The Review and Herald

599/1902

November 10, 1891

Books in Our School

EGW

In the work of educating the youth in our schools, it will be a difficult matter to retain the influence of God's Holy Spirit, and at the same time hold fast to erroneous principles. The light shining upon those who have eyes to see, cannot be mingled with the darkness of heresy and error found in many of the text-books recommended to the students in our colleges. Both teachers and pupils have thought that in order to obtain an education, it was necessary to study the productions of writers who teach infidelity, because their works contain some bright gems of thought. But who was the orginator of these gems of thought? It was God and God alone; for he is the source of all light. Are not all things essential for the health and growth of the spiritual and moral nature found in the pages of Holy Writ? Is not Christ our living head? And are not we to grow up in him to the full stature of men and women? Can an impure fountain send forth sweet waters? Why should we wade through the mass of error contained in the works of pagans and infidels, for the sake of obtaining the benefit of a few intellectual truths, when all truth is at our command? RH November 10, 1891, par. 1

Man can accomplish nothing good without God. He is the originator of every ray of light that has pierced the darkness of the world. All that is of value comes from God, and belongs to him. There is a reason that the agents of the enemy sometimes display remarkable wisdom. Satan himself was educated and disciplined in the heavenly courts, and he has a knowledge of good as well as of evil. He mingles the precious with the vile, and this is what gives him his power of deceiving the sons of men. But because Satan has stolen the livery of heaven in order that he may exercise an influence in his usurped dominions, shall those who have been sitting in darkness and have seen a great light, turn from the light to recommend darkness? Shall those who have known the oracles of God recommend our students to study the books that express pagan or infidel sentiments, that they may become intelligent? Satan has his agents, educated after his methods, inspired by his spirit, and adapted to do his works; but shall we co-operate with them? Shall we, as Christians, recommend the works of his agents as valuable, even essential to the attainment of an education? RH November 10, 1891, par. 2

The Lord himself has signified that schools should be established among us in order that true knowledge may be obtained. No teacher in our schools should suggest the idea that, in order to have the right discipline, it is essential to study text-books expressing pagan and infidel sentiments. Students who are thus educated, are not competent to become educators in their turn; for they are filled with the subtle sophistries of the enemy. The study of works that in any way express infidel sentiments is like handling black coals; for a man cannot be undefiled in mind who thinks along the line of skepticism. In going to such sources for knowledge, are we not turning away from the snow of Lebanon to drink from the turbid water of the valley? RH November 10, 1891, par. 3

Men who turn away from the knowledge of God, have placed their minds under the control of their master, Satan, and he trains them to be his servants. The less the productions expressing infidel views are brought before the youth, the better. Evil angels are ever on the alert that they may exalt before the minds of the youth that which will do them injury, and as books expressing infidel and pagan sentiments are read, these unseen agents of evil seek to impress those who study them with the spirit of questioning and unbelief. Those who drink from these polluted channels do not thirst for the waters of life; for they are satisfied with the broken cisterns of the world. They think they have the treasures of knowledge, when they are hoarding that which is but wood and hay and stubble, not worth gaining, not worth keeping. Their self-esteem, their idea that a superficial knowledge of things constitutes education, makes them boastful and self-satisfied, when they are as were the Pharisees, ignorant of the Scriptures and the power of God. RH November 10, 1891, par. 4

