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Training the child “In His Fear” implies three things: that the fear of the Lord is the purpose, object of all the instruction of our covenant seed; furthermore, that this fear of the Lord is the actual content of all their education, directly or indirectly; finally, that the fear of the Lord is the sphere, the atmosphere wherein our covenant offspring are reared.

In this final article before my successor takes over I should like to discuss with you the verb or verbs presupposed by the heading that appears above this rubric. “In His fear” is only an isolated phrase and leaves the thought quite incomplete. What must be in the fear of Jehovah?

Especially three words come to our minds as most prominent in this connection: education, instruction and training. All three are used frequently, and quite interchangeably, in connection with the bringing up of the coming generation, both in the world and in the church. The important and interesting distinctions between them are not always stressed. This is true particularly of the first two: education and instruction. Yet, each one of these terms has its own peculiar connotation and between them is a distinction that is indeed worthy of note and most enlightening. All three may be said to be included in the most general concept of all: to bring up.

To educate, in its most literal sense, means: to lead out, to lead forth, to bring out. Commonly this verb is given a very broad meaning and application. The definitions offered of this concept are numerous. It is understood to refer to the whole training of man, the entire development of his physical, mental and moral powers, throughout life, whether by a complete system of study and discipline or by the actual experiences of life itself. It is defined as being synonymous with such concepts as: instruction, breeding, training, culture, and cultivation. It is declared to include all that serves as means “to prepare man for complete living.” According to Webster “education” comprehends all we assimilate from the beginning to the end of our lives in the development of the powers and faculties bestowed upon us at birth, and includes not only systematic schooling, but also that enlightenment and sense which an individual obtains through experience.” It is to prepare or fit for any calling or business by systematic instruction. “Basic to all definitions”, says one authority, “is the conception that education denotes an attempt on the part of the adult members of a human society to shape the development of the coming generation in accordance with its own ideals of life.” Such education, say the world’s learned, is good only when it meets a three-fold requirement: 1. It must aim at the right kind of product. We agree, of course, only we will differ on the interpretation of the phrase “right kind of product”. For the world this will denote a man who is able in every respect to successfully take his place in the world. For us “the right kind of product” is the man of God, he who stands and walks in the fear of the Lord. 2. The means and methods adopted must be well adapted to secure the intended result. That may stand as it is. A good education certainly has to do with the means employed for the construction, as it were, of this “right kind of product.” 3. These means must be applied intelligently, consistently and persistently.

All this, however, does not mean that we should forget the basic meaning of the concept, which is: to lead out. It is derived from the Latin educere,—e(out) plus ducere (to lead). In distinction, therefore, from related and synonymous concepts it means: to lead or bring out what is in. From this same Latin verb we also derive the English verb “educe”, meaning: to bring into manifestation (a form, quality, law or anything that is conceived as present in a latent or undeveloped form), to elicit, evolve. Thus it has been said, “Education means to educe and cultivate what is best and noblest in man.” All of which makes obvious what is the basic significance of this concept “education.” It is to bring out, lead out, develop, cultivate, expand, discipline, strengthen what is principally and potentially already there. It embraces all that aims at and is adapted to realize the physical, mental and spiritual development of that which the subject is and possesses in the way of God-determined and God-given endowments.

Education, it follows, can never accomplish anything beyond the limits set by the capacity of the one who receives the education, nor does it aim to accomplish more. It is bound for its positive attainments, for its actual fruit, to the powers and faculties, the gifts and talents, the physical and mental and spiritual capacity of its subject. Education may seek to bring out,—in last analysis it can never bring into. It may purpose to develop, cultivate, expand and strengthen, but it can never bestow that which is to be developed. That this point, so basic to our general subject, is seen and acknowledged in the world as well becomes evident when its educators explain that “education comprehends all we assimilate from the beginning to the end of our lives in the development of the powers and faculties bestowed upon us at birth.”

The powers and faculties themselves, therefore, the gifts and talents as such, our personal proclivities and capacities, are not developed, but bestowed. This is true physically. Much may be done in the way of physical education and strict discipline to develop, cultivate what man possesses physically, to bring out the possibilities. Nevertheless, every physical educator, coach or trainer, knows only too well that he is limited to the material at hand, that he cannot give the strength and agility which is not there potentially, that he cannot expand a physique and strengthen muscles beyond the limits set by the Creator Himself. Thus it is mentally. In the way of systematic education a great deal is done to bring out and develop what the student possesses already at birth. However, every educator knows that also here he is limited to the material at hand and that he cannot instill a brilliance which simply is not there. And spiritually it is no different. Education in the home and school and church is God’s own way to bring to manifestation that which He Himself has given in the way of spiritual life and the fear of the Lord. It means everything for the cultivation, expansion, growth of the new-born child of God. Even as we cannot grow physically without food, even so spiritual development is impossible without education. Nevertheless, every Christian parent and teacher knows that he, too, is limited to the material at hand, that he cannot give the life, that he cannot make a child of God where there is none, that he is, to “the spiritual powers and faculties bestowed upon the child at his re-birth.”

