Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5

102/248

Ms 19, 1887

Sermon/A Practical Education

New Bedford, Massachusetts

August 18, 1887

Portions of this manuscript are published in AH 88, 299; CG 124, 126, 254-255, 358; 4MR 96; 11MR 155. +Note

I am very grateful for the privilege of again meeting my friends in Mass. It is sometime since I have met with you in a camp meeting, and I feel a very deep interest in all my brethren and sisters here; and I have a great interest especially in your school, because I know it is one of God’s instrumentalities; and if it is conducted upon right principles, it will be one of the greatest missionary fields in this part of the country. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 1

We know there are an abundance of schools and opportunities where men, and youth, and children can obtain an education in the sciences, but there is something more than this that we desire to gain. We feel very anxious that the moral and religious interest of the students should have a prominent part in our schools, and we know that those who are dealing with human minds have a great responsibility, and a very nice work upon their hands. We know that whoever shall undertake the work of training and influencing human minds has a big job on hand, and it is of the utmost importance that the school should be conducted after the very best principles. Here in our schools the children and youth should be educated for the purpose of becoming workers together with God. What a responsibility! [In] every case every individual that shall be connected with the school ought to have attention and care and try to reach other minds. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 2

All the teachers in this school should be men and women of principle and connected with God. We do not live [in] this world merely to please ourselves, but it is our duty every one of us to make the most of our God-given ability in order that we may uplift humanity that is around us. I have felt so interested in the education of the youth that I have said to individuals, If you will go to our schools, I will see that your expenses are met, but I cannot feel at ease to do nothing in this matter. We know there is a question whether the Bible should be brought in as one branch of the education. Why, it should be the main branch. We think that the Bible contains a knowledge of the very highest and loftiest science, and why should we not make it, as we are making it a specialty in educating the children. We know skepticism and infidelity are dwelling in our land, and we want to bring up the youth that they will become acquainted with history, and there is nothing that can elevate the mind and understanding like the opening of their minds to the Scriptures. “The entrance of thy word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple.” [Psalm 119:130.] We believe that a man can take in all the branches of education in book knowledge, and if that man has not a living connection with God, he will fail. His education may be the highest; and if not put to the right use, what does he want it for, unless it is to bless humanity, to work earnestly for the conversion of men and women to the truth, and the knowledge which is obtained is of great consequence. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 3

While I was in Copenhagen we met a few in a damp room, and there were a few there who were educated, and we labored for them; and when we were there the second time the next July—midsummer comes about that time and is celebrated as we celebrate the fourth of July—they go out into the groves and stay all night, the sun does not set till 9:30 and rises about three in the morning, and the people will spend the whole night celebrating. But when we visited there again, there was a very great advancement. A sea captain had embraced the truth. There were about 500 carpenters out of work and were in distress and want because they could get no work, but there were several who had embraced the Sabbath, and one case especially who went and told his employer that he must keep the Sabbath. “Well,” said the man, “you can go right on with your work.” And why did he tell him that he could continue his work? Because he was a thorough workman, and he could not spare him. Well, we have found that if they were thorough in their temporal labor, they stand just as high in spiritual and religious life. They stand in a position where they have an advantage. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 4

Well, we had a very precious season on this occasion in Copenhagen. We saw them advancing, and the last time we were there we saw the company more than doubled, yes tripled, and now there comes a question. A man who had embraced the truth who could talk several languages, and another man who had been studying several years for a physician, well these men began to criticize whether these ministers who had brought them the truth were educated. Their sentences and language were not just right, and we found that these educated men were beginning to lay the foundation that no man must teach the truth unless they were men from the college and who had an education. Well, they had this fixed in this manner, and I had spoken to them several times and was taken with a hard cold and thought I could not attend the meeting that night; but when the time [came], I felt that I must attend that meeting, and the Lord helped me to bear my testimony, and I spoke in regard to education and science, the importance of it, and how that God could use men of a ready heart and willing mind, although they had not a college education. I spoke of how He chose the humble fishermen to engage in His work and how that Christ was the greatest teacher this world ever knew, and while in the school of Christ they could obtain an education which was higher and more far reaching than they could in the school of the prophets. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 5

