Let no temporal advantages tempt parents to neglect the training of their children. Whenever possible, it is the duty of parents to make homes in the country for their children. The children and youth should be carefully guarded. They should be kept away from the hotbeds of iniquity that are to be found in our cities. Let them be surrounded by the influences of a true Christian home--a home where Christ abides.-- Letter 268, 1906.
Before the Scourge Shall Overflow
Before the overflowing scourge shall come upon the dwellers of the earth, the Lord calls upon all who are Israelites indeed to prepare for that event. To parents He sends the warning cry, Gather your children into your own houses; gather them away from those who are disregarding the commandments of God, who are teaching and practising evil. Get out of the large cities as fast as possible. Establish church schools. Give your children the Word of God as the foundation of all their education.--Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 195.
I am instructed by the Lord to warn our people not to flock to the cities to find homes for their families. To fathers and to mothers I am instructed to say, Fail not to keep your children within your own premises.-- Manuscript 81, 1900.
Souls of Children Versus Ease and Comfort
Let children no longer be exposed to the temptations of the cities that are ripe for destruction. The Lord has sent us warning and
counsel to get out of the cities. Then let us make no more investments in the cities. Fathers and mothers, how do you regard the souls of your children? Are you preparing the members of your families for translation into the heavenly courts? Are you preparing them to become members of the royal family? children of the heavenly King? "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" How will ease, comfort, convenience, compare with the value of the souls of your children?-- Manuscript 76, 1905.
Christian Qualities Better Gained in Retired Locations
There is not one family in a hundred who will be improved physically, mentally, or spiritually, by residing in the city. Faith, hope, love, happiness, can far better be gained in retired places, where there are fields and hills and trees. Take your children away from the sights and sounds of the city, away from the rattle and din of streetcars and teams, and their minds will become more healthy. It will be found easier to bring home to their hearts the truth of the Word of God.-- Manuscript 76, 1905.
Send the children to schools located in the city, where every phase of temptation is waiting to attract and demoralise them, and the work of character building is tenfold harder for both parents and children.-- Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 326. (1894).
The Refuge of Country Places
Let parents understand that the training of their children is an important work in the saving of souls. In country places abundant useful exercise will be found in doing those things that need to be done, and which will give physical health by developing nerve and muscle. Out of the cities is my message for the education of our children.
God gave to our first parents the means of true education when He instructed them to till the soil and care for their Garden home. After sin came in, through disobedience to the Lord's requirements, the work to be done in cultivating the ground was greatly multiplied, for the earth, because of the curse, brought forth weeds and thistles. But the employment itself was not given because of sin. The great Master Himself blessed the work of tilling the soil.
"As . . . In The Days Of Noah"
It is Satan's purpose to attract men and women to the cities, and to gain his object he invents every kind of novelty and amusement, every kind of excitement. And the cities of the earth today are becoming as were the cities before the Flood.
We should carry a continual burden as we see the fulfilment of the words of Christ, "As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matt. 24:37. In the days before the Flood, every kind of amusement was invented to lead men and women to forgetfulness and sin. Today, in 1908, Satan is working with intensity, that the same conditions of evil shall prevail. And the earth is becoming corrupt. Religious liberty will be little respected by professing Christians, for many of them have no understanding of spiritual things.
We cannot fail to see that the end of the world is soon to come. Satan is working upon the minds of men and women, and many seem filled with a desire for amusement and excitement. As it was in the days of Noah, every kind of evil is on the increase. Divorce and marriage is the order of the time. At such a time as this, the people who are seeking to keep the commandments of God should look for retired places away from the cities. . . .
Not A Deprivation
Who will be warned? We say again, Out of the cities. Do not consider it a great deprivation, that you must go into the hills and mountains, but seek for that retirement where you can be alone with God, to learn His will and way. . . .
I urge our people to make it their lifework to seek for spirituality. Christ is at the door. This is why I say to our people, Do not consider it a privation when you are called to leave the cities and move out into the country places. Here there await rich blessings for those who will grasp them. By beholding the scenes of nature, the works of the Creator, by studying God's handiwork, imperceptibly you will be changed into the same image.--Manuscript 85, 1908.
