Manuscript Releases, vol. 8 [Nos. 526-663]


Ellen White Depicts Educational Goals

The light which has been given me regarding the work of the Avondale school is that we must not pattern after the similitude of any school which has already been established. We must study the word of God critically as our great lesson book, in order to know what the school may become under the guidance of the word of God, if we receive and do that word. Unless we are watchful and guarded, we shall experience the same hindrances to the spiritual education, that have retarded the work of our older schools. This we shall do by a misconception with respect to what is the most essential work to be done by students, and by the teachers for them. 8MR 150.2

When Christ was in our world, he had but few followers. His disciples were continually kept back from making the advancement that they might have made, from supplying their great lack of knowledge, and from becoming efficient workers by the customs and the maxims of the scribes and Pharisees. The customs and traditions, which had come down from generation to generation through the rabbis, had been made all-essential, and were regarded as of more force than even the ten commandments. Thus the precepts and teachings of men were dwelt upon as of more value than the words of the living God. 8MR 150.3

I have been warned that the teachers in our younger schools should not travel over the same ground that many of the teachers in the Battle Creek College have passed over. Popular amusements for students were brought into the Battle Creek school under a deceptive garb. Satan approached as an angel of light, and worked most assiduously. If he could secure the sanction of the teachers in this school at the great heart of the work, there was [the] prospect that every school established would follow its example. The leaven of evil introduced and sanctioned at the Battle Creek College would spread its properties to all with which it had connection, and thus affect all the schools. 8MR 151.1

The Lord has thought it essential to give reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness on many points regarding the management of schools among Seventh-day Adventists. All the light that has thus been given must be carefully heeded. No one should be connected with our schools as a teacher who has not had an experience in obeying the word of God. The instruction which the Lord has given to our schools should be strictly regarded, and if the education given is not of a different character than that which has been given in the Battle Creek College, we need not go to the expense of purchasing land and erecting buildings. 8MR 151.2

In every school Satan will try to make himself the guide of the teachers who are instructing the students. It is he who would introduce the idea that selfish amusements are a necessity. It is he who would lead students, sent to our schools for the purpose of receiving an education and training for the work of evangelists, ministers, and missionaries, to believe that amusements are essential to keep them in physical health, when the Lord has presented to them that the better way is for them to embrace manual labor in their education, and thus let useful employment take the place of selfish amusements. These amusements, if followed, soon develop a dislike for useful, healthful exercise of body and mind, such as would make students efficient to serve themselves and others. 8MR 151.3

The education to be gained in the felling of trees, the tilling of the soil, and the erection of buildings, as well as the studies of the classroom, is what our youth should seek to obtain. Tent making also should be taught, buildings should be erected, and masonry should be learned. Further on, a printing press should be connected with the school, that an education may be given to students in this line of work. 8MR 152.1

There are many things which the women students may also engage in, such as cooking, dressmaking, and gardening. Plants and flowers should be cultivated, strawberries should be planted. Thus the women students may be called out of doors to gain healthful exercise, and to be educated in useful labor. Book binding also, and a variety of trades should be taken up. These will not only give exercise to brain, bone, and muscle, but they will also give knowledge of great value. The greatest curse of our world today is idleness. The students coming to our school have had an abundance of amusements, which serve merely to please and gratify self. They are now to be given a different education, that they may be prepared to go forth from the school prepared for any service. 8MR 152.2

The proper cooking of foods is a most important accomplishment. Especially where meat is not made a principal article of food, is good cooking an essential requirement. Something must be prepared to take the place of meat, and these substitutes for meat must be well prepared, so that meat will not be desired. 8MR 153.1

Education and culture on all points of practical experience will fit our youth for usefulness when they shall leave school to engage in mission work at home or in foreign countries. They will not then be dependent upon the people to whom they go to cook for them, to sew for them, or to build their habitations. Rather, they will be prepared to educate the ignorant to show others how to do all manner of labor by plans and methods that will produce the best results, and they will thus become much more influential and helpful. 8MR 153.2

Their abilities will be especially appreciated where money is hard to obtain, for a much smaller fund will be required to sustain such missionaries. Those who have put to the very best use their physical powers in useful, practical labor, while obtaining an education, will show that missionaries can become successful teachers and educators in various lines of labor, and, wherever they go, all that they have gained in these lines will give them favor, influence, and power. 8MR 153.3

