Tuesday, June 19, 2012
What Is Happy Living?
Is it not a sad proof of the alienation of our nature that though God is everywhere we have to school ourselves to perceive him anywhere? His are the beauties of nature, his the sunshine which is bringing on the harvest, his the waving grain which cheers the husbandman, his the perfume which loads the air from multitudes of flowers, his the insects which glitter around us like living gems; and yet the Creator and Sustainer of all these is far too little perceived. Everything in the temple of nature speaks of his glory, but our ears are dull of hearing. Everything, from the dewdrop to the ocean, reflects the Deity, and yet we largely fail to see the eternal brightness.
I beseech you, my brethren, to pray that you may have this text wrought into your very souls: “I have set the Lord always before me.” Refuse to see anything without seeing God in it. Regard the creatures as the mirror of the great Creator. Do not imagine that you have understood his works till you have felt the presence of the great worker himself. Do not reckon that you know anything till you know that of God which lies within it, for that is the kernel which it contains. Wake in the morning and recognize God in your chamber, for his goodness has drawn back the curtain of the night and taken from your eyelids the seal of sleep: put on your garments and perceive the divine care which provides you with raiment from the herb of the field and the sheep of the fold. Go to the breakfast room and bless the God whose bounty has again provided for you a table in the wilderness: go out to business and feel God with you in all the engagements of the day: perpetually remember that you are dwelling in his house when you are toiling for your bread or engaged in merchandise. At length, after a well-spent day, go back to your family and see the Lord in each one of the members of it; own his goodness in preserving life and health; look for his presence at the family altar, making the house to be a very palace wherein king’s children dwell. At last, fall asleep at night as in the embraces of your God or on your Savior’s breast.
This is happy living. The worldling forgets God, the sinner dishonors him, the atheist denies him, but the Christian lives in him. “In him we live and move and have our being; we are also his offspring.” Visible things we look upon as shadows; the things which we touch and taste and handle perish in the using; the elements of this solid earth shall dissolve with fervent heat, but the ever-present God whom we cannot see is the same, and of his years there is no end, and his existence is the only real and true and eternal one to us. He has been our dwelling-place in all generations, and it were evil indeed not to know our own eternal home. This is a main ingredient in the oil of joy, — to realize always that the Lord is round about us “as the mountains are round about Jerusalem, from henceforth even for evermore.”
From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Secret Of A Happy Life," delivered July 16, 1876. Image by Jean-Raphaël Guillaumin on Flickr under Creative Commons License.