To Secure Life's Best Results
An expensive dwelling, elaborate furnishings, display, luxury, and ease, do not furnish the conditions essential to a happy, useful life. Jesus came to this earth to accomplish the greatest work ever
accomplished among men. He came as God's ambassador, to show us how to live so as to secure life's best results. What were the conditions chosen by the infinite Father for His Son? A secluded home in the Galilean hills; a household sustained by honest, self-respecting labour; a life of simplicity; daily conflict with difficulty and hardship; self-sacrifice, economy, and patient, gladsome service; the hour of study at His mother's side, with the open scroll of Scripture; the quiet of dawn or twilight in the green valley; the holy ministries of nature; the study of creation and providence; and the soul's communion with God,--these were the conditions and opportunities of the early life of Jesus.
Country Heritage of Noble Men
So with the great majority of the best and noblest men of all ages. Read the history of Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph, of Moses, David, and Elisha. Study the lives of men of later times who have most worthily filled positions of trust and responsibility, the men whose influence has been most effective for the world's uplifting.
How many of these were reared in country homes. They knew little of luxury. They did not spend their youth in amusement. Many were forced to struggle with poverty and hardship. They early learned to work, and their active life in the open air gave vigour and elasticity to all their faculties. Forced to depend upon their own resources, they learned to combat difficulties and to surmount obstacles, and they gained courage and perseverance. They learned the lessons of self-reliance and self-control. Sheltered in a great degree from evil associations, they were satisfied with natural pleasures and wholesome companionships. They were simple in their tastes and temperate in their habits. They were governed by principle, and they grew up pure and strong and true. When called to their lifework, they brought to it physical and mental power, buoyancy of spirit, ability to plan and execute, and steadfastness in resisting evil, that made them a positive power for good in the world.
Better Than Wealth
Better than any other inheritance of wealth you can give to your children will be the gift of a healthy body, a sound mind, and a noble character. Those who understand what constitutes life's true success will be wise betimes. They will keep in view life's best things in their choice of a home.
Instead of dwelling where only the works of men can be seen, where the sights and sounds frequently suggest thoughts of evil, where turmoil and confusion bring weariness and disquietude, go where you can look upon the works of God. Find rest of spirit in the beauty and quietude and peace of nature. Let the eye rest on the green fields, the groves, and the hills. Look up to the blue sky, unobscured by the city's dust and smoke, and breathe the invigorating air of heaven. Go where, apart from the distractions and dissipations of city life, you can give your children your companionship, where you can teach them to learn of God through His works, and train them for lives of integrity and usefulness.--The Ministry of Healing, pp. 265-267. (1905)
Manifold Benefits of Active Out-to-Door Life
It would be well for you to lay by your perplexing cares,and find a retreat in the country, where there is not so strong an influence to corrupt the morals of the young.
True, you would not be entirely free from annoyances and perplexing cares in the country; but you would there avoid many evils and close the door against a flood of temptations which threaten to overpower the minds of your children. They need employment and variety. The sameness of their home makes them uneasy and restless, and they have fallen into the habit of mingling with the vicious lads of the town, thus obtaining a street education. . . .
To live in the country would be very beneficial to them; an active, out-of-door life would develop health of both mind and body. They should have a garden to cultivate, where they might find both amusement and useful employment. The training of plants and flowers tends to the improvement of taste and judgement, while an acquaintance with God's useful and beautiful creations has a refining and ennobling influence upon the mind, referring it to the Maker and Master of all.-- Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 136. (1876)
Expect No Miracle to Undo Results of Wrong Course
I look at these flowers, and every time I see them I think of Eden. They are an expression of God's love for us. Thus He gives us in this world a little taste of Eden. He wants us to delight in the beautiful things of His creation, and to see in them an expression of what He will do for us.
He wants us to live where we can have elbow room. His people are not to crowd into the cities. He wants them to take their families out of the cities, that they may better prepare for eternal life. In a little while they will have to leave the cities.
These cities are filled with wickedness of every kind,--with strikes and murders and suicides. Satan is in them, controlling men in their work of destruction. Under his influence they kill for the sake of killing, and this they will do more and more. . . .
If we place ourselves under objectionable influences, can we expect God to work a
miracle to undo the results of our wrong course? --No, indeed. Get out of the cities as
soon as possible, and purchase a little piece of land, where you can have a garden, where
your children can watch the flowers growing, and learn from them lessons of simplicity and
purity.-- General Conference Bulletin, March 30, 1903.