O that our youth would treasure up the knowledge that is imperishable, that they can carry with them into the future, immortal life, the knowledge that is represented as gold and silver and precious stones. The class of educators and learners who deem themselves wise, know nothing as they ought to know it. They need to learn meekness and lowliness in the school of Christ, that they may esteem highly that which heaven regards as excellent. Those who receive a valuable education, one that will be as enduring as eternity, will not be regarded as the world's best educated men. But the Scriptures declare that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” This kind of knowledge is below par in the estimation of the world, and yet it is essential for every youth to become wise in the Scriptures, if he would have eternal life. The apostle says, “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.” This is broad enough. Let all seek to comprehend, to the full extent of their powers, the meaning of the word of God. A mere superficial reading of the inspired word will be of little advantage; for every statement made in the sacred pages requires thoughtful contemplation. It is true that some passages do not require as earnest concentration as do others; for their meaning is more evident. But the student of the word of God should seek to understand the bearing of one passage upon another until the chain of truth is revealed to his vision. As veins of precious ore are hidden beneath the surface of the earth, so spiritual riches are concealed in the passages of Holy Writ, and it requires mental effort and prayerful attention to discover the hidden meaning of the word of God. Let every student who values the heavenly treasure put to the stretch his mental and spiritual powers, and sink the shaft deep into the mine of truth, that he may obtain the celestial gold, that wisdom which will make him wise unto salvation. RH November 10, 1891, par. 5

If half the zeal manifested in seeking to comprehend the bright ideas of infidels, were manifested in studying the plan of salvation, thousands who are now in darkness, would be charmed with the wisdom, the purity, the elevation of the provisions of God in our behalf; they would be lifted out and away from themselves in wonder and amazement at the love and condescension of God in giving his only begotten Son for a fallen race. How is it that many are satisfied to drink at the turbid streams that flow in the murky valley, when they might refresh their souls at the living streams of the mountains? The prophet asks, “Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? Or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken?” The Lord answers, “My people hath forsaken me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, in a way not cast up.” RH November 10, 1891, par. 6

It is a sad fact that men who have been entrusted with fine capabilities to be employed in the service of God, have prostituted their powers in the service of evil, and laid their talents at the feet of the enemy. They submitted in the most servile bondage to the prince of evil, while rejecting the service of Christ as humiliating and undesirable. They looked upon the work of the follower of Christ as a work below their ambition, that required a stepping down from their greatness, a species of slavery, that would enthrall their powers, and narrow the circle of their influence. He who had made an infinite sacrifice that they might be set free from bondage of evil, was set aside as unworthy [of] their best efforts and most exalted service. RH November 10, 1891, par. 7

These men had received their talents from God, and every gem of thought by which they had been esteemed worthy of the attention of scholars and thinkers, belongs not to them, but to the God of all wisdom, whom they did not acknowledge. Through tradition, through false education, these men are exalted as the world's educators; but in going to them, students are in danger of accepting the vile with the precious; for superstition, specious reasoning and error, are mingled with portions of true philosophy and instruction. This mingling makes a potion that is poisonous to the soul,—destructive of faith in the God of all truth. Those who have a thirst for knowledge need not go to these polluted fountains; for they are invited to come to the fountain of life and drink freely. Through searching the word of God, they may find the hidden treasure of truth that has long been buried beneath the rubbish of error, human tradition, and opinions of men. RH November 10, 1891, par. 8

The Bible is the great educator; for it is not possible prayerfully to study its sacred pages without having the intellect disciplined, ennobled, purified, and refined. “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised.” RH November 10, 1891, par. 9

Those who claim to be Christians, who profess to believe the truth, and yet drink at the polluted fountains of infidelity, and by precept and example draw others away from the cold, snow-waters of Lebanon, are fools though they profess themselves to be wise. “Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.... But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting King: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion. When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasure. Every man is brutish in his knowledge; every founder is confounded by his graven image; for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The Lord of hosts is his name.” RH November 10, 1891, par. 10

“Thus saith the Lord; cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drouth, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.... O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters. Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.” RH November 10, 1891, par. 11

Let believers in the truth for this time, turn away from authors that teach infidelity. Let not the works of skeptics appear on your library shelves, where your children can have access to them. Let those who have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, no longer deem it an essential feature of a good education to have a knowledge of the writings of those who deny the existence of God, and pour contempt upon his holy word. Give no place to the agents of Satan, since there is nothing by which to vindicate their doings; a clean thing cannot come out of an unclean. RH November 10, 1891, par. 12