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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899) - Contents
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    Ms 92, 1899

    The Importance of Christ’s Lessons to His Church in the Wilderness


    July 12, 1899 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in CG 79-80; 7BC 932-933, 936; 7ABC 460; 4MR 245. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” [Ephesians 4:29-32.] “Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering, and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.” [Ephesians 5:1, 2.]14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 1

    Here are presented the possibilities and probabilities before the Christian. The talent of speech ranks with the highest gifts. “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle also the whole body.” “Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among you, let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness and wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your heart, glory not, and lie not against the truth.” [James 3:2, 13, 14.] Words, spoken under the sanctification of the Spirit, are of great value. The voice is a talent which if improved cannot be measured.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 2

    Industry is a talent. God has given to men and women a body, and members which compose the body. The head, the hands, the feet, the eyes, the ears, the heart, and every organ, are parts of the living machinery. “We are laborers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry; ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Education does not consist in using the brain alone. The hands must act their part in the education. Physical employment is a part of the education essential for every student. Education is lacking in an important line if the students are not taught how to exercise their muscles in useful labor.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 3

    Students who have not been educated to be practical men and women, able to work in business lines, cannot claim to be educated. The energies which should have been devoted to business of various lines have been neglected. The students have obtained book knowledge without a knowledge of physical labor. Their object is to obtain a professorship, and then, if they have a school, they in their turn educate the youth without teaching them how to use their physical powers to obtain knowledge in various lines. They have a defective education.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 4

    The physical, mental, and moral powers combined must be used in working together with God. There must be a union of action, an equal taxation of all the powers. In His great goodness God has endowed the human agent with capabilities, so that he may co-operate with God in the great work Christ came to our world to do. The Saviour gave His life, His whole being, for the accomplishment of the work. We are laborers together with God. Every worker in the Lord’s vineyard should know how to carry on the great trust left in his charge as a faithful steward for God.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 5

    Man must gather more and more knowledge, adding to the abilities God has given him, contributing rays of light for the benefit of those who shall take up the work after him. New, fresh ideas and appliances should be added to the general stock, developing more and more perfectly the Lord’s plans for the education of the youth in our schools, taking up the instruction the Lord Jesus Christ gave when He was the invisible Leader of more than a million people, which His own right hand had delivered from Egyptian bondage. We can gather no purer and stronger intelligence than Christ gave as the Leader of that vast congregation. The instruction coming from Him is the higher education. He taught His people to educate and train their children to be practical in all their service to God, to be pure, clean, holy in obeying all His commandments.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 6

    The work of building the tabernacle is a lesson book for all the students in our schools. The method, organization, discipline, [and] tact shown in the work teach important lessons. All was to be done according to the education given to Moses in the mount. And the children had their part to act as they journeyed through the wilderness. There were to be no idlers in the encampment. To every one was assigned a part. This was to give the people increasing confidence in the soundness of the methods and lessons given to Moses to be given to them. As they travelled, their march was a lesson in order and unity. The under-educators were to learn the commandments of God, which were set to song, and the very tread of the people through the wilderness was to teach order and discipline. They were to follow where their educators led the way.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 7

    Their Leader gave special directions to Moses, to be given to the responsible men, that as they advanced step by step, the children were to be taught, singing as they journeyed. Through the forty years of wilderness-wandering the people, young and old, were given a variety of exercises, which demanded the exercise of brain, bone, and muscle. Christ was their Teacher, and every lesson given was preserved in writing, to be given by Moses to the people in their travels. Nothing in the plan or management was to be criticized, for it was the higher education.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 8

    Had modern teachers in literary and physical lines drawn their lessons and principles of action from the principles of the Old Testament, there would be today a vast difference in the text books used in our educational institutions. There are a mass of valueless lesson books. The very best thing that teachers can do is to take the words of the great Teacher to the congregation of Israel, for the mental, physical, and moral improvement of the powers of the whole being, for the formation of right sentiments, for the development of practical usefulness.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 9

    All the knowledge which can be imparted in philosophy, mathematics, languages, history, law, and medicine is not sufficient to bring forth from our schools well-trained, educated scholars. All that is learned through the medium of books and experiments, through the teaching of professors, the student can take from school with him; but he is not educated unless he has the highest knowledge that a human being can possess, knowledge which is after the divine similitude of the teaching given by Christ when enshrouded in the pillar of cloud.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 10

