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Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students

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    An Illustration

    What was it that made John the Baptist great? He closed his mind to the mass of tradition presented by the teachers of the Jewish nation, and opened it to the wisdom which comes from above. Before his birth the Holy Spirit testified of John: “He shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.... And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:15-17.CT 445.1

    In his prophecy Zacharias said of John, “Thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” And Luke adds, “The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel.” Luke 1:76-80.CT 445.2

    It was John's choice to forgo the enjoyments and luxuries of city life for the stern discipline of the wilderness. Here his surroundings were favorable to habits of simplicity and self-denial. Uninterrupted by the clamor of the world, he could here study the lessons of nature, of revelation, and of providence. The words of the angel to Zacharias had been often repeated by his God-fearing parents. From childhood his mission had been kept before him, and he accepted the holy trust. To him the solitude of the desert was a welcome escape from society in which suspicion, unbelief, and impurity had become well-nigh all-pervading. He distrusted his own power to withstand temptation and shrank from constant contact with sin lest he should lose the sense of its exceeding sinfulness.CT 445.3

    But the life of John was not spent in idleness, in ascetic gloom, or in selfish isolation. From time to time he went forth to mingle with men, and he was ever an interested observer of what was passing in the world. From his quiet retreat he watched the unfolding of events. With vision illuminated by the divine Spirit, he studied the characters of men, that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven.CT 446.1

    Of Christ, Simeon said, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.” And the record declares, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:29-32, 52.CT 446.2

    Jesus and John were represented by the educators of that day as ignorant because they had not learned in the schools of the rabbis; but the God of heaven was their Teacher, and all who heard were astonished at their knowledge of the Scriptures.CT 446.3

    The first great lesson in all education is to know and understand the will of God. We should bring into every day of life the effort to gain this knowledge. To learn science through human interpretation alone is to obtain a false education, but to learn of God and Christ is to learn the science of heaven. The confusion in education has come because the wisdom and knowledge of God have not been exalted.CT 447.1

    The students in our schools are to regard the knowledge of God as above everything else. “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” “The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:18, 19, 25, 30, 31.CT 447.2

    *****

    Those who profess to believe the word should daily pray for the light of the Holy Spirit to shine upon the pages of the Sacred Book, that they may be enabled to comprehend the things of the Spirit of God.... The words of men, however great, are not able to make us “perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:17.CT 447.3

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