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    Exercise Versus Amusement.

    To the Teachers and Students of our College in Battle Creek, and in all our Educational Institutions:

    Many prayers have been offered for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and recently there have been demonstrations of gladness of heart in those who have looked intently and undividedly to Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. There has been in your midst repentance and confession of sin, with true remorse of soul. There was a sense of the all-sufficient sacrifice, and the realizing of the fulfillment of the promise in the pardon, in transferring the live coal from the altar of atonement and touching the lips, which was the pledge of forgiveness. Lips defiled with sin were expressing the loftiest praise. Hosannah! Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosannah in the highest!........SpM 69.1

    But what returns have our young people made to the Lord? Has it been as it was with the people of Israel on that most solemn occasion described in Exodus? Moses had gone up into the Mount to receive instruction from the Lord, and the whole congregation should have been in humble attitude before God; but instead of that, they ate and drank and rose up to play. Has there been a similar experience in Battle Creek? Have not many lost their hold on God? Did the exercise in games of football bring the participants into more close relation to God?SpM 69.2

    In the night seasons messages have been given to me to give to you in Battle Creek, and to all our schools. While it is in the order of God that physical powers shall be trained as well as the mental, yet the physical exercises should in character be in complete harmony with the lessons given to the world and should be seen in the lives of Christians, so that in education and self-training the heavenly intelligences should not record in the books that students and the teachers in our schools are “Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” This is the record now being made of a large number,—“Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” Thus Satan and his angels are laying their snares for your souls, and he is working in a certain way upon teachers and pupils to induce them to engage in certain exercises and amusements which become intensely absorbing, but which are of a character to strengthen the lower powers, and create appetites and passions that will take the lead and counteract most decidedly the operations and working of the Holy Spirit of God upon the human heart.SpM 69.3

    What saith the Holy Spirit to you? What was its power and influence upon your hearts during the General Conference and the conference in other states? Have you taken special heed to yourself? Have the teachers in the school felt that they must take heed? If God has appointed them as educators of the youth, they are also “overseers of the flock.” They are not in the school work to invent plan for exercises and games to educate pupils; not there to bring down sacred things on a level with the common.SpM 70.1

    I was speaking to teachers in messages of reproof. All the teachers need exercise, a change of employment. God has pointed out what this should be—useful, practical work; but you have turned away from God's plan to follow human inventions, and that to the detriment of the spiritual. Not a jot or a tittle of the after influence of an education in that line will fit you to meet the severe conflicts in the last days. What kind of education are our teachers and students receiving? Has God devised and planned this kind of exercise for you, or is it brought in by human inventions and human imaginations? How is the mind prepared for contemplation and meditation, and serious thoughts, and the earnest, contrite prayer, coming from hearts subdued by the Holy Spirit of God; “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when the Son of Man is revealed.” “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”SpM 70.2

    The Lord opened before me the necessity of establishing a school at Battle Creek that should not pattern after any school in existence. We were to have teachers who would keep their souls in the love and fear of God. Teachers were to educate in spiritual things, to prepare a people to stand in the trying crisis before us; but there has been a departure from God's plan in many ways. The amusements are doing more to counteract the working of the Holy Spirit than anything else, and the Lord is grieved....SpM 70.3

    I am alarmed for you at Battle Creek. Teachers are very exact in visiting with denunciations and punishments those students who violate the slightest rules, not from any vicious purpose, but heedlessly; or circumstances occur which make it no sin for them to deviate from rules which have been made, and which should not be held with inflexibility if transgressed, and yet the person in fault is treated as if he had grievously sinned. Now I want you to consider, teachers, where you stand, and deal with yourselves, and pronounce judgment against yourselves; for you have not only infringed the rules, you have been so sharp, so severe upon students; but more than this, there is a controversy between you and God. You have not made straight paths for your feet lest the lame be turned out of the way. You have departed from safe paths. I say, Teachers—I do not specify names. The Lord God of Israel has wrought in your midst again and again. You have had great evidences of the stately steppings of the Most High. But a period of great light, of the wonderful revealing of the Spirit and power of God is a period of great peril, lest the light shall not be improved. Will you consider Jeremiah 17:5-10; 18:12-15: for you are most surely coming under the rebuke of God. Light has been shining in clear and steady rays upon you. What has this light done for you? Christ, the chief Shepherd, is looking upon you with displeasure, and is inquiring, “Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?” “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men; for I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsels of God. Take heed therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:26-30. “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.”SpM 70.4

    These teachers who have not a progressive religious experience, who are not learning daily lessons in the school of Christ that they may be ensamples to the flock but who accept their wages as the main thing, are not fit for the solemn, awfully solemn position they occupy. For this Scripture is appropriate to all our schools established as God designs they should be, after the order of example of the schools of the prophets, imparting a higher class of knowledge, mingling not dross with the silver, and wine with water, which is a representation of precious principles. False ideas and unsound practices are leavening the pure and corrupting that which should be ever kept pure and looked upon by the world, by angels, and by men as the Lord's institution, schools where the education to love and fear God is made first. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” “Neither be ye lords over God's heritage, but be ye ensamples to the flock.”SpM 71.1

