Ellen G. White Writings

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Australasian Union Conference Record

July 26, 1899

The Avondale Health Retreat

(Mrs. E. G. White.)

Thursday, July 20, 1899.

I want to say that I am very thankful that the movement to erect a health retreat here has been made. My heart has been deeply pained as I have seen parents here who did not know what to do when their children were sick.

This institution is to be a place where an education will be given in right principles of health reform, so that those who receive help in it will go forth with an understanding of how to take care of themselves, and thus prevent sickness, and also how to treat sickness if it should come upon them. They should be taught by example how to take care of themselves in regard to diet. Men and women need an intelligent knowledge of how to care for the sick wherever they are, and how to give rest from suffering.

In the night season I was looking at a building. “What is this?” I asked. “The building in which you shall take care of the sick and suffering.” “But,” I said, “I did not know that we had such a building.” “No,” was the answer,” but you must have it.” This building presented was very nearly like the building now being erected here.

The building is so placed that it will get all the sunshine possible, not only in the sleeping rooms, but in the rooms where the patients sit. The sun is God's doctor, which brings health and strength, purifying and giving color to the blood, and we must have it. It was objected that the building would be askew with the road. “Askew let it be,” I said; “that building must be where it will get the sunshine, in whatever position it is.” The building is just right as it now is. It will get the sunshine, and I am well pleased with it.

When in the night season the building was standing before me, I said, “We have no money; how can we put up such a building?” I was asked, “Where are you going to put your wearied, worried, worn-out ministers? Are you going to let them go wherever they can find a place?” I said, “We are going to take care of them.” The answer was, “You need a building fully as large as this in which to take care of them, and you need another building in which the very sick can be accommodated.”

This is the work that must be done, but we must move carefully, so that we shall not incur a heavy debt.

I never have seen such carelessness in regard to the health as I have seen in this community. We need to educate, educate, educate. If human beings are worth all that has been paid for them, should they not be uplifted? For us the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, and clothed His divinity with humanity. This He did that humanity might touch humanity, and divinity lay hold of divinity; and thus the help that the sick and suffering need be brought to them. As we follow Christ in doing this work, we shall awaken an interest in the God we love and serve. We shall find that this is the successful way to save soul and body. Medical missionary work is the entering wedge to the work of saving souls.

You will remember the poor paralytic who was brought to Christ. This man had heard that the Saviour was healing the sick, but he did not know how to get to Him. His friends decided to take him to Christ, but when they reached the house where He was teaching, there was so great a crowd that they could not get even to the door. Christ saw them bringing that man to Him. He saw them leaving their home, and His heart went with them at every step.

As the sick man's friends stood round the house where Christ was speaking, unable to get in, some one suggested that they take off part of the roof, and let him down at Christ's feet. The priests had told this man that his sins were the cause of his sickness, and they could give him no hope that there was any way in which he could be saved from sin. With this burden of sin upon him, the paralytic was let down before Christ. The Saviour knew just where to commence His work for the sufferer. He knew that he was longing for help, and He said, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” Hope sprang up in the man's heart. But the wrath of the priests was roused, and they said, “Who can forgive sins but God alone.”

“When Jesus perceived their thoughts, He, answering, said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts! Whether is it easier to say, Thy sins be forgiven Thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins. (He said unto the sick of the palsy), I say unto Thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today.”

I am glad we have a health retreat here. It is not ready for use yet, but it soon will be. We are going to move out by faith. We have already moved out by faith in putting this building on the ground. God knows all about it. I would ask you all, instead of investing your means in something you can do without, help us in furnishing our health retreat. We desire that everyone shall become interested in this institution, where an education is to be given in the science of healing. Every student in the school is to understand that he is to be economical in everything, in dress, in time, that he may have something to divide with the suffering poor. If those to whom the Lord has entrusted means use their money to glorify themselves instead of helping suffering humanity, they dishonor their Maker. God has entrusted men with His goods, His capital, and they are to use this capital aright, for it is the Lord's money.

