Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Lt 117, 1898

Griggs, Brother

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

December 1, 1898

Portions of this letter are published in CG 473; 11MR 40-41; 12MR 267-268.

Dear Brother Griggs:

I was much pleased to receive a letter from you yesterday. I thank the Lord that He has enlightened you by His Holy Spirit, and I beg of you to walk circumspectly. The reason there is so great a dearth of means at the present time in Battle Creek is that the root of selfishness has been so long cherished that it has become a prevailing power to tarnish and corrupt the soul. There are occasional revivals, when the sword of truth, cutting both ways, cuts off the top of the plant of selfishness, but it is not taken out by the roots, and when anything is favorable for its growth, it springs up and flourishes, and thereby many are defiled. 13LtMs, Lt 117, 1898, par. 1

This is the great evil which proves a curse to individuals, to families, to all our institutions, and to the church. We need not merely to talk about the Holy Spirit, but to open the door of our hearts and let him come in. Then there will be a molding and fashioning of the character. Prayers are offered in the family circle, in the church, in the publishing house, and in our educational institutions, for the Lord to guide and direct; but when temptations come, the roots of selfishness spring up, and the precious talents of reason and voice are placed on the enemy’s side. Men plan after their own selfish methods. Over and over again God has given messages of reproof in His Word, and by His servants, but they disregard the Word if by so doing they can obtain an advantage over others. That which is common and forbidden is brought into the work. 13LtMs, Lt 117, 1898, par. 2

God says, “I hate robbery for burnt offerings.” [Isaiah 61:8.] The Lord will work for those who are pure in heart. “The pure in heart shall see God.” [Matthew 5:8.] And they will see in Him no corrupting principles. When all selfishness and covetousness is cleansed from the church and from our institutions, we shall see the Lord in His ways and in His works, and great good will be done. His righteousness will go before us. It is Christ our Righteousness who leads the way for our feet in the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. If we are worked by the Holy Spirit, we shall seek for the conversion of souls. Everything possible should be done to draw them to Christ—by religious instruction, by a right training in the home and school life. Everything that will prove a hindrance to their conversion should be kept from them. Instruction is needed. The fullest education should be obtained. The character must be formed for the future eternal life, if we would be conquerors over the difficulties which all must meet. 13LtMs, Lt 117, 1898, par. 3

Many parents by their training, by their foolish indulgence, and pampering of the tastes and appetite, are making themselves responsible for the crooked ways and dispositions of their children. Satan can control the whole being by that disposition to disobey the laws of God. Parents do not, like Abraham, command their households after them. And what is the result? Children and youth are standing under the rebel flag. They will not be ruled, but are determined to follow their own will. The only hope for children is to teach them to deny and not indulge self. 13LtMs, Lt 117, 1898, par. 4

The Lord has a controversy with parents, because they have permitted their children to follow their own pernicious ways, by which the way of truth is evil spoken of. Education should be commenced in the home at the dawn of reason, and is to be carried forward in the fear and love of God. The reason that children do not become godly is because they are allowed too much freedom. Their will and inclination is indulged. Parental neglect in restraining children is the cause of so much evil in the world today. O what sad things the judgment will reveal. Many prodigal sons become such because of indulgence in the home, because their parents have not been doers of the Word. The mind and purpose are to be sustained by firm, undeviating, sanctified principles. Consistency and affection are to be enforced by a lovely and consistent example. 13LtMs, Lt 117, 1898, par. 5

The Lord is watching the course of action of every youth and parent. Human nature is to be educated, disciplined, and characters are to become changed, elevated, ennobled, Christlike. The youth must be educated to respect themselves because they are bought with a price. Christ died for them that they might have every opportunity of becoming partakers of the divine nature. Every youth should be properly instructed, for this means a great deal. Will they perpetuate the attributes of character received? The will of one is not to be violently forced by the will of another. 13LtMs, Lt 117, 1898, par. 6

The love of God in the heart of the teacher is valuable in the home, in the church, and in school work in all its lines. The work is to be entered into with earnestness. The children and youth are to understand that their rule of action is the Word of God, and not human inventions. There must be obedience to what God has enjoined. An instructor is not prepared to mold minds or fashion characters unless Christ is abiding in his heart, unless he is learning Christ’s ways and walking in His footsteps. We are to teach the youth to value themselves. We owe God obedience to the specifications of the moral law. We are to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. The work must be wrought in God. This will impress the children who manifest opposition, stubborn unbelief, and a sullen will. Let cheerfulness, hope, and happiness be seen in the deportment of teachers. Try to please the students, but do not indulge them. 13LtMs, Lt 117, 1898, par. 7