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Manuscript Releases Volume Two : Page 235

38. Enacted Scenes

[Material desired by A. L. White for use in correspondence relative to dramatized programs in SDA churches and schools. Its significance lies in the fact that Mrs. White did not condemn a program in which there was dramatization, but she commented on how it could have been more effective and at the same time sounded certain cautions.--A. L. White.]

Enacted Scenes

I have risen at three o'clock this morning to write[* THIS COMMUNICATION WAS WRITTEN EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING, DECEMBER 26, 1888, AND RELATED TO A DRAMATIZED CHRISTMAS PROGRAM PUT ON BY THE BATTLE CREEK SABBATH SCHOOL. THE CHILDREN WORE COSTUMES. ELLA M. WHITE, MRS. WHITE'S SIX-YEAR-OLD GRANDDAUGHTER, WAS IN THE PROGRAM, DRESSED TO TYPIFY AN ANGEL.] you a few lines. I was pleased with the lighthouse, and the scene which had required so much painstaking effort was one which could have been made most impressive, but failed to be made as forcible and striking as it might have been when it cost so much time and labor in preparing it. The part acted by the children was good. The reading was appropriate. Then if there had been good, solid talk on that occasion in regard to children and teachers in the Sabbath schools laboring earnestly for the salvation of the souls of the children under your charge, presenting the most acceptable offering to Jesus, the gift of their own hearts, and impressive remarks, short and right to the point, [on] how they could do this, would it not have been in keeping with the work we have been trying to do in the church?

Every stroke now should be in harmony for the one great purpose, preparing of the hearts, that individually pupils and teachers should be as a light set on a candlestick that it may give light to all that are in the house, which would be carrying out the idea strikingly of a lighthouse guiding souls that they may not make shipwreck of faith. Can you tell me what marked impression


the two poems rehearsed by the two ladies on the stand would have to do with this work?

The singing was after the order we would expect it to be in any theatrical performance, but not one word to be distinguished. Certainly the tempest-tossed ship would be wrecked upon the rocks if there were no more light coming from the lighthouse than was seen in the exercises. I must say I was pained at these things, so out of order with the very work of reformation we were trying to carry forward in the church and with our institutions, that I should have felt better if I had not been present. This was an occasion that should have been gotten up not only for the Sabbath school children, but words should have been spoken that would have deepened the impression of a necessity of seeking for the favor of that Saviour who loved them and gave Himself for them. If [only] the precious hymns had been sung, "Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee," and "Jesus lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly, while the billows near me roll, while the tempest still is high." Whose souls were inspired with new and fresh zeal for the Master in those songs sung whose virtue was in the different performances of the singer?

While these painstaking efforts were being made to get up the performances, meetings were being held of the deepest interest which should have engaged the attention, and which called for the presence of every soul lest they should lose something of the message the Master had sent to them. Now this Christmas has passed into eternity with its burden of record, and we are anxious to see the result of it. Will it make those who acted their part in it more spiritual-minded? Will it increase their sense of obligation to our heavenly Father who sent His Son into the world at such an infinite sacrifice to save fallen man from utter ruin? Was the mind awakened to grasp God because of His great love wherewith He has loved us?


We hope, now that Christmas is in the past, that those who have put forth so much painstaking effort will now manifest a decided zeal, and earnest, disinterested effort for the salvation of the souls of the teachers in the Sabbath school, that in their turn they may each labor for the salvation of the souls in their classes, to give them personal instruction as to what they must do to be saved. We hope that they will find time to labor in simplicity and in sincerity for the souls of those under their care, and that they will pray with them, and for them, that they may give to Jesus the precious offering of their own souls, that they make literally true the symbol of the lighthouse in the beams of light shining forth from their own strong efforts in the name of Jesus, which should be put forth in love, they themselves grasping the rays of light to diffuse this light to others, and that there shall be no settling down to a surface work. Show just as great skill and aptitude in winning souls to Jesus as you have shown in painstaking effort for this occasion just past. Point them in your efforts, with heart and soul enlisted, to the Star that shines out to the morally-darkened heaven at this time, even the Light of the world. Let your light shine that the tempest-tossed souls may set their eyes upon it and escape the rocks that are concealed beneath the surface of the water. Temptations are lying in wait to deceive them; souls are oppressed with guilt, ready to sink into despair. Labor to save them; point them to Jesus who so loved them that He gave His life for them. . . .

The Light of the world is shining upon us that we might absorb the divine rays and let this light shine upon others in good works that many souls shall be led to glorify our Father which is in heaven. He is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, and it


grieves the heart of Jesus that so many refuse the offers of His mercy and matchless love.

Will all who acted an interested part in the program of last evening work as zealously and interestedly to show themselves approved unto God in doing their work for the Master, that they may show themselves intelligent workmen that need not to be ashamed? Oh, let the teachers in the Sabbath school be thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the message for this time, carrying that message into all their labor. There are souls to be saved, and while in the Sabbath school work there has been much form and a great amount of precious time occupied in reading of reports and records, there has been but little time to really let light shine forth in clear, steady rays in the very instruction needed to save the souls of the children and youth. Less elaborate speeches, less lengthy remarks, and plain, pointed truth presented, not one word uttered to exhibit profound knowledge, not one word in any speech, but the greatest evidence of real knowledge is the great simplicity. All who have taken knowledge of Jesus Christ will imitate Him in their manner of instruction.--Letter 5, 1888, pp. 1-4. (To Brother Morse, Dec. 26, 1888.) Released November, 1962.