It is also very essential that students shall understand the principles of medical missionary work, for, wherever students may be called, they need a knowledge of the science of how to treat the sick. This will give them a welcome anywhere, because there is suffering of every kind in every part of the world. 8MR 153.4

It is an important matter that students be given an education that will fit them for successful business life. In many schools, the education given is one-sided. In our school the common branches should be fully and thoroughly taught. Bookkeeping is one of the most important lines of study to fit students for practical business life. Bookkeeping should be looked upon as of equal importance with grammar. And yet, there are very few who leave our schools with a clear knowledge of how to correctly keep accounts. Those who have a living interest in the cause and work of God should never allow themselves to settle down with the idea that they are not required to know how to keep accounts. 8MR 154.1

The reason for many of the mistakes made in accounts and the failure in business matters is because men have not a thorough knowledge of bookkeeping. They are not prompt in making a faithful record of all transactions and keeping a daily account of their expenditures, and many are charged with being dishonest, when they were not designedly dishonest. Their failure was come through a lack of knowledge of accounts. Many a youth, because of ignorance in the matter of keeping accounts, has been led into errors that have caused him serious trouble. 8MR 154.2

True education means much. We have no time now to spend in speculative ideas, or in haphazard movements. The evidences that the coming of Christ is near are many and are very plain, and yet many who profess to be looking for Him are asleep. We are not half as earnest as we ought to be to gather up the important truths that are for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Unless we understand the importance of passing events, and make ready 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 understand. They should act in reference to the great day of God. 8MR 154.3

Our time is precious. We have but few days left of probation, in which to qualify ourselves for the future eternal life. We are not to devote these precious moments to cheap, common, or superficial things. We shall have to guard against the holding of ideas and maxims which may be presented as essential from a human standpoint, for it is not the words of worldly wisdom, it is not the maxims of men, or the theories of human beings that will qualify us for acceptable service. Rather, it is the word of the living God. In all our schools this word is to be made the essence of education. It is in feeding upon the word of God that we obtain the divine element that the soul needs in order to secure a healthy development of all its spiritual powers. Those who dig deep for the hidden treasure will find their reward in the precious veins of ore, and these hidden truths will make them wise unto salvation. They are following the example of their Saviour, and all the wiles and subtilties of Satanic agencies cannot beguile them from a position of steadfast self-denial.—Letter 60a, 1896, pp. 1-6. (To “The Friends of the [Avondale] School,” December 20, 1896.) 8MR 155.1

We established the [Avondale] school for the purpose of making most diligent efforts to reach the higher education, of which Christ spoke in His prayer to His Father. “And this is life eternal,” He said, “that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3.)—Letter 12, 1898, p. 9. (To Brother Hare, January 21, 1898.) 8MR 155.2

We must not limit our school advantages in teachers or in school facilities, if we would make the work a success. Our mission school must stand upon God-given principles, that students may receive on all-round education. We want young men and women to go forth from the Avondale school as medical missionaries, as laborers together with God.—Letter 52, 1898, p. 4. (To A. G. Daniells, typed June 13, 1898.) 8MR 156.1

Will not our churches in the Colonies do what they can to assist in sending to the school students who wish to prepare for missionary work? Our [Avondale] school is not reformatory, and we do not wish to have students come who have made up their minds to be unmanageable, who will not submit. Such students make the work of the teachers exceedingly hard, and their influence over the other students is detrimental. We want students who can be educated to reach those belonging to the higher classes, who have been sadly neglected. Is no effort to be put forth for them? Do they not need a Saviour? Few among them go to church, for they realize that they receive no benefit there. The teaching which they hear does not touch the soul. They want something which they have not. Are we to make no personal efforts in their behalf? Cannot we do the highest kind of missionary work in this line? Are there not those who will take the burden of this work, who will make it their aim to obtain qualifications, which will enable them to work successfully for the higher classes? ... 8MR 156.2

We need in the school young men and young women who can be educated to be church school teachers. In every church there is need of a church school. If there are two or three small churches close together, these should unite in supporting a teacher who can give children a true education.... 8MR 157.1

