Put off all manifestations of self-importance, for this can be no help to you in your work; and yet I beseech you to place a high estimate upon your own character, for you are bought with an infinite price. Be careful, be prayerful, be serious. Do not feel that you can mingle the common with the sacred. This has been done so continually in the past that the spiritual discernment of teachers has been obscured, and they cannot distinguish between the sacred and the common. They have taken common fire and have exalted and praised and cherished it, and the Lord has turned away in displeasure. Teachers, will it not be better to make a full consecration of yourselves to God? Will you imperil your souls by a divided service?
By pen and voice give due honor to God. Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. Will the teachers in our schools understand this? Will they take the word of God as the lessonbook able to make them wise unto salvation? Will they impart this higher wisdom to students, giving them clear and accurate ideas of truth, that they may be able to present these ideas to others? It may seem that the teaching of God’s word has but little effect upon many minds and hearts; but if the teacher’s work has been wrought in God, some lessons of divine truth will linger in the memory of even the most careless. The Holy Spirit will water the seed sown, and often it will spring up after many days and bear fruit to the glory of God.
The Great Teacher who came down from heaven has not directed teachers to study any of the reputedly great
authors. He says: “Come unto Me. . . . Learn of Me; . . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:28, 29. Christ has promised, and in learning lessons of Him we shall find rest. All the treasures of heaven were committed to Him that He might give these gifts to the diligent, persevering seeker. He is of God made unto us “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30.
Teachers must understand what lessons to impart, or they cannot prepare students to be transferred to the higher grade. They must study Christ’s lessons and the character of His teaching. They must see its freedom from formalism and tradition, and appreciate the originality, the authority, the spirituality, the tenderness, the benevolence, and the practicability of His teaching. Those who make the word of God their study, those who dig for the treasures of truth, will themselves become imbued with the Spirit of Christ, and by beholding they will become changed into His likeness. Those who appreciate the word will teach as disciples who have been sitting at the feet of Jesus and have accustomed themselves to learn of Him. In the place of bringing into our schools books containing the suppositions of the world’s great authors, they will say: Tempt me not to disregard the greatest Author and the greatest Teacher, through whom I have everlasting life. He never mistakes. He is the great Fountain head whence all wisdom flows. Then let every teacher sow the seed of truth in the minds of students. Christ is the standard Teacher.
The word of the eternal God is our guide. Through this word we have been made wise unto salvation. This word is ever to be in our hearts and on our lips. “It is
written” is to be our anchor. Those who make God’s word their counselor realize the weakness of the human heart and the power of the grace of God to subdue every unsanctified, unholy impulse. Their hearts are ever prayerful, and they have the guardianship of holy angels. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of God lifts up for them a standard against him. There is harmony in the heart; for the precious, powerful influences of truth bear sway. There is a revelation of the faith that works by love and purifies the soul.
Pray that you may be born again. If you have this new birth you will delight yourself, not in the crooked ways of your own desires, but in the Lord. You will desire to be under His authority. You will strive constantly to reach a higher standard. Be not only Bible readers, but earnest Bible students, that you may know what God requires of you. You need an experimental knowledge of how to do His will. Christ is our Teacher.
Let every teacher in our schools and every manager in our institutions study what it is essential for them to do in order to work in His lines and carry with them a sense of pardon, comfort, and hope.
Heavenly messengers are sent to minister unto those who shall be heirs of salvation; and these would converse with the teachers if they were not so satisfied with the well-trodden path of tradition, if they were not so fearful of getting away from the shadow of the world. Teachers should beware lest they close the gates so that the Lord can find no entrance into the hearts of the youth.
Words from a Heavenly Instructor
In the night season I was in a large company where the subject of education was agitating the minds of all present. Many were bringing up objections to changing the character of the education which has long been in vogue. One who has long been our instructor was speaking to the people. He said: “The subject of education should interest the whole Seventh-day Adventist body. The decisions regarding the character of our schoolwork should not be left wholly to principals and teachers.”
