Higher education is an experimental knowledge of the plan of salvation, and this knowledge is secured by earnest and diligent study of the Scriptures. Such an education will renew the mind and transform the character, restoring the image of God in the soul. It will fortify the mind against the deceptive whisperings of the adversary, and enable us to understand the voice of God. It will teach the learner to become a co-worker with Jesus Christ, to dispel the moral darkness about him, and bring light and knowledge to men. It is the simplicity of true godliness—our passport from the preparatory school of earth to the higher school above.
There is no education to be gained higher than that given to the early disciples, and which is revealed to us through the word of God. To gain the higher education means to follow this word implicitly; it means to walk in the footsteps of Christ, to practice His virtues. It means to give up selfishness and to devote the life to the service of God. Higher education calls for something greater, something more divine, than the knowledge to be obtained merely from books. It means a personal, experimental knowledge of Christ; it means emancipation from ideas, from habits and practices, that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness, and which are opposed to loyalty to God. It means to overcome stubbornness, pride, selfishness, worldly ambition, and unbelief. It is the message of deliverance from sin.
Age after age the curiosity of men has led them to seek for the tree of knowledge, and often they think they are plucking fruit most essential, when in reality it is vanity and nothingness in comparison with that science of true holiness which would open to them the gates of the city of God. Human ambition seeks for knowledge that will bring to them glory, and self-exaltation, and supremacy. Thus Adam and Eve were influenced by Satan until God’s restraint was snapped asunder, and their education under the teacher of lies began. They gained the knowledge which God had refused them—to know the consequences of transgression.
The tree of knowledge, so-called, has become an instrument of death. Satan has artfully woven his dogmas, his false theories, into the instruction given. From the tree of knowledge he speaks the most pleasing flattery in regard to the higher education. Thousands partake of the fruit of this tree, but it means death to them. Christ says, “Ye spend money for that which is not bread.” Isaiah 55:2. You are using your heaven-entrusted talents to secure an education which God pronounces foolishness.
Upon the mind of every student should be impressed the thought that education is a failure unless the understanding has learned to grasp the truths of divine revelation, and unless the heart accepts the teachings of the gospel of Christ. The student who, in the place of the broad principles of the word of God, will accept common ideas, and will allow the time and attention to be absorbed in commonplace, trivial matters, will find his mind becoming dwarfed and enfeebled. He will lose the power of growth. The mind must be trained to comprehend the important truths that concern eternal life.
I am instructed that we are to carry the minds of our students higher than is now thought to be possible. Heart and mind are to be trained to preserve their purity by receiving daily supplies from the fountain of eternal truth. The education gained from a study of God’s word will enlarge the narrow confines of human scholarship, and present before the mind a far deeper knowledge to be obtained through a vital connection with God. It will bring every student who is a doer of the word into a broader field of thought, and secure to him a wealth of learning that is imperishable. Without this knowledge it is certain that man will lose eternal life; possessing it, he will be fitted to become a companion of the saints in light.
The divine mind and hand have preserved through the ages the record of creation in its purity. It is the word of God alone that gives to us an authentic account of the creation of our world. This word is to be the chief study in our schools. In it we may learn what our redemption has cost Him who from the beginning was equal with the Father, and who sacrificed His life that a people might stand before Him redeemed from everything earthly, renewed in the image of God. …
The science of salvation, the science of true godliness, the knowledge which has been revealed from eternity, which enters into the purpose of God, expresses His mind, and reveals His purpose—this Heaven deems all-important. If our youth obtain this knowledge, they will be able to gain all else that is essential; but if not, all the knowledge they may acquire from the world will not place them in the ranks of the Lord. They may gather all the knowledge that books can give, and yet be ignorant of the first principles of that righteousness which will give them characters approved of God.
To many who place their children in our schools, strong temptations will come because they desire them to secure what the world regards as the most essential education. To these I would say, Bring your children to the simplicity of the word, and they will be safe. This Book is the foundation of all true knowledge. The highest education they can receive is to learn how to add to their “faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” If these things be in you, and abound,” the word of God declares, “they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. … If ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” II Peter 1:5-11.
When the word of God is laid aside for books that lead away from God, and that confuse the understanding regarding the principles of the kingdom of heaven, the education given is a perversion of the name. Unless the student has pure mental food, thoroughly winnowed from the so-called “higher education,” which is mingled with infidel sentiments, he cannot truly know God. Only those who co-operate with heaven in the plan of salvation can know what true education in its simplicity means.
Those who seek the education that the world esteems so highly are gradually led farther and farther from the principles of truth, until they become educated worldlings. At what a price have they gained their education! They have parted with the Holy Spirit of God. They have chosen to accept what the world calls knowledge in the place of the truths which God has committed to men through his ministers and apostles and prophets.
And there are some who, having secured this worldly education, think that they can introduce it into our schools. There is constant danger that those who labor in our schools and sanitariums will entertain the idea that they must get in line with the world, study the things the world studies, and become familiar with the things the world becomes familiar with. We shall make grave mistakes unless we give special attention to the searching of the word. The Bible should not be brought into our schools to be sandwiched between infidelity. God’s word must be made the groundwork and subject matter of education. It is true that we know much more of this word than we knew in the past, but there is still much to be learned.
The true higher education is that imparted by Him with whom is “wisdom and strength,” out of whose mouth “cometh knowledge and understanding.” Job 12:13; Proverbs 2:6. In a knowledge of God all true knowledge and real development have their source. Wherever we turn, in the mental, the physical, or the spiritual realm; in whatever we behold, apart from the blight of sin, this knowledge is revealed. Whatever line of investigation we pursue with a sincere purpose to arrive at truth, we are brought in touch with the unseen, mighty Intelligence that is working in and through all. The mind of man is brought into communion with the mind of God, the finite with the Infinite. The effect
of such communion on body and mind and soul is beyond estimate.
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 11-17.