The Review and Herald

407/1902

June 21, 1887

Proper Education of the Young

Importance of Mission Training-schools—Addressed Particularly to Teachers in our Schools

EGW

The third angel is represented as flying in the midst of the heavens, showing that the message is to go forth throughout the length and breadth of the earth. It is the most solemn message ever given to mortals, and all who connect with the work should first feel their need of an education, and a most thorough training process for the work, in reference to their future usefulness; and there should be plans made and efforts adopted for the improvement of that class who anticipate connecting with any branch of the work. Ministerial labor cannot and should not be intrusted to boys, neither should the work of giving Bible readings be intrusted to inexperienced girls, because they offer their services, and are willing to take responsible positions, but who are wanting in religious experience, without a thorough education and training. They must be proved to see if they will bear the test; and unless there is developed a firm, conscientious principle to be all that God would have them to be, they will not correctly represent our cause and work for this time. There must be with our sisters engaged in the work in every mission, a depth of experience, gained from those who have had an experience, and who understand the manners and ways of working. The missionary operations are constantly embarrassed for the want of workers of the right class of minds, and the devotion and piety that will correctly represent our faith. RH June 21, 1887, par. 1

There are numbers that ought to become missionaries who never enter the field, because those who are united with them in church capacity or in our colleges do not feel the burden to labor with them, to open before them the claims that God has upon all the powers, and do not pray with them and for them; and the eventful period which decides the plans and course of life passes, convictions with them are stifled, other influences and inducements attract them, and temptations to seek worldly positions that will, they think, bring them money, take them into the worldly current. These young men might have been saved to the ministry through well organized plans. If the churches in the different places do their duty, God will work with their efforts by his Spirit, and will supply faithful men to the ministry. RH June 21, 1887, par. 2

Our schools are to be educating schools and training schools; and if men and women come forth from them fitted in any sense for the missionary field, they must have impressed upon them the greatness of the work, and that practical godliness must be brought into their daily experience, to be fitted for any place of usefulness in our world, or in the church, or in God's great moral vineyard, now calling for laborers in foreign lands. RH June 21, 1887, par. 3

The youth must be impressed with the idea that they are trusted. They have a sense of honor, and they want to be respected, and it is their right. If pupils receive the impression that they cannot go out or come in, sit at the table, or be anywhere, even in their rooms, except they are watched, a critical eye is upon them, to criticise and report, it will have the influence to demoralize, and pastime will have no pleasure in it. This knowledge of a continual oversight is more than a parental guardianship, and far worse; for wise parents can, through tact, often discern beneath the surface and see the working of the restless mind under the longings of youth, or under the force of temptations, and set their plans to work to counteract evils. But this constant watchfulness is not natural, and produces evils that it is seeking to avoid. The healthfulness of youth requires exercise, cheerfulness, and a happy, pleasant atmosphere surrounding them, for the development of physical health and symmetrical character. RH June 21, 1887, par. 4

God's word must be opened to the youth, but a youth should not be placed in the position to do this. Those who must have an eye upon them constantly to insure their good behavior, will require to be watched in any position where they may be. Therefore the mold given the character in youth by such a system of training, is wholly deleterious. Aim for mental discipline and the formation of right moral sentiments and habits. Studies should generally be few and well chosen, and those who attend our colleges are to have a different training than that of the common schools of the day. They have been generally taught upon Christian principles, if they have wise and God-fearing parents. The word of God has been respected in their homes, and its teachings made the law of the home. They have been brought up in the nurture and admonition of the gospel, and when they come to the schools, this same education and training is to go on. The world's maxims, the world's customs and practices, are not the teaching they need; but they are to see that the teachers in the schools care for their souls, that they will take a decided interest in their spiritual welfare, and religion is to be the great principle inculcated; for the love and fear of God are the beginning of wisdom. Youth removed from the domestic atmosphere, from the home rule and guardianship of parents, if left to themselves to pick and choose their companions, meet with a crisis in their history not generally favorable to piety or principle. RH June 21, 1887, par. 5

Then, wherever a school is established, there should be warm hearts to take a lively interest in our youth. Fathers and mothers are needed with warm sympathy, and with kindly admonitions, and all the pleasantness possible should be brought into the religious exercises. If there are those who prolong religious exercises to weariness, they are leaving impressions upon the mind of the youth that would associate religion with all that is dry, unsocial, and uninteresting. And these youth make their own standard not the highest, but weak principles and a low standard spoil those who, if properly taught, must be not only qualified to be a blessing to the cause, but to the church and to the world. Ardent, active piety in the teacher is essential. Morning and evening service in the chapel, and the Sabbath meetings, may be, without constant care and unless vitalized by the Spirit of God, the most formal, dry, and bitter mixture, and to the youth the most burdensome and the least pleasant and attractive of all the school exercises. The social meetings should be managed with plans and devices to make them not only seasons of pleasantness, but positively attractive. RH June 21, 1887, par. 6

