. 29. Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. John 12:24.MEDM December 1904, page 384.9

    This is the beginning and end of the Gospel. It is the secret of creation. Life is fed by death. For every new birth, life must be given. The tree puts its life into fruit, that others may live. The mother gives her life for her child. And God gives his life for the universe. Creation could not have been a fact if God had not desired it sufficiently to put his life into it. He gave himself for creation, that he might not abide alone and after all we like sheep had gone astray, he still gave himself for us, that we might be with him. So the lesson that we are to learn is that “he that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”MEDM December 1904, page 384.10

    Friday, Dec. 30. The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Isaiah 1:3.MEDM December 1904, page 384.11

    Thus it appears that they who do not know God have actually less knowledge than the brutes. The ox and the ass are dull, plodding animals, one of them the synonym for stupidity: yet they know their owner and recognize that the one who feeds them has a right to their service. But men who pride themselves upon their intellect take their food daily at the hand of the Lord, and at the same time talk boastingly of their “independence!” As though there were any such thing in this world! No man can consistently talk about independence as he eats food that another has made and prepared for him. And since God bestows himself in his gifts, all that will be necessary to convict and condemn the one who in the judgment claims that he never had a chance to know God will be to ask him if he never ate. Truly, one who can for years eat daily at the table of another, without ever becoming acquainted with that other, must be so dense that it is useless to waste time on him.MEDM December 1904, page 384.12

    Sabbath, Dec. 31. Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord. Psalm 107:43.MEDM December 1904, page 385.1

    It is for this very purpose that the Sabbath was made and given to men: that they might study the works of God’s hands, and become acquainted with him. To be acquainted with God is to understand his lovingkindness that passes knowledge: for God is love, and with his everlasting lovingkindness he draws all men toward himself. The great works of God-great in the smallest as well as in the largest-are “sought out” of all that have pleasure in them. Mere passive observation of what casually appears to our eyes is not sufficient. His works require careful, painstaking study,-close observation; and whoever does this conscientiously must be led to say: “Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy works; I will triumph in the works of thy hands.”MEDM December 1904, page 385.2

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