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Fundamentals of Christian Education

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    Chapter 27—The Relation of Education to the Work of God

    “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.”FE 201.1

    There is a great dearth of laborers to go forth into missionary fields, endowed with the true missionary spirit, ready to shed forth the light of truth amid the moral darkness of the world. The enemies of God are daily plotting for the suppression of the truth, and the enslaving of the souls of men. They are seeking to exalt the false Sabbath, and by fastening men in error, deepen the darkness that covers the earth, and the gross darkness that covers the people. In a time like this, shall those who know the truth be inactive, and allow the powers of darkness to prevail? Shall not those who believe the truth for this time be wide awake, and work with an energy consistent with the profession of faith they make? Shall not those who understand the truth of God make every sacrifice to win souls to Christ, to yield allegiance to the law of God? The day is far spent, the night is at hand, and it is essential to work while it is day; for the night cometh, in which no man can work. In a time like this, we should have but this object in view,—the employing of every means that God has provided by which the truth may be planted in the hearts of men. It is for this very purpose that the word of God was sent to the world, that it might control the life, and transform the character. It is the duty of every Christian to strive to the utmost of his ability to spread abroad the knowledge of the truth. Christ has commissioned His disciples to go forth into all the world and preach the gospel to all nations.FE 201.2

    With the great work before us of enlightening the world, we who believe the truth should feel the necessity of thorough education in the practical branches of knowledge, and especially our need of an education in the truths of the Scriptures. Error of every character is now exalted as truth, and it is our duty earnestly to search the sacred word, that we may know what is truth, and be able intelligently to present it to others. We shall be called upon to make known the reasons of our faith. We shall have to stand before magistrates to answer for our allegiance to the law of God. The Lord has called us out from the world that we may be witnesses for His truth; and all through our ranks, young men and women should be trained for positions of usefulness and influence. They are privileged to become missionaries for God; but they cannot be mere novices in education and in the knowledge of the word of God, and do justice to the sacred work to which they are appointed. In every land the want of education among our workers is painfully apparent. We realize that education is not only necessary to the proper fulfillment of the duties of domestic life, but necessary for success in all branches of usefulness.FE 202.1

    In view of the need of education for the work of God, and for the successful fulfillment of the various responsibilities of life, how thankful should we be that a school is about to be opened in Melbourne under the direction of earnest believers in the truth for this time. For the success of this new enterprise, for the benefit it will bring to you and your children, let all our brethren and sisters now take hold heartily to cooperate with those who have come to bear the burden of the work. Teachers have come to you from America in the fear and love of God, not without sacrifice, to aid you in your efforts to lift up the standard of truth among the people. They desire to educate the youth to understand the word of God, that your children may be able to open the Scriptures to others. It now remains for those who have already been enlightened by the truth in these colonies, to co-operate with the efforts of their American brethren, knowing that in Christ all race prejudices, all national distinctions, are laid aside, and we are all brethren, engaged in the work of advancing the Redeemer's kingdom. We are all one in Christ, and should unite heartily in an effort to educate and train an army of young men and women in such a way that they will be consistent, well-balanced Christians, able to understand and explain the Scriptures. The purity, faith, zeal, and consistency of character in those who go forth to work for the Lord, should be so evident that others may see their good works, and be led to glorify our Father who is in heaven. If our profession of faith is sustained by heartfelt piety, it will be a means of good; for thereby souls will be influenced to comply with the terms of salvation. God designs that His grace should be made manifest in the believer, that through the Christlike character of individual members, the church may become the light of the world.FE 202.2

    Let parents make every possible effort to send their children to the school that will soon open in Melbourne; for through this very means, it may be that members of your own family will be qualified of the Lord to become workers in His cause. There are many openings for missionaries in Australia, New Zealand, and the islands of the sea. And it will not be possible to supply laborers from America to fill all the many openings. Workers must be educated in these fields, who can take up the work, and go forth as light-bearers to the dark places of these lands. Not many can go to America to obtain an education; and even if they could go, it might not be best for them, or for the advancement of the work. The Lord would have schools established in this country to educate workers, to give character to the work of present truth in these new fields, and to awaken an interest in unbelievers. He would have you make a center for education in your own country, where students of promise may be educated in practical branches, and in the truths of the Bible, that they may be prepared to work in these lands, rescuing souls from the bondage of Satan. Teachers may come from America, until the work is fairly established, and by this means a new bond of union may be formed between America and Australia, New Zealand, and the islands of the sea.FE 203.1

