Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 82, 1897

Words to the Students

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, Australia

July 18, 1897

Portions of this manuscript are published in KC 95-99.

I must speak to the students at our school. From necessity you are compelled to be crowded. We wish it were otherwise, and we shall change this order of things as soon as possible. Your case has been presented before me. Satan and his angels were in your rooms, inspiring some of you with a spirit of sport and frivolity. This is degrading to you as young men. Jesus was also a guest in your rooms, but you showed Him no respect. In the presence of the heavenly universe you put your Redeemer to an open shame, crucifying the Son of God afresh. These words were given me for you: God is dishonored. His Spirit is grieved. Such things ought not to be permitted, and must no longer be tolerated. You must either change your course of action, or separate from the school, and return whence you came; for you would demoralize the school. Those who would, under right influences, pursue a decent, respectable course of action, are drawn into the ring by a few lawless ones, who have not enough respect for themselves to behave properly. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 1

We do not ask you, the few who are bent on this dishonorable course of action, whether you are Christians. We know you are not. But Christ has given His life for you. He will receive all who will come to Him. He will heal the maladies of the soul. Some have a better knowledge of the truth than have others. Some have not had the advantages that others have had, and those are being drawn away by the bad example of those who are working as tempters. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 2

We have felt deeply over the condition of the young men who seem to have little sense of propriety in their association with one another. To be useful, companionable, and cheerful is your privilege. But this hilarity and wicked nonsense is degrading to young men who have been given the talent of reason. Day after day you listened to the most solemn appeals from the Word of God, and yet you reveal that you care nothing for truth or righteousness. But God lives and reigns, and from this time I bear a message to you from Him: Your course of action is an offense to Him. Even if there were a greater number associated together, this is no excuse for your low, cheap, common conversation and heedless frivolity. The atmosphere surrounding your souls is malarious. You grieve away from the school the Holy Spirit. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 3

The whole school, principal and teachers, are regarded as guilty before God of your misdemeanors, which are apparent. You show that you have no respect for the Word of God, no respect for your teachers or for the principal of the school. This school was not established at great expense, and the rates of tuition placed at a very low figure, to accommodate a class of students who ought to know how to behave like gentlemen, if not for the credit of the school [then] for their own sakes, but who dishonor themselves and their Maker. This matter has been presented to me, and I cannot keep silent. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 4

If the teachers have not given decided commands, it is time that they did, that the respectability and credit of the school may be maintained. The Lord makes principal and teachers responsible for their students. But who is sufficient to assume the office of guide to a company of youth who are here, it is understood, to be instructed, and to behave like gentlemen and Christians, but who do not do this? They cannot, for they do not know what the name Christian comprehends. They do not know what it means to love God, and to wear the yoke that restrains them from evil practices. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 5

You each have capabilities. These have been entrusted to you by God. You are to wisely improve the talents lent you to serve and glorify Him. God knows you all by name, and your every transaction, your every word, is written in His books. This record you must meet in the day of judgment. A burden of responsibility rests upon you to help with all your God-given ability in making this school such as will meet the approval of God. But we have not established the school to be a place where students are permitted to give loose reign to their own ways and objectionable traits of character. If you do not and will not consent to be under control, and to behave yourselves as gentlemen, you have the privilege of returning to your homes. After we find that the school is of no benefit to you, we will arrange for you to leave by writing to your friends, and those who have encouraged you to come, telling them the reason why you are sent home. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 6

We want students to come to this school who will not disappoint their parents and friends, so that at the close of the term the humiliating fact will not have to be made known that a few, who were heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, took the lead; and the leaven of their spirit so influenced others that many were leavened. We established this school that this disorderly, insubordinate element should be placed under discipline and under obedience to the Word of God, that the students might know how to value and respect themselves, and realize that they did not come to school to do as they pleased, but to place themselves under the yoke of restraint and obedience. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 7

No disorder should have been allowed without a decided rebuke and a command to cease. It would not be allowed even in the common schools. If the principal and teachers of the school have not authority and government sufficient to set things in order, someone should take the management who will require obedience. It has been our desire that these young men should respect themselves, that they should seek to make the most of the opportunity given them to receive an all-round education, that they might be thoroughly equipped for the lifework before them. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 8

The truth of God is to give shape to each distinct branch of education, but shall the truth of God be of no account because its influence is not recognized by a few who lead, and who are rioters and tempters? Satan works his will through them, so that the truth is made a common thing. But should this be? There are those who prize these privileges of hearing the truth from the Word of God, but the serious impressions made by the Spirit of God upon the heart are counteracted by the influence of those who have not cared, and who do not care, to be on the Lord’s side. We desire that every youth shall realize the importance of the truth. We cannot countenance any frivolity. Those who give way to this are being educated under Satan’s dictation, and this we cannot allow in the school. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 9

Opportunity is here given for all to make valuable acquisition to their stock of knowledge by improving their talents. Now is the time for you to make your decision. What are you here for? Did you think that when you came here, you would be allowed to act independent of all restraints? What are you here for? Are you here to improve, to become more retentive, that your mental, moral, and physical powers may become more susceptible of improvement? Every movement made by the teachers leaves its impression on the youth. The countenances upon which the students look, the voices they hear, the words they speak, the company they keep, the books they pursue, leave their impress on the mind, either preparing it to be useful in this world, with a prospect of being exalted to the higher school, or marring its chance of eternal life. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 10

