In the days before us our institutions will become the special objects of Satan's attack. If he can weaken their influence, if he can divert them from their high and holy purpose, he will have made a master stroke against the work of God. Definite warnings have come to us from the messenger of the Lord through the years against this great danger.
Long years ago there was brought into being an educational institution for the primary purpose of educating young men and women as heralds of the cross, as the messengers of God to carry to the world the truth for this day and generation. Other schools throughout the world have been established, and I am indeed thankful for the work they have accomplished. From their doors have gone out a great army of youth trained for high and holy service. The majority of the leaders in this movement today have received their training in some of these schools.
It has been Satan's studied effort to divert our schools as well as our other institutions from the grand objective of their existence, to bring into our educational institutions worldly policies, and to lead them to take on the mold and the character of worldly education. This danger is accentuated today as never before. The educational standards of the world around us have advanced. It has seemed necessary that we should advance the standards of our schools. It has been deemed advisable to secure accreditment for our colleges and academies, in order that they shall not be hampered by legal restrictions. The responsible leadership of the church assembled in General Conference council recommended this.
This plan was a wide departure from the plans of the past. There are thousands of sincere believers, true and loyal to the principles of Christian education, who regard this change with grave concern. I hope it may prove an efficient expedient, even as it appears to be a necessary one; but it is also a dangerous expedient. It has proved a costly one to many of the colleges of other denominations. We must assiduously guard our own schools, that the experiment may not prove thus costly to us. Only as we remember the source of our wisdom and power can this be done. Only as we recognize that we must look to the God of Israel, and not to the god of Ekron, for help, shall we be able to preserve our simplicity and keep an unobscured vision of the true purpose of our training schools and the character they should maintain. It is not by might nor by power, it is not by great men nor human wisdom, that God's work will be accomplished. It will be by the power of His Holy Spirit.
"Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, bath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence." 1 Cor. 1:26-29.
"Thus saith the Lord, 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, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord." Jer. 9:23, 24.
We are told, "As the time comes" for God's message "to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them."—"The Great Controversy," p. 606.
I do not decry the value of literary training. I believe that, just as far as consistent, every young man and young woman in the church should obtain a college education. Heaven places no premium upon ignorance. All things being equal, God can use in His service more effectively an educated man than one who is untrained. But we must bear this in mind, that the primary requisites for service are consecration to God and the divine unction of His Holy Spirit.
I have great faith in our teachers. I believe in their consecration. Through the years they have proved true and loyal to the principles of this message. These men and women of their own initiative are not seeking for this advanced work in the university. They are subjecting themselves to this danger for the good of our schools. They need our prayers that God will safeguard them from every evil influence, that their spiritual vision shall not become clouded, that they may be able to discern between the subtle philosophies of error and the truths of the gospel, and that they will bring back to our own schools an unchanged emphasis of teaching as to the verities of God's word and His message for this time.
We are seeking accreditment for our schools for the primary purpose of giving to our colleges and academies recognized legal standing. This will enable our youth to complete their education in our own schools, and yet qualify them to meet State requirements as teachers, nurses, and physicians. And this, I believe, they should plan to do. I feel that it is a great mistake for any of our young men and women to go to the university immediately upon completion of their work in our own colleges. If it is thought best for them to go ultimately, then by all means they should first obtain an experience in wrestling with life's practical problems. This will help them in determining true values, settle their convictions, and give definite mold and character to their aims and purposes. And before deciding to take university work, they should counsel with experienced church leaders. This is in harmony with the instruction that has come to us from the Messenger of the Lord.
The Waldenses of old sent some of their youth to higher institutions of learning. Their primary purpose in this was not to secure educational standing, although this may have come as a natural consequence, but they entered these schools as missionaries, in order to give to others the blessed gospel of light and liberty which they had found so precious in their own lives. May God grant that this shall be the chief objective which shall possess our youth who may seek qualification in the schools of the world. It is only as they keep this objective before them that they will be able to preserve unsullied the faith of their fathers. This is possible, I believe, through God's grace.
Our youth today may be as was Daniel at the_ court of–Ballylon,-as-Joseph at the--court of Pharaoh. These young men were surrounded with the luxuries and vices associated with their royal environment, but they preserved their characters free and untarnished from sin.
I have great confidence in the youth of this denomination. I have no sympathy with any spirit which would decry their sincerity and earnestness. Their consecration and the motives which move them to action are as true and genuine as I have ever observed in the youth through the years.
To the young men and women of this church today there is falling in large measure the blessed privilege, as well as the solemn duty, of bringing this work, under God, to a successful conclusion. More and more the banner of truth is being intrusted to their hands. I appeal to our, younger workers, representing in a unique sense the great body of our youth throughout the world, to be true to the holy trust committed to them. I believe that our youth will prove true to this sacred call and responsibility.
Washington, D. C.