Fundamentals of Christian Education


Chapter 59—Correct School Discipline

We had in the school in ----- unruly students, who were disposed to disregard the instructions given from the word of God, and by their course of action betray sacred trusts. The Lord looked down from heaven upon them, and beheld their deceptive practices, and their false denial of their actions. They were labored for faithfully; but they were altogether too near the city, and temptations were constantly arising. They forgot to be true and loyal to God's holy law. They transgressed His commandments. They were infatuated, and revealed that as students they had not moral integrity to be true. There seemed to be a Satanic agency at work to discourage the teachers and demoralize the school. Some acting as teachers did not exert a correct influence. When every jot of influence should have been placed on the side of discipline and order, these teachers, though knowing all the trials that disorderly students were bringing upon the principal and his co-workers, who were burdened and oppressed, and who were seeking the Lord most earnestly, showed sympathy for the ones who were serving the enemy most earnestly. The students—the wrongdoers—knew this. A few took courage to brave out their wrong course of action, until it was brought home so strongly to them that they acknowledged that they had disobeyed the rules of the school, and had then tried to hide behind falsehood. FE 454.1

The school faculty held private consultations to consider what was best to be done. There was a voice in these counsels that tried to counterwork the plans introduced to keep discipline and order. By this sympathizing voice indiscreet words were dropped to the students in reference to the matters under consideration in the council. These things were caught up by the students. They thought that such a teacher was all right; that she was a clever teacher. She would have sympathy for the wrongdoer. Thus the hands of those carrying a heavy load were not strengthened, but weakened. The efforts made to repress evil were looked upon as harsh and uncharitable. “Young folks must have their jolly times,” was repeated, with other insipid speeches. A word dropped here and a word there left its baneful impression; and the wrong-doers knew that there were those in the school who did not think that their course of deception and falsehood was a great sin. But to continually take up the cause of the wrongdoer, making of no account his departure from righteousness and truth and steadfast integrity, is a grievous sin against God. FE 454.2

There were those in the school who were carried through the terms of study because they had no means themselves. These should have made every effort to obtain all the advantages possible, and thus show their gratitude to God, and for the kindness of the friends who had helped them. FE 455.1

When young men and young women are in deed and in truth converted, a decided change will be seen by all who have any connection with them. Their frivolity will leave them; the continual desire for amusement and selfish pleasure, the longing for some kind of change, to be in parties and excursions, will no longer be seen. FE 455.2

Hear the words of the great Teacher: “For the bread of God is He that cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” There is no need to be dull and indolent, to live only for common, earthly excitement. Life is given to every believer, as well as comfort and sobriety. All may have joy, because of the satisfaction of having Christ as an abiding guest in the soul. FE 455.3

When Jesus said to the multitude, “The bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world,” some in the multitude said, “Lord, evermore give us this bread.” The bread of heaven was in their midst, but they did not recognize Him as the bread of life. Jesus then stated plainly, “I am the bread of life he that cometh to Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” FE 455.4

This sixth chapter of John contains the most precious and important lessons for all who are being educated in our schools. If they want that education that will endure through time and through eternity, let them bring the wonderful truths of this chapter into their practical life. The whole chapter is very instructive, but is only faintly understood. We urge students to take in these words of Christ, that they may understand their privileges. The Lord Jesus teaches us what He is to us, and what advantage it will be to us individually to eat His words, realizing that He himself is the great center of our life, “The words that I speak unto you,” He said, “they are spirit, and they are life.” FE 456.1

Having Christ in the heart, we have an eye single to the glory of God. We should strive to comprehend what it means to be in complete union with Christ, who is the propitiation for our sins, and for the sins of the whole world, our substitute and surety before the Lord God of heaven. Our life should be bound up in the life of Christ, we should draw constantly from Him, partaking of Him, the living bread that came down from heaven, drawing from a fountain ever fresh, ever giving forth its abundant treasures. When this is in truth the experience of the Christian, there is seen in his life a freshness, a simplicity, a humility, meekness, and lowliness of heart, that show all with whom he associates that he has been with Jesus, and learned of Him. FE 456.2

This experience gives every teacher the very qualifications that will make him a representative of Christ Jesus. The methods of Christ's teaching will, if followed, give a force and directness to his communications and to his prayers. His witness for Christ will not be a narrow, tame, lifeless testimony, but will be like ploughing up the field, quickening the conscience, opening the heart, and preparing it for the seeds of truth. FE 456.3

