Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 86, 1899

The Review and Herald and the College Debt


June 6, 1899 [typed]

This manuscript is published in entirety in SpM 147-150. +Note

I read in the G. C. Bulletin proposals that the Review and Herald forgive the indebtedness of the Battle Creek College. That night instruction was given me from the Lord that there were debts upon the Review and Herald, which would make it unjust for the Review and Herald Publishing Company to do this. The General Conference and the Review and Herald are acting for the whole of the people in the Sabbath-keeping ranks. They take the people’s money that is there invested and use it to relieve the school of debt. If the word of the Lord had been heeded these debts would not now exist. The light the Lord gave years ago was that the school building last proposed should not be erected. But unwise advisers turned from the counsels of God. There should be no more necessities made, no more inducements offered to bring people to Battle Creek. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 1

Over and over the word of the Lord has come to us that plants, both of churches and schools, should be made in other localities. Get the people of the cities and establish interests in other places. There were too many weighty responsibilities in one place. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 2

So many students need not come to Battle Creek if there were other schools in different places. This was the instruction given. But the additional building was erected just the same. That building should have been located in some favorable situation outside of the city, in some place where there was plenty of land to be cultivated. Thus the standard would have been lifted in a new place. Had two-thirds of the students been taken out of Battle Creek, and a division been made, the money expended on the extra building would have abundantly provided for two new plants in other localities, and there would have been the growing of the tree, and the bearing of the fruit that has not been, because men chose to follow their own wisdom. The gathering together of so many students in one school is not wise. If two-thirds of the people in Battle Creek would become plants of the Lord in other localities, they would have a chance to grow. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 3

The time and energy bestowed upon the large school in Battle Creek to make a growth would be far more favorable for a growth of the Lord’s plants in other localities, where there is room for agricultural pursuits to be carried on as a part of the education. If there had been a willingness to follow the Lord’s ways and His plans, there would have been light shining in other places. The great expense incurred to add new buildings where there was all there should be, called for additional expense in furnishing, and the tuition was placed too low, for students must be secured to fill the building. When a school is found to be constantly increasing its debt, let the faculty come together and study how the school can be made self-sustaining. This should be done in every school that shall be established. Let teachers lessen their wages by making some personal sacrifice. Let the price of tuition be raised. It is far better to let a whole school share the expense than to run in debt. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 4

The debt for