Manuscript Releases, vol. 20 [Nos. 1420-1500]


MR No. 1465—True “Higher Education” Is Obtainable Only From the Master Teacher

(Written August 23, 1898, from “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, Australia, to “Brethren [Frederick] Griggs and Howe.”)

I have read your articles in the Educator, and am surprised at that which they present. Your minds do not see all things clearly. You see men as trees walking. You grasp and advocate some truth, while in the same article you present that which opposes your own statements. Would it not be best for you to get out of the fogs of your previous education under teachers themselves befogged? This education has not been true and unmingled with error. If I write for the Educator, as I have been and am now doing, my articles would be directly opposed to your human philosophy. Shall there be a yea and nay go forth in the Educator? Or shall I be obliged to issue a paper on true education that will not have in it one thread that will dishonor our heavenly Father? 20MR 194.1

I have written much on education, and have much yet to write; and if the Lord has been teaching me, He certainly has not been teaching you to present to the many readers of the Educator a yea and nay as you have done. You will see that you have done this when the Holy Spirit works your human minds. Then you will not write a yea and nay in the same issue. 20MR 194.2

There is a constant progress in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent, but when men feel that they are wise above a “Thus saith the Lord,” they need to become fools in order that they may be wise. The living oracles of God were given to lie at the very foundation of all true education. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” There is a distinction to be made between the sacred and the common, and we are accountable to God if we place human wisdom at the head as essential for education. Language may change, and study books may present the supposed improvements, but, “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” [John 1:1-5]. 20MR 194.3

I am not surprised that as darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people, the light that comes from the Father of lights is not discerned. Just to the extent that the mists and fogs encompass the minds of men, will be their ignorance and misconception of God. The worldly churches cannot read a “Thus saith the Lord,” in regard to the Seventh-day Sabbath; and why? Because they are wise in their own conceits; because they are following the example of men who were only one step from the Eden of God, and who, because of their mental and moral capabilities, began to work out their human inventions, and worship the things their hands had made, supposing that they were improving upon God's plans and devices. In this they worshiped and extolled themselves. [Genesis 6:5-7, 11-13, 17, 18, quoted.] 20MR 194.4

There perished in the flood greater inventions of art and human skill than the world knows of today. The arts destroyed were more than the boasted arts of today. The great gifts with which God had endowed man were perfected. There was gold and silver in abundance, and men were constantly seeking to exceed their fellow men in devices. The result was that violence was upon the earth. The Lord was forgotten. This long-lived race were constantly devising how they might contend with the universe of heaven and gain possession of Eden. 20MR 195.1

When men talk of the improvements that are made in higher education, they are aping the inhabitants of the Noatic world. They are yielding to the temptation of Satan to eat of the tree of knowledge, of which God has said, “Ye shall not eat of it, lest ye die.” God gave men a trial, and the result was the destruction of the world by a flood. In this age of the world's history there are teachers and students who suppose that their advancement in knowledge supersedes the knowledge of God, and their cry is, “Higher education.” They consider that they have greater knowledge that the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. 20MR 195.2

Christ came to the earth as the Light of the world. Nearly two thousand years ago a voice was heard in heaven—the more mysterious because it came from the throne of the Infinite—saying: “Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me: Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) I delight to do Thy will, O my God; yea, Thy law is within My heart.” [See Psalm 40:6-8; Hebrews 10:5-9.] 20MR 195.3

Who is this that the heavenly universe proposes shall visit a guilty world? We ask the prophet Isaiah, and in the decided tones he speaks. His language is not yea and nay. “Unto us a Child is born,” he says, “unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” 20MR 195.4

We inquire of John, the beloved disciple. Hear his words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” 20MR 196.1

To Christ himself we address the inquiry, “Who art Thou?” Listen! “Before Abraham was, I am.” “I and My Father are one.” “As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent him.” 20MR 196.2

We ask of Paul, the great apostle, and he answers, “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 20MR 196.3

Again we ask John, What of Christ? “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto His own, and His own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” 20MR 196.4

We hear the testimony of Isaiah: “For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all Kings thy glory; and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in His apparel, travelling in the greatness of His strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art Thou red in Thine apparel, and Thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with Me: for I will tread them in Mine anger, and trample them in My fury; and My blood shall be sprinkled upon their garments, and I will stain all My raiment. For the day of vengeance is in Mine heart, and the year of My redeemed is come.” 20MR 196.5

We ask John what he saw and heard in the vision at Patmos, and he answers: “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.” 20MR 197.1

