Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 60, 1896

Lacey, Herbert

Sunnyside, Cooranbong, Australia

December 20, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in CS 272; 8MR 284-285.

Instructions to Schools

I have many things to say to you, Brother Herbert Lacey. The Lord has been my Counsellor, and He has given me words for you. You are not prepared to be placed at the head of the work in the school. You have need to be a constant learner. If you are [to be] a teacher, many things will have to be unlearned, and many things learned of a different order. If this is not so, you will encourage the very things the Lord has been seeking to correct in the school at Battle Creek. You will introduce methods and plans that are not inspired of God, and that will be misleading. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 1

When any idea has been cherished by you, it finds a ready utterance and will be caught up by other minds. Thus seed will be sown that is not true grain. But if you give yourself to God, He will lead you in safe paths. It is a very hard matter for you to part with the cherished idea that you have received from your teachers in Battle Creek. But there are things that you may and will have to learn in the future in the school experience. Make yourself thoroughly familiar with the Word of God. If you do not do this, projects and ideas will imprint themselves on your mind that should not be entertained, for it is not the way of the Lord. In all honesty you will come to conclusions that will need to be sifted. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 2

It is essential for your clearness of eyesight to have a more elevated direction. The common customs and practices of school life, which may be called little things, cannot be brought into the school at Avondale. Your thoughts and ideas will change by experience if you earnestly and humbly inquire at each step, “Is this the way of the Lord?” “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 3

The word was given me in regard to you, “You cannot trust the guidance and management of a vessel to boys who have not served in that line; neither can you trust the molding of minds and characters to youth who have not had years of experience to understand the workings of God. It will take older heads, those who have had larger experience, to devise and plan for the youth to obtain an all-sided character. Let not the work pass into the hands and be managed by those who have but little experience.” The word was given to you, Brother Herbert Lacey, that you and your wife have yet to obtain a different kind of experience. The word was spoken, Keep your hands off the machinery. You will make mistakes if you attempt to run a school. It is not left for you to plan and devise and manage things after your own ideas. You should seek to learn all you possibly can. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 4

You are to be very cautious how you move. Do not start out on your independent judgment and follow your own supposedly wise plans; but consider, Here are those who have been working on this ground, who have carried heavy burdens. They have had much perplexity for over two years, and it will be best for me to consult with them, and know just how to cooperate with them, that I may be a help and not a hindrance. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 5

Let your souls be transformed by the grace of Christ Jesus, and your mind absorbed in meditating and studying the glorious truths concerning the life of the Great Teacher. The Word of God is to be your food. Follow Christ to the very letter, and then you will find that the elevated standard of virtue and holiness is placed before you in the gospel. Unless this is the case, you cannot, as teachers, do the work that it is essential to do to prepare the students who shall come to the school to be transformed to the higher grade. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 6

You both have ideas and plans which you think essential, but which must not be brought in with pen or voice. There are many imaginings and schemes and ambitions that you may suppose essential, but which should have no standing room, for we do not want that these ideas be brought in before the students, that they may be molded according to their likes and dislikes. A training must be given the students which you have not had and cannot give them. Let every teacher sow the precious seeds of truth in the minds of students. Your work should be more and more after the order of the teaching of Jesus Christ. He is the standard Teacher. Then let us not exalt as all-essential that which we have no record of Him teaching. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 7

February 20

I have been directed to Brother and Sister Haskell as experienced servants of God, who will be efficient workers as helpers and counsellors. They have both had experience in managing the interests of the cause of God. Sister Haskell has been a school teacher for many years, and it will be a great blessing to the school to have the help and benefit of her all-round experience. I value their capabilities of entering into the work. They are a God-sent help in this time of necessity. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 8

We are nearing the end of time, and it is most essential that we walk humbly with God. We cannot fit up the building with carpets, or enter into any preparation that requires an outlay of means, for we have none. I have been constantly handing out means, investing thousands of dollars to keep the work moving; but I know that we must heed the instruction given in regard to the school in Melbourne—to study economy in every line. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 9

