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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903)

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    Ms 129, 1903

    Lessons From the Past—3


    October 28, 1903 [typed]

    This manuscript is published in entirety in 10MR 252-259. +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.

    How Shall Our Youth Be Trained?18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 1

    John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, received his early training from his parents. The greater portion of his life was spent in the wilderness, that he might not be influenced by beholding the lax piety of the priests and rabbis, or by learning their maxims and traditions, through which right principles were perverted and belittled. The religious teachers of the day had become so blind spiritually that they could scarcely recognize the virtues of heavenly origin. So long had they cherished pride, envy, and jealousy, that they interpreted the Old Testament Scriptures in such a manner as to destroy their true meaning.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 2

    It was John’s choice to forego the enjoyments and luxuries of city life for the stern discipline of the wilderness. Here his surroundings were favorable to habits of simplicity and self-denial. Uninterrupted by the clamor of the world, he could here study the lessons of nature, of revelation, and of providence. The words of the angel to Zacharias had been often repeated to John by his God-fearing parents. From his childhood his mission had been kept before him, and he accepted the holy trust. To him the solitude of the desert was a welcome escape from society in which suspicion, unbelief, and impurity had become well-nigh all-persuading. He distrusted his own power to withstand temptation and shrank from constant contact with sin, lest he should lose the sense of its exceeding sinfulness.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 3

    But the life of John was not spent in idleness, in ascetic gloom, or in selfish isolation. From time to time he went forth to mingle with men; and he was ever an interested observer of what was passing in the world. From his quiet retreat he watched the unfolding of events. With vision illuminated by the divine Spirit, he studied the characters of men, that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 4


    Christ lived the life of a genuine medical missionary. He desires us to study His life diligently, that we may learn to labor as He labored.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 5

    His mother was His first teacher. From her lips, and from the scrolls of the prophets, He learned of heavenly things. He lived in a peasant’s home, and faithfully and cheerfully He acted His part in bearing the burdens of the household. He had been the Commander of heaven, and angels had delighted to fulfil His word; now He was a willing servant, a loving, obedient son. He learned a trade and with His own hands worked in the carpenter’s shop with Joseph. In the simple garb of a common laborer He walked the streets of the little town, going to and returning from His humble work.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 6

    With the people of that age, the value of things was determined by outward show. As religion had declined in power, it had increased in pomp. The educators of the time sought to command respect by display and ostentation. To all this the life of Jesus presented a marked contrast. His life demonstrated the worthlessness of those things that men regarded as life’s greatest essentials. The schools of His time, with their magnifying of things small and their belittling of things great, He did not seek. His education was gained directly from heaven-appointed sources: from useful work, from the study of the Scriptures and of nature, and from the experiences of life—God’s lesson books, full of instruction to all who bring to them the willing hand, the seeing eye, and the understanding heart.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 7

    “The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.” [Luke 2:40.]18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 8

    Thus prepared, He went forth to His mission, in every moment of His contact with men, exerting upon them an influence to bless, a power to transform, such as the world had never witnessed.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 9


    Satan works in every possible way to ensnare souls. As I consider the state of things in Battle Creek, I tremble for our youth who go there. The light given me by the Lord—that our youth should not collect in Battle Creek to receive their education—has in no particular been changed. The fact that the Sanitarium has been rebuilt does not change the light. That which in the past has made Battle Creek a place unsuitable for our youth makes it unsuitable today, as far as influence is concerned.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 10

    When the call came to move out of Battle Creek, the plea was, “We are here and all settled. It would be an impossibility to move without enormous expense.”18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 11

    The Lord permitted fire to consume the principal buildings of the Review and Herald and the Sanitarium and thus removed the greatest objection raised to moving out of Battle Creek. It was His design, not that one large sanitarium should be rebuilt, but that plants should be made in several places. These smaller sanitariums should have been established where they could have the benefit and advantage of land for agricultural purposes. It is God’s plan that agriculture shall be carried on in connection with our sanitariums and schools. Our youth need the education to be gained from this line of work. It is well, and more than well—it is essential—that efforts be made to carry out the Lord’s plan in this respect.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 12

    But a large sanitarium building, different in design, yet capable of accommodating as many patients, was erected on the same site as the old building. Since the opening of this institution a very large number of people have come to it. Some of these are patients, but some are not really sick, but like tourists are seeking for rest and pleasure. The large number at the Sanitarium is no evidence that it is the will of God that such a condition of things should be. Our sanitariums were not designed to be boarding places for the rich people of the world.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 13

