Spalding and Magan Collection

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The Need of Harmonious Action Among Teachers

Cooranbong,

April 27, 1898.

(Some of the statements in this Testimony are contained in Volume VI, “Hindrances to Reform” p. 141, ff., and Volume IX, “The Spirit of Independence,” p. 257, ff.)

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Teachers and students, you are associated together in school capacity, and you are to bear in mind that newly established schools are to be of an altogether different order from our older schools or colleges. In our schools generally there has been a patterning after the popular schools and seminaries; but the Lord in his providence has arranged that schools should be established, upon which the example of those already molded by wrong principles, shall have no influence. SpM 119.3

In America the Bible has been brought in to some extent, but teachers and students have depended too much upon the books of authors whose ideas and sentiments are misleading. When the light of truth for these last days came to the world in the proclamation of the first, second, and third angel's messages, we were shown that a different order of things must be brought into school work; but it has taken much time to come to an understanding of the changes that should be made in the lines of study and the manner of teaching. It is the most difficult to follow right principles after being so long accustomed to the practices of the world; but reforms must be entered into with heart, and soul, and will. Altogether too long have the old habits and customs been followed. SpM 119.4

The Word of God is to be made our study book. But how can this be done is the question asked again and again by the teachers in our long established schools. Attempts to do this have been made; but there have been so many questions asked, so many council meetings held, so much effort that every difficulty be discerned, that the reformers have been handicapped, and some have ceased to urge the reforms. They have been unable to stem the current of inquiry and criticism. But if teachers had advanced step by step in the right way as light shone upon their pathway, following the great Leader, the difficulties would have vanished. The approval of God would have made them hopeful. Ministering angels would have co-operated with the human agents, and they would have received light, and grace, and courage, and gladness. SpM 120.1

There is work which God requires of human agents that has not been done. The first attempts to change the old customs have brought severe trials upon those who endeavored to walk in the way which God had pointed out; but teachers should understand that a soldier's life is one of aggressive warfare, of perseverance, and endurance. It is a real warfare in which we are engaged. Says the apostle; “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” SpM 120.2

This is no make-believe conflict. We have to meet powerful adversaries, and for this work we are to find our strength just where the early disciples found their strength. “They were all with one accord in one place,” and as they “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,” “suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the spirit gave them utterance.” SpM 120.3

On another occasion, we read, “when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed, were of one heart and of one soul.” This is the work that is needed in our schools. When self is merged in Christ, there will be a display of his power such as will melt and subdue hearts. The earnest prayer of contrite souls will ascend to the throne of God. SpM 120.4

Those who enlist in the army of Christ are expected to do difficult work, to endure trials for Christ's sake; and they should now obtain an experience that will center their whole faith and hope and confidence in Christ. Then they will have nothing to fear when conflicts come that tear the soul asunder. They will have a refuge. Their energies may be taxed to the uttermost, but they will have the assurance of Christ, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” SpM 120.5

An army in battle would become confused and weakened unless all worked in concert. If the soldiers should act out their own impulsive ideas, without reference to each other's positions and work, they would be a collection of independent atoms; they could not do the work of an organized body. So the soldiers of Christ must act in harmony. They alone must not be cherished. If they do this, the Lord's people in the place of being in perfect harmony, of one mind, one purpose, and consecrated to one grand object, will find efforts fruitless, their time and capabilities wasted. Union is strength. A few converted souls acting in harmony, acting for one grand purpose, under one head, will achieve victories at every encounter. SpM 121.1

Some may say, “I love the Lord, but I can not love my brother as I should.” The brother may have ways that are very trying, he may do things that are unwise; but if his brethren who have had longer experience and a more even, well-balanced judgment, shall refuse to connect with the one who grieves and tries their souls, they reveal that they are not followers of Christ. They make manifest that they do not follow the example of Him who clothes his divinity with humanity that by laying aside his glory and his kingly honor, he might reach humanity. Christ might have remained in heaven, and retained all his outward glory and majesty; but he did not do this. In order to bless humanity with his presence and his example, he came to earth as a man, He came that he might call humanity to unite with him in his work, to become members of the firm in the great plan of salvation. In this work there is no such things as every man's being independent. The stars of heaven are all under law, each influencing the other to do the will of God, yielding their common obedience to the law which controls their action. And, in order that the Lord's work may advance healthfully and solidly, his people must draw together. SpM 121.2

The spasmodic, fitful movements of some who claim to be Christians are well represented by the work of a span of strong but untrained horses. When one pulls forward, an other pulls back, and at the voice of their master one plunges ahead, and the other stands immovable. If men will not move in concert in the great and grand work for this time, there will be confusion. It is not a good sign when men will not unite with their brethren, but prefer to act alone, when they will not take their brethren into their confidence, because they do not just exactly meet their mind. If man will wear the yoke of Christ, they can not pull apart. They will draw with Christ. SpM 121.3

Some workers pull with all the power that God has given them, but they do not sense that they must not pull alone. They must not isolate themselves, but draw with their fellow-laborers. Unless they do this, their activity will work at the wrong time and in the wrong way, they will often work counter to that which God would have done, and thus their work is worse than wasted. SpM 121.4

Jesus came to a world all seared and marred by the curse, and, at an immense sacrifice to himself, took fallen man with all his mistakes, and invited him to wear his yoke. He gives the words of invitation to all, and all who will yoke up with him will cooperate with Christ, and be one in the great plan of redemption. All who believe the great truths for this time, if sanctified through the truth, will wear the yoke of Christ. They will lift the burdens of responsibility. No man can be a wise and good soldier, unless he wears the yoke of Christ. If from self-will or a too high estimate of his own wisdom and his own methods and plans, he wants to work in his own lines, he can not be a good soldier of Christ. The Christian soldier must act in concert, step in concert, with those who are connected with him. He must not take offense if every other mind does not run in the same channel with his own. Self-restraint is always needed in order to maintain concerted action. God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.... SpM 122.1

If we are in fellowship with Christ, we shall be in fellowship with our brethren, and shall learn to keep that harmony that should ever exist between the believers. Love must be cherished for one another, for the strengthening of the church, and that we may give to the world the very best impressions of our faith: “A new commandment I give unto you,” said Christ, “that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another.” SpM 122.2

Ellen G. White.