by James White, 1857
WHAT can be done for our children? There is no use in concealing the fact, that but a small portion of the children of Sabbath-keepers are forming characters for eternal life in the kingdom of God. While a very few are advancing, others are falling back, and many are pressing their way to ruin. And what is most alarming, is the fact that Bible truth, and the means of grace seem to affect the youth and children of Sabbath-keepers less and less. What can be done for our children? is a perplexing inquiry which has often come up. We might pause here and lament, but this would not help their condition. Shall we not rather try to point out some of the reasons of the sad state of things among our children, in hope that when the cause is removed, by the grace of God through our- Lord Jesus Christ, the effects may cease.
We are introducing a subject of most thrilling interest to parents and guardians—one on which volumes may well be written—which relates to their whole duty to children intrusted to their care from the cradle to manhood and womanhood. We can only introduce it here, and touch upon a few points. We would first call attention to the
IMMORALITY OF SCHOOLS.
A writer in the Michigan Journal of Education speaks pointedly and well upon this subject. Though probably not impressed with the truth, that all that can be done to save the dear youth and children of our land must be done immediately, yet from his words, many among us may gather lessons of the greatest importance. He says:—
“Much has been said and written on the subject of teaching morals in schools. Eloquently have gifted and good men pleaded that the Word of God and the voice of Prayer should not be banished from our common schools; that the moral nature of the little child should not be left untrained while his intellect was unfolding into a power which no man may control. Many a thoughtful parent, and citizen has looked with sadness and fear upon the evident depravities of the children of our public schools, and not a few have chosen to incur the trouble and expense of educating their children at home or in private schools, rather than trust them to the dreaded contamination.
” Benevolent and Christian teachers have studied the means of reformation and many a well considered planof mora!’ teachings has been proposed and tried. But still the evil continues unabated, and the public school is still a place of peril to all that is lovely in our little ones. Nor will anyone be surprised at the obstinacy of the evil if he will but notice carefully the ordinary character of the surroundings and exercises of these schools.
(James White presented this essay over several editions of the Review. It will take some time to reproduce it here. Started June 8, 2008. This is a seminal work regarding Adventist education; a call to arms, so to speak.)
Review and Herald, August 20, 1857, p. 125