Some were strenuously urging the study of infidel authors and were recommending the very books which the Lord has condemned, and which, therefore, should not in any way be sanctioned. After much earnest conversation and discussion our instructor stepped forward, and, taking in his hand books that had been earnestly advocated as essential to a higher education, he said: “Do you find in these authors sentiments and principles that make it altogether safe to place them in the hands of students? Human minds are easily charmed by Satan’s lies; and these works produce a distaste for the contemplation of the word of God, which, if received and appreciated, will ensure eternal life to the receiver. You are creatures of habit and should remember that right habits are blessings both in their effect on your own character and in their influence for good over others; but wrong habits, when once established, exercise a despotic power and bring minds into bondage. If you had never read one word in these books you would today be far better able to comprehend that Book which, above all other books, is worthy to be studied, and which gives the only correct ideas regarding higher education.
“The fact that it has been customary to include these
authors among your lessonbooks, and that this custom is hoary with age, is no argument in its favor. Long use does not necessarily recommend these books as safe or essential. They have led thousands where Satan led Adam and Eve–to the tree of knowledge of which God has forbidden us to eat. They have led students to forsake the study of the Scriptures for a line of study that is not essential. If students thus educated are ever fitted to work for souls, they will have to unlearn much that they have learned. They will find the unlearning a difficult work; for objectionable ideas have taken root in their minds like weeds in a garden, and as a result some will never be able to distinguish between right and wrong. The good and the evil have been mingled in their education. The faces of men have been uplifted for them to behold, and the theories of men have been exalted; so that as they attempt to teach others, the little truth which they are able to repeat is interwoven with the opinions and sayings and doings of men. The words of men who give evidence that they have not a practical knowledge of Christ should find no place in our schools. They will be hindrances to proper education.
“You have the word of the living God, and for the asking you may have the gift of the Holy Spirit to make that word a power to those who believe and obey. The Holy Spirit’s work is to guide into all truth. When you depend on the word of the living God with heart and mind and soul, the channel of communication will be unobstructed. Deep, earnest study of the word under the guidance of the Holy Spirit will give you fresh manna, and the same Spirit will make its use effectual. The exertion made by the youth to discipline the mind for high and holy aspirations will be rewarded. Those who make persevering efforts in this direction, putting the mind to
the task of comprehending God’s word, are prepared to be laborers together with God.
“The world acknowledges as teachers some whom God cannot endorse as safe instructors. By these the Bible is discarded, and the productions of infidel authors are recommended as if they contained those sentiments which should be woven into the character. What can you expect from the sowing of this kind of seed? In the study of these objectionable books the minds of teachers as well as of students become corrupted, and the enemy sows his tares. It cannot be otherwise. By drinking of an impure fountain, poison is introduced into the system. Inexperienced youth taken over this line of study receive impressions which lead their thoughts into channels that are fatal to piety. Youth who have been sent to our schools have learned from books which were thought to be safe because they were used and encouraged in the schools of the world. But from the worldly schools thus followed many students have gone forth infidels because of the study of these very books.
“Why have you not extolled the word of God above every human production? Is it not enough to keep close to the Author of all truth? Are you not satisfied to draw water fresh from the streams of Lebanon? God has living fountains from which to refresh the thirsty soul, and stores of precious food with which to strengthen the spirituality. Learn of Him, and He will enable you to give to those who ask a reason of the hope that is within you. Have you thought that a better knowledge of what the Lord has said would have a deleterious effect upon teachers and students?”
There was a hush in the assembly, and conviction came upon each heart. Men who had thought themselves wise and strong saw that they were weak and lacking in the
knowledge of that Book which concerns the eternal destiny of the human soul.
The messenger of God then took from the hands of several teachers those books which they had been making their study, some of which had been written by infidel authors and contained infidel sentiments, and laid them aside, saying: “There never has been a time in your lives when the study of these books was for your present good and advancement, or for your future, eternal good. Why will you fill your shelves with books that divert the mind from Christ? Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? Christ calls you: ‘Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.’ You need to eat of the Bread of life which came down from heaven. You need to be more diligent students of the Holy Scriptures and to drink from the living Fountain. Draw, draw from Christ in earnest prayer. Obtain a daily experience in eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. Human authors can never supply your great need for this time; but by beholding Christ, the Author and Finisher of your faith, you will be changed into His likeness.”
