Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4


College Students

The influence of Brother B has not been altogether what it should be. While at the college in Battle Creek he was in many respects an exemplary young man; but he, with other young gentlemen and ladies, in a secretive manner, made an excursion to -----. This was not noble, frank, and just. They all knew that it was a breach of the rules, but they ventured in the path of transgression. These young men, by this act and their attitude since in relation to their wrong course, have cast reflections upon the college that are most unjust. 4T 430.2

When the brethren in Iowa accepted the labors of Brother B under these circumstances, they did wrong. If they pursue a similar course in other cases, they will greatly displease God. The fact that he had been a young man of excellent deportment gave him greater influence over others, and his example in standing in defiance of the rules and authority which sustain and control the school influenced others to do as he had done. Laws and regulations will be of no force in conducting the school if such things are sanctioned by our brethren at large. A demoralizing influence is easily introduced into a school. Many will readily partake of the spirit of rebellion and defiance unless prompt and vigilant efforts are continually put forth to maintain the standard of the school by strict rules regulating the conduct of the students. 4T 430.3

The labors of Brother B will not be acceptable to God until he shall fully see and acknowledge his wrong in violating the rules of the college and shall endeavor to counteract the influence he has exerted to injure its reputation. Many more students would have come from Iowa had it not been for this unhappy circumstance. Could you, Brother B, see and realize the influence of this one wrong step, and the feelings of passion, of jealousy, and almost hatred that filled your heart because your course was questioned by Professor Brownsberger, you would tremble at the sight of yourself and at the triumph of those who cannot bear restraint and who wage war against rules and regulations which check them from pursuing their own course. Being a professed disciple of the meek and lowly Jesus, your influence and responsibility are greatly increased. 4T 430.4

Brother B, I hope you will go over the ground carefully and consider your first temptation to depart from the rules of the college. Study critically the character of the government of our school. The rules which were enforced were none too strict. But anger was cherished; for the time being, reason was dethroned and the heart was made a prey to ungovernable passion. Before you were aware, you had taken a step which a few hours previous you would not have taken under any pressure of temptation. Impulse had overcome reason, and you could not recall the injury done to yourself nor to an institution of God. Our only safety under all circumstances is in being always master of ourselves in the strength of Jesus our Redeemer. 4T 431.1

Our college has not that influence of popular opinion to sustain it in exercising government and enforcing its rules, which other colleges have. In one respect it is a denominational school; but, unless guarded, a worldly character and influence will be given to it. Sabbathkeeping students must possess more moral courage than has hitherto been manifested, to preserve the moral and religious influence of the school, or it will differ from the colleges of other denominations only in name. God devised and established this college, designing that it should be molded by high religious interests and that every year unconverted students who are sent to Battle Creek should return to their homes as soldiers of the cross of Christ. 4T 431.2

Professors and teachers should reflect upon the best means of maintaining the peculiar character of our college; all should highly esteem the privileges which we enjoy in having such a school and should faithfully sustain it and guard it from any breath of reproach. Selfishness may chill the energies of the students, and the worldly element may gain a prevailing influence over the entire school. This would bring the frown of God upon that institution. 4T 432.1

Those students who profess to love God and obey the truth should possess that degree of self-control and strength of religious principle that will enable them to remain unmoved amid temptations and to stand up for Jesus in the college, at their boardinghouses, or wherever they may be. Religion is not to be worn merely as a cloak in the house of God, but religious principle must characterize the entire life. Those who are drinking at the fountain of life will not, like the worldling, manifest a longing desire for change and pleasure. In their deportment and character will be seen the rest and peace and happiness that they have found in Jesus by daily laying their perplexities and burdens at His feet. They will show that there is contentment and even joy in the path of obedience and duty. Such will exert an influence over their fellow students which will tell upon the entire school. Those who compose this faithful army will refresh and strengthen the teachers and professors in their efforts by discouraging every species of unfaithfulness, of discord, and of neglect to comply with the rules and regulations. Their influence will be saving, and their works will not perish in the great day of God, but will follow them into the future world; and the influence of their life here will tell throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. One earnest, conscientious, faithful young man in school is an inestimable treasure. Angels of heaven look lovingly upon him. His precious Saviour loves him, and in the Ledger of Heaven will be recorded every work of righteousness, every temptation resisted, every evil overcome. He will thus be laying up a good foundation against the time to come, that he may lay hold on eternal life. 4T 432.2

The course pursued at the college by Brother C, in seeking the society of young ladies, was wrong. This was not the object for which he was sent to Battle Creek. Students are not sent here to form attachments, to indulge in flirtation or courting, but to obtain an education. Should they be allowed to follow their own inclinations in this respect, the college would soon become demoralized. Several have used their precious school days in slyly flirting and courting, notwithstanding the vigilance of professors and teachers. When a teacher of any of the branches takes advantage of his position to win the affections of his students with a view to marriage, his course is worthy of severest censure. 4T 433.1

The influence of the sons of Brother D and of several others from Iowa, also that of Mr. E of Illinois, has been no benefit to our school. The relatives and friends of these students have sustained them in casting reflections upon the college. The sons of Brother D have ability and aptness, which is a source of gratification to the parents; but when the ability of these young men is exerted to break down the rules and regulations of the college, it is nothing that should excite pleasure in the hearts of any. The paper containing that apt and sharp criticism concerning one who teaches in the college will not be read with such gratification in the day when every man's work shall pass in review before God. Brother and Sister D will then meet a record of the work they did in giving their son poorly concealed justification in this matter. They must then answer for the influence they have exerted against the school, one of God's instrumentalities, and for making the colored statements which have prevented youth from coming to the college, where they might have been brought under the influence of truth. Some souls will be lost in consequence of this wrong influence. The great day of God's judgment will unfold the influence of the words spoken and the attitude assumed. Brother and Sister D have duties at home which they have neglected. They have been drunken with the cares of this life. Work and hurry and drive are the order of the day, and their intense worldliness has had its molding influence upon their children, upon the church, and upon the world. It is the example of those who hold the truth in righteousness which will condemn the world. 4T 433.2

