Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Ms 25a, 1895

The Essential Education


December 1895

Formerly Undated Ms 5. Portions of this manuscript are published in 6MR 77-78.

“Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptedness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed; having no evil thing to say of you.” [Titus 2:6-8.] 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 1

There is need of strong young men to be endued, not with foolishness and love of amusement, but with the Spirit of Christ. Such youth will love learning and will consider the precious moments of time as golden. The love of the truth will impart a sufficient stimulus to lead to a diligent, persevering application of the mind. They will cultivate the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. The heart is enlisted in the work, and they study to a purpose. Let every youth who loves God put away all indolence and cheap conversation, for these things are as chaff. Let him keep the eye single to the glory of God, and turn away from the superficial and the false. He who hungers and thirsts after God will seek for an understanding of the laws which the God of wisdom has impressed upon His creation. These are a transcript of His character. They must control all who enter the better and heavenly country. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 2

All such studies are to be encouraged as are essential to the development of Christlike character. The great Teacher calls for every youth to learn the true philosophy of education—What shall I do to be saved? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” [Proverbs 9:10.] It is the privilege of the student to make the most of his opportunities; they are above price. It should not be his great ambition to stand highest in book-learning, but to learn methods of increasing his efficiency to do good in spreading the knowledge of Christ in the world. By diligence and fidelity, he is constantly enlarging his capacity for knowing God, and this knowledge Christ recognizes as eternal life to the receiver. He is able to comprehend more and more of the great plan of salvation, and he yokes up with Christ, cooperating with the Redeemer in His work. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 3

Will any one venture to misapply his entrusted power, to squander his talents, by exalting his own requirements, and separating from Christ in his education? Will he bury his talents in the world? Will he lay them at the feet of Satan? Thousands upon thousands, millions upon millions, are educating themselves to gratify their ambition, and are offering their talents at Satan’s shrine. But the Lord is to judge the world in righteousness, with impartiality. Every case is to be fairly tried, and God will demand His own with usury. Young men are the chosen instruments of God to co-operate with the heavenly intelligences in saving souls for Christ. The exhortation of Titus to young men, which I have quoted, will in the judgment condemn those who have perverted and wasted their Lord’s goods. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 4

God has given His Son in order to give man a chance to form characters for the school above. The mind is to be fitted to receive the gift of immortality. It is capable of appreciating the goodness, the mercy, the love of God; and to appreciate is to glorify. But what if man’s life proves a failure? What if he has proved false to his fearful and solemn responsibility? Then his education has been the means of strengthening Satan’s kingdom. God will judge him for that which he might have done, which God furnished him ability to do, but which he did not do. We must render to God an account proportionate to the intelligence and opportunities He has granted us. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 5

Let every youth feel, “I am not my own. I am bought with a price.” [See 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] His talents and opportunities are his only to improve, and conscientiously to improve for the honor of His Creator. With this conviction, he cannot be idle, he cannot waste time, he cannot be a trifler. A sense of our responsibility to glorify God is the most powerful of all incentives to the improvement of the intellect. Let the student have the most important lesson kept before him. Let him labor as in full view of the great sacrifice that Christ has made, and he will study as for eternity. He will put forth patient, taxing labor to make the most of himself possible, that he may yoke up with Christ and work to His name’s glory. And his perseverance and industry will be rewarded. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 6

He will always be in earnest, his heart will be filled with heavy-inspired gratitude and thankfulness. He discerns that the only return he can make to God is to make known to others that which has been made known to him. He works to please God and to glorify His name. As he wears Christ’s yoke, he will not stray into the by-paths of sin. His heart is warmed with the love of Christ, and all the power of His God-given faculties is enlisted to co-operate with God in the great and solemn work that Christ has left us to do. He studies as under the eye of God, knowing that all heaven is enlisted in the education and training of his powers, as was evident in the case of the four Hebrew youth in Babylon. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 7

God weighs motives. He reads the thoughts and purposes of the soul. O that all youth would see and consider their possibilities and probabilities! O that they would arouse every dormant energy! Faith, faith, living, earnest, unwavering faith, will remove mountains of difficulty which unbelief presents. Faith, hope, and love, have each their place to fill in their character and work. If the will of God rules in the heart, the youth will make the most of their God-given powers in order to become efficient in every line. They will be noble-minded, generous, kind, courteous, that they may be Christlike. This is the heavenly science of education. This is the condition of success in working for the salvation of souls. They are to be ever learning in the school of Christ, overcoming all selfishness, disciplining the soul, cultivating every virtue that will fit them for vigorous, ample development. Heart and mind work in perfect harmony. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 8

The value of heavenly wisdom, of the impartation of gifts from God, has been lost sight of in unsanctified ambition to glorify self. O, what precious endowments are waiting to be bestowed upon youth who have diligently trained all their powers to work in harmony with God. I appeal to youth to surrender all to God and lay hold of help from above, that you may put your educated ability into work for the Master. What is education that is enduring unto eternal life? The first thing to learn is, that “Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price.” What is the principle that is to characterize the life? “Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit which are God’s.” [Verses 19, 20.] 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 9

