Manuscript Releases, vol. 4 [Nos. 210-259]


MR No. 217—Schools to Be Established; Be on God's Side

How cruel it is to leave children to choose their own way, and to form a character without the direction of wise counsel! Yet, from the light that I have, I know that many parents who claim to be Christians have neglected their duty for so long a time that not a few of our young people have swung from the barriers of truth, and are in great danger of being swept downward to ruin by the temptations of the enemy. 4MR 109.1

Long ago this condition of affairs was presented to me by the Lord, and I was instructed to direct our people to establish schools for the education and training of our children, and to urge the youth to attend these schools. In our education institutions must be teachers who fear God and keep His commandments. The children, separated from their former wicked, corrupt associations, and placed under wise instructors in Christian schools, will have a favorable opportunity to form right habits of character, and to grow up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. 4MR 109.2

This is the work that has been and is still being done in our Healdsburg school. Sometimes it requires years for a student to learn to dress and to act as a child of the heavenly King; sometimes the influences of the world are almost irresistible; but through the grace of God everyone may become Christlike in word and deed. Those who are numbered as Christ's disciples will follow His example of self-denial and self-sacrifice.—Manuscript 67, 1903, 7, 8. (“Fishers of Men,” from baccalaureate sermon preached May 30, 1903.) 4MR 109.3

I have something to say regarding the land for which we have been negotiating as a site for our conference school. This land is not being purchased for the purpose of encouraging a large number of our people to make homes upon it for their families. Our school is to be located here, and the fewer families settling close about the school, the better it will be for the students and for the managers of the school interests. The large tract of land has not been bought as a speculation. 4MR 110.1

Provision must first be made for the teachers and for those who act a part in the work of the school. A few families who have proved themselves to be wise and loyal supporters of our educational work may be encouraged to make homes near by or on the school farm; but our people generally should not be encouraged to come in and make their homes at Sonoma. Let not the parents cherish the idea that they can do this, for in nine cases out of ten it will not be for the best interests of the children. In most cases it will be a blessing for the youth if they can be away from their parents, and under the management of qualified teachers in the school. The presentation in spiritual lines would be clearer and the development of character would be far more encouraging. 4MR 110.2

Competent managers and teachers of ability will be needed; for this school is to be conducted on a high spiritual plane, after the order of the schools of the prophets.—Letter 368, 1908, pp. 1, 2. (To Elders Cottrell, Haskell, and Knox, December 17, 1908.) 4MR 110.3

We are rapidly nearing the final crisis in this world's history, and it is important that we understand that the educational advantages offered by our schools are not to be such as are offered by the schools of the world. Neither are we to follow the routine of worldly schools. The instruction given in Seventh-day Adventist schools is to be such as to lead to the practice of true humility. In speech, in dressing, in diet, and in the influence exerted, is to be seen the simplicity of true godliness. 4MR 110.4

Our teachers need to understand the work that is to be done in these last days. The education given, in our schools, in our churches, in our sanitariums, should present clearly the great work to be accomplished. The need of weeding from the life every worldly practice that is opposed to the teachings of the word of God, and of supplying their place with deeds that bear the mark of the divine nature, should be made clear to the students of all grades. Our work of education is ever to bear the impress of the heavenly, and thus reveal the excellency of divine instruction above that of the learning of the world. 4MR 111.1

To some this work of entire transformation may seem impossible. But if this were so, why go to the expense of attempting to carry on a work of Christian education at all? Our knowledge of what true education means is to lead us ever to seek for strict purity of character. In all our association together we are to bear in mind that we are fitting for transfer to another world; the principles of heaven are to be learned, the superiority of the future life to this is to be impressed upon the mind of every learner. Teachers who fail to bring this into their work of education, fail of having a part in the great work of developing character that can meet the approval of God.—Manuscript 29, 1908, 1, 2. (“The Aim of Our School Work.” To the teachers in council, typed May 15, 1908.) 4MR 111.2