Ellen Gould Harmon White.

Christ's object lessons online

. (page 1 of 27)
Online LibraryEllen Gould Harmon WhiteChrist's object lessons → online text (page 1 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


3 3433 06824631 7

^ "V" x-x


" - KjVsCV'









]J'Iio Tcacheth Like Him


'cza and Herald Pub. Co. ,







At... -, ,. ■;■; AND I
^ iij^O 1.

Entcied According to Act of Congress in tlie Year igoo by


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C.

All R I trills Rcserc't'd

Entered at Stationers' Hall, London, England


» .BATTLE CREEK,, filCHlfi^.J • *■


Christ is the great Teacher; and as a teacher He loved
nature. MiicJi of His instruction xvas given as He walked
zvith His disciples by lake or river, or among the lulls and
valleys of Palestine.

In His parable-teaching Christ linked divine truth ivith
common things and incidoits. Familiar objects tuere asso-
ciated with thoughts true and. beautiful, — thoughts of God's
loving interest i)i us, of the grateful homage that is His due,
and of the care zee should have one for anotJier. Thus
lessons of divine zvisdom and practical truth were made
forcible and impressive.

In the present zvork the parables are grouped according
to their sidfects, and their lessons developed and illustj'ated.
The book is by an author zvidely and favorably known. Like
all her zuorks, it is full of gems of truth; and to many
readers it will give a neiv meaning to the surroundings of
every-day life.

The author designs that her share of the proceeds shall
be devoted to educational institutions ; and the publishers
join heartily in this excellent zvork by donating the Ictbor
of manufacture . Thus the profit that usually aiorii.es to
author and publisher will be used in educational' nWs.'

8 Preface

Notwithstanding- this the publisliers have taken great pains
to make the setting worthy of the gem, as to both the
mechanical zvork and the illustrations. The latter are by
talented Nezv York artists, and have been designed expressly
for this book.

We are sure that '' Chris fs Object Lessons'' zvill be
appreciated by all lovers of the true and the beautiful, and
that the book zvill make for itself a place in many hearts
and homes.




From the Natural to the Spiritual

Teaching in Parables - - - 17

Seed-So H'lXG

''The Sower Went Forth to Sotc" . _ - JJ

"First the Blade, then the Ear'" - - - 62

Tares - - - jo

"Like a Grain of Ilfitstard Seed" _ . . y6

Other Lessons from Secd-Sozving ~ .. ■ So

In Common Pa ths

"Lihe unto Leaven " - - - - -95

Hidden Treasure - - - ■ - 103

The Pearl - - - - J'S

The Net - - - 122

"Things New and Old" . _ - . 12^

Pra yer

Asking to Give - - - /jp

Two Worshipers - - - /50

"Shall Not God Avenge His Oivn ? " - - 164

GoD'S Seeking Love

"This 3 Ian Receivcth Sinners" .... j8^

"Lost and Is Found" - - • - • ^9^


lO' C o )i tent ;


"Spare It This Year Also" - - - - . 212

"Go into tlic HigHways and Hedges'" - 2/g


Tlie Measure of Forgiveness . , _ . 243

Gain That Is Loss ...... 2^2

"A Great Gulf Fixed'' . . . _ _ 260

Saying and Doing . . . . _ 2J2

The Lord's Vineyard ...... 284

Without a Wedding Garment - - . - ^oj


Talents - - - - ^ ji-j

"Friends by tlic Mammon of Unrighteousness" ■■ 366

"Who Is My Neiglibor ? " ...... ^j6

The Reward of Grace - - - jgo

"To Meet the Bridegroom" - ...- ^oj

The Marriage Feast (poetry) - - - . ^23

Scriptural Index -.- = .. ^25

General Index - - .- 42g

Engra vings

The Mirror of Divinity - - '- Frontispiece

The Lily ... - -. /S

"Bj the lake, on the Dionntain-side " - - - 20
'^In the fields and groz'es'" - - - - -21

