Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Ms 49, 1893

Regarding Students Traveling to America

Gisborne, New Zealand

October 28, 1893

This manuscript is published in entirety in 1NL 81-84; 15MR 157. +Note

My mind is exercised in regard to the young men who have crossed the broad waters to America in order to obtain an education that they thought they could not obtain in their own country. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 1

I am much pleased with New Zealand. I think it a very fine country and would have no objection to making my home here if this were the will of God. But my mission and work require me to be a pilgrim and stranger, waiting, watching, and working, till the time shall fully come when, with the saints in light, I shall enter the city which hath foundations whose Maker and Builder is God. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 2

For many years I have seen by faith the inheritance of the saints afar off, and I have been persuaded of the promises and have embraced them. I have perfect confidence in the God who is behind the promises. I am pleased to confess that I am a pilgrim and a stranger in the earth. My earnest determination is to declare plainly by my life and character, to all with whom I am brought in contact, that I seek a better country, even a heavenly, as did those men of old who loved and feared God. “Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He hath prepared for them a city.” [Hebrews 11:16.] 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 3

I feel very anxious that our New Zealand boys who have gone to America to obtain an education shall be a credit in every respect to those who have assisted them. I would say to these students, Those who have interested themselves in your behalf have flattering hopes of you, as I well know. They have taken upon themselves much responsibility for you; and they earnestly desire that you shall reach a high standard and be signalized as useful men, men of moral worth and unswerving integrity. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 4

Remember that you will never reach a higher standard than you yourselves set. Set your mark high and then, step by step, even though it be by painful effort, by self-denial and self-sacrifice ascend the whole length of the ladder of progress. Let nothing hinder you. Christ will be to you a present help in every time of trouble. Stand like Daniel, the faithful statesman, a man whom no temptation could corrupt. Do not disappoint your parents and friends, and there is Another to be considered. Do not disappoint Him who so loved you that He gave His own life to cancel your sins. He says, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] Remember this. If you have made mistakes, you certainly gain a victory if you see these mistakes and regard them as beacons of warning. I need not tell you that thus you turn defeat into victory, disappointing the enemy, and honoring your Redeemer. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 5

We feel sorry indeed that any weakness of character should mar the record of the past, because we know that if you had watched unto prayer, this need not have been. We feel sorry for your teachers, for your wrong conduct places upon them burdens they ought not to be asked to bear. They may have moved unwisely, for each one has the weakness of his own natural character to contend against. They may have thought they were doing right, when they were making mistakes. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 6

But how much better it would be if every student would place himself upon his honor and cherish pure, high, noble motives, feeling it his duty to help his teachers in every possible way, thinking how he would like to be treated were he in a position of trust and responsibility. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 7

If teachers are disciples of Christ, and engaged in a work that is approved by God, Satan will surely assault them with every possible temptation. And if he can stir up <in the students> elements of character that will aid him in bringing perplexities and discouragement to the educators, he has gained a great advantage. If the tempted one reveals weakness in any respect, his influence is weakened, and the one, who has by a wrong course of action proved to be an agent under the controlling power of the adversary of souls, must render an account to God for the part he has acted in laying a stumbling block in the way of his fellow man. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 8

Will our students carefully study this phase of the subject? Why should they link themselves with the great apostate? Why should they become his agents in temptation, in their turn to tempt others? Why do they not realize that every human being has his own trials, peculiar to himself, and that no one is free from temptation? Students, study to help, sustain and encourage your teachers in their position in the school. Thus doing, you are not sowing tares, but wheat; and God’s Word declares, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” [Galatians 6:7.] 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 9

Students will be tempted to do lawless things, to please themselves. They may think this only fun. But if they would put themselves upon their honor, and realize that in doing these things they bless no [one], but involve others as well as themselves in difficulty, they would be more careful of their actions. How much more manly and honorable it would be to act like gentlemen who do not ask that all sympathy be shown to them, but who realize that they must put their will on Christ’s side and work in His lines by helping their teachers to carry burdens and perplexities that Satan would make discouragingly heavy. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 10

By helping to bear these burdens, instead of making them more taxing, what a blessing students would receive. They would create an atmosphere in the school that would be helpful and exhilarating, not depressing and enfeebling. Every student would enjoy the consciousness that he had acted his part on Christ’s side, and had not given one jot of his ability of influence to the great adversary of all that is good or ennobling. How much more satisfactory it would be for the students to think that they had not given their sanction to any plans showing disrespect for authority, but rather had pursued a course that showed respect for order, diligence, and obedience, even against the clamoring of inclination for indulgence. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 11

