"And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations." "And thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in." Isaiah 61:4, 58:12. These words of Inspiration present before believers in present truth the work that should now be done in the education of our children and youth. When the truth for these last days came to the world in the proclamation of the first, second, and third angel's messages, we were shown that in the education of our children a different order of things must be brought in; but it has taken much time to understand what changes should be made.
Our work is reformatory; and it is the purpose of God that through the excellence of the work done in our educational institutions the attention of the people shall be called to the last great effort to save the perishing. In our schools the standard of education must not be lowered. It must be lifted higher and still higher, far above where it now stands; but the education given must not be confined to a knowledge of textbooks merely. The study of textbooks alone cannot afford students the discipline they need, nor can it impart true wisdom. The object of our schools is to provide places where the younger members of the Lord's family may be trained according to His plan of growth and development.
Satan has used the most ingenious methods to weave his plans and principles into the systems of education, and thus gain a strong hold on the minds of the children and youth. It is the work of the true educator to thwart his devices. We are under solemn, sacred covenant to God to bring up our children for Him and not for the world; to teach them not to put their hands into the hand of the world, but to love and fear God, and to keep His commandments. They should be impressed with the thought that they are formed in the image of their Creator and that Christ is the pattern after which they are to be fashioned. Most earnest attention must be given to the education which will impart a knowledge of salvation, and will conform the life and character to the divine similitude. It is the love of God, the purity of soul woven into the life like threads of gold, that is of true worth. The height man may thus reach has not been fully realized.
For the accomplishment of this work a broad foundation must be laid. A new purpose must be brought in and find place, and students must be aided in applying Bible principles in all they do. Whatever is crooked, whatever is twisted out of the right line, is to be plainly pointed out and avoided; for it is iniquity not to be perpetuated. It is important that every teacher should love and cherish sound principles and doctrines, for this is the light to be reflected upon the pathway of all students.
The Third Angel's Message in our Schools
In the book of Revelation we read of a special work that God desires to have His people do in these last days. He has revealed His law and shown us the truth for this time. This truth is constantly unfolding, and God designs that we shall be intelligent in regard to it, that we may be able to distinguish between right and wrong, between righteousness and unrighteousness.
The third angel's message, the great testing truth for this time, is to be taught in all our institutions. God designs that through them this special warning shall be given, and bright beams of light shall shine to the world. Time is short. The perils of the last days are upon us, and we should watch and pray, and study and heed the lessons that are given us in the books of Daniel and the Revelation.
When John was banished from those he loved to lonely Patmos, Christ knew where to find His faithful witness. John said: "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet." The Lord's day is the seventh day, the Sabbath of creation. On the day that God sanctified and blessed, Christ signified "by His angel unto His servant John" things which must come to pass before the close of the world's history, and He means that we should become intelligent with regard to them. It is not in vain that He declares: "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." Revelation 1:9, 10, 1-3. This is the education that is to be patiently given. Let our lessons be appropriate for the day in which we live, and let our religious instruction be given in accordance with the messages God sends.
We shall have to stand before magistrates to answer for our allegiance to the law of God, to make known the reasons of our faith. And the youth should understand these things. They should know the things that will come to pass before the closing up of the world's history. These things concern our eternal welfare, and teachers and students should give more attention to them. By pen and voice, knowledge should be imparted which will be meat in due season, not only to the young, but to those of mature years also.
We are living in the closing scenes of these perilous times. The Lord foresaw the unbelief that now prevails respecting His coming; and again and again He has given warning in His word that this event will be unexpected. The great day will come as a snare "on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth." Luke 21:35. But there are two classes. To one the apostle gives these encouraging words: "Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." I Thessalonians 5:4. Some will be ready when the Bridegroom comes, and will go in with Him to the marriage. How precious is this thought to those who are waiting and watching for His appearing! Christ "loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Ephesians 5:25-27. Those whom God loves enjoy this favor because they are lovely in character.
The great, grand work of bringing out a people who will have Christlike characters, and who will be able to stand in the day of the Lord, is to be accomplished. As long as we sail with the current of the world we need neither canvas nor oar. It is when we turn squarely about to stem the current that our labors begin. Satan will bring in every kind of theory to pervert the truth. The work will go hard, for since the fall of Adam it has been the fashion of the world to sin. But Christ is on the field of action. The Holy Spirit is at work. Divine agencies are combining with the human in reshaping the character according to the perfect pattern, and man is to work out that which God works in. Will we as a people do this God-given work? Will we carefully heed all the light that has been given, keeping constantly before us the one object of fitting students for the kingdom of God? If by faith we advance step by step in the right way, following the Great Leader, light will shine along our pathway; and circumstances will occur to remove the difficulties. The approval of God will give hope, and ministering angels will co-operate with us, bringing light and grace, and courage and gladness.