Understanding all this it should be obvious, furthermore, that there can be no real education in the world: that the unregenerated sinner, strictly speaking, cannot be educated. What is not there cannot be brought out, That does not mean that there is in the world not a highly technical and finely developed system of schooling, whereby the physical and mental powers.- and faculties of man are cultivated to an amazing degree and whereby man is fitted according to the standards of the world for his place in this life. But, that is not the education of which Scripture speaks. Before God, all this culture and learning still leaves man a blind, ignorant fool. For the beginning and principle of both knowledge and wisdom is the fear of the Lord. It is that fear of God, reverence, love, consecration that must be brought out (educere), and for this that fear of the Lord must be present to begin with. In that same fear, with a view to it, permeated by it, all that is in man, physically and mentally, must be brought out, in order that the product may be a man of God, consecrated with all his heart and soul and mind and strength to the living God. That, according to Scripture, is the aim and task of all education. That is education. This fear of the Lord is not in the world, and consequently cannot be brought out. God is not in all their thoughts. On the contrary, there is only spiritual darkness, rebellion against God, enmity and corruption. In all the education of the world it is these that are brought out, cultivated. This ethical darkness (however they may work with their remnants of natural light) gives direction to their entire lives, permeates and corrupts the whole development of all their powers and faculties, physical and mental. If you have this in mind, if you mean that in the world only the principle of sin is brought out, developed, cultivated, and that in connection with all the instruction given, you may certainly speak of education in the world. Thus all that can be produced, without grace, is a man of the world, who stands in opposition to the living God, and who is consecrated with heart and soul and mind and strength to the service of sin and Satan. And such a man, void of the fear of the Lord and hence of all true knowledge, whatever be his intellectual capacity and attainments, is not an educated man, but a perfect fool. True education is possible only in the realm of the covenant, in the Christian home and church and school, where God has instilled His fear into the hearts of His own. That fear is then brought out, cultivated, in connection with all things natural and spiritual, and so you come to the educated man.

About the related concepts “instruction” and “training” much need not be said. In its common usage “instruction” covers the same ground as does “education.” The viewpoint, however, is different. To instruct, in its most literal sense, means: to build into. It is derived from the Latin instruere,—in (in, on) plus struere (to build). In distinction from the term education it commonly stresses the imparting of the facts, the giving of the information. Actually, however, the difference between education and instruction is this, that whereas the former means to bring out that which is inside, the latter means to bring, build into, from without. Hence, to instruct is to build up, to construct. Of course, this does not deny all that has already been affirmed with respect to actually bestowing that which is not there. Also “instruction” presupposes a foundation on which, a principle into which we build. In the case of the natural man this foundation is the old, corrupt, spiritually dead nature, the man of sin. There is nothing else to build on and into. The result is, that the world through its education also constructs, indeed, but it constructs a man of the world, a man of sin, whose god is his belly and who seeks only the things below. Working with unchanged sinners to begin with and building into the only principle that is there, all that the education of the word can accomplish is: that the sinner becomes an ever greater sinner in the sight of God. Nothing does more to accomplish this than education. Thus the latter is precisely the means for the realization of the anti-Christian world power, the Anti-Christ. Build up a sinner and all you get is a built-up sinner. Therefore, too, there is no grace in all the education of the world, and the instruction of the world, from Scripture’s point of view, is no instruction at all. Also herein the curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked and in the end all his education will prove to be to his eternal condemnation.

True instruction is possible only in the sphere of the kingdom of God. There we build upon and into the principle of the fear of the Lord, the new life from God, with the result that by grace the man of God is constructed, furnished unto every good work, whose God is Jehovah and who seeks the things above, and who is prepared according to the will of God to take his God-appointed place, now in this present world, and eternally in the perfected kingdom of the Father.

The concept “training” stresses the idea of constant application, drill, repetition. When an intelligent dog is trained for anything it is compelled, disciplined to do the right thing so often, so consistently, that the thing desired of it is finally performed automatically. When the soldier is trained for combat, he is made to perform his particular task so often, it is drilled into him so carefully, that he finally does that very thing from mere force of habit, because he is literally incapable of doing anything else. The fruit of training must be that the proper thing becomes part and parcel of the subject’s nature. Thus our children, too, must be “trained” in the fear of the Lord in the way of unceasing application and discipline.

“And when he shall become old” says the wisest of them all, “he will not depart from it.”