Ms 100, 1902

Ms 100, 1902

Talk/On the Church School Question

St. Helena, California

July 14, 1902

This manuscript is published in entirety in SpM 239-246. +Note

Talk by Mrs. E. G. White, in the St. Helena, California, Sanitarium Chapel, July 14, 1902, 6 a.m. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 1

I promised that I would speak this morning in regard to the necessity of withdrawing our children from the public schools and of providing suitable places where they can be educated aright. I have felt surprised at the apparently indifferent attitude of some, notwithstanding the oft-repeated warnings given that parents must provide for their families not merely with reference to their present interests, but especially with reference to their future, eternal interests. The characters that we form in this life are to decide our destiny. If we choose, we may live a life that measures with the life of God. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 2

Every Christian family is a church in itself. The members of the family are to be Christlike in every action. The father is to sustain so close a relation to God that he realizes his duty to make provision for the members of his family to receive an education and training that will fit them for the future, immortal life. His children are to be taught the principles of heaven. He is the priest of the household, accountable to God for the influence that he exerts over every member of his family. He is to place his family under the most favorable circumstances possible, so that they shall not be tempted to conform to the habits and customs, the evil practices and lax principles, that they would find in the world. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 3

Setting a right example in the home, parents are able to exert a good influence in the church. They will not carry into the church the hasty spirit that causes dissension, making it almost impossible for two members to agree, unless the one comes to the other’s ideas and ways. Church members should remember that no two leaves on a tree are exactly alike. They should recognize the fact that while as brethren and sisters in Christ Jesus they are connected with one another and with Christ, as the leaves of a tree are connected with its branches and trunk, yet they are not all cut after the same pattern. Every parent has an individuality, a personality, of his own. He has just as much right to his personal independence as any ruler has; for he is to rule his own household in the fear of God. Into the home there must be brought the heavenly rule. This will fit us for church relationship as laborers together with God and will make us examples to the world. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 4

The Lord desires us to understand that we must place our children in right relation to the world, the church, and the family. Their relation to the family is the first point to be considered. Let us teach them to be polite to one another and polite to God. “What do you mean,” you may inquire, “by saying that we should teach them to be polite to God?” I mean that they are to be taught to reverence our heavenly Father, and to appreciate the great and infinite sacrifice that Christ has made in our behalf. Christ placed Himself at the head of humanity in order that He might exemplify what humanity could be in connection with divinity. Teach them that together, as children and parents, it is your privilege to be members of the church of God—living stones in His beautiful temple. Parents and children are to sustain so close a relation to God that the heavenly angels can communicate with them. These messengers are shut out from many a home where iniquity and impoliteness to God abound. Let us catch from His Word the spirit of heaven, and bring it into our life here below. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 5

Some may say, “If we believe the Bible, why does not the Lord work miracles for us?” He will if we will let Him. When a human mind is allowed to come under the control of God, that mind will reveal the miracle-working power of God; the power of that mind in action is like the miracle-working power of God. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 6

In our prayers we are to hold on by faith to the children in our home; and we are to do faithfully the duties that belong to us. From the light that God has given me, I know that the husband and the wife are to be, in the home, minister, physician, nurse, and teacher, binding their children to themselves and to God, training them to avoid every habit that will in any way militate against God’s work in the body, and teaching them to care for every part of the living organism. Parents are under a most solemn responsibility to keep themselves in physical soundness and in spiritual health, that the light of heaven may shine into the chambers of the mind and illuminate the soul temple. Such parents are able to give their children instruction from babyhood as to what God wants them to do. Taking His Word as their counselor, they bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 7

Many parents allow their children to drift, as it were, hither and thither. But this is not right. Parents are held accountable to God for the salvation of their children. They are also held accountable for their physical health. In every way possible they should help them to grow up with a sound constitution. They should teach them not to indulge appetite nor to imperil their physical and mental capabilities by wrong habits; for God desires to use all their powers. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 8

