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    CHAPTER XI. THE STUDY OF KNOWLEDGE

    THE second feature of the education of Daniel and his three companions, and a feature of the instruction in the Lord’s schools, is knowledge. Those youth were “cunning in knowledge.”PBE 95.1

    As we have seen, the word translated “knowledge” implies information acquired by thinking and application, by study, inquiry, and search. This is the thought of the other scriptures also: “If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:3-5. As we have also seen, knowledge is the complement of wisdom; and is inseparable from wisdom, which is the fear of the Lord and itself the beginning of knowledge. Accordingly, like wisdom, knowledge is the gift of God; for “out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6 He “teacheth man knowledge.” Psalm 94:10.PBE 95.2

    And “He that teacheth man knowledge, shall not He know?” This is a question propounded by Inspiration itself: and in such a connection that there can be no other reply than that He is the very Fountain of knowledge.PBE 95.3

    First the question is put (Psalm 94:9), “He that planted the ear, shall He not hear?” The ear is a wonderful instrument, adapted to sound. In the making of the ear, the science of sound was considered, and the instrument was adapted to the science. And before that instrument of hearing was made, He who made its wonderful adaptations knew what it is to hear. Next the question is, “He that formed the eye, shall He not see?” The eye is a wonderful instrument, adapted to the light. In the making of the eye, the science of light was considered, and the instrument was adapted to the science. And before there was made that instrument of seeing, He who made it knew what it is to see. And finally the question is, “He that teacheth man knowledge, shall not He know?” The mind of man is wonderful creation, adapted to knowledge. In the making of the mind, the whole field and science of knowing were considered, and the mind was adapted to the science and the field. And before there was made that wonderful faculty of knowing, He who made it knew what it is to know. In Him alone, therefore, is the Fountain of knowledge. From Him alone can come true knowledge; from Him alone can come the science of knowing.PBE 96.1

    This at once reveals Him as the only true Teacher of man. And this is precisely the attitude in which He presents Himself: “I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit.” Isaiah 48:17. “He that is perfect in knowledge is with thee;” and “who teacheth like Him?” Job 36:4, 22.PBE 96.2

    And “He teacheth man knowledge.” That which He teaches is only knowledge: it is that which can be known, not mere theory. It is not mere hypothesis, guess, or conjecture; it is the certitude of knowledge. And He does this as He does all other things—by His Word: for “out of His mouth cometh knowledge.” In a previous chapter we have seen that it is only the truth that can be known; and that therefore truth is the first essential to knowledge. Now the Word of God because it is the Word of God is essential, original, ultimate truth. That Word is therefore the open and sure way to certitude of knowledge.PBE 96.3

    This thought brings us to the consideration of another very important sense in which the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, and which illustrates how certainly wisdom and knowledge are inseparable. Unless a person knows a thing right, he is not certain of his knowledge nor of himself in it. Certitude is essential to genuine knowledge. “Knowledge” that is derived from guesses is not true knowledge; it is but a guess. For all that can ever be derived from a guess is a guess. “Knowledge” that is gathered from a “working hypothesis” is not genuine knowledge: it is not certainty. All that can ever be evolved from an hypothesis, “working” or other, is an hypothesis. And even though upon the theory of probabilities the conclusion derived from an hypothesis may be considered as established to “a high degree of probability;” yet its essential nature is that of “probability” only, and not absolute certainty. With all such “knowledge” there goes a “painful uncertainty” and also the consciousness of it, which of itself vitiates every essential quality of it as being real knowledge.PBE 97.1

    On the other hand, he who in the fear of God begins with the truth of God for his basis, by this very means begins with the certainty of knowledge. Beginning thus with the certainty of knowledge because he begins with the certainty of truth, and, under the guidance of the Spirit of God who is the Spirit of Truth, following on to know only the truth, the student advances not hesitatingly because of uncertainty, but firmly and certainly because of the certitude of knowledge acquired. As the Word and the works of God are thus studied, “the Holy Spirit flashes conviction into the mind. It is not the conviction which logical reasoning produces; but, unless the mind has become too dark to know God, the eye too dim to see Him, the ear too dull to hear His voice, a deeper meaning is grasped.”PBE 98.1

    It is true that this is not the usual way of seeking knowledge; but it is the right way. The world’s way is to begin with “a supposition, a guess, a conjecture,” as a basis. But is it not infinitely better, is it not infinitely more sensible, to begin with the certainty of truth, than to begin with a guess? And is not the truth of God a surer basis than is the guess of a man?PBE 98.2

    It is in the nature of things that the mind of man must have a foundation upon which to build, a basis from which to proceed, a premise from which to reason. In this there is universal agreement. The point at which arises the difference between Christianity and the world is, What shall be this foundation, this basis, this premise? and who shall supply it? Shall it be certainty? or shall it be a guess? Shall it be the certainty of the truth of God? or shall it be the uncertainty of the guess of a man? Shall it be supplied by God? or shall it be supplied by man? Shall it be derived from the true and pure Fountain of knowledge? er____?!PBE 98.3

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