Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students
- Higher Education
- The Peril in Worldly Education
- Chapter 2 – The First of Sciences
- Mastering the Science
- True Success in Education
Higher education is an experimental knowledge of the plan of salvation, and this knowledge is secured by earnest and diligent study of the Scriptures. Such an education will renew the mind and transform the character, restoring the image of God in the soul. It will fortify the mind against the deceptive whisperings of the adversary, and enable us to understand the voice of God. It will teach the learner to become a co-worker with Jesus Christ, to dispel the moral darkness about him, and bring light and knowledge to men. It is the simplicity of true godliness– our passport from the preparatory school of earth to the higher school above.
There is no education to be gained higher than that given to the early disciples, and which is revealed to us through the word of God. To gain the higher education means to follow this word implicitly; it means to walk in the footsteps of Christ, to practice His virtues. It means to give up selfishness and to devote the life to the service of God. Higher education calls for something greater, something more divine, than the knowledge to be obtained merely from books. It means a personal, experimental knowledge of Christ; it means emancipation from ideas, from habits and practices, that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness, and which are opposed to loyalty to God. It means to overcome stubbornness, pride, selfishness, worldly ambition, and unbelief. It is the message of deliverance from sin.
Age after age the curiosity of men has led them to seek for the tree of knowledge, and often they think they are plucking fruit most essential, when in reality it is vanity and nothingness in comparison with that science of true holiness which would open to them the gates of the city of God. Human ambition seeks for knowledge that will bring to them glory, and self-exaltation, and supremacy. Thus Adam and Eve were influenced by Satan until God’s restraint was snapped asunder, and their education under the teacher of lies began. They gained the knowledge which God had refused them–to know the consequences of transgression.
The tree of knowledge, so-called, has become an instrument of death. Satan has artfully woven his dogmas, his false theories, into the instruction given. From the tree of knowledge he speaks the most pleasing flattery in regard to the higher education. Thousands partake of the fruit of this tree, but it means death to them. Christ says, “Ye spend money for that which is not bread.” Isaiah 55:2. You are using your heaven-entrusted talents to secure an education which God pronounces foolishness.
Upon the mind of every student should be impressed the thought that education is a failure unless the understanding has learned to grasp the truths of divine revelation, and unless the heart accepts the teachings of the gospel of Christ. The student who, in the place of the broad principles of the word of God, will accept common ideas, and will allow the time and attention to be absorbed in commonplace, trivial matters, will find his mind becoming dwarfed and enfeebled. He will lose the power of growth. The mind must be trained to comprehend the important truths that concern eternal life.
I am instructed that we are to carry the minds of our students higher than is now thought to be possible. Heart and mind are to be trained to preserve their purity by receiving daily supplies from the fountain of eternal truth. The education gained from a study of God’s word will enlarge the narrow confines of human scholarship, and present before the mind a far deeper knowledge to be obtained through a vital connection with God. It will bring every student who is a doer of the word into a broader field of thought, and secure to him a wealth of learning that is imperishable. Without this knowledge it is certain that man will lose eternal life; possessing it, he will be fitted to become a companion of the saints in light.
The divine mind and hand have preserved through the ages the record of creation in its purity. It is the word of God alone that gives to us an authentic account of the creation of our world. This word is to be the chief study in our schools. In it we may learn what our redemption has cost Him who from the beginning was equal with the Father, and who sacrificed His life that a people might stand before Him redeemed from everything earthly, renewed in the image of God.
God’s appointments and grants in our behalf are without limit. The throne of grace is itself the highest attraction, because occupied by One who permits us to call Him Father. But Jehovah did not deem the plan of salvation complete while invested only with His love. He has placed at His altar an Advocate clothed in His nature. As our intercessor, Christ’s office work is to introduce us to God as His sons and daughters. He intercedes in behalf of those who receive Him. With His own blood He has paid their ransom. By virtue of His own merits He gives them power to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. And the Father demonstrates His infinite love for Christ by receiving and welcoming Christ’s friends as His friends. He is satisfied with the atonement made. He is glorified by the incarnation, the life, death, and mediation, of His Son.
The science of salvation, the science of true godliness, the knowledge which has been revealed from eternity, which enters into the purpose of God, expresses His mind, and reveals His purpose–this Heaven deems all-important. If our youth obtain this knowledge, they will be able to gain all else that is essential; but if not, all the knowledge they may acquire from the world will not place them in the ranks of the Lord. They may gather all the knowledge that books can give, and yet be ignorant of the first principles of that righteousness which will give them characters approved of God.
To many who place their children in our schools, strong temptations will come because they desire them to secure what the world regards as the most essential education. To these I would say, Bring your children to the simplicity of the word, and they will be safe. This Book is the foundation of all true knowledge. The highest education they can receive is to learn how to add to their “faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” If these things be in you, and abound,” the word of God declares, “they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . . If ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-11.
