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Life Sketches of Ellen G. White

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    Work and Education

    “Our minds have been much exercised day and night in regard to our schools. How shall they be conducted? And what shall be the education and training of the youth? Where shall our Australasian Bible School be located? I was awakened this morning at one o'clock with a heavy burden upon my soul. The subject of education has been presented before me in different lines, in varied aspects, by many illustrations, and with direct specification, now upon one point, and again upon another. I feel, indeed, that we have much to learn. We are ignorant in regard to many things.LS 350.1

    “In writing and speaking upon the life of John the Baptist and the life of Christ, I have tried to present that which has been presented to me in regard to the education of our youth. We are under obligation to God to study this subject candidly; for it is worthy of close, critical examination upon every side....LS 350.2

    “Those who claim to know the truth and understand the great work to be done for this time, are to consecrate themselves to God, soul, body, and spirit. In heart, in dress, in language, in every respect, they are to be separate from the fashions and practices of the world. They are to be a peculiar and holy people. It is not their dress that makes them peculiar; but because they are a peculiar and holy people, they cannot carry the marks of likeness to the world.LS 350.3

    “Many who suppose they are going to heaven, are blindfolded by the world. Their ideas of what constitutes a religious education and religious discipline are vague, resting only on probabilities. There are many who have no intelligent hope, and are running great risk in practising the very things which Jesus has taught that they should not do, in eating, drinking, and dressing, binding themselves up with the world in a variety of ways. They have yet to learn the serious lessons so essential to growth in spirituality, to come out from the world and be separate. The heart is divided; the carnal mind craves conformity, similarity to the world in so many ways that the mark of distinction from the world is scarcely distinguishable. Money, God's money, is expended in order to make an appearance after the world's customs; the religious experience is contaminated with worldliness; and the evidence of discipleship—Christ's likeness in self-denial and cross-bearing—is not discernible by the world or by the universe of heaven....LS 350.4

    “Never can the proper education be given to the youth in this country, or any other country, unless they are separated a wide distance from the cities. The customs and practices in the cities unfit the minds of the youth for the entrance of truth. The liquor-drinking, the smoking and gambling, the horse-racing, the theater-going, the great importance placed upon holidays,—all are a species of idolatry, a sacrifice upon idol altars....LS 351.1

    “It is not the correct plan to locate school buildings where the students will have constantly before their eyes the erroneous practices that have moulded their education during their lifetime, be it longer or shorter.... Should schools be located in the cities or within a few miles from them, it would be most difficult to counteract the influence of the former education which students have received in regard to these holidays and the practices connected with them, such as horse-racing, betting, and the offering of prizes. The very atmosphere of these cities is full of poisonous malaria....LS 351.2

    “We shall find it necessary to establish our schools out of, and away from, the cities, and yet not so far away that they cannot be in touch with them, to do them good, to let light shine amid the moral darkness. Students need to be placed under the most favorable circumstances to counteract very much of the education they have received....LS 352.1

    “We need schools in this country to educate children and youth that they may be masters of labor, and not slaves of labor. Ignorance and idleness will not elevate one member of the human family. Ignorance will not lighten the lot of the hard toiler. Let the worker see what advantage he may gain in the humblest occupation, by using the ability God has given him as an endowment. Thus he can become an educator, teaching others the art of doing work intelligently. He may understand what it means to love God with the heart, the soul, the mind, and the strength. The physical powers are to be brought into service for love to God. The Lord wants the physical strength, and you can reveal your love for Him by the right use of your physical powers, doing the very work which needs to be done. There is no respect of persons with God....LS 352.2

    “There is in the world a great deal of hard, taxing work to be done; and he who labors without exercising the God-given powers of mind and heart and soul, he who employs the physical strength alone, makes the work a wearisome tax and burden. There are men with mind, heart, and soul who regard work as a drudgery, and settle down to it with self-complacent ignorance, delving without thought, without taxing the mental capabilities in order to do the work better.LS 352.3