There in His open hand lay the book, the roll of the history of God's providences, the prophetic history of nations and the church. Herein was contained the divine utterances, His authority, His commandments, His laws, the whole symbolic counsel of the Eternal, and the history of all ruling powers in the nations. In symbolic language was contained in that roll the influence of every nation, tongue, and people from the beginning of earth's history to its close. 20MR 197.2

This roll was written within and without. John says: “I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.” The vision as presented to John made its impression upon his mind. The destiny of every nation was contained in that book. John was distressed at the utter inability of any human being or angelic intelligence to read the words, or even to look thereon. His soul was wrought up to such a point of agony and suspense that one of the strong angels had compassion on him, and laying his hand on him assuringly said, “Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” 20MR 197.3

John continues: “I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.” As the book was unrolled, all who looked upon it were filled with awe. There were no blanks in the book. There was space for no more writing. [Revelation 5:8-14; 6:8, quoted.] 20MR 197.4

“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, Holy and true, doest Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them [They were pronounced pure and holy]; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” [Revelation 6:9-11]. Here were scenes presented to John that were not in reality but that which would be in a period of time in the future. 20MR 197.5

[Revelation 8:1-4, quoted.]

The psalmist prayed: “Lord, I cry unto Thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto Thee. Let my prayer be set before Thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” 20MR 198.1

We have every evidence that the humble, contrite prayer offered to God is regarded as precious in His sight. Not one is lost. The promise is: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” [Luke 11:9-13]. 20MR 198.2

This invitation is for all. The Saviour seeks to impress the truth by an illustration. Will the father whose child asks for bread, give him a stone? If he asks a fish, will he give him a serpent? If he asks for an egg, will he give him a scorpion? This is presented as an impossibility. 20MR 198.3

Drawing the contrast between the heavenly and earthly parent, Christ adds, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” 20MR 198.4

[Isaiah 57:15-21; 66:1, 2, quoted.]

The Lord hears the prayers of all who come to him in their necessity, all who are humble and contrite in heart. The Lord hears, and He will manifest himself unto them, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the hearts of the contrite ones. 20MR 198.5

Whatever may be our experience or supposed intelligence, we must all become learners and receive an education in spiritual things, that we may give to others. Let all bear in mind that Christ in His life has given them an example of the necessity of prayer. [Through His Word] He says, “The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.” “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” 20MR 198.6

The same spirit is seen today that is represented in Revelation 6:6-8. History is to be repeated. That which has been will be again. This spirit works to confuse and to perplex. Dissension will be seen in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, and those who have not had a spirit to follow the light that God has given through His living oracles, through His appointed agencies, will become confused. Their judgment will reveal weakness. Disorder and strife and confusion will be seen in the church. 20MR 199.1

The prayer of Christ for His people, just before His humiliation and death, is as much unheeded as if it had never been made. The same spirit that controls the nations of the earth is working upon the minds of those who have had light. As the children of disobedience, irrespective of consequences, they act like the blind. They are drunken but not with strong drink. They reveal that that which has allured and deceived them was an unholy ambition. 20MR 199.2

The Lord God of Israel has made himself a refuge for His people. All who will make Christ their dependence will know what it means in these last days to agonize to enter in at the strait gate. The foolish self-esteem and self-confidence which many possess will prove their eternal ruin. To them the narrow path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in seems altogether too restricted. But he who abides in Christ will understand what it means to be crucified to the world. The Lord has provided only one refuge for His people. The great apostle says, “Your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” All who are overcomers will be highly exalted. 20MR 199.3

Those who are striving for position, seeking to be the greatest, will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. As He sought to impress this lesson, Christ called a little child and set him in the midst of them, and said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” 20MR 199.4

On another occasion, “they brought young children to him, that He should touch them: and His disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto Me; and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” 20MR 199.5

We have this matter placed in the heavenly scales and weighed, and the result is presented before us. All this ambitious exercising of the spirit to exalt self will surely be worked by satanic agencies until the persons, whatever their profession, will reveal hereditary and cultivated attributes that will place them in the very lowest scale; and when God shall weigh them in the golden scales of the heavenly sanctuary, the sentence will be passed, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” 20MR 200.1

Those who consider themselves capable and efficient know little of their own poor selves. The explanation has been given me why there is so little safety for men placed in responsible positions. They want to do some great thing in proportion with their supposed great position. In the place of considering themselves as less than nothing unless worked by the Holy Spirit, they themselves want to work the Holy Spirit. The prayer of each should be: “Who can understand his errors? cleanse Thou me from secret faults. Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” 20MR 200.2

