Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

September 9, 1902

Encouraging Counsel

Elmshaven, Sanitarium,

July 6, 1902

To Our Teachers at Berrien Springs.

My Dear Brethren and Sisters,

I have an earnest desire that you shall every day be learning of the great Teacher. If you will draw near to God, and then to your students, you can do a very precious work. If you are diligent and humble, God will daily give you knowledge and an aptitude to teach. Do your very best to impart to others the blessings he has given you. With a deep, earnest interest to help your students, carry them over the ground of knowledge. Come close to them. Unless teachers have the love and gentleness of Christ abounding in their hearts, they will manifest too much of the spirit of a harsh, domineering master.

The Lord wishes you to learn how to use the gospel net. In order for you to be successful in your work, the meshes of your net must be close. The application of the Scriptures must be such that the meaning shall be easily discerned. Then make the most of drawing in the net. Come right to the point. However great a man's knowledge, it is of no avail unless he is able to communicate it to others. Let the pathos of your voice, its deep feeling, make an impression on hearts. Urge your students to surrender themselves to God. “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

Teachers, remember that the Lord is your strength. Strive to give the students ideas that will be to them a savor of life unto life. Teach by illustrations. Make your illustrations self-evident. Ask God to give you words that all can understand.

A little girl once asked me, “Are you going to speak this afternoon?” “No, not this afternoon,” I replied. “I am very sorry,” she said. “I thought you were going to speak, and I asked several of my companions to come. Will you please ask the minister to speak easy words, that we can understand. Please tell him that we do not understand big words, like ‘justification’ and ‘sanctification.’ We do not know what they mean.”

The little girl's complaint contains a lesson worthy of consideration by teachers and ministers. Are there not many who would do well to heed the request, “Speak easy words, that we may know what you mean”?

Make your explanations clear. I know that there are many who do not understand much of what is said to them. Let the light flowing from the great Teacher flood your mind. Let his Spirit mold and fashion your speech, cleansing it from all dross. Speak as to little children, remembering that there are many well advanced in years who are but little children in understanding.

By earnest prayer and diligent effort we are to obtain a fitness for speaking. This fitness includes the ability to articulate every syllable distinctly, placing the force and emphasis where they belong. Speak slowly. Many speak rapidly, hurrying one word after another so fast that the effect of what they say is lost.

Into what you say put the spirit and life of Christ. On a certain occasion, when Betterton, the celebrated actor, was dining with Dr. Sheldon, archbishop of Canterbury the archbishop said to him, “Pray, Mr. Betterton, tell me why it is that you actors can affect your audiences so powerfully by speaking of things imaginary.” “My lord,” replied Betterton, “with due submission to your grace, the reason is very plain: it lies in the power of enthusiasm. We actors on the stage speak of things imaginary as if they were real, and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.”

“Feed my sheep;” “feed my lambs,” was the commission given to Peter. “And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” To those who hear, the gospel is to be made the power of God unto salvation. Present the truth in its simplicity. Follow Christ's example, and you will have the precious reward of seeing your students won to him.

Suggestions

We need now not merely resolutions but decided action. Our youth are in the highest sense to be learners, seeing God behind the teacher, and the teacher co-operating with him. Wherever students are trained, a work is to be done that will establish them in the principles of our faith. The religious phase of their work is of the greatest importance; for, like Daniel and his fellows, they are to bear witness of God. By diligent, persevering effort, they are to acquire knowledge. By self-denial, by obedience to the principles of strict temperance, they are to prepare themselves to endure trial.

The students should have abundant opportunity to gain an education in physical labor; for thus they will be better prepared to acquire the knowledge they need for their work.

In the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah the Lord tells us plainly what the work is that he requires of us. In order that our young people may be fully prepared to do this work, small sanitariums are to be connected with our schools. The students are to be taught how to use nature's simple remedies in the treatment of disease. And as they learn to care for the sick, they are to be taught to act under the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Words to the Students

Students, prepare yourselves to co-operate with your teachers. As you co-operate with them, you give them hope and courage. You are helping them, and at the same time you are helping yourselves to advance. Remember that it rests largely with you whether your teachers stand on vantage ground, their work an acknowledged success.

Our time for work is short. We have no time to spend in self-pleasing. You will gain true satisfaction and happiness only when you have a determined purpose to succeed. Make your student-life as perfect as possible. You will pass over the way but once. Precious are the opportunities granted you. You are not only to learn, but to practice the lessons of Christ. It rests with you yourself whether your work is a success or a failure. As you succeed in gaining a knowledge of the Bible, you are storing up treasures to impart.

It is your privilege to make the advancement spoken of in the first chapter of second Peter. Working on the plan of addition, you will add daily to your store of the knowledge of God and of Christ; and God will work for you on the plan of multiplication.

Be assured that as you advance, you will gain increased capabilities. If you see a fellow student who is backward, try to help him. Explain to him the lesson that he does not understand. This will be an aid to your own understanding. Use simple words. State your ideas in clear, comprehensive language. Thus you are helping your teachers. Often minds apparently stolid will catch ideas more quickly from a fellow student than from a teacher. This is the co-operation that Christ commends as a good work. The great Teacher stands beside you, helping you to help the one who is backward. The Lord Jesus meets every one, old or young, just where he is.

While obtaining your education, you may have opportunity to tell the poor and ignorant of the wonderful truths of God's Word. Improve every such opportunity. The grace of God will bless every minute spent in this way.

My brethren and sisters at Berrien Springs, you are doing a good work. The Lord is leading you. Just as long as you follow Christ, you will be guided aright. Maintain your simplicity and your love for souls, and the Lord will lead you in safe paths. The rich experience you will gain will be of more value to you than gold or silver or precious stones.

Ellen G. White.

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