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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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    Ms 71, 1896

    Higher Education


    March 14, 1896 [typed]

    Previously unpublished. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    Higher education is ever to be kept before the students in our schools as that knowledge which is secured by diligently searching the Scriptures. If the parents and teachers had taught children the positive requirements of God, as God has commanded them to do, thousands would today be keeping the commandments of God. But every device of Satan has been set in operation to make of none effect the law of God, and to make intricate that which God has made plain.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 1

    The whole plan of salvation is plainly delineated in the Word of God; there every obligation is revealed, and every privilege declared to those who seek diligently to the words of God in regard to obedience to His holy law. Those who keep this law will live in it, but to those who transgress, the result is expulsion from the presence of God. Blessings follow in the path of obedience, but the transgression of God’s law will bring its sure result. Impiety, ungodliness, sins of every stripe and type are seen in the world, for in making void the law of God the human family are doing the very work which God has said would bring calamity, disease, and death upon the world. God’s delineation of the result of disobedience and transgression has been and is being fulfilled, and yet man goes on in continued defiance of God and His law.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 2

    If the words of God, spoken in the mount, had ever been kept before children, the Lord would have had an army of missionary workers. His godly instructions would have been treasured and made to govern the whole conduct of life. But the precepts presented before children by their parents and before congregations by the ministers, have been in direct opposition to the Word of God. The precepts of the law of God, brought into the home life and carried out in all business transactions, would fit a people to regain Paradise which was lost by disobedience; but man has taught for doctrines the commandments of men, making a false sabbath as a god which all are to reverence. And if this false god is not reverenced, the stocks, imprisonment, confiscation of goods, the chain gang, await the offender.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 3

    The moral fall of the churches is described by John in the Revelation. “And after these things,” he says, “I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 4

    “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” [Revelation 18:1-5.] We are now on the eve of the fulfillment of the greatest work the world has ever witnessed. Soon the angels of heaven all bear the message on behalf of God’s commandment-keeping people, “Reward her even as she has rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works; in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double.” [Verse 6.]11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 5

    All that the courts of justice have done in framing laws directly in opposition to God’s law, in oppressing His people by compelling them to observe man-made statutes, will be visited upon them. While they enforce these statutes as supreme, they themselves are defying God, the Sovereign of the universe, to His face, by transgressing His law, obedience to which would have proved their highest good. The evil that results from ignoring the law of God and establishing human laws, executing them against those who are loyal and true to God, delights Satan, for it is working out his attributes.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 6

    God has borne long with the perversity of man, but a time is just before us which will make such a stir in our world as never has been made before. The proclamation goes forth, “Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works; in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her; for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” [Verses 6-8.]11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 7

    In openly making void the law of God and exalting human laws, the church has been living in transgression of God’s Word. She has turned away from the truth of God’s Word. The words spoken from the cloudy pillar to Moses to give to the chosen people of God, and by them to be given to the world, have been discarded and disobeyed, while human laws and human traditions have been exalted. Those who keep God’s memorial Sabbath are hated, and every charge which can be invented to make them trouble, is carried into effect.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 8

    But this is the last great effort which satanic agencies, united with deceived and corrupted churches, will make. When all human calculation seems powerless and the case is desperate, God will interfere, and will be distinctly recognized. He will no longer be robbed of the honor due to His name through the perversity of men who seek glory for themselves. He will work when every human power is of no avail. When the height of guiltiness is reached, when the laws of men are made supreme and the law of God made void, God avenges the people who have vindicated His law.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 9

    The righteous are to pray as never before. God has promised that He will avenge His own elect who cry day and night to Him, though He bear long with them. When truth appears to be overborne by falsehood, when an idol sabbath is erected as was the golden image in the plains of Dura, when the rulers take their place to compel the conscience, and by legislation exalt a spurious sabbath, Protestantism abjures the principles which gave her the name of Protestant, and supports an institution of the Papacy. Then it is time for God to work in indignation and vengeance. To those who give their power to suppress religious liberty He says, “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” [Verse 8.]11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 10

    At Calvary God declared Himself as a God who will avenge sin, giving unmistakable evidence that He will punish sin by giving His only begotten Son as man’s substitute. There is not a sinner in our world whose sins were not laid upon this surety. Our work is to accept this grand and glorious provision, although it is incomprehensible and mysterious that the punishment of every sinner was laid upon Jesus, that the guilt of every individual pressed upon Him. Christ alone by bearing both the divine and the human nature, could be a sin-bearer for the human race. Every soul who repents of his sin, finds forgiveness through Christ’s righteousness, But all who do not believe in Christ as their personal Saviour will bear the full penalty of their sins. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” [Galatians 6:7.]11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 11