Well, now, we would not say it is of no use to study and obtain knowledge, because if we had believed this, we would never have established our colleges in Battle Creek, Healdsburg, South Lancaster, and other places. And these men after hearing me bear my testimony put away their criticisms and said they would engage in the work. And the captain came to me, and said he, “Do you think that I must place my feet upon the first round of the ladder?” Said I, “Yes, sir, on the first round. You must have an education of a different order, it must be of a different character, that is, the education of Bible truth, but you need not, as you place your feet upon the first round of the ladder, ignore or cast aside [as] of no consequence your knowledge gained in study or travel. You take all the knowledge you have with you, but it must be sanctified; you must have a living connection with heaven, or your knowledge is of no use whatever.” Well, he said he did want to be a Christian; this he considered of value. Well, now we want our colleges to stand high, and those who are fathers and mothers in Israel we want them to feel a special care for those under their charge. There may be those who have had wrong training and those who have wrong ideas in regard to the training of children. These children and youth want the very best training, and you must bring the physical labor right in with the mental—the two should go together. We taught our children that after they had spent some time in school, then [they should] drop out a term because there was no arrangement made for manual labor. And after working for a term or two, they could take hold in the school again, and they were just two terms in advance of those who continued in the school the whole time. The mother stands in the place of God to her children and should have a care for the physical as well as the mental powers of the children. What is the reason that today we cannot find responsible men? It is because they have not been educating the children to be caretakers. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 6

We had a school in San Francisco to train young men, and just near the school was a board torn off from the fence, and I had to go by that way every day and saw the board and had to step over it, and I thought I would let it stay to see how long before one of these young men would see that it needed to be fixed and would attend to it; but there it lay week after week, and not one touched it, they did not seem to see it. They had not been trained to be caretakers, but I had, and could not go by such things without taking notice of them. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 7

Well, now, in our schools we want to educate workers; for God wants workers. There are many who think that if there is a man who cannot make a success at anything else he would make a minister, but we do not want such men. We want men who can think, plan, and devise. Do you think a minister who is employed in visiting needs no ability and tact? If there were ever a place where there should be thinking and acting done, it is in the upbuilding of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ; therefore we want useful persons, and those who have made a success in other things. When you send your children to school, don’t tell them you don’t want them to do any manual labor. The physical labor is just what they need, that they will not only develop the mind, but that they will have physical power as well as mental, that they will not have a one-sided education. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 8

What is the reason that we cannot find women today to do household duties? What is the matter? If they have two things to do at once, they are sure to forget one; and why, because they have not been educated to be caretakers. They can run in one rut, but when they try to take in more, they cannot because they have no education in that direction. I have brought up not only my own children, but others; and today I have two that are now grown up, and I would tell them, Now you can go to school, and when you get home there are other duties for you to do in the kitchen. Why, said they, Aunt Ellen, such a one doesn’t have to wash dishes. Well, said I, I am not bringing you up in this line. Thus I educated them. Said I, Hold up your hands, what are they made for? Not to be idle. My mother taught me to work. I used to ask my mother why I must always do so much before I play? It is to educate and train your mind for useful labor, and another thing, to keep you out of mischief, and when you get older you will thank me for it. When one of my little girls said to me, “Why must I knit? Grandmothers knit.” I [replied,] “Will you tell me how grandmothers learned to knit? Why, they began when they were little girls.” 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 9

After they had been to school a while, I sent one to the country and said, Teach this little girl to cook. But few mothers teach their girls how to cook. How can we allow these things to go on? I have seen bread placed upon the table not fit to put into the stomach. I have seen fathers and mothers and children suffering because of want to know how to cook. There should be in our colleges domestic duties. Good cooking is in demand everywhere, but people have come to regard the act of cooking as something to be looked down upon. And [can] we marvel at it when we see how the servant girl is treated? When my children would not talk to my cook and associate with her, I would take them and say, Now children, I want to talk with you a little. I appreciate my seamstress and I appreciate my copyist, but I appreciate my cook above every one else of the helpers in my family, because the cook, if educated to her business, knows how to prepare good cooked food for the stomach; therefore my cook stands higher than my seamstress or copyist. And if there is any preference to be given, it is to my cook. But you know it is not so now, but the cooking has gotten to be regarded as a very menial service. I know of places where 20 good cooks are wanted, but where are they? They are not to be had. We want good cooks. Now mothers who want to guard your children, do you cook? Do you want your children to be cooks? Let them be copyists, and canvassers, and all this, but let them be fit for manual labor as well. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 10