This institution is to be a blessing to the afflicted and suffering. There are souls to be saved. Christ left His home in glory in order to do this work. He came as a man. Unless He had come thus, He could not have reached the suffering ones. Satan had the field, and he was doing all he could to keep men and women in affliction.

Christ is touched with the feelings of our infirmities. Why was He poor? Why did He not come to our world with outward display, with splendor and power? Because He wanted to bring to every human being the test that all must bear. Humanity must be touched with the sufferings of humanity, that men and women might learn how to show tenderness, kindness, and pity, and thus a Christ-likeness of character be developed in humanity. In this way they were to be fitted to be missionaries. This is the work that is to be done everywhere.

God declares, that in the last day there will be only two parties, one on the right hand and one on the left. To those on the left hand He says, “I was an hungered, and ye gave Me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in; naked, and ye clothed Me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not.” They have no part with Him; for they know nothing about Him. They could not enjoy life in His kingdom and He says to them, “Depart from Me.”

They are surprised. They did not think that they had done anything particularly wrong. “Lord when saw we Thee an hungered,” they ask, “or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee?” Christ answers, “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these ye did it not to Me.”

To those on the right hand Christ says, “Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.”

These also are surprised. They did not think that they had done anything worthy of commendation. “Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered, and fed Thee?” they ask, “or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?’ Then the King shall answer and say unto them, “Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”

They are co-workers with Christ. They believed and lived the words—“Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.” This responsibility rests upon every one of us. The students in this school are daily to strive to form characters for the future immortal life. God is testing us, to see whether we will prove ourselves worthy to enter in through the gates into the city. Why are we here? It seems strange to everybody that we should be located in the woods. But we do not want our students to be near the city. We know that even though we bring them into the country, we cannot escape from all evil. We have a public-house here, and not long ago a man left this public-house drunk. As he was crossing a bridge he fell from his horse and was killed. Thus through intemperance Satan works to destroy. But in the country the youth are less exposed to temptation. They are away from the sights and the sounds of the city.

We desire to take the students away from the foul atmosphere of the city. Not that Satan is not here. He is here, but we are trying to do all we can to place the students in the very best circumstances, in order that they may fasten their eyes on Christ. In the country they are not near the temptation of horse-racing and cricket matches. Once in Sydney I saw a great multitude on one of the streets. Hundreds and hundreds, and I might say thousands, were gathered together. “What is the matter?” I asked, “It is because of the cricket match,” was the answer. And while men were playing the game of cricket, and others were watching the game, Satan was playing the game of life for their souls. Therefore we decided to locate our school where the students would not see cricket matches or horse races. We are just where God wants us to be, and many conversions have taken place in this school.

The work of education must begin in the home. It must be carried on in the schoolroom. Parents and teachers must unite in doing all they can in order to place the youth on vantage ground. Children have hereditary tendencies to wrong, which must be overcome.

Christ came to restore the moral image of God in man, and if parents and teachers will do all in their power, with prayer, working to bring their children into a right position, God will bless them.

Missionary work is to be done on this ground; for this is missionary soil. Efforts are to be made to save body and soul. In order that the soul may be saved, attention must be given in sympathy to the sufferings of the body.

In the Word of God is found the education of God. This Word tells what Christ will do in behalf of everyone who will co-operate with Him. This book should be our lesson book, for it contains the higher education. Christ prayed, “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” Do we not all wish to know how to gain life eternal? It is gained by knowing God and Jesus Christ. We are to make our teaching in regard to this as plain and clear as possible, and then students will fall in love with it.

This morning I was reading the nineteenth Psalm and the Psalms following, and I thought, What beautiful lessons these Psalms teach. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handywork.” What is the matter with us? We have lost sight of God. The world has lost the knowledge of God. Our work is to bring this knowledge within the reach of all we possibly can. Our message is. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

The history of Joseph and Daniel contain lessons which all should learn. How full their lives are of patience, of noble, sanctified independence. What better instruction could be given to the youth than this. How was it with Daniel. God gave him knowledge and understanding in all visions and dreams. He strengthened Daniel's mind, increasing his power and his ability: and the record states, “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.”