The youth of today have not obtained that education and training that will lead them to put on the whole armor of God, and be able to resist temptation, depending upon the Holy Spirit to strengthen and empower them to fight manfully the battles of the Lord. They have formed the habit of working to do something to uplift themselves, and thus they are left to their own strength. Their words, their spirit, their actions, are not after the likeness of Christ. Self, self, self, is revealed in everything they are connected with, and the Lord says of them: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” 20MR 200.3

There are precious experiences for the youth to gain if they will die to self, but if they cherish and exalt self, Christ will not work with or for them. He will permit them to exhibit how little there is of them in their pride and haughtiness and spiritual poverty. Christ says: “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.” 20MR 201.1

I have a word of warning to my brethren in this country. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.... These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and has not denied My name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” 20MR 201.2

Teachers, be careful, be prayerful, be serious. Certain it is that you have collected all the chaff that it is safe for you to have. What, I ask, is the chaff to the wheat? Let the character of your work be such that as teachers you will by pen and voice “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 20MR 201.3

We have a Saviour who is at hand, and not afar off; and now is the time to make your calling and election sure. Your life insurance policy you will find in 2 Peter 1:2-11 [quoted]. 20MR 201.4

Mark especially verses 8-11. In order to have this positive assurance, you must begin to work, as the Holy Spirit works you, on altogether different lines, from inward to outward. You need not feel that you must mingle the common with the sacred. You have done this so continually in the past that your spiritual eyesight is obscured, and you cannot discern between the sacred and the common. You take the common fire, and exalt and praise and cherish it, and the Lord turns from you with displeasure. Had you not better make a full consecration of yourself to God? Will you imperil your souls by a divided service? 20MR 201.5

Not one sin has yet been blotted out from the book of God only through the faith of the believer who holds the beginning of his confidence firm unto the end. We may have hope in anticipation of the full and entire atonement made; for this is efficacious if sin is put away. 20MR 202.1

John declares: “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous.” 20MR 202.2

Brethren, read your Bibles; study your Bibles. We should be ever grateful to God that by His mercy we possess knowledge. We know our duties. We have the eternal life insurance papers plainly written out. We have every facility provided for us, every endowment of capability for discharging the duties devolving upon us. There is only one way of becoming partakers of the divine nature, of escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust. I beseech of you, Put off all self-importance, for it can be of no help to you. And yet you may place a high estimate upon your own characters, for you are bought with a price. 20MR 202.3

I have a deep interest in you. You must think of the pure waters of Lebanon rather than of the murky pools of the valley. I speak to you personally because you do not know what it means to be sanctified, elevated, ennobled. If you will seek earnestly for a pure, a consecrated, a holy life, you will find that your human knowledge is not all that you need to constitute [you] a laborer together with God. I am pained for you; and not for you only, but for many of our young men and women who act in the capacity of teachers. They need so much that which is true “Higher education.” 20MR 202.4

The great Teacher who came down from heaven has not directed you to any of the supposed great authors. He says, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Christ has promised to give you rest, and in learning your lessons of him, you will find rest. 20MR 202.5

Is not this plain and simple? Those who have been students in the schools at Battle Creek have come from their years of study unprepared to do the work in teaching that they should do. They are imperfect in many ways where they should be wise. They are weighed in the balances of the sanctuary above, and are pronounced “Wanting.” These defects in their education the Lord would not have reproduced in others. 20MR 202.6

Were you here in Cooranbong, we would not, could not, entrust our youth to you, for you are not qualified to give students proper instruction. We would feel that God held us responsible for placing you in so important a position. You would hinder the very work that the Lord calls upon every teacher to be qualified to do. 20MR 203.1

We are now amid the perils of the last days, and something more is essential for you to have than that which you now have. It is hard for you to unlearn things which you have learned, and learn those things which ought to have been the very alpha of your education. The omega you will never reach in this world. Seek the Lord while He may be found. Be sure that you have learned your lessons in wearing the yoke of Christ. Then, learning under His restraining discipline His meekness, His lowliness of heart, you will find rest unto your souls. You will find yourselves riveted to the eternal Rock. 20MR 203.2

I would say much more, but I cannot give the time from my other pressing duties.—Letter 65, 1898. 20MR 203.3

Ellen G. White Estate

Silver Spring, Maryland,

September 14, 1989.

Entire Letter.