    I am pained beyond measure as I see how full of unbelief and how far behind the light those are who have had the truth presented to them in clear lines over and over again. Some of the teachers in our schools, the principal leaders in our institutions, are apparently like blind men. They are not keeping pace with the unfolding of the truth, but are, as it were, asleep, discerning not the signs of the times. The teachers who have pursued the same old routine in our schools, who have failed to accept and appreciate the light as it has come to the people of God, have not received that fitness which will prepare them to walk in further light. They are not pleased when light comes. The Word of God has been made of none effect by those who have thus not received and obeyed the manifestations of the Spirit of God.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 12

    The work of the Holy Spirit is to bring men to repentance by revealing truth. Not new truth alone, but old truth, which has been forgotten and buried up, is to be presented to man in a forcible light. “He shall testify of me,” said Christ of the Holy Spirit. [John 15:26.] “He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” [John 16:14.] “He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” [John 14:26.] After His resurrection, Christ appeared to the two disciples as they travelled to Emmaus, “and beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” [Luke 24:27.]11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 13

    If parents and teachers would dwell largely upon these things, we should see far more accomplished in our schools than we see now. But the Bible is made secondary. The words of men, their traditions, customs, and practices hold the minds of the teachers in regard to what constitutes essential education. In their work of educating they have turned from the mount where the voice of God was heard, presenting the principles of holiness, justice, and mercy. Every other study must not be brought into active school life. The one knowledge which is essential is the knowledge of God. “This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.]11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 14

    “Who is the wise man that may understand this? and who is he to whom the mouth of the Lord hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth and is burned to like a wilderness, that none passeth through. And the Lord saith, Because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither therein; but have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them. Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.” “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” [Jeremiah 9:12-15, 23, 24.]11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 15

    God has made every provision that His people may perfect a character which He can approve, by obtaining a knowledge of Him and of the laws of His kingdom. But during the whole period of probation Satan will never fold his hands and go to sleep. He will assail every one with his temptations, for he is working in every way to gain the world to His service. We shall be confronted again and again by his power; our spiritual foe will never relax his efforts to make the law of God objectionable to us and to fill our minds with enmity against that law. “The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” [Romans 8:7.] Its imperfection opposes perfection; its impurity is not in harmony with purity. Sin cannot bind up with holiness.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 16

    “The wages of sin is death.” [Romans 6:23.] There is no possibility that God will abolish His law to meet the sinner in his fallen state; the transgressor of law must reap that which he has sown. The Governor of the universe has a law, and penalties to meet the transgression of that law. But “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] Not by passing over sin does God save the sinner; He saves him by the gift of His only begotten Son, who was made a substitute and a surety for the transgressor. Christ, the innocent One, was treated as a criminal, that the sinner, through faith in Him, might be treated as innocent. He suffered not only in body, but in soul, to secure the ransom of the sinner. As He bore the guilt of the whole world, He endured the hiding of the Father’s face. He suffered the wrath of an offended God as the sinner will suffer who continues to remain in impenitence and transgression.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 17

    The Son of the Infinite God was punished for man’s transgression, that sinners might be forgiven through repentance toward God faith toward in our Lord Jesus Christ. One who was equal with God became a sin-bearer for the world. The price paid for the forgiveness of sin is beyond all computation, for it was the punishment of Jesus Christ. Would that every student could have a deeper knowledge of what sin is. If every one who claims to believe on Jesus Christ as their substitute and surety would study and more fully comprehend the plan of redemption, they would present before the universe of heaven and before the world characters that would have a convincing power upon transgressors.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 18

    The Lord Jesus Christ came to our world to vindicate the honor and glory of God. In His life He withstood every temptation that man is called to endure, bearing a living testimony that law of God can be obeyed by humanity through divine power. By His perfect obedience to the law Christ testified that by offering Himself for the sins of world He became our Sin-bearer, the bread of life to all who eat of Him. “For the bread of life is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” [John 6:33, 35.] Jesus is to the world as the tree of life to which Adam and Eve had access in the garden of Eden. When by disobedience the fallen pair were deprived of the fruit of this tree, they lost everlasting life. The tree of knowledge became a curse to them, not because of its poisonous qualities, but because of their disobedience. This tree was attractive to them, and in their great desire for it, they partook of it, and let their purity and allegiance to God.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 19

    But Christ presents Himself as the Lifegiver, the tree of life to the world. By feeding upon His flesh and drinking His blood, our spiritual life is perfected. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven;” Christ said, “if any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” “The Jews therefore strove among themselves saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me and I in him.” “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” [Verses 51-57.] Thus the human family are placed in the same relation to Christ as Christ was to God.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 20

    When Jesus taught these things in the synagogue at Capernaum the Jews mocked at the ideas He presented. Even the disciples stumbled over His words in regard to eating His flesh and drinking His blood. They were easily influenced by the words of the Jews, who, before them, pretended to take the words of Christ in the most literal sense. But Christ was presenting before them the benefits all would secure who continued to believe on Him. By accepting the atonement He had made for them, they would gain eternal life. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth,” Christ continued, “the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [Verse 63.]11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 21

