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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Ms 67, 1901

    The Church School


    July 29, 1901 [typed]

    This manuscript is published in entirety in SpM 183-191.

    The Church School. Instruction to Teachers and Parents.

    The establishment and location of church schools is a matter of the utmost importance and should receive careful attention. Only after the most wise, judicious plans have been laid, should such a school be established. Mistakes may be made by being in too great haste to locate and establish church schools.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 1

    Very much of the success of a church school depends on the teacher chosen. Church school teachers should not be children, who have not come to maturity, who are able to do only a cheap class of work. The one placed in charge of a church school should be of suitable age; and where the number of students is sufficient, assistants should be selected from the students. Thus the students can gain an experience of great value.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 2

    Church school teachers should be men and women who have a humble estimate of themselves, who are not full of vain conceit. They should be humble, faithful workers, filled with the true missionary spirit, workers who have learned to put their trust in God and to do their work in His name. They should possess the attributes of Christ’s character—patience, kindness, mercy, and love; and into the daily experience they should bring the Saviour’s righteousness and peace and grace. Then, working with fragrant influence, they will give evidence of what grace can do through the weakness of the human agents who make God their dependence and their trust.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 3

    The Lord has shown me what can be done for the younger children of our people, if they are educated in the fear and love of God. Let every church school established be conducted with such order that Christ can honor the schoolroom with His presence. There is much work to do for the Master. He will accept no cheap, shoddy service. Let teachers be learners, putting the whole mind to the task of learning how to do service for the Master. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” [Psalm 111:10.] Let the one who is preparing to labor as a church school teacher learn to work on correct principles.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 4

    “Precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” [Isaiah 28:10.] Thus the children attending a church school are to be educated. Let teachers show sympathy and tenderness in dealing with human minds. Let them reveal the love of God. Let the words they speak be kindly and encouraging. Then as they work for their students, what a transformation will be wrought in the rough characters of those who have not been properly educated in the home. The grace of God, revealed in words and works, will touch hearts.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 5

    Teachers should not aspire to do wonderful things in their own strength. In all their service they must reveal the love of Jesus. True self-respect must be mingled with all their work. The Lord can make even youthful teachers channels for the revealing of His grace.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 6

    Teachers are not to allow themselves to be quick-tempered. They should not manifest temper. They should not punish harshly the children that are in need of reform. Let the teacher first know and understand that self must be kept in subjection. Think of the boundless love Christ has bestowed on human beings. Never forget that over you there is a divine Teacher, whose subject you are, and under whose control you are ever to be. Humble the heart before God. It will be softened and subdued by the thought of the riches God has bestowed on His children. You will realize something of the meaning of the words, “You, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” [Colossians 1:21, 22.]16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 7

    Sometimes it is found that the school has been established in a church where the disorderly element among the children makes the work very hard. The children who have not received proper training in the home will cause much trouble in the school, and by their perversity will make the heart of the teacher sad. But let not the teacher become discouraged. Test and trial bring experience. If the children are disobedient and unruly, there is all the more need of strenuous effort. The fact that there are children with such characters is one of the reasons why church schools should be established. The children that parents have neglected to educate and discipline aright must be saved.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 8

    Never give up the school work in a place where a church school has been established, unless God plainly directs that this should be done. With God’s help, the teacher may do a grand, saving work in changing the order of things. If the teacher works patiently, earnestly, perseveringly, in Christ’s lines, the reformatory work done in the school will extend to the homes of the children, creating a purer, more refined, more Christlike atmosphere. This is indeed missionary work of the highest order. Teachers who do this work are doing God service for this life and for the life eternal.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 9

    Parents also have a part to act in this work. Let parents remember that much more will be accomplished by the work of the school, if they themselves realize the advantages their children will obtain in such a school. Let them understand that there must be a change in the management of their children before they and their children reveal the peace and love which come with God’s converting grace.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 10

    If parents will only realize that their neglect of duty is a grave sin, which should be repented of; if they will only unite with the teacher who is working for the salvation of their children, a most wonderful work can be done for the children. By prayer, by patience, by forbearance, parents can undo much of the wrong caused by their impatience and unwise indulgence. Let the church school be a place where parents as well as children shall be educated. Let parents and teachers take hold of the work together. Parents, remember that you yourselves will be benefited by the presence of an earnest, God-fearing church school teacher.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 11

    The Lord desires the churches in every place to take hold more diligently of the church school work, giving liberally to sustain the teachers. The question has been asked, “Could not the second tithe be used for the support of the church school work?” It could be used for no better purpose.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 12

    Parents should devise ways and means for keeping their children usefully busy. Let the children be given little pieces of land to cultivate, that they may have something to give as a freewill offering. Parents must never forget that they must work earnestly for themselves and their little ones, if they with them are gathered into the ark of safety. We are still in the enemy’s country. Let parents strive to reach a higher standard, and to carry their children with them. Let them cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 13

