Guiding Principles in Choosing the Location. --In choosing a home, God would
have us consider, first of all, the moral and religious influences that will
surround us and our families.
We should choose the society most favourable to our spiritual advancement,
and avail ourselves of every help within our reach; for Satan will oppose many
hindrances to make our progress toward heaven as difficult as possible. We may
be placed in trying positions, for many cannot have their surroundings what they
would; but we should not voluntarily expose ourselves to influences that are
unfavourable to the formation of Christian character. When duty calls us to do
this, we should be doubly watchful and prayerful, that, through the grace of
Christ, we may stand uncorrupted.
The gospel . . . teaches us to estimate things at their true value, and to
give the most effort to the things of greatest worth--the things that will
endure. This lesson is needed by those upon whom rests the responsibility of
selecting a home. They should not allow themselves to be diverted from the
highest aim. . . .
As the location for a home is sought, let this purpose direct the choice. Be
not controlled by the desire for wealth, the dictates of fashion, or the customs
of society. Consider what will tend most to simplicity, purity, health, and real
worth. . . .
Instead of dwelling where only the works of men can be seen, where the sights
and sounds frequently suggest thoughts of evil, where turmoil and confusion
bring weariness and disquietude, go where you can look upon the works of God. Find rest of spirit in the beauty and quietude and peace of
nature. Let the eye rest on the green fields, the groves, and the hills. Look up
to the blue sky, unobscured by the city's dust and smoke, and breathe the
invigorating air of heaven.
The First Home a Model. --The home of our first parents was to be a pattern
for other homes as their children should go forth to occupy the earth. That
home, beautified by the hand of God Himself, was not a gorgeous palace. Men, in
their pride, delight in magnificent and costly edifices, and glory in the works
of their own hands: but God placed Adam in a garden. This was his dwelling. The
blue heavens were its dome; the earth, with its delicate flowers and carpet of
living green, was its floor; and the leafy branches of the goodly trees were its
canopy. Its walls were hung with the most magnificent adornings--the handiwork
of the great Master Artist. In the surroundings of the holy pair was a lesson
for all time--that true happiness is found, not in the indulgence of pride and
luxury, but in communion with God through His created works. If men would give
less attention to the artificial and would cultivate greater simplicity, they
would come far nearer to answering the purpose of God in their creation. Pride
and ambition are never satisfied, but those who are truly wise will find
substantial and elevating pleasure in the sources of enjoyment that God has
placed within the reach of all.
God's Choice of an Earthly Home for His Son. -- Jesus came to this earth to
accomplish the greatest work ever accomplished among men. He came as God's
ambassador, to show us how to live so as to secure life's best results. What
were the conditions chosen by the Infinite Father for His Son? A secluded home in the Galilean hills; a household
sustained by honest, self-respecting labour; a life of simplicity; daily
conflict with difficulty and hardship; self-sacrifice, economy, and patient,
gladsome service; the hour of study at His mother's side, with the open scroll
of Scripture; the quiet of dawn or twilight in the green valley; the holy
ministries of nature; the study of creation and providence; and the soul's
communion with God--these were the conditions and opportunities of the early
life of Jesus.
Rural Homes in the Promised Land. --In the Promised Land the discipline begun
in the wilderness was continued under circumstances favourable to the formation
of right habits. The people were not crowded together in cities, but each family
had its own landed possession, ensuring to all the health-giving blessings of a
natural, unperverted life.
Effect of Environment on the Character of John. -- John the Baptist, the
forerunner of Christ, received his early training from his parents. The greater
portion of his life was spent in the wilderness. . . . It was John's choice to
forego the enjoyments and luxuries of city life for the stern discipline of the
wilderness. Here his surroundings were favourable to habits of simplicity and
self-denial. Uninterrupted by the clamour of the world, he could here study the
lessons of nature, of revelation, and of providence. . . . From his childhood
his mission had been kept before him, and he accepted the holy trust. To him the
solitude of the desert was a welcome escape from the society in which suspicion,
unbelief, and impurity had become well-nigh all-pervading. He distrusted his own
power to withstand temptation and shrank from constant contact with sin lest he should lose the sense of its exceeding
Other Worthies Reared in Country Homes. --So with the great majority of the
best and noblest men of all ages. Read the history of Abraham, Jacob, and
Joseph; of Moses, David, and Elisha. Study the lives of men of later times who
have most worthily filled positions of trust and responsibility.
How many of these were reared in country homes. They knew little of luxury.
They did not spend their youth in amusement. Many were forced to struggle with
poverty and hardship. They early learned to work, and their active life in the
open air gave vigour and elasticity to all their faculties. Forced to depend
upon their own resources, they learned to combat difficulties and to surmount
obstacles, and they gained courage and perseverance. They learned the lessons of
self-reliance and self-control. Sheltered in a great degree from evil
associations, they were satisfied with natural pleasures and wholesome
companionships. They were simple in their tastes and temperate in their habits.
They were governed by principle, and they grew up pure and strong and true. When
called to their lifework, they brought to it physical and mental power, buoyancy
of spirit, ability to plan and execute, and steadfastness in resisting evil that
made them a positive power for good in the world.