    There are youth in these countries whom God has graciously endowed with mental ability; but in order to do their best work, their powers must be properly directed. They should use their God-given talents for the attainment of high scholarship, becoming workmen that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, wise unto salvation. This talent needs developing, and since a school is about to be established here, it certainly is not wisdom to send pupils at so great expense to America. The work is to be done here. This is missionary ground, and every individual who is thought worthy of the education that our American schools could give, should obtain an education right here on the ground of their future labors. Those who have ability can be trained here so that they can put their knowledge into practical use at the earliest opportunity, and become agents in the hands of the Lord for the dissemination of light and truth.FE 204.1

    But were none of these responsibilities laid upon you, were there no missionary fields to enter, it would yet be necessary that your children should be educated. Whatever business parents might think suitable for their children, whether they desired them to become manufacturers, agriculturists, mechanics, or to follow some professional calling, they would reap great advantages from the discipline of an education. Your children should have an opportunity to study the Bible in the school. They need to be thoroughly furnished with the reasons of our faith, to understand the Scriptures for themselves. Through understanding the truths of the Bible, they will be better fitted to fill positions of trust. They will be fortified against the temptations that will beset them on the right hand and on the left. But if they are thoroughly instructed and consecrated, they may be called, as was Daniel, to fill important responsibilities. Daniel was a faithful statesman in the courts of Babylon; for he feared, loved, and trusted God; and in time of temptation and peril he was preserved by the power of God. We read that God gave Daniel wisdom, and endowed him with understanding.FE 204.2

    Those who obtain a knowledge of God's will, and practice the teaching of His word, will be found faithful in whatever position of trust they may be placed. Consider this, parents, and place your children where they will be educated in the principles of truth, where every effort will be made to help them to maintain their consecration, if converted, or if unconverted, to influence them to become the children of God, and thus fit them to go forth to win others to the truth.FE 205.1

    Let those who have the love of truth in their hearts, estimate the value of a soul for whom Christ has died, in the light reflected from the cross of Calvary. There are many who feel moved by the Spirit of God to go forth into the vineyard of the Lord. They long to seek and save that which is lost. But because of lack of knowledge and discipline, they are not qualified to go forth to the work of elevating and ennobling their fellow men. Those who teach others, must themselves be taught. They need to learn how to deal with human minds. They are to become colaborers with Christ, improving every opportunity to impart to men a knowledge of God. In order to be agents for God in the work of elevating men's minds from the earthly and sensual to the spiritual and heavenly, the workers must be educated and trained. By becoming learners themselves, they will better understand how to instruct others. They must acquire mental discipline, by putting into exercise their God-given ability, bringing the whole heart and mind to the task of acquiring knowledge. With the glory of God in view, they must put their whole energy into the work, learning all they can, and becoming intelligent, that they may impart knowledge to others.FE 205.2

    There is a great work to be done in these countries; and the love of Christ, and love for souls for whom He has died, should constrain us to put forth every effort in our power to seek and to save that which was lost. Let everyone stand as a faithful soldier of Christ to work for and with your brethren, that the work may be a success in your hands. Let everyone who enlists in this much-needed enterprise remember that the school is established not merely for the benefit of ourselves and our children; but that the knowledge of the truth may be imparted, and perishing souls saved in the eternal kingdom. Let everyone take hold of this work, determined not to fail nor be discouraged, and the Lord will work wonders among us. If at this time we fail to make a determined effort to enlarge and uplift the work, and draw back because matters are not managed according to our own ideas, the Lord will surely pass us by, and choose other agencies who will take hold of His work in His way, and follow the leadings of His Spirit. O that everyone would do his duty, that our influence might be united to advance the cause of God!FE 206.1

