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Counsels on Sabbath School Work

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    Chapter 2—A School for Bible Study

    Search the Scriptures

    No man, woman, or youth can attain to Christian perfection and neglect the study of the word of God. By carefully and closely searching His word we shall obey the injunction of Christ, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.” This search enables the student to observe closely the divine Model, for they testify of Christ. The Pattern must be inspected often and closely in order to imitate it. As one becomes acquainted with the history of the Redeemer, he discovers in himself defects of character; his unlikeness to Christ is so great that he sees he cannot be a follower without a very great change in his life. Still he studies, with a desire to be like his great Exemplar; he catches the looks, the spirit, of his beloved Master; by beholding he becomes changed. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” ...CSW 17.1

    The word of God, spoken to the heart, has an animating power, and those who will frame any excuse for neglecting to become acquainted with it will neglect the claims of God in many respects. The character will be deformed, the words and acts a reproach to the truth. The apostle tells us, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” One of the prophets of God exclaims, “While I was musing the fire burned.” If Christians would earnestly search the Scriptures, more hearts would burn with the vivid truths therein revealed. Their hopes would brighten with the precious promises strown like pearls all through the Sacred Writings. In contemplating the history of the patriarchs, the prophets, the men who loved and feared God and walked with Him, hearts will glow with the spirit which animated these worthies. As the mind dwells upon the virtue and piety of holy men of old, the spirit which inspired them will kindle a flame of love and holy fervor in the hearts of those who would be like them in character.CSW 17.2

    Neglect Not the Sabbath School Lesson

    The student of the Sabbath school should feel as thoroughly in earnest to become intelligent in the knowledge of the Scriptures as to excel in the study of the sciences. If either is neglected, it should be the lessons of the six days. The injunction of our Saviour should be religiously regarded by every man, woman, and child who professes His name.CSW 18.1

    Teachers in the Sabbath school have a missionary field given them to teach the Scriptures, not, parrot-like, to repeat over that which they have taken no pains to understand. “They are they which testify of Me”—the Redeemer, Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. If teachers are not imbued with the spirit of truth, and care not for the knowledge of what is revealed in the word of God, how can they present the truth in an attractive light to those under their charge?CSW 18.2

    The prayer of Christ for His disciples was, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” If we are to be sanctified through a knowledge of the truth found in the word of God, we must have an intelligent knowledge of His will therein revealed. We must search the Scriptures, not merely rush through a chapter and repeat it, taking no pains to understand it, but we must dig for the jewel of truth which will enrich the mind, and fortify the soul against the wiles and temptations of the archdeceiver.CSW 19.1

    Trifling Excuses for Neglect

    Parents plead trifling excuses for not interesting themselves in the lessons with their children, and they fail to become conversant with the Scriptures. Fathers as well as mothers excuse themselves from disciplining their own minds. They do not seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, but exalt the temporal above the spiritual and eternal. This forgetfulness of God and neglect of His word is the example they give their children, which molds their minds after the worldly standard and not after the exalted standard erected by Christ.CSW 19.2

    Some fathers will while away hours in their own amusement, in conversation upon worldly things, and put God out of their thoughts and hearts. How much more profitable to be faithful disciples of Christ, engaged in searching the Scriptures that they may be thoroughly furnished to all good works, and be able to give an intelligent explanation of the word given of God to guide our footsteps to the eternal shores.CSW 20.1

    Mothers are heard to deplore that they have no time to teach their children, no time to instruct them in the word of God. But these same mothers find time for outward adorning, time to ornament with tucks and ruffles and needless stitching. Needless trimming is seen upon their own dresses and their children's. The inward adorning of the mind and the culture of the soul are neglected as though inferior to the adornment of the apparel. The minds of mothers and children are starved in order to follow custom and fashion.CSW 20.2

    All the Family to Unite in Bible Study

    Fathers and mothers, we entreat you to take up your long-neglected duties. Search the Scriptures yourselves; assist your children in the study of the Sacred Word. Make diligent work because of past neglect. Do not send the children away by themselves to study the Bible, but read it with them, teach them in a simple manner what you know, and keep in the school of Christ as diligent students yourselves. Be determined that this work shall not be neglected. Mothers, dress yourselves and your children in modest apparel, clean and neat, but without needless adornment. When you learn to do this, to dress with conscientious plainness, then you will have no excuse for being novices in the Scriptures. Follow Christ's injunction, “Search the Scriptures;” then you will advance in spiritual strength yourselves, and be able to instruct your children so that they need not come to the Sabbath school untaught.CSW 20.3

    Many of the youth say, I have no time to study my lesson. But what are they doing? Some are crowding in every moment to earn a few cents more, when this time pressed into work, if given to the study of the Bible, would, if they practiced its lessons, save them more than the amount gained by overwork. It would save much that is expended in needless ornaments, and preserve vigor of mind to understand the mystery of godliness. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” But these very youth who profess to be Christians gratify the desires of the carnal heart in following their own inclinations; and God-given probationary time, granted them to become acquainted with the precious truths of the Bible, is devoted to the reading of fictitious tales.CSW 21.1

    This habit, once formed, is difficult to overcome; but it can be done, it must be done by all who are candidates for the heavenly world. That mind is ruined which is allowed to be absorbed in story reading. The imagination becomes diseased, sentimentalism takes possession of the mind, and there is a vague unrest, a strange appetite for unwholesome mental food, which is constantly unbalancing the mind. Thousands are today in the insane asylum whose minds became unbalanced by novel reading, which results in air-castle building, and lovesick sentimentalism. The Bible is the book of books. It will give you life and health. It is a soother of the nerves, and imparts solidity of mind and firm principle.CSW 21.2

    Digging for Deeper Gems of Truth

    The student of the Sabbath school should be in earnest, should dig deep and search with the greatest care for the precious gems of truth contained in the weekly lessons. The privileges and opportunities which they now have of becoming intelligent in regard to the Scriptures should not be neglected. God would have those who profess to be His followers thoroughly furnished with proof of the doctrines of His word. When and where can this be better obtained than in youth at the Sabbath school? Parents should in no case treat this matter indifferently.—The Review and Herald, November 28, 1878.CSW 22.1

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