Dear Brother and Sister B: You have both been presented before me as in danger spiritually. You were leaving the right path and were placing your feet in a broader road. Sister B was saying many things, in jots and tittles, here a little and there a little, which were as seed sown, and the harvest will surely come. She was encouraging unbelief and telling her husband that the road they had been traveling was altogether too narrow and lowly. She thought that her husband's qualifications were of a high order and should be exercised in a broader and more influential manner. Brother B was of the very same mind; in fact, he had led her into this train of thought. You both held the banner upon which was inscribed, "The commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus;" but as you met in your way with people whom you thought were popular, down came the banner, and you put it behind your backs, saying: "If we let it be known that we are Seventh-day Adventists, then our influence will be at an end, and we shall lose many advantages." I saw the banner of truth trailing behind you. Then the question arose: "Why carry it at all? We can believe that which we see to be truth, but we need not let the educators and students know that we bear this unpopular banner." There were those in your company who were not pleased or satisfied with these suggestions, but they weakly followed your influence in place of letting their light shine by holding aloft their standard. They hid their banners and marched on, fearing to let the light which was given them of heaven shine before all.
I saw one approaching you with firm tread and grieved countenance. He said: "Let no man take your crown." Have you forgotten the humiliation endured by the Son of God in coming to our world, how He suffered abuse, reproach, insult, hatred, mockery, and betrayal, how He endured the shameful trial in the judgment hall after having suffered the superhuman assaults of Satan in the Garden of Gethsemane? Have you forgotten the wild cry from the mob, "Crucify Him, crucify Him," and how He died as a malefactor? Is the servant greater than his Lord? The followers of Jesus will not be popular, but will be like their Master, meek and lowly of heart. You are seeking to climb to the highest seat, but will find yourselves at last in the lowest. If you seek to deal justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with God, you will be partakers with Christ of His sufferings and sharers with Him of His glory in His kingdom. The Lord has blessed you, but how little have you appreciated His loving-kindness! How little praise He has received from your lips! You may do a good work for the Master, but not with your ideas as supreme. You must learn in the school of Christ, else you can never be qualified to enter the higher grade, receive the seal of the living God, enter in through the gates into the city of God, and be crowned with glory, honor, and immortality.
Satan works in many ways where he is not discerned, even through men and women who are in positions of trust. He will suggest to their minds plausible errors of thought and action and speech that will create doubt and work distrust where they think there is assurance of safety. He will work upon dissatisfied elements to put them in active operation. There will be a desire for greatness and honor. Envy will be excited in minds where it is not supposed to exist, and circumstances will not be wanting to call it into action. Doubts will be raised, and flattering promises of gain will be offered if the cross is not made so prominent. Satan will tempt some to think that our faith stands as a barrier to great advancement and bars the way to reaching a high worldly position and being called remarkable men and women.
In his first display of disaffection Satan was very cunning. All he claimed was that he wanted to bring in a better order of things, to make great improvements. He led the holy pair away from God, away from their allegiance to His commandments, on the same point where thousands are tempted today and where thousands fall; that is, by their vain imaginings. True knowledge is divine. Satan insinuated into the minds of our first parents a desire for a speculative knowledge, whereby he declared they would greatly improve their condition; but in order to gain this, they must take a course contrary to God's holy will; for God would not lead them to the greatest heights. It was not God's purpose that they should obtain knowledge that had its foundation in disobedience. This was a broad field into which Satan was seeking to lead Adam and Eve, and it is the same field that he opens for the world today by his temptations.
You were presenting the idea that education must stand as an independent work. This mixing of religious matters and Bible doctrines with scientific education you considered as a drawback in our educational work and as a hindrance in the work of carrying the students to the higher degrees of scientific knowledge.
The great reason why so few of the world's great men and those having a college education are led to obey the commandments of God is that they have separated education from religion, thinking that each should occupy a field by itself. God presented a field large enough to perfect the knowledge of all who should enter it. This knowledge was obtained under divine supervision; it was bound about with the immutable law of Jehovah, and the result would have been perfect blessedness.
God did not create evil, He only made the good, which was like Himself. But Satan would not be content to know the will of God and do it. His curiosity was on the stretch to know that which God had not designed he should know. Evil, sin, and death were not created by God; they are the result of disobedience, which originated in Satan. But the knowledge of evil now in the world was brought in through the cunning of Satan. These are very hard and expensive lessons; but men will learn them, and many will never be convinced that it is bliss to be ignorant of a certain kind of knowledge, which arises from unsatisfied desires and unholy aims. The sons and daughters of Adam are fully as inquisitive and presumptuous as was Eve in seeking forbidden knowledge. They gain an experience, a knowledge, which God never designed they should have, and the result will be, as it was to our first parents, the loss of their Eden home. When will human beings learn that which is demonstrated so thoroughly before them?
The history of the past shows an active, working devil. He can no more be idle than harmless. Satan was found in only one tree to endanger the safety of Adam and Eve. He planned to attract the holy pair to that one tree, that they might do the very thing God had said they should not do--eat of the tree of knowledge. There was no danger to them in approaching any other tree. How plausible his speech! He laid hold of the very arguments which he uses today,--flattery, envy, distrust, questioning, and unbelief. If Satan was so cunning at first, what must he be now after gaining an experience of many thousands of years? Yet God and holy angels, and all those who abide in obedience to all the Lord's expressed will, are wiser than he. The subtlety of Satan will not decrease, but the wisdom given to men through a living connection with the Source of all light and divine knowledge will be proportionate to his arts and wiles.
If men would stand the test which Adam failed to endure, and would, in the strength of Jesus, obey all the requirements of God, because they are righteousness, then they would never become acquainted with the objectionable knowledge. God never designed that men should have this knowledge which comes of disobedience, and which, carried into practice, ends in eternal death. When men almost invariably choose the knowledge that Satan presents; when their taste is so perverted that it craves that knowledge as though it were a fountain of supreme wisdom, then they give evidence that they are separated from God and are in rebellion against Christ.