Christ said of the scribes and Pharisees: “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” [Matthew 22:29.] These both let us learn in the school of Christ. We must make the Scriptures our Counsellor, and be doers of the Word if we would have a knowledge of the power of God. Our desires will have to be bound about. We are of necessity obliged to plan and devise and economize. We cannot manage as if we had a bank on which to draw in case of emergency. Therefore we must not get into straitened places. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 10

I am glad that Brother and Sister Haskell in their experience have learned that there is a limit to means. While we would be pleased to have many things that we have not in our school building, we must look at the old furniture, the bureaus, tables, washstands, and other articles, and say, We must make them do. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 11

Sister Lacey, you will have a new experience here. In America there is an altogether different style of things. There they have facilities; and they have been reproved because they have made such an extravagant outlay of means in their school interests. Now, my sister, we will necessarily have to cut away everything like a desire to make a display or show. Everything will have to be brought within the narrow compass of that which we can be assured we can sustain. This point cannot be overlooked. It will be far better for the students coming to the school, as far as they themselves are concerned, to see and understand our poverty in regard to means, for if they are made to understand our strait for want of means, it will help them to help the workers in the school in the line of economy. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 12

In the school in Melbourne, I carried through a large number of students; but I cannot do this now. But I know that the Lord will help us if we are willing to follow His example, and not perpetuate a desire to make an appearance. This principle should be discerned by the Word of God and cut away from the life practice by the Holy Spirit’s power. My brother and sister whom I love in the Lord, you have many things to learn. A new experience must be gained by a close and careful, earnest education in the school of Christ. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;” says the great Teacher, “for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29, 30.] “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” “Every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” [Matthew 7:13, 26, 27.] 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 13

May 20

There are many things to write of; but I have such an intensity of feeling that it is consuming me. May God help me, is my prayer. Let all seek the Lord most earnestly. You have perceptive faculties, Brother and Sister Lacey. God has given you talents, and you must use them to a purpose. May the Lord help you. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 14

I was shown the necessity of connecting with the school some one of experience, some one who understood the principles of an all-round education, who has taken in the subject that has been before our people, who has realized the necessity of physical and mental taxation being combined, and who has brought the same into practical use in his life. Proper education means much. O, that all could understand these matters in their true bearing. Physical, mental, and moral industry must be combined in proper education. Teachers who have not practiced this in their school life need to learn their lessons over again. Everything that would be detrimental to the spiritual interests of the school must be cut away from the process of education. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 15

I have prayed most earnestly to the Lord to move upon some one of His chosen men or women who have a practical knowledge of educating in right lines, and who could unite with the students, and say, not “Go,” but “Come, and let us engage in manual labor, and learn how to employ the muscles given us by God.” 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 16

I have felt a great burden for Brother Haskell to come to Australia and connect with and give Bible lessons in the school. His experience in the searching of the Scriptures, and in religious exercises in the work from his youth till the present time, has qualified him to stand first in the school, and to be the counsellor and instructor in Bible lines. Let his age and experience as the chosen servant of God bring him respect. There is ever to be connected with the school the talent of experience, how to manage and mold and teach the youth. This is an experience that you have not at the present time; and as this is an important matter, I shall present it before you, from time to time, and I hope that you will understand the whole matter. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 17

I have written much on education, and will, when able, present it to the whole school. When your active, fruitful mind shall be educated in the different lines, be sure that you do not bring in the very things that were objectionable at Battle Creek and Healdsburg, which have been an offense to God in the past history of the management of those schools. Have you brought with you the impressions of education you received at Battle Creek from infidel authors, to be an influence here? If you had known all in regard to the testimonies given them, I am sure that some of the ideas that you and your wife have brought with you would not seem so essential to you. The Lord was grieved at the attitude taken by the teachers at Battle Creek. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 18

