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Manuscript Releases Volume Twelve : Page 120

25. Counsels to Students

Students to Make Christ Their All --You refer to some letter that I wrote some time ago in reference to the danger of sending young men to the medical college at Ann Arbor, and say that you are more and more impressed with the danger as students return from their year's work at the medical college, and you can see that some have been affected by the influences with which they have been surrounded. You also say that some of them are standing up nobly against these contaminating influences. Thank the Lord for this. If our youth understood their own weakness, they would go to God for strength, but if they give their minds up almost wholly to study, and do not make Christ their all in all, even while pursuing a course of education, they will lose all that enriches life. The first chapter of Second Peter is full of instruction, and strikes the keynote of victory. The truth is impressively forced upon the mind by the way it is presented in this chapter. Let us more abundantly recommend the study of these words, and the practicing of these precepts.--Letter 43, 1895, p. 8. (To J. H. Kellogg, June 14, 1895.)

The Hebrew Captives --"And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes" [Daniel 9:3].

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Daniel knew the value of prayer, its aim, and its object. The prayers which he and his three companions offered after being chosen by the king for the courts of Babylon received answers, which he acknowledged. But prayer is not understood as it should be. Our prayers are not to inform God of anything which He does not know. The Lord is acquainted with the secrets of every soul. Prayers need not be loud and long. The prayers that are offered to tell the Lord of all our wretchedness, when we do not feel wretched at all are the prayers of hypocrisy. "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" [Isa. 57:15].

The Lord hears the contrite prayer. He reads the hidden thought. We may pray in secret, where no man can see or hear, and He who seeth in secret will hear and reward us openly. Prayer is not intended to work any change in God. It brings us into harmony with God. It is not to take the place of duty. The prayer offered ever so often and ever so earnestly will never be accepted by God in place of your tithe money. Prayer will not pay your debts to God. The servant of Jesus Christ is to pray and rely upon God as did Daniel in the courts of Babylon.

The youth have an example in Daniel, and if they are true to principle and to duty they will be instructed as Daniel was. As the wisdom of the world viewed the matter, he and his three companions had every advantage secured to them. But here their first test was to come. Their principles must come into collision with the regulations and appointments of the king.

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They were to eat of the food placed upon his table and drink of his wine. Three years was this diet to last before their examination should take place, and then they were to be brought in before the king.

But Daniel and his companions did not take the position that because their food and drink was of the king's appointment it was their duty to partake of it. They prayed over the matter and studied the Scriptures. Their education had been of such a character that they felt even in their captivity that God was their dependence. After careful consideration from cause to effect, Daniel "purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself" [Dan. 1:8].

This request was not proffered in a defiant spirit, but was solicited as a great favor. The appearance of Daniel and his companions was as every youth's should be. They were courteous, kind, respectful, possessing the grace of meekness and modesty. And now as Daniel and his fellows were brought to the test, they placed themselves fully on the side of righteousness and truth. They did not move capriciously, but intelligently. They decided that as flesh meat had not composed their diet in the past, neither should it come into their diet in the future. And as the use of wine had been prohibited to all those who should engage in the service of God, they determined that they would not partake of it. The fate of the sons of Aaron had been presented before them, and they knew that the use of wine would confuse their senses, that the indulgence of appetite would place them where their powers of discernment would become beclouded. Nadab and Abihu disobeyed the requirements of God and used the common fire in the place of the sacred.

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These particulars were placed on record in the history of the children of Israel as a warning to all youth to avoid all approach to customs and practices and indulgences that would dishonor God in any way. Daniel and his companions knew not what would be the result of their decision. They knew not but that it would cost them their lives, but they determined to keep the straight path of strict temperance even in the courts of licentious Babylon.

"Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs" [Dan. 1:9]. The good behavior of these youth obtained for them favor. They rested their case in the hands of God, following a discipline of self-denial and temperance in all things. And the Lord cooperated with Daniel and his fellows, the servants of the only true God. The Lord had charge of these youth because they prayed to Him and trusted in the Lord in regard to the course they should pursue, to do all that lay in their power to reveal the infinite superiority of the worship of the true God.

There was another class of captives carried into Babylon. They were permitted to be torn from their homes and carried into a land of idolaters, because they were themselves constantly going into idolatry. The Lord let them have all they desired of the idolatrous practices of Babylon. The righteous with the unrighteous were taken away into a land where the name of Jehovah would not come to their ears, where songs of praise and thanksgiving to God would not be heard, where the miracle-working power of God would not be seen, and where prophets with messages of warning and reproof and counsel from God would be few and far between.-- Ms. 51, 1898 ("The Hebrew Captives.").

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Students to Cooperate With Teachers --Students, prepare yourselves to cooperate with your teachers. As you cooperate with them, you give them hope and courage. You are helping them, and at the same time you are helping yourselves to advance. Remember that it rests largely with you whether your teachers stand on vantage ground, their work an acknowledged success.

Our time for work is short. We have no time to spend in self-pleasing. You will gain true satisfaction and happiness only when you have a determined purpose to succeed.

Every learner needs an increasing capacity as he advances in his study of the Word of God, making the Book of books his textbook. Make your student life as perfect as possible. You will pass over the way but once. Precious are the opportunities granted you. You are not only to learn, but to practice the lessons of Christ. It rests with you yourself whether you make a success or a failure. As you succeed in gaining a knowledge of the Bible, you are storing up treasures to impart.