None who deal with the youth should be iron-hearted, but affectionate, tender, pitiful, courteous, winning, and companionable; yet they should know that reproofs must be given, and that even rebuke may have to be spoken to cut off some evildoing. Encourage the youth to glorify God by giving expression to their gratitude to the Lord for all His mercies. Let their thanks be spoken often in the heart and with the voice, and let self-denial and self-sacrifice be shown. If those who claim to be Christ's disciples will eat His flesh and drink His blood, which is His word, they will have eternal life. “And I will raise him up at the last day,” Christ says. “For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him.” FE 456.4

“As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.” How many have experienced this? How many realize the true meaning of these words? Will we individually seek to understand the word of God, and practice it? This word, believed, is to every truly converted soul, the free gift of grace. It cannot be bought with money. We should continually realize that we do not deserve grace because of our merit, for all that we have is God's gift. He says to us, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” FE 457.1

The atmosphere of unbelief is heavy and oppressive. The giddy laugh, the jesting, the joking, sickens the soul that is feeding on Christ. Cheap, foolish talk is painful to Him. With a humble heart read carefully 1 Peter 1:13-18. Those who enjoy talking should see that their words are select and well chosen. Be careful how you speak. Be careful how you represent the religion you have accepted. You may feel it no sin to gossip and talk nonsense, but this grieves your Saviour, and saddens the heavenly angels. FE 457.2

What testimony does Peter bear? “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be that ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” Here again the same principle is brought out distinctly. No one need make a mistake. If as newborn babes you desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, you will have no appetite to partake of a dish of evil speaking, but all such food will be at once rejected, because those who have tasted that the Lord is gracious cannot partake of the dish of nonsense, and folly, and backbiting. They will say decidedly, “Take this dish away. I do not want to eat such food. It is not the bread from heaven. It is eating and drinking the very spirit of the devil; for it is his business to be an accuser of the brethren.” FE 457.3

It is best for every soul to closely investigate what mental food is served up for him to eat. When those come to you who live to talk, and who are all armed and equipped to say, “Report, and we will report it,” stop and think if the conversation will give spiritual help, spiritual efficiency, that in spiritual communication you may eat of the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God. “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious.” These words express much. We are not to be tattlers, or gossipers, or talebearers; we are not to bear false witness. We are forbidden by God to engage in trifling, foolish conversation, in jesting, joking, or speaking any idle words. We must give an account of what we say to God. We will be brought into judgment for our hasty words, that do no good to the speaker or to the hearer. Then let us all speak words that will tend to edification. Remember that you are of value with God. Allow no cheap, foolish talk or wrong principles to compose your Christian experience. FE 458.1

“Chosen of God and precious.” Consider, every one who names the name of Christ, have you tasted that the Lord is gracious? Has this become a part of your actual experience, represented in John six as eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God? As newborn babes, are you learning to desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby? Have you at any time in your life been truly converted? Have you been born again? If you have not, then it is time for you to obtain the experience that Christ told one of the chief rulers that he must have. “Ye must be born again,” He said. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” That is, he cannot discern the requirements essential to having a part in that spiritual kingdom. “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” If you open your mind to the entrance of God's word, with a determination to practice that word, light will come; for the word gives understanding to the simple. FE 458.2

This is the very education that every student needs. When this is obtained, if they are converted, the frivolous life they have heretofore lived will change. The universe of heaven will look upon characters that have been transformed. The frivolous, common level will be forsaken, and their feet will be placed upon the first round of the ladder, which is Christ Jesus. They will mount step by step, one round after another, heavenward. Christ will be revealed in their spirit, in their words, in their actions. FE 459.1

“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Will teachers and students study this representation, and see if they are in that class who, through the abundant grace given, are obtaining an experience which is in harmony with the real, genuine experience which every child of God must have if he enters the higher grade. FE 459.2

