Spalding and Magan Collection


Short Work in School

Dear Brother George A. Irwin,

Your letter written from the campground, Oakland, Calif., June 6, 1897, was received July 20, 1897....... SpM 95.1

You mention the school. I pray the Lord that he will stand at the head of the school as principal, and that all may work under His divine guidance. If the Lord's will is done, students will not be encouraged to remain in the school for years. This is the devising of man, not the plan of God. Those who come to this school, if they put their minds into studying the Book of all books, will, through prayer and close, deep research, obtain in a much shorter period of time a knowledge of Bible education. They will learn of Jesus in the school of Christ. The years of study of those books which should not be made study books, unfits students for the work to be done in this important period of this earth's history. One young man, after five years’ study, has come from the school unfitted to teach or preach. He has to unlearn and unload a mass of rubbish which will disqualify him for efficiency in any line of the work to be done for this time. SpM 95.2

It makes my heart ache when I consider how many would be glad of the privileges of a short period in the school, where they can be brought up on some points of study. There are those who would consider it an inestimable privilege to have the Scriptures opened to them in its pure, unadulterated simplicity, to be taught how they can keep out of the argumentative, debating methods, and come close to hearts, how in simple, direct, straightforward lines they might learn how to teach the truth so that it shall be clearly discerned. These years of study are cultivating many habits and methods in the students that will cripple their usefulness. They need to go through another process of education, and unlearn many things that they have acquired. The proper methods have been presented to me. Let students with their mental studies call into exercise the physical and moral powers. Let them work the living machinery proportionately. The constant working of the brain is a mistake. I wish I could express in words just that which would express the matter. The constant working of the brain causes a diseased imagination. It leads to dissipation. The education of five years in this one line is not of much value as an all-round education of one year. SpM 95.3

Let the students take up the work of using the knowledge they have obtained. Let them impart to others the benefits they have received. The Bible studies are to be diligently kept up. If the students will humbly seek him, the Lord of heaven will open their understanding. They will take time to review their studies in book knowledge: they will critically examine the advancement they have made in the school-room, and will combine with their studies physical exercise, which is the most important in obtaining an all-round education. If your men and women would grow up into the full stature of Jesus Christ, they must treat themselves intelligently. Conscientiousness in methods of education is just as essential as in the consideration of the doctrines of our faith. SpM 95.4

The student should place himself in school, if he can through his own exertions pay his way as he goes. He should study one year, and then work for himself the problem of what constitutes true education. There is no dividing line. “Whether ye eat or drink or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” The learning heaped up by years of continued study is deleterious to the spiritual interests. Let teachers be prepared to give good counsel to the students who shall enter the schools. Let them not advise students to give years of study to books. Let them learn, and then give to others that which they have received and appreciated. Let the student set himself to work at manual labor, thus acquiring an education that will enable him to come out with solid principles, an all-round man. SpM 96.1

E. G. White

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, N. S. W.,

July 22, 1897.