We need an army of workers to give the warning message to the world. Every town from Cooranbong to Queensland is to be worked. We are to press onward and still onward. We desire the youth to obtain an education which will enable them to educate others. The gospel of Christ lies at the foundation of all true education and progress. To diffuse light is the great work we are now to do. The truth that Christ is a personal Saviour is to be taught so clearly that souls will submit to be led and taught by God, and in their turn win other souls to Christ.—Letter 34, 1900, pp. 6, 12, 13. (To “My Brethren and Sisters in Australia,” February 24, 1900.) 8MR 157.2

I am distressed and burdened that any of you who stand in responsible positions should open the door and, as it were, invite the enemy in, for this you have done in permitting the exhibitions which took place on the school grounds Wednesday afternoon. 8MR 157.3

Let those who are educating the youth take themselves in hand, and educate themselves according to the high principles which Christ has given us in His Word. Let us consider that, as far and as fast as possible, we are to recover the lost ground, that we may weave into our school the spirituality that was in the school of the prophets. The sixth chapter of John needs to be studied with much more special diligence, for it reveals Christ as the Bread of Life. 8MR 157.4

Why has this school been established? Is it to be like all other schools, or is to be as God has revealed, a sample school? If so, we would better perfect everything after God's pattern, and discard all worldly make-shifts, which are called education. Brethren, your eyes need to be anointed with the heavenly eyesalve. I spoke to those assembled [at the school] on Wednesday morning words which the Lord led me to speak, not knowing anything of what was to take place, for no intimation of it had come to me. How could you harmonize your program of proceedings, which was of a character to counter-work and make of none effect the instruction from God to you, with the words spoken? 8MR 158.1

I afterward felt deeply the words which the Lord gave me for you [the managers and teachers] and for the benefit of the students—words which I would not have spoken, had I known what was to follow. If your perceptions had not been greatly beclouded, you would have taken the words, which were given of God as a reproof and a rebuke upon all that kind of pleasure, which afterwards transpired. This testimony from God presented before the students duties of the highest order. The inspiration of God was upon me, and to efface, by the after performance, all the impressions made, was virtually saying, “We want not Thy ways, Oh God; we want our own ways; we want to follow our own wisdom.” I look at it all as an insult to the Lord Jesus. 8MR 158.2

In the night season I appeared to be in the performance that was carried on, watching the actions of the human minds in the development of the spirit that, in these amusements, was defacing the impression of the moral image of God. Those persons who engaged in this performance acted out the mind of the enemy—some in a very unbecoming manner. 8MR 158.3

Who witnessed all this scene? The universe of heaven. The men and women who united in that afternoon performance received no light, no working of the Holy Spirit. In the night season, when the scene was all laid open before me, I felt so sorry, so sad that this should be, for Christ, who gave His life to elevate, ennoble, refine, and sanctify, was grieved at the exhibitions. 8MR 159.1

It will take time, and a vast amount of labor and sorrow to wipe out the degradation of some things in the performance on that occasion. I thought that this would be a lesson that would enable all to sense the tendency of these plays and games; that they would see how quickly such amusements reveal a sample of the taste and low ideas of some. 8MR 159.2

The armies of Satan gained a decided victory, and God was dishonored. The angels of God were on the grounds, not to approve, but to disapprove. The angels, the ministering spirits that minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation, were grieved, ashamed of the exhibition of the sons and daughters of God. As it was represented to me, One stood up, and in solemn words laid open the after effects of all similar programs. Words were spoken which I cannot write now, but I may have liberty to write hereafter. I am too much burdened to be able to produce the words on paper. 8MR 159.3

What an exhibition was this to be reported by students, who delight to trace such things on paper to send to their distant friends and acquaintances! They were witnesses to show, not what God has accomplished, but what Satan has accomplished in the Cooranbong school. In all these things there is among Christians a practice of necromancy [witchcraft], which will lead away from righteousness and truth. Serious will be the consequences, for impressions are made which will be hard to efface. 8MR 159.4

In their efforts to regain that which was lost in such scenes, one such performance will make much work for those teachers who are working to save the souls of those under their instruction. Unless God shall work on human minds, teachers will manifest impatience, for in their efforts to undo the mischief, they will be severely tried. There will be a freedom among the students to seek pleasure, and they will have less regard for the instruction of ministers of the Word of God. Thus the Word is dishonored, and the indulgence of the human heart in sin and love of pleasure is the education received. Once the barriers are broken down, the advance of the enemy will be marked, unless the Lord shall humble hearts and convert minds. 8MR 160.1