Then let no more time be lost in dwelling on the many things which are not essential and which have no bearing upon the present necessities of God's people. Let no more time be lost in exalting men who know not the truth, for the time is at hand." There is no time now to fill the mind with theories of what is popularly called "higher education." The time devoted to that which does not tend to assimilate the soul to the likeness of Christ is so much time lost for eternity. This we cannot afford, for every moment is freighted with eternal interests. Now, when the great work of judging the living is about to begin, shall we allow unsanctified ambition to take possession of the heart and lead us to neglect the education required to meet the needs in this day of peril?
In every case the great decision is to be made whether we shall receive the mark of the beast or his image, or the seal of the living God. And now, when we are on the borders of the eternal world, what can be of so much value to us as to be found loyal and true to the God of heaven? What is there that we should prize above His truth and His law? What education can be given to the students in our schools that is so necessary as a knowledge of "What saith the Scriptures?"
We know that there are many schools which afford opportunities for education in the sciences, but we desire something more than this. The science of true education is the truth, which is to be so deeply impressed on the soul that it cannot be obliterated by the error that everywhere abounds. The third angel's message is truth, and light, and power, and to present it so that right impressions will be made upon hearts should be the work of our schools as well as of our churches, of the teacher as well as of the minister. Those who accept positions as educators should prize more and more the revealed will of God so plainly and strikingly presented in Daniel and the Revelation.
The urgent necessities that are making themselves felt in this time demand a constant education in the word of God. This is present truth. Throughout the world there should be a reform in Bible study, for it is needed now as never before. As this reform progresses, a mighty work will be wrought; for when God declared that His word should not return unto Him void, He meant all that He said. A knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ "whom He has sent" is the highest education, and it will cover the earth with its wonderful enlightenment as the waters cover the sea.
Bible study is especially needed in the schools. Students should be rooted and grounded in divine truth. Their attention should be called, not to the assertions of men, but to the word of God. Above all other books, the word of God must be our study, the great textbook, the basis of all education; and our children are to be educated in the truths found therein, irrespective of previous habits and customs. In doing this, teachers and students will find the hidden treasure, the higher education.
Bible rules are to be the guide of the daily life. The cross of Christ is to be the theme, revealing the lessons we must learn and practice. Christ must be brought into all the studies, that students may drink in the knowledge of God and may represent Him in character. His excellence is to be our study in time as well as in eternity. The word of God, spoken by Christ in the Old and New Testaments, is the bread from heaven; but much that is called science is as dishes of human invention, adulterated food; it is not the true manna.
In God's word is found wisdom unquestionable, inexhaustible--wisdom that originated, not in the finite, but in the infinite mind. But much of that which God has revealed in His word is dark to men, because the jewels of truth are buried beneath the rubbish of human wisdom and tradition. To many the treasures of the word remain hidden, because they have not been searched for with earnest perseverance until the golden precepts were understood. The word must be searched in order to purify and prepare those who receive it to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King.
The study of God's word should take the place of the study of those books that have led minds into mysticism and away from the truth. Its living principles, woven into our lives, will be our safeguard in trials and temptations; its divine instruction is the only way to success. As the test comes to every soul, there will be apostasies. Some will prove to be traitors, heady, high-minded, and self-sufficient, and will turn away from the truth, making shipwreck of faith. Why? Because they did not live "by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." They did not dig deep and make their foundation sure.
When the words of the Lord through His chosen messengers are brought to them, they murmur and think the way is made too strait. In the sixth chapter of John we read of some who were thought to be disciples of Christ, but who, when the plain truth was presented to them, were displeased and walked no more with Him. In like manner these superficial students also will turn away from Christ.
Everyone who has been converted to God is called upon to grow in capability by using his talents; every branch of the living Vine that does not grow is pruned off and cast away as rubbish. What, then, shall be the character of the education given in our schools? Shall it be according to the wisdom of this world or according to that wisdom that is from above? Will not teachers awake to their responsibility in this matter and see that the word of God has a larger place in the instruction given in our schools?