    He who understands the laws of God’s kingdom, and how to conduct himself in this world as a citizen of heaven, works upon the highest principles for his present and eternal good. If he takes heed to the instruction which fell from the lips of Jesus Christ as He educated His church in the wilderness, he possesses a mind habituated to dwell upon, to observe, the teaching of the great I AM. He has the higher education. He has a clear perception of what constitutes higher education. The mental powers will become strengthened, as in the case of Daniel, when students shall, like Daniel, place themselves, in the fear of the Lord, under the most favorable conditions to learn the lessons given to our world regarding the knowledge of the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 11

    Mental discipline is required in our schools that the students may understand that Christ, the greatest of all Teachers, is giving them correct lessons. Knowledge is obtained by the practical working out of these lessons. All the efforts of our teachers are to be made to keep one definite object before the students—the outline of God’s expressed will. The books that have been issued by infidels should not find place in our schools. What is God’s covenant with the people He is seeking to save today, in 1899? What are the terms of salvation? What is the education which is of the most value today. We are told in the forty-second, forty-ninth, fifty-first, fifty-second, fifty-fifth, and fifty-eighth chapters of Isaiah, and in the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth chapters of Exodus.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 12

    It has been ever a grievous dishonor to God, our Creator and our Redeemer, that so little attention is given to the incarnation and mediation of Christ. He offered Himself as a sacrifice to God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Why should not the students in our schools be taught that it was Christ who gave Himself for the sins of the world because of Adam’s transgression? Christ has purchased the world by making a ransom for it, by taking human nature. He was not only the offering, but He Himself was the Offerer. He clothed his divinity with humanity, and voluntarily took upon Him human nature, making it possible to offer Himself as a ransom.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 13

    “I am the living bread which came down from heaven,” He said. “If any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever.” It is the tree of life. “And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. ... Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. ... It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [John 6:51, 54-57, 63.]14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 14

    Christ was without sin, else His life in human flesh and His death on the cross would have been of no more value in procuring grace for the sinner than the death of any other man. While He took upon Him humanity, it was a life taken into union with Deity. He could lay down His life as priest and also victim. He possessed in Himself power to lay it down and take it up again. He offered Himself without spot to God.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 15

    The atonement of Christ sealed forever the everlasting covenant of grace. It was the fulfilling of every condition upon which God suspended the free communication of grace to the human family. Every barrier was then broken down which intercepted the freest fulness of the exercise of grace, mercy, peace, and love to the most guilty of Adam’s race.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 16

    The diligent, painstaking teacher will present an education to his students that is as broad as the world, reaching to the highest heaven, and education which cannot be completed in this world. This education will be continued through eternal ages in the higher grade.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 17

    Christ’s priestly intercession is now going on in the sanctuary above in our behalf. But how few have a real understanding that our great High Priest presents before the Father His own blood, claiming for the sinner who receives Him as his personal Saviour all the graces which His covenant embraces as the reward of His sacrifice. This sacrifice made Him abundantly able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him, seeing He liveth to make intercession for them. May the Lord teach His people the importance of the subjects and principles which concern the preparation for the higher school. They know so little compared with what they might know if they understood what is comprehended in higher education. May the Lord increase our perceptive faculties, enabling us to learn the lessons which mean so much to every soul.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 18

    Love brought Christ down from heaven to be our Teacher. All the words spoken by Him when enshrouded in the pillar of cloud are of the highest value to fathers and mothers in teaching their children. Lessons may be learned from the preparation made in following the precise directions given by the One who was leading that vast congregation in the wilderness. His words are of the highest value also to the educators in our schools. The neglect to practice the principles given by Christ to His church in the wilderness is the explanation of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the Jews to all parts of the world. Had they been faithful to their sacred trust, they would have advanced in experience, and would have stood above every nation upon the face of the earth.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 19

    These lessons God designed should be kept before every family. “All Scripture is given by inspiration, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Timothy 3:16, 17.] What is to be done in this our school in Cooranbong? Teach those things that will keep Christ ever before the students. They should receive this instruction into their hearts, and should practice it. This would be to them as eating of the tree of life.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 20