Returning to the Fold - - - 2j

A7nong the Floivers of the Field - - - - 25

Plowing and Sowing - - - 26

The Tilling and Reaping - - - - - 2j

By the Sea of Galilee . . . . ^2

The Sower - - - - 37

' 'Some fell by the wayside " - - - - 42

"Some fell upon stony places'' - - ' ' 45

'■'Some fell among thorns" . - - - ^g

"Other fell into good ground'' - - - - 57

"As the earth bringeth forth her bud" . . - (5^

Sunshine and Rain - - - 66

"He putteth in the sickle" - . - - 68

"His enemy came and sowed tares" - - - - 73

Fishing on Galilee - - - p^

"There were the poor" - - - - - g6

' ' The illiterate " - - - - - - 97

' ' The robber " - - - - - - - g8

"The inaimcd" - - - gg

"The merchant and the nian of leisure" - - - 100

"The rich - - - - 101

12 Engravings


Buried Treasure Unearthed - - - log

''One pearl of great price '' . . . . ng

A Mountaiti Stream - - - /j/

Asking to G ive - - - - - - ij8

The Pharisee and the Publican . - . . /^j

Peter Reminded of the Words of Christ - - i^j

'■'Avenge Die of mine adversary'' . . . - j^j

Heaping Together Treasure . . . . /^j

"The precious fruit of the earth'' . - - _ jSq

Seeking the Stra ying ..... jg^

Searching for the Lost Coin - - - ~ ■ jgj

"Rejoice with me" - - - jg^

The Departure of the Prodigal .... jgg

"■With no companions but the szuine" - - 201

Watching for the Wanderer's Return - - - 20^

Love's Welcome - - - 20J

"He zcas angry, and ivould not go in" - - - 208

A Tumult in Jerusalem - - - - - 2/j

The Unprofitable Fig-tree - - ^ . 21-^

"/ have bought a piece of ground" - ■■ 220

" I have bought five yoke of oxen" - - - . 223

"I have married a wife" - - - 225

"Bring in hither the poor" - - - 22J

In the Highways and Hedges - - - - 2j/

At the Rich jIIan'S Gate . . . . 242

A Ring's Pardon - - - 246

"Pay me that thou ozvest" - - - 249

"I will pull down my barns, and build greater " - 2^^

"This night thy soul shall be required of thee" - - 257

Engravings 13


Children's Praise in the Teviple - - - - 2j^

"Tiie heavens were opened''' ... - 2jj

^^They saw in the husbandmen a picture of themselves " - sgj

Without a Wedding Garment . - - - ^i^

A Seri'ICE of Loi'E - - - - - ~ 324

Bestowing the Talents - - - j2g

Trading with the Talents. - - - j^/

Hiding the Talent in the Earth . . - ^^j

"■Give an account of thy stezaardship''' . . . j6S

"Sit dozun quickly, and ivrite fifty''' . - - j^/

"The priiest passed by" . . . - - jjS

The Levite "stopped and looked at the sufferer" - 3S1

"He took out tivo pence, and gave ther.i to the host '' - 38^

A Young Ruler Saluted Him - - - - jp?

. "He went away sorroivful " - - - - - Jf5

Hiring Laborers in the Market-place - - - 3gS

"The householder paid them for a full day's ivork " - 401

"The watchers become weary" . - - . 40J

"Behold, the bridegroom comet h " - - - - 409

"Give us of your oil" - - - - - 4^3

"They were left standing without" - . - - 416

From the Natural to
THE Spiritual

Nature is the mirror of divinitx

Te ac lit ng

111 Parables

TN Christ's parable-teachincj the same principle is seen
as in His own mission to the world. That we might
become acquainted with His divine character and life, Christ
took our nature, and dwelt among us. Divinity was
revealed in humanity ; the invisible glory in the visible
human form. Men could learn of the unknown through
the known; heavenly things were revealed through the
earthly; God was made manifest in the likeness of men.
So it was in Christ's teaching: the unknown was illustrated
by the known; divine truths by earthly things with which
the people were most familiar.

The Scripture says, "All these things spake Jesus unto
the multitude in parables; . . . that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open My
mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept
secret from the foundation of the world." ^ Natural things
were the medium for the spiritual ; the things of nature and
the life-experience of His hearers were connected with the
truths of the written word. Leading thus from the natural to
the spiritual kingdom, Christ's parables are links in the chain

2 'Matt. 13:34,35 (17)

Christ's O bj e c t L e s s on s


of truth that unites man with God, and earth with heaven.
In His teaching from nature, Christ was speaking of
the things which His own hands had made, and which
had quahties and powers that He Himself had imparted.
In their original perfection, all created things were an
expression of the thought of God. To Adam and Eve in
their Eden home, nature was full of the knowledge of God,
teeming with divine instruction. Wisdom
spoke to the eye, and was received into the
heart; for they communed with God in His
created works. As soon as the holy pair
transgressed the law of the Most High, the
brightness from the face of God departed
from the face of nature. The earth is now
marred and defiled by sin. Yet even in its
blighted state, much that is beautiful remains.
God's object-lessons are not obliterated ; rightly
understood, nature speaks of her Creator.

