Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 8a, 1894

The Kind of Schools Needed


[February 1894]

See Ms 8, 1894. Previously unpublished.

Of John the Baptist Christ declared, “Of them that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater.” [Matthew 11:11.] John the Baptist was led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness, was taken away from the contaminating influences of the city into a country place where he might obtain an education that would qualify him for the work of God, for he was to be instructed by God rather than by any of the learned scribes or rabbis. He was not to connect himself with any of the schools of the doctors where he would be influenced by the multitudinous traditions and maxims of the acknowledged religious leaders. In the wilderness the Lord could impress his mind and heart, and give to him the pure mold of truth that was to be given to the teacher who should prepare the way of the Lord. He could not receive this mold and be connected with the scribes and pharisees, whose teachings turned the people away from unadulterated truth which was to be presented by the great Teacher who would soon enter upon His mission. The light of heaven was to be imparted to the prophet who was to be the forerunner of Christ, and this light, unmixed with human darkness, was to penetrate the hearts and minds of men. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 1

We are to learn lessons from the manner in which John was educated for the work of God. Let those who claim to know the truth, and who would understand the great work to be done at this time, consecrate themselves to God, soul, body, and spirit, as did John the Baptist. If they will do this, they will be separate in heart, in dress, in language, and in every respect from the fashions and practices of the world. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 2

The people of God are to be a holy and peculiar people. As a people we are to prepare the way of the Lord, as did John the Baptist. Every ability God has given us is to be put to use, for we also are to prepare the people after God’s fashion. We are to be His agents to give them His spiritual mold in order that they may stand in the great day of God’s preparation. We are to live in such a way that world-loving hearts may be awakened, and may ponder the question, “What is eternity to us? How shall our cases stand in the investigative judgment? What will be our lot and place at last?” 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 3

There are many who profess godliness, who have no intelligent hope, and who are running a great risk by indulging in practices in eating, drinking, and dressing that bind them up with the world, and cause them to go contrary to that which Jesus has taught. Though their names are on the church books, if ever they are saved they will have to learn the lesson that is essential to growth in spirituality, and come out from the world and be separate. They are seeking to serve God with a divided heart. They are yielding to the cravings of a carnal mind and are seeking conformity to the world. They are so similar to worldlings that the mark of Christian distinction is scarcely discerned. They expend God’s money in order to make an appearance like that of the world. Their religious experience is contaminated with worldliness and pride, and the evidence of discipleship—Christlikness in denying self and in bearing the cross—is not discernable by the world or by the hosts of heaven. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 4

Satan has in a most striking manner enthroned himself in this country, and has so arranged his plans that the people from early childhood receive an erroneous education. They are taught to regard many things as essential to their welfare, which in fact have a most injurious effect upon them. The people imagine that it is necessary to have many holidays, when these holidays are having a baleful influence upon the minds of the youth, are working for the demoralization of the government, and are entirely contrary to the Word of God. The sports that are indulged in on these days encourage a desire for amusement, for excitement and dissipation. Because of these many holidays the people are educated in wasting precious time which should be employed in useful labor in order that their families might be honestly supported and sustained in such a way as to be free from debt. Many have a passion for amusement, and thousands of pounds of money entrusted to the people as God’s stewards is squandered in horse races, in betting, and in sports of a similar order. The country is in a poverty-stricken condition as it is, and this habit of spending money for useless and harmful indulgences plunges the people into still greater poverty, and deepens the misery that is a sure result of this kind of practice. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 5

It is impossible to give a proper education to our youth in this country, or in any other country, unless they are widely separated from the city. The customs and practices found among the people in our cities are of a demoralizing nature, and have a tendency to unfit the minds of the youth for the reception of truth. The liquor drinking, the smoking, the gambling, the horse racing, the theater-going, the many holidays, all tend in a downward direction. Devotion to these things is a species of idolatry, a sacrifice upon idol altars. It would be much better for the morals of the people to attend to their lawful business upon appointed holidays and have the privilege of selecting their own time for rest and change. Many are ready to agree that the liquor traffic should be abolished, and yet those who multiply days for pleasure are really giving patronage to liquor sellers, and are taking away from the poor the very means which they need to purchase food and clothing for themselves and their children. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 6

