Sermons and Talks, vol. 1


Camp Meeting Message on True Education

In the night season some things were opened before me in reference to the work and the school that will soon be opened in this locality. The light given me was that we must not pattern after the similitude of any school that has been established in the past. We must study the Word of God critically as the great lesson book, in order to know what the school may become under the receiving and doing of the Word of God. Unless we are guarded, we shall experience those hindrances to the spiritual education that have retarded the work of our schools in America by misapplication and miscalculation of the work most essential. 1SAT 278.1

When Christ was working in our world, He had but few followers, and those whom He called His disciples were, by the maxims and customs of the scribes and Pharisees, constantly kept back from the advancement they might have made in supplying their great want and becoming efficient in usefulness. Through the rabbis, customs had come down from generation to generation, and these were made all-essential, even of more force than the Ten Commandments. Thus the precepts of men were taught and dwelt upon as of more value than a “Thus saith the Lord.” 1SAT 278.2

I have been warned that the teachers in our school should not travel over the ground that many of the Battle Creek teachers have gone over in their experience. Will ministers and teachers bear this in mind? Popular amusements for students were brought in there under a deceptive garb. Satan approached as an angel of light, and he worked most actively. If he could obtain the sanction of the teachers in the school at the great heart of the work, every school established would follow in its tread. The leaven of evil introduced and sanctioned at Battle Creek would spread the properties introduced to all with whom it had any connection. 1SAT 278.3

The Lord has thought it essential to give reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness on many things in regard to the management of schools among Seventh-day Adventists. All the light that has been given must be carefully heeded. No man or woman should be connected with our schools as educators who have not had an experience in obeying the Word of God. That which the Lord has spoken in the instruction given to our schools is to be strictly regarded, for if there is not, in some respects, an education of altogether a different character in our schools than has been given in Battle Creek, then we need not go to the expense of purchasing land and erecting school buildings. 1SAT 279.1

In every school Satan has tried to make himself the guide of the teachers who instruct the students. It is he who has introduced the idea that selfish amusements are a necessity. Students sent to school for the purpose of receiving an education to become evangelists, ministers, and missionaries to foreign countries should not have received the idea that amusements are essential to keep them in physical health, when the Lord has presented before them that the better way is to embrace in their education manual labor in the place of amusements. These amusements, if practiced, will soon develop a passion that gives disrelish to useful, healthful exercise of mind and body. Such exercise makes students useful to themselves and others. 1SAT 279.2

This education, in felling trees, tilling the soil, erecting buildings, as well as in literature, is the very education our youth should each seek to obtain. As soon as possible a printing press should be connected with our school, in order to educate in this line. Tent making also should be taken hold of. Buildings should be erected, and masonry should be learned. There are also many things which the lady students may be engaged in. There is cooking, dressmaking, and gardening to be done. Strawberries should be planted, plants and flowers cultivated. This the lady students may be called out of doors to do. Thus they may be educated to useful labor. Thoughtful, necessary work is essential for all to have to prepare them to be missionaries. Bookbinding also, and a variety of trades should be taken up. These will not only be putting into exercise brain, bone, and muscle, but will also be gaining knowledge. 1SAT 280.1

The greatest curse of our world in this our day is idleness. It leads to needless amusements merely to please and gratify self. The students have had a superabundance of this way of passing their time. They are now to have a different education, that they may be prepared to go forth from the school with an all-round education. We are to keep before the school the development of the useful arts, acquiring adaptability and talents to be employed to be co-laborers with God. This kind of knowledge will open to them doors of welcome for foreign fields, and the building of plain, simple homes will be essential. 1SAT 280.2

The proper cooking of food is a most essential acquirement, especially where meat is not made the staple article of diet. Something must be prepared to take the place of meat, and these foods must be well prepared so that meat will not be desired. Culture on all points of practical life will make our youth useful after they shall leave school to go to foreign countries. They will not then have to depend upon the people to whom they go to cook and sew for them, or build their habitations. And they will be much more influential if they show that they can educate the ignorant how to labor with the best methods and to produce the best results. This will be appreciated where means are difficult to obtain. They will reveal that missionaries can become educators in teaching them how to labor. A much smaller fund will be required to sustain such missionaries, because they have put to the very best use their physical powers in useful, practical labor combined with their studies, as essential acquirements in education. And wherever they may go, all that they have gained in this line will give them a welcome and standing room. If the light God has given were cherished, students would leave our schools free from the burden of debt, because they can be useful and their help is of value. 1SAT 280.3