    Prove your willingness to make every effort in your power to place your children in the most favorable situation for forming the character that God requires His servants to form. Exercise every spiritual sinew and muscle to save your little flock. The powers of hell will conspire for your destruction. Pray much more than you do. Lovingly, tenderly teach your children to come to God as a heavenly Father. By your example in the management of the home, teach them self-control. Teach them to be helpful in the home. Tell them that Christ lived not to please Himself. The Holy Spirit will fill your mind with the most precious thoughts as you work for your own salvation and the salvation of your children.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 14

    Parents, gather the rays of divine light which are shining upon your pathway. Walk in the light as Christ is in the light. As you take up the work of saving your children and maintaining your position on the highway of holiness, the most provoking trials will come. But do not lose your hold. Cling to Jesus. He says, “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me.” [Isaiah 27:5.] Difficulties will arise. You will meet with obstacles. Look constantly to Jesus. When an emergency arises, ask, “Lord, what shall I do now?” If you refuse to storm or fret or scold, the Lord will show you the way through. He will help you to use the talent of speech in such a Christlike way that the precious attributes of patience, comfort, and love will be brought into the home.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 15

    Parents, you have not all obtained victory in the use of the talent of speech. May the Lord save you from lowering yourselves in the estimation of your children by speaking indiscreet, passionate words. Do all in your power to stand on vantage ground before your children. By following a Christlike course of action, holding firmly to the promises of God, you may be evangelists in the home, ministers of grace to your children.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 16

    Learn the lesson which Christ gave after the miracle of feeding the five thousand. “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” [John 6:12.] The Lord is constantly exercising His miracle-working power in helping parents as they strive to lead their children to Him.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 17

    Fathers and mothers, tell your children about the miracle-working power of God. Take them into the garden and explain to them how He causes the seed sown to grow. As the children study the great lesson book of nature, God will impress their minds. The farmer ploughs his land and sows the seed, but he cannot make the seed grow. He must depend upon God to do that which no human power can do. The Lord puts His own vital Spirit into the seed, causing it to spring forth into life. Under His care the germ of life breaks through the hard crust encasing it and springs up to bear fruit. First appears the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. As children are told of the work that God does for the seed, they learn the secret of growth in grace.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 18

    Nature is full of lessons of the love of God. Rightly understood, these lessons lead to the Creator. They point from nature to nature’s God, teaching those simple, holy truths which cleanse the mind, bringing it into close touch with God. These lessons emphasize the truth that science and religion cannot be divorced.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 19

    Christ came to this earth to teach men the mysteries of the kingdom of God. But men could not by human reasoning understand His lessons. Man’s wisdom cannot originate the science which is divine.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 20

    The great Teacher came from heaven to plant in this world the tree of life. He calls on nature to reflect to human minds the light that floods the threshold of heaven, that men and women may obey His word. And nature does the bidding of the Creator. To the heart softened by the grace of God, the sun, the moon, the stars, the lofty trees, the flowers of the field, utter their words of counsel and advice. The sowing of the seed carries the mind to spiritual seed-sowing. The tree stands forth declaring that a good tree cannot bear evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bear good fruit. “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” [Matthew 7:16.] Even the tares have a lesson to teach. They are of Satan’s sowing, and if left unchecked, spoil the wheat by their rank growth.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 21

    When man is reconciled to God, nature speaks to him in words of heavenly wisdom, bearing testimony to the eternal truth of God’s Word. As Christ tells us the meaning of the things in nature, the science of true religion flashes forth, explaining the relation of the law of God to the natural and the spiritual world.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 22

    It seems cruel to establish our schools in the cities, where the students are prevented from learning the precious lessons taught by nature. It is a mistake to call families into the city where children and youth breathe an atmosphere of corruption and crime, sin and violence, intemperance and ungodliness. O, it is a terrible mistake to allow children to come in contact with that which makes such a fearful impression on their senses. Children and youth cannot be too carefully guarded from familiarity with the pictures of iniquity so common in all large cities.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 23

    Years ago schools should have been established on large tracts of land, where children could have been educated largely from the book of nature. Had this been done, what a different condition of things there would now be in our churches. We are in need of being uplifted, cleansed, purified. In our conversation we are altogether too cheap and common. There are tares growing among the wheat, and too often the tares over-top the wheat.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 24

    I rejoiced when I heard that the Battle Creek school was to be established in a farming district. I know that there will be less temptation there for the students than there would be in the cities that are fast becoming as Sodom and Gomorrah, preparing for destruction by fire. The popular sentiment is that cities should be chosen as locations for our schools. But God desires us to leave the sin-polluted atmosphere of the cities. It is His design that our schools shall be established where the atmosphere is purer.16LtMs, Ms 67, 1901, par. 25

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