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Jeremiah 18:15

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Because - “For.” Jeremiah returns to, and continues the words of, Jeremiah 18:13.

Vanity - A word meaning “falsehood,” which signifies that the worship of idols is not merely useless but injurious.

They have caused them to stumble - Judah‘s prophets and priests were they who made her to err Jeremiah 5:31. The idols were of themselves powerless for good or evil.

In their ways … - Or, “in their ways, the everlasting paths, to walk in byways, in a road not cast up. The paths of eternity” carry back the mind not to the immediate but to the distant past, and suggest the good old ways in which the patriarchs used to walk. The “road cast up” means one raised sufficiently to keep it out of the reach of floods etc.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Sinners call it liberty to live at large; whereas for a man to be a slave to his lusts, is the very worst slavery. They forsook God for idols. When men are parched with heat, and meet with cooling, refreshing streams, they use them. In these things men will not leave a certainty for an uncertainty; but Israel left the ancient paths appointed by the Divine law. They walked not in the highway, in which they might travel safely, but in a way in which they must stumble: such was the way of idolatry, and such is the way of iniquity. This made their land desolate, and themselves miserable. Calamities may be borne, if God smile upon us when under them; but if he is displeased, and refuses his help, we are undone. Multitudes forget the Lord and his Christ, and wander from the ancient paths, to walk in ways of their own devising. But what will they do in the day of judgment!
Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 48.4

Never, under any circumstances, even in appearance, consent to leave the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. Be steadfast, immovable to Christian obligations and to your God.... TSB 48.4

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 223

Those teachers who have not a progressive religious experience, who are not learning daily lessons in the school of Christ, that they may be ensamples to the flock, but who accept their wages as the main thing, are not fit for the solemn, awfully solemn, position they occupy. For this scripture is appropriate to all our schools established as God designed they should be, after the order or example of the schools of the prophets, imparting a higher class of knowledge—mingling not dross with the silver, and wine with water—which is a representation of precious principles. False ideas and unsound practices are leavening the pure, and corrupting that which should ever be kept pure, and looked upon by the world, by angels, and by men, as the Lord's institution—schools where the education to love and fear God is made first. “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” “Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” FE 223.1

Let the teachers who claim to be Christians be learning daily in the school of Christ His lessons. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” I ask you, Is every educator in the school wearing the yoke of Christ, or manufacturing yokes of his own to place upon the necks of others, yokes which they themselves will not wear, sharp, severe, exacting; and this, too, while they are carrying themselves very loosely toward God, offending every day in little and larger matters, and making it evident in words, in spirit, and in actions, that they are not a proper example for the students, and are not having a sense that they are under discipline to the greatest Teacher the world ever knew? There needs to be a higher, holier mold on the school in Battle Creek, and on other schools which have taken their mold from it. The customs and practices of the Battle Creek school go forth to all the churches, and the pulse heartbeats of that school are felt throughout the body of believers. FE 223.2

It is not in God's order that thousands of dollars shall be expended in enlargements and additions in institutions in Battle Creek. There is altogether too much there now. Take that extra means and establish the work in suffering portions of other fields, to give character to the work. I have spoken the word of God upon this point. There are reasons many do not see, that I have no liberty to open before you now; but I tell you in the name of the Lord, you will make a mistake in your adding building to building; for there are being centered in Battle Creek responsibilities that are altogether too much for one location. If these responsibilities were divided and placed in other localities, it would be far better than crowding so much into Battle Creek, robbing other destitute fields of the advantages God would have them privileged with. FE 224.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 70

Men located in Battle Creek have disregarded the counsels of the Lord because it was more convenient for them to have the work centered there. God has left these to the results of their human wisdom, and its fruit is seen in the present perplexities. 8T 70.1

“Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of Mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” Isaiah 50:10, 11. 8T 70.2

“Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now everyone from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will everyone do the imagination of his evil heart. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing. Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? Because My people have forgotten Me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up.” Jeremiah 18:11-15. 8T 70.3

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Ellen G. White
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 358

Are not the teachers in our schools in danger of blasphemy, of charging the Holy Spirit with being a deceiving power and leading into fanaticism? Where are the educators that choose the snow of Lebanon which comes from the rock of the field, or the cold, flowing waters that come from another place, instead of the murky waters of the valley? CT 358.1

