Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 98, 1897

School Matters

Sunnyside, Cooranbong, Australia

September 13, 1897

Portions of this manuscript are published in 8MR 255.

I have written many things for our youth. I am wholly decided that the school established in Cooranbong will, if we have those who have discretion and experience to manage it, be a success. We have had evidence that four or five years of study in the schools in America has brought our youth back to Australia without an all-round experience. Some, who have spent the longest time in America, we have to begin to educate in regard to the first principles of the necessities of our school. How much trial, how much sorrow, do we feel in keeping right the hearts and minds that have been educated in wrong lines. Because they have gone over a line of study, and have some knowledge, they cannot bring their minds to the proper methods of study. They feel that they do not want leading strings, and would snap, within them, the educating influence of the Holy Spirit that would be their Guide. They do not understand that they lack the very education that would be their blessing, and would secure to them in the future immortal life the benediction, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” [Matthew 25:23.] 12LtMs, Ms 98, 1897, par. 1

I am deeply in earnest in bearing my testimony as I stand before the people. The dangers of the individuals whom I address weigh down my soul. I fear that some of the poor souls before me, while professing godliness, do not know the A.B.C. of what it means to do God service, that they have not been converted. My soul cries out in such anguish and pain that I dread to stand before a congregation. I feel deep sorrow as I see their defects, their failure to realize their true position before God, for this means that they will never see Jesus, never live with Him in glory. 12LtMs, Ms 98, 1897, par. 2

Then there are hours when I lie awake in prayer to God, asking Him what can be done for these clever, apparently good, but unconverted souls. They study earnestly to know God’s will that they may do Him service, for they do not know what service to God is. Indolent, slothful souls! What can we do for them, is my prayer. 12LtMs, Ms 98, 1897, par. 3

I think I understand the meaning of those seasons when Christ, a little distance from His disciples, sought His Father with strong crying and tears. It was the indifference of even His disciples and those who followed Him, to understand what it means to walk in the light of the Lord. 12LtMs, Ms 98, 1897, par. 4

The students catch a few beams of the rays of light, but not enough to show them the narrow path in which they must walk. Darkness and uncertainty encompass their footsteps. But a trivial life of cheapness and folly, of hilarity and glee, can only be overcome by much prayer and diligent searching of the Scriptures, with a purpose to practice the truth therein revealed. 12LtMs, Ms 98, 1897, par. 5

In this country I see the sin of not educating young lads and girls to labor, educating them in habits of industry. The talents entrusted of God are a sacred treasure, and should be put to practical use. Useful work constitutes proper education. If one must be neglected, let it be the study of books, and let the student take up the real practical duties of life. The youth who have been educated to consider the best schemes and plans for doing good at home will extend their work to the neighborhood, the church, and to any line of missionary work. The idea of anyone professing to be a Christian, and yet being well satisfied if they can only live to take care of themselves and please themselves. 12LtMs, Ms 98, 1897, par. 6

The mind of every child who is born into the world needs training. An ample supply of worthy ideas should be given with which to furnish the minds of children and youth with a profitable train of thought—ideas that will produce occupation that is profitable not only for self, but to teach others development and progress in the value of thought and labor that will be for the present and eternal good of themselves and those with whom they are brought into contact. 12LtMs, Ms 98, 1897, par. 7

Education in book knowledge alone prepares the way for superficial, shallow thoughts. Each separate action derives its quality from the motive which leads to action, and if the motives are not high and pure and unselfish, the mind and character will never become well balanced. Those who come from their scholastic life without having educated the muscles proportionately with the brain, will seldom recover the harm they receive in their one-sided education. On the part of such there is seldom a deep, earnest conviction that leads to deep, earnest action in useful employment. They are not fit to train other minds, because their own has never been trained. They are fitful in their movements. They cannot reason from cause to effect. They will speak when it would be eloquence for them to keep silent, and will be silent on important themes that should occupy the heart and mind, and regulate the life. 12LtMs, Ms 98, 1897, par. 8

Every student, man and woman, in our schools, should begin their character building upon the Word of God—if they have arrived at manhood or womanhood a slave to their own ignorance in the proper cultivation of their physical and mental powers. On the part of every student who has neglected the training of the muscles proportionately with his mental powers, there should be another kind of education. He should seek to catch up the dropped stitches as early as possible. He should set out in the work to obtain an all-round education. If he feels it beneath his dignity to take hold of the unlearned parts and catch up the science of true education, then he is unfitted to take hold of the work od educating the youth. He never need think himself qualified to act as a teacher, for his very teaching will be superficial and one-sided. 12LtMs, Ms 98, 1897, par. 9

God calls upon us all to halt, and render obedience to the principles our Creator has given us in the work He gave to Adam in Eden. There will be employment in Eden restored. Our dear young students who have not been trained at home by their parents need to have an education that will counteract their home education. They cannot be trusted as teachers of the youth unless they learn the first principles of proper education. They are to engage in a career involving consequences of deep and earnest influence, with settled purposes, high principles, and holy aims. If they do not learn anew, they will bring into their religious life a superficial work which will disqualify them to properly teach the Word of God. They have grasped some surface truths, which have become mingled with erroneous ideas which to them are new. Their minds grasp at ideas that lead to errors. Capricious fancies may for a time supply the place of truth, but the thoughts grasped have no foundation in truth. Their minds do not penetrate deep enough to see the outcome of assertions that will counterwork the work of God. 12LtMs, Ms 98, 1897, par. 10

We cannot, in this day of peril, accept teachers because they have been in school two, three, four, or five years. The question is, With all their acquisition of knowledge, have they obtained a knowledge of what is truth? Have they searched for truth as for hidden treasure? Or have they seized the surface rubbish in the place of pure truth thoroughly winnowed? We cannot consent at this period of time to expose our youth to haphazard chances of learning a mixture of truth that may be linked up with error. The youth who come from school without feeling the importance of making the Word of God the first study, the main study, above every science in educational lines, are not qualified to be accepted as teachers. 12LtMs, Ms 98, 1897, par. 11

Who that believes the truth, that realizes the importance of knowing the truth that is to make us wise unto salvation, will trust their children to the schools where error is believed and taught? Who will expose their children’s precious interests of the soul to a conflict of chances, where the highest interests of the souls are not made the first consideration? That course of study that is not dictated by the Holy Spirit, that does not make the high, holy principles of God’s Word an earnest study to learn the lessons the great Teacher has left for the enlightenment of the world, will open before the student a course unmarked by the stamp and credentials of heaven. It will leave gaps [and] mistakes and misunderstanding of the Word, all along the road he travels, and some one must follow after him to repair the errors suggested. Those who will not put themselves to the trouble of subjecting themselves to a deep, earnest, prayerful search of the Scriptures will catch hold of ideas that will counteract the impressions, the true principles, that should control the life. 12LtMs, Ms 98, 1897, par. 12