Every word spoken by fathers and mothers has its influence over the children for good or for evil. If the parents speak passionately, if they show the spirit shown by children of this world, God counts them as the children of this world, not as His sons and daughters. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 9

Parents, from the moment that we are born again into the kingdom of heaven, we are in God’s service. Our lives are to be such that He can approve. The principals of heaven are to be brought into the government of the home. Every child is to be taught to be polite, compassionate, loving, pitiful, courteous, tender-hearted. Peter speaks of these characteristics of a Christian and also instructs us how to rid ourselves of all evil by living on the plan of addition. “Giving all diligence,” he says, “add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” (love). [2 Peter 1:5-7.] 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 10

We want the knowledge of our Saviour. Is it not best for every one of us to begin to teach our children to be polite in the home and polite to God? Is not this the work that as “laborers together with God” [1 Corinthians 3:9] it is our bounden duty to do? 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 11

From the light that God has given me for years, I know that the households of His people are in great need of purification. The end is nearer than when we first believed. As fathers and mothers, we are to purify ourselves, even as Christ is pure; that is, we are to be perfect in our sphere, even as God is perfect in His sphere. Instead of backsliding, we should now be conformed to the will of heaven, the heavenliness of heaven. Let us put away the spirit of murmuring and complaining, remembering that by cherishing such a spirit we are disrespectful to God. We are living in His dwellingplace; we are members of His family—His by creation and by redemption. Every one is to cherish feelings of respect and tenderness for those with whom he associates. In our relations with one another we should be careful never to mar and scar the life and the spirit of others. When in life and character we show the miracle-working power of God, the world will take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus and learned of Him. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 12

I feel burdened over these matters. Last night I could not sleep past two o’clock. Early this morning I have been writing on this subject, trying to present it so that it shall be understood. We are not to feel that we have reached perfection. We need to be melted over, that we may be purified from all dross. We are in need of the rich blessings that Heaven is so ready to bestow, the blessings promised to every believer. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 13

The Lord withholds from us no good thing. He declares, “Ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” [John 15:7.] He does not tell us to restrict our asking to certain things, but assures us that He will bless us according to the riches of His grace. He is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him, than parents are to give good gifts to their children. To show His willingness, He refers to the tender relationship that a father sustains to his son. “What man is there of you,” He says, “whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good gifts to them that ask Him?” [Matthew 7:9-11.] 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 14

Parents can learn this lesson in all its significance. Children who ask for something that is not for their best good are not to be rebuffed, but kindly told, “That would not be for your good. You cannot have it, because it would injure you. But although we cannot give it to you, we will try in every way possible to make you happy.” 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 15

The father should always feel kindly disposed toward his children. How sad it is that the father’s disposition is not always that which it should be! The father of boys is to come into close connection with his sons, giving them the benefit of his larger experience, and talking with them in such simplicity and tenderness that he binds them to his heart. He is to let them see that he has their best interest, their happiness, in view all the time. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 16

Parents, let us constantly keep before our children the relation that we sustain to our heavenly Father. Let us tell them that we are His children, and that we desire to treat them as He treats us. He does not indulge us in injurious things. He gives us only the things that are for our best good. He says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” [Verses 7, 8.] 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 17

We are all amenable to God. When we take into consideration our accountability to Him for every action, when we remember that we are “a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men” [1 Corinthians 4:9], we will desire to be purged from our fretfulness and harshness, our lack of sympathy and tenderness for one another. These evils are as tares amid the wheat, and must be destroyed. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 18

Children to be Shielded From Contaminating Influences

Upon fathers and mothers devolves the responsibility of giving a Christian education to the children entrusted to them. They are never to neglect their children. In no case are they to let any line of business to so absorb mind and time and talents that their children, who should be led into harmony with God, are allowed to drift until they are separated far from Him. They are not to allow their children to slip out of their grasp into the hands of unbelievers. They are to do all in their power to keep them from imbibing the spirit of the world. They are to train them to become helpers together with God. They are God’s human hand, fitting themselves and their children for an endless life in the heavenly home. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 19