    Let the teachers who claim to be Christians be learning daily in the school of Christ his lessons. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” I ask you, Is every educator in the school wearing the yoke of Christ, or manufacturing yokes of his own to place upon the necks of others, yokes which they themselves will not wear, sharp, severe, exacting; and this, too, while they are carrying themselves very loosely toward God, offending every day in little and larger matters, and making it evident in words, in spirit, and in actions, that they are not a proper example for the students, and are not having a sense that they are under discipline to the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. There needs to be a higher, holier mold on the school in Battle Creek, and in other schools which have taken their mold from it. The customs and practices of the Battle Creek school go forth to all the churches, and the pulse heart-beats of that school are felt throughout the body of believers.SpM 71.2

    It is not in God's order that thousands of dollars shall be expended in enlargements and additions in institutions in Battle Creek. There is altogether too much there now. Take that extra means and establish the work in suffering portions of other fields to give character to the work. I have spoken the word of God upon this point. There are reasons many do not see, that I have no liberty to open before you now; but I tell you in the name of the Lord you will make a mistake in your adding building to building; for there are being entered in Battle Creek responsibilities that are altogether too much for one location.SpM 71.3

    (Note: Private by order of Sister White) In some respects students would come out with better education, and full as true to principle, in some schools that are not of our faith.SpM 72.1

    There are too many lords in the school who love to rule over God's heritage. There is altogether too little of Christ and too much of self. But those who are under the dictation of the Spirit of God, who are under rule to Christ, are examples to the flock; and when the chief Shepherd shall appear, they shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.SpM 72.2

    “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder, Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God that he may exalt you in due time.” All your self-uplifting works out the natural result, and makes you in character such as God will not for a moment approve. “Without me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” Work and teach, work in Christ's lines, and then you will never work in your own weak ability, but will have the cooperation of the divine combined with the God-given human ability. “Casting all your care upon Him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant.” (Not in kicking football, and in educating in the objectionable games which ought to make every Christian blush with mortification at the after-thoughts) be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.”SpM 72.3

    Yes, he is on your playground watching your amusements, catching every soul that he finds off his guard, sowing his seeds in human minds and controlling the human intellect. For Christ's sake call a halt at the Battle Creek College and consider the after-workings upon the heart and character and principles, of these amusements copied after the fashion of other schools. You have been steadily progressing in the the ways of the Gentiles, and not after the example of Jesus Christ. Satan is on the school ground, he is present in every exercise in the school-rooms. The students that have had their minds deeply excited in their games are not in the best condition to receive the instruction, the counsel, the reproof most essential for them in this life, and in the future immortal life.SpM 72.4

    Of Daniel and his fellows the Scripture states: “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in learning and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” In what manner are you fitting yourselves to cooperate with God. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you; resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Let the diet be carefully studied; it is not healthful. The various little dishes concocted for desserts are injurious instead of helpful and healthful, and from the light given me there should be a decided change in the preparation of food. There should be a skillful, thorough cook, that will give ample supplies to the hungry students of substantial dishes. The education in this line of table supplies is not correct or healthful and satisfying, and there is a decided reform essential. These students are God's inheritance, and the most sound and healthful principles are to be brought into the boarding school in regard to diet. The dishes of soft foods, the soups and liquid foods, or the free use of meat, are not the best to give healthful muscles, sound digestive organs, or clean brains. Oh, how slow we are to learn! And of all institutions in our world the school is the most important. Here the diet question is to be studied; no one person's appetite, or tastes, or fancy, or notion is to be followed, but there is need of great reform: for life-long injury will surely be the result of the present manner of cooking. Of all the positions of importance in that college is the one who is employed to direct the dishes to be prepared to place before the hungry students; for if this be neglected, the mind will not be prepared to do its work, because the stomach has been treated unwisely and can not do its work properly. Strong minds are needed. The human intellect must gain expansion and vigor and acuteness and activity. It must be taxed to do hard work, or it will become weak and inefficient. The brain power is required to think most earnestly: it must be put to the stretch to solve hard problems and master them, else the mind decreases in power and aptitude to think. The mind must invent work, and wrestle, in order to give hardness and vigor to the intellect; and, if the physical organs are not kept in the most healthful condition by substantial, nourishing food, the brain does not receive its portion of nutrition to work. Daniel understood this, and he brought himself to a plain, simple, nutritious diet, and refused the luxuries of the king's table. The desserts which take so much time to prepare are, many of them, detrimental to health. Solid foods requiring mastication will be far better than mush or liquid foods. I dwell upon this as essential. I send my warning to the College at Battle Creek, to go from there to all our institutions of learning. Study up on these subjects, and let the students obtain a proper education in the preparation of wholesome, appetizing, solid foods that nourish the system. They do not and have not had the right kind of training and education as to the most healthful food to make healthful sinews and muscle and give nourishment to the brain and nerve powers.SpM 72.5

