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Fundamentals of Christian Education

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    Chapter 55—The True Higher Education

    God is love. The evil that is in the world comes not from His hands, but from our great adversary, whose work it has ever been to deprave man, and enfeeble and pervert his faculties. But God has not left us in the ruin wrought by the fall. Every faculty has been placed in reach by our Heavenly Father, that men may, through well-directed efforts, regain their first perfection, and stand complete in Christ. In this work God expects us to do our part. We are His—His purchased possession. The human family cost God and His Son Jesus Christ an infinite price.FE 429.1

    The world's Redeemer, the only-begotten Son of God, by His perfect obedience to the law, by His life and character, redeemed that which was lost in the fall, and made it possible for man to obey that holy law of righteousness which Adam transgressed. Christ did not exchange His divinity for humanity, but combined humanity with divinity; and in humanity He lived the law in behalf of the human family. The sins of every one who will receive Christ were set to His account, and He has fully satisfied the justice of God.FE 429.2

    All the plan of redemption is expressed in these precious words: “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Christ actually bore the punishment of the sins of the world, that His righteousness might be imputed to sinners, and through repentance and faith they might become like Him in holiness of character. He says, “I bear the guilt of that man's sins. Let Me take the punishment and the repenting sinner stand before Thee innocent.” The moment the sinner believes in Christ, he stands in the sight of God uncondemned; for the righteousness of Christ is his: Christ's perfect obedience is imputed to him. But he must co-operate with divine power, and put forth his human effort to subdue sin, and stand complete in Christ.FE 429.3

    The ransom paid by Christ is sufficient for the salvation of all men; but it will avail for only those who become new creatures in Christ Jesus, loyal subjects of God's everlasting kingdom. His suffering will not shield from punishment the unrepenting, disloyal sinner.FE 430.1

    Christ's work was to restore man to his original state, to heal him, through divine power, from the wounds and bruises made by sin. Man's part is to lay hold by faith of the merits of Christ, and co-operate with the divine agencies in forming a righteous character; so that God may save the sinner, and yet be just and His righteous law vindicated.FE 430.2

    The price paid for our redemption lays a great obligation upon every one of us. It is our duty to understand what God requires of us, and what He would have us to be. The educators of youth should realize the obligation resting upon them, and do their best to obliterate defects, whether physical, mental, or moral. They should aim at perfection in their own case, that the students may have a correct model.FE 430.3

    Teachers should work circumspectly. Those who are often with God in prayer, have holy angels by their side. The atmosphere that surrounds their souls is pure and holy; for their whole soul is imbued with the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of God. They should be learners every day in the school of Christ, that they may be teachers under the great Teacher. They must learn of Christ, and become one with Him in the work of training minds, before they can be efficient teachers in the higher education—the knowledge of God.FE 430.4

    God is revealed in His word. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” “And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and He that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in Him shall the Gentiles trust.”FE 430.5

    The true higher education is what makes students acquainted with God and His word, and fits them for eternal life. It was to place this life within their reach that Christ gave Himself an offering for sin. His purpose of love and mercy is expressed in his prayer for His disciples. “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee: as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” Every instructor of youth is to work in harmony with this prayer, leading the students to Christ.FE 431.1

    Jesus continues, expressing His care for His own: “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name: those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world.”FE 431.2

    Suppose we catch the spirit that breathed in this prayer that ascended to heaven. Christ here shows what methods and force He used to keep His disciples from worldly practices, maxims, and dispositions: “I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world.” Their actions, their words, their spirit, are not in harmony with the world, “even as I am not of the world.” And the Saviour adds, “I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” The children and youth should receive an education in the line that Christ has here indicated, that they may be separate from the world.FE 431.3

