Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 84, 1897

Study for Time and for Eternity


July 30, 1897

Portions of this manuscript are published in 1BC 1085; SpM 93-94.

The school located in Avondale is to be conducted in accordance with the mind and will of God. Every student should work from principle, his motto being, I study for time and for eternity; I use my muscles to do the very things that some one must do. Students should perform physical labor in the early morning and in the cool of the day, using the hours during the heat of the day for study. The limbs and muscles are God’s gifts just as verily as are riches or intellect. Every part of the human machinery must be used proportionately, or else some parts will be clogged and enfeebled. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 1

God said to Adam, and to all the descendants of Adam, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread; for from henceforth the earth must be worked under the drawback of transgression. Thorns and briars shall it produce. [Genesis 3:18, 19.] 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 2

In the parable of the wheat and tares, the servant is presented as saying to the husbandman, Didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? how then hath it tares? Did the husbandman sow the tares? No: he answered, “An enemy hath done this.” [Matthew 13:28.] The enemy always sows the tares. Neither God nor His angels ever dropped a seed that would produce a tare. The enemy of God and man does this evil work, in order to afflict the human family. By making labor tenfold harder, so that much exertion is required for the cultivation of the earth, Satan leads men to murmur against the God of heaven as the cause of their misery. But Satan is the real cause of it. He makes labor toilsome, and by indulging do-nothing habits, men co-operate with him. By their own neglect, they bring about such a condition of things that briars and thorns multiply and choke the good seed. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 3

Many desire to acquire means and be prosperous without perseveringly exercising brain, bone, and muscle. This course often destroys the motive required for efficiency. Their object is not gained, and they complain and murmur against God because the earth does not yield its increase as they expected it. But in nine cases out of ten, the failure of the harvest is the result of the slack efforts of the workers. They did not work with persevering energy at the right time. They did not prepare for the harvest by preparing and enriching the soil. They worked by impulse. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 4

The soil needs thoughtful attention. It must be plowed often and deep with a view to keeping out the weeds, which take nourishment from the good seed planted. Thus those who plough and sow prepare for the harvest. None need to stand in the field amid the sad wreck of their hopes. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 5

The Christian worker must work intelligently to save souls. He must be able also to give others a right example in the careful culture of the soil, with a view to the harvest. These lessons should receive attention in a proper education. Christian motives lead to right actions; they lead us to move forward with a firm, steady, and ever increasing trust till the end of life. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 6

Disappointment hurts the mind and heart. Every effort should be made to avoid disappointment, for it chills the energies. But if those to whom disappointment comes, have a consciousness that they have done their best, their disappointment will not hinder their progress, for their energies will be supplied with power from an inexhaustible source, and will flow forth in earnest effort. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 7

Remember that the time spent in waiting on God is not lost. Act ever under the guidance of the Spirit of God. Intellectual growth and moral and spiritual advancement are achieved for eternity. Those who thus advance employ every power in their being to do the best and purest service for the Master. Self-discipline is made agreeable by the results that are seen. The reward of eternal life is the great incentive to a thorough training of all the powers, that they may be the highest service for God. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 8

When the mind is youthful and vigorous, and susceptible of rapid development, there is a great temptation to be ambitious for self, to serve self. If the worldly schemes are successful, there is an inclination to continue in a line that deadens conscience and prevents a correct estimate being placed on honesty and excellence of character. If circumstances are favorable for this development, growth will seen in a direction prohibited by the Word of God. The intellect is misapplied and contracted. Through the deceitfulness of sin, the heart becomes hardened. Fatal checks are put on progress. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 9

A literary education without a through consecration to God makes a student a tool in the hands of the enemy, which he uses to carry forward his own attributes. A time will come, even in this life, when such a one will find that he cannot break the habit he has formed of doing as he pleases. He is disgusted with himself, but he is unable to change the habits of a lifetime. Once he craved for high and holy things, but he permitted his mind to be diverted to self-serving, to unchristian impulses and methods. When he would reform, when he desires to make a change, his mind, trained in a narrow, selfish groove, cannot be led away from wrong practices of years of growth. Professedly, he may not have made shipwreck of his faith, but he is beyond the possibility of bringing true, heavenly motives into his life, which is wrecked, wrecked for eternity. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 10

The true Christian, whose life is hid with God, bound up with the life of Christ, acts with a determination to do the will and way of God. He is guided by a determination, which ever increases in force, to do the will of God. To more perfectly understand and more keenly enjoy all the heavenly instruction that God reveals is his aim. He grows downward in humility. He grows upward in knowledge, training all his powers to do honorable service for God, training his physical, mental, and moral powers by wholesome discipline. He is richly furnished with a knowledge of “Thus saith the Lord,” “Thou shalt,” and, “Thou shalt not.” He is thankful for the warnings of the Holy Spirit, which guide him into the knowledge of truth that never weakens, never is corrupted, and never dies. With his gray hairs will come superior wisdom and piety. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 11

All who study for time and for eternity, encouraging patient industry and persevering labor, will be yoked up with Christ. I would that the students in our school would remember this one thing: that all work, physical and mental, is briskly and thoroughly done when the heart is in it. Therefore take hold of your studies in the fear of the Lord. Then your work will be performed with more satisfaction and enjoyed more than selfish gratification and amusement. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 12

