Ellen G. White Writings

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Fundamentals of Christian Education, Page 438

Chapter 56—Christ's Example in Contrast with Formalism

Of the Lord Jesus Christ in His youth, the divine testimony is given, “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” After the visit to Jerusalem in His boyhood, He returned with His parents, “and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.... And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

In the days of Christ, the educators of the youth were formalists. During His ministry, Jesus declared to the rabbis, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” And He charged them with “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Tradition was dwelt upon, amplified, and reverenced far above the Scriptures. The sayings of men, and an endless round of ceremonies, occupied so large a share of the student's life, that the education which imparts a knowledge of God was neglected. The great teachers were continually enlarging upon little things, specifying every detail to be observed in the ceremonies of religion, and making its observance a matter of highest obligation. They paid “tithe of mint and anise and cummin,” while they “omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.” Thus there was brought in a mass of rubbish that hid from the view of the youth the great essentials of the service of God.

In the educational system there was no place for that personal experience in which the soul learns for itself the power of a “Thus saith the Lord,” and gains that reliance upon the divine word which alone can bring peace, and power with God. Busied with the round of forms, the students in these schools found no quiet hours in which to commune with God and hear His voice speaking to their hearts. That which the rabbis regarded as superior education was in reality the

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