Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 21 (1906)


Ms 65, 1906

Teachers as Examples of Christian Integrity


July 4, 1906 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in CS 271-272; 1BC 1088, 1092.

I have a message for those standing at the head of our educational institutions. I am instructed to call the attention of every one occupying a position of responsibility to the divine law as the basis of all right conduct. I am to begin by calling attention to the law given in Eden and to the reward of obedience and the penalty of disobedience. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 1

In consequence of Adam’s transgression, sin was introduced into the fair world that God had created, and men and women became more and still more bold in disobeying His law. The Lord looked down upon the impenitent world and decided that He must give transgressors an exhibition of His power. He caused Noah to know His purpose and instructed him to warn the people while building an ark in which the obedient could find shelter until God’s indignation was overpast. For one hundred and twenty years Noah proclaimed the message of warning to the antediluvian world, but only a few repented. Some of the carpenters he employed in building the ark believed the message, but died before the flood; others of Noah’s converts backslid. The righteous on the earth were but few, and only eight lived to enter the ark. These were Noah and his family. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 2

The rebellious race were swept away by the flood. Death was their portion. By the fulfilment of the prophetic warning that all who would not keep the commandments of heaven should drink the waters of the flood, the truth of God’s word was exemplified. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 3

After the flood the people once more increased on the earth, and wickedness also increased. Idolatry became well-nigh universal; and the Lord finally left the hardened transgressors to follow their evil ways, while He chose Abraham, of the line of Shem, and made him the keeper of His law for future generations. To him the message came, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee.” [Genesis 12:1.] And by faith Abraham obeyed. “He went out, not knowing whither he went.” [Hebrews 11:8.] 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 4

Abraham’s seed multiplied, and at length Jacob and his sons and their families went down into Egypt. Here they and their descendants sojourned for many years, till at last the Lord called them out, to lead them into the land of Canaan. It was His purpose to make of this nation of slaves a people who would reveal His character to the idolatrous nations of the world. Had they been obedient to His word, they would soon have entered the promised land. But they were disobedient and rebellious, and for forty years they journeyed in the wilderness. Only two of the adults who left Egypt entered Canaan. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 5

It was during the wilderness wandering of the Israelites that God gave them His law. He led them to Sinai and there, amid scenes of awful grandeur, proclaimed the ten commandments. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 6

We may with profit study the record of the preparation made by the congregation of Israel for the hearing of the law. “In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine.” [Exodus 19:1-5.] 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 7

Who, then, is to be regarded as the Ruler of the nations? The Lord God Omnipotent. All kings, all rulers, all nations are His, under His rule and government. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 8

“And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him.” [Verse 7.] 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 9

What was the response of the congregation, numbering more than a million people? 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 10

“And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord.” [Verse 8.] 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 11

Thus the children of Israel were denominated as a special people. By a most solemn covenant they were pledged to be true to God. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 12

Then the people were bidden to prepare themselves to hear the law. On the morning of the third day the voice of God was heard. Speaking out of the thick darkness that enshrouded Him, as He stood upon the mount, surrounded by a retinue of angels, the Lord made known His law. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 13

God accompanied the proclamation of His law with manifestations of His power and glory, that His people might be impressed with a profound veneration for the Author of the law, the Creator of heaven and earth. He would also show to all men the sacredness, the importance, and the permanence of His law. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 14

The people of Israel were overwhelmed with terror. They shrank away from the mountain in fear and awe. The multitude cried out to Moses, “Speak thou with us, ... but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” [Exodus 20:19.] 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 15

The minds of the people, blinded and debased by slavery, were not prepared to appreciate fully the far-reaching principles of God’s ten precepts. That the obligations of the decalogue might be more fully understood and enforced, additional precepts were given, illustrating and applying the precepts of the ten commandments. Unlike the decalogue, these were delivered privately to Moses, who was to communicate them to the people. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 16

Upon descending from the mountain, Moses “came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.” [Exodus 24:3-8.] 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 17

Thus by a most solemn service the children of Israel were once more set apart as a peculiar people. The sprinkling of the blood represented the shedding of the blood of Jesus, by which human beings are cleansed from sin. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 18

Once more the Lord has special words to speak to His people. In the thirty-first chapter of Exodus we read: 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 19

“The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. ... Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed. And He gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of communicating with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” [Verses 12, 13, 16-18.] 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 20

Many other Scriptures on the sacredness of God’s law have been presented before me. Scene after scene, reaching down to the present time, passed before me. The word spoken by God to Israel was verified. The people disobeyed, and only two of the adults who left Egypt entered Canaan. The rest died in the wilderness. Will not the Lord today vindicate His word if the leaders of His people depart from His commandments? 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 21

I was referred to the fourth chapter of Deuteronomy. The whole of this chapter is to be studied. Notice particularly the statement: “Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord He is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath; there is none else. Thou shalt keep therefore His statutes, and His commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, forever.” [Verses 39, 40.] 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 22

