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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899) - Contents
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    Ms 96, 1899

    The Bible as our Study-Book


    July 20, 1899 [typed]

    This manuscript is published in entirety in 13MR 260-268.

    God calls upon teachers to behold the heavens and study the works of God in nature. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.” [Psalm 19:1-3.] Shall we not commit to memory the lessons nature teaches? Shall we not open the eyes of our senses; and take in the beautiful things of God? We would do well to read often the nineteenth psalm that we may understand how the Lord binds up His law with His created works.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 1

    We cannot make too much of the Bible as a lesson book in our schools. “Verily, verily,” Christ declared, “Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. ... I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” [John 6:32, 33, 35.] Can we find any text book for our schools filled with such deep and earnest declarations as the Word of the living God? Then why should this Word be laid aside for the writings of infidel authors? What more precious book could be placed in our schools than that which teaches us how we may inherit eternal life? The lessons of Bible history should be kept before the students, old and young, that those who have no love for God, and no interest in spiritual things, may become interested, and learn to love the Word.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 2

    The Word of God contains all necessary information. Writing to Timothy the apostle Paul says, “Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Timothy 3:14-17.]14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 3

    Christ declares, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” [John 6:44, 45.] Christ is the Center of all true doctrine. All true religion is found in His Word and in nature. He is the one in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered, and the teacher who learns from Him finds a safe anchorage.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 4

    All that the mind can grasp is opened before us in the Word. This is our spiritual food. We are to contemplate the wonderful works of God, and repeat the lessons learned from them to our children, that we may lead them to see His skill, His power, His grandeur in His created works.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 5

    What a God is our God! He rules over His kingdom with diligence and care, and He has built a hedge—the Ten Commandments—about His subjects, to preserve them from transgression. In requiring obedience to the laws of His kingdom, God gives His people health and happiness, peace and joy. He teaches them that the perfection of character He requires can only be attained by becoming familiar with His Word. The psalmist declares, “The entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.” [Psalm 119:130.]14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 6

    It is written in the prophets, “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundation with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agate, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear; and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” [Isaiah 54:11-14.]14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 7

    “And this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” [Jeremiah 31:33, 34.]14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 8

    “And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” [Micah 4:2.]14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 9

    The Old Testament Scriptures were the lesson book of Israel. When the lawyer came to Christ with the question, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”—consider this question, for the answer is for every one who asks a similar question—the Saviour said, “What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Christ said, “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” [Luke 10:25-28.]14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 10

    This knowledge is essential for every student in our schools. If there were not another text in the Bible, this statement carries sufficient light and knowledge and assurance for every soul. The lawyer had answered his own question, but, willing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” [Verse 29.] Then by the parable of the good Samaritan Christ showed who is our neighbor, and gives us an example of the love we should manifest toward those suffering and in need. The priest and Levite, whose duty it was to minister to the needs of the stranger, passed by on the other side.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 11

    At the conclusion of the narrative Christ asked the lawyer, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among thieves? and he said, He that showed mercy upon him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” [Verses 36, 37.]14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 12

    There are practical lessons in the Word of God, lessons that Christ would have teachers and parents present to their children in the home and in the school. That Word teaches living, holy principles, which prompt men to do unto others as they would have others do unto them, principles which they are to bring into the daily life here, and carry with them into the school above. This is the higher education. No learning of human origin can reach these heights, for they reach into eternity, and are immortalized. The altar and the plough are the experiences for all who seek eternal life.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 13

    We know altogether too little of the greatness of the love and compassion of God. Let students put to the stretch the faculties of their mind, that they may comprehend the forty-fifth chapter of Isaiah. Such chapters as this should be placed in form and brought into our schools as valuable studies. They are better than romance or fables. Why have our schools been so dependent upon books which tell so little of the city we claim to be seeking, whose Builder and Maker is God? Our lesson books should contain the loftiest themes of thought. Heaven is our home. Our citizenship is above, and our lives must not be devoted to a world which is soon to be destroyed. We need the Word of God revealed in living characters. What pure, excellent language is found in the Word of God! What elevating ennobling principles!14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 14

    The question has been asked, Shall we have no study book but the Bible? I answer, Take the Bible as a study book, and see if you are not filled with the love of God. Your heart may be barren, your intellect feeble, but if you will prayerfully study the Word of God, light will flash into your mind. God works with every diligent student. Teachers who will learn from the great Teacher will realize the help of God as did Daniel and his fellows.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 15

    The record states of these youth, “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. ... And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” [Daniel 1:17, 19, 20.]14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 16

    I could refer to chapter after chapter of the Old Testament Scriptures which contain precious encouragement. These scriptures are a treasure house of precious pearls, and you all need them. How much time is spent by intelligent human beings in horse racing, cricket matches, and ball playing! But will indulgence in these sports give men a desire to know truth and righteousness? Will it keep God in their thoughts? Will it lead them to inquire, How is it with my soul? All the powers of Satan are set in operation to hold the attention to frivolous amusements, and he is gaining his object. He is interposing his devisings between God and the soul.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 17

