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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903) - Contents
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    Ms 54, 1903

    Talk/The Work of Our Fernando School

    Los Angeles, California

    September 17, 1902

    This manuscript is published in entirety in 8MR 2-7; CT 204-210.

    September 17, 1902

    Remarks by Mrs. E. G. White at the Los Angeles Camp-meeting

    I read from the second epistle of Peter: “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” [2 Peter 1:1-4.]18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 1

    This Scripture is full of instruction for those who are engaged in educational work for our youth. Our brethren in positions of responsibility should give special study to the management of matters in connection with the establishment of new schools for the training of our children, in order that the youth may be surrounded by circumstances the most favorable for the formation of a character strong enough to withstand the evils of this world.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 2

    A Lesson From Israel

    After the descendants of Abraham had spent many years in Egyptian servitude, God raised up Moses to deliver them from their oppressors. In order to induce the Egyptians to heed the message given to them through Moses, God brought upon them many plagues. But they continued to harden their hearts. Because of their stubborn resistance, Moses was at last directed to say to Pharaoh, “Thus saith the Lord, Israel is My son, even My firstborn; and I say unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me. And if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.” [Exodus 4:22, 23.]18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 3

    Before Egypt was visited by this terrible judgment, the word of the Lord came to the fathers and mothers among the Israelites, directing them to gather their children with them into the house, there to remain until the destroying angel had passed over the land. “Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two sideposts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house 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 sideposts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.” [Exodus 12:21-23.]18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 4

    “The children of Israel ... did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.” [Verse 28.]18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 5

    “It came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.” [Verse 29.] God passed over the homes of the Israelites. Upon the children of the parents who were faithful in gathering their little ones within the circle of the home, no judgment fell.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 6

    This experience of the Israelites is a wonderful lesson for us today. In this time of peril, God-fearing parents, like the fathers and mothers of ancient Israel, should understand the will of the Lord concerning themselves and their children. In planning for the education of their children outside the home, they should realize that it is not safe now to send them to public schools. Parents should endeavor to send their children to schools where they can obtain an education based on a scriptural foundation—an education to be gained gradually, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 7

    The Establishment of Christian Schools

    Some may ask, “How are such schools to be established?” We are not a rich people, but if we pray in faith, and let the Lord work in our behalf, He will open ways before us to establish small schools in retired places for the education of our youth not only in the Scriptures and in book learning, but in many lines of manual labor.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 8

    The necessity for establishing such schools is urged upon me very strongly because of the cruel neglect of many parents properly to educate their children in the home school. Multitudes of fathers and mothers have seemed to think that if the lines of control were put into the hands of their children, they would develop into useful young men and young women. But the Lord has instructed me in regard to this matter. In the visions of the night I saw standing by the side of these neglected children the one who was cast out of the heavenly courts because he originated sin. He, the enemy of souls, was standing by, watching for opportunities to gain control of the mind of every child whose parents had not given faithful instruction in regard to Satan’s snares.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 9

    The Home School

    Upon every Christian parent there rests the solemn obligation of giving to his children an education that will lead them to gain a knowledge of the Lord and to become partakers of the divine nature through obedience to God’s will and way. A child’s first school should be his home. His first instructors should be his father and his mother. His first lessons should be the lessons of respect, obedience, reverence, and self-control. If he is not instructed aright by his parents, Satan will instruct him in evil through agencies that are most objectionable. How important, then, is the school in the home! Here the character is first shaped. Here the destiny of souls is often largely influenced. Even the parents who are endeavoring to do their best have not a hundredth part of the realization they should have of the value of a human soul.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 10

    The school in the home should be a place where children are taught that the eye of God is upon them, observing all that they do. If this thought were deeply impressed upon the mind, the work of governing children would be made much easier. In the home school our boys and girls are being prepared to attend a church school when they reach a proper age to associate more intimately with other children. Constantly parents should keep this in view, realizing that their children are God’s purchased little ones to be trained for lives of usefulness in the Master’s service and for a home in the future, eternal world. The father and the mother, as teachers in the home school, should consecrate hands, tongue, brain, and every power of the being to God, in order that they may fulfil their high and holy mission.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 11

    To shield their children from contaminating influences, parents should instruct them in principles of purity. Those who form the habit of obedience and self-control in the home life will have but little difficulty in school life and, if surrounded by Christian influences, will escape many temptations that usually beset the youth. Let us train our children so that they will remain true to God under all circumstances and in all places. In their tender years let us surround them with influences that will tend to strengthen character.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 12

    The Fernando School

    Parents who give their children proper instruction at home will train them to obey their teachers at school. And, unless surrounded by unusual circumstances, they will, in time, see the necessity of sending their children to some school outside the home. This school may be simply a church school, or it may be an intermediate school or a large training school. I am pleased to learn that here in Southern California you have established a school at Fernando, and that it will be opened in about a week. I am glad that the Lord has wrought for you in providing a place for the education of your children.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 13

    A few days ago I had the privilege of seeing the buildings and the surroundings of the Fernando school. My time was very limited, but I was thankful for the opportunity of visiting the school grounds. I am glad that you are several miles away from the city of Los Angeles. You have good buildings and are in a favorable place for school work. I greatly desire that you shall make a right beginning. In planning for the erection of cottages for our brethren and sisters who may move there, be careful not to allow buildings to be put up too near the school property. Try to secure the land lying near the school, so that it will be impossible for houses to be built close to the campus. The land may be used for agricultural purposes. Later on, you may find it advisable to introduce various trades for the employment and training of the students; but at present about all that you can do is to teach them how to cultivate the land so that it shall yield its fruit.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 14