The Training of Workers
One great object of our schools is the training of youth to engage in service in our institutions and in different lines of gospel work. The people everywhere are to have the Bible opened to them. The time has come, the important time when through God's messengers the scroll is being unrolled to the world. The truth comprised in the first, second, and third angels' messages must go to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people; it must lighten the darkness of every continent and extend to the islands of the sea. Nothing of human invention must be allowed to retard this work. That this may be accomplished, there is need of cultivated and consecrated talent; there is need of persons who can do excellent work in the meekness of Christ because self is hid in Christ. Novices cannot acceptably do the work of unfolding the hidden treasure to enrich souls in spiritual things. "Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things." Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:7, 15. This charge to Timothy is to be an educating power in every family and in every school.
Earnest efforts are called for on the part of all connected with our institutions, not only our schools, but our sanitariums and publishing houses also, to qualify men, women, and youth to become colaborers with God. Students are to be instructed to work intelligently in Christ's lines, to present a noble, elevated, Christian character to those with whom they associate. Those who have charge of training the youth connected with any line of our work should be men who have a deep sense of the value of souls. Unless they drink deeply of the Holy Spirit, there is an evil watcher who will create annoying circumstances. The educator should be wise to discern that while faithfulness and kindness will win souls, harshness never will. Arbitrary words and actions stir up the worst passions of the human heart. If men and women professing to be Christians have not learned to put away their own evil and childish tempers, how can they expect to be honored and respected?
Then what carefulness should be exercised in selecting proper persons as instructors, that they may not only be faithful in their work, but may manifest a right temper. If they are not trustworthy, they should be discharged. God will hold every institution responsible for any neglect to see that kindness and love are encouraged. It should never be forgotten that Christ Himself has charge of our institutions.
The best ministerial talent should be employed in teaching the Bible in our schools. Those selected for this work need to be thorough Bible students and to have a deep Christian experience, and their salary should be paid from the tithe. God designs that all our institutions shall become instrumentalities for educating and developing workers of whom He will not be ashamed, workers who can be sent out as well-qualified missionaries to do service for the Master; but this object has not been kept in view. In many respects we are far behind in this work, and the Lord requires that a zeal be shown in it infinitely greater than has hitherto been manifested. He has called us out from the world that we may be witnesses for His truth, and all through our ranks young men and women should be trained for positions of usefulness and influence.
There is an urgent demand for laborers in the gospel field. Young men are needed for this work; God calls for them. Their education is of primary importance in our colleges, and in no case should it be ignored or regarded as a secondary matter. It is entirely wrong for teachers, by suggesting other occupations, to discourage young men who might be qualified to do acceptable work in the ministry. Those who present hindrances to prevent young men from fitting themselves for this work are counterworking the plans of God, and they will have to give an account of their course. There is among us more than an average of men of ability. If their capabilities were brought into use, we should have twenty ministers where we now have one.
Young men who design to enter the ministry should not spend a number of years solely in obtaining an education. Teachers should be able to comprehend the situation and to adapt their instruction to the wants of this class, and special advantages should be given them for a brief yet comprehensive study of the branches most needed to fit them for their work. But this plan has not been followed. Too little attention has been given to the education of young men for the ministry. We have not many years to work, and teachers should be imbued with the Spirit of God and work in harmony with His revealed will, instead of carrying out their own plans. We are losing much every year because we do not heed the counsel of the Lord on these points.
In our schools missionary nurses should receive lessons from well-qualified physicians, and as a past of their education should learn how to battle with disease and to show the value of nature's remedies. This work is greatly needed. Cities and towns are steeped in sin and moral corruption, yet there are Lots in every Sodom. The poison of sin is at work at the heart of society, and God calls for reformers to stand in defense of the law which He has established to govern the physical system. They should at the same time maintain an elevated standard in the training of the mind and the culture of the heart, that the Great Physician may co-operate with the human helping hand in doing a work of mercy and necessity in the relief of suffering.
It is also the Lord's design that our schools shall give young people a training which will prepare them to teach in any department of the Sabbath school or to discharge the duties in any of its offices. We should see a different state of affairs if a number of consecrated young persons would devote themselves to the Sabbath school work, taking pains to educate themselves and then to instruct others as to the best methods to be employed in leading souls to Christ. This is a line of work that brings returns.
Teachers should be educated for missionary work. Everywhere there are openings for the missionary, and it will not be possible to supply laborers from any two or three countries to answer all the appeals for help. Besides the education of those who are to be sent out from our older conferences as missionaries, persons in various parts of the world should be trained to work for their own countrymen and their own neighbors; and as far as possible it is better and safer for them to receive their education in the field where they are to labor. It is seldom best, either for the worker or for the advancement of the work, that he should go to distant lands for his education. The Lord would have every possible provision made to meet these necessities; and if churches are awake to their responsibilities, they will know how to act in any emergency.