It is also essential to understand the philosophy of medical missionary work. Wherever the students shall go, they need an education in the science of how to treat the sick, for this will give them a welcome in any place, because there is suffering of every kind in every part of the world. Sanitariums are to be established, and thus the body is to be brought into existence which is essential for health. 1SAT 281.1

The education given in our schools is one-sided. Students should be given an education that will fit them for successful business life. The common branches of education should be fully and thoroughly taught. Bookkeeping should be looked upon as of equal importance with grammar. This line of study is one of the most important for use in practical life, but few leave our schools with a knowledge of how to keep books correctly. 1SAT 281.2

The reason that today so many mistakes are made in accounts is not because those in charge of them are dishonest but because they have not a thorough knowledge of bookkeeping. They are not prompt in making a faithful, daily estimate of their outgo. These mistakes have placed them in the ranks of dishonest men when, designedly, they are not dishonest. Many a youth, because ignorant of how to keep accounts, has made mistakes which have caused him serious trouble. Those who have a living interest in the cause and work of God should not allow themselves to settle down with the idea that they are not required to know how to keep books. 1SAT 282.1

Education, true education, means much. The time devoted in school to learning how to eat with your fork in place of your knife, is not the most essential. These little matters of form and ceremony should not occupy time and strength. Those students who are at first somewhat coarse and awkward will soon overcome this. If the teachers are themselves courteous and kind and attentive, if they are true in heart and soul, if they do their work as in the sight of the whole universe of heaven, if they have the mind of Christ and are molded and fashioned by the Holy Spirit, they will behave, not in a simpering, affected manner, but as ladies and gentlemen of solid worth. And if students have before them the teachers’ example of propriety, they will day by day be educated in proper manners. 1SAT 282.2

To establish our school in Cooranbong, in this out-of-the-way place, seemed surprising to some. It has required some hard work to make a beginning. If the work is well begun, it will cost time and money. But a thing begun right is half done. It is the first steps that cost, but in holding what is already gained they will make a continual advance in the right direction. All are not wise to see this. (But children managed at home to receive the proper ideas that true education takes brain, bone and muscle.) [Handwritten Interlineation.]. 1SAT 283.1

By the blessing of the Lord the work has been started, and on these grounds now the help of everyone is needed. The students must be taught how to begin. The educators must be men and women who have had experience, can patiently instruct, and who will lead the students in the right way at every step they advance. Teach Bible manners; teach purity of thought and the strictest integrity. This is the most valuable instruction that can be given. Keep Jesus, the Pattern, ever before your students by your example. This will act a prominent part in restoring the moral image of God in those under your charge. Teachers, you have no time, no duty, to teach students the forms and ceremonies of worldly customs of this age of corruption, when everything is perverted to outward appearance and display. This must never find a place in our school. Good, wholesome, sensible words always spoken politely are essential. This reform is not to be brought in as non-essential. 1SAT 283.2

All religious exercises are to be treated with the greatest solemnity and reverence. The teaching given should be of a higher class, of a more sacred and religious character, than has been given in schools generally. Human nature is worth working for, and it is to be elevated and refined. There is a work which God alone can do for those who are deficient. They must be fitted with the inward adorning which is in the sight of God of great price. But the teachers can cooperate with God. Through the grace of God in Jesus Christ, which bringeth salvation and immortality to light, teachers may cooperate with God, and His heritage may be educated, not in the minuteness of etiquette, but in the science of salvation and godliness, and this will prepare the sons and daughters of God to be finally transformed by the finishing touch of immortality, and in heaven they will carry forward more thoroughly the education begun in the school here below. We shall be learners through all eternity. 1SAT 284.1

Every student should aspire to obtain a fitness by the inward adorning of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. Therefore all should in this life make diligent use of every opportunity and privilege to obtain all the knowledge possible for a qualification for that higher life in the future world. 1SAT 284.2

God requires of every youth the full development and cultivation of all his powers. Every faculty of mind, soul, and body, is to be taxed to the highest to understand the Word of God, and have a correct knowledge of the people and their manners, who are chosen the elect of God, and who will receive the “Well done” from the lips of their Master, and compose the family of God in heaven. This is work that everyone can do. Some are incapable of managing or organizing, but these can cooperate in this school below with those who have a talent for this important work. 1SAT 284.3

