Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Ms 54, 1896

True Education

Sunnyside, Cooranbong, Australia

May 7, 1896

Portions of this manuscript are published in 8MR 251.

For months to come I might write upon the subject of true education as it has been presented to me at different times and at different places. I shall ever have to present education, not as it is looked upon from the standpoint of the human educators of this age, but as it is regarded by the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. When educators urge upon the students that the education essential for them to obtain must be brought into their practical life, they will use different methods in this work. This education can truthfully be termed “the higher education.” God is dishonored by the way in which this subject is regarded by those who are considered learned men, by those who attempt to cut and carve the Scriptures. He that sitteth in the heavens scorns their pretensions; He calls these worldly wise men mad. Far better would it be for them if they would become fools in their own estimation, if they would learn of Christ that they might become wise. 11LtMs, Ms 54, 1896, par. 1

Often many years are spent in studies that are conducted in wrong lines, to useless ends, and the mind is trained in a wrong channel. It is taught to grasp those things that are not only utterly worthless, but which are an injury to the mental and physical health. Thus time is wasted which might be put to good account. A limited knowledge of many things which the student will never use is gained. He obtains a slender store of knowledge upon many subjects that is of no value to him, when there is a knowledge which he might obtain, which would be of the highest service to him if brought into his practical life, and which would become a store house of wisdom from which to draw in time of need. 11LtMs, Ms 54, 1896, par. 2

So long have many students taxed the mind to learn simply nothing that will be useful, and which their reason tells them is so, that their mental powers have become incapable of vigorous exertion and persevering efforts in comprehending those studies which are of vital consequence to them. Their school education has consumed time and money, sometimes at terrible cost to their loving, well-meaning parents and guardians, but often this money and time is lost, and the misapprehension of the student’s real necessities has led to mistakes in the choice of his life work. 11LtMs, Ms 54, 1896, par. 3

Bible studies never produce these effects. Those who have not felt the necessity of studying hard have never laid the foundation for an acquirement of real knowledge of how to read their Bibles intelligently, how to obtain a knowledge from the Word of the living God, how to love God supremely and their neighbor as themselves. This is the real essence of education. Upon these principles hang all the law and the prophets. This class of education is “Higher Education.” 11LtMs, Ms 54, 1896, par. 4

The education which would supersede this, or dismiss it from the mind as Felix dismissed the apostle Paul when he reasoned with him of temperance, of righteousness, and of judgment to come, is not of God. The words of the apostle made the heart of Felix tremble. The governor dismissed the grand reasoner with the words, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season I will call for thee.” [Acts 24:25.] A very large class of people are doing this very thing. They are resisting the Spirit of God, because their minds are called to the deep subjects of truth, problems high as heaven and broad as the world. They say, “I cannot bring them into my lessons, for the subjects treated upon will so deal with my conscience that it will unfit me for the daily routine of study presented before me. I have never mastered the Bible problems. Go thy way, and when I have a more convenient season, I will call for you.” Thus God’s great Lessonbook is laid aside. It is not regarded as the one thing needful. 11LtMs, Ms 54, 1896, par. 5

But to many there comes a call which they cannot so easily dismiss. Sickness and death enter their chamber, and then they realize that they have only studied their Bibles in a casual manner, that they have compelled themselves to read it as a disagreeable task. When they stand face to face with the dread messenger of death, who says, “I have come for thee; set thy house in order, for thou shalt die and not live” [2 Kings 20:1], what satisfaction do they derive from all the years spent in the training and education, while they have neglected the one thing needful, a preparation for the future immortal life? 11LtMs, Ms 54, 1896, par. 6

“Would that I had pursued a different line of study,” they now say. “That which I ought to have gained, a preparation for the future immortal life, of this I am ignorant.” The storm is beating upon their house, and too late they find it is built upon sliding sand. Worse than wasted now seems to them the time devoted to their studies—studies that have not given them a knowledge of how to die. They have not built upon the solid rock, but on sliding sand; and the future before them is all uncertainty. 11LtMs, Ms 54, 1896, par. 7