It is your privilege to make the advancement spoken of in the first chapter of Second Peter. Working on the plan of addition, you will add daily to your store of the knowledge of God and of Christ; and God will work for you on the plan of multiplication.

Be assured that as you advance, you will gain increased capabilities. If you see a fellow student who is backward, try to help him. Explain to him the lesson that he does not understand. This will be an aid to your understanding. Use simple words. State your ideas in clear, comprehensive language. Thus you are helping your teachers. Often minds apparently stolid will catch ideas more quickly from a fellow student than from a teacher.

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This is the cooperation that Christ commends as a good work. The great Teacher stands beside you, helping you to help the one who is backward. The Lord Jesus meets everyone, old or young, just where he is.

While obtaining your education, you may have opportunity to tell the poor and ignorant of the wonderful truths of God's Word. Improve every such opportunity. The grace of God will bless every minute spent in this way.

My brethren and sisters at Berrien Springs, you are doing a good work. The Lord is leading you. Just so long as you follow Christ you will be guided aright. Maintain your simplicity and your love for souls, and the Lord will lead you in safe paths. The rich experience you will gain will be of more value to you than gold and silver and precious stones.--Letter 103, 1902, pp. 5-7. (To The Teachers at Berrien Springs, July 6, 1902.)

Truth Has a Spiritual Influence --To all students we would say, In the name of the Lord do not permit yourselves to be held where the spiritual atmosphere is poisoned with skepticism and falsehood. Those who have had the evidence of truth, but who for days, weeks, months, and years have had about them a subtle influence that gives a distorted representation, a false coloring, to the truth of God, are not fit for teachers for our youth. Where falsehoods regarding the word and work of God are reported as truth is no place for students who are preparing for the future, immortal life. We are seeking heaven, wherein can enter none who have changed the truth of God into a lie.

Truth has a spiritual influence. It enters the mind, direct and uncorrupted, from One who is truth. The reception of truth in the inward parts is charged with the greatest results. Truth is to be received into the heart and developed and expressed in the character.

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No lie is of the truth. On every occasion possible Satan is on hand to introduce the leaven of his deceptive fallacies. Listen not a moment to the interpretations that would loosen one pin, remove one pillar, from the platform of truth.

Human interpretations, the reception of fables, will spoil your faith, confuse your understanding, and make of none effect your faith in Jesus Christ. Study diligently the third chapter of Revelation. In it is pointed out the danger of losing your hold upon the things that you have heard and learned from the Source of all light. "Remember . . . how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent" [Rev. 3:3]. Why repent? Because there have come in faults in the form of theories so subtle that by the influence of mind upon mind--through the agency of those who have departed from the faith--the wily foe will cause you imperceptibly to be imbued with the spirit that will draw you away from the faith.--Letter 230, 1906, pp. 3-4. (To the Elders of the Battle Creek Church, and Ministers and Physicians, July 5, 1906.)

Soul Is Safe Under Divine Guidance --God permitted Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, to come to our world to seek and to save perishing souls. But today some who have been entrusted with the care of these blood-bought souls are denying Him in word, in method, in action. Darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people.

Where are the earnest calls that should be given to arouse the people to that preparation of heart that will purify, refine, and ennoble characters to shine as lights amid the moral darkness? The soul is never safe, save under divine guidance. The word of God coming from sanctified hearts

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and lips will soften and break hard hearts. And if ever there was a period of time when the words of Christ should be heard, it is now.

None but He who created man can effect a change in the human heart. Every teacher is to realize that he must be moved by divine agencies. The mind and judgment must be submitted to the Holy Spirit. Through the sanctification of the truth, we may bear a decided testimony for righteousness before both believers and unbelievers.

We are far behind what we should be in our experience. We are backward in pronouncing the testimony that should flow from sanctified lips. Even when sitting at the table, Christ taught truths that brought comfort and courage to the hearts of His hearers. Whenever it is possible, we are to present the words of Christ. If His love is in the soul, abiding there as a living principle, there will come forth from the treasure-house of the heart, words suitable to the occasion; not light, trifling words, but uplifting words, words of truth and spirituality.

Let teachers and students watch their opportunities whenever possible to confess Christ in their conversations, speaking of their experiences in following Christ, praying with their brethren for the Holy Spirit. Confessing Christ openly and bravely, exhibiting in the choice of words the simplicity of true godliness, will be more effective than many sermons. There are but few who give a true representation of the meekness of Christ. Oh, we need, and we must have, His meekness! Christ is to be formed within, the hope of glory.

We are preparing for translation to the heavenly world. Our conversation should be in heaven, from whence we look for the Lord Jesus. He is to be acknowledged as the Giver of every good and perfect gift, the Author of all our blessings, in whom is centered our hope of eternal life.

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Angels of heaven are taking note of all our works and watching to see how they can minister to our needs. With intensity of spirit, all heaven stands ready to lend aid to us in our divine progress. Shall we improve our present opportunities and receive the impress of the divine image?--Ms. 127, 1907, pp. 6-7. ("The Work in Southern California," Nov. 3, 1907.) White Estate Washington, D. C. October 27, 1982