    The eye of God is upon these lands; for here He would set up His standard and unfurl His banner. Here on this missionary soil, He would see souls won to Jesus Christ. He would have every professed Christian a true missionary, ready to wheel into line, to do his individual work in his place, and all join in systematic effort. He would have men forget their own notions and prejudices, which bring only darkness and doubt upon their souls, and engage in work for those who are ready to perish. He would have them realize that no man liveth unto himself. It is through inattention to unselfish effort for others, that many have become dwarfed and crippled in their religious experience. Some who are in the background might have been far advanced in the knowledge of God, if they had not stood apart from their brethren, withdrawing from association with believers who did not work according to their limited ideas. O, if these hinderers would lose sight of themselves and interest themselves in the salvation of souls, their petty differences would be forgotten, and alienation from their brethren could not exist. If when they came together, they would not speak concerning the things to which they see objections, but would hold their mouth as with a bridle, and would seek the Lord in earnest prayer that His Holy Spirit might rest upon them, that they might have a burden for souls for whom Christ died, they would find that their darkness would flee away, and light and hope would come into their souls. Self-esteem would vanish, and they would become teachable as children. Stubbornness would melt away in contemplation of the love of God, and their hearts would glow, touched with a coal from off the altar. Sorrow would be banished, and cheerfulness take its place; for the infinite love and goodness of God would be the theme of their testimony.FE 206.2

    Those who would be overcomers must be drawn out of themselves; and the only thing which will accomplish this great work, is to become intensely interested in the salvation of others. This does not mean that you are to convert men to your way of doing, or to compel them to view things in the same light as you do; but you are to seek to present the truth as it is in Jesus, and laboring to be a blessing to others, you will be blessed of God abundantly. That you have done and are doing something to enlarge the boundaries of the kingdom of God in rescuing poor souls from Satan's yoke of superstition and error, will rejoice the heart, and broaden your ideas and plans. As you identify your interest with that of Christ, you will sanctify to God your talent of ability, influence, and means. Some of you will consider it your privilege to leave your homes that you may labor in the islands of the sea, and rescue souls from the bondage of sin and error. As you gain a new and deeper experience, you will learn what it is to pray in the Holy Spirit; and those who are backslidden from God will be reclaimed, and there will be more anxiety manifested to learn of Jesus to be meek and lowly of heart, than to point out the mistakes and errors of your brethren; for by faith you accept Christ as your personal Saviour. You will not then come to meeting to tell your doubts and fears. You will have something better to talk about; for your hearts will be enlarged, having the peace of Christ, which passeth understanding. This is the experience that God would have you understand in this country.FE 207.1

    But in order to reach this experience, definite steps must be taken. The methods and plans by which the work is to be done must be after the Lord's order, not after your individual ideas, and the results will more than compensate for the outlay. Missionary effort will become more general, and the example of one zealous worker, working in the right direction, will influence others, and they also will go forth to preach the gospel. The missionary spirit will pass from house to house, and the brethren will find something to talk about of more interest than their grievances. They will be interested in displaying the jewels of truth which the Bible contains, and churches will be established, meetinghouses erected, and many will come to the help of the Lord. The brethren will be united in bonds of love, and will realize their unity with experienced Christians in all parts of the world, as they are one in their plans, one in the object of their interest. An advance step taken by those at the head of the work will be felt by those in this country and in all lands, and those in foreign countries will respond to the effort made at the center of the work in following our great Leader; and so, through the conversion of souls to the truth, a volume of praise will rise to Him who sitteth upon the throne.FE 208.1