Let those who are competent to teach youth, study themselves in the school of Christ, and learn lessons to communicate to youth. Sincere, earnest, heart-felt devotion is needed. All narrowness should be avoided. Let teachers so far unbend from their dignity as to be one with the children in their exercises and amusements, without leaving the impression that you are watching them, and without going round and round in stately dignity, as though you were like a uniformed soldier on guard over them. Your very presence gives a mold to their course of action. Your unity with them causes your hearts to throb with new affection. The youth need sympathy, affection, and love, else they will become discouraged. A spirit of “I care for nobody and nobody cares for me” takes possession of them, and although they profess to be followers of Christ they have a tempting Devil on their track, and they are in danger of becoming disheartened, and lukewarm, and backslidden from God. Then some feel it a duty to blame them, and to treat them coldly, as if they were a great deal worse than they really are, and but few, and perhaps none, feel it a special duty to make personal effort to reform them, and to remove the baleful impressions that have been made upon them. RH June 21, 1887, par. 7

The teacher's obligations are weighty and sacred, but no part of the work is more important than to look after the youth with tender, loving solicitude, that they may feel that we have a friend in them. Once gain their confidence, and you can lead them, control them, and train them easily. The holy motives of our Christian principles must be brought into our life. The salvation of our pupils is the highest interest intrusted to the Godfearing teacher. He is Christ's worker, and his special and determined effort should be to save souls from perdition and win them to Jesus Christ. God will require this at the hands of teachers. Every one should lead a life of piety, of purity, of painstaking effort in the discharge of every duty. If the heart is glowing with the love of God, there will be pure affection, which is essential, prayers will be fervent, and faithful warnings will be given. Neglect these, and the souls under your charge are endangered. Better spend less time in long speeches, or in absorbing study, and attend to these neglected duties. RH June 21, 1887, par. 8

After all these efforts, teachers may find that some under their charge will develop unprincipled characters. They are lax in morals as the result, in many cases, of vicious example and neglected parental discipline. And teachers doing all they can, will fail to bring these youth to a life of purity and holiness; and after patient discipline, affectionate labor, and fervent prayer, they will be disappointed by those from whom they have hoped so much. And in addition to this, the reproaches of the parents will come to them, because they did not have power to counteract the influence of their own example and unwise training. The teacher will have these discouragements after doing his duty. But he must work on, trusting in God to work with him, standing at his post manfully, and laboring on in faith. Others will be saved to God, and their influence will be exerted in saving others. Let the minister, the Sabbath-school teacher, and the teachers in our colleges unite heart and soul and purpose in the work of saving our youth from ruin. RH June 21, 1887, par. 9

Many have felt, “Well, it don't matter if we are not so particular to become thoroughly educated,” and a lower standard of knowledge has been accepted. And now when suitable men are wanted to fill various positions of trust, they are rare; when women are wanted with well-balanced minds, with not a cheap style of education, but with an education fitting them for any position of trust, they are not easily found. What is worth doing at all, is worth doing well. While religion should be the pervading element in every school, it will not lead to a cheapening of the literary attainments. While a religious atmosphere should pervade the school, diffusing its influence, it will make all who are truly Christians feel more deeply their need of thorough knowledge, that they may make the best use of the faculties that God has bestowed upon them. While growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, they will groan under a sense of their imperfections, and will seek constantly to put to the stretch their powers of mind, that they may become intelligent Christians. RH June 21, 1887, par. 10

The Lord Jesus is dishonored by low ideas or designs on our part. He who does not feel the binding claims of God's law, and neglects to keep every requirement, violates the whole law. He who is content to partially meet the standard of righteousness, and who does not triumph over every spiritual foe, will not meet the designs of Christ. He cheapens the whole plan of his religious life, and weakens his religious character, and under the force of temptation his defects of character gain the supremacy, and evil triumphs. We need to be persevering and determined, to meet the highest standard possible. Pre-established habits and ideas must be overcome in many cases, before we can make advancement in religious life. The faithful Christian will bear much fruit; he is a worker; he will not lazily drift, but will put on the whole armor to fight the battles of the Lord. The essential work is to conform the tastes, the appetite, the passions, the motives, the desires, to the great moral standard of righteousness. The work must begin at the heart. That must be pure, wholly conformed to Christ's will, else some master passion, or some habit or defect, will become a power to destroy. God will accept of nothing short of the whole heart. RH June 21, 1887, par. 11