It is exceedingly hard for you to give up an idea when once you have cherished it. Thus it would be a dangerous experiment to put Sister Lacey in as matron of the school, and yourself as principal, to take the place as director or manager. You have both to learn many things. You need to obtain a different kind of education from that you have received. You are to understand that some of the studies that have been carried at the schools in Healdsburg or Battle Creek, or in any other college, are not to be brought into the Avondale School. I have not spoken very plainly to you in regard to these things, for I have written so largely upon these matters to Battle Creek that I supposed that you understood them and were prepared to carry them out. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 19

Economy should be exercised in everything connected with the school. Those who come to the school generally leave homes that are unadorned, where they have been accustomed to eat simple food without a number of courses. They are accustomed to plain, hearty food at noon. It would be better for all to have only a simple evening meal. There must be a strict regard to economy, or a heavy debt will be incurred. Keep within bounds. Shun the incurring of debt as you would shun leprosy. But if you work on the other plan, it will hurt you more than you suppose. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 20

The management must not be left to yourself or your wife, for you would make grave mistakes if you followed your own inclinations in many things. Your own appetites must not control the food of the students. While we have so many ways in which to use our means, while thousands are starving, dying from famine, bloodshed, fire, and plague, it becomes every one of us to carefully consider, and not get any needless articles in order to gratify appetite, or to make an appearance. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 21

When these matters were opened before me in Melbourne, I bore my testimony decidedly against any outlay of means that would plunge the school into debt. What to do here I did not know; but light came. Here it is: “Brother Haskell will connect with your school, and he will take heed to carry out the instruction that God has graciously given. His age and experience must be respected. Hold up his hands, and in no case demerit his counsel.” 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 22

We all need to be baptized into a higher faith, and be prepared to work in Christ’s lines. The importance of physical taxation combined with mental should be understood. If the instruction that has been given for years had been received, searched into, and studied from cause to effect, many less students would leave the school, where they have been acquiring an education, heavily in debt. They would have that education that is essential for practical life. They would have used their God-given abilities in physical as well as intellectual labor. This important phase of education, if they will devise and think to a purpose, would have kept them free from the bondage of debt. If all the edges had been bound about, according to the Word of God, which all must learn to do who engage in any line of the work, their education would have been much more solid and all-round. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” [1 Corinthians 10:31.] Self-indulgence is not to take the place of simplicity and reasonable thoughtfulness. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 23

There is a great need of teachers who have an all-round education. The appetites must be held in control; they must not be misdirected. By students and teachers the physical powers must be carefully considered, or they will fail to tax the physical sufficiently to correspond with the taxation placed upon the mental. The physical powers must not be unemployed or misemployed, as they have been in instituting amusements to exercise the muscles. There is need of candid, earnest thought. These are lessons that no students need attend school to learn. We have naught of this in the lesson of Christ. Let the physical powers be employed in useful labor that will be doing good. Let no one think that he is departing from his dignity as a teacher if he uses his arms and hands that the Lord has made, and gives his muscles solidity by useful exercise. This is God’s plan. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 24

Mind and heart will suffer with the indulgence of sedentary habits. Educate the inactive to put into exercise the limbs and muscles that God has given to be used, and it will bring its sure reward. If one part of the human body is exercised to the neglect of other portions, some of those members not used will become strengthless. If one member suffers through inaction, the whole body—brain, nerve, bone, and muscle—will become enfeebled. O, how much every student and teacher needs the higher, more thorough education, and a correct understanding of what we are, and what we may be through self-discipline, that all our powers may be used to glorify God. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 25

Christ has purchased us, and we cannot for one moment claim ourselves, to do with ourselves as we please, as if we were our own property. We have a right to existence only because Christ has died to give us life and immortality through His infinite love. By creation and by redemption we belong to God. Our mind, heart, soul, and strength is the Lord’s, lent to us to see if we will use these talents to the glory of God by doing His will on the earth. “Occupy till I come,” God says to each human agent; and of our stewardship we must each give account. [Luke 19:13, 15.] 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 26

Individually, we must do the work given us by God. We must give ourselves to the Lord, placing ourselves in readiness to do just what He shall appoint us. If we do not do this, the shadow of self will darken everything. But when self is surrendered to God, everything is brightened by His presence. 11LtMs, Lt 60, 1896, par. 27