When the word of God is laid aside for books that lead away from God, and that confuse the understanding regarding the principles of the kingdom of heaven, the education given is a perversion of the name. Unless the student has pure mental food, thoroughly winnowed from the so-called “higher education,” which is mingled with infidel sentiments, he cannot truly know God. Only those who co-operate with heaven in the plan of salvation can know what true education in its simplicity means.
Those who seek the education that the world esteems so highly are gradually led farther and farther from the principles of truth, until they become educated worldlings. At what a price have they gained their education! They have parted with the Holy Spirit of God. They have chosen to accept what the world calls knowledge in the place of the truths which God has committed to men through his ministers and apostles and prophets.
And there are some who, having secured this worldly education, think that they can introduce it into our schools. There is constant danger that those who labor in our schools and sanitariums will entertain the idea that they must get in line with the world, study the things the world studies, and become familiar with the things the world becomes familiar with. We shall make grave mistakes unless we give special attention to the searching of the word. The Bible should not be brought into our schools to be sandwiched between infidelity. God’s word must be made the groundwork and subject matter of education. It is true that we know much more of this word than we knew in the past, but there is still much to be learned.
The true higher education is that imparted by Him with whom is “wisdom and strength,” out of whose mouth “cometh knowledge and understanding.” Job 12:13; Proverbs 2:6. In a knowledge of God all true knowledge and real development have their source. Wherever we turn, in the mental, the physical, or the spiritual realm; in whatever we behold, apart from the blight of sin, this knowledge is revealed. Whatever line of investigation we pursue with a sincere purpose to arrive at truth, we are brought in touch with the unseen, mighty Intelligence that is working in and through all. The mind of man is brought into communion with the mind of God, the finite with the Infinite. The effect of such communion on body and mind and soul is beyond estimate.–Education, page 14.
In the Teacher sent from God all true educational work finds its center. Of this work today, as verily as of the work He established eighteen hundred years ago, the Saviour speaks in the words, “I am the first and the last, and the Living One.” “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 1:17, 18; 21:6, R.V.
In the presence of such a Teacher, with such opportunity for divine education, what worse than folly is it to seek an education apart from Him–to seek to be wise apart from Wisdom; to be true while rejecting Truth; to seek illumination apart from Light, and existence without the Life; to turn from the Fountain of living waters, and hew out broken cisterns, that can hold no water!– Education, page 83.
Dear teacher, as you consider your need of strength and guidance,–need that no human source can supply,– I bid you consider the promises of Him who is the wonderful Counselor. “Behold,” He says, “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” Revelation 3:8. “Call unto Me, and I will answer thee.” Jeremiah 33:3. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye.” Psalm 32:8. “Even unto the end of the world,” “I am with you.” Matthew 28:20.
As the highest preparation for your work I point you to the words, the life, the methods, of the Prince of teachers. I bid you consider Him. Here is your true ideal. Behold it, dwell upon it, until the Spirit of the divine Teacher shall take possession of your heart and life. “Reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord,” you will be “transformed into the same image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18, R.V.–Education, page 282.
Advancement in true education does not harmonize with selfishness. True knowledge comes from God and returns to God. His children are to receive that they may give again. Those who through the grace of God have received intellectual and spiritual benefits, are to draw others with them as they advance to a higher excellence. And this work, done to promote the good of others, will have the co-operation of unseen agencies. As we faithfully continue the work, we shall have high aspirations for righteousness, holiness, and a perfect knowledge of God. In this life we become complete in Christ, and our increased capabilities we shall take with us to the courts above.
A knowledge of true science is power, and it is the purpose of God that this knowledge shall be taught in our schools as a preparation for the work that is to precede the closing scenes of this earth’s history. The truth is to be carried to the remotest bounds of earth, through agents trained for the work.
But while the knowledge of science is power, the knowledge that Jesus came in person to impart is still greater power. The science of salvation is the most important science to be learned in the preparatory school of earth. The wisdom of Solomon is desirable, but the wisdom of Christ is far more desirable and more essential. We cannot reach Christ through a mere intellectual training; but through Him we can reach the highest round of the ladder of intellectual greatness. While the pursuit of knowledge in art, in literature, and in trades should not be discouraged, the student should first secure an experimental knowledge of God and His will.
The opportunity of learning the science of salvation is placed within the reach of all. By abiding in Christ, by doing His will, by exercising simple faith in His word, even those unlearned in the wisdom of the world may have this knowledge. To the humble, trusting soul the Lord reveals that all true knowledge leads heavenward.