The teachers are to educate the youth to realize that if they receive Christ and believe on Him, they will be brought into close relationship with God. He gives them power to become the sons of God, to associate with the highest dignitaries in the kingdom of heaven, and to unite with Gabriel, with cherubim and seraphim, with angels and the archangel. [Revelation 22:1-5, quoted.] 1SAT 285.1

In His teaching our Saviour did not encourage any to attend the rabbinical schools of His day, for the reason that their minds would be corrupted with the continually repeated, “They say,” or “It hath been said.” The Lord can do more with minds that have no connection with schools where infidel authors are perused. These lesson books He reaches out His hand to remove, and in their stead places the Old and New Testament Scriptures. Those who will search the Scriptures for themselves, because it is the Word of God, who are willing to dig for the truth as for hidden treasures, will receive for their prize that wisdom which cometh alone from God. If they will not rely upon their own smartness, and not trust in their own inventions and their supposed fruitful minds, if they will give the working of the mind into the Lord's hands, and yoke up with Jesus Christ, they will not take steps where Jesus does not lead the way. 1SAT 285.2

The aim of life should be to obey the call of Christ, “Follow me.” Those whose minds are kept pure and uncrowded with too many small items, who will let their mind give its strength to those things that will be received not from their standpoint but from the light that God has given, will be continually gaining in knowledge. And this knowledge will direct them in straightforward channels. By their aftersight they will be able to give thanks to God that they have studiously chosen to know and understand what saith the Lord to His servant. 1SAT 285.3

The Word of God is to be studied and taught. Converse with God through the medium of His Word. Thus our characters will be transformed. The ideas and habits once thought essential will be changed. God's Word is to be our lesson book. It is through the medium of this Word that we are to learn all about that better country, and the preparation essential for everyone to obtain an entrance into the kingdom of God, and come into possession of eternal life. That Word obeyed cheerfully and willingly, will ennoble your whole being in this life. 1SAT 286.1

[Galatians 4:6-10, quoted.] The observance of holidays in this country is a great evil. We want not to give sanction to the days and many traditions that are brought in. We need not pay any heed to them. 1SAT 286.2

We all need to understand more and still more perfectly the life of Christ. He was the perfect image of God. He came to our world the great Teacher, and He will educate all who will be educated. 1SAT 286.3

Whoever longs for honor and distinction will find that the standard of virtue and holiness, strictly, steadfastly, adhered to as revealed in the Word of God, will place him as a wise man among the most noble advisers and counselors; for God's Word will elevate a man. His Word, if obeyed, will sanctify and refine and ennoble the entire man. There will be no cheap timbers brought into the structure of character-building. The natural, inherited tendencies, if erratic, will be, by the obedient, corrected by the Word; they will not be cherished as virtues and imitated by learners who will, in their turn, educate others, thus transmitting and perpetuating faulty sentiments that should never see the light of day. We are to be impelled by pure, disinterested motives, having no prejudices or preferences to strengthen, no set notions or ideas that Christ has never taught. Truth sanctifies the hearer, the mind, the will, for they are, if obedient, partakers of the divine nature. 1SAT 286.4

The direction has been given to the students in the school of Christ: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” [1 Peter 2:2]. This is indeed eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. [John 6:54-66, quoted.] 1SAT 287.1

There are many who have no greater depth of faith and spiritual perception than had the disciples who forsook their Lord because their limited comprehension could not discern His words. The feeding upon the divine Word of God is the divine element which the soul needs in order to secure a healthy development of all its spiritual powers. In all our schools this Word is to be made the essence of education; it is this that will give sanctified strength, wisdom, integrity, and moral power, if it is brought into the experience. It is not the words of worldly wisdom, it is not the maxims of men, not the theory of human beings, but it is the Word of God. 1SAT 287.2

We shall have to guard against the steadfast holding to ideas and maxims that have been presented us as essential from a human standpoint. Every soul who would be successful in warring the good warfare can be so only on one condition—that he “receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” [James 1:21]. Those who have dug deep for the hidden treasure will find their reward in the precious veins of valuable ore, and these will make them wise unto salvation. All the wiles and subtleties of Satanic agencies cannot beguile you from the position of steadfast self-denial if you are carefully following the example of your Saviour. You will meet the enemy's treacherous advances with the words, “Get thee behind me, Satan” [Luke 4:8]. 1SAT 288.1

