Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Ms 10, 1880

Proper Training in Our Schools



Previously unpublished.

By listening to reports from others there is danger of becoming prejudiced and suspicious. We are all in danger of having our views and opinions, even on the most vital subjects, influenced by our feelings and our wishes. The most strictly honest, God-fearing persons have likes and dislikes which need to be constantly guarded, or their own experience and that of others will be biased, and persons that are not deserving of it will receive ill treatment. Unless there is a continual connection with God, self will intrude, and a certain course be pursued, more because it suits the individual peculiarities of the mind than because it is proper and right. 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 1

Reports have been accepted by influential members, and judgment has been passed which will surely bring back the same judgment. Everything possible should be done to keep back evil reports, and all, especially the erring, should be kindly treated. Satan will give these erring ones a hard time, but you can represent Christ to them in showing the mercy and compassion Christ has manifested toward you. In our minds and hearts we should ever cherish the thought that Christ died to save these tempted and tried souls. 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 2

We should feel constrained by the love Christ has manifested to us to do all in our power to help suffering humanity. Jesus came to save the lost, and we must be co-workers with Him. The heart that is full of the Spirit of Christ will love all for whom He suffered and died. 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 3

Every day a course of conduct is pursued by men and women in responsible positions in our institutions, more because the heart is not right and loves such a course than because the judgment, after measuring by the Word of God, approves of it. When duty and inclination are at variance, unless the heart is surrendered to God to do His will, it is difficult to see the matters in the correct light. 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 4

Sharp, critical traits of character should be guarded and repressed, and love, tenderness, and true Christian courtesy continually strengthened by exercise. The patience and love of Christ, which He manifested toward the erring and the lost, must be practiced. Mercy, the twin sister of Justice, should ever be by the side of the human agent. He should be pitiful, courteous, kind, considerate, tenderly guarding the feelings of others. 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 5

Influence is power, but it is often lost through miscalculation. The worker for Christ must never forget that he is only a part of the whole. He is only a thread in the web which connects the parts together. One act out of harmony with the material which composes the whole will destroy the needed perfection. “For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 6

The same spirit with which we judge others, whether it is a spirit of faultfinding or forbearance, will be shown to us. As we judge, we shall be judged. We can make around us an atmosphere fragrant with love and tenderness or one that is dark with criticism and faultfinding. 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 7

Educators must not be extremists upon any one point, if they would be well balanced workers. Pride should not be exhibited in regard to classes or studies because they happen to meet your mind. The good of the students in the future must be carefully considered, not sacrificed because it is natural for their instructor to give the greater strength of his powers to one branch in which he has a special interest. 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 8

There is a great deficiency in our schools in the line of composition, writing, and bookkeeping. These are as essential for practical life as the science of grammar. Bookkeeping should stand as one of the most important branches of education. There is not one in twenty who knows how to keep accounts correctly. 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 9

Attention should also be given to reading, for this is a branch of study greatly neglected. It requires much training to be able to read properly. Through the lack of this training, one half of the force of the other instruction will be lost. Teachers who are not competent to give instruction in this line and to teach correct pronunciation and where to place the emphasis, should become learners till they can teach how to read with the proper emphasis and with a full, clear, distinct tone of voice. 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 10

Those, also, who teach the Word of God to others should be taught how to read and speak impressively. Ministers who have but a short time to study should not place themselves under teachers who cannot discern the need of learning all that can be learned in a short time. Teachers who have a certain prescribed course which they wish all to pursue with the same degree of thoroughness are not the best for those whose time is limited. They go so deeply and minutely into subjects that it is impossible, without taking a regular course, to follow and derive much benefit. 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 11

The most precious moments of our ministers are nearly lost for the want of a teacher who can take in the situation and manage the matter judiciously, drilling them patiently and kindly in the branches most essential for practical use in their ministerial work. They need especial drill in reading and writing and in keeping accounts correctly. 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 12

Having learned the simple rules, they should bend their minds to the acquisition of knowledge in connection with their labor, so that they may be “workmen that need not to be ashamed.” [2 Timothy 2:15.] They can master one branch of science after another while they are engaged in the work of preaching the truth, if they will wisely employ their time. Golden moments are thrown away in unimportant conversation, in indolence, and in doing those things that are of little consequence, that ought to be used everyday in useful employments that will fit us more easily to approach the high standard. 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 13

The men who now stand before the people as representatives of Christ have generally more ability than they have training, but they do not put their faculties to use, making the most of their time and opportunities. Nearly every minister in the field, had he exerted his God-given energies, might not only be proficient in reading, writing, and grammar, but even in languages. It is essential for them to set their aim high. But there has been but little ambition to put their powers to the test to reach an elevated standard in knowledge and in religious intelligence. 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 14

Our ministers will have to render to God an account for the rusting of the talents He has given to improve by exercise. They might have done ten-fold more work intelligently had they cared to. They could have become intellectual giants. Their whole experience in their high calling is cheapened because they are content to remain where they are. Their efforts to acquire knowledge will not in the least hinder their spiritual growth if they will study with proper motives and aims. 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 15

Brother [G. H.] Bell might have been the greatest help to our ministers had he felt the necessity of the case and had wisdom to know what they needed. Those of his scholars who view things from his standard and see perfection in his teachings stand in his view upon a high elevation and are just about right in his eyes. They are his especial favorites, while he is inclined to be prejudiced against those who question the wisdom of his plans in devoting so much time to grammar, to the neglect of other studies, and keeping favorite ones who show an aptitude for this branch of study, drilling over and over upon it, losing time in gaining a one-sided education. This he does not see, for he is not properly balanced upon this matter. 3LtMs, Ms 10, 1880, par. 16