Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10

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Lt 27, 1895

Howe, F.

Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., Granville, N. S. W., Australia

May 21 [31?], 1895

Portions of this letter is published in 11MR 160-161.

Mr. F. Howe
Healdsburg, California

Dear Brother:

I received your letter and have read it through carefully. If I can, I will send you copies of matter that I have written upon the subject of which you speak. You are probably acquainted with the instruction given to teachers and scholars in Battle Creek in reference to the amusement question. I intended to write letters of warning to the school in Healdsburg, but afterwards I thought I would have the instruction sent to Battle Creek copied and sent to Healdsburg. Different matters that must be attended to engaged my attention, and I have not found an opportunity to write to Healdsburg, nor have I had an opportunity to copy the things that I wrote long ago. 10LtMs, Lt 27, 1895, par. 1

The Healdsburg College has been presented to me as being demoralized by disgraceful games. Games have been allowed such as God disapproves. It was to prevent this kind of a thing that the Lord gave counsel to the effect that students should learn useful trades. I will not now dwell upon this, but will hereafter send what I have written concerning it. Firm discipline should have been exercised over the youth who have attended the Healdsburg College, but instead of this, students have been left to do very much as they pleased. In attending college, the youth are withdrawn from the restraint of parental influence and authority, and teachers and professors should mold and fashion them by wise discipline, for they come to them at the very time of life when they need vigilant supervision. 10LtMs, Lt 27, 1895, par. 2

This institution is under obligation to God. Sacred interests are entrusted to those who become teachers, and who assume responsibility in this institution. Teachers themselves are aware of the dangers and temptations that beset the youth, and should realize that they need to mingle great kindness with great firmness in dealing with their charges. The tendency of human nature is always to retrograde, and all should be made to understand that unless positive and persevering influences work to counteract the natural bent of the nature, unless character is shaped and fashioned after a divine model, both teachers and students will degenerate in their habits of thought and life. There can be no sleepy sentinels in our colleges. The watchmen must be active and keep at work, seeking to exert an elevating influence. 10LtMs, Lt 27, 1895, par. 3

If the right mold is given to the school, teachers cannot suspend their vigilance, or withdraw themselves from their vigilance, or withdraw themselves from their responsibility. In school association, inexperienced youth are brought together. All classes of minds mingle, and in their companionship together, their untested, unsettled habits and principles have a molding influence one upon another, and unless the teacher’s influence works to counteract the evil, unseemly developments will take place. Teachers and preceptors must have a clear realization of the fact that they are guardians and watchmen. 10LtMs, Lt 27, 1895, par. 4

Where were these watchmen when these unseemly games and athletic sports, these trials of animal strength and exhibition of physical skill, were in progress? Students could have had this class of education at home. We regret that some of our New Zealand boys have left a record on the books of heaven of which they should be most heartily ashamed. It is the demoralizing sports, the devotion to amusement, the exhibition of animal strength, that is making our world a second Sodom. We need decided reforms in our institutions of learning. We should follow more earnestly and zealously the instruction given in the Word of God. Men who love God, who have a daily experience in spiritual things, should present the living truth that has a bearing upon these times and reveals the necessity of possessing the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. 10LtMs, Lt 27, 1895, par. 5

Labor should be connected with study, and through following a course of this kind, an all-sided, well-balanced education will be the result. This is the rational method through which souls may be barricaded against evil influences. In this way the mind may be preserved in its soundness, and the nervous energies may be regulated. Combining manual labor with the study of the sciences will preserve the living machinery in excellent condition, and by taking proper exercise, the mind may be taxed and yet not sustain injury in any degree. 10LtMs, Lt 27, 1895, par. 6

But do not substitute play, pugilistic boxing, football, matched games, and animal exercises, for manual training. All of this stripe and type should be vigilantly prohibited from the school grounds. The Lord Jesus has a right to expect something better than these of those who profess to be obtaining an education for His service. The hours spent in relaxation from mental work should be put to account in some kind of manual training. These precious hours should not be frittered away in unprofitable games, or in engaging in courting, in cheap conversation, in jesting and joking. Satan is engaged in playing the game of life for our souls. It is his purpose to steal away one grace after another in order that he may take the citadel of the heart and reign supreme. 10LtMs, Lt 27, 1895, par. 7