. In the days of Christ these lessons had been lost
sight of Men had well-nigh ceased to discern
God in His works. The sinfulness of humanity
had cast a pall over the fair face of creation; and
instead of manifesting God, His works became a
barrier that concealed Him. Men "worshiped and
served the creature more than the Creator." Thus
the heathen "became vain in their imaginations, and their
foolish heart was darkened."^ So in Israel, man's teaching
had been put in the place of God's. Not only the things
of nature, but the sacrificial service and the Scriptures
themselves, — all given to reveal God, — were so perverted
that they became the means of concealing Him.

Christ sought to remove that which obscured the truth.
The veil that sin has cast over the face of nature, He came

' Rom. I : 25, 21

"He desires us
to read it in
every lity.^^

Teaching in Parables 19

to draw aside, bringing to view the spiritual glory that all
things were created to reflect. His words placed the
teachings of nature as well as of the Bible in a new
aspect, and made them a new revelation.

Jesus plucked the beautiful lily, and placed it in the
hands of children and youth; and as they looked into His
own youthful face, fresh with the sunlight of His Father's
countenance, He gave the lesson, " Consider the lilies of
the field, how they grow [in the simplicity of natural
beauty] ; 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." Then followed the sweet
assurance and the important lesson, "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,
O ye of little faith?"

In the sermon on the mount these words were spoken
to others besides children and youth. They were spoken to
the multitude, amono- whom were men and women full of
worries and perplexities, and sore with disappointment and
sorrow. Jesus continued: "Therefore take no thought,
saying, What shall we eat ? or, What shall we drink ? or.
Wherewithal shall we be clothed ? (for after all these things
do the Gentiles seek:) for your Heavenly Father knoweth
that ye have need of all these things." Then spreading
out His hands to the surrounding multitude, He said, "But
seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you." ^

Thus Christ interpreted the message which He Himself
had given to the lilies and the grass of the field. He
desires us to read it in every lily and every spire of grass.
His words are full of assurance, and tend to confirm trust
in God.

'Matt. 5:28-33


C/iJ'ist's Object Lessons

So wide was Christ's view of truth, so extended His
teaching, that every phase of nature was employed in
ilkistrating truth. The scenes upon which the eye daily
rests were all connected with some spiritual truth, so that
nature is clothed with the parables of the Master.

In the earlier part of His ministry, Christ had spoken to
the people in words so plain that all His hearers might have
grasped truths which would make them wise unto salvation.
But in many hearts the truth had taken no root, and it had
been quickly caught away. "Therefore speak I to them
in parables," He said; "because they seeing see not; and
hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are
dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed." '

Jesus desired to awaken inquiry. He sought to arouse the

1 Matt. 13 : 13-15

Teachins: in Parables


careless, and impress truth upon the heart. Parable-teaching
was popular, and commanded the respect and attention, not
only of the Jews, but of the people of other nations. No
more effective method of instruction could He have employed.
If His hearers had desired a knowledge of divine things, they
might have understood His words; for He was always willing
to explain them to the honest inquirer.

Again, Christ had truths to present which the people were
unprepared to accept, or even to understand. For this reason
also He taught them in parables. By connecting His teaching
with the scenes of life, experience, or nature. He secured
their attention and impressed their hearts. Afterward, as
they looked upon the objects that illustrated His lessons,
they recalled the words of the divine Teacher. To minds
that were open to the Holy Spirit, the significance of the
Saviour's teaching unfolded more and more. Mysteries grew
clear, and that which
had been hard to
grasp became evident.

Jesus sought an
avenue to every heart.
By using a variety
of illustrations. He
not only presented
truth in its different
phases, but appealed
to the different hear-
ers. Their interest was
aroused by figures
drawn from the sur-
roundings of their
daily life. None who
listened to the Saviour

And -in the .
ami !;roves."

22 C Ji r i s t' s bj e c t L e s s o n s

could feel that they were neglected or forgotten. The
humblest, the most sinful, heard in His teaching a voice
that spoke to them in sympathy and tenderness.