To supply the need of laborers, God desires that educational centers be established in different countries where students of promise may be educated in the practical branches of knowledge and in Bible truth. As these persons engage in labor, they will give character to the work of present truth in the new fields. They will awaken an interest among unbelievers and aid in rescuing souls from the bondage of sin. The very best teachers should be sent to the various countries where schools are to be established, to carry on the educational work.
It is possible to have too many educational facilities centered in one place. Smaller schools, conducted after the plan of the schools of the prophets, would be a far greater blessing. The money which was invested in enlarging Battle Creek College to accommodate the ministers' school would better have been invested in establishing schools in rural districts in America and in the regions beyond. No more buildings were needed in Battle Creek; ample facilities were already provided for the education of as many students as ought to congregate in one place. It was not best that so many students should attend this school, for there was talent and wisdom to manage only a certain number. The ministerial institutes could have been held in buildings already erected, and the money used in enlarging the college could have been invested to better advantage in erecting school buildings in other localities.
New buildings in Battle Creek meant encouragement for families to move there in order to educate their children in the college. But it would have been a far greater blessing to all concerned had the students been educated in some other locality and in much smaller numbers. The flocking of the people to Battle Creek is as much the fault of those who are in leading positions as of those who have moved to this place. There are better fields for missionary enterprise than Battle Creek, and yet those in responsible positions have been planning to have everything there of the most convenient character; and the large facilities are saying to the people: "Come to Battle Creek; move here with your families, and educate your children here."
If some of our large educational institutions were broken up into smaller ones, and schools established in various places, greater progress might be made in physical, mental, and moral culture. The Lord has not said that there should be fewer buildings, but that these buildings should not be centered too much in one place. The large amount of means invested in a few localities should be used in providing facilities for a wider field so that many more students could be accommodated.
The time has come for lifting the standard of truth in many places, for arousing an interest and extending the missionary field until it shall encompass the world. The time has come when many more should have the message of truth brought to their attention. Much can be done in this direction that is not done. While the churches are responsible for keeping their own lamps trimmed and burning, devoted young people must be educated in their own countries to carry forward this work. Schools should be established, not such elaborate schools as those at Battle Creek and College View, but more simple schools with more humble buildings, and with teachers who will adopt the same plans that were followed in the schools of the prophets. Instead of concentrating the light in one place, where many do not appreciate or improve on that which is given them, the light should be carried into many places of the earth. If devoted, God-fearing teachers of well-balanced minds and practical ideas would go into missionary fields and work in a humble way, imparting that which they have received, God would give His Holy Spirit to many who are destitute of His grace.
Elements of Success
In the work of reform, teachers and students should co-operate, each working to the best advantage to make our schools such as God can approve. Unity of action is necessary to success. An army in battle would become confused and be defeated if the individual soldiers should move according to their own impulses instead of acting in harmony under the direction of a competent general. The soldiers of Christ also must act in harmony. A few converted souls, uniting for one grand purpose under one head, will achieve victories in every encounter.
If there is disunion among those who claim to believe the truth, the world will conclude that this people cannot be of God, because they are working against one another. When we are one with Christ, we shall be united among ourselves. Those who are not yoked up with Christ always pull the wrong way. They possess a temperament that belongs to man's carnal nature, and at the least excuse passion is wide awake to meet passion. This causes a collision; and loud voices are heard in committee meetings, in board meetings, and in public assemblies, opposing reform methods.
Obedience to every word of God is another condition of success. Victories are not gained by ceremonies or display, but by simple obedience to the highest General, the Lord God of heaven. He who trusts in this Leader will never know defeat. Defeat comes in depending on human methods, human inventions, and placing the divine secondary. Obedience was the lesson that the Captain of the Lord's host sought to teach the vast armies of Israel --obedience in things in which they could see no success. When there is obedience to the voice of our Leader, Christ will conduct His battles in ways that will surprise the greatest powers of earth.
We are soldiers of Christ; and those who enlist in His army are expected to do difficult work, work which will tax their energies to the utmost. We must understand that a soldier's life is one of aggressive warfare, of perseverance and endurance. For Christ's sake we are to endure trials. We are not engaged in mimic battles. We have to meet most powerful adversaries; for "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12. We are to find our strength just where the early disciples found their strength: "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication." "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul." Acts 1:14; 4:31, 32.