Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

August 13, 1885

Sabbath-School Duties in the Camp-Meeting and at Home

Dear brethren and sisters who assemble at our camp-meetings, we wish to address to you a few words in the interest of our Sabbath-schools. This is one of the important branches of the work, and should not be left to chance, or to hap-hazard management. If these schools are conducted as they should be, the efforts made in the pulpit to present the truth in a manner to win souls may be deepened; and if the labor bestowed is followed up by interested workers in the Sabbath-school, much good will be accomplished. But it is not enough to have the Sabbath-school move like well-regulated machinery. There should be practical workers; the teachers should be of that class who have a living connection with God, who have an appetite for study themselves, who will give time and moral earnestness to their work, and who will not be satisfied unless they see something accomplished.

There should be a living, growing interest in storing the mind with Bible truth. The precious knowledge thus gained will build a barrier about the soul. Although assailed with temptation, there will be a firm trust in Jesus, through the knowledge of him who hath called them to glory and to virtue. Let the teachers enter heart and soul into the subject-matter of the lesson. Let them lay plans to make a practical application of the lesson, and awaken an interest in the minds and hearts of the children under their charge. Let the activities of the scholars find scope in solving the problems of Bible truth. The teachers may give character to the work, so that the exercises will not be dry and uninteresting.

Teachers do not make as earnest work as they should of the Sabbath-school exercises; they should come close to the hearts of the scholars, by aptness, by sympathy, by patient and determined effort to interest every scholar in regard to the salvation of the soul. These exercises should become altogether what the Lord would have them,—seasons of deep conviction of sin, of heart reformation. If the right work is done in a skillful, Christ-like manner, souls will be convicted, and the inquiry will be, “What shall I do to be saved?” In some Sabbath-schools, positions are given to persons who have no aptitude to teach. They have no earnest love for souls. They do not half understand the practical bearings of the truth themselves. How, then, can they lead the children and youth to the living fountain? Let the teachers themselves drink deep of the water of salvation; and then angels of God will minister to them, and they will know just what course the Lord would have them take to win the precious youth to Jesus. It requires aptitude, a will, perseverance, a spirit such as Jacob had when he wrestled in prayer and exclaimed, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” When the blessing of God rests upon the teachers, it can but be reflected to those under their charge. Never place the youth under individuals who are spiritually indolent, who have no high, elevated, holy aspirations; for the same mind of indifference, Phariseeism, of form without the power, will be seen in both teachers and scholars.

Let parents do their part, not only helping the children in their study, but becoming familiar with the lessons themselves. The Bible is our text-book. Parents, teachers, and scholars need to become better acquainted with the precious truths contained in both the Old and the New Testaments. We must come up to a higher plane of action. Let the spirit of Jesus vitalize the souls of the workers. Then their plans and methods of labor will be of that character to win souls to Jesus Christ. In our large churches, where there are many children and youth, there is great danger of so managing the Sabbath-school that it will become a mere form, mechanical but spiritless. It lacks Jesus. Do not allow all your strength and energy to be given to worldly, temporal things during the week, and so have no energy and moral strength to give to the service of Christ on the Sabbath. There is earnest work to be done just now. We have not a moment's time to use selfishly. Let all we do be done with an eye single to the glory of God. Never rest till every child in your class is brought to the saving knowledge of Christ.

It is important that the exercises in our camp-meeting Sabbath-schools be conducted with order, promptness, and efficiency. Then the right mould will be given to Sabbath-schools in the different churches, as the people return to their homes. Do not allow business and other interests to crowd out the Sabbath-school interest, so that it shall be considered a matter of no special consequence.

Very much can be done for the education and moral and religious training of our youth by well organized, properly conducted Sabbath-schools. Time and attention should be given to this branch of the work; for its importance in its influence upon our youth cannot be estimated. But our teachers need to be converted men and women, who know what it means to wrestle with God, who will not be at rest until the hearts of the children are tuned to love, praise, and glorify God. Who will be the earnest workers for souls in our Sabbath-schools? Who will take the youth separately, and talk and pray with them, and make personal appeals to them, beseeching them to yield their heart to Jesus, that they may be as a sweet savor to Christ? As we view the magnitude of the work, and see how little it is appreciated, we feel like groaning in spirit and exclaiming, Who will accept these grave responsibilities and watch for souls as they that must give an account? We are Christ's representatives upon the earth. How do we fulfill our mission? Christ's representatives will be in daily communion with him. Their words will be select, their speech seasoned with grace, their hearts filled with love, their efforts sincere, earnest, persevering, to save souls for whom Christ has died. Let all do their utmost to work for the salvation of the dear children and youth, and by and by they will listen with joy to the words of Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” What is this joy?—It is beholding the redeemed saints saved through their instrumentality, through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Mrs. E. G. White, in S. S. Worker

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