And He had another reason for teaching in parables.
Among the multitudes that gathered about Him, there were
priests and rabbis, scribes and elders, Herodians and rulers,
world-loving, bigoted, ambitious men, who desired above all
things to find some accusation against Him. Their spies
followed His steps day after day, to catch from His lips
something that would cause His condemnation, and forever
silence the One who seemed to draw the world after Him.
The Saviour understood the character of these men, and He
presented truth in such a way that they could find nothing by
which to bring His case before the Sanhedrim. In parables
He rebuked the hypocrisy and wicked works of those who
occupied high positions, and in figurative language clothed
truth of so cutting a character that had it been spoken in
direct denunciation, they would not have listened to His
words, and would speedily have put an end to His ministry.
But while He evaded the spies. He made truth so clear that
error was manifested, and the honest in heart were profited
by His lessons. Divine wisdom, infinite grace, were made
plain by the things of God's creation. Through nature and
the experiences of life, men were taught of God. "The
invisible things of Him since the creation of the world,"
were ''perceived through the things that are made, even
His everlasting power and divinity." '

In the Saviour's parable-teaching is an indication of what
constitutes the true "higher education." Christ might have
opened to men the deepest truths of science. He might
have unlocked mysteries which have required many centuries
of toil and study to penetrate. He might have made
suggestions in scientific lines that would have afforded food

• Rom. 1:20, R. V.

TcacJiins: in Parables


for thought and stimulus for invention to the close of time.
But He did not do this. He said nothing to gratify curiosity,
or to satisfy man's ambition by opening doors to worldly
greatness. In all His teaching, Christ brought the mind of
man in contact with the Infinite Mind. He did not direct
the people to study men's theories about God, His word, or
His works. He taught them to behold Him as manifested
in His works, in His word, and by His providences.

back to
the fold:

Christ did not deal in abstract theories, but in that which
is essential to the development of character, that which will
enlarge man's capacity for knowing God, and increase his
efficiency to do good. He spoke to men of those truths
that relate to the conduct of life, and that take hold upon

It was Christ who directed the education of Israel.
Concerning the commandments and ordinances of the Lord
He said, "Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,
and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,
and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest

24 Christ's Object Lessons ^

down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind
them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as
frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them
upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates." ^ In His
own teaching, Jesus showed how this command is to be
fulfilled, — how the laws and principles of God's kingdom
can be so presented as to reveal their beauty and precious-
ness. When the Lord was training Israel to be the special
representatives of Himself, He gave them homes among the
hills and valleys. In their home life and their religious
service they were brought in constant contact with nature
and with the word of God. So Christ taught His disciples
by the lake, on the mountain-side, in the fields and groves,
where they could look upon the things of nature by which
He illustrated His teachings. And as they learned of
Christ, they put their knowledge to use by co-operating
with Him in His work.

So through the creation we are to become acquainted
with the Creator. The book of nature is a great lesson-
book, which in connection with the Scriptures we are to
use in teaching others of His character, and guiding lost
sheep back to the fold of God. As the works of God are
studied, the Holy Spirit flashes conviction into the mind.
It is not the conviction that logical reasoning produces; but
unless the mind has become too dark to know God, the
eye too dim to see Him, the ear too dull to hear His voice,
a deeper meaning is grasped, and the sublime, spiritual
truths of the written word are impressed on the heart.

In these lessons direct from nature, there is a simplicity
and purity that makes them of the highest value. All
need the teaching to be derived from this source. In itself
the beauty of nature leads the soul away from sin and
worldly attractions, and toward purity, peace, and God.

iDeut. 6: 7-9

Teaching' in Parables


Too often the minds of students are occupied with men's
theories and speculations, falsely called science and philos-
ophy. They need to be brought into close contact with
nature. Let them learn that creation and Christianity have
one God. Let them be taught to see the harmony of the


' IVe should study the Saviour's J>arabtes ivhere He spoke the^n^
ill the JzcUis and proves ^ , . . ainon^ the ^rass and JtowersS'

natural with the spiritual. Let everything which their eyes
see or their hands handle be made a lesson in character-
building. Thus the mental powers will be strengthened,
the character developed, the whole Jife ennobled.

