Ellen G. White Writings

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Australasian Union Conference Record

July 12, 1899

The Higher Education

(Address by Mrs. E. G. White)

July 10, 10 A.M.

I desire that we shall know the very path we are to travel, the very grace we are to receive, in order that we may obtain our life insurance policy in the kingdom of God. “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your 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. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”

How many there are that forget. They forget that they were baptized, to rise out of the water to live in the likeness of Christ's resurrection.

“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall.” Every one of us can make our election sure or we can make it a failure. “If ye do these things ye shall never fall.” If we live on the plan of addition, God will work for us on the plan of multiplication.”

The one who appreciates the Word of eternal life will be a most diligent worker. He is to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling. Why the fear? you say. Why the trembling? Lest he shall in some way make crooked paths for his feet. He is to place himself in such a position that he can keep his eyes fixed on Jesus. He is to behold Him and His character. Those who do this live on the plan of addition, not the plan of subtraction.

“Add to your faith.” You have faith in Jesus Christ as your Saviour. All should have faith in Him as a Saviour. We are to work in accordance with that faith. We show our faith by working, by keeping our eyes fixed on the mark of the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus.

He who beholds Jesus, realizing what He is to us and what we are to Him, will be diligent. He will live on the plan of addition, adding to his 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. This is a process of growth. He who co-operates with Christ will not be found tomorrow where he is today. Every day he will follow on to know the Lord, that he may know that His going forth is prepared as the morning. Of those who live in this way it will be written at last, “Ye are complete in Him.”

We are to work not merely for our own souls, but for the souls of all with whom we are connected. Parents are to keep before them the point to which they should work—the perfection of the characters of their children. They are to strive earnestly to perfect the characters of their children, because the future immortal life will show the result of the work they have done. Those parents who educate their children aright, weeding out every unruly trait, are fitting them to become missionaries for Christ in truth, in righteousness, in holiness. He who in his childhood does service for God, adding to his 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, is fitting himself to hear the words, “Child, come up higher; enter the higher school.” Do you think we shall not learn anything there? We have not the slightest idea of what will then be opened before us. With Christ we shall walk before the living waters. He will open before us the beauty and glory of nature. He will show us what He is to us and what we are to Him. There are lessons we do not know now that we shall know hereafter.

The education that is to be given in our families is this. The child that lives the life of Christ, studies the character of Christ, the child who is prayed with and prayed for, will be prepared to enter the higher grade.

Can we suppose that parents who have neglected or indulged their children, letting them, because it is easier, follow their own way, stand on the same footing as parents who have followed the will and way of God? Churches have been troubled by the defective characters of parents and the defective characters of their children. What have they been bringing to the foundation? Only wood, hay, and stubble. They may be saved and their children may be saved, because they have at last awakened to their defects; but will they be regarded in the same light as are those whose lives have been devoted to the service of Christ? As one star differeth from another star in glory, so it will be with the saints in light.

It means everything to us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. God works in us, to will and to do of His good pleasure. If we let Him work He will work. Our reward in heaven above depends on our daily walk and conversation here below. We can be Christians here. And to be a Christian it is not necessary that we live in depression, mourning because we cannot have our own way. If we are Christians indeed Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. This brings a light into the chambers of the mind and the soul-temple which nothing can put out. We need religion in the soul. We need to carry out the principles of true godliness.

True education embraces not merely a training of the intellect, but is a symmetrical development of all the powers—physical, mental, and moral. It is the inculcation of those ideas which will impress the mind and heart with the knowledge of God the Creator and Jesus Christ the Redeemer. It should ever be kept before the students in our schools that higher education is an experimental knowledge of the plan of salvation, and that knowledge is secured by earnestly and diligently searching the Scriptures. Such an education will renew the mind and transform the character, restoring the image of God in the soul. This is the education which will strengthen and fortify the mind against the deceptive whisperings of the adversary of souls, and enable us to understand the voice of God. It will fit the learner to become a co-worker with Jesus Christ, dispelling the moral darkness and bringing light and knowledge into the world. It is the simplicity of godliness—our passport from the preparatory school of earth to the higher school above.

Higher education is found in the words spoken by our Lord and Saviour, the Great Teacher sent by God. Having stood in the councils of God, the elements of truth from the least to the greatest were always familiar to his mind. All the treasures of heaven were included in the gospel, and were given to him to bestow upon the fallen race, that every soul might receive the help needed to break the chain which bound him a slave to sin, and to become free in Christ Jesus. He spoke with the power and authority of a divine oracle, and with a knowledge that he was unfolding truth of the highest magnitude—even the words of eternal life.

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 the Lord Jehovah did not deem the principle of salvation complete while invested only with His own love. By His own appointment He has placed at His altar an Advocate clothed in His nature. As our Intercessor, his office work is to introduce us to God as His sons and daughters. Christ intercedes in behalf of those who receive Him. To them He gives power, by virtue of His own merits, to become members of the royal family—children of the heavenly King. And the Father demonstrates His infinite love for Christ, who paid our ransom by His blood, 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.