There is a science of Christianity to be mastered–a science as much deeper, broader, higher, than any human science as the heavens are higher than the earth. The mind is to be disciplined, educated, trained; for men are to do service for God in ways that are not in harmony with inborn inclination. Often the training and education of a lifetime must be discarded, that one may become a learner in the school of Christ. The heart must be educated to become steadfast in God. Old and young are to form habits of thought that will enable them to resist temptation. They must learn to look upward. The principles of the word of God–principles that are as high as heaven and that compass eternity–are to be understood in their bearing on the daily life. Every act, every word, every thought, is to be in accord with these principles.
No other science is equal to that which develops in the life of the student the character of God. Those who become followers of Christ find that new motives of action are supplied, new thoughts arise, and new actions must result. But they can make advancement only through conflict; for there is an enemy who ever contends against them, presenting temptations to cause the soul to doubt and sin. There are hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil that must be overcome. Appetite and passion must be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit. There is no end to the warfare this side of eternity. But while there are constant battles to fight, there are also precious victories to gain; and the triumph over self and sin is of more value than the mind can estimate.
True success in education, as in everything else, is found in keeping the future life in view. The human family have scarcely begun to live when they begin to die, and the world’s incessant labor ends in nothingness unless a true knowledge in regard to eternal life is gained. He who appreciates probationary time as the preparatory school of life will use it to secure to himself a title to the heavenly mansions, a membership in the higher school. For this school the youth are to be educated, disciplined, and trained by forming such characters as God will approve.
If students are led to understand that the object of their creation is to honor God and to bless their fellow men; if they recognize the tender love which the Father in heaven has manifested toward them, and the high destiny for which the discipline of this life is to prepare them,–the dignity and honor of becoming the sons of God,– thousands will turn from the low and selfish aims and the frivolous pleasures which have hitherto engrossed them. They will learn to hate sin and to shun it, not merely for hope of reward or from fear of punishment, but from a sense of its inherent baseness–because it is degrading to their God-given powers, a stain upon their manhood. The elements of character that make a man successful and honored among men–the irrepressible desire for some greater good, the indomitable will, the strenuous exertion, the untiring perseverance–will not be crushed out. By the grace of God they will be directed to objects as much higher than mere selfish and temporal interests as the heavens are higher than the earth.
“God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation,” the apostle Paul writes, “through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth,” 2 Thessalonians 2:13. In this text the two agencies in the work of salvation are revealed–the divine influence, and the strong, living faith of those who follow Christ. It is through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth that we become laborers together with God. Christ waits for the co-operation of His church. He does not design to add a new element of efficiency to His word; He has done His great work in giving His inspiration to the word. The blood of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the divine word, are ours. The object of all this provision of heaven is before us– the salvation of the souls for whom Christ died; and it depends upon us to lay hold on the promises God has given, and become laborers together with Him. Divine and human agencies must co-operate in the work.
“Everyone that is of the truth,” Christ declared, “heareth My voice.” John 18:37. Having stood in the counsels of God, having dwelt in the everlasting heights of the sanctuary, all elements of truth were in Him and of Him. He was one with God. It means more than finite minds can comprehend to present in every missionary effort Christ and Him crucified. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5. “He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21. Christ crucified for our sins; Christ risen from the dead; Christ ascended on high as our intercessor-this is the science of salvation that we need to learn and to teach. This is to be the burden of our work.
The cross of Christ–teach it to every student over and over again. How many believe it to be what it is? How many bring it into their studies and know its true significance? Could there be a Christian in our world without the cross of Christ? Then keep the cross upheld in your school as the foundation of true education. The cross of Christ is just as near our teachers, and should be as perfectly understood by them, as it was by Paul, who could say, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14.
Let teachers, from the highest to the lowest, seek to understand what it means to glory in the cross of Christ. Then by precept and example they can teach their students the blessings it brings to those who bear it manfully and bravely. The Saviour declares, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24. And to all who lift it and bear it after Christ, the cross is a pledge of the crown of immortality that they will receive.
Educators who will not work in this line are not worthy of the name they bear. Teachers, turn from the example of the world, cease to extol professedly great men; turn the minds of your students from the glory of everything save the cross of Christ. The crucified Messiah is the central point of all Christianity. The most essential lessons for teachers and students to learn are those which point, not to the world, but from the world to the cross of Calvary.
Godliness–Godlikeness–is the goal to be reached. Before the student there is opened a path of continual progress. He has an object to achieve, a standard to attain, that includes everything good, and pure, and noble. He will advance as fast and as far as possible in every branch of true knowledge. But his efforts will be directed to objects as much higher than mere selfish and temporal interests as the heavens are higher than the earth.
He who co-operates with the divine purpose in imparting to the youth a knowledge of God, and molding the character into harmony with His, does a high and noble work. As he awakens a desire to reach God’s ideal, he presents an education that is as high as heaven and as broad as the universe; an education that cannot be completed in this life, but that will be continued in the life to come; an education that secures to the successful student his passport from the preparatory school of earth to the higher grade, the school above.–Education, pages 18, 19.