The education of our children begins in the home. The mother is their first teacher. When they become old enough to attend school, shall we permit them to enter the public schools? 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 20

Many years ago, in Oakland, my husband and I conversed with a public-school teacher in regard to the public schools in the city. He said to us: “If parents knew of the iniquity that is to our certain knowledge practiced in these schools, there would be a furor raised in regard to these schools such as neither you nor I can imagine. The young people are rotten; and what kind of homes they have is more than our teachers can tell.” This statement was made over twenty years ago. Have the conditions in our public schools improved since that time? 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 21

Some fathers and mothers are so indifferent, so careless, that they think it makes no difference whether their children attend a church school or a public school. “We are in the world,” they say, “and we cannot get out of it.” But, parents, we can get a good ways out of the world, if we choose to do so. We can avoid seeing many of the evils that are multiplying so fast in these last days. We can avoid hearing about much of the wickedness and crime that exist. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 22

Everything that can be done should be done to place ourselves and our children where we shall not see the iniquity that is practiced in the world. We should carefully guard the sight of our eyes and the hearing of our ears so that these awful things shall not enter our minds. When the daily newspaper comes into the house, I feel as if I wanted to hide it, that the ridiculous, sensational things in it may not be seen. It seems as if the enemy is at the foundation of the publishing of many things that appear in newspapers. Every sinful thing that can be found is uncovered and laid bare before the world. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 23

The line of demarcation between those who serve God and those who serve Him not is ever to remain distinct. The difference between believers and unbelievers should be as great as the difference between light and darkness. When God’s people take the position that they are the temple of the Holy Ghost, Christ Himself abiding within, they will so clearly reveal Him in spirit, words and actions, that there will be an unmistakable distinction between them and Satan’s followers. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 24

Some may inquire, “If we are to remain a distinct people, why do we have sanitariums to which we invite every one?” I answer, In bringing men and women of other denominations into our institutions, do we tell them that we are undenominational? If we do, we deny God’s law. We are denominational; but we open the doors wide and seek to have all come in who possibly can come. “Let your light so shine before men,” the Saviour said, “that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.] We are to seek to restore to physical health the diseased and the suffering. Many men and women have been improperly educated in habits of living. Many children are sick because they have never been taught the laws of the human mechanism—the mechanism that led David to exclaim, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” [Psalm 139:14.] 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 25

A Lesson From Israel

While the judgments of God were falling upon the land of Egypt, the Lord directed the Israelites not only to keep their children within their houses, but to bring in even their cattle from the fields. Before the first-born were slain, the Lord, through Moses, said to His people: “Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side-posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side-posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.” [Exodus 12:21-23.] 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 26

As the Israelites kept their children within their houses during the time when the judgments of God were in the land of Egypt, so in this time of peril we are to keep our children separate and distinct from the world. We are to teach them that the commandments of God mean much more than we realize. Those who keep them will not imitate the practices of the transgressors of God’s law. Parents must regard God’s Word with respect, obeying its teachings. To the parents in this day, as well as to the Israelites, God declares: “These words ... shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” [Deuteronomy 6:6-9.] 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 27

Notwithstanding this plain instruction, some of God’s people permit their children to attend the public schools where they mingle with those who are corrupt in morals. In these schools their children can neither study the Bible nor learn its principles. Christian parents, you must make provision for your children to be educated in Bible principles. And do not rest satisfied merely with having them study the Word in the church school. Teach the Scriptures to your children yourselves when you sit down, when you go out, when you come in, and when you walk by the way. Walk with your children much oftener than you do. Talk with them. Set their minds running in the right channel. As you do this, you will find that the light and the glory of God will come into your homes. But how can you expect His blessing when you do not teach your children aright? 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 28