    “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” The word of God should be made the great educating power. How shall students know the truth, except by a close, earnest, persevering study of the word? Here is the grand stimulus, the hidden force which quickens the mental and physical powers, and directs the life into right channels. Here in the word is wisdom, poetry, history, biography, and the most profound philosophy. Here is a study that quickens the mind into a vigorous and healthy life, and awakens it to the highest exercise. It is impossible to study the Bible with a humble, teachable spirit, without developing and strengthening the intellect. Those who become best acquainted with the wisdom and purpose of God as revealed in His word, become men and women of mental strength; and they may become efficient workers with the great Educator, Jesus Christ.FE 432.1

    “As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” There is a work to be done for the world, and Christ sends His messengers, who are to be workers together with Himself. Christ has given His people the words of truth, and all are called to act a part in making them known to the world.FE 432.2

    “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” Teachers may suppose that they can teach in their own wisdom, retaining their human imperfections; but Christ, the divine Teacher, whose work is to restore to man that which was lost through the fall, sanctified Himself for His work. He offered Himself unto God as a sacrifice for sin, giving His life for the life of the world. He would have those for whom He paid such a ransom, sanctified “through the truth,” and He has set them an example. The Teacher is what He would have His disciples become. There is no sanctification aside from the truth,—the word. Then how essential that it should be understood by every one!FE 432.3

    The prayer of Christ embraces more than those who were then His disciples; it takes in all who should receive Him in faith. He says, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.”FE 433.1

    Wonderful, wonderful words, almost beyond comprehension! Will the teachers in our schools understand this? Will they take the word of God as the lesson book able to make them wise unto salvation? This book is the voice of God speaking to us. The Bible opens to us the words of life; for it makes us acquainted with Christ who is our life. In order to have true, abiding faith in Christ, we must know Him as He is represented in the word. Faith is trustful. It is not a matter of fits and starts, according to the impulse and emotion of the hour; but it is a principle that has its foundation in Jesus Christ. And faith must be kept in constant exercise through the diligent, persevering study of the word. The word thus becomes a living agency; and we are sanctified through the truth.FE 433.2

    The Holy Spirit has been given to us as an aid in the study of the word. Jesus promises, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Those who are under the training of the Holy Spirit will be able to teach the word intelligently. And when it is made the study book, with earnest supplication for the Spirit's guidance, and a full surrender of the heart to be sanctified through the truth, it will accomplish all that Christ has promised. The result of such Bible study will be well-balanced minds; for the physical, mental, and moral powers will be harmoniously developed. There will be no paralysis in spiritual knowledge. The understanding will be quickened; the sensibilities will be aroused; the conscience will become sensitive; the sympathies and sentiments will be purified; a better moral atmosphere will be created; and a new power to resist temptation will be imparted. And all, both teachers and students, will become active and earnest in the work of God.FE 433.3

    But there is a disposition on the part of many teachers not to be thorough in religious education. They are satisfied with a half-hearted service themselves, serving the Lord only to escape the punishment of sin. Their half-heartedness affects their teaching. The experience that they do not desire for themselves, they are not anxious to see their pupils gain. That which has been given them in blessing has been cast aside as a dangerous element. The offered visits of the Holy Spirit are met with the words of Felix to Paul, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” Other blessings they desire; but that which God is more willing to give than a father to give good gifts to his children; that Holy Spirit, which is offered abundantly according to the infinite fullness of God, and which, if received, would bring all other blessings in its train,—what words shall I use sufficiently to express what has been [done] with reference to it? The heavenly messenger has been repulsed by the determined will. “Thus far shalt Thou go with my students, but no farther. We need no enthusiasm in our school, no excitement. We are much better satisfied to work with the students ourselves.” It is thus that despite has been done to God's gracious messenger, the Holy Spirit.FE 434.1