    Jesus gave these words as a last test and trial for those who have not been receiving His words as as spirit and life. Some, who had not genuine faith in Him, were offended at His words. They were living upon the doctrines, customs, and maxims, which had been, and were still, repeated by the Jewish rabbis; and their experience in spiritual things was after the order and character of this food. They did nor receive and eat the words of Christ as hungry men eat temporal food. They did not drink in the truth of His words when He said that He was the life of the world. They did not bring the truth into their practical life, and their souls were not strengthened, revived, and conformed to the life and character of Christ; the useless forms, multitudinous exactions, man-made ordinances and commandments of the Pharisees were exalted by them, and therefore they had no root in themselves.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 22

    “There are some of you that believe not.” “For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and art sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” [Verses 64-69.] Simon Peter and the rest of the twelve, save Judas, became more fully established by this experience; but the disciples who went away from Jesus did not, at any time, return to Him. They had taken their side, as many will today; they had chosen the form without the spirit, the husks without the kernel. In every age people have turned away from truth in the same way, placing themselves in the army of the great deceiver by failing to accept truth and make it a part of themselves.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 23

    The people did not believe Christ when He told them in the synagogue that they must receive eternal life by eating His flesh and drinking His blood, thus becoming a partaker of the divine nature bequeathed to them in the pardon of sins, as the result of the great sacrifice He was making on their behalf; but if they had searched the Scriptures and brought the words of Christ into their practical life, into the muscles and sinews of their spiritual life, the truth would have proved to be a quickening spirit. Being incorporated into the soul, it would have become life and peace and assurance through faith and prayer.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 24

    The truth as it is in Christ is a grand and glorious subject. Of himself man is unable to comprehend it; without a living faith in Christ he cannot give [to] truth that honor which it deserves. Only by giving to our spiritual being that food, which secures to us a character like Christ’s, can we reflect His image. Only by acquainting ourselves with the character of Christ can we arrive at a knowledge of God. Our life must be hid with Christ in God. Had the Jews had a correct knowledge of God, they would have recognized the perfect likeness of Christ. The regenerating spirit of Christ works upon the hearts of all who receive Him, giving the true knowledge of God in the character of Jesus Christ.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 25

    “For this cause,” said Paul in writing to the Ephesians, “I bow my knees unto the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” [Ephesians 3:14-19.] All who believe in Jesus Christ, studying His life and voicing His words, will be unable to think of anything that can compare with the excellence of His character; and they will turn from every other representation as dim and imperfect.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 26

    The Holy Spirit never leaves that soul unassisted who is looking to Jesus; He takes of the things of Christ and shows them to him, strengthening the vision to behold Christ. If the eye is kept fixed upon Jesus, the work of the Holy Spirit ceases not until the soul is conformed to His image. Then, turning from the common and uninviting, we all, with open face, can behold in Christ our Redeemer, the glory of the Lord. Our minds become as His mind as we contemplate the perfection and excellence of His character.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 27

    A life of conformity to the image of Christ is a life of prayer and praise from the human agent which will defeat the lie of Satan that man cannot keep the commandments of God. By partaking of the divine nature, man can be obedient to all the commandments of God. “The glory which thou gavest me,” said Christ, “I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” “I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me.” [John 17:22, 23.]11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 28

    This is the education all will receive who are learners in the school of Christ; this is higher education. But there is constant danger of our institutions travelling over the same ground as did the Jews, conforming to customs, practices, and traditions which God has not given. Some cling to old habits and a love of different studies with tenacity and firmness, as if the salvation of both teachers and students depended upon books which have been placed in the schools. By doing this they turn away from the special light God has given in His Word, and give to the students a deficient education.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 29

    Christ taught the people as one having authority, and not as the scribes. There was an uncertain hesitancy about their manner of teaching. They labored to maintain their influence by persevering repetition of childish tradition. Higher education did not come through their public teaching, for they dwelt upon a boundless round of trivial ceremonies which were powerless to leave one correct impression upon the mind or character. These foolish religious ceremonies were confirmed by authority which had not the least significance, for it did not proceed from God. If anything would put God from their hearts, it was these outward observances.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 30

    As these teachers listened to the words of Christ, they were deeply stirred in spirit; He spake as never man spake, repeating nothing which had formed the discourses of the rabbis, but laying before them new and intensely interesting subjects. His momentous appeals went to their hearts and consciences, causing them to realize that they were men who should be striving for immortality rather than dwelling on trivialities unworthy of their attention. They were convicted and convinced that He spoke the truth, but they would not give up their own traditions or their religious ceremonies or practices for the words of Christ. This was their condemnation.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 31

    This is the reason for the feeble piety which exists among believers today. Their minds are so occupied with a variety of other things that there is no room for Christ to be an abiding Guest in the soul temple. All time lost in that which does not cause the soul to become more assimilated into the likeness of Christ is so much time lost for eternity, and this we cannot afford; for every moment is freighted with eternal interests.11LtMs, Ms 71, 1896, par. 32

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