I am merely touching upon a few points on a number of subjects relating to the training and education of children. Some time I hope to treat upon these points more fully; for I have been thoroughly aroused to realize that these matters must be presented before our people. Seventh-day Adventists must move in a way altogether different from the way in which they have been moving if they expect the approval of God to rest upon them in their homes. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 29

Every faithful parent will hear from the lips of the Master the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant: ... enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” [Matthew 25:23.] May the Lord help us to be good and faithful servants in our dealings with one another. He tells us to “consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works,” helping and strengthening one another. [Hebrews 10:24.] 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 30

The Need of a Church School at Crystal Springs

We are almost home. We are standing on the borders of the eternal world. Those who prove worthy will soon be introduced into the kingdom of God. We have no time to lose. We should establish the work in right lines here at Crystal Springs. Here are our children. Shall we allow them to be contaminated by the world—by its iniquity, its disregard of God’s commandments? I ask those who are planning to send their children to the public school, where they are liable to be contaminated, How can you take such a risk? 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 31

We desire to erect a church school building for our children. Because of the many calls made for means, it seems a difficult matter to secure sufficient money or to arouse an interest great enough to build a small, convenient schoolhouse. I have told the school committee that I will lease to them some land for as long a time as they care to use it for school purposes. I hope that interest enough will be aroused to enable us to erect a building where our children can be taught the Word of God, which is the life-blood and the flesh of the Son of God. “Whoso eateth My flesh,” He declares, “and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life. ... It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [John 6:54, 63.] We are to eat and drink the Word of life, carrying out its instruction much more closely than we have ever done before. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 32

Will you not take an interest in the erection of this school building in which the word of God is to be taught? One man, when asked how much he was willing to give to the school in labor, said that if we would give him three dollars a day and his board and lodging, he would help us. But we do not want offers of this kind. Help will come to us. We expect to have a school building, in which the Bible can be taught, in which prayers can be offered to God, and in which the children can be instructed in Bible principles. We expect that every one who can take hold with us will want to have a share in erecting this building. We expect to train a little army of workers on this hillside. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 33

We know that all are interested in the success of this enterprise. Let those who have spare time give a few days in helping to build this schoolhouse. Not enough money has been subscribed yet to pay merely for the necessary material. We are glad for what has been given, and we now ask every one to take hold of this matter interestedly, so that we shall soon have a place where our children can study the Bible, which is the foundation of all true education. The fear of the Lord—the very first lesson to be taught—is the beginning of wisdom. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 34

There is no reason why this matter should drag. Let every one take hold to help, persevering with unflagging interest until the building is completed. Let every one do something. Some may have to get up as early as four o’clock in the morning in order to help. Usually I begin my work before that time. As soon as it is daylight, some could begin work on the building, putting in an hour or two before breakfast. Others could not do this, perhaps, but all can do something to show their interest in making it possible for the children to be educated in a school where they can be disciplined and trained for God’s service. His blessing will surely rest upon every such effort. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 35

When we built our meetinghouse in Cooranbong, Sister McEnterfer and I went through the district where the carpenters lived, asking them how much they would charge to work for us by the day. Many of them promised to work for much less than the ordinary wage. A few promised to give some time; others with families to support, being too poor to work for nothing, offered to work for six shillings—a dollar and half—a day. The meetinghouse was built, and stands today as a monument for God, a miracle wrought by His power. Many of the believers had just begun to keep the Sabbath. Some of them were very poor, and at first we had to help them. Now they are all self-supporting. They keep up the church expenses and pay a faithful tithe. This is the way we worked to build our meetinghouses in many places in Australia. 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 36

Brethren and sisters, what will you do to help build a church school? We believe that every one will regard it as a privilege and a blessing to have this school building. Let us catch the spirit of the work, saying, We will arise and build. If all will take hold of the work unitedly, we shall soon have a schoolhouse in which from day to day our children will be taught the way of the Lord. As we do our best, the blessing of God will rest upon us. Shall we not arise and build? 17LtMs, Ms 100, 1902, par. 37