Sabbath-School Worker



January 1, 1889

The Possibilities in Sabbath-School Work


Our Sabbath-schools are nothing less than Bible societies, and in the sacred work of teaching the truths of God's word they can accomplish far more than they have hitherto accomplished. The Sabbath-school, when rightly managed, possesses marvelous power, and is adapted to doing a great work, but it is not now what it may and should be. The influence growing out of Sabbath-school work should improve and enlarge the church; but in no case should it ever be allowed to divert from the interests of the church. There is a most precious missionary field in the Sabbath-school, and if there are now omens of good, they are only indications and beginnings of what may be done. SSW January 1, 1889, par. 1

The great work of opening the Bible from house to house in Bible-readings gives an added importance to the Sabbath-school work, and makes it evident that the teachers in the schools should be consecrated men and women, who understand the Scriptures, and can rightly divide the word of truth. The idea of holding Bible-readings is a Heaven-born idea, and opens the way to put hundreds of young men and women into the field to do an important work, which otherwise could not have been done. SSW January 1, 1889, par. 2

The Bible is unchained. It can be carried to every man's door, and its truths may be presented to every man's conscience. There are many who, like the noble Bereans, will search the Scriptures daily for themselves, when the truth is presented, to see whether or not these things are so. Christ has said, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.” Jesus, the world's Redeemer, bids men, not only to read, but to “search the Scriptures.” This is a great and important work, and it is committed to us, and in doing this we shall be greatly benefited; for obedience to Christ's command will not go unrewarded. He will crown with especial tokens of his favor this act of loyalty in following the light revealed in his word. SSW January 1, 1889, par. 3

As soon as the seeker for truth opens the Bible to read the utterances of God with reverence, possessing an earnest desire to know “what saith the Lord,” light and grace will be given him, and he will see wondrous things out of God's law. He will not regard the law of Jehovah as a yoke of bondage, but as the gracious commands of one who is all-wise and full of compassion. He will make haste to fulfill his requirements. Great truths which have been neglected and unappreciated for ages, will be revealed by the Spirit of God, and new meaning will flash out of familiar texts. Every page will be illuminated by the Spirit of truth. The Bible is not sealed but unsealed. The most precious truths are revealed, the living oracles are heard by wondering ears, and the consciences of men are aroused into action. SSW January 1, 1889, par. 4

Gather the infants with lisping lips, the youth and the aged, and set them to the task of solving mysteries which have not been comprehended by the wise men of earth, although possessed of giant minds. The weighty truths of God's word are for those who are humble and willing to learn at the feet of the divine Teacher. Jesus rejoiced in spirit because of this fact, and said, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.” SSW January 1, 1889, par. 5

Let not narrow ideas proscribe and bind about your labors. “The field is the world.” The doctrines of truth are plainly revealed on every page of the word of God, and yet the enemy has power to blind the minds of the self-sufficient, so that the plainest and simplest utterances may not be understood. Let the truth be taught to our children. Let them be armed with the revelations of the word of God. Let them be able to tell what is written in the Scriptures of truth. Let the minister from the desk, with lips touched with a coal from off the altar of Heaven, speak the words of life that will burn their way into the heart and soul of those who, although wise in the wisdom of the world, do not comprehend the wisdom that is from above. SSW January 1, 1889, par. 6

The question, “What is truth?” should be asked with decided interest. We must respond to the command of God, and go forward from light to a greater light. There is no such thing as the soldiers of Christ standing still, careless and inactive. There are constant improvements to be made. The providence of God is leading us on step by step in the path of obedience. Let parents and teachers impress upon the minds of the children that the Lord is proving them in this life, to see if they will render obedience to him with love and reverence. Those who would not be obedient to Christ here would not obey him in the eternal world. The Lord is seeking to fit them for the heavenly mansions that Jesus has gone to prepare for those who love him. SSW January 1, 1889, par. 7

Do not make the Sabbath-school lessons dry and spiritless. Leave the impression upon the mind that the Bible, and the Bible alone, is our rule of faith, and that the sayings and doings of men are not to be a criterion for our doctrines or actions. One grand lesson must be taught to the children, and that is that they must be free from every particle of egotism and bigotry. Teach them that Christ died to save sinners, and that those who are not of our faith, are to be labored for with great tenderness and forbearance, for their souls are precious in the sight of God. No one must be regarded with contempt. There must be no Phariseeism, no self-righteousness. SSW January 1, 1889, par. 8

There are many true Christians, not of our faith, with whom we come in contact, who live according to the best light that they have, and they are in greater favor with God than are those who have greater light, but who have not improved it by showing corresponding works. At one time the disciples found a man who was doing a work in Christ's name, and John, relating the matter to Jesus, said, “We forbade him, because he followeth not us,” but Jesus rebuked this spirit, and told his followers that “he that is not against us is on our part.” The Way, the Truth, and the Life, will be clearly revealed in the words, the spirit, and the deportment of those who believe in and learn of Jesus. Parents and teachers should manifest the tenderest interest and sympathy for those who are not believers in the truth. They should never, either by word or action, wound a soul, the purchase of Christ's blood. If the older ones manifest a cold, harsh, unsympathetic spirit, the children will manifest the same, and their characters will not be moulded after the divine model. We must patiently educate the children and youth to feel that they are required of God to be missionaries, that they are not to be selfish, narrow, and bigoted, but broad in their ideas and sympathies. If all work in love and manifest Christian courtesy, they will be winners of souls, and will bring precious sheaves to the Master. SSW January 1, 1889, par. 9

One thing is certain, there is too little of the spirit of love among Seventh-day Adventists, both in church and Sabbath-school work. The workers and learners aim for too low a standard. All need to be enlarged, to have higher and holier aspirations, to inhale a purer atmosphere. Young men and women are to come forth from our Sabbath-schools and colleges to become missionaries for God. They need the very best of instruction and religious training. They need that virtue that comes from God, added to knowledge, which will qualify them for trying and responsible positions. The intellectual and spiritual growth should be as marked as the development of the physical powers. The young should feel the necessity of being strong and competent intellectually as well as spiritually. Many fail to acquire this power, not because they are lacking in ability, but because they fail to apply themselves with determined and diligent effort. They should make the very most of their opportunities, and become care takers, in order to be able to bear the burdens and share the responsibilities of those who are worn and laden. The most important of all missionary work is to train workers to go into the field to preach the gospel to every creature. SSW January 1, 1889, par. 10

Let the Sabbath-school teacher be an example in faith, in charity, in doctrine, and deportment. Let him dress with simplicity. Let him show the beauty of the natural and true, in contrast with the false and artificial. Let him teach his scholars to love God, giving them line upon line, and precept upon precept, little by little adding new features to the truth, till it is delineated before the minds in its attractiveness and beauty. Let him pray and work until he sees his charges bound to the truth, and in possession of the love of God which passeth knowledge. SSW January 1, 1889, par. 11