Should schools be located within the cities or within a few miles of them, we should find it very difficult to counteract the influence and impressions of the former erroneous education that has been given to our youth. They would hear of the horse races, betting, and offering of prizes, and would be contaminated with the poisonous, malarious influence of those wicked cities. We should have to meet influences that would be constantly working counter to the principles we were endeavoring to inculcate in their minds. Because of these difficulties we shall find it necessary to establish our school out of and away from the city, and yet not so far away but that teachers may be in touch with the cities, and may put forth efforts to do them good, letting the light shine amid the moral darkness. Let the schools be established in places where our youth may be under the most favorable circumstances to gain such an education as will counteract the evil mold they have received. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 7

It may be necessary for some families to locate near this school so that they may board their children, and thus save expense; but in many cases it would prove more of a hindrance to their children’s advancement than if they could be placed under influences outside their home. Children and youth must be educated in such a way as to form industrious habits, and to be fitted to do earnest, skillful work. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 8

God gave Adam and Eve employment in Eden. Eden was the school for our first parents, and God was their Instructor. They learned how to till the soil, and how to care for the things which the Lord had planted. They did not look upon labor as degrading, but as a great blessing. Industry was a pleasure to Adam and Eve in their sinless state. Everything responded to their efforts to develop and perfect; but the fault of Adam changed the order of things. The earth was cursed and no longer only brought forth that which was good. Yet God decreed that man should earn his bread by the sweat of his brow, and this decree was not given as a curse. To labor in faith and hope would bring a blessing to Adam and Eve and their descendants. God never meant that man should have nothing to do; but the deeper the curse of sin, the further men go from the order of God. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 9

The burden of toil rests heavily upon a certain class, and the curse of idleness rests heavily upon another class. Those whom God has made stewards of means seem to think that they can indulge in idleness. The world generally is filled with a false idea that money increases the worth of men, but what a mistake is this! It is the use of our faculties in a right direction that increases their value. Labor will be to men what they make it. To delve in constant toil, seeking momentary relief in liquor drinking and in exciting amusements, will make a man little better than the brutes. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 10

We need schools in which we may educate children and youth so that they may become masters of labor, not slaves of labor. Ignorance will never tend to the elevation of one member of the human family. Ignorance will not lighten the burden of the hard toiler. Workers in the humblest occupations may reap advantages by learning how to use the ability God has given. In learning how to perform the best work himself, he may also attain the art of teaching others to do their work in an intelligent manner. We are to bring our physical powers into service from love to God. We are not only to love God with all the heart, mind, [and] might but also with all the strength we have. The Lord requires the service of our physical strength, and we can reveal love to Him by using our physical powers in doing the work that needs to be done. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 11

When the tabernacle was built in the wilderness for the service of God, the work was done under divine direction. God was the designer and planner of the building, and men were educated by Him in such a way that they put heart, soul, and strength into the work. Sturdy mechanics taxed muscles and sinews in manifesting their love to God by doing the work that He devised for His honor. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 12

There is an intimate relation between mind and body, and in order to reach a high standard of moral and intellectual excellence, it is necessary to take heed to the laws that control our physical nature. If we would secure a strong, well-balanced character, both the physical and mental powers must be exercised and developed. What study can be more important to the young than that which tells us how to treat the wonderful organism that God has given us, so that we may preserve it in perfect health. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 13