A succession of showers from the living waters has come to you at Battle Creek. Each shower was a consecrated inflowing of divine influence; but you did not recognize it as such. Instead of drinking copiously of the streams of salvation so freely offered through the influence of the Holy Spirit, you turned to satisfy your soul thirst with the polluted waters of human science. The result has been parched hearts in the school and in the church. Those who are satisfied with little spirituality have gone far in unfitting themselves to appreciate the deep movings of the Spirit of God.... CT 358.2

There is need of heart conversions among the teachers. A genuine change of thought and methods of teaching is required to place them where they will have a personal relation to a living Saviour. It is one thing to assent to the Spirit's work in conversion, and another thing to accept that Spirit's agency as a reprover, calling to repentance. It is necessary that both teachers and students not only assent to truth, but have a deep practical knowledge of the operations of the Spirit. Its cautions are given because of the unbelief of those who profess to be Christians.... CT 359.1

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Ellen G. White
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 373

A close connection with God must be maintained by all our teachers. If God should send His Holy Spirit into our schools to mold hearts, elevate the intellect, and give divine wisdom to the students, there are those who, in their present state, would interpose between God and those who need the light. They would not understand the work of the Holy Spirit; they have never understood it; in the past it has been to them as great a mystery as were Christ's lessons to the Jews. The working of the Holy Spirit of God is not to create curiosity. It is not for men to decide whether they shall lay their hands upon the manifestations of the Spirit of God. We must let God work. CT 373.1

When teachers are willing to sit in the school of Christ and learn of the Great Teacher, they will know far less in their own estimation than they do now. When God becomes the teacher, He will be acknowledged, His name will be magnified. The students will be as were the young men in the schools of the prophets, upon whom the Spirit of God came, and they prophesied. CT 373.2

The great adversary of souls is seeking to bring a dead, lifeless spiritual atmosphere into all our institutions. He works to turn and twist every circumstance to his own advantage, to the exclusion of Jesus Christ. Today, as in the days of Christ, God cannot do many mighty works because of the unbelief of those who stand in responsible positions. The converting power of God is needed before they will understand the word of God, and be willing to humble themselves before Him as learners. CT 373.3

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 170

If half the zeal manifested in seeking to comprehend the bright ideas of infidels, was manifested in studying the plan of salvation, thousands who are now in darkness, would be charmed with the wisdom, the purity, the elevation of the provisions of God in our behalf; they would be lifted out of and away from themselves in wonder and amazement at the love and condescension of God in giving His only-begotten Son for a fallen race. How is it that many are satisfied to drink at the turbid streams that flow in the murky valley, when they might refresh their souls at the living streams of the mountains? The prophet asks, “Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken?” The Lord answers, “My people hath forgotten Me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, in a way not cast up.” FE 170.1

It is a sad fact that men who have been intrusted with fine capabilities to be employed in the service of God, have prostituted their powers in the service of evil, and laid their talents at the feet of the enemy. They submitted in the most servile bondage to the prince of evil, while rejecting the service of Christ as humiliating and undesirable. They looked upon the work of the follower of Christ as a work below their ambition, that required a stepping down from their greatness, a species of slavery, that would enthrall their powers, and narrow the circle of their influence. He who had made an infinite sacrifice that they might be set free from the bondage of evil, was set aside as unworthy their best efforts and most exalted service. FE 170.2

These men had received their talents from God, and every gem of thought by which they had been esteemed worthy of the attention of scholars and thinkers, belongs not to them, but to the God of all wisdom, whom they did not acknowledge. Through tradition, through false education, these men are exalted as the world's educators; but in going to them students are in danger of accepting the vile with the precious; for superstition, specious reasoning, and error are mingled with portions of true philosophy and instruction. This mingling makes a potion that is poisonous to the soul,—destructive of faith in the God of all truth. Those who have a thirst for knowledge need not go to these polluted fountains; for they are invited to come to the fountain of life and drink freely. Through searching the word of God, they may find the hidden treasure of truth that has long been buried beneath the rubbish of error, human tradition, and opinions of men. FE 170.3

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