This is the science of salvation, the science of true godliness, the true science of all education which the student can take with him into the higher grade—the courts above. That which heaven deems important in all education is that kind of knowledge which has been revealed from eternity, and which enters into the purposes of God, expressing His mind and revealing His glory. To obtain this education is the study of the angels of God and of all the heavenly intelligences. The themes which should absorb our attention in this life, and which will demand study throughout the eternal ages, are so momentous that they not only supersede the discoveries of man, but engross the undivided attention of the only begotten Son of God.

This education can be gained only from a study of God's Word. It will ennoble and expand the intellect, and strengthen the spiritual powers. It 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 will secure to him a wealth of learning which is imperishable. Without this knowledge it is certain that man will lose eternal life; but, possessing it, he will be fitted to become a companion of the saints in light.

Centuries ago, when enshrouded in the pillar of cloud, Christ, through Moses, instructed the Israelites how they were to teach their children, Moses received, direct from God, the lessons he was to give to the people. “And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up.... Keep, therefore, and do them, for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’”

... And the Lord said unto Moses, “Write thou these words; for after the tenor of these words have I made a covenant with thee and with Israel.” ... And He wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant. In giving this remarkable instruction to Moses, God taught that His chosen people should be the repository of truth for the whole world. There can be no higher education than this; none more pure or none more precious for all mankind.

If our youth obtain that knowledge they will be able to gain all the rest 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 could give them a character approved of God.

Christ is the greatest Teacher, the greatest Benefactor upon whom the world will ever look. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the Light of the world, ascending the firmament of truth and shining in clear, distinct rays. Should He withdraw His beams the world would be shrouded in eternal darkness. He contemplated the situation of the world. He saw that eternal interests were involved in the choice man should make—an immortal crown for the overcomer, unhappiness and eternal ruin for those who should neglect the higher education—the science of salvation. He rejoiced in the anticipation of doing for His followers more than they could ask or think. He came to our world to mould character and give mental power. His mission to earth was to shed abroad the bright beams of true education, that our pursuits and aims in this life might not be misapplied and lost; for we may carry with us all the treasure of knowledge which gives us a fitness for the life that measures with the life of God.

All who learn the science of salvation must be submissive students in the school of Christ, that the soul-temple may be the abiding place of the Most High. If we would learn of Christ we must be emptied of every proud possession, that He may imprint His image upon the soul. It was because of a close connection with the living God that Daniel received true education, and knowledge, and understanding and wisdom. By abiding in Christ, by doing His will, by simple faith in His word, even the unlearned may have this knowledge. To these humble, trusting ones the Lord Jesus reveals that all knowledge not perverted by the wisdom and sayings of men leads heavenward.

The teachings of Christ were of an entirely practical nature. By the use of parables He brought the eternal future to view. Some were afraid of His searching truths; others who listened to His teachings came to Him privately and sought an explanation. This was the desire that Christ wished to arouse, that He might give them more definite instruction. None will come in vain to Christ to inquire for a clearer knowledge of truth, for He has declared, “If any will do the will of God he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of Myself.” Those who have yielded their will to God are receiving a training in Christ's school to do all the justice possible to His divinity. Those who study His word, with hearts opened to receive the impressions made by the Holy Spirit, will not complain that they cannot see clearly the meaning of His word. He will unfold to them the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and these mysteries will be understood by the heart that longs to know the truth. A heavenly light will shine into the soul-temple, and be revealed unto others as the bright shining of a lamp on a dark path. When the mind is not clear it is the privilege of all to go to the Great Teacher and ask Him who uttered those mysterious truths to enlighten the understanding. In Christ's name our petitions ascend to the Father. He intercedes in our behalf, and the Father lays open all the treasures of His wisdom and grace for our appropriation, to enjoy and to communicate to others.

The message of deliverance is granted to all. We are to wear Christ's yoke and bear His burden. What is redemption? It is that process by which the soul is trained for heaven, and it requires something higher, something more divine than the mere knowledge of books. This training means a knowledge of Christ; it means emancipation from ideas, from habits and practices that have been gained in the school of the Prince of Darkness. The soul must be delivered from habits and practices which are opposed to loyalty to God. In this life we are to learn submission to the Divine will, or we shall not be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven. True religion enables a man to overcome stubbornness, pride, selfishness, worldly ambition, questioning, and unbelief. There is grace and strength in Christ to enable us to rise above the alluring, infatuating temptations of Satan and lead us to the Cross of Calvary, that we may become active, devoted, loyal workers for the cause of truth.

The truths contained in the Scriptures are grand, elevating, uplifting, ennobling. If the lost image of God is restored during probationary time these truths must be cherished. They are graced with such simplicity that they could not have originated in any human mind. A Sower from a higher world went forth to sow the seeds of truth. Only this higher phase of education is able to prepare students for the higher life—the highest grade in the highest school, where, with Christ and God as teachers, we shall throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity learn how best to magnify and glorify God's name.

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