It is as necessary now as it was in the days of Israel that every youth shall be instructed in the practical duties of life. Everyone should acquire a knowledge of some branch of manual labor by which, if need be, he may obtain a livelihood. This is essential, not only as a safeguard against the vicissitudes of life, but because of its bearing upon physical, moral, and mental development. Even if it were a certain thing that it would never be necessary to depend upon our own efforts for a livelihood, yet we should be taught to work. No one can have a sound constitution and vigorous health, and neglect physical exercise, and the discipline of well-regulated labor is no less essential to the mind than to the body. Well-regulated labor will enable us to secure a strong, active mind, and to develop a noble character. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 14

A portion of each day should be devoted by students to active labor. Thus they would be encouraged in forming habits of industry, and in developing a spirit of self-reliance, while they would be shielded from evil and degrading practices that are so often the result of idleness. In following a course of this kind, they will not depart from the primary object of education, for in encouraging activity and purity they will come into harmony with their Creator. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 15

There is science in the humblest kind of work, and if all would thus look upon work, they would see its nobility. Heart and soul are to be put into any kind of work that we do; then we do it with cheerfulness and manifest proficiency. Men make manifest the fact that they appreciate God’s love in giving them physical and mental powers by the manner in which they do their appointed tasks. Let men employ their educated abilities in devising the best methods of work. Let them remember that there is honor in any class of work that it is essential to do. Where the law of God is made the standard of action, it will ennoble and sanctify all labor. He who is faithful in the discharge of every duty reveals a character that God can approve. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 16

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” [Mark 12:30.] God desires heart service, soul service, and the service of the physical powers. God has given us our faculties and powers, and we are to use them intelligently in His service. The man who exercises his faculties will surely find them strengthening and expanding. Let each one seek to do his best in whatever department of work he may be placed. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 17

Schools should be established not only for the purpose of obtaining knowledge from books, but also [for a] knowledge of practical duties. Workers are needed in different communities to show the people how to obtain riches from the soil, for the cultivation of the soil will bring its return. A much more extensive knowledge is needed in regard to preparing the soil. Agriculturalists do not have a sufficient breadth of view, and follow a narrow and unvarying routine in their work, and thus reap but discouraging results. But we should establish schools in which youth may not only be educated in the sciences, but have a practical education in carrying out successful plans for working the soil. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 18

There is hope in the soil, but in order to make a success of agricultural enterprises, men must put brain and heart and strength into their work. Let the money that is devoted to horse racing, theater-going, gambling, lotteries, [and] that is spent in public houses, be expended in making the land productive, and how soon we should see an improved condition in the country. This country needs educated farmers. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 19

The Lord gives the showers of rain and the blessed sunshine. He gives men all their powers; therefore let them devote heart and mind and strength to doing His will and obeying His commandments. Let them cut off every pernicious habit, and spend not a penny for strong drink, tobacco, tea, or coffee. Let them have nothing to do with horse racing and similar sports, but rather let them commit themselves to God, to work for Him with all their strength, and their labor will not be in vain. The God who made the world for the benefit of men will provide means to sustain the diligent worker. The seed planted in thoroughly prepared soil will produce its harvest. God can spread a table for His people in the wilderness. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 20

Various trades should be learned which call into exercise a variety of mental and physical capabilities. Occupations that require sedentary habits are the least favorable to health, for they take men away from the open air and the sunshine. In such occupations one set of faculties is trained at the expense of others, for while some organs are developed, others become weak from inaction. Men who follow this character of work perfect their business and soon lie down in the grave. Much more favorable is it for one who has an occupation that keeps him in the open air where his muscles are exercised and his brain equally taxed, and where all the organs are called forth into exercise. Those who live outside the cities, whose labor calls them into the open air, behold the works of the great master Artist in nature, where new scenes are continually unfolding. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 21

He who makes the book of nature his study, realizing that God’s care is over all, from the glorious sun in the heavens to the little brown sparrow or the tiniest insect that has life, feels a softening, subduing influence upon his soul. The Majesty of heaven has pointed us to the wonders of creation for an evidence of God’s love. He who fashioned the flowers said, “Behold the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these: wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the world, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” [Matthew 6:28-30.] The Lord is our Teacher, and if we place ourselves to be instructed by Him, we may learn most precious lessons from nature. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 22

