When We Have Solved It, Let Us Learn to Find God in All His Works of Nature.
THE LESSON—That we shall find the loving presence of God everywhere in nature, if we but seek Him.
This illustration, dealing with a popular pastime, points to a great lesson, the fact that God is to be found in all our natural surroundings, if
"How many of the boys and girls are fond of puzzle pictures? Hold up your hands. Ah, I thought so. I believe nearly everyone likes puzzles; we are attracted to many things which possess an element of mystery. So I am going to draw a little puzzle landscape today and see if we can get a lesson from it. [Draw the landscape, naming the objects as you complete them—the tree, the land, the water, the distant foliage, and so on, finishing Fig. 41. This completes the drawing for the entire talk.]
"Here is the story: A farmer, living near this spot, came down to the shore of the lake, untied his boat from its fastening, and rowed out onto the lake to fish. With the approach of dinner-time, the farmer's son came down to the shore to call his father to dinner. It seems that the father had rowed so far away that he could not hear the lad's voice, so the boy is still waiting here for him. Can you see the boy? Ah, yes, here he is. [Remove the sheet from the drawing board, reverse it, and hold it up for the inspection of the school. Fig. 42. After all have discovered the face of the boy, do not return the sheet to the drawing board, but lay it on the floor or elsewhere out of sight, as it has served its purpose and should not be allowed to detract from the attention needed for the remainder of the talk.]
"Yes, it is interesting to study puzzle pictures to discover in them the persons and objects which we may not see at the beginning. But I wonder how many of us do a similar thing when we see the real woods, the real lake and the real flowers? As in the picture, the boy's face was made by the outline of the tree and the shrubbery, and the hair was shown by the shading of the grass, so also may we find great hidden truths in nature all about us. The poet Bryant, in Thanatopsis says that
"'To him, who in the love of nature holds
Communion with her visible forms she speaks
A various language.'
"And Shakespeare tells of finding 'tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.'
"Greatest of all is the fact that God is there. Every tree, every bush, every blade of grass, every flower, speaks of His presence—of His love and care for us. Dr. Van Dyke, in many beautiful passages pleads with us to turn our thoughts from the things which make us unhappy—the wild rush for fame and fortune, for the attainment of that which disappoints and discourages—to the quietness expressed by nature. In his book, 'The Ruling Passion,' we find this beautiful sentiment: 'It is the part of wisdom to spend little of your time upon the things that vex and anger you, and much of your time upon the things that bring you quietness and confidence and good cheer. A friend made is better than an enemy punished. There is more God in the peaceful beauty of this little wood-violet than in all the angry disputation of the sects. We are nearer heaven when we listen to the birds than when we quarrel with our fellow-men. I am sure that none can enter into the spirit of Christ, His evangel, save those who willingly follow His invitation when He says, 'Come ye yourselves apart in a lonely place and rest awhile.'
"It is a most beautiful thought. Let us ponder it in our hearts. Let us seek to find God and His goodness to us in everything that He has placed about us. Many a man who says he has not found God in nature has failed to see the blessings which have come to him—which are his every moment of his life. The fruit, the flowers, the grains—everything that supplies him with the necessities of life and earthly happiness come from the hand of God. Let us feel that all nature is a sort of puzzle picture, and that by looking, looking, looking, we can find God in everything. And in finding Him, let us learn from nature the lessons of humility, of sacrifice, of joy and good cheer; for it is for this that God has given us these blessings. It is only when we thus seek Him that we may look 'through nature up to nature's God.'"