Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 141, 1898



October 24, 1898

Previously unpublished.

During the night I have been in an educational council. I will write as nearly as I can concerning the matter. A number were assembled, and we seemed to be waiting for some one. Prayer was offered, and this season of prayer seemed to be a time of special earnestness in seeking the Lord. After rising from our knees, we sat for a little time in silent thought. Then One arose whom I knew in a moment to be no earthly teacher. He spoke solemnly and earnestly. All listened, the greater number with intense interest, and a few with a kind of curiosity. These did not seem to realize the situation, but looked about them with careless indifference. 13LtMs, Ms 141, 1898, par. 1

The heavenly universe has a decided care that the Avondale school shall be conducted upon correct principles. It is essential to a proper education that we realize our responsibility to God. The teachers as well as the youth must constantly be learning, else they are not qualified to be instructors. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. 13LtMs, Ms 141, 1898, par. 2

Some will attend this school who are nominally Christians, but whose standard is not elevated. They will need earnest labor and watchcare, because they have not been educated to use brain, bone, and muscle, or to be subordinate and law-abiding. Mental and physical idleness and disorderly habits are a dishonor to students, and more especially to those whose work it is to educate students. 13LtMs, Ms 141, 1898, par. 3

The teacher is to present the claims of the gospel as the highest, purest, and most elevated standard to be reached. Could the veil be drawn aside, we would see all heaven drawn out in co-operation with human agencies for the greatest development of every capability, and the highest mental and physical culture, that man may best serve God. Those who do not feel the necessity of the guidance of heavenly agencies are not willing to learn from the great Teacher the true philosophy of education. They should never be entrusted with the work of teaching the youth. 13LtMs, Ms 141, 1898, par. 4

“This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches. But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” [Jeremiah 9:23, 24.] “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of men. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” [Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.] 13LtMs, Ms 141, 1898, par. 5

If we would only realize this, what a conviction of accountability would pervade our lives. Those who have a sense of their moral and religious obligation are the only ones who will make trustworthy teachers, for they are the only ones who will carry a burden for souls, in them every act and enterprise is subordinated to the universal law—obedience. Lord, what wilt thou have me to do, is the inquiry of the soul. They keep their eyes directed heavenward, that they may be approved by God, workmen that need not to be ashamed. They maintain a watching, praying attitude. They remember the words, “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.] Thus Enoch walked with God, constantly realizing his accountability. 13LtMs, Ms 141, 1898, par. 6

The Lord’s claims extend to our words and actions. Even the thoughts must be brought into captivity to Christ. Then the whole life is a witness for the right. 13LtMs, Ms 141, 1898, par. 7

Those who are fitting themselves for ministers or teachers need to combine physical and mental labor. The intellect must not be allowed to become inactive. The mind must be made to work, else it will become enfeebled, and will lose the power to think. It is not the length of time spent in acquiring an education that fits a man for a position of influence and responsibility. It is working with most earnest efforts to cultivate the talents, to wrestle with new problems. We are not merely to catch at a new idea, and without thinking assert it as though it were truth. It may be a poisonous seed that Satan has sown. 13LtMs, Ms 141, 1898, par. 8

There are men who trust to their own wisdom, notwithstanding the advice of older brethren, who have been over the ground. These men may have incurred great expense to obtain an education, yet they are decidedly ignorant of what it is for their eternal interest to know. 13LtMs, Ms 141, 1898, par. 9

The mind must do something, and the physical powers must be taxed equally with the mental. Education is one-sided unless the whole of the human machinery is used. Those who teach in the schools must have solidity of character. Every teacher needs to seek the Lord most earnestly, that he may become vivified by the Holy Spirit. He needs to cry out after God, that his intellect may be thoroughly awakened by new, fresh life and power. Unless teachers experience a daily conversion, they cannot properly educate students. 13LtMs, Ms 141, 1898, par. 10