Placing the Bible in their hands, he continued: “You have little knowledge of this book. You know not the Scriptures nor the power of God, nor do you understand the deep importance of the message to be borne to a perishing world. The time past has shown that both teachers and students know very little in regard to the awful truths which are living issues for this time. Should the third angel’s message be proclaimed in all lines to many who stand as educators, it would not be understood by them. Had you the knowledge which comes from God, your whole being would proclaim the truth of the living God to a world dead in trespasses and sins. But books and papers that contain little of present truth are exalted, and
men are becoming too wise to follow a ‘Thus saith the Lord.’
“By every teacher in our schools the only true God is to be uplifted, but many of the watchmen are asleep. They are as the blind leading the blind. Yet the day of the Lord is right upon us. As a thief it is coming with stealthy tread, and it will take unawares all who are not watching. Who among our teachers are awake and as faithful stewards of the grace of God are giving the trumpet a certain sound? Who are proclaiming the message of the third angel, calling the world to make ready for the great day of God? The message we bear has the seal of the living God.”
Pointing to the Bible he said: “The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are to be combined in the work of fitting a people to stand in the day of the Lord. Earnestly improve your present opportunities. Make the word of the living God your lessonbook. If this had always been done, students lost to the cause of God would now be missionaries. Jehovah is the only true God, and He is to be reverenced and worshiped. Those who respect the words of infidel authors and lead students to look upon these books as essential in their education lessen their faith in God. The tone, the spirit, the influence of these books is deleterious to those who depend on them for knowledge. Influences have been brought to bear upon the students that have led them to look away from Christ, the Light of the world, and evil angels rejoice that those who profess to know God deny Him as He has been thus denied in our schools. The Sun of Righteousness has been shining upon the church to dispel the darkness and to call the attention of God’s people to the preparation essential for those who would shine as lights in the world. Those who receive this light will comprehend
it; those who do not receive it will walk in darkness, knowing not at what they stumble. The soul is never safe unless it is under the divine guidance. Then it will be led into all truth. The word of Christ will fall with living power upon obedient hearts; and through the application of divine truth the perfect image of God will be reproduced, and in heaven it will be said: ‘Ye are complete in Him.'” Colossians 2:10.
In no case should students be allowed to take so many studies that they will be prevented from attending religious exercises.
None but He who has created man can effect a change in the human heart. God alone can give the increase. Every teacher is to realize that he is to be moved by divine agencies. The human judgment and ideas of the most experienced are liable to be imperfect and faulty, and the frail instrument, subject to his own hereditary traits of character, has need to submit to the sanctification of the Holy Spirit every day, else self will gather the reins and want to drive. In the meek and lowly spirit of the learner all human methods and plans and ideas must be brought to God for His correction and endorsement; otherwise the restless energy of Paul or the skillful logic of Apollos will be powerless to effect the conversion of souls.
In attending our colleges many of the youth are separated from the softening, subduing influences of the home circle. At the very time of life when they need vigilant supervision they are withdrawn from the restraints of parental influence and authority, and are thrown into the society of a large number of their own age, of varied characters and habits of life. Some of these have in childhood received too little discipline and are superficial and frivolous; others have been governed too much and have felt, when away from the hands that held the reins of control perhaps too tightly, that they were free to do as they pleased. They despise the very thought of restraint. By these associations the dangers of the young are greatly increased.
Our school homes have been established that our youth may not be left to drift hither and thither, and be exposed to the evil influences which everywhere abound; but that, as far as possible, a home atmosphere may be provided that they may be preserved from temptations to immorality and be led to Jesus. The family of heaven represents that which the family on earth should be; and our school homes, where are gathered youth who are seeking a preparation for the service of God, should approach as nearly as possible to the divine model.
Teachers who are placed in charge of these homes bear grave responsibilities; for they are to act as fathers and mothers, showing an interest in the students, one and all, such as parents show in their children. The varying elements in the characters of the youth with whom they are called to deal bring upon them care and many heavy burdens, and great tact as well as much patience is required to balance in the right direction minds that have been
warped by bad management. The teachers need great managing ability; they must be true to principle and yet wise and tender, linking love and Christlike sympathy with discipline. They should be men and women of faith, of wisdom, and of prayer. They should not manifest stern, unbending dignity, but should mingle with the youth, becoming one with them in their joys and sorrows as well as in their daily routine of work. Cheerful, loving obedience will generally be the fruit of such effort.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6 pp. 159-168