God wants the teachers in our schools to be efficient. If they are advanced in spiritual understanding, they will feel that it is important that they should not be deficient in the knowledge of the sciences. Piety and a religious experience lie at the very foundation of true education. But let none feel that having an earnestness in religious matters is all that is essential in order to become educators. While they need no less of piety, they also need a thorough knowledge of the sciences. This will make them not only good, practical Christians, but will enable them to educate the youth, and at the same time they will have heavenly wisdom to lead them to the fountains of living waters. He is a Christian who aims to reach the highest attainments for the purpose of doing others good. Knowledge harmoniously blended with a Christ-like character will make a person truly a light to the world. God works with human efforts. All those who give all diligence to make their calling and election sure, will feel that a superficial knowledge will not fit them for positions of usefulness. Education balanced by a solid religious experience, fits the child of God to do his appointed work steadily, firmly, understandingly. If one is learning of Jesus, the greatest educator the world ever knew, he will not only have a symmetrical Christian character, but a mind trained to effectual labor. Minds that are quick to discern will go deep beneath the surface. RH June 21, 1887, par. 12

God does not want us to be content with lazy, undisciplined minds, dull thoughts, and loose memories. He wants every teacher to be efficient, not to feel satisfied with some measure of success, but to feel his need of perpetual diligence in acquiring knowledge. Our bodies and souls belong to God, for he has bought them. He has given us talent, and has made it possible for us to acquire more, in order that we may be able to help ourselves and others onward in the way to life. It is the work of each individual to develop and strengthen the gifts which God has lent him, with which to do most earnest, practical work, both in temporal and religious things. If all realized this, what a vast difference we should see in our schools, in our churches, and in our missions! But the larger number are content with a meager knowledge, a few attainments, just to be passable, and the necessity of being men like Daniel and Moses, men of influence, men whose characters have become harmonious by their working to bless humanity and glorify God,—such an experience but few have had, and the result is, there are but few now fitted for the great want of the times. RH June 21, 1887, par. 13

God does not ignore ignorant men, but if they are connected with Christ, if they are sanctified through the truth, they will be constantly gathering knowledge by exerting every power to glorify God; they will have increased power with which to glorify him. But those who are willing to remain in a narrow channel because God condescended to accept them when they were there, are very foolish; and yet there are hundreds and thousands who are doing this very thing. God has given them the living machinery, and this needs to be used daily in order for the mind to reach higher and still higher attainments. It is a shame that many link ignorance with humility, and that with all the qualities God has given us for education, so great a number are willing to remain in the same low position that they were in when the truth first reached them. They do not grow mentally, they are no better fitted and prepared to do great and good works than when they first heard the truth. RH June 21, 1887, par. 14

Many who are teachers of the truth cease to be students, digging, ever digging for truth as for hidden treasures. Their minds reach a common, low standard; but they do not seek to become men of influence,—not for the sake of selfish ambition, but for Christ's sake, that they may reveal the power of the truth upon the intellect. It is no sin to appreciate literary talent, if it is not idolized; but no one is to strive for vain glory to exalt self. When this is the case, there is an absence of the wisdom that cometh from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of love and of good fruits. RH June 21, 1887, par. 15

The established missions in our cities, if conducted by men who have ability to wisely manage such missions, will be steady lights, shining amid the moral darkness. The opening of the Scriptures by means of Bible readings is an essential part of the work connected with these missions; but workers cannot take hold of this work unless they are prepared for it. Many ought to be trained in school before they even know how to study to bring their minds and thoughts under the control of the will, and how to use wisely their mental powers. RH June 21, 1887, par. 16

There is much to be learned by us as a people before we are qualified to engage in the great work of preparing a people to stand in the day of the Lord. Our Sabbath-schools which are to instruct the children and youth are too superficial. The managers of these need to plow deeper. They need to put more thought and more hard work upon the work they are doing. They need to be more thorough students of the Bible, and to have a deeper religious experience, in order to know how to conduct Sabbath-schools after the Lord's order, and how to lead children and youth to their Saviour. This is one of the branches of the work that is crippling along for the want of efficient, discerning men and women who feel their accountability to God to use their powers, not to exhibit self, not for vain glory, but to do good. RH June 21, 1887, par. 17

How broad and extended the command is, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world”! What honor is here conferred upon man, and yet how large a number hug the shore! How few will launch out into the deep, and let down their nets for a draught! Now, if this is done, if men are laborers together with God, if men are called to act in city missions, and to meet all classes of minds, there should be special preparations for this kind of work. RH June 21, 1887, par. 18

Basel, Switzerland.