    “There is science in the humblest kind of work; and if all would thus regard it, they would see nobility in labor. Heart and soul are to be put into work of any kind; then there is cheerfulness and efficiency. In agricultural or mechanical occupations, men may give evidence to God that they appreciate His gift in the physical powers, and the mental faculties as well. Let the educated ability be employed in devising improved methods of work. This is just what the Lord wants. There is honor in any class of work that is essential to be done. Let the law of God be made the standard of action, and it ennobles and sanctifies all labor. Faithfulness in the discharge of every duty makes the work noble, and reveals a character that God can approve....LS 353.1

    “Schools should be established where there is as much as possible to be found in nature to delight the senses and give variety to the scenery. While we shun the false and artificial, discarding horse-racing, card-playing, lotteries, prize fights, liquor-drinking, and tobacco-using, we must supply sources of pleasure that are pure and noble and elevating. We should choose a location for our school apart from the cities, where the eye will not rest continually upon the dwellings of men, but upon the works of God; where there shall be places of interest for them to visit, other than what the city affords. Let our students be placed where nature can speak to the senses, and in her voice they may hear the voice of God. Let them be where they can look upon His wondrous works, and through nature behold her Creator....LS 353.2

    “Manual occupation for the youth is essential. The mind is not to be constantly taxed to the neglect of the physical powers. The ignorance of physiology, and a neglect to observe the laws of health, have brought many to the grave who might have lived to labor and study intelligently. The proper exercise of mind and body will develop and strengthen all the powers. Both mind and body will be preserved, and will be capable of doing a variety of work. Ministers and teachers need to learn in regard to these things, and they need to practise as well. The proper use of their physical strength, as well as of the mental powers, will equalize the circulation of the blood, and keep every organ of the living machinery in running order. Minds are often abused; they are goaded on to madness by pursuing one line of thought; the excessive employment of the brain power and the neglect of the physical organs create a diseased condition of things in the system. Every faculty of the mind may be exercised with comparative safety if the physical powers are equally taxed, and the subject of thought varied. We need a change of employment, and nature is a living, healthful teacher....LS 353.3

    “Habits of industry will be found an important aid to the youth in resisting temptation. Here is opened a field to give vent to their pent-up energies, that, if not expended in useful employment, will be a continual source of trial to themselves and to their teachers. Many kinds of labor adapted to different persons may be devised. But the working of the land will be a special blessing to the worker. There is a great want of intelligent men to till the soil, who will be thorough. This knowledge will not be a hindrance to the education essential for business or for usefulness in any line. To develop the capacity of the soil requires thought and intelligence. Not only will it develop muscle, but capacity for study, because the action of brain and muscle is equalized. We should so train the youth that they will love to work upon the land, and delight in improving it. The hope of advancing the cause of God in this country is in creating a new moral taste in love of work, which will transform mind and character....LS 354.1

    “The school to be established in Australia should bring the question of industry to the front, and reveal the fact that physical labor has its place in God's plan for every man, and that His blessing will attend it. The schools established by those who teach and practise the truth for this time, should be so conducted as to bring fresh and new incentives into all kinds of practical labor. There will be much to try the educators, but a great and noble object has been gained when students shall feel that love for God is to be revealed, not only in the devotion of heart and mind and soul, but in the apt, wise appropriation of their strength. Their temptations will be far less; from them by precept and example a light will radiate amid the erroneous theories and fashionable customs of the world....LS 355.1

    “The question may be asked, How can he get wisdom that holdeth the plow, and driveth the oxen?—By seeking her as silver, and searching for her as for hid treasures. ‘For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.’ ‘This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.’LS 355.2

    “He who taught Adam and Eve in Eden how to tend the garden, would instruct men today. There is wisdom for him who holds the plow, and plants and sows the seed. The earth has its concealed treasures, and the Lord would have thousands and tens of thousands working upon the soil who are crowded into the cities to watch for a chance to earn a trifle. In many cases that trifle is not turned into bread, but is put into the till of the publican [saloon-keeper], to obtain that which destroys the reason of man formed in the image of God. Those who will take their families into the country, place them where they have fewer temptations. The children who are with parents that love and fear God, are in every way much better situated to learn of the Great Teacher, who is the source and fountain of wisdom. They have a much more favorable opportunity to gain a fitness for the kingdom of heaven.” Special Testimonies On Education, 84-104.LS 355.3

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