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Fundamentals of Christian Education

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    Chapter 57—A Divine Example

    From the earliest times the faithful in Israel had given much attention to the matter of education. The Lord had directed that the children, even from babyhood, should be taught of His goodness and His greatness, especially as revealed in His law, and shown in the history of Israel. Through song and prayer, and lessons from the Scriptures, adapted to the opening mind, fathers and mothers were to instruct their children that the law of God is an expression of His character, and that as they received the principles of the law into the heart, the image of God was traced on mind and soul. In both the school and the home, much of the teaching was oral, but the youth also learned to read the Hebrew writings; and the parchment rolls of the Old Testament Scriptures were open to their study.FE 442.1

    In the days of Christ, the religious instruction of the young was thought to be so important that the town or city which did not provide schools for this purpose, was regarded as under the curse of God. Yet in both the school and the home, the teaching had become mechanical and formal. Since “in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren” (Hebrews 2:17), and Jesus gained knowledge as we may do, the intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures, which He evinced in His ministry, testifies to the diligence with which, in those early years, He gave Himself to the study of the sacred word.FE 442.2

    And day by day He gained knowledge from the great library of animate and inanimate nature. He who had created all things, was now a child of humanity, and He studied the lessons which His own hand had written in earth and sea and sky. The parables by which, during His ministry, He loved to teach His lessons of truth, show how open His spirit was to the influences of nature, and how, in His youth, He had delighted to gather the spiritual teaching from the surroundings of His daily life. To Jesus the significance of the word and the works of God unfolded gradually, as He was seeking to understand the reason of things, as any youth may seek to understand. The culture of holy thoughts and communings was His. All the windows of His soul were open toward the sun; and in the light of heaven His spiritual nature waxed strong, and His life made manifest the wisdom and grace of God.FE 442.3

    Every child may gain knowledge as Jesus did, from the works of nature and the pages of God's holy word. As we try to become acquainted with our Heavenly Father through His word, angels will come near, our minds will be strengthened, our character will be elevated and refined, and we shall become more like our Saviour. And as we behold the beautiful and grand in nature, our affections go out after God; while the spirit is awed, the soul is invigorated by coming in contact with the Infinite through His works. Communion with God through prayer develops the mental and moral faculties, and the spiritual powers strengthen as we cultivate thoughts upon spiritual things.FE 443.1

    The life of Jesus was a life in harmony with God. While He was a child, He thought and spoke as a child, but no trace of sin marred the image of God within Him. From the first dawning of intelligence He was continually growing in heavenly grace, and knowledge of truth.—Special Testimonies on Education, 159 1896.FE 443.2

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