Let us place ourselves where we may gain the very best knowledge in regard to our accountability to God and to the souls for whom we must give an account. As we help these souls to reach a higher standard, God will help us. “Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone, dare to have a purpose true, and dare to make it known.” This is what the youth should be taught to do. We need to catch the inspiration of God's Spirit, and then work with all the power He has given us to co-operate with Him in restoring the moral image of God in man. When we have done this, we shall feel indeed that we have not lived in vain.

July 26, 1899

Church Schools

Shall We Establish Church Schools?

1. “In all our churches, and wherever there is a company of believers, church schools should be established.”

2. “If people would encourage the church in which they are members, to establish small, humble school buildings in which to do service for God, they would accommodate their own children within their own borders.”

3. “In this country (Australia) many parents are compelled to send their children to school. Therefore, in localities where there is a church, a school should be established, if there are no more than six children to attend.”

4. “Establish schools for the children where there are churches. Where there are those who assemble to worship God, let there be schools for the children.” “We are far behind in what the Lord would have us do in this matter. There are places where our schools should have been in operation years ago. Let these now be started under wise directors, that the children and youth may be educated in their own churches.”

Why Do We Need Church Schools?

5. “The education that is generally given in the schools of the world is not that which can be accepted as true education.”

6. “Can we wonder that children and youth drift into temptation and become educated in wrong lines where they are continually associating with other neglected children? Can we wonder, neglected as they have been, that their energies become devoted to amusements which do them no good, that their religious aspirations are weakened, and their spiritual life darkened?”

7. “There is earnest work to be done for the children. ‘Before the overflowing scourge shall come upon all the dwellers upon the earth, the Lord calls upon all who are Israelites indeed to serve Him. Gather your children into your own houses; gather them in from the classes who are voicing the words of Satan, who are disobeying the commandments of God. Strike the blood upon your door-posts, and go not out until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever,“

8. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4.

What Should be the Character of such Schools?

9. “The Lord would have our primary schools, as well as those for older persons, of that character that angels of God can walk through the room, and behold in the order and principles of government, the order and government of heaven.”

10. “These schools established in different localities .... should be built upon the same principles as were the schools of the prophets.”

How Should Church Schools be Supported?

11. “Let the church carry a burden for the lambs of the flock in its locality, and see how many can be educated and trained to do service for God.”

12. “Shall the members of the church give means to advance the cause of Christ among others, and then let their own children carry on the work and service of Satan? What the Lord Jesus expects in all believers is something besides being occupied and active; this activity should be trained in Christ's lines. God requires wholeness of service.”

13. “The church is asleep and does not realize the magnitude of this matter of educating the children and youth.... The church should take in the situation, and by their influence and means seek to bring about the much-desired end. Let a fund be created by generous contributions for the establishment of schools for the advancement of educational work.”—(Special Testimonies on Education, 200.)

What Shall be Taught in Church Schools?

14. “The Bible must be made the groundwork and subject matter of education.” “When teachers become connected with the Great Teacher, we shall see the golden mixture of heaven in every line of study, binding all together, and enabling each one to do its work in revealing the character and purpose of God. Much is lost by the students because there is brought into their lessons studies that have an influence merely to make them ambitious to master them, while the truth is overshadowed and buried out of sight.”

15. “It is the Third Angel's Message that needs attention in our schools...... The urgent necessities that are making themselves felt in this time demand a constant education in the Word of God...... Students need lessons which they have not yet received. We are not at liberty to teach that which shall meet the world's standard [or] the standard of the church, simply because it is the custom to do so.

16. “While the Bible should hold the first place in the education of children and youth, the book of nature is next in importance.”—(Special Testimonies On Education, 58.)