If one who is heedless and unappreciative of truth is associated with those who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ, he is to behave himself as a gentleman, remembering that it is inappropriate and unfair for him to jest and joke and make remarks that are calculated to divert the mind from pure and holy meditation. Thus one sinner can do much harm, even though he claims, and is thought to be, a saint. Profession is nothing. “Faith without works is dead, being alone.” [James 2:17, 20.] 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 11

In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I ask, Who in this school is on the Lord’s side? Who will stand as faithful soldiers of Jesus Christ, refusing to allow Jesus to be denied and lightly regarded in their company? Because you are in the company of some who do not cultivate the superior qualities of character that constitute Christian gentlemen, but jest and joke, do not follow their example. Some use strange words that are unbecoming for any who attend the school. Who will maintain their Christian principles? Who will frown down this lawless, riotous, godless spirit, which has been tolerated, but which has greatly displeased God, and which has effaced the impression made by the Spirit of God upon human hearts? 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 12

Daily there is opened before you the divinely inspired Word of God. The truth of God is precious. Let no irreverent, careless, heedless spirit be imbued. Just as soon as we understand from the Spirit of God that harm is being done to the minds of those who wish to preserve sobriety and to receive good in the place of evil, an effort should be made to counteract the wrong. Our duty is plain. That class who will not take heed how they hear and how they speak, who allow the enemy to lead them which ever way he chooses, that he may use them as his agents, should be allowed to leave the school and associate with society they choose, who are not inclined to be pure, uncorrupted, refined and elevated. They will not get good themselves if their minds are set not to be benefited by the light, and to keep among the students one who is not getting good himself, but who is as agent for evil, would be very unwise. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 13

We would feel very sad should any one choose to pursue such a course, but it is the duty of the principal and the teachers to demand perfect order and perfect discipline. Teachers are to blend in harmony in this matter. Those teachers who do not see the necessity of maintaining the rules that it is deemed essential to make have simply made a mistake in thinking they were prepared to teach, and [in] accepting the situation. One imprudent word or action from a teacher would counterwork the object and purposes of the school, and would also be injurious to their own present and eternal good; and the sooner such teachers resign the position of teacher, and become learners, the better it will be for the future of the school. No experiments should be made in this matter, for it is too dangerous a business. He who attempts to teach should be connected with Christ, wearing His yoke of restraint himself, that he may be an example to the students. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 14

The Lord has signified that the atmosphere surrounding the souls of the students must change. The truth is not to be lightly regarded or trifled with. Our duties and privileges are not to be measured by the lightness or frivolity of anyone. The Bible is to be followed as God’s Word, inspired by heaven. Its revealed facts, which are of the most awful importance to teachers and students, are not to be lightly regarded. Its requirements are not to be trampled upon; for they impose the most weighty obligations. In the rich promises, the consolation of God is presented to those who wear the yoke of restraint and obedience; but those who refuse to wear this yoke will find their course of action will bring its own punishment. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 15

Trivial characters must be changed. They must be converted, and receive the new heart that God has promised. In this work they must go to the Word of God for guidance. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Timothy 3:16, 17.] Teachers, as well as students, need to learn each day from the Word of God, which is the man of our counsel. It never makes a mistake. Its teaching will perfect in each individual a character that God can approve. It is the voice of God speaking to the soul. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 16

The youth may all be workers together with God in the school if they will cherish every amiable trait of character. The darkened understanding may be enlightened by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. All who will heed the instruction given in the word of God may perfect a character after the similitude of the character of Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 17

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ... Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 18

“And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear; forasmuch as ye know ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” “Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as pilgrims and strangers, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles; that whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” [1 Peter 1:3-5, 13-19; 2:11, 12.] 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 19

If some continue, as they have been doing, to speak idle, foolish, and I am sorry to say, profane words, they will block the way to their advancement. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you.” [Hebrews 13:17.] Teachers have a responsibility that they do not sense as they should. As they see the spirit that is working in the children of disobedience, they have perplexity and heartache. They do not want to appear harsh and severe, but unless they watch for souls as they that must give account, unless they are faithful and true to their trust, they will prove themselves to be unfaithful stewards. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 20

Students, you can make it hard for them. By your conduct you can cause them sadness of heart as they carry the terrible load of responsibility, while you go on, heedless and careless. Or you can help your teachers to help you to advance in your studies and <you can make them happy and of good courage because you evidence [that] you want> a knowledge of Christian obligations. Thus you can make this school one of the best that has ever been held. It rests with you to decide whether you will be thought unworthy and unfit to remain in the school, or whether you will be an ornament to it, <you accepting your responsibilities as a part of the firm.> 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 21

One thing cannot be allowed: The rooms that have been dedicated to God must not be defiled by your improper conversation and lawless course of action. Let all heed the words spoken to the Hebrews: “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest ant root of bitterness springing up, trouble you, and whereby many be defiled.” [Hebrews 12:12-15.] 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 22

The charge given to Timothy, is given to each of you: “For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” [1 Timothy 4:10-12.] “Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 23

“Exhort servants to be obedient unto their masters, and to please them well in all things, not answering again; not purloining, but showing good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” [Titus 2:6-14.] 12LtMs, Ms 82, 1897, par. 24