When Nicodemus came to Jesus, Christ laid before him the conditions of divine life, teaching him the very alphabet of conversion. Nicodemus asked, “How can these things be?” “Art thou a master of Israel,” Christ answered, “and knowest not these things?” This question might be addressed to many who are holding positions of responsibility as teachers, but who have neglected the work essential for them to do before they were qualified to be teachers. If Christ's words were received into the soul, there would be a much higher intelligence, and a much deeper spiritual knowledge of what constitutes one a disciple and a sincere follower of Christ. When the test and trial comes to every soul, there will be apostasies. Traitors, heady, highminded and self-sufficient men will turn away from the truth, making shipwreck of their faith. Why?—Because they did not dig deep, and make their foundation sure. They were not riveted to the eternal Rock. When the words of the Lord, through His chosen messengers, are brought to them, they murmur and think the way is made too strait. Like those who were thought to be the disciples of Christ, but who were displeased by His words, and walked no more with Him, they will turn away from Christ. FE 459.3

“No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me, draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” What is the drawing?—“It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me.” There are men who hear, but who do not learn the lesson as diligent students. They have a form of godliness, but are not believers. They know not the truth by practice. They receive not the engrafted word. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any man be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” He did not receive the impression made upon his mind when comparing his course of action with the great moral looking-glass. He did not see his defects of character. He did not reform, and forgetting all about the impression made, he went not God's way, but his way, continuing to be unreformed. FE 460.1

Hear the only correct way for each human being to do if he would have a safe, all-round experience. “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, [for there is a work to be done, that is neglected at the peril of the soul], this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Carry this out, as a test of pure and undefiled religion, and the blessing of God will surely follow. FE 461.1

“Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded.” Mark the figure presented in verse five: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Then these lively stones are exerting a tangible, practical influence in the Lord's spiritual house. They are a holy priesthood, performing pure, sacred service. They offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God. FE 461.2

The Lord will not accept a heartless service, a round of ceremonies that are really Christless. His children must be lively stones in God's building. If all would give themselves unreservedly to God, if they would cease to study and plan for their amusement, for excursions, and pleasure-loving associations, and would study 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,” they would never hunger or thirst for excitement or change. If it is for our true interest to be spiritual and if the salvation of our people depends on our being riveted on the Eternal Rock, would we not better be engaged in seeking for that which will hold the whole building to the chief corner stone, that we may not be confused and confounded in our faith. FE 461.3

“Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even unto them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” All men, women, and youth are appointed to do a certain work. But some stumble at the word of truth. It does not harmonize with their inclinations, and therefore they refuse to be doers of the word. They will not wear Christ's yoke of perfect obedience to the law of God. They look upon this yoke as a burden, and Satan tells them that if they will break away from it, they will become as gods. No one shall rule them or dictate to them; they will be able to do as they please, and have all the liberty they desire. True, they have been oppressed and cramped in every way in their religious life, but that religious life was a farce. They were appointed to be co-laborers with Jesus Christ, and yoking up with Christ was their only chance for perfect rest and freedom. Had they done this, they would never have been confounded. FE 462.1

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth [your own sufficiency, and attract attention to yourself, and seek your own glory?—No; no] that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you [to a distasteful, hard life of bondage?] out of darkness into His marvelous light.” FE 462.2

Will you think of the high position to which we were appointed? Will those who name the name of Christ depart from all evil? Will you or I fret under Christ's yoke? When you cherish unrest and love for amusement, and to have a high stirring time of exhibition of self, enjoying and pleasing the natural will in the place of doing the will of God, is there any rest? Is the temple of God upbuilt in your life by the frivolous view you take of Christianity? “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Is not the word of God to be our guide and our director? Shall any be slow to study that word? Shall any profess to be Christians, and yet by their course of action become a reproach to the faith, just because they desire to live to please their own natural inclinations? Will they, though professing faith in the truth, pursue a course to abuse that faith and dishonor the truth of heavenly origin? Who have appreciated the precious opportunities granted them in probationary time to form characters that God can approve, because they wear the yoke of obedience that Christ wore? What does He say in regard to this? “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” FE 462.3

Many who profess to believe in Christ do not wear His yoke. They think that they do, but if they were not deluded and deceived by Satan, they would have thoughts corresponding with their faith, and with the great truths which they profess to believe. They would realize that the words of Christ mean something to them. “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” If you follow Jesus, you are His disciple; if you follow your own impulses, your own unsanctified heart, you say plainly, I want not Thy way, O Lord, but mine. FE 463.1