Christ's purpose in parable-teaching was in direct line
with the purpose of the Sabbath. God gave to men the
memorial of His creative power, that they might discern
Him in the works of His hand. The Sabbath bids us
behold in His created works the glory of the Creator. And


Christ's Object Lessons

it was because He desired us to do this that Jesus bound
up His precious lessons with the beauty of natural things.
On the holy rest-day, above all other days, we should study
the messages that God has written for us in nature. We
should study the Saviour's parables where He spoke them,
in the fields and groves, under the open sky, among the

^'He hai wisdom /or h
■who drives the pto-w
and sows the seed."

grass and flowers. As we come close to the heart of nature,
Christ makes His presence real to us, and speaks to our
hearts of His peace and love.

And Christ has linked His teaching, not only with the
day of rest, but with the week of toil. He has wisdom for
him who drives the plow and sows the seed. In the
plowing and sowing, the tilling and reaping. He teaches
us to see an illustration of His work of grace in the heart.
So in every line of useful labor and every association of
life, He desires us to find a lesson of divine truth. Then
our daily toil will no longer absorb our attention and lead

Te a c It i n z i ft P(i rabies


us to forget God; it will continually remind us of our
Creator and Redeemer. The thought of God will run like
a thread of gold through all our homely cares and occupa-
tions. For us the glory of His face will again rest upon
the face of nature. We shall ever be learning new lessons
of heavenly truth, and growing into the image of His purity.
Thus shall we "be taught of the Lord;" and in the lot
wherein we are called, we shall "abide with God." ^

1 Isa. 54 : 13 ; i Cor. 7 : 24

/« ''the iiUi}ig and reaping He teaches its."


The seed is the word of God''

Luke 8 : ii

yrighi, iiyuo, uy I'acilic I'ress Publishing Co.

• A company had gathered H Y THE SEA OF C, A L T L E E

to hear yesus, — an eager.

''The Sower Went Forth
to Sow"


TDY the parable of the sower, Christ illustrates the things
-'-^ of the kingdom of heaven, and the work of the great
Husbandman for His people. Like a sower in the field,
He came to scatter the heavenly grain of truth. And His
parable-teaching itself was the seed with which the most
precious truths of His grace were sown. Because of its
simplicity the parable of the sower has not been valued
as it should be. From the natural seed cast into the soil,
Christ desires to lead our minds to the gospel seed, the
sowing of which results in bringing man back to his loyalty
to God. He who gave the parable of the tiny seed is the
Sovereign of heaven, and the same laws that govern earthly
seed-sowing govern the sowing of the seeds of truth.

By the Sea of Galilee a company had gathered to see
and hear Jesus, — an eager, expectant throng. The sick
were there, lying on their mats, waiting to present their

3 Based on Matt. 13 : 1-9, 18-23; Mark 4 : 1-20 ; Luke 8: 4-15 (33)

34 Clirist's Object Lessons

cases before Him. It was Christ's God-given right to heal
the woes of a sinful race, and He now rebuked disease,
and diffused around Him life and health and peace.

As the crowd continued to increase, the people pressed
close about Christ until there was no room to receive them.
Then, speaking a word to the men in their fishing boats,
He stepped into the boat that was waiting to take Him
across the lake, and bidding His disciples push off a little
from the land. He spoke to the multitude upon the shore.

Beside the sea lay the beautiful plain of Gennesaret,
beyond rose the hills, and upon hillside and plain both
sowers and reapers were busy, the one casting seed, and
the other harvesting the early grain. Looking upon the
scene, Christ said: —

"Behold, the sower went forth to sow; and as he sowed,
some seeds fell by the wayside, and the birds came and
devoured them;"^ "some fell upon stony places, where
they had not much earth; and forthwith they sprung up,
because they had no deepness of earth; and when the sun
was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root,
they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and
the thorns sprung up, and choked them; but other fell into
good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred-
fold, some sixty-fold, some thirty-fold."

Christ's mission was not understood by the people of
His time. The manner of His coming was not in accord-
ance with their expectations. The Lord Jesus was the
foundation of the whole Jewish economy. Its imposing
.services were of divine appointment. They were designed
to teach the people that at the time appointed One would
come to whom those ceremonies pointed. But the Jews
had exalted the forms and ceremonies, and had lost sight
of their object. The traditions, maxims, and enactments of

Online LibraryEllen Gould Harmon WhiteChrist's object lessons → online text (page 1 of 27)