    The intellect is to be kept thoroughly awake with new, earnest, whole-hearted work. How is it to be done? The power of the Holy Spirit must purify the thoughts and cleanse the soul of its moral defilement. Defiling habits not only abase the soul, but debase the intellect. Memory suffers, laid on the altar of base, hurtful practices, “He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; he that soweth to the spirit shall of the spirit reap life everlasting.” When teachers and learners shall consecrate soul, body, and spirit to God, purify their thought by obedience to the laws of God, they will continually receive a new endowment of physical and mental power. Then will there be heart yearnings after God, and earnest prayer for clear perceptions to discern. The office and work of the Holy Spirit is not for them to use it, as many suppose, but for the Holy Spirit to use them, molding fashioning, and sanctifying every power. The giving of the faculties to lustful practices disorders the brain and nerve power, and though professing religion they are not and never will be agents whom God can use; for He despises the practices of impurity in lessening physical vigor and mental capabilities, so that everything like mental taxation will after a short time become irksome. Memory is fitful, and oh, what a loathsome offering is thus presented to God.SpM 73.1

    Then when I look upon the scenes presented before me, when I consider the schools established in different places, and see them falling so far below anything like the schools of the prophets, I am distressed beyond measure. The physical exercise marked out by the God of Wisdom, (is that) some hours each day should be devoted to useful education in lines of work that would help students in learning duties in practical life, which are essential for all our youth. But this has been dropped out, and amusements introduced, which simply give exercise without being any special blessing in doing good and righteous actions, which is the education and training essential.SpM 74.1

    The students every one need a most thorough education in practical duties. The time employed in physical exercise which step by step leads on to excess, to intensity in the games and the exercise of the facilities, ought to be used in Christ's lines, and the blessings of God would rest upon them in so doing. Everyone should go forth from the schools with educated efficiency so that when thrown upon their own resources they would have a knowledge they could use which is essential to practical life. The seeking out of many inventions to employ the God-given faculties most earnestly in doing nothing good, nothing you can take with you to future life, no record of good deeds, or merciful actions, stands registered in the books of heaven, “Weighed in the balance and found wanting.”SpM 74.2

    Diligent study is essential, and diligent hard work. Play is not essential. The influence has been growing in their devotion to amusements to a fascinating, bewitching power, to the counteracting of the influence of the truth upon the human mind and character. A well balanced mind is not usually obtained in the devotion of the physical powers to amusements. Physical discipline in practical life, sweetened always by the reflection that it is qualifying and educating the mind and body better to perform the work God designs men shall do in various lines. The more perfectly youth understand how to perform the duties of practical life, the more keen, the more useful and the more helpful will be their enjoyment day by day in being of use to others.SpM 74.3

    The mind thus educated to enjoy physical taxation in practical life becomes enlarged, and through culture and training well disciplined and richly furnished for usefulness; and a knowledge essential to be a help and blessing to themselves and to others. Let every student consider, and be able to say, I study, I work, for eternity. They can learn to be patiently industrious and persevering in their combined efforts of physical and mental labor. What force of powers are put into your games of football and your other inventions after the way of the Gentiles, exercises that bless no one. Just put the same powers into exercise in doing useful labor, and would not your record be more pleasing to meet in the great day of God?SpM 74.4

    Whatever is done under the sanctified stimulus of Christian obligation, because you are stewards in trust of talents to use to be a blessing to yourself and to others, gives you substantial satisfaction, for all is done to the glory of God. I can not find an instance in the life of Christ where he devoted time to play and amusement. He was the great Educator for the present and future life. I have not been able to find one instance where he educated his disciples to engage in amusement of football or pugilistic games to obtain physical exercise, or in theatrical performances; and yet, Christ was our pattern in all things. Christ, the world's Redeemer, gave to every man his work, and bade them, “Occupy till I come.” And doing his work, the heart warms to such an enterprise, and all the powers of the soul are enlisted in a work assigned of the Lord and Master. It is a high and important work. The Christian teacher and student is enabled to become steward of the grace of Christ and be always in earnest.SpM 74.5

    All they can do for Jesus is to be in earnest, having a burning desire to show their gratitude to God in the most diligent discharge of every obligation that is laid upon them, that by their fidelity to God they may respond to the great and wonderful gift of the only begotten Son of God, that through faith in Him they should not perish, but have everlasting life.SpM 75.1

    There is need of each one in every school and in every institution to be as was Daniel—in such close connection with the Source of all wisdom that his powers will enable him to reach the highest standard of his duties in every line, that he may be able to fulfill his scholastic requirements, not only under able teachers, but also under the supervision of heavenly intelligences, knowing that the all-seeing, the ever sleepless Eye is upon him. The four Hebrew children would not allow selfish motives and love of amusements to occupy the golden moments of this life. They worked with willing heart and ready mind. This is no higher standard than every Christian may attain. God requires of every Christian scholar more than they have given him. “Ye are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.”SpM 75.2

    Ellen G. White

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