I am glad that in South Lancaster School there has been manual labor brought in, and we ought to prize this as the very highest method. But [let one] who has had no education at home in [manual labor] go out as a canvasser and stop at a family where the mother has children and all she can do, and the canvasser will lie in bed until seven in the morning [and] not get up in time to do her chamber work before breakfast or help the woman at all, [for] she is a canvasser. For this kind of work to become easy for them, they must be educated in it. You let children go to school. [When] children were sent into my family to board, and they would say, “My mother doesn’t want me to do my washing,” I [would] say, “Well, [shall we] do it for you, and charge you half a dollar more for your board?” “Oh, no! Mother doesn’t want to pay any more for me.” Well then I [would] say, “You may get up in the morning and do it for yourself. God never designed that you should be waited upon by us. Instead of your mother getting up and getting breakfast in the morning while you lie in bed, you should be the one to say, ‘Mother, don’t you get up in the morning. We will take hold of these burdens and perform these duties.’ [You should] let [those] whose hairs are growing grey take [their] rest in the morning.” 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 11

Why is this not so? Where is the trouble? It is with the parents [who] let [their] children come up without bearing any burdens in the family. When [these children] go out to school, [they say,] “Ma says she doesn’t want me to work.” [Such] mothers are foolish. [They] spoil their children and then send them to school to spoil it. “Well,” they say, “we did not want our children to work.” Why? It is the very best discipline they can have. It is no harder for them than for their mothers. Blend the physical labor with the mental, and the powers of the mind will develop far better if the physical has a preparation for the education of the mental. Now we read in the Scriptures of the sin of the daughters. [Ezekiel 16:49.] Idleness and fulness of bread were the curse which rested upon [Sodom], and, as the youth of today are not taught to work, their usefulness is spoilt in lovesick sentimentalism. This would not be so if they were educated to work and to realize that life means labor, responsibility, and caretaking. All these girls should know how to cook the best food, and those who understand how to cook a good meal of victuals will make the best canvassers, colporteurs, and copyists. Now it is a fact, if you neglect this branch and these youth grow up without a solid education, I would say to these teachers here, You want to make the Word of God the first, the last, the best in everything. What we want is to be fitted up for the future immortal life; and if you have those who are so slack in their education in this line, they will never see the importance of their work for the future immortal life. They will have a slipshod religion just as they have a slipshod education, but we want that the moral code of our colleges should be elevated, and we want that every one of us shall have the mold of Jesus Christ upon him. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 12

I was solicited some years since to visit a family. “Well,” said I, “I will come if I can.” Well, I went and was invited into the parlor, and the little daughter, 15 years old, came in and talked about an hour. Then said I, “Where is your mother?” And just then the door came open, and I saw the mother in the kitchen ironing. I stepped into the kitchen and said, “In answer to your urgent invitation, I came to visit you today.” “Yes,” said she, “but I am so busy. My daughter is going away, and her clothes must be done up.” So she stayed in the kitchen and let her daughter come into the parlor to entertain the company. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 13

The school at South Lancaster should educate every scholar in the science of house work. We can live if we do not understand the other sciences, but we cannot live so well if we do not understand the science of cooking. Then in sickness our people don’t know what to do when one of the family is sick. They must have a doctor. They do not know how to treat the sick; but if there is one lady in the neighborhood who knows something about treating the sick, they will run for her to come and care for their sick no matter how much the woman may have to do. You ask one of the younger ones to have a care for the sick: “Why, I don’t know how to treat the sick.” They have never been educated. It should be a law that [young people] should [not] get married unless they know how to care for the children that are brought into their family. They must know how to take care of this house that God has given them. Unless they understand in regard to the laws which God has established in their system, they cannot understand their duty to their God or themselves. It is a very important matter. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 14

Many say they have overstudied—they taxed their brain too much. Well now, there is no such thing. They do not tax their brain too much, it is not that; they do not tax their physical organs enough so that the work moves in one level, while the muscles are inactive and then the physical organs cannot do the best work. Why, their hands are just like a machine, they want oiling in order to be of use. And our young girls, if they begin young to know how to use the rubbing board and the molding board and much more such work, why, they would be much better fitted to study. They can accrue an education, they know how to do this, and the manual labor is the very part of education which should be connected with your school. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 15