Teachers need an intimate acquaintance with the Word of God. The Bible, and the Bible alone, is man's counselor. It is as the leaves of the tree of life. In it every want is met for souls who love its teachings and bring them into their practical lives. Though many students in the school have been baptized, yet many of them are unconverted. As they are not spiritually minded, they know not what it means to be sanctified by a belief of the truth. The Bible is to be searched, and understood. It is our spiritual food which is to be digested and assimilated. It is to be received into the heart, and worked out in the life. If the Word is unconsulted and unappropriated, no man need expect the Spirit of God [to aid him]. 8MR 160.2

In answer to the lawyer's question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life,” Christ said, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” (Luke 10:25, 26.) The lawyer felt that he could not evade this direct question of Christ, and answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” (Verse 27.) And Christ said, “Thou hast answered right: this do and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” (Verses 28, 29). Just such questions will be asked now, when the truth is brought home to the naked soul. There are those who will evade it if they can. 8MR 160.3

The Lord would have His stewards discharge their duties faithfully in His name, and in His strength. By believing and acting upon the Word, they may go on conquering and to conquer. But, when men depart from the principles of righteousness, they can conceive a high opinion of their own goodness and aptitude, and unconsciously they exalt themselves. The Lord will allow them to walk alone, and to do their own way. He will give them opportunity to see themselves, and to manifest to others their own weakness. The Lord's way is always to be closely followed, His Word is to be taken as it reads, and men are not to devise and plan according to their own weak judgment. 8MR 161.1

Whenever true repentance exists, it will be revealed in doing justice, in loving mercy, and in walking humbly with God. Wherein the least wrong has been done to others, it will lead to a full restitution, that the soul may be cleared from guilt. What a work is before us! This school is to be as the School of the Prophets. The truths of the Bible are to be earnestly studied, and will be. If rightly brought before the minds, if earnestly studied and dwelt upon, the students will not cultivate an appetite or relish amusements. We are living very near the closing scenes of this earth's history. God's judgments are and have been permitted to come upon the world, and will be more and more pronounced until the end. 8MR 161.2

The question is asked, What shall we do that we might work the works of God? What shall we do to gain heaven? This important question is answered to all who desire to know, “This is the work of God, that ye believe in Him whom He hath sent.” (John 6:29.) The price for which you may have heaven is the Messiah; the way to heaven is faith in Jesus Christ. He asks you first to believe, next to work. 8MR 162.1

“This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” “For the Bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth light unto the world.” “I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst” (Verses 29, 33, 35). Christ gives them to understand that a man needs to be taught of God in order to comprehend these things. This is the cause of so much cheap knowledge of the Scriptures in the churches of today. Ministers preach only portions of the Word, and refuse to practice even as much as they teach. This leads to misconceptions of the Word and doctrine, it creates error and misinterpretations of the Scripture. 8MR 162.2

All, from the oldest to the youngest, need to be taught of God. We may be taught by man to see the truth clearly, but God alone can teach the heart to receive the truth savingly, which means to receive the words of eternal life into good and honest hearts. The Lord is waiting patiently to instruct every willing soul who will be taught. The fault is not with the willing Instructor, the greatest Teacher the world ever knew, but it is with the learner who holds to his own impressions and ideas, and will not give up his human theories and come in humility to be taught. He will not allow his conscience and his heart to be educated, disciplined, and trained—worked as the husbandman works the earth, and as the architect constructs the building. “Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” (1 Corinthians 3:9.) Everyone needs to be worked, molded and fashioned after the divine similitude. Christ tells you, my dear friends, young and old, the everlasting truth, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. [If you do not take Christ's word as the man of your counsel, you will not reveal His wisdom or His spiritual life.] Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; ... 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.” (John 6:53-56.) Said Christ, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (Verse 63.) 8MR 162.3

Those who search the Scriptures, and most earnestly seek to understand them, will reveal the sanctification of the spirit through the belief of the truth, for they take into their very heart the truth, and have that faith that works by love and purifies the soul. All their spiritual sinew and muscle are nourished by the Bread of Life which they eat.—Letter 88, 1900, pp. 1-7. (To “The Managers and Teachers in the Avondale School,” April 13, 1900.) 8MR 163.1

Released August 10, 1977.