    The Subjects to be Taught

    The question has been asked, “What shall we teach in the Fernando school?” Teach the very simplest lessons. You should not make a great parade before the world, showing what you expect to do, as if you were planning to do something wonderful. No, indeed. Take hold of this school with meekness. Tell your brethren and friends that you are planning to conduct an industrial school, a school in which practical instruction in agriculture and various trades will be connected with instruction in book learning. Boast neither of the branches of study you expect to teach nor of the industrial work you hope to do; but tell every one who inquires that you intend to do the best you can to give your students a physical, mental, and spiritual training that will fit them for usefulness in this life and prepare them for the future, immortal life.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 15

    What influence do you think it would have to publish, in your announcement of the school, that you would endeavor to give to the students a training that would prepare them for the future, immortal life, because you desire to see them live throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity? I believe such a statement would have a far greater influence upon the brethren and sisters of this Conference, and upon the community in the midst of which the school is located, than would the display of any number of courses of study in ancient and modern languages and other higher branches of learning.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 16

    Let the school prove itself. Then the patrons will not be disappointed, and the students will not claim that they were promised instruction in certain studies which, after entering the school, they were not permitted to take up. Let it be understood at the beginning that the Bible lies at the foundation of all education.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 17

    An earnest study of God’s Word, resulting in transformation of character and in a fitness for service, will make the Fernando school a power for good. My brethren who are to be connected with this school, your strength lies not in the number of languages you may teach or in telling how large a “college” you have. Keep silent on these points. Silence in regard to the great things you plan to do will help you more than all the positive assertions, and the promises, that you might publish in your announcements. You need to publish nothing of the kind. By faithfulness in the school, you should demonstrate that you are working on foundation principles, principles that will prepare the students for entrance through the pearly gates into the heavenly city. The saving of souls is worth far more than mere intellectual training. A pretentious display of human learning, the manifestation of pride of personal appearance, is worthless. The Lord values obedience to His will; for only by walking humbly and obediently before Him, can man glorify God.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 18

    In giving us the privilege of studying His Word, the Lord has set before us a rich banquet. Many are the benefits derived from feasting on His Word, which is represented by Him as being His flesh and blood—His spirit and life. By partaking of this Word, our spiritual strength is increased; we grow in grace and in a knowledge of the truth; habits of self-control are formed and strengthened; the infirmities of childhood—fretfulness, wilfulness, selfishness, hasty words, passionate acts—disappear, and in their place are developed the graces of Christian manhood and womanhood.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 19

    If your students, besides studying God’s Word, learn no more than how to use correctly the English language in reading, writing, spelling, and speaking, a great work for humanity will have been accomplished. Those who are trained for service in the Lord’s work should be taught how to talk properly in ordinary conversation and before congregations. Many a laborer’s usefulness is marred by his ignorance in regard to correct breathing and clear, forcible speaking. Many have not learned to give the right emphasis to the words they read and speak. Often the enunciation is indistinct. A thorough training in the use of the English language is of far more value to a youth than is a superficial study of foreign languages to the neglect of his mother tongue.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 20

    Let the Fernando school be conducted along the lines of the ancient schools of the prophets, the Word of God lying at the foundation of all. Let not the students attempt to grasp the higher rounds of the ladder first. There are those who have attended other schools, thinking that they could obtain an advanced education; but they have been so intent on reaching the higher rounds of the ladder that they have never been humble enough to learn of Christ. Had they placed their feet on the lower rounds first, they could have made progress, learning more and still more of the Great Teacher.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 21

    The instructors will find it greatly to their advantage to take hold interestedly with the students in manual labor, showing them how to work. By co-operating with the youth in this practical way, the teachers can bind the hearts of the students to themselves by the cords of sympathy and brotherly love. Christian kindness and sociability are powerful factors in the winning of the affections of the youth.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 22

    Teachers, take hold of the school work with diligence and patience. Realize that yours is not a common work. You are laboring for time and for eternity, molding the minds of the students for entrance into the higher school—the school above. Every right principle, every truth, learned in an earthly school, will advance us just that much in the heavenly school. As Christ walked and talked with His disciples during His ministry on this earth, so He will teach us in the school above, leading us by the side of the river of living waters and revealing to us truths that in this life must remain hidden mysteries because of the limitations of the human mind so marred by sin. In the heavenly school we shall have opportunity to attain, step by step, to the greatest heights of learning. There, as children of the heavenly King, we shall ever dwell with the members of the royal family; there we shall see the King in His beauty and behold His matchless charms.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 23

    The Training of Missionaries

    It is important that we should have such schools as the one soon to be opened at Fernando. To us has been committed a great work—the work of proclaiming the third angel’s message to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. We have but few missionaries. From home and abroad are coming many urgent calls for workers. Young men and young women, the middle aged, and, in fact, all who are able to engage in the Master’s service, should be putting their minds to the stretch in an effort to prepare to meet these calls. From the light God has given me, I know we do not use the faculties of the mind half as diligently as we should in an effort to fit ourselves for greater usefulness. If we consecrate mind and body to God’s service, obeying His law, He will give us sanctified moral power for every undertaking.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 24

    Every man and every woman in our ranks, whether a parent or not, ought to be intensely interested in the work of educating our youth for active service in the Lord’s vineyard. We cannot afford to allow our children to drift away into the world and to fall under the control of the enemy. Let us come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Let us do all in our power to make the Fernando school a blessing to our youth. Teachers and students, you can do much to bring this about by wearing the yoke of Christ, daily learning of Him His meekness and lowliness. Those who are not directly connected with the school can help to make it a blessing by giving it their hearty support. Thus we shall all be “laborers together with God” [1 Corinthians 3:9], and receive the reward of the faithful, even an entrance into the school above.18LtMs, Ms 54, 1903, par. 25

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