    Are not the teachers in our schools in danger of blasphemy, of charging the Holy Spirit of God with being a deceiving power, and leading into fanaticism. Where are the educators that choose the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field, or the cold, flowing waters that come from another place, instead of the murky waters of the valley? A succession of showers from the living waters has come to you at Battle Creek. Each shower was a consecrated inflowing of divine influence; but you did not recognize it as such. Instead of drinking copiously of the streams of salvation, so freely offered through the influence of the Holy Spirit, you turned to common sewers, and tried to satisfy your soul-thirst with the polluted waters of human science. The result has been parched hearts in the school and in the church. Those who are satisfied with little spirituality have gone far in unfitting themselves to appreciate the deep movings of the Spirit of God. But I hope the teachers have not yet passed the line where they are given over to hardness of heart and blindness of mind. If they are again visited by the Holy Spirit, I hope they will not call righteousness sin, and sin righteousness.FE 434.2

    There is need of heart conversions among the teachers. A genuine change of thoughts and methods of teaching is required to place them where they will have a personal relation to a living Saviour. It is one thing to assent to the Spirit's work in conversion, and another thing to accept that Spirit's agency as a reprover, calling to repentance. It is necessary that both teachers and students not only assent to truth, but have a deep, practical knowledge of the operations of the Spirit. Its cautions are given because of the unbelief of those who profess to be Christians. God will come near to the students because they are misled by the educators in whom they put confidence; but both teachers and students need to be able to recognize the voice of the Shepherd.FE 435.1

    You who have long lost the spirit of prayer, pray, pray, earnestly, “Pity Thy suffering cause; pity the church; pity the individual believers, Thou Father of mercies. Take from us everything that defiles, deny us what Thou wilt; but take not from us Thy Holy Spirit.”FE 435.2

    There are and ever will be persons who do not move wisely, who will, if words of doubt or unbelief are spoken, throw off conviction and choose to follow their own will; and because of their deficiencies Christ has been reproached. Poor finite mortals have judged the rich and precious outpouring of the Spirit, and passed sentence upon it, as the Jews passed sentence upon the work of Christ. Let it be understood in every institution in America that it is not commissioned to you to direct the work of the Holy Spirit, and tell how it shall represent itself. You have been guilty of doing this. May the Lord forgive you, is my prayer. Instead of being repressed and driven back, as it has been, the Holy Spirit should be welcomed and its presence encouraged. When you sanctify yourself through obedience to the word, the Holy Spirit will give you glimpses of heavenly things. When you seek God with humiliation and earnestness, the words which you have spoken in freezing accents will burn in your hearts; the truth will not then languish upon your tongues.FE 435.3

    Eternal interest should be the great theme of teachers and students. Conformity to the world should be strictly guarded against. The teachers need to be sanctified through the truth, and the all-important thing should be the conversion of their students, that they may have a new heart and life. The object of the Great Teacher is the restoration of the image of God in the soul, and every teacher in our schools should work in harmony with this purpose.FE 436.1

    Teachers, trust in God, and go forward, “My grace is sufficient for you” is the assurance of the Great Teacher. Catch the inspiration of the words, and never, never talk doubt and unbelief. Be energetic. There is no half-and-half service in pure and undefiled religion. “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.” The very highest sanctified ambition is demanded of those who believe the word of God.FE 436.2

    Teachers, tell your students that the Lord Jesus Christ has made every provision that they should go onward, conquering and to conquer. Lead them to trust in the divine promise: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth [talks faith one moment, and acts unbelief the next] is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”FE 436.3

    From God, the fountain of wisdom, proceeds all the knowledge that is of value to man, all that the intellect can grasp or retain. The fruit of the tree representing good and evil is not to be eagerly plucked, because it is recommended by one who was once a bright angel in glory. He has said that if men eat thereof, they shall know good and evil. But let it alone. The true knowledge comes not from infidels or wicked men. The word of God is light and truth. The true light shines from Jesus Christ, who “lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” From the Holy Spirit proceeds divine knowledge. He knows what humanity needs to promote peace, happiness, and restfulness here in this world, and secure eternal rest in the kingdom of God.FE 437.1

    “I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”—Special Testimonies On Education, June 12, 1896.FE 437.2

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