Will not students remember that it is in their power to help and not to hinder. They are at school for the purpose of gaining a knowledge of books, and especially a knowledge of the Scriptures. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” [Proverbs 9:10.] Lay this foundation, and you will be happy men and women. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 12

Students are in no case to cheapen and decrease their value in Christian Endeavor lines. They are to prepare to go forth as missionaries to warn the world. They should have their seasons of prayer. From them earnest, fervent prayers should ascend to heaven for the principal of the school, that God may bless him with health and give him moral power, clearness of mind and spiritual discernment. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 13

They should pray that the teachers may be blessed and qualified by the grace of Christ to do their <high and God-appointed work> with fidelity, with an active, fervent love that is in harmony with the mind of the Saviour. They are to be His agents through whom He works, that good may prevail over evil. May God give the students who attend our institutions of learning, grace and courage to act up to the principles revealed in the law of God. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 14

By dying for men, Jesus exalted humanity in the scale of moral value with God. The Son of the infinite God clothed His divinity with humanity that He might become a stepping stone for every human being to heaven, that by His power humanity might be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. He is working to uplift and ennoble men, and He requires every soul that He has redeemed from hopeless misery to co-operate with Him in the great work of saving souls. <We are laborers together with God.> Oh, if all could see this matter as it is presented before me, how soon they would cease to aid the enemy in his work! How they would despise his efforts to bring sin into the world. <With> what perfect hatred they would hate sin, as they thought of how it cost the life of the Commander of heaven! 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 15

Christ died that man might not be bound hopelessly to Satan’s chariot, as the trophies of his victory. Who then will link up with Satan? Who will choose to wear his badge? Who will choose him as their leader refusing to stand under a banner stained with the blood of the Captain of their salvation? Christ died for every son and daughter of Adam. It was for us that He manifested this amazing love. How can the subjects of His love be indifferent, standing in sin and disobedience, refusing to confess Christ? How can they love to do evil? How can they prostitute their reasoning faculties, and place their influence on Satan’s side? By doing this they weaken their moral power and efficiency, instead of strengthening every faculty to do the will of Him who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 16

The Lord has greatly honored men by giving Christ as their ransom, that they might be recovered from the enemy’s snare. But are they willing to be recovered? Will they accept the precious gift, Christ Jesus, or will they refuse to do Him service <and retain their objectionable traits of character?> Christ declared, “He that gathereth not with Me, scattereth abroad.” [Matthew 12:30.] Those who try to do well in their own finite strength will fail. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 17

But those who accept Jesus are upheld by a higher than human power. They confess Christ. They become His soldiers and fight the good fight of faith. These will be faithful soldiers in their school association. They will realize that they are enlisted to make the school the most orderly, elevated and praiseworthy institution in the world. They will place every jot and tittle of their influence on the side of Christ and heavenly intelligences. They will feel it their duty to form Christian Endeavor societies, <pledging themselves> to help every student to see the consistency of a course of action that God will approve. They will draw with Christ, doing their utmost to perfect a Christian character. They will take upon themselves the work of leading the lame and the weak into the safe, upward paths that Christ has cast up for His chosen ones. They will plan to do all they can to make the institution in which they are all that God designed it to be when He signified that it should be brought into existence. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 18

Students, never be found disparaging the schools which God has established <by an unchristian course of behavior.> If you have failed at any time, if you have fallen under temptation, it was because you did not make God your strength, because you did not have that faith that works by love and purifies the soul. If you had felt that as human agents for whom Christ has given His precious life, it was your privilege to do all you possibly could to aid the work God has recognized as His work, if you had called into exercise every ability in an effort to cooperate with Christ in blessing and saving the youth, you would have made great advance upward and onward. <You must first receive the grace and blessing [of God] and then impart.> 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 19

When each student in our institutions of learning acts his part with fidelity, as Daniel acted his part in wicked Babylon, these institutions will resemble the schools of the prophets. No wrong influences will then go from the students. As consecrated instrumentalities, they will help to do the work they see necessary to be done. They will help to carry the burdens borne by the <teachers and principal,> and instead of disparaging the school, they will speak of the excellence and personal merit of the teachers. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 20