    The missionary work in Australia and New Zealand is yet in its infancy; but the same work must be accomplished in Australia, New Zealand, in Africa, India, China, and the islands of the sea, as has been accomplished in the home field. Under the appropriate symbol of an angel flying through the midst of heaven is represented the work of the people of God. In this work heavenly intelligences co-operate with human agencies in extending the last message to the inhabitants of the world. But the plans and work of men are not keeping pace with the providence of God; for while some in these countries who claim to believe the truth declare by their attitude, “We want not Thy way, O Lord, but our own way,” there are many who are pleading with God that they may understand what is truth. In secret places they are weeping and praying that they may see light in the Scriptures; and the Lord of heaven has commissioned His angels to co-operate with human agencies in carrying forward His vast design, that all who desire light may behold the glory of God. We are to follow where God's providence opens the way; and as we advance, we shall find that Heaven has moved before us, enlarging the field for labor far beyond the proportion of our means and ability to supply. The great want of the field open before us, should appeal to all to whom God has intrusted talents of means or ability, that they may devote themselves and their all to God. We are to be as faithful stewards, not only of our means, but of the grace given unto us, that many souls may be brought under the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel. The purposes and ends to be attained by consecrated missionaries are very comprehensive. The field for missionary operation is not limited by caste or nationality. The field is the world, and the light of truth is to go to all the dark places of the earth in a much shorter time than many think possible.FE 208.2

    God purposes to set in operation agencies in your own country to aid in this great work of enlightening the world. He designs to employ you and your children as soldiers to act a part in this aggressive warfare against the powers of darkness, and you surely will not ignore God's blessing, and regard lightly the privilege extended to you! He would have you engage in the conflict, striving together for His glory, not seeking for the supremacy, not striving to exalt self by depreciating others. He would endow you with the true missionary spirit, which elevates, purifies, and ennobles whatever it touches, making pure and good and noble all who voluntarily come under its influence; for every agent who co-operates with the heavenly intelligences will be endued with power from on high, and represent the character of Christ. The missionary spirit enables us to appreciate more fully the words of the Lord's prayer, when He directs us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” The missionary spirit broadens our thoughts, and brings us into union with all who have a comprehension of the expanding influence of the Holy Spirit.FE 209.1

    God would disperse the clouds that have gathered about souls in these colonies, and unite all our brethren in Christ Jesus. He would have us bound in bands of Christian fellowship, filled with love for souls for whom Christ has died. Said Christ, “This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” He would have us united in heart and plans to do the great work committed to us. Brethren should stand shoulder to shoulder, uniting their prayers at the throne of grace, that they may move the arm of the Omnipotent. Heaven and earth will then be closely connected in the work, and there will be joy and gladness in the presence of the angels of God, when the lost sheep is found and restored.FE 210.1

    The Holy Spirit, that melts and subdues the human heart will lead men to do the works of Christ. They will heed the injunction, “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not.” Christ gave Himself for us, and His followers are required to give themselves, with their talents of means and ability, to Him. What more could the Lord do for man than that which He has done? And shall we not render unto Him all that we have and are, practicing self-sacrifice, and self-denial? If we are the disciples of Christ, it will be made manifest to the world through our love for those for whom He died.FE 210.2

    It was through the spirit of love that the gospel was brought to you, and to all men who have a knowledge of God. We are required not merely to admire men whom God has used, to wish that we had such men now, but to yield ourselves to be used of God as His human agents. It was His Spirit that inspired their efforts, and He can abundantly bestow upon His workers today the same courage, zeal, earnestness, and devotion. It was Jesus who gave these men grace, power, fortitude, and perseverance, and He is willing to do the same for every one who would be a true missionary.FE 211.1

    God has begun to work in this country, and the church must unite with heavenly intelligences, manifesting holy activity, and by exercising their powers become more efficient to save souls and glorify God. We who have seen the light of truth, are called upon to aid in its advancement, to waken to the large responsibility of the missionary work to be accomplished in our borders; and it is the duty of every soul to co-operate with those who would advance the work. Let every one seek to draw in even cords with Christ. Let us hide our ways in God's ways, that all variance may cease, that Christ's character may be represented in kindness, forbearance, self-denial, meekness, humility, and love. Let all join heartily to do the utmost of their ability to support the school that is now to be established; for in the hands of God it may be the means of educating workers to shed forth the light of truth upon the people. Who will be on the Lord's side? Who will now see the work to be done, and do it?—Supplement to The Bible Echo, September 1, 1892.FE 211.2

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