And there should be those in the school who know how to take care of the sick. There should be a cot brought in as I saw in Switzerland. There is a field where they bring on their doctors, and there are the officers, and they have to put up their tents in just such a way and take them down and lay them on the wagons, and there are the sick with their bandages, and the men must take them up in just such a way and carry the wounded and bandage them just as though they were actually wounded. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 16

The cooking and eating all have to be carried out, and every one must learn to do his part of the work intelligently and well. Why in our places of discipline shall we not educate the youth how to treat the sick with water, the girls in their department and the boys in their department? 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 17

Should any one get hurt, call the students together and show them how to care for the wounded, and thus they learn a lesson which may be of use to themselves and others. But if taught to faint away if a drop of blood comes, why, such ones are not fit to have a family. We must know how to take care of our flesh and blood, and this lesson must be taught in our schools. They will never be perfect until it is. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 18

We have made a beginning, and I am glad; but there is more to be done, and that is we must arise. We must act just as those officers in the army, preparing for war in time of peace, and then when sickness comes, you will know just what to do. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 19

Had it not been for the knowledge I had in caring for the sick, my children that are living now would not have been alive, and I have saved the lives of others. I never learned to be a physician, but I had a little sprinkling of common sense which my mother taught me. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 20

Then another thing you want and that is the pleasant faces; you want to speak words of cheerfulness. You don’t want any wry visages around. You want every feature of your face to express love. You don’t want to go as if you were never young. In Switzerland we see the teachers go out with their scholars every day, and they sing their little songs and learn how to play. This is as it should be, then school is not a drudgery. All the older ones have a teacher with them, and he watches their play and tells them how to play and plays with them, and they become attached to him. He does not stand off and criticize and find fault with their play, but enters right into their amusement; and if he finds one mischievous, he sets him in order and teaches him he must play right. And thus the teachers mingle with the scholars in their amusement, and their hearts are bound together. We want tender sympathy for the youth, and not cast them off because one is a little dull. They must wrestle with their difficulties alone because there is something about them that others do not want to connect with them. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 21

It is sympathy and tenderness that will work as you have never dreamed of. It is not fretting and scolding; this will discourage them. We know Satan has a power over the youth and children, and we want to take these children out of his ranks and place them under the ranks of Jesus Christ. No teacher should let his scholars know that they can get the advantage of him. When I have felt roiled, and [was tempted to] speak words that I would be ashamed of, I would keep silent and pass right out of the room and ask God to give me patience to teach these children. Then I could go back and talk with them and tell them they must not do this wrong again. We can take [such] a position in this matter that we shall not provoke the children to wrath. We should speak kindly and patiently, remembering all the time how wayward we are and how we want to be treated by our heavenly Father. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 22

Now these are the lessons that parents must learn, and when you have learned these, you will be the very best students in the school of Christ, and your children will be the very best of children. In this way you can teach them to have respect to God and keep His law, because you will have excellent government over them, and in doing this you are bringing up into society children who will be a blessing to all around them. You are fitting them to be laborers together with God in the colporteur work, in the canvassing work. Now in the schools we are establishing, we want fathers and mothers, we want those who know how to take care of the sick, and the school is not complete unless you have those there. To my certain knowledge, we have taken case after case and treated them and saved them. This life is not so worthless that we can throw it away. We can use it so that we can be a blessing to those around us, and when we shall enter the city of God, there we shall see the very ones we have labored for, not only to give them physical health, but mental and moral strength. And their hearts will fill with gratitude to those who have done this good work for them. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 23

Now what we want is to so relate ourselves to the children in our schools that we will feel that it is God’s family and each feel that he is responsible for the mold he gives to these children. While we are thus educating and training the youth to become useful men and women, we are doing a grand work for time and eternity, and then we are not to make everything of book knowledge as though study of the sciences was to be everything. It is no such thing, but we want nothing to come into the family which will give a wrong influence to the family. We are to take the Bible and study it. [We are] not to get our minds so absorbed in the study of books that we have no time to pray, but we want to bring the Bible and its teachings and science into the school. We can have schools that the heavens above us will look upon and lend them constant aid, for God sends His angels to work, and these will work to bring moral power to combine with man’s human effort. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 24