The eighth and eleventh chapters of Deuteronomy also mean much to us. The lessons that they contain are of the greatest importance and are given to us as verily as to the Israelites. In the eleventh chapter God says: 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 23

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day; and a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.” [Verses 26-28.] 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 24

I have been instructed, as God’s messenger, to dwell particularly upon the record of Moses’ sin and its sad result, as a solemn lesson to those in positions of responsibility in our schools, and especially to those acting as presidents of these institutions. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 25

Of Moses, God’s Word declares: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all men which were upon the face of the earth.” [Numbers 12:3.] Long had he borne with the rebellion and obstinacy of Israel. But at last his patience gave way. They were on the borders of the promised land. But before they entered Canaan, they must show that they believed God’s promise. The supply of water ceased. Here was an opportunity for them to walk by faith instead of by sight. But they forgot the hand that for so many years had supplied their wants; and instead of turning to God for help, they murmured against Him. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 26

Their cries were directed against Moses and Aaron: “Why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into the wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us unto this evil place? It is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.” [Numbers 20:4, 5.] 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 27

The two brothers went before the multitude. But instead of speaking to the rock, as God had directed, Moses smote the rock angrily, crying, “Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of the rock?” [Verse 10.] 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 28

Bitter and deeply humiliating was the judgment immediately pronounced. “The Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, saying, Because ye believed Me not, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.” [Verse 12.] With rebellious Israel they must die before crossing the Jordan. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 29

From the experience of Moses the Lord would have His people learn that when they do that which gives prominence to self, His work is neglected, and He is dishonored. The Lord will work counter to those who work counter to Him. His name, and His alone, is to be magnified on the earth. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 30

For more than twenty years strange things have at different times been coming in among us. Those who have become unfaithful, who have not exalted the principles of righteousness, need now to seek the Lord with deep humiliation of soul, and be converted, that God may heal their transgressions. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 31

The one standing at the head of a school is to put his undivided interests into the work of making the school just what the Lord designed it to be. If he is ambitious to climb higher and still higher; if he gets above the real virtues of his work, and above its simplicity, and disregards the holy principles of heaven, let him learn from the experience of Moses that the Lord will surely manifest His displeasure because of his failure to reach the standard set before him. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 32

Especially should the president of a school look carefully after the finances of the institution. He should understand the underlying principles of bookkeeping. He is faithfully to report the use of all monies passing through his hands for the use of the school. The funds of the school are not to be overdrawn, but every effort is to be made to increase the usefulness of the school. Those entrusted with the financial management of our educational institutions must allow no carelessness in the expenditure of means. Everything connected with the finances of our schools should be perfectly straight. The Lord’s way must be strictly followed, though this may not be in harmony with the ways of man. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 33

To those in charge of our schools, I would say, Are you making God and His law your delight? Are the principles that you follow, sound and pure and unadulterated? Are you keeping yourselves, in the life practice, under the control of God? Do you see the necessity of obeying Him in every particular? If you are tempted to appropriate the money coming into the school, in ways that bring no special benefit to the school, your standard of principle needs to be carefully criticized, that the time may not come when you will have to be criticized and found wanting. Who is your bookkeeper? Who is your treasurer? Who is your business manager? Are they careful and competent? Look to this. It is possible for money to be misappropriated, without any one’s understanding clearly how it came about; and it is possible for a school to be losing continually because of unwise expenditures. Those in charge may feel this loss keenly, and yet suppose they have done their best. But why do they permit debts to accumulate? Let those in charge of a school find out each month the true financial standing of the school. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 34

My brethren in responsibility, exalt the law of Christ’s kingdom by giving to it willing obedience. If you are not yourselves under the control of the Ruler of the universe, how can you obey His law, as required in His Word? Those who are placed in positions of authority are the very ones who need most fully to realize their amenability to God’s law and the importance of obeying all His requirements. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 35

In some respects, many of those connected with our schools should be standing on a higher platform. We know that it is the determined purpose of some to be obedient to every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Such men and women will be given power of intellect to discern the difference between righteousness and unrighteousness. They have the faith that works by love and purifies the soul, and they reveal God to the world. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 36

We all need to gain a much deeper experience in the things of God than we have gained. Self is to die, and Christ is to take possession of the soul-temple. Physicians, ministers, teachers, and all others in responsible positions must learn the humility of Christ before He can be revealed in them. Too often self is so important an agency in the life of a man that the Lord is not able to mold and fashion him. Self rules on the right hand and on the left, and the man presses his way forward as he pleases. Christ says to self, Stand out of My path. Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Then I can accept him as My disciple. In order to serve Me acceptably, he must do the work I have given him in harmony with My instructions. 21LtMs, Ms 65, 1906, par. 37