Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 60a, 1896

Friends of the Avondale School

Cooranbong, Australia

December 20, 1896

This letter is published in entirety in 8MR 150-155.

The Character and Work of Our Avondale School. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 1

To the Friends of the School:

The light which has been given me regarding the work of the Avondale school is that we must not pattern after the similitude of any school that has already been established. We must study the Word of God critically as our great lesson book, in order to know what the school may become under the guidance of the Word of God if we receive and do that Word. Unless we are watchful and guarded, we shall experience the same hindrance to the spiritual education, that have retarded the work of our older schools. This we shall do by a misconception as to what is the most essential work to be done by students, and by the teachers for them. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 2

When Christ was in our world, He had but few followers, and His disciples were continually kept back by the customs and the maxims of the scribes and Pharisees from making the advancement that they might have made, from supplying their great lack of knowledge, and from becoming efficient workers. The customs and traditions, which had come down from generation to generation through the rabbis, had been made all-essential, and were regarded as of more force even than the ten commandments. Thus the precepts and teachings of men were dwelt upon as of more value than the words of the living God. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 3

I have been warned that the teachers in our younger schools should not travel over the same ground that many of the teachers in the Battle Creek College have passed over. Popular amusements for students were brought into the Battle Creek school under a deceptive garb. Satan approached as an angel of light, and worked most assiduously. If he could secure the sanction of the teachers in this school at the great heart of the work, there was prospect that every school established would follow its example. The leaven of evil introduced and sanctioned at the Battle Creek College would spread its properties to all with which it had connection, and thus affect all the schools. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 4

The Lord has thought it essential to give reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness on many points regarding the management of schools among Seventh-day Adventists. All the light that has thus been given must be carefully heeded. No one should be connected with our schools as a teacher who has not had an experience in obeying the Word of God. The instruction which the Lord has given to our schools should be strictly regarded, and if the education given is not of a different character than that which has been given, in the Battle Creek College, we need not be to the expense of purchasing land and erecting buildings. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 5

In every school Satan will try to make himself the guide of the teachers who are instructing the students. It is he who would introduce the idea that selfish amusements are a necessity. It is he who would lead students sent to our schools for the purpose of receiving an education and training for the work of evangelists, ministers, and missionaries to believe that amusements are essential to keep them in physical health, when the Lord has presented to them that the better way is for them to embrace manual labor in their education, and thus let useful employment take the place of selfish amusements. These amusements, if followed, soon develop a dislike for useful, healthful exercise of body and mind, such as would make students efficient to serve themselves and others. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 6

The education to be gained in the felling of trees, the tilling of the soil, and the erection of buildings, as well as the studies of the classroom, is what our youth should seek to obtain. Tent making also should be taught; buildings should be erected; and masonry should be learned. Farther on, a printing press should be connected with the school, that an education may be given to students in this line of work. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 7

There are many things which the lady students may also engage in, such as cooking, dressmaking, and gardening. Plants and flowers should be cultivated, strawberries should be planted. Thus the lady students may be called out of doors to gain healthful exercise and to be educated in useful labor. Bookbinding also, and a variety of trades should be taken up. These will not only give exercise to brain, bone, and muscle, but they will also give knowledge of great value. The greatest curse of our world today is idleness. The students coming to our school have had an abundance of amusement, which serve merely to please and gratify self. They are now to be given a different education, that they may go forth from the school prepared for any service. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 8

The proper cooking of foods is a most important accomplishment. Especially where meat is not made a principal article of food is good cooking an essential requirement. Something must be prepared to take the place of meat, and these substitutes for meat must be well prepared, so that meat will not be desired. Education and culture on all points of practical experience will fit our youth for usefulness when they shall leave school to engage in mission work at home or in foreign countries. They will not then be dependent upon the people to whom they go to cook for them, to sew for them, or to build their habitations; but they will be prepared to education the ignorant, to show others how to do all manner of labor by plans and methods that will produce the best results, and they will thus become much more influential and helpful. Their abilities will be especially appreciated where money is hard to obtain, for a much smaller fund will be required to sustain such missionaries. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 9

Those who have put to the very best use their physical powers in useful, practical labor, while obtaining an education, will show that missionaries can become successful teachers and educators in various lines of labor, and wherever they go, all that they have gained in these lines will give them favor, influence, and power. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 10

It is also very essential that students shall understand the principles of medical missionary work, for wherever students may be called, they need a knowledge of the science of how to treat the sick. This will give them a welcome anywhere, because there is suffering of every kind in every part of the world. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 11

It is an important matter that students be given an education that will fit them for successful business life. In many schools, the education given is one-sided. In our school the common branches should be fully and thoroughly taught. Bookkeeping is one of the most important lines of study to fit students for practical business life. Bookkeeping should be looked upon as of equal importance with grammar. And yet there are very few who leave our schools with a clear knowledge of how to correctly keep accounts. Those who have a living interest in the cause and work of God should never allow themselves to settle down with the idea that they are not required to know how to keep accounts. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 12

The reason for many of the mistakes made in accounts and the failure in business matters is because men have not a thorough knowledge of bookkeeping. They are not prompt in making a faithful record of all transactions and keeping a daily account of their expenditures; and many are charged with being dishonest when, designedly, they were not dishonest. Their failure has come through a lack of knowledge of accounts. Many a youth, because of ignorance in the matter of keeping accounts, has been led into errors that have caused him serious trouble. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 13

True education means much. We have no time now to spend in speculative ideas or in haphazard movements. The evidence that the coming of Christ is near are many, and are very plain, and yet many who profess to be looking for Him are asleep. We are not half as earnest as we ought to be to gather up the important truths that are for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come. Unless we understand the importance of passing events, and make ready to stand in the great day of God, we shall be registered in the books of heaven as unfaithful stewards. The watchman is to know the time of the night. Everything is now clothed with a solemnity that all who believe the truth should feel and understand. They should act in reference to the great day of God. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 14

Our time is precious. We have but few days left of probation, in which to qualify ourselves for the future eternal life. We are not to devote these precious moments to cheap, common, or superficial things. We shall have to guard against the holding of ideas and maxims, which may be presented as essential from a human standpoint, for it is not the words of worldly wisdom, it is not the maxims of men or the theories of human beings, that will qualify us for acceptable service, but it is the Word of the living God. In all our schools this Word is to be made the essence of education. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 15

It is in feeding upon the Word of God that we obtain the divine element that the soul needs in order to secure a healthy development of all its spiritual powers. Those who dig deep for the hidden treasure will find their reward in the precious veins of ore, and these hidden truths will make them wise unto salvation. They are following the example of their Saviour, and all the wiles and subtleties of satanic agencies cannot beguile them from a position of steadfast self-denial. 11LtMs, Lt 60a, 1896, par. 16