Teachers and scholars need every one to walk with God; then if you see these children taking a wrong course, you will be able to train them for heaven. We have work to do, and the angels of God will be by your side to help you in the work, and you may know you are growing in strength. Your study of the languages and all your book knowledge does not eclipse the knowledge of heavenly things, but you are growing up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. Thus you are becoming educated and fitted for the future immortal life, and all this is fitting you to develop that character which God will approve, and you [will] carry this with you into the future life. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 25

I believe that our schools one year from now can be far in advance of what they are today; and while we see that much improvement has been made, there is still more to be made; and may God help us to learn the best ways and methods to educate the young for the immortal life. Now there will come in different theories, but just let these alone and draw nigh to Christ. It is the third angel’s message that needs attention. The devil will get up every kind of a theory to divert the minds, but just keep your mind upon the one thing—we have a work to do to fit these children for the kingdom of God. You may have all the learning of the work and yet lose heaven. What we want is to learn how to put on gracefully the robe of Christ’s righteousness. We want that parents and children shall learn to be kind, courteous, and loving. Every one that you connect with is the purchase of the blood of Christ; just let your hearts be open to the beams of Christ’s righteousness, and then you will have a smile for those around you. If you are happy, you will exhibit it in the looks. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 26

Now we are not all cast in the same mold; there are children whose parents are not kind to them and who do not honor their parents, and they have wrong ideas committed to them before their birth. Their mother should bear with [such] as a mother who has committed it to them. Here is one student or child that commits an error or wrong, and this very one is the one that needs your sympathy, pity, and attention; but in the place of this, these are left to paddle their own canoe in their own tendencies. But don’t let these youth be discouraged. Fight the battle, children; remember every victory places you above the enemy. Fight the battle, teachers, for you have just as many peculiar traits of character as the children. I want to ask you brethren and sisters: will you consider that you are one family and that nothing grieves and displeases the Spirit of God like diversity, envy, jealousy, evil surmising. There should not be the least petting in the school, but respect your students and teach them to respect you. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 27

I want to say in regard to the erring ones: Jesus pities these. Satan takes advantage of their character, and you can give him the field if you want to, or you can take them from the hands of the enemy and place them in the hands of Jesus. Will you do it? Will you have self-control? Will you guard your words, give smiles and affection, and show that the love of Jesus is abounding in your heart to all around you. God help you to do it. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 28

I do love children. I do want to see that they shall have just that mold that they ought to have. Now don’t, mothers, forget what I have said. What we want is to have you educate the youth to use their own brain power that they may become intelligent in devising and executing and know how to use their mental powers. We want to act more businesslike, like men and women that are to be taken to a better world, and these children will be there if they are fitted for it. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 29

Remember what I said to you about educating them to care for the sick and suffering, and what I have said in regard to teaching the girls to cook. And if you should take your cook and place her by your side, there would be more cooks than there are today. We want to act like sensible men and women, and our house should be a model of heaven. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 30

Now don’t be discouraged, because we have a loving Jesus, and He knows every trial and is willing to come to your help and bless you abundantly. And when He sees you starting in a right direction, He will bring you light. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 31

Whoever enters the city of God will go in as conquerors. They will not be as beggars, but as those who have a right to a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Now let us get right down at the foot of the cross, and you will learn in this school every day, and God will make you a help in the schools and colleges and wherever you are, and you will hear at last a voice saying: Child, come up higher. And there will be unfolded to you that which you have not understood here, and we will dwell with Jesus through the ceaseless ages of eternity. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 32

There is one point more that I want to mention and then close. There are those in the little churches, and they need to be just as strong and try to help the others; and if one feels that someone has injured them, they should go right to the one and talk with them and then go right on and do the best they can; and pay no attention to your feelings, but be determined to do right whatever your feelings may be, just like good soldiers. I do not look to what this one is doing or what that one is doing, but have a single eye. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 33

We are Christ’s employed servants, and if you choose to sit back just because you feel cross and ugly, it shows that you have not the spirit of Christ in you. Now had we not better reveal the Christ side of the character and try to build up and strengthen others by our influence. If you feel that one has injured you, just go right to the one and confess your sins together. We point you to Jesus Christ. He died for you, and we are to draw every soul that we can to Him. May God help us to be ready, and then we shall have an abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 34