Our time is precious. We have but few, very few, days of probation left us in which to qualify ourselves for the future eternal life. We are not to devote these precious moments to forms and ceremonies, or cheap, superficial education. Think deeply before you speak. God designs that we shall keep the mind in pursuit of something tangible, something that we will not leave behind in this world, but that we can take with us into the higher school. The minds of the youth need the Word of God for instruction, that they may be “thoroughly furnished unto all good works” [2 Timothy 3:16, 17]. The teachers will need to be very simple when teaching from the Scriptures. The students must be given “precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” [Isaiah 28:10]. Do not leave the slightest impression on the minds of your students that they are restricted and forced to wear a yoke of restraint that is unnecessary. 1SAT 288.2

Strive to understand thoroughly every passage that you read. Fix one verse in mind, and after you have studied it prayerfully yourself, trying to understand thoroughly every word expressed, present that verse to the students. It is of little advantage to skim over the surface of the Scriptures. If we would understand fully the words of Christ, thought must be brought into the searching of the Scriptures. We should open the Scriptures with great reverence, and not in a slothful, lazy manner. The word of Christ is spirit and life to the receiver. The words of Christ to the Pharisees were, “[Ye] search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me” [John 5:39]. They were searching the Scriptures for evidence of Christ's appearing, gathering up every evidence in regard to the manner in which they supposed He would come, while Christ was in their midst, and they did not discern Him by the use of faith. “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life,” He said. “I receive not honor from men,” He said to the opposing Pharisees, [Verses 40, 41; Verses 42-47 quoted]. 1SAT 289.1

In this our day, as in Christ's day, there will be a misreading and misinterpreting of the Scriptures. If the Jews had studied the Scriptures with earnest, prayerful, humble hearts, their searching would have been rewarded with a true knowledge of the time, and not only the time, but also the manner, of Christ's first appearing. They would not have ascribed the glories of the second appearing of Christ to His first advent. They had the testimony of Daniel; they had the testimony of Isaiah and the other prophets; they had the teaching of Moses; and here was Christ Himself in their midst, and still they were searching the Scriptures for evidence in regard to His coming. They were doing to Christ, at the same time, the very things that it had been prophesied they would do. They were so blinded that they knew not the time of His visitation, or what they were doing. Thus they were fulfilling the Scripture. 1SAT 289.2

Many are doing the same thing today, in 1897, because they have not had experience in the testing message comprehended in the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There are those who are searching the Scriptures for proof that these messages are still in the future. They gather together the truthfulness of the messages, but they fail to give them their proper place in prophetic history. Therefore such are in danger of misleading the people in regard to locating the messages. They do not see and understand the time of the end, or when to locate the messages. The day of God is coming with stealthy tread, but the supposed wise and great men are prating about “higher education” which they suppose originates with finite men. They know not the signs of Christ's coming, or of the end of the world. 1SAT 290.1

The evidence of the soon coming of Christ is right upon us, and many of us are asleep. We do not half gather up the important truths that are for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. If we did receive and believe the Word of God, we should be farther in advance spiritually than we are today. Iniquity abounds everywhere, and the love of many has waxed cold. Unless we understand the importance of the moments that are swiftly passing into eternity, and make ready a people to stand in the great day of God, we shall be registered in the books of heaven as unfaithful stewards. The watchman is to know the time of the night. Everything is now clothed with a solemnity that all who believe the truth should feel and sense. They should act in reference to the great day of God. The plagues of God are already just upon the world, and we need to be preparing for that great day. We have not time now to spend in speculative ideas, or in hap-hazard movements. We should fear to skim the surface of the Word of God. When the light shines in our hearts, we shall, by all our words and works, live in accordance with that light, understand the words of God, and make it our spiritual, daily food, as represented by Christ as eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Then we will be prepared to teach the Word of God as we never have done before. We must sink the shaft deeper in the mines of truth. All the little things of life are but a mote now. Those that pertain to eternity are of great consequence.—Ms. 41a, 1896. (Written Dec. 20, 1896, from “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, N.S.W.) (MR 900.24) 1SAT 290.2