Spalding and Magan Collection


Authors and Subjects in Our Schools

Granville, N.S.W.,

June 12, 1895.

I have some matter which I wish to present before you in regard to education. The teachers in our schools have great respect for authors and books that are current in most of our educational institutions. All heaven has been looking upon our institutions of learning, and asking you what is the chaff to the wheat. The Lord has given us the most precious instructions in His Word, teaching us what characters we must form in this life to prepare us for the future immortal life. It has been the custom to exalt books and authors that do not present the proper foundation for true education. From what source did these authors obtain their wisdom, a large share of which does not deserve our respect, even if the authors are regarded as being wise men? Have they taken their lessons from the greatest Teacher that the world ever knew? If not, they are decidedly in the fault. Those who are preparing for the heavenly abodes should be recommended to make the Bible the chief book of their study. SpM 10.3

These popular authors have not pointed out to the students the way that leads to eternal life. “For this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” John 17:3. The authors of these books current in our schools are recommended and exalted as learned men; their education is in every way deficient, unless they themselves have been educated in the school of Christ, and by practical knowledge bear witness to the Word of God as the most essential study for children and youth. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Books should have been prepared to place in the hands of students that would educate them to have a sincere reverent love for truth and steadfast integrity. The class of studies which are positively essential in the formation of character to give them a preparation for the future life, should be kept ever before them. Christ should be uplifted as the first great Teacher, the only begotten Son of God, who was with the Father from eternal ages... SpM 11.1

The prophecies are to be studied and the life of Christ compared with the writings of the prophets. He identifies Himself with the prophecies, stating over and over again, They wrote of me; they testify of me. The Bible is the only book giving a positive description of Christ Jesus, and if every human being would study it as his lesson book and obey it, not a soul would be lost. SpM 11.2

All the rays of light shining in the Scriptures point to Jesus Christ, and testify of Him, linking together the Old and the New Testament Scriptures. Christ is presented as the Author and Finisher of their faith, Himself the one in whom their hopes of eternal life are centered. “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.” SpM 11.3

What book can begin to compare with the Bible? It is essential, for every child, for youth, and for those of mature age to understand, for it is the Word of God, the Word to guide all the human family to heaven. Then why does not the Word from God contain the chief elements which constitute education? Uninspired authors are placed in the hands of children and youth in our schools as a lesson book - books from which they are to be educated. They are kept before the youth, taking up their precious time in studying those things which they can never use. Many books have been introduced into the schools which should never have been placed there. These books do not in any sense voice the words of John, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” The whole line of studies in our schools should be to prepare the people for the future immortal life..... SpM 11.4

How necessary that this mine of truth be explored, and the precious treasures of truth be discovered and secured as rich jewels. The incarnation of Christ His divinity, His atonement, His wonderful life in heaven as our Advocate, the office of the Holy Spirit, all these living, vital themes of Christianity are revealed from Genesis to Revelation. The golden links of truth form a chain of evangelical truth, and the first and staple link is found in the great teachings of Christ Jesus. Why then should not the Scriptures be ennobled and exalted in every school in our Land?..... SpM 12.1

The doctrines of grace and truth are not really understood by the larger number of our students and church members. Blindness of mind has happened to Israel. For human agents to misconstrue and put a forced, half-truthful, and mystical construction upon the oracles of God, is an act which endangers their own souls, and the souls of others..... SpM 12.2

How many can truthfully answer this question, What is the essential education for this time? Education means much more than many suppose. True education embraces physical, mental, and moral training, in order that all the powers shall be fitted for the best development to do service for God, and to work for the uplifting of humanity. To seek for self-recognition, for self-glorification, will leave the human agent destitute of the Spirit of God, destitute of that grace which will make him a useful, efficient worker for Christ. Those who desire only to glorify God will not be striving to bring their supposed merits into notice, or striving for recognition or for the highest place. They that hear the call of the world's Redeemer, and obey that call, will be recognized as a distinct, self-sacrificing, holy people.... SpM 12.3

The youth are in need of educators who shall keep the Word of God ever before them in living principles. If they will keep Bible precepts ever as their text-book, they will have greater influence over the youth: for the teachers will be learners, having a living touch with God. All the time they are inculcating ideas and principles that will lead to a greater knowledge of God, and earnest growing faith in their behalf in the blood of Jesus, and the power and efficacy of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to keep them from falling; because they are constantly seeking the strongholds of a healthful and well-balanced Christian experience, carrying with them qualifications for future usefulness, and intelligence, and piety. The teachers see and feel that they must labor not to dwarf and taint the minds of their associates with a sickly, half-religious service. There is need of separating from our educational institutions an erroneous, polluted literature, so that ideas will not be received as seeds of sin. Let none suppose that education means a study of books that will lead to the reception of ideas of authors, that will sow seed and spring up to bear fruit that must be bound up in bundles with the world. Separating them from the source of all wisdom, all efficiency, and all power, leaving them the sport of Satan's arch-deceiving power. A sure seduction for youth in our schools, undiluted with heathen philosophy, is a positive necessity in literary lines.... SpM 12.4

Ellen G. White