We are to take in the situation, and decide what is our purpose. I have a deep interest in the young men and young women who have enlisted in the army of the Lord. My love for Jesus Christ imbues me with a love for the souls of all for whom Christ has died. The words, “Ye are laborers together with God,” mean much. No one can make conditions with God. We are servants of the living God, and all who shall be educated in our school, are to be trained to be workers. They labor to acquire correct principles. They are to connect with Christ by faith. Thus they can give great satisfaction to the heavenly universe. If each volunteer in the army of the Lord will do his best, God will do the rest. They are to call nothing their own. When striving for the victory, they are to strive lawfully. The Word is to be their teacher. Unholy ambition will not advance them, for God only can give them true wisdom and understanding; but He will not work with Satan. If envy and unholy ambition are cherished, if they wrestle for the victory to obtain human glory, the mind will be filled with confusion. Do your best. Advance as fast as possible to reach a high standard in spiritual things. Sink self in Jesus Christ, and aim ever to glorify His name. Bear in mind that talent, learning, position, wealth, and influence are gifts from God; therefore they should be consecrated to Him. Seek to obtain an education that will qualify you to be wise stewards of the manifold grace of Christ Jesus, servants under Christ, to do His bidding. FE 463.2

Let all students seek to take as broad a view as possible of their obligations to God. They are not to look forward to a time after the school term closes, when they will do some large, noted work. But they are to study earnestly how they can commence practical working in their student life by yoking up with Christ. Let every impulse be on the Lord's side. Do not pull down and discourage those who are your teachers. Do not burden their souls by manifesting a spirit of levity and a careless disregard of rules. FE 464.1

Students, you can make this school first class in success by being laborers together with your teachers to help other students, and by zealously uplifting yourselves from a cheap, common, low standard. Let each see what improvement he can make in conforming his conduct to Bible rules. Those who will seek to be themselves elevated and ennobled are cooperating with Jesus Christ by becoming refined in speech, in temper, under the control of the Holy Spirit. They are yoked up with Jesus Christ. They will not flounce about, and become unruly and self-caring, studying their own selfish pleasures and gratification. They bend all their efforts with Jesus Christ as the messengers of His mercy and love, ministering to others of His grace. Their hearts throb in unison with Christ's heart. They are one with Christ in spirit, one with Christ in action. They seek to store the mind with the precious treasures of the word of God, that each may do the work appointed him by God, to gather in the bright rays of the Sun of Righteousness, that they may shine unto others. FE 464.2

If you will watch and pray, and make earnest efforts in the right direction, you will be thoroughly imbued with the spirit of Jesus Christ. “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Be determined that you will make this school a success, and if you will heed the instruction given in the word of God, you may go forth with a development of intellectual and moral power that will cause even angels to rejoice, and God will rejoice over you with singing. If you are under God's discipline, you will secure the harmony and co-operation of the physical, mental, and moral powers, and the fullest development of your God-given faculties. Let not the buoyancy and the lust of youth through manifold temptations make your opportunities and privileges a failure. Day by day put on Christ, and in the brief season of your test and trial here below, maintain your dignity in the strength of God, as co-workers with the highest agencies during your scholastic life. FE 465.1

All should say, I will not fail. I will not through my influence betray myself or my companions into the hands of the enemy. I will heed the words of the Lord. “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me, and he shall make peace with Me.” Ever remember that you have One by your side who says to you, “Be not afraid.” “I have overcome the world.” Bear in mind that Christ came as the Prince of heaven, and has engaged in an eternal warfare against the principles of sin. All who will unite with Christ will be workers together with God in this warfare. FE 465.2

“For their sakes I sanctify Myself,” Christ said, “that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” The Lord Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; and those who unite with Him, putting Him on, will work as colaborers with Him, by conforming to the principles of truth. By beholding, they become imbued with truth, and unite with Christ to transform the living temple given to idols, that human beings may become cleansed, refined, sanctified, temples for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. FE 466.1

“I have declared unto them Thy name,” Christ said, “and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” The Lord has made abundant provision that His love may be given to us as His free, abundant grace, as our inheritance in this life, to enable us to diffuse the same by being yoked up with Christ. Jesus conveys the circulating vitality of a pure and sanctified Christlike love through every part of our human nature. When this love is expressed in the character, it reveals to all those with whom we associate that it is possible for God to be formed within, the hope of glory. It shows that God loved the obedient ones as He loves Jesus Christ; and nothing less than this satisfies His desires in our behalf. As soon as the human agent becomes united with Christ in heart, soul, and spirit, the Father loves that soul as a part of Christ, as a member of the body of Christ, He himself being the glorious head.—MSS., June 21, 1897. FE 466.2