In everything that we put our hand to that will help in the advancement and upbuilding of the school here in Avondale, we are prompted by motives of Christian service. Thus it is registered in the books of heaven. Those who do this work feel that they are only doing their duty. They cheerfully discharge their obligations as far and as perfectly as possible, in a manner that God can approve. This they do that they may be co-laborers with God. They have yoked up with Jesus Christ that they may glorify His name. As best they can, they manifest gratitude to Him who has given them power to work, offering to Him testimonies of praise, and acknowledging His claim to their service and devoted loyalty. The whole soul glows with warmth in such an enterprise; the whole being is put to the stretch to reach higher and still higher attainments in physical and spiritual excellence. Thus the Christian student is enabled to be always encouraged. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 13

“The entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” [Psalm 119:130.] But the Word must first enter the heart; then it will work outward. The question is often asked by really anxious souls, “What must I do to be saved?” [Acts 16:30.] The only answer is, Never make it necessary for some one to be constantly looking upon you in order to ensure faithful work. When you realize that the eye of God is constantly upon you, for your good, you will say in everything I will do my best, that the Lord may write concerning me, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” [Matthew 25:23.] This is true in temporal matters. Into every action of life we are to weave faithfulness and loyalty, cultivating the attributes that will enable us to do this work. He who thus works from principle will find his reward, for those who can correctly estimate faithful service will say, Come up higher. I want you to take charge in a place of greater responsibility. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 14

It is just as essential to do the will of God when erecting a building as when bearing a testimony in meeting. In every building raised, if the workers have brought the right principles into their character-building, if they work with an eye single to the glory of God, striving in all ways to do their best, they will grow in grace and knowledge. This will require true diligence; it may often be hard work, but it will pay. In everything you do, do your best. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 15

“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh,” Paul writes, “with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.” [Ephesians 6:5-8.] 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 16

We are safe only as we look to Jesus, who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. As you do your work, ask yourself, Will Christ approve the way in which I am using my time, and doing the work appointed me? Place no human being before you as a pattern, but say, Lord Jesus, be thou my Pattern. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 17

“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh,” Paul writes again, “not with eye service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he which doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons.” [Colossians 3:22-25.] 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 18

Negligent, slothful work is not so great an offense against men as against God. By doing it, you are forming your character for unfaithfulness. The only right way to do is to do all to the glory of God. Take no human being as your criterion. Let no human voice lay down the limit of your duty. One human being may have a lawful authority over another, and may rightly inspect his work. But every worker is to look beyond the human to the divine, to Him who rules in the heavens, whose eyes behold all the works of our hands. The Lord has called us to be His servants in all things, and no unfaithful work will bear the signature of “well done.” [Matthew 25:21.] 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 19

While we are in this world, we must secure the bread that we eat by the sweat of our brow. Many are inclined to divorce temporal business from spiritual service. Many think that the time devoted to temporal things is lost. They think that if they could devote their time wholly to religious duties, they would be much more fervent and earnest in religious things. But Christ has left us no such example. He was a true worker, in temporal as well as spiritual things, and into all He did, He brought a determination to do His Father’s will. It is not God’s intention that the business of life shall stand still, that all duties shall be regarded as unimportant but the ministry and the lines of work embraced by the ministry. To every man God has given his work, according to his several ability. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 20

“Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” [Colossians 3:15.] This peace is freely given us by God; our part is to let it rule in our hearts. If we give it room, if we encourage its presence, we will have a peace and joy that is beyond all understanding. Then there will not flow from our lips a flood of words that have no softening, subduing influence upon the characters of those with whom we associate. A heart in which the peace of God rules will not pour forth words that cause the angels of God to cover their faces for sorrow. From the heart where Jesus rules and reigns come only the issues of life. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 21

As wise teachers, parents should labor earnestly for their children, leading them to co-operate with God. They should study carefully and prayerfully how to manifest kindness, courtesy, and love, but not blind affection. True Christian parents are teachers in the home. Said Christ, “I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified through thy word.” [John 17:19.] God-fearing parents will pray with unfeigned lips that they may be more deeply impressed by the exceeding great and precious promises of God’s Word, and through Christ perfect holiness in His fear. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 22

Parents, as teachers of your loved ones, the truth should have a controlling power over your conscience and your understanding, presiding over word and deed. Be as faithful in your home life as you are in the worship of God. Give a right character to all within the home. Angels of God are present, noting how the younger members of the Lord’s family are treated. The religion of the home will surely be brought into the church. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 23

The greatest and most responsible of all work is to mold and fashion children to proper habits of speech. The education of children should begin in the home, but parents cannot properly fulfill their responsibilities unless they take the word of God as a rule of their life, unless they realize that they are to so educate and fashion the character of each dear human treasure, that it may at last lay hold of eternal life. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 24

It is a parent’s duty to speak right words. Children should be taught to speak respectfully and lovingly to their parents. Day by day parents should learn in the school of Christ lessons from One that loves them. Then the story of God’s everlasting love will be repeated in the home school to the tender flock. Thus, before reason is fully developed, children may catch a right spirit from their parents. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 25

Parents must learn the lesson of implicit obedience to God’s voice, which speaks to them out of His Word, and as they learn this lesson, they can teach their children respect and obedience in word and action. This is the work that should be carried on in the home. Those who do it will reach upward themselves, realizing that they must elevate their children. This education means much more than mere instruction. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 26

How startling is the proverb, “As the twig is bent, the tree is inclined.” This is to be applied to the training of our children. Parents, will you remember that the education of your children from their earliest years is committed to you as a sacred trust? These young trees are to be tenderly trained, that they may be transplanted to the garden of the Lord. Home education is not by any means to be neglected. Those who neglect it neglect a religious duty. 12LtMs, Ms 84, 1897, par. 27