Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 131, 1902

Diary/Words of Counsel to Students

South Lancaster, Massachusetts

December 3, 1901

Portions of this manuscript are published in Ev 666. +Note

I greatly desire to say many things to those assembled at this meeting, but I dare not overtax my vocal organs. They are in a poor condition for speaking. In the night season it has seemed as if I were saying many things in your council meetings. While waiting for my vocal organs to recover from the affliction now upon them, I have been writing in regard to some matters pertaining to the work in this place. 17LtMs, Ms 131, 1902, par. 1

In South Lancaster we have established an academy and a sanitarium. Our people here have erected a church of no mean dimensions to accommodate the various interests centering in this place. In the night season I heard One of authority speaking to the brethren and sisters living here and to the students attending the school. The words of wisdom did not languish on his tongue. I can now present only a few thoughts, and I will do this as briefly and clearly as possible. 17LtMs, Ms 131, 1902, par. 2

The heavenly Instructor said: “It is your privilege, and therefore your duty, daily to reach a higher spiritual standard. Let the students accept the truths revealed to them, and incorporate them into the practical life. This the Lord requires of all who are attending this school. Constantly endeavor to advance. Remember that you can do thorough work only when you daily strive in your student-life to make a practical use of the knowledge you are gaining in the schoolroom. You can make most rapid progress in any line of study when you impart to others that which you have learned. For instance, telling some one else about the valuable lessons you are learning in the Bible classes helps wonderfully to imprint these lessons upon your own mind. 17LtMs, Ms 131, 1902, par. 3

“It is well to learn how to make the best use of that which you are attending school to obtain. Carefully consider how to gain the most in the least possible time. 17LtMs, Ms 131, 1902, par. 4

“Many of you enjoy the study of vocal music. This is well; but some are in danger of spending, on singing, time that should be spent in becoming familiar with other important branches of learning. Bookkeeping—the knowledge of how to keep accounts accurately—is very essential. The science of reading correctly, and with the proper emphasis, is of the highest value. No matter how much knowledge you may have acquired in other lines, if you have neglected to cultivate your voice and manner of speech so that you can speak and read distinctly and intelligently, all your learning will be of but little profit; for without voice culture you cannot communicate readily and clearly that which you have learned. 17LtMs, Ms 131, 1902, par. 5

“To learn to tell convincingly and impressively that which one knows is of special value to those who desire to become workers in the cause of God. The more expression you can put into words of truth, the more effective these words will be on those who hear. A proper presentation of the Lord’s truth is worthy of our highest efforts. Let the students in training for the Master’s service make determined efforts to learn to speak correctly and forcibly, in order that when conversing with others in regard to the truth, or when engaged in public ministry, they may properly present the truths of heavenly origin. Let them cultivate clearness of speech while conversing with one another in the school. When associating with one another, kindly point out and endeavor to correct defects of speech that you notice in the expressions of your fellow students. 17LtMs, Ms 131, 1902, par. 6

“Purity of thought, the witness of a Christlike character, needs to be your study now. Bring into captivity every thought. Help one another to cherish pure words and unquestionable practices. The common schools in our land are hotbeds of iniquity. Not a few of those who are enjoying the educational advantages offered in our schools are in need of thorough conversion. They need to practice every virtue, to suppress every tendency to viciousness, to put away every unclean habit; for no one who has not perfected a pure, holy character can enter the city of God. Carelessness in word or in act means the loss of the soul. Every student should learn what it means to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love his neighbor as himself. 17LtMs, Ms 131, 1902, par. 7

“So long as a student neglects to reverence and carefully practice the principles taught in God’s Word, so long as he divorces these principles from his life practice, just so long will he live an erroneous life and be in danger of indulging in sinful practices that God abhors. From the lips of such a youth, falsehood will be spoken in the place of truth.” 17LtMs, Ms 131, 1902, par. 8

To lose heaven is to lose everything. I can hardly endure to think of the presumptuous ventures that some students are making upon the patience of a long-suffering God. They bear evil fruit only. Christ is watching to see them place themselves under the power of His transforming grace, that they may become trees of righteousness, bearing good fruit. He is hungry for the fruits of the Spirit. How many trees there are that are not “the planting of the Lord”! [Isaiah 61:3.] 17LtMs, Ms 131, 1902, par. 9

During the Saviour’s ministry, He came to a barren fig tree when hungry and thought to gather some figs. The tree was covered with leaves and to all appearances bore fruit. But although He searched the tree carefully from the topmost twig to the lowest boughs, He found nothing but leaves. How many of the students in the South Lancaster Academy are looked upon by the Lord as trees bearing good fruit? Students, remember the Saviour’s words, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] 17LtMs, Ms 131, 1902, par. 10

The Lord is now calling for workers. Let those who are attending this school prepare for His service. And let their parents at home do their part faithfully. Let them prepare the hearts of their children to stand firm amidst the perils of the last days. The Lord expects of us a showing different from the showing that we are making at the present time. Many parents have not yet heeded the cautions that the Lord gave through Moses to the children of Israel. He declared: “Thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in His ways, and to fear Him.” [Deuteronomy 8:6.] And we are to be thankful to Him for the blessings He so freely bestows upon us; for He says: 17LtMs, Ms 131, 1902, par. 11

“When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which He hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and His statutes, which I command thee this day: lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might humble thee, and that He might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; and thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.” [Verses 10-20.] 17LtMs, Ms 131, 1902, par. 12