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    CHAPTER XVIII. THE STUDY OF PHYSICAL SCIENCE—PHYSICAL CULTURE

    PHYSICAL culture is a phase of education that excites much interest. And, like other features of education, it is carried on by methods as far as possible from those of true education. True physical culture is manual training, or industrial education. It is the training or educating of all the faculties to do expert work in honest and useful occupations: while the popular physical culture is devoted solely to the training of muscular powers to the winning point in games, races, and all sorts of contest of physical strength and endurance. And in this difference there lies a world of meaning.PBE 189.1

    Christianity requires honest work at honest and useful occupations: as it is written: “Even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12. “Let ours also learn to profess honest trades for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.” Titus 3:14, margin. “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” Ephesians 4:28.PBE 189.2

    The one model Christian and model Man has set the example of all Christianity. And counting from the time that He was twelve years old in the flesh to the time of His baptism when He entered specifically upon His teaching and ministry, He spent nearly six times as much of His life on earth in the daily occupation of manual labor as He spent in the direct work of His public ministry. Now it can not be said that He learned that trade and spent this time at it with the expectation that He would or might need it afterward “some time” as a means of “making a living.” This therefore demonstrates that in manual labor, honest work at honest occupation, there is that which is valuable to man for itself alone: that in itself it is an end, and not merely a means to an end.PBE 190.1

    It is therefore an utter mistake for anybody to think that manual labor is in any sense a curse, or any part of the curse. Yet it can not be denied that multitudes of men think that such labor is akin to a curse, if not the very original curse itself. Indeed, even many Christians so misread the Word of God as to make it appear that the requirement that man shall eat bread by the sweat of his face is a material part of the curse. It is not so. The word of God to man is, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake.... . In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” When some thing is cursed for MY SAKE, then the cursing of that thing is to me not a curse, but a blessing. For that which is done for my sake is an evidence of a special thought, care, and consideration for me: and of good-will to me. And such is the wise provision that “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.”PBE 190.2

    When the man was created and put in the garden, it was with the purpose that He should work. For it is observed that before he was made “there was not a man to till the ground.” And when he was made, God “put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Genesis 2:5, 15. Thus industrial occupation was an essential to the welfare of man in his very creation, and in paradise, with the purpose that he should enjoy that blissful place and state forevermore. And when this was essential to the welfare of man in righteousness, perfection, and paradise, only the more is it essential when he has fallen into sin and imperfection. Therefore in this latter state, since work is the more needed for his welfare, for his sake the ground is caused to require more labor in the dressing and keeping of it so that it shall supply to man the needed sustenance.PBE 191.1

    Yet more than this, there is in it a moral element. While the man was sinless, there were in the earth no untoward elements; and his occupation was only, in its perfect and blessed abundance of all that was good, to dress it and to keep it. But after the man had fallen into sin, and when God would save him from the sin, increase of occupation is required. And though it is now actual labor and this to the extent of “the sweat of his face,” yet it is all “for his sake.” And all of this reveals the mighty truth that work, manual labor, industrial occupation, holds an important place as an element in the recovery from the inroad of sin, and in the development of morals. And this view is clearly confirmed by the lily of Christ on earth. It is therefore in the perfect strictness of truth and philosophy that the word stands, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake. ... In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.”PBE 191.2

    But in his darkness and perversion of mind man naturally sees things in the reverse. It is therefore the natural inclination of men not to work if they can help it: to work only when they have to, and then only as far as possible to get themselves into a position or condition where they can live without work. They will spend much money and time in the taking of lessons in athletics, in violent exertion in games of all sorts, in vigorous and systematic motions for exercise and for health; but they will not work. Manual labor, industrial occupation, they despise as something disgraceful to their sort; for they “do not have to work.”PBE 192.1

    This persistent tendency to avoid work, and to indulge in desperate contests in games and races, is to-day industriously cultivated in popular education The course thus taken is both a positive detriment to the youth and a menace to society itself. This truth is confirmed by the unerring evidence produced by the camera. In the photographs of contestants in bicycle races, for instance, taken at the crucial point of the race at the winning line, when every faculty of the being is swallowed up in the contest, it has been discovered that in the facial expression there is remarkable sameness; and that that which is revealed in these countenances is the very intensity of all the worst passions of the human soul. The expression of hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, envy, jealousy, malignity, murder, fear, horror, despair, make them almost as the faces of demons rather than of men.PBE 192.2

    There is a better education than that. There is a better physical culture than that. For this reason alone, if there were no others, every Christian school absolutely excludes all games and all contests and rivalry of every kind, either intellectual or physical. In the place of these, the Christian school establishes useful industrial occupations for the employment of all students. Actual work in these occupations is made an essential part of the education which the school supplies, and for which the student pays; and no person will be received as a student nor employed as a teacher who will not willingly go to the work in these occupations in the work hours, as to the work in books in the hours of study or recitation.PBE 193.1

    The Christian school will not countenance anything that will in any way suggest that there is any distinction between work and education: it will steadily and uncompromisingly hold that work is education, and education is work. The Christian school will not recognize the view that work is a means to an education in the sense that a person can work his way to an education, and when he has obtained his education he can consider himself above such work. The Christian school will allow that work is a means to an education only in the single sense that the work itself is education: that true education is found in the very work itself. Therefore for such a school to employ teachers to instruct only in the recitation rooms, and occupy themselves with the students only in recitation hours, while the students themselves must occupy themselves in recitation hours and work hours besides—this would be only to sanction in the strongest way, by example, that there is a clear distinction between education and work, so that, when a person has education sufficient to be able to teach, he may properly be considered to be exempt from work. That would be an abandonment of the principle, and putting in its place a mere theory.PBE 193.2

    Another important principle involved in this is that the Christian school, like all other Christian things. can go on forever: no long vacations are ever needed. Long vacations are in themselves a detriment, unless the time out of school is spent in some useful employment. But when all the time in school is properly balanced between manual labor and book study, educational effort is not so one-sided that it is necessary to abandon it for several months in order for the system of the student to regain its proper balance. Combined with God’s great blessing of physical labor—honest work at honest trades and occupations—to invigorate the body, educational efforts in Christian schools, instead of ever becoming wearisome tasks, are continually reviving inspirations, and can go on daily forever as easily as to go on at all.PBE 194.1

    Thus in every way there is true science and philosophy in God’s great blessing of manual labor in Christian schools as well as everywhere else. And in view of the truth of God’s Word on the subject, how can any school be truly Christian that willingly despises or neglects this truly Christian physical culture?PBE 195.1

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