I feel deeply solicitous that every one who claims to be a Christian should be making advancement. To every one the Lord has given his work, according to his ability. We see that there is need of revival all through our churches. There are babes and dwarfs, when there ought to be, in their place, men and women, growing up into Christ, their living head. I have labored most earnestly with our people, and have become fully convinced of the great need of a different kind of labor from what the churches have had. There has been the need of much dwelling upon the law, but the faith of Jesus has also to be presented in connection with the necessity of keeping the commandments of God. In every church there is need of the simplicity of living, abiding faith. Our teachers have not all been skillful in appropriating the work of righteousness, applying the truth to their own hearts, and to the hearts of their hearers. Many are dull of hearing. Their spiritual perceptions are not acute. They are not quick in discerning the work of the Spirit of God. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 10

The people are starving for the bread of life. Every soul needs his portion of meat in due season. The teachers of the Word need the unction from the Holy One. They will then be skillful in giving the right kind of instruction. There is commonness, an earthliness, a carnality, in the experience of many who claim to believe the truth—making them bodies of darkness, rather than of light. Their usefulness in the church has been very limited, because the common and carnal forces had obtained the ascendancy over the spiritual life. As the result, there have been jealousies, envyings, and divisions. Zeal for Christ is not perceptible. If those who are in this condition would cease trying to patch up an old experience, and would repent of their heart backslidings, and redeem the time by doing in the future that which they had neglected to do in the past, we should see a far more healthful condition of things in the church. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 11

There must be an altogether different spirit manifested in many respects. The Phariseeism, the strife for supremacy, the wicked spirit revealed by some when things do not agree with their ideas, all this must be put away. Let the truth be presented as it is in Jesus, then selfishness, pride, and self-exaltation will not predominate. There will be a growth in the graces of Christ. (See article in Gospel Workers, 313-320, [1892 edition].) 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 12

Glory and majesty and power belong to God. Why, then, I ask you, should those to whom God has given reasoning powers refuse to render perfect obedience, and pure service and praise, to Him who has redeemed them by the price of agony and blood? Why do we worship idols? Why do we extol the creature above the Creator? “Whom beside thee, O Lord, do we fear, and whom beside thee do we fear and worship?” Is not our God worthy of honor, glory, praise, more than mortals can ever bestow? Is He not to be acknowledged as all in all? Can there be any question in regard to God’s will and purpose? His wisdom is past finding out. The soul that turns away from a living connection with God is worthless. Many among us are grieving away the spirit of truth and enclosing their souls in darkness, because they have not responded to the light and humbled their hearts before God. They have not accepted the invitation of the Spirit, but have braced themselves against conviction. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 13

No greater or more convincing rays of light can enter the chambers of the mind or take possession of the soul until they shall humble themselves before God and become doers of His Word. The praise of God is not upon their lips. They have refused to open the windows of the soul and let in the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. They choose darkness rather than light, but the light is dimmed or eclipsed by this; only their own souls have lost its bright beams. The glory is shining forth to others. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 14

God’s entrusted talents are wasted, His gifts abused by being appropriated to wrong purposes, deceptive aims. Many give evidence that they are represented by the man who hid his talents in the earth, complaining all the time that the Lord was not dealing fairly with him. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 15

The work for this time is increasing, for this is a worldwide message. It has reached a point in history where there is a positive necessity for cultivated and consecrated talent. There must be more earnest attention given to education that will impart a knowledge of God. Not only men, but women, can become educators, teaching what saith the Scripture. The urgent necessities that are making themselves felt in this time demand a constant education in the Word of God. There are men and women who, if a chance is given them, will make literary attainments that, united with piety and good sense, will qualify them for any position that the Lord may call them to fill. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 16

Unsanctified ambition takes men away from the work; they think that their learning and eloquence are not appreciated by Seventh-day Adventists, and they must seek a broader field, where their wonderful ability will be recognized and rewarded. But God has opened before our youth, both young men and young women, a large field of labor. They are offered partnership with Christ in holding forth the Word of life to souls ready to perish. In winning souls to Christ, they will themselves be receiving training, educating for eternal life. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] This is an education which is preparing souls for the heavenly courts. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 17

God’s bestowment of powers upon men places upon them a responsibility for the use and the risk of abuse of these powers. There is a whole eternity of blessedness for the human agent who makes a right use of the powers given him of God by co-operating with the divine instrumentalities. There is a loss of eternal blessedness for all who misuse the powers that God has given them and refuse to co-operate with the divine. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 18

