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    BOTANY

    Botany must be studied in Christian schools everywhere: however, as already observed, not botany as the term is commonly understood, as a “science” in which the flowers are considered only under an unpronounceable name, in a foreign language, and are torn to pieces to be studied, and each part given another such name. Not that, but the flowers themselves as they are as made by God, and as they grow, as an expression of the thought of God. One of the texts may be: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.” Then, the lily itself, and how it grows—with all the history, the literature, and the science of the lily—will be the study-book. That will be the field of study on that text. And for what purpose? Why does Jesus tell us to “consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;” that is, to study the lily?—For the reason stated in that other place where it is written: “Israel ... shall grow as the lily.” Christians, even the students themselves, are to grow, under God, as the lily grows. Jesus tells every student to study the lily, to see and know how it grows, so that he may know how he himself is to grow. He is to find in the lily the life and the power of God by which it grows,—the means which God employs in the sunshine, the soil, the dew, and the rain, to cause it to grow,—and the science and philosophy of the growing itself, so that he may know how God will cause him himself to grow as the lily.” Then, every student studying botany that way, only so far as the lily is concerned, will, whenever he sees a lily, get from that lily a lesson direct from God, telling him what God is doing in his life, and what God will put into his life by his believing on Him.PBE 201.1

    Another text may be: He “shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine.” That is the text; and the study-book will be the corn and the vine themselves, in all the science, the philosophy, the literature, and the Scripture that can be found relating to the nature of the corn and the vine. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” “I am the true Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman.” “Ye are the branches.” Thus the corn and the vine will be the study-book for the student who has in the Bible the text, Israel “shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine.” Then whenever he sees either corn or vine anywhere, it will speak to him lessons of instruction and experience, in the language of God.PBE 202.1

    Another thing: It is impossible to “consider” the flowers, the corn, the vine, the trees, “how they grow,” without considering them as they grow where they are growing. This takes the student into the garden, the fields, the woods, where by every faculty of his being he can be receiving instruction from the great Teacher. And thus, instead of as a sluggard sitting in a house and studying the dead and dried-up forms of ants, butterflies, and other creeping or flying things which some “scientist” has caught and cruelly impaled alive, teachers and students will be in harmony with the instruction of the divine Teacher: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard.” Do not sit and wait lazily for some “scientist” or hired boy to catch the ant and bring it dead to you; do not even be so indolent as to be content with sitting in the house and reading what has been written by some live and sensible person who did “go to the ant.” No: go yourself. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways”—not consider especially herself, but “consider her ways “and be wise.” And this which is thus learned from the flowers and trees, from the beasts, the birds, and creeping things, is a deeper knowledge than can be learned from printed books. Collect all the words and shades of meaning in our language on a subject, and yet all this will fall far short of expressing the fulness of thought that is conveyed to the mind and heart when, for instance, the delicate and demure little violet speaks in its own native and divine language to one who understands.PBE 202.2

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