I read from the second Epistle of Peter: “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” [11 Peter 1:1–4.]
Establishment of New Schools
This scripture is full of instruction for those who are engaged in educational work for our youth. Our brethren in positions of responsibility should give special study to the management of matters in connection with the establishment of new schools for the training of our children, in order that the youth may be surrounded by circumstances the most favorable for the formation of a character strong enough to withstand the evils of this world.
Lesson from Israel
After the descendants of Abraham had spent many years in Egyptian servitude, God raised up Moses to deliver them from their oppressors. In order to induce the Egyptians to heed the message given to them through Moses, God brought upon them many plagues. But they continued to harden their hearts. Because of their stubborn resistance, Moses was at last directed to say to Pharaoh, “Thus saith the Lord, Israel is My son, even My firstborn; and I say unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me. And if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.” [Exodus 4:22, 23.]
Before Egypt was visited by this terrible judgment, the word of the Lord came to the fathers and mothers among the Israelites, directing them to gather their children with them into the house, there to remain until the destroying angel had passed over the land. “Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians, and when He seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.” [Exodus 12:21–23.]
“The children of Israel . . . did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.” [Verse 28.]
“It came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon: and all the firstborn of cattle.” [Verse 29.] God passed over the homes of the Israelites. Upon the children of the parents who were faithful in gathering their little ones within the home, no judgment fell.
This experience of the Israelites is a wonderful lesson for us today. In this time of peril, God-fearing parents, like the fathers and mothers of ancient Israel, should understand the will of the Lord concerning themselves and their children. In planning for the education of their children outside the home, they should realize that it is not safe now to send them to public schools. Parents should endeavor to send their children to schools where they can obtain an education based on a scriptural foundation—an education to be gained gradually, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little.
Some may ask, “How are such schools to be established?” We are not a rich people, but if we pray in faith, and let the Lord work in our behalf, He will open ways before us to establish small schools in retired places for the education of our youth not only in the Scriptures and in book-learning but in many lines of manual labor.
Neglect of Parents in Home School
The necessity for establishing such schools is urged upon me very strongly because of the cruel neglect of many parents properly to educate their children in the home school. Multitudes of fathers and mothers have seemed to think that if the lines of control were put into the hands of their children, they would develop into useful young men and young women. But the Lord has instructed me in regard to this matter. In the visions of the night I saw standing by the side of these neglected children the one who was cast out of the heavenly courts because he originated sin. He, the enemy of souls, was standing by, watching for opportunities to gain control of the mind of every child whose parents had not given faithful instruction in regard to Satan’s snares.
Home to be First School
Upon every Christian parent there rests the solemn obligation of giving to his children an education that will lead them to gain a knowledge of the Lord, and to become partakers of the divine nature through obedience to God’s will and way. A child’s first school should be his home. His first instructors should be his father and his mother. His first lessons should be the lessons of respect, obedience, reverence, and self-control. If he is not instructed aright by his parents, Satan will instruct him in evil through agencies that are most objectionable. How important, then, is the school in the home! Here the character is first shaped. Here the destiny of souls is often largely influenced. Even the parents who are endeavoring to do their best, have not a hundredth part of the realization they should have of the value of a human soul.
The school in the home should be a place where children are taught that the eye of God is upon them, observing all that they do. If this thought were deeply impressed upon the mind, the work of governing children would be made much easier. In the home school our boys and girls are being prepared to attend a church school when they reach a proper age to associate more intimately with other children. Constantly parents should keep this in view, realizing that their children are God’s purchased little ones, to be trained for lives of usefulness in the Master’s service and for a home in the future, eternal world. The father and the mother, as teachers in the home school, should consecrate hands, tongue, brain, and every power of the being to God, in order that they may fulfill their high and holy mission.
To shield their children from contaminating influences, parents should instruct them in principles of purity. Those who form the habit of obedience and self-control in the home life will have but little difficulty in school life, and, if surrounded by Christian influences, will escape many temptations that usually beset the youth. Let us train our children so that they will remain true to God under all circumstances and in all places. In their tender years let us surround them with influences that will tend to strengthen character.
Parents who give their children proper instruction at home, will train them to obey their teachers at school. And, unless surrounded by unusual circumstances, they will, in time, see the necessity of sending their children to some school outside the home. This school may be simply a church-school, or it may be an intermediate school or a large training-school. I am pleased to learn that here in Southern California you have established a school at Fernando, and that it will be opened in about a week. I am glad that the Lord has wrought for you in providing a place for the education of your children.
A few days ago I had the privilege of seeing the buildings and the surroundings of the Fernando school. My time was very limited, but I was thankful for the opportunity of visiting the school grounds. I am glad that you are several miles away from the city of Los Angeles. You have good buildings, and are in a favorable place for schoolwork. I greatly desire that you shall make a right beginning. In planning for the erection of cottages for our brethren and sisters who may move there, be careful not to allow buildings to be put up too near the school property. Try to secure the land lying near the school, so that it will be impossible for houses to be built close to the campus. The land may be used for agricultural purposes. Later on, you may find it advisable to introduce various trades for the employment and training of the students; but at present about all that you can do is to teach them how to cultivate the land, so that it shall yield its fruit. —Manuscript 54, 1903, pp. 1–4. (“The Work of Our Fernando School,” remarks, September 17, 1902.) Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 2–7.
To be continued . . .
Ellen G. White (1827–1915) wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. Today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Mrs. White was appointed by God as a special messenger to draw the world’s attention to the Holy Scriptures and help prepare people for Christ’s second advent.