Said one with whom I was conversing, “I know that I ought to be a Christian.” “And you know,” said I, “That God cannot save you unless you give Him your affections, your will. Why have you not responded to the efforts put forth by the Father and the Son in your behalf? Why have you stood out in defiant resistance to the earnest appeals made to you? You have had some things not favorable to the development of Christian character. But in the providence of God your circumstances and surroundings have changed so that you have had every reasonable opportunity and privilege for seeking the salvation of the soul. But you closed every avenue whereby God could reach you, and have refused to become a child of God. You have resisted the drawing of God, and whose child are you? The child of the wicked one, walking in your own way, in the pride of your will.” 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 19

The Lord has done wonderful things for us, and we should awaken to a sense of our accountability to Him. All His commandments and promises, His reasonings and remonstrances, His invitations and denunciations, are, through the mind and conscience, addressed to the will. Man possesses power to use his physical, mental, and moral capabilities in a right way or in a wrong way. It is God’s purpose to reach certain rich, glorious ends through the endowments given to man, as the human agents co-operate with the divine. Their God-given abilities may be improved and enlarged to greatly increase the happiness of men in this life, and they have the improvement of their talents to give back to God who created them. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 20

A man may neglect his God-given powers, or pervert them to a wrong use, and as far as he himself is concerned, may defeat the purpose of God. But he makes himself miserable as he dishonors His Maker. He may stand apparently unimpressed by the grand themes of redemption. He may, by his course of action encourage others to follow his example, and show positive disrespect to God, His ways, and His will. But he who does this is receiving an education that is a curse to him. In a corresponding degree, there are benefits to be derived from obedience; the right use of the powers bestowed will bring an eternal reward. (See Romans 1:4-11.) 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 21

Genuine conversion brings the soul into living connection with Christ and makes the individual a channel of light to the world. If the person is a minister, he may, through the grace given to him of God, say to his flock, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” [1 Corinthians 11:1.] (See 2 Corinthians 6:1-8.) The apostle Paul exhorted Timothy, a youthful minister, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” [2 Timothy 2:15.] And Peter exhorts, (See 1 Peter 5:2-11.) 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 22

My brethren in the ministry, we have a solemn, sacred, testing truth to present to the world. That truth is to be presented as a sanctifier, as a refiner. Every one of us is in this world on trial. We are probationers. The whole period of our existence in this world is to be employed in gaining a fitness for the world to come. We are in a school to prepare for the higher school above. We are here to gain knowledge that may be taken with us into the higher grade. The life of Christ is a copy, revealing the lessons we must learn and practice in this life, that we may represent Christ in character. Jesus came to live the law of God, to give the higher class of education in lessons adapted to the comprehension of humanity. The excellence of Christ is to be our study through time and eternity. Like Moses we may behold Him who is invisible. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 23

The Lord has represented to me in many ways, at many different times, how carefully we should deal with the young. It is the nicest and most responsible work in the world to deal with human minds. All who have to do with the education and training of the youth need to live very close to the Great Teacher, else they cannot possibly live according to the divine plan. Lessons have been given to me which have been interwoven in my character and life work. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 24

The religion of Christ is a constant refiner, a divine purifier. It never degrades the receiver, or makes him coarse and rough, or unkind in thought or feeling toward those for whom Christ has died. Everything that encourages a disposition to notice the defects of others, and to expose their mistakes, is wrong. It cultivates distrusts and suspicions which are contrary to the disposition of Christ and detrimental to the minds that are exercised in this line. Those who are engaged in this work grow away from the true spirit of Christianity. While the gospel never brings its receiver down upon a low level, while it elevates, ennobles, and sanctifies, its influence never leads one to cherish exalted ideas of his own ability and merits in contrast with those of others. The gospel never nurtures pride or self-esteem. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 25

Young men and young women need to have the right principles kept before them in their student life; for is not heaven the goal they are seeking? The youth generally need plain, simple lessons as to what constitutes the Christian life. In the pride of their will they set themselves in controversy with God. Their tempers, tastes, and tendencies are contrary to the heavenly tendencies. In order that the means and appliances of the Gospel may be efficacious, the worker must realize the material he is working upon in the beings over whom he is trying to exert a saving influence. All who would be co-workers with God in this broad field, the world, must work as Christ worked. They cannot be severe in watching, in criticizing and condemning. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 26

We are to be doers of the Word of God, and this is what is represented by eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood. The Bible is to stand as the great educating Book above all other books in our schools. The divine Teacher came down from heaven, and clothed His divinity with humanity that He might reveal Himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life. In (John 6:28-71) Christ has, in simple language, given us the great lesson. Thus important instruction was given in answer to the question, “What shall we do that we might work the works of God?” The answer to this question we need to understand, or we shall miss heaven. “This is the work of God.” This is what God requires “that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” [Verses 28, 29.] The price of heaven is the only begotten Son of God. The way to heaven is by faith in Jesus. First you require to believe, next to work. “This is the work of God that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” Teach the students in our schools to believe in Christ, then they will work the works of God. 10LtMs, Ms 25a, 1895, par. 27