A Place Called Oakwood



24—Instructions Regarding the Huntsville School

Date: June 10, 1904
Location: Morning Star Steamer
Source: Manuscript 12, 1905
Status: Previously unpublished

There must be a change in the work of the Huntsville School. If true zeal and energy are manifested, this school may become a large educational institution for the colored people in the South. We trust there will be no falling off in the attendance. There should be many more students in the Huntsville School than there has been in the past. But it will be a difficult matter to bring the school up to a high standard and to regain that which has been lost in the past. PCO 118.1

The farm should have careful husbandry. We are sorry that Brother Jacobs has been obliged to leave Huntsville. He has left, not because of unfaithfulness or inefficiency, but because of the condition of his health and the feebleness of Sister Jacobs, brought on by hard work. Brother and Sister Jacobs should have had the help of others who were spiritual minded and intelligent. It may be that if proper facilities are provided to make the labor on the farm less taxing, Brother Jacobs might be encouraged to return and resume his work. If he should return, however, he should have able assistants to work with him. PCO 118.2

The Huntsville School must not be allowed to become a reproach to the cause of God. The workers having talent and ability to help must not all congregate in Graysville and leave Huntsville destitute of suitable workers. It is wrong for one place to become strong by leaving others to become weak. To our people in Graysville I would say, Be careful not to make Graysville a Jerusalem center. Some of the talent now in Graysville is needed in Huntsville. PCO 118.3

“Ye are God's husbandry; ye are God's building.” Those who are wise may develop characters and ability that will enable them to work in the interests of the school, both in teaching the students from books and in working with them on the land. The knowledge of how to develop an upright character is an education that will tell to the saving of souls. PCO 118.4

The Huntsville School has been presented to me as being in a very desirable location. It would be difficult to secure another location as promising as the school farm now secured. The buildings and everything connected with the work there should be in harmony with the high and sacred work to be done there. Let there be nothing unsightly connected with the buildings or about the farm, nothing that would indicate slackness. PCO 118.5

If the land is well cared for, it will produce abundantly. Let the teachers go out, taking with them small companies of students, and teach these students how properly to work the soil. Let all those connected with the school study to see how they may improve the property. Teach the students to keep the gardens free from weeds. Let each one see that his room is clean and presentable. Let the care and cultivation of the land of the Huntsville School show to unbelievers that Seventh-day Adventists are reliable and that their influence is of value in the community. The sight of a farm, unproductive because of neglect, has a tendency to belittle the influence of the school. PCO 119.1

The farm, if worked intelligently, is capable of furnishing fruit and other produce for the school. The teachers, both in their work in the schoolroom and on the farm, should constantly seek to reach a higher standard, that they may be better able to teach the students how to care for the trees, the berries, the vegetables, and the grains that shall be raised. This will be pleasing to God and will bring the approval and respect of those in the community who understand the principles of agriculture. PCO 119.2

The youth should be thoroughly educated in all domestic duties. By well-qualified teachers, the young ladies should be given instruction in cooking, in the care of the house, in gardening, and in the making of clothes. PCO 119.3

We desire no one to be connected with the Huntsville School who reveals a faithless, unprofitable religion. Whatever a man's profession, unless he daily learns of the great Teacher, he needs to be converted by the grace of Christ. He who is to impart instruction to others must receive from Christ the heavenly wisdom. I raise this note of warning that those who teach the colored people need to have a heart imbued with the love of Christ, in order to give an example of faithfulness, truthfulness, and righteousness. The world is in need of the light of good and gracious words, coming from a heart illuminated by the light of the Word of God, a heart softened and subdued and sanctified. PCO 119.4

So much work of a faulty nature has been done in the school at Huntsville that it will now require stern efforts to restore the work to healthfulness, but such efforts should be put forth. Many discouragements have come in, but the Lord will let His blessing rest upon those who will take hold of the work thoroughly and in earnest. There is a special need of intense earnestness. Take hold with heart and mind and strength to redeem the farm, that it may be, as it has been presented to me, a beautiful place, well pleasing to the Lord, a spectacle to angels and to men. PCO 119.5

We hope that the present sickly appearance may give place to healthful conditions. Careful cultivation will bring good returns, and the sad lack now seen may be overcome by the exercise of intelligence in determining what must be done. Let us remember that the land is God's property to be worked energetically to His glory. The trees and grains and vegetables will yield their fruit in proportion to the labor that is put forth in their care. PCO 119.6

Let the workers in the school remember: “Ye are God's husbandry; ye are God's building.” Then be careful how you form your characters. Unless these words of the apostle make an impression on our minds, it can never be truthfully said of us, as of the church at Thessalonica, “From you sounded out the word of the Lord; in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything.” We need the power of the Holy Spirit, that we may have a depth of character that will enable us to do a genuine work in turning from error to the truth. PCO 119.7

We should never desire it to be said that the truth we profess to believe gives us such characters as are indicated by the neglected appearance of things indoors and about the premises at the present time in the Huntsville School. The temper, the style, and the spirit of those in charge is revealed by the condition of things to be seen about the institution. The present state of neglect would indicate old habits retained, defects of character unimproved, and does not bespeak a perfect character, thorough conversion. There is too much of self and too little of the imprint of the thoroughness of Christ. Too many words are spoken that are not profitable, words that reveal the spirit of the world. The presentation now seen indicates that Christ is not formed within, the hope of glory. The exhortations and admonitions given in the past seem to have fallen powerless on the ears of those to whom they have been sent. Reformation they have neglected so long that some are dead in trespasses and sins. PCO 120.1