Let all who have any connection with the schools already established be firm and determined in the strength of Him who has paid the ransom for their souls, to be faithful servants in the cause of Christ, to help their fellow students to be faithful, pure, and holy in life and character. Let every one who loves God seek to win those who have not confessed Christ [and] to do this without delay. A silent, prayerful interest may be manifested every day. The very best experience in missionary lines may be gained by thus co-operating with Jesus, the Missionary-in-Chief to our world. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 21

Let every soul grow in excellence of character, in devotion, in purity, in holiness, exercising aright every God-given ability, that the enemies of our faith shall not triumph, that those in open rebellion against God shall not mold and fashion the characters of His children. Let the influence of the sons and daughters of God, united by the bonds of a holy faith, be wholly on the Lord’s side. Give evidence that you have [a] living connection with God, and that you are ambitious for the Master’s glory to cultivate every grace of character. May the love of Christ constrain <each one> to help their associates, by their love and sympathy, to walk in the heavenly way, the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 22

When the students in our schools learn to choose God’s will, they will find it comparatively easy to do His will. Let every student remember that he is a member of God’s firm, and that he is to make the school what God would have it. If you see defects in students or in church members, be thankful to God that you have discerned these defects. Do not grieve your Redeemer by imitating them. Avoid them. You will see those who are weak in spiritual understanding, who are not learning in the school of Christ His meekness and lowliness, <who have no interest in religious things,> who manifest a vain, frivolous, worldly character which loves <amusement and> display. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 23

The only remedy for these is to talk of Jesus and behold Jesus. If they can be led to look at Him and study His character, they will learn to despise everything that is vain and frivolous; for Christ was intensely earnest, full of goodness, mercy, forbearance, patience and unexampled love. By continuing to behold Jesus, they will rise above the littleness of the things that so molded them that they were unlovely and unholy in character. They will feel contempt for themselves. They will say, “I will not sit with vain persons, neither will I go with dissemblers.” [Psalm 26:4.] “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” [Proverbs 13:20.] 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 24

Let all who go to America to school remember that the church militant is not the church triumphant. There are to be found in the church those who are unconverted. They are to be pitied. But shall the church be judged as sustaining these? Should they be expelled, those who made them a stumbling block would make them a stumbling block still because they had been unmercifully treated. If the truth were known, these complaints are made to quiet a condemned conscience. Those who make them know that their own course of action is not commendable. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 25

Even some who are striving for the mastery over the enemy develop a predisposition to do wrong. Evil prevails over good because they do not trust wholly in Christ. They do not abide in Him, and because of their lack of dependence on God, they show inconsistency of character. But no one is compelled to choose this class as familiar associates. The temptations of life are met everywhere, and those who complain of the church members being cold, proud, haughty, un-Christianlike, need not associate with this class. There are many who are warm-hearted, self-denying, self-sacrificing, who would if necessary lay down their lives to save souls. Let none then become accusers of the brethren, but let the tares grow together with the wheat, for thus Christ has said it should be. But we are not under the necessity of being tares ourselves, because the harvest is not all wheat. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 26

He who rejects the life and character of Jesus, refusing to be like Him, declares himself to be in controversy with God. “He that is not with me is against me,” Christ declares, “and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad.” [Matthew 12:30.] Those who love God will not choose His enemies as their friends. The question is asked, “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them which hate the Lord?” [2 Chronicles 19:2.] True Christians will not choose the society of non-christians. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 27

If the Lord gives them a special position in the world, as He gave Joseph and Daniel, He will keep them from being contaminated. We need to discern good from evil. We need all the help and instruction that come from a true faith. We need to listen to the inculcation of Scripture doctrines, which are free from the sophistry and deception of the great deceiver. We need to live in as pure a religious atmosphere as possible, that we may bring solid timbers into our character-building. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 28

By association with those who have no faith in God, wrong ideas are imperceptibly insinuated into mind and heart by the master-worker of deception. These prove the ruin of many. Will you choose the association of the irreligious and the disloyal who are openly transgressing God’s law? Will you separate yourselves by your own choice from those who love God? Will you place yourselves as far from the light as possible? This is a way of delusion. You will never be where you will find too much light, but woe to those who choose darkness rather than light. 8LtMs, Ms 49, 1893, par. 29