The world is under the curse of sin, and yet even in its decay it is very beautiful. If it were not defiled by the corrupt deeds of the wicked, we could with the blessing of God enjoy our world as it is. But ignorance, selfishness, and sins that corrupt soul, body, and spirit, fills the world with moral leprosy and deadly malaria. Nevertheless, though tens of thousands are falling under the temptations of the evil one, we must do all we can to rescue our youth from the defiling influences of the world. Our youth are our hope for missionary labor. We can do but little, but God lives and reigns, and He can do much for us. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 23

Many youth, through ignorance of physiology, through neglect to observe the laws of health, have gone down to the grave, who might have lived to become intelligent and useful. In our schools we must see to it that the mind is not over-taxed and the physical powers neglected. Manual occupation must be combined with intellectual training for the proper exercise of the mind and body to develop and strengthen all the powers and enable our youth to do a variety of work. Ministers and teachers, as well as students in our schools, need to exercise their physical powers as well as to tax their minds. The proper use of physical strength and mental power will serve to equalize the circulation of the blood and keep every part of the living machinery in running order. Men often abuse their minds by pursuing one line of thought until they are goaded on to madness. Excessive use of the brain and inaction of the physical organs creates a diseased condition in the system. But if the physical powers are put into exercise, if the subjects of thought are varied, the mind may be taxed with comparative safety. We need variety in our work, and those who can follow an outdoor occupation can secure this variety and have nature for their teacher. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 24

Teachers should seek to surround their pupils with objects of improving and interesting character, so that the mind may not be confined to the dead study of books. Those who are engaged in study should have relaxation. The mind must not be constantly confined to close thought, for the delicate mental machinery becomes worn. The body, as well as the mind, must have exercise. But temperance should be exercised in seasons of relaxation as well as at other times. Recreation should be carefully and thoroughly considered, and no manner of recreation should be indulged in that will have a demoralizing influence on physical, mental, or moral health. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 25

Let students ask themselves the question when indulging in recreation, Is this of a character that will cause me to become infatuated so that I shall forget God? We should keep the glory of God ever before us. There are modes of recreation which are highly beneficial to both mind and body, and he who is enlightened and discriminating will find abundant means for entertainment and diversion from sources that are both innocent and profitable. Recreation in the open air, the contemplation of the works of God in nature, will be of the highest benefit. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 26

Let the teachers in our schools take their students with them into the gardens and fields and teach them how to work the soil in the very best manner. It would be well if ministers who labor in word and doctrine could enter the field and spend some portion of the day in taking physical exercise with the students. They could do as did Christ with His disciples and give lessons from nature to illustrate Bible truths. Both teachers and students in this manner of taking recreation would develop a more healthful experience in spiritual things [and] have stronger minds and purer hearts. They would learn better how to interpret eternal mysteries than by confining themselves altogether to the study of books. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 27

God has given men and women reasoning powers, and they should use these reasoning powers studying what will be the best way in which to preserve physical health. The question may be asked, “How can he get wisdom that holdeth the plough and driveth oxen?” And the answer may be given, “By seeking her as silver, and searching for her as for hid treasure. For God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. For this also cometh forth from the Lord of Hosts, which is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working.” [See Isaiah 28:26, 29.] 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 28

The schools to be established in Australia [should] bring the question of industry to the front, and reveal the fact that physical labor has its place in the plan of God for every man and woman. The schools established by those who teach and practice the truth for this time should be so conducted as to bring new incentives into all kinds of practical labor. A great and noble object will have been obtained, and students will realize that love for God is to be revealed not only by devotion of heart, by consecration of mind and soul, but by wisely appropriating their physical strength to His service. 9LtMs, Ms 8a, 1894, par. 29