Let students overcome their indolent habits and study and work with the glory of God in view. Let them overcome their inclination to evade the restrictions that teachers see essential for the maintenance of discipline. Let the youth learn to economize time, [and] learn to employ their powers to the highest advantage. It will promote health to engage in regular, daily, vigorous exercise, and this may be done through manual training. It will teach the students industrious habits which are safeguards to happiness, and will also diminish the expenses of education. 10LtMs, Lt 27, 1895, par. 8

To meet the demands of this age, literary institutions should be available to students at as small a cost as possible so that the greatest number possible may have the advantage of gaining an education. The diet of our school tables should be simple and healthful. The managers of the culinary department should not seek to place on the table a great variety of dishes that take up much time and call for much expenditure of means to prepare. We should learn how to live upon food prepared in a simple manner. Our habits in eating, drinking, and dressing should be habits of strictest economy. The students should be taught habits that would be favorable to the formation of sound, solid characters. They should have lessons that would correct all their boyish extravagances and impart to them sobriety of mind. They should earnestly seek to know the will and the way of God in order that they may engage in His service. Let them keep the soul in the love of God, and put far from them false ideas and sickly sentimentalism. 10LtMs, Lt 27, 1895, par. 9

How is it that our schools that have been established through self-denial and economy forget their origin, and the teachers pass along without inculcating ideas that will correct the evil, extravagant habits of their students. Even the students that do attend our schools are largely furnished by someone with money for their education. Let them remember that it is the Lord’s money that is appropriated to their use. Students who obey the commandments of God, who love the Lord with all their hearts, mind, soul and strength, will practice habits of self-denial. The best teachers cannot make students attain a good education unless they put their mind and will to the task themselves. Let them improve their opportunities, showing that they respect themselves and their teachers. Let them measure the value of their personal influence by the infinite sacrifice made by our Redeemer to save them from sin. Let them do their best as did Daniel, and God will give them wisdom and knowledge and understanding. 10LtMs, Lt 27, 1895, par. 10

At our schools money has been expended needlessly, and students have had no inclination to learn what it is that constitutes real economy. Teachers should watch the habits of their students, and seek to train the one who is tempted to expend money for trifles to make a better use of the money. Students should be taught to consider the fact that the money they spend is the result of somebody’s hard labor. Youth who are improvidently supplied with means, and have full liberty to spend it as they choose, are on the road to becoming spendthrifts. 10LtMs, Lt 27, 1895, par. 11

Some of the young men who have crossed the broad waters to receive an education in our institutions in America have failed to make the best use of their time and money. It is true that some of these youth have been sorely tested, tempted, and tried. Some who have had excellent influences at home that bound them to the truth and to holiness have found that their association with their school companions, who have had little sense of their moral obligation to make the most of their time, has had a bad influence upon them. 10LtMs, Lt 27, 1895, par. 12

Some have looked their disadvantages in the face, and have been determined to make the most possible for themselves in order that they might exert an influence to help their teachers and their associates, both by precept and example, and thus aid them in forming characters that would fit them for the future immortal life. Students of this kind have been stemming an impetuous current. They are the ones who appreciate the value and reason of the restrictions and regulations. O that students would make Christ the crucified One, the chief corner stone in their characters, and thus elevate the character of our educational institutions. 10LtMs, Lt 27, 1895, par. 13

Those who are bearing responsibilities in the school find it hard to devise means to stop the current of selfish independence, of open disobedience, which students practice because they deem the regulations nonessential or arbitrary. Many are indifferent to the consequences of their disobedience and openly defy authority, while others are ingenious in evading discovery, and so escape the penalty. But even when these trying elements are found in the school, the principal should seek, if possible, to evade expulsion. Let him rather write to the parents, requesting them to withdraw the pupil, and thus the desired results will be secured without an open administration of justice, or a proclamation to the whole school of the charges made against the student who sets himself in defiance to laws. 10LtMs, Lt 27, 1895, par. 14