Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5


Chapter 72—Unholy Ambition

Dear Brother and Sister N,

Although I have received from you no acknowledgment of my last letter, I feel drawn out to write to you again. I have been shown your danger, and cannot forbear to impress upon your minds the necessity of walking humbly with God. You will be safe as long as you have humble views of self. But I know that your souls are in peril. You are seeking for a broader path for your feet than the humble path of holiness, the royal way that leads to the city of God. You have too much of self and too little of the meekness and lowliness of Christ. You have much self-esteem and self-confidence, and little faith in God. The discordant elements in your nature are largely developed. Unruly passions have a controlling power. Pride and vanity seek for the supremacy. I know that the enemy is tempting you sorely. Your only safety is in entire conformity to the will of God. Submission is necessary on your part; a complete consecration of yourselves to Christ is your only hope of salvation. If you walk in humility of mind before the Lord, then He can work with your efforts, and His strength will be made perfect in your weakness. Christ is our Saviour. He has said for your benefit and for mine: “Without Me ye can do nothing.” Oh, will you have more of Jesus, and less of self? 5T 586.2

Brother N, you are not naturally devotional and hence need to make constant efforts to cultivate faith. It is easy for you to drop Christ out of your experience. The Lord has given you His blessing in the past, and how sweet it was to your soul! What comfort, what courage, it gave you! Your passion is to exalt education, but I speak the truth when I tell you that education, unless balanced by religious principles, will be a power for evil. 5T 586.3

I am not willing to look on passively and see you go as others have gone in the fatal delusion that Seventh-day Adventists are too narrow in their ideas, are traveling in too obscure a path; that they must needs have greater notoriety and rise to greater eminence; that the teachers in our schools should give their powers more exclusively to the sciences and not weave religion into so much of their education. When this seed is dropped into the hearts of students, it will develop rapidly into a harvest which you will not covet to reap. 5T 587.1

We are, as it were, on the very borders of the eternal world, and if you do the work in this school for which it was founded you must educate largely from the Book of all books. You must not exalt any other study above that of the Bible. Other schools in our land are not to be taken as your pattern. 5T 587.2

I have been shown that you are charmed with that line of education from which the religious element is almost entirely excluded. There are numerous schools of this order in our land, where students can go if they desire that kind of training. But this school must be of a different character; it must have the mold of God in every department. 5T 587.3

Jesus and His love should be interwoven with all the education given, as the very best knowledge the students can have. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” If the principal, in his ambitious projects, soars away from the Source of all wisdom and thinks that Bible religion will clip his wings, he will find that he amounts to no more than a soap bubble. Then for your soul's sake bring the Prince of life into every plan, every organization. You cannot have too much of Jesus or of Scripture history in your school. 5T 587.4

Have we the truth? Are we living in the closing period of this earth's history? Is Christ at the door? These are questions for us all to settle. Education ought always to be of a high, holy order, and the need is more imperative now than ever before. The removal of the faithful from this world will soon be accomplished. Then why not bring all the energies of mind and soul into entire consecration to God? 5T 587.5

Never hide your colors, never put your light under a bushel or under a bed, but set it on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house. Did you and the teachers who were with you at ----- watch for opportunities to enlighten others? Did you seek in wisdom to do all the good you possibly could? Did you try to call the attention of those whose acquaintance you formed, to Bible truths? Did you not drag your colors behind you because you were ashamed to be regarded as God's peculiar people? “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words; ... of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father.” If you would only feed on Christ daily then you could be a true educator. 5T 588.1

My brother, there is danger of your trying to communicate too much at one time. You are not required to make lengthy speeches or to talk upon subjects that will not be understood or appreciated by common people. There is danger of your dwelling upon themes at the very top of the ladder, when those whom you are instructing need to be taught how to climb successfully its first rounds. You talk of things which those unacquainted with our faith cannot comprehend; hence your speeches are not interesting. They are not food for those whom you address. 5T 588.2

Jesus was the greatest educator the world ever knew. In comparison with His knowledge the highest human knowledge is foolishness. But His instructions were so simple that all understood Him, both learned and unlearned. He made no effort to show His deep knowledge, for this they could not have understood. You seem to think your long talks have a special influence to mold and fashion your hearers just as you wish, but you will certainly fail in this. You would have a much better influence if you would talk less and pray more; God is your source of strength. 5T 588.3

Your long speeches on education in the sciences are painful to the angels of God, who are constantly and intensely active in seeking to call the thoughts and affections to heavenly things. Souls are perishing while you neglect to work with your entrusted talents as Christ has given you an example. Souls will be lost under your long, Christless speeches. Your own soul is dwarfed and crippled in the knowledge of Christ. You are losing very much because you are blinded by the spirit and customs of an education which will not save the soul. 5T 589.1

The youth need your labor. If you were a converted man, daily learning lessons in the school of Christ, then your labors would be a savor of life unto life. Then you could work with patience and love, and in the power of God, for the souls of youth who are exposed to temptation. Devote a portion of the time you consume in long addresses, to personal labor for the youth who need your help. Teach them the claims of God are upon them; pray with them. There are many who are bound in evil habits with fetters as firm as steel. The poor victims are fascinated with the charms of Satan's allurements and are unable to break away and stand in God-given freedom. They have lost years; shall they lose the year just entered upon? Will the principal of the school awaken to a sense of his responsibilities and give his mind and heart to the salvation of the students? If not, then let another take his place. Expenses should not run on and on, while nothing, or next to nothing, is done in the very line for which the school was brought into existence. 5T 589.2

Shall the powers of mind and soul be misapplied? Shall opportunities be lost? Shall a form and routine be gone through day after day, with nothing gained? Oh, awake, awake! teachers and pupils, before it is too late. Awake before you hear from pale and agonized lips the terrible wail: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” 5T 589.3

Are the gifts and talents of every educator improved for the very best good of the pupils? Who is watching for a favorable moment to speak words of kindness and love? Who loves to tell the story of Him who so loved the world that He gave His life to redeem lost and perishing sinners? Train the youth, mold the character, educate, educate, educate, for the future, immortal life. Pray often. Plead with God to give you a spirit of supplication. Do not feel that your work as teachers is done unless you can lead your scholars to faith in Jesus and love for Him. Let the love of Christ pervade your own souls, and then you will unconsciously teach it to others. When you as instructors commit yourselves unreservedly to Jesus, for Him to lead, to guide, to control, you will not fail. Teaching your students to be Christians is the greatest work before you. Go to God; He hears and answers prayer. Put from you questionings, doubts, and unbelief. Let no harshness come into your teaching. Be not too exacting, but cultivate tender sympathy and love. Be cheerful. Do not scold, do not censure too severely; be firm, be broad, be Christlike, pitiful, courteous. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” 5T 590.1

I cannot express to you the intense desire of my soul that you should all seek the Lord most earnestly while He may be found. We are in the day of God's preparation. Let nothing be regarded as of sufficient worth to draw your minds from the work of preparing for the great day of judgment. Get ready. Let not cold unbelief hold your souls away from God, but let His love burn on the altar of your hearts. 5T 590.2