Special Testimonies On Education


Chapter 12—Character Building

“Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27. SpTEd 72.2

The great work of parents and teachers is character building; it is to seek to restore the image of Christ in those who are placed under their care. A knowledge of the sciences sinks into insignificance beside this great aim; but all true education may be made to help in the development of a righteous character. The formation of character is the work of a lifetime, and it is for eternity. If all could realize this, if they would awaken to the thought that we are individually deciding our own destiny and the destinies of our children for eternal life or eternal ruin, what a change would take place! How differently would this probationary time be occupied, and what different characters would fill our world! SpTEd 73.1

The question that comes home to each of us is, Upon what foundation am I building? We have the privilege of striving for immortal life; and it is of the greatest importance that we dig deep, removing all the rubbish, and build on the immovable, solid Rock, Christ Jesus. He is the sure foundation. “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” In him alone is our salvation. “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” SpTEd 73.2

The foundation firmly laid, we need wisdom that we may know how to build. When Moses was about to erect the sanctuary in the wilderness, he was cautioned, “See that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.” In his law God has given us a pattern. Our character building is to be “after the pattern showed to thee in the mount.” The law is the great standard of righteousness. It represents the character of God, and is the test of our loyalty to his government. And it is revealed to us, in all its beauty and excellence, in the life of Christ. The law is the detector of sin. We have inspired testimony on this point: “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came [home to the conscience], sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.” Romans 7:9-11. This is the work that it will do for every soul that is living in sin. The law points out sin, and condemns it, and sends the sinner to Christ for pardon and cleansing. “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” SpTEd 73.3

All classes, however fallen, however sin-stained, have the law of God as their guide, and his word as their instructor. They may be sanctified through the truth, and received as sons and daughters of the Most High. But “the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7. The multitudes do not love righteousness, and they are building on the sand. Many who profess Christ do not love the law of God. If they dared, they would speak out their enmity against it in no mild terms. They have a surface religion, and that is all they desire. Some are deceptive and untrustworthy in deal, and will break pledges and contracts. Covetousness, intemperance, and impurity abound, and money is squandered for tobacco and other similar indulgences. SpTEd 74.1

There are many who attend church, and hear the truth spoken; they see the claims of God; but they have some pet indulgence which they will not give up,—something which prevents them from judging candidly and wisely between the things of time and those of eternity. It makes little difference what this is, so long as it separates the soul from God. SpTEd 75.1

But God is not to be trifled with. We can make no selfish bargain with him; we can cling to no sin if we would retain his favor. Those who are building on the Rock Christ Jesus, will follow none of the pernicious practises of the worldly or of world-loving church-members, but will search the Bible for themselves. God has given men reasoning powers for this purpose, that they may weigh evidence, and decide what is truth. No man's assertions can be taken on trust. The question is, What does the Lord say? His, “Thou shalt” and, “Thou shalt not,” must be obeyed. SpTEd 75.2

Thoroughness is necessary to success in the work of character building. There must be an earnest purpose to carry out the plan of the Master Builder. The timbers used must be solid; and no careless, unreliable work can be accepted; it would ruin the building. SpTEd 75.3

The whole being is to be put into this work. It demands the strength and energy of manhood; there is no reserve to be wasted in unimportant matters. There must be determined human force put into the work, co-operating with the divine. There must be earnest, careful, persevering effort to break away from the customs, maxims, and associations of the world. Deep thought, earnest purpose, steadfast integrity, are essential. SpTEd 75.4

There must be no idleness, Life is an important matter, a sacred trust; and every moment should be wisely improved, for its results will be seen in eternity. God requires each one to do all the good possible. The talents which he has entrusted to our keeping are to be made the most of. He has placed them in our hands to be used to his name's glory, and in the interests of our fellow men. SpTEd 76.1

The Lord has precious promises in this life for those who keep his law. He says, “My son, forget not my law, but let thine heart keep my commandments: for length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart; so shalt thou find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3:1-4. SpTEd 76.2

But a better than earthly reward awaits those who, basing their work on the solid Rock, have built up symmetrical characters, in accordance with the living word. For them is prepared “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Its streets are paved with gold. In it is the paradise of God, watered by the river of life, which proceeds from the throne. In the midst of the street, and on either side of the river, is the tree of life, which yields its fruit every month, “and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” SpTEd 76.3

Parents, teachers, students, remember that you are building for eternity. See that your foundation is sure; then build firmly, and with persistent effort, but in gentleness, meekness, and love. So shall your house stand unshaken, not only when the storms of temptation come, but when the overwhelming flood of God's wrath shall sweep over the world. Then every house built upon the sand shall fall, and great shall be the fall of it, for the ruin is for eternity. SpTEd 76.4

“Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.” Isaiah 3:10, 11. SpTEd 77.1