    God calls men to look upon the heavens. <See Him in the wonders of the starry heavens.> “Lift up your eyes on high,” He says, “and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He called them all by name by the greatness of his might.” [Isaiah 40:26.] We are not merely to gaze upon the heavens; we are to consider the works of God. He would have us study the works of infinity, and—then what?—<from this study learn> to love and reverence and obey Him. The heavens and the earth with their treasures are to teach the lessons of God’s love, care, and power.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 18

    Satan will manufacture his diversions, that men may not think about God. The world, filled with sport and pleasure-loving, is always thirsting for some new interest. And how little time and thought are given to the Creator of the heavens and the earth. God calls upon his creatures to turn their attention from the confusion and perplexity around them, and admire His handiwork. The heavenly bodies are worthy of contemplation. God has made them for the benefit of man, and as we study <His> works, angels of God will be by our side to enlighten our minds and guard them from Satanic deception.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 19

    As you look at the wonderful things God’s hand has made, let your proud, foolish heart feel its dependence and inferiority. As you consider these things, you will have a sense of God’s condescension. “The Lord doth build up Jerusalem; he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.” [Psalm 147:2.] “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength. Even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.” [Isaiah 45:22-24.]14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 20

    How terrible it is when the acknowledgment of God is not made when it should be made! How sad to humble one’s self when it is too late. Why, O, why, do not men heed the invitation? The psalmist said, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” [Psalm 27:8.] The whole of this psalm is excellent, and should <find a place> in the reading and spelling lessons of the classes. The twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and seventy-eighth psalms tell of the rich blessings bestowed by God upon His people, and of their poor returns for all His benefits.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 21

    The eighty-first psalm explains why Israel was scattered. They forgot God, as the churches in our land are forgetting Him today. Read the eighty-ninth, ninetieth, ninety-first, ninety-second, and ninety-third psalms. My attention has been called to these matters. Shall we not consider the word of the Lord? These things were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come, and should they not be the objects of study in our schools? The Word of God contains instructive lessons, given in reproof, in warning, in encouragement, and in rich promises. Would not such food as this be meat in due season to the youth?14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 22

    In an assembly where the school question was being discussed, the question was asked, Why has not appropriate matter for reading and lesson books been selected and compiled? Why has not the Word of God been extolled above every human production? Have you thought that a better knowledge of “what saith the Lord” would have a deleterious effect on teachers and students? There was a hush in the assembly, and self-conviction came upon students and teachers. Men who had considered themselves wise and strong saw that they were weak and lacking in the knowledge of that Book which concerns the eternal destiny of the human soul.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 23

    The Speaker took from the hands of the teachers those books which they had been making their study—some of which had been written by infidel authors and contained infidel sentiments—and laid them on the floor. Then he placed the Bible in their hands, saying, You have little knowledge of this book. You know not the Scriptures nor the power of God. When you have taken your students through the course of study you have followed in the past, they will have to unlearn much that they have learned, and this they will find a more difficult work.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 24

    “Objectionable things have taken root in their minds like weeds in a garden, and some will never be able to distinguish between right and wrong. The good and the evil is mingled in their work. The faces of men will be uplifted <to behold>, and the theories of men to be exalted. They repeat for doctrine a little truth with which is woven the judgments and sayings and doings of men. This will be given as food to the youth, who will never know the way of life as long as they depend on such instructors.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 25

    By every teacher in our schools the only true God is to be uplifted. The prayer of Christ for His disciples was, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” [John 17:3-8.]14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 26

    This is the work God has given to every teacher. As educators you have not that knowledge that comes from God. Had you this knowledge, your whole being would proclaim the truth of the living God to a world dead in trespasses and sins. You know not the message God has given for this time. You are as blind men leading the blind. Students leave the school with a false education, which it takes them years to unlearn. The time past has shown that both teachers and students know very little in regard to the message which should be proclaimed at this time.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 27

    Should the third angel’s message be proclaimed in all its lines to many who profess to be educated, it would not be understood by them. Human theories and wisdom are exalted, and men are becoming too wise to follow a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” I read from a certain writer, “The old theology of Old Testament Scripture has been left a long way behind by the teachings of Jesus Christ. The ethics of the Old Testament fall far short of the holiness of the New.” But it was He who gave to the New Testament its sacredness that spoke the lessons of the Old Testament.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 28

    The first page of the periodical for our youth bears the pictures of men, with a footnote explaining that the publishers have received permission to place them there. Books and papers that contain little of present truth are exalted. When the hearts of converted men are filled with the great and awful truths that are living issues for this time, they will understand the deep importance of the message they are to bear to a perishing world. But many of the watchmen are asleep. The day of the Lord is right upon us. As a thief it is coming, with stealthy, muffled tread, and it will take unawares all who are not watching. God pity the people when the watchmen are asleep.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 29

    Who among our teachers are awake, and as faithful stewards of the grace of God are giving the trumpet a certain sound? Who are voicing the message of the third angel, telling the world to make ready for the great day of God? The message we bear to the world has the seal of the living God. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are to be combined in the work of fitting up a people to stand in the day of the Lord.14LtMs, Ms 96, 1899, par. 30

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