    The Lord is soon to come, and the great burden of all who love God should be to co-operate with Him, and by repentance and faith accept the provisions made, that the covenant of God may be fulfilled in them. We must first receive the holy oil which is emptied out of the two olive branches, that we may impart it to others.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 21

    There is abundant encouragement for every teacher, fathers, mothers, educators in our schools, to educate, educate, line upon line, and precept upon precept. Everything else is of a secondary consideration. Christ is their sufficiency. In taking the nature of man He was exposed to all the sharpness of temptation, all the bitterness of the keenest sorrow, as He saw so many yielding to Satan’s devices. He can sympathize with all who are tempted. He was made like unto them in all things, that He might know how to deliver the godly out of temptation. We have every encouragement to draw nigh unto God through Christ; for we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 22

    “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” [Hebrews 4:16.] “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. ... And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” [John 1:14, 16; 3:36.]14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 23

    This is the education that is to be given to our students. The manner of Christ’s instruction is to be followed. His words are to be voiced. Of those who will lay hold of Him in earnest faith, conforming themselves to Him in soul, body, and spirit, by self-denial, as did Daniel, that their mental powers may be sharp and clear, of all who place themselves in right relation to God, it may be said as of the Hebrew captives: “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge”—bear in mind that education is knowledge only through practice—“and skill in all learning and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 24

    “Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they stood before the king. 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.” [Daniel 1:17-20.]14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 25

    This may be the history of the youth who attend our schools if they are willing to practice self-denial, and to learn that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Like Aaron, who symbolized Christ, the Saviour bears the names of all His people upon His heart in the holy place. Our great High Priest remembers all the words by which He has encouraged them to trust, for He is ever mindful of His covenant.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 26

    “He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. He hath given meat unto them that fear him; he will ever be mindful of his covenant. ... The works of his hands are verity and judgment. All his commandments are sure. They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He sent redemption unto his people; he hath commanded his covenant forever. Holy and reverend is his name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that keep his commandments: his praise endureth forever.” [Psalm 111:4, 5, 7-10.]14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 27

    The standard that Christ gave by word of mouth to Moses is a standard of absolute completeness—the perfection of the Saviour’s character. By beholding Christ today, tomorrow, in our families, in the church, we are to educate the youth to behold Him, to teach diligently His words spoken to the children of Israel. We are to regard these words as the words of God.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 28

    “And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine; and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, an holy nation.” [Exodus 19:3-6.]14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 29

    “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?” [Deuteronomy 4:5-7.]14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 30

    “These are the commandments, the statutes, the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it, that thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life, that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 31

    “Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord, and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” [Deuteronomy 6:1-7.]14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 32

    The life of Christ was one of obedience. Let fathers, mothers, and the educators in our schools remember that it is a higher branch of education to teach children obedience. Altogether too little importance is attached to this line of education. The Old Testament Scriptures contain lessons taught by Christ, the One who loved us, and gave Himself for us. The history of Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the very beginning of this earth’s history is fully given.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 33

    By that one act of disobedience our first parents lost their beautiful Eden home. And it was such a little thing! We have reason to be thankful that it was not a larger matter, because if it had been, little disregards in disobedience would have been multiplied. It was the least test that God could give the holy pair in Eden. Disobedience and transgression are ever a great offense to God. Unfaithfulness in that which is least will soon, if uncorrected, lead to transgression in that which is great. It is not the greatness of the disobedience, but the disobedience itself, which is the crime.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 34

    Christ was obedient unto death. He prayed, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but thy will, O God, be done.” [Matthew 26:39.] “If by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” [Romans 5:19.] The garden of Eden, with its disobedience and transgression, and its penalty of death, stands before us in contrast with the garden of Gethsemane, where Christ agonized at the thought of standing as a sinner against the Father He loved, to be separated and bear the chastisement, to be treated as an enemy, that through Him the world might be saved. The thought wrung from His pale and quivering lips the words, If it be possible to save man in any other way, let this cup pass from Me. But Thy will, not Mine, be done.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 35

    A great agony was upon the Saviour, and sweat drops of blood fell from His brow and moistened the sods of Gethsemane. His intercession of agony brought a strong angel from glory to soothe and strengthen the divine Sufferer. Let every parent, every educator, with the love of Jesus in his heart, present the scenes of Gethsemane and the judgment hall.14LtMs, Ms 92, 1899, par. 36

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