Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Ms 53, 1896

A Knowledge Of Physiology Necessary In Education


April 24, 1896

Portions of this manuscript are published in TDG 123; 10MR 299.

All education should be broad and should have for its foundation the fear and love of God. All the knowledge acquired aside from the wisdom and knowledge of God may be regarded by the world as highly desirable, but without the knowledge of how to grasp by faith the better gifts of God’s grace, education will only increase the perils of every learner. Dangers beset the path of every one whose heart and intellect are not brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. The love of God in the heart makes rough places plain, and works those changes in character that will be to the glory of God. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 1

Few understand what is comprehended in true education. The larger number of people take but a surface view of this matter and obtain their education without considering that the Lord Jesus Christ should be directly connected with it. Selfishness, self-exaltation, and self-glorification form the sum and substance, the aim and object, of much of the education of today. Students spend much time and money in gaining that knowledge which is not at all essential, and which they only use to gratify their selfish ambition. They use their education for a purpose of glorifying themselves, crowding their minds with that which is not necessary, because they wish to be counted as learned by the world, and therefore must include everything that is included in education from the world’s standpoint. But all zeal to obtain knowledge aside from God’s wisdom [only] places God’s entrusted gifts on the enemy’s side. By their wrong practices and habits many students carry on Satan’s work, and Christ, who has given His life, that through His own humiliation, suffering, and ignominious death He might make a way for them to win the life immortal in the kingdom of God, is dishonored by their course of action. They need to learn the lesson taught by the greatest Teacher the world ever knew, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” [Matthew 6:33.] 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 2

Shall the education given in our schools be after God’s order or after the wisdom of this world, which the Lord pronounced foolishness? Shall the hearts of the students become estranged from God by eating of the tree of knowledge which hardens the heart into disobedience, and administers to vanity and pride? Shall not the education given in our schools be of that character which will give a more decided knowledge of God’s Word, and which will bring the soul into a vital connection with God, arousing every better feeling of the soul, and keeping God before the mind’s eye? This is the education which is as enduring as eternity. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 3

I wish to inquire of the teachers in our schools, What class of work are you accomplishing? Will you consider how little thought you have given to God, how seldom your mind has gone out to God? Listen to the words of Inspiration, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 2:5.] Teachers are to do much more for students than merely to give them a book knowledge. They are to act as shepherds to the flock under their charge, watching for souls as those that must give account, for to them is given the responsibility of fashioning the minds and characters of those whom they are educating. Teachers are not true educators unless they themselves are learners in the school of Christ, receiving true education from the divine instructor. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 4

Above all books, the Word of God must be made the basis of education, irrespective of previous habits and customs. Its living principles, running through our lives like threads of gold, will be our only safeguard in all trials and temptations; its divine instruction is the only way to success. What greater work can you do as teachers than to study the Word, that you may bring it into your work. Only by yoking up with Christ, the great Educator, and drawing with Him, can you be successful in your work, for where God is not remembered, believed in, and honored, evil will be introduced, and time will be occupied in baffling [puzzling or struggling] with this that should be occupied in other ways. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 5

Teachers should teach every student to care for the body, the wonderful organism given them of God, for we read in God’s Word, “What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] They should teach them that to neglect or misuse any of their powers is to be unfaithful to the trust God has given them—to cooperate with Christ in the work of restoring their minds and bodies, so that they may do acceptable service for the Lord of heaven, who “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 6

An intelligent knowledge of physiology would help students to understand and adore their Creator. By precept and example they would educate others, and would put to shame those who have pampered their appetites and indulged their inclinations to the uttermost, and who show marked ignorance as to the sure result of this course of action on their physical, mental, and moral powers. Students are to understand themselves. Many have thought this knowledge non-essential, but it is more necessary than a study of the dead languages, for it is impossible to have a true education without a knowledge of the human structure. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 7

Why is there such ignorance in regard to this subject, which means so much to every one? Thousands, yes, millions, who walk the earth, are suffering from their own wrong course of action. Should not those for whom Christ has given His life, place a value upon their own happiness, peace, and healthfulness by obeying nature’s laws? We are the Lord’s property by creation and by redemption, and He requires that we study how to care for our bodies, observing carefully the laws of life, health, and purity. It is our duty to preserve and honor our bodies, in order that we shall not, by neglect, by selfish indulgence, by perverted appetite and passions, make ourselves bodies of corruption and impurity, loathsome in the sight of God, dying while life remains. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 8

How strongly and brightly shines the mercy and loving-kindness of God in His dealings toward His heritage. He has said, “My people have forgotten me days without number.” [Jeremiah 2:32.] “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” [Isaiah 49:15.] All heaven has the deepest interest in our welfare, that Satan shall not control us and conform us to his character. “For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall.” [Malachi 4:1, 2.] 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 9

“Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” [1 Corinthians 10:31.] It is of greater importance for students to learn these practical lessons that mean so much to them than to study Latin or Greek. By showing contempt for the laws of nature, men and women lay the foundation for misery and suffering. Through the weakness of their moral powers they are abject slaves to passion. Some are digging their graves with their own teeth; others defile soul and body and weaken their brain power by yielding to vile habits of moral pollution. By this they close the gates of the city of God against themselves, for the penalty of violated laws must be realized. The punishment must come. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 10

The practice of eating at all times, and of eating too largely even at stated times, is deleterious to health, and those who do this will never have sound health. The digestive organs are kept at work, grinding like a mill, and indigestion is the sure result of overburdening the stomach, even with simple food. Some fancy that they are always hungry, but this is because the digestive organs have become weak through overwork. After the stomach has carried a heavy load, it needs a complete rest, but the overeater, thinking that he is hungry, puts another task upon the already weak and abused stomach. He has a morbid appetite, and does not relish wholesome food, but takes many unhealthful things to satisfy the demands of his perverted appetite. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 11

As long as food is taken without allowing at least five or six hours between the meals, the digestive organs are overworked. A late supper, taken by one of sedentary habits, will produce indigestion and a diminished relish for good food, because the food taken is not properly digested through the sleeping hours. The disturbance created sometimes results in paralysis or apoplexy, and is the beginning of an end which is death. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 12

The success of acquiring a good memory and a calm, uniform temper depends not upon circumstances, but very much upon the way in which the stomach is treated. If food is taken at any and every time, the organs of digestion are abused and man must pay the penalty. Nature will not suffer abuse without proclaiming it in disordered nerves and muscles, and intellect. The gourmand, for this he may be called who overloads his stomach, should remember that the nerve power must be called upon to take care of the burden placed upon the stomach, and the brain is enfeebled in being deprived of the power necessary to strengthen the memory. If a student pursues this course, he is not prepared to do the work a student should do, and the word goes out, He is breaking down through overwork. But the foundation for disease was laid by wrong habits, not through too earnest application to study. Misuse of his physical and mental powers is the cause of his breakdown. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 13

May argue that inclination is a proper guide in regard to eating. Had the laws of health always been strictly obeyed, nature would regulate this matter, but when the inclination has been used to gratify a desire for all kinds of food, it is not a proper guide. A perverted taste cannot indicate that which it would be wise to place in the stomach; for it does not relish plain, simple food, but craves for something that tastes good. If we follow our inclinations, discord will come in, for the prostrated energies of the stomach will be incapable of judging anything properly. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 14

There are lessons to be learned in this line which, if observed, will bring health to body and mind. If the habits of eating and drinking are kept intelligently under the control of the human agent, and he eats and drinks to the glory of God, his life will be lengthened. Eat to live; do not live to eat. The latter process will eventually destroy the pleasure of eating. Some make their stomach their god; their digestive organs become thoroughly diseased, and their happiness destroyed by their wrong practices. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 15

Students should have an intelligent knowledge of their physical organization. This will be of more value to them than a drilling in Greek or Latin. Those studies are not essential for their life practice, but as long as they shall live, they have a house that God has made for them to inhabit, and it is for their present happiness and future eternal good to know how to practice temperance in all things. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 16

Taking a certain course of study is not education. The physical as well as the mental powers must be exercised. Many lessons may be learned in connection with agriculture. Working the soil is one of the best kinds of employment, calling the muscles into action and diverting the mind. The sedentary habits of the student need to be varied by active exercise in some useful labor which will help him to gain an all-sided knowledge of practical life. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 17

But violent exercise should never be taken immediately after eating. For hal an hour after eating mental and violent physical exercise should be avoided. After this the student is prepared for close study, but before he takes his next meal, he should take some exercise which will set the organs of his body in action. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 18

All who would preserve health—ministers, teachers, students, any confined at sedentary occupation—should vary their program. Let the line of thought be broken up. The Lord is not glorified by any one continually suffering from sickness. The habits of eating and drinking should be intelligently understood, and the exercise essential to keep the physical organs in action should be combined with mental work. 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 19

God has sent His warning. Will human beings heed it? Many who are advocating the claims of God’s law encourage and educate wrong appetites, which they indulge at the expense of health. Although they live where light is shining all around them, they close their eyes and will not become intelligent upon the subject of their own habitations. The lessons contained in (Romans 12:1, 2; Romans 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:2-8; 6:18-20) should be studied by all. “What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” “Let not sin therefore, reign in your mortal bodies, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield ye yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” [Romans 6:12, 13.] 11LtMs, Ms 53, 1896, par. 20