In our work we should show the positive side of conversion. It is a turning away from those things that have ruled the heart and that have engaged the mind and affections. Our desires need to be changed. PCO 120.2

The talents entrusted to the keeping of those in the school have not been diligently put out to the exchangers. The character of much of the work has left an unfavorable impression upon the minds of unbelievers. It is time now to take up the work in faith and prayer with all the capabilities God has given. Cultivate the land and it will produce its treasures. Turn to God in faith, working as under the eye of the great Searcher of hearts. Let each worker encourage the one next to him, each holding up the hands of each, all yielding obedience to God's requirements. PCO 120.3

As believers in the greatest truths ever given to mortals, we should put to the highest use the talents that God has entrusted to us. The farm and the school at Huntsville have been placed in our hands as a precious treasure. We cannot express in words all that is involved in the proper cultivation of the land and the education of the students in domestic duties. If this work is done in the fear of God, souls will be influenced to take their position on the side of an unpopular truth. PCO 120.4

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” God desires us to be faithful in using our capabilities, that there may be continual improvement. Eternal principles are involved in the management of the schools that we establish. They are to bear fruit unto eternal life. All who in any way bear responsibilities in the school work are to glorify the Redeemer by striving to prepare souls to labor in various lines of the work of the Lord. The teachers need adaptability in order to know how to deal with the minds under their direction. This is a special gift that the Lord imparts to those only who realize their need of being imbued day by day with the Holy Spirit. PCO 120.5

Let the teachers labor most earnestly for the conversion of every one in the school. The Lord Jesus desires such a work to be done for the students that He can sanctify them through the truth. Through His grace He desires them to form characters that will be acceptable to God. PCO 120.6

There is no uncertainty about our privilege to be washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb; it is a precious, divine reality. The fragrance of the blood of Christ is the odor of our perfection. Our reliance is to be upon God. The name of Christ is exalted in excellence, and in Him fallen man is also exalted. We are identified with Christ, bound up in Him. All who are thus favored will share His glory, sitting with Him upon His throne. PCO 120.7

Let none of our schools be conducted in a cheap, careless manner. He that is faithful in that which is least will be faithful also in that which is greater. If little things are left uncorrected, there is danger that larger evils will be regarded indifferently. The faithful steward of the Lord's treasure will correct at once the small mistakes. Whether his duties are connected with the cultivation of the Lord's land, or with the buildings that are erected on the land, he will do every stroke well. The Lord will take notice of his faithfulness, and He will strengthen the ability to plan and execute in temporal matters. And this faithful exactitude is a special necessity where eternal interests are involved. PCO 121.1

Said the apostle Paul, “I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. The good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” PCO 121.2

“We then as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) Giving no offense in anything, that the ministry be not blamed; but in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fasting; by pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” PCO 121.3

We say to the teachers in the Huntsville School, There must in the future be greater diligence and industry manifested than there has been in the past. Time is precious; the moments are golden. There is much to be done both indoors and out of doors. Meet together and counsel together as to how the work may be advanced, and offer up your petitions to God for wisdom. You are all to be producers as well as consumers. PCO 121.4

Many persons have not been educated to care for the little things. Yet such an education is necessary to success. Those who reach a high standard must overcome the tendency to slothfulness. A tendency to neglect something that should be done at once grows into a habit of indolence. See that broken plastering, broken furniture, or broken carriages are promptly put in repair. Slothfulness in character is demoralizing. PCO 121.5

The horses should have the best of care. The vehicles and the harness must be kept in good repair that lives be not imperiled. Keep the harness well oiled. PCO 121.6

Several acres of land should at the right time be set out to tomatoes. Young plants should be ready to be transplanted as early as possible. Such a crop would be valuable and might be used to good advantage. Let everything reveal religious thrift. PCO 121.7

There will be disagreeable tasks to be performed. Let no duty be overlooked, with the expectation that someone else will perform it. Let there be no superficial work done in any part of the school. Take hold of the forbidding task, and master it, and thus you will obtain a victory. The putting off even of little duties weakens the habits of promptness that should be encouraged. Cultivate the habit of seeing what ought to be done, and do it promptly. If a board is broken in the walk, do not leave it for someone else to repair. Let each one feel a responsibility for the care of the premises. Overcome natural indolence. Do not neglect the disagreeable things, supposing that they will be attended to by someone else. All these rules are important for the formation of right character. PCO 122.1

The influence of the teachers is to be an object lesson to the students, that they may become thorough and exact in all they do. This lesson will be worth more to them in practical efficiency than all the book knowledge they might otherwise gain. PCO 122.2

A teacher, whether engaged in physical labor or imparting mental instruction, unless he shall overcome his habits of slackness and inefficiency, will impart these same objectionable traits of character to those who are under him, and the essential qualities for success will be lacking in the students. A superficial character is revealed by habits of slackness and a failure to see and to do promptly whatever needs to be done. PCO 122.3