    The care of the large number of guests at the Sanitarium requires a large number of helpers, and those in charge of our churches have been asked to send in the names of the most promising young men and young women in the church, that these youth may be communicated with by the managers of the Sanitarium and the most efficient invited to come to the Sanitarium to take the nurses’ course.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 14

    But shall we encourage our most promising young men and young women to go to Battle Creek, to obtain their training for service where attendance at entertainments, indulgence in worldly dress, and many other evils will tempt them to go astray? The Lord has revealed to me some of the dangers that our youth will meet by evil associations. Many of the wealthy, worldly men and women who patronize the Sanitarium will be a source of temptation to the helpers in this institution. Some of these helpers will become the favorites of wealthy worldlings and will be offered alluring inducements to enter their employ. Through the silent influence of the worldly display of some of the patrons who for a time have stayed at the Sanitarium, the enemy has already been able to sow tares in the hearts of many of our young men and young women. This is the way in which Satan is working.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 15

    To fathers and mothers I would say, Be careful what moves you make. Place not your children under the seductive influences and the subtle temptations that they would have to meet were they to go to Battle Creek. It is not God’s design that our youth shall be called to this place, to associate with worldly people of all grades, high and low.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 16

    Because the Sanitarium is where it should not be, shall the word of the Lord regarding the education of our youth be of no account? Shall we allow the most intelligent of our youth in the churches throughout our Conferences to be called to Battle Creek, to become servants to worldlings, some of them to be robbed of their simplicity by being brought in contact with men and women who have not the fear of God in their hearts? Shall those in charge of our Conferences allow our youth, who in the schools for Bible workers could be fitted for the Lord’s service, to be drawn to a place from which for years the Lord has been calling upon His people to move?18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 17

    We desire that our youth shall be so trained that they shall exert a saving influence in our churches by working for greater unity and deeper piety. Human minds may not see the necessity for the call to families to leave Battle Creek and settle in places where they can do medical missionary evangelistic work. But the Lord has spoken. Shall we question His word?18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 18

    The Family Firm

    The truth, in all its important bearings, needs to have a much deeper hold upon all who have to do with the training of our youth. Parents are to work skilfully for their own children, helping them while they are still in the home to gain a fitness to work as missionaries for Christ when they leave the home. The children are to be taught to be faithful in labor. They are to learn to relieve the weary mother, sharing her burdens. The elder children may greatly assist her by helping to care for the little ones. And the younger ones may learn to perform many of the simple duties of the home.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 19

    Young men and young women should regard a training in home duties as a most important part of their education. The family firm is a sacred, social society in which each member is to act a part, each helping the other. The work of the household is to move smoothly, like the different parts of well-regulated machinery. The mother should be relieved of the burdens that the sons and daughters can take upon themselves.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 20

    How important that fathers and mothers should give their children, from their very babyhood, the right instruction. They are to teach them to obey the command, “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” [Exodus 20:12.] And the children, as they grow in years, are to appreciate the care that their parents have given them. They are to find their greatest pleasure in helping father and mother.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 21

    Fathers and mothers should do all in their power to carry forward the work of the home in right lines. The law of God, with its holy principles and solemn injunctions, is ever to bear rule. The principles of the Bible are to be taught and practiced. The parents are to teach their children lessons from this holy Book, making these lessons so simple that they will readily be understood.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 22

    The more closely the members of the family are united in their work in the home, the more uplifting and helpful will be the influence that father and mother and sons and daughters will exert outside the home.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 23

    It is a serious matter to send children away from home, thus depriving them of the care of their parents. It is of the greatest importance that church schools shall be established to which the children can be sent and still be under the watchcare of their mothers and have opportunity to practice the lessons of helpfulness that it is God’s design they shall learn in the home.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 24

    In our larger schools provision should also be made for the education of younger children. This work is to be managed wisely in connection with the training of more advanced students. The older students should be encouraged to take part in teaching these lower classes.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 25

    Much more can be done to save and educate the children of those who at present cannot get away from the cities. This is a matter worthy of our best efforts. Church schools are to be established for the children in the cities; and in connection with these schools, provision is to be made for the teaching of higher studies where these are called for. These schools can be managed in such a way, part joining to part, that they will be a complete whole.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 26

    Let us study the way of the Lord diligently, that we may discern His methods and plans. His wisdom is far reaching.18LtMs, Ms 129, 1903, par. 27

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