17. “Our schools should teach the children all kinds of simple labor. Teach them that all their faculties of body and mind were given to them to use, and that all are the Lord's, pledged to His service.”

18. “Let them employ a Christian teacher, who, as a consecrated missionary, shall educate the children in such a way as to lead them to become missionaries themselves.”

19. “If teachers were receiving light and wisdom from the Divine Teacher, ..... they would measure the relative importance of the things to be learned in school; the common, essential branches of education would be more thoroughly taught, and the Word of God would be honored and esteemed as the bread sent down from heaven.”—(Special Testimonies on Education, 165.) “The common branches of education should be fully and prayerfully taught.”

20. “In itself the beauty of nature leads the soul away from sin and worldly attractions, toward purity, peace, and God. For this reason the cultivation of the soil is good work for the children and the youth.”—(Special Testimonies on Education, 60.)

21. “The little ones should be trained to be obedient, upright, and practical.”—(Special Testimonies on Education, 70.)

22. “The youth should be taught to look upon physiology as one of the essential studies.”

23. “God has, in the natural world, placed in the hands of the children of men the key to unlock the treasure house of His Word.... Then let the children become acquainted with nature and nature's laws... The little children should come especially close to nature.... Let them become familiar with its beautiful, varied, and delicate forms. Teach them to see the wisdom and love of God and His created works; and as their hearts swell with joy and grateful love, let them join the birds in their songs of praise. Educate the children and youth ... to imitate the attractive graces of nature in their character-building.”—(Special Testimonies on Education, 61, 62.)

What Will be the Effect Upon Young Children of so Constantly Using the Bible in the Schoolroom?

24. “O, for a clearer perception of what we might accomplish if we would learn of Jesus. The springs of heavenly peace and joy, unsealed in the soul of the teacher by the magic words of inspiration, will become a mighty river of influence, to bless all who connect with him. Do not think that the Bible will become a tiresome book to the children. Under a wise instructor, the Word will become more and more desirable. It will be to them as the bread of life, and will never grow old. There is in it a freshness and beauty which attracts and charms the children and youth. It is like the sun shining upon the earth, giving light and warmth, yet never exhausted. By lessons from Bible history and doctrine, the children can learn that all other books are inferior to this. They can find here a fountain of mercy and love.”

What Kind of Teachers shall be Employed in Our Church Schools?

25. “If the instructors themselves have a religious experience, they will be able to communicate to the students that knowledge of the love of God which they have received. These lessons can be given by those only who are themselves truly converted.”

26. “The youth are in need of educators who shall keep the Word of God ever before them in living principles.”—(Special Testimonies on Education, 238.)

27. “Special talent should be given to the education of the youth.”

28. “Every teacher should be under the full control of the Holy Spirit.”

29. “In these schools should be teachers who have the true missionary spirit; for the children are to be trained to become missionaries.”

30. “The great aim of the teacher should be the perfection of Christian character in himself and in his students.” “No one should have a part in the training of youth who will be satisfied with a lower standard.”—(Special Testimonies on Education, 50, 51.)

Qualifications of Teachers

31. “Again and again has the educator of youth carried into the school-room the shadow of darkness which has been gathering upon his soul. He has been overtaxed, and is nervous; or dyspepsia has colored everything a gloomy hue. He enters the school-room with quivering nerve and irritated stomach. Nothing seems to be done to please him; he thinks that his scholars are bent upon showing him disrespect, and his sharp criticisms and censures are given on the right hand and the left.... No one who will become impatient and irritated should be an educator.”—(Christian Education, 26, 154)

32. “The teacher may understand many things in regard to the physical universe; he may know all about the structure of animal life, the discoveries of natural science, the inventions of mechanical art; but he cannot be called educated, he is not fitted for his work as an instructor of youth, unless he has in his own soul a knowledge of God and of Christ. He cannot be a true educator until he is himself a learner in the school of Christ, receiving an education from the Divine Instructor.”—(Signs of the Times, September 2, 1882)

33. “Let none feel that, having an earnestness in religious matters, is all that is essential in order to become educators. While they need no less of piety, they also need a thorough knowledge of the sciences.”—(Christian Education, 51)

34. “The principles and habits of the teacher should be considered of greater importance than even his literary qualifications.”—(Christian Education, 8)

35. “One may have sufficient education and knowledge in science to instruct; but has it been ascertained that he has tact and wisdom to deal with human minds?”