Upon Christian youth depend in a great measure the preservation and perpetuity of the institutions which God has devised as means by which to advance His work. This grave responsibility rests upon the youth of today who are coming upon the stage of action. Never was there a period when results so important depended upon a generation of men; then how important that the young should be qualified for the great work, that God may use them as His instruments. Their Maker has claims upon them which are paramount to all others. 4T 434.1

It is God that has given life and every physical and mental endowment they possess. He has bestowed upon them capabilities for wise improvement, that they may be entrusted with a work which will be as enduring as eternity. In return for His great gifts He claims a due cultivation and exercise of their intellectual and moral faculties. He did not give them these faculties merely for their amusement, or to be abused in working against His will and His providence, but that they might use them to advance the knowledge of truth and holiness in the world. He claims their gratitude, their veneration and love, for His continued kindness and infinite mercies. He justly requires obedience to His laws and to all wise regulations which will restrain and guard the youth from Satan's devices and lead them in paths of peace. If youth could see that in complying with the laws and regulations of our institutions they are only doing that which will improve their standing in society, elevate the character, ennoble the mind, and increase their happiness, they would not rebel against just rules and wholesome requirements, nor engage in creating suspicion and prejudice against these institutions. Our youth should have a spirit of energy and fidelity to meet the demands upon them, and this will be a guaranty of success. The wild, reckless character of many of the youth in this age of the world is heartsickening. Much of the blame lies upon their parents at home. Without the fear of God no one can be truly happy. 4T 434.2

Those students who have chafed under authority, and have returned to their homes to cast reproach upon the college, will have to see their sin and counteract the influence they have cast, before they can have the approval of God. The believers in Iowa have displeased God in their credulity in accepting the reports brought them. They should ever be found on the side of order and discipline, instead of encouraging lax government. 4T 435.1

A youth is sent from a distant state to share the benefits of the college at Battle Creek. He goes forth from his home with the blessing of his parents upon his head. He has listened daily to the earnest prayers offered at the family altar, and he is apparently well started in a life of noble resolve and purity. His convictions and purposes when he leaves home are right. In Battle Creek he will meet with associates of all classes. He becomes acquainted with some whose example is a blessing to all who come within the sphere of their influence. Again, he meets with those who are apparently kind and interesting, and whose intelligence charms him; but they have a low standard of morality and no religious faith. For a time he resists every inducement to yield to temptation; but as he observes that those who profess to be Christians seem to enjoy the company of this irreligious class, his purposes and high resolves begin to waver. He enjoys the lively sallies and jovial spirit of these youth, and he is almost imperceptibly drawn more and more into their company. His stronghold seems to be giving way; his hitherto brave heart is growing weak. He is invited to accompany them for a walk, and they lead him to a saloon. Oysters or other refreshments are called for, and he is ashamed to draw away and refuse the treat. Having once overstepped the bounds, he goes again and again. A glass of beer is thought to be unobjectionable, and he accepts it; but still, with all, there are sharp twinges of conscience. He does not openly take his stand on the side of God and truth and righteousness; the society of the sly, deceptive class with which he is associated pleases him, and he is led a step further. His tempters urge that it is certainly harmless to play a game of cards and to watch the players in a billiard hall, and he yields repeatedly to the temptation. 4T 435.2

Young men attend our college who, unsuspected by parents or guardians, hang about saloons, drink beer, and play cards and games in billiard halls. These things the students try to keep a profound secret among themselves; and professors and teachers are kept in ignorance of the satanic work going on. When this young man is enticed to pursue some evil course which must be kept secret, he has a battle with conscience; but inclination triumphs. He meant to be a Christian when he came to Battle Creek, but he is led steadily and surely in the downward road. Evil companions and seducers found among the youth of Sabbathkeeping parents, some of them living in Battle Creek, find that he can be tempted; and they secretly exult in their power and the fact that he is weak and will yield so readily to their seductive influences. They find that he can be shamed and confused by those who have had light and who have hardened their hearts in sin. Just such influences as these will be found wherever youth associate together. 4T 436.1

The time will come when that young man who left his father's house pure and true, with noble purposes, will be ruined. He has learned to love the evil and reject the good. He did not realize his danger, not being armed with watchfulness and prayer. He did not place himself at once under the guardian care of the church. He was made to believe that it was manly to be independent, not allowing his liberty to be restricted. He was taught that to ignore rules and defy laws was to enjoy true freedom; that it was slavish to be always fearing and trembling lest he do wrong. He yielded to the influence of ungodly persons who, while carrying a fair exterior, were practicing deception, vileness, and iniquity; and he was despised and derided because he was so easily duped. He went where he could not expect to find the pure and the good. He learned ways of life and habits of speech which were not elevating and ennobling. Many are in danger of being thus lead away imperceptibly until they become degraded in their own estimation. In order to gain the applause of the heartless and ungodly, they are in danger of yielding the purity and nobleness of manhood, and of becoming slaves to Satan. 4T 436.2