36.“The cause of God needs teachers who have high moral qualities, and can be trusted with the education of others—men who are sound in the faith, and have tact and patience; who walk with God, and abstain from the very appearance of evil; who stand so closely connected with God, that they can be channels of light—in short, Christian gentlemen.”—(Christian Education, 213)

37. “We cannot in this day of peril, accept teachers because they have been in school two, three, four or five years. The question which should decide whether they are qualified for their work should be—have they, with all their acquisition of knowledge, searched and dug beneath the surface for truth, as for hidden treasures? Are they partakers of the fruit of the tree of life?”

How Should the Work be Regarded?

38. “This is the noblest missionary work that any man or woman can undertake.”

39. “The smaller children should not be neglected. This work is fully as essential as the work for the older pupils.”

What will be the Results of such Schools?

40. “We may bring hundreds and thousands of children to Christ if we will only work for them.”

41. “Church schools will be the means of lifting the standard of truth in the places where they are established.”

42. “Children who are properly instructed will be witnesses for the truth.”

43. “The promises spoken by the Great Teacher will captivate the senses and animate the soul of the child with a spiritual power that is Divine. There will grow in the fruitful mind a familiarity with Divine things, which will be a barricade against the temptations of the enemy.”

44. “In the last days, children's voices will be heard proclaiming the message. As Christ in the temple solved the mysteries which priests and rulers had not discerned, so in the closing work of this earth, children in their simplicity will speak words which will be an astonishment to men who now talk of ‘higher education.’”

Are We Prepared for a Church School?

45. “I told the brethren that from the light given me of God, they were not prepared to have a school established among them. The spirit they cherished would communicate itself to others, and leaven all the influence for good that would be exerted by the school.”—( M.S. regarding the establishment of schools.)

46. “Parents and teachers should work for the accomplishment of this object—the development of all the powers, and the formation of a right character; but when parents realize their responsibilities, there will be far less for the teachers to do in the training of their children.”—(Special Testimonies on Education, 42.)

47. “Then, wherever a school is established, there should be warm hearts to take a lively interest in our youth. Fathers and mothers are needed with warm sympathy, and with kindly admonitions, and all the pleasantness possible should be brought into the religious exercises.”—(Christian Education, 47)

48. “Parents must come to view this matter in a different light. They must feel it their duty to co-operate with the teacher, to encourage wise discipline, and to pray much for the one who is teaching their children. You will not help the children by fretting, censuring, or discouraging them; neither will you act a good part to help them to rebel, and to be disobedient and unkind and unlovable, because of the spirit you develop.”—(Christian Education, 154)

49. “When a company of believers is raised up, careful provision should be made for the permanence and stability of the work. A house of worship will be needed, and a school where Bible instruction may be given to the people. The workers should not leave their field of labor without building a church and providing a school-room and a teacher... All this has been presented before me as a panoramic view. I saw workmen building humble houses of worship. Those newly come to the faith were helping with willing hands, and those who had means were assisting with their means. A school-room was prepared for the children. Teachers were selected to go to this place. The number in the school was not large, but it was a happy beginning. I heard the songs of children and of parents. Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman [waketh] but in vain.... The establishment of churches, the erection of meeting houses and school buildings was extended from city to city, and the tithe was increasing to carry forward the work. There was a class, not only in one place, but in many places, and the Lord was working to increase His forces. Something was being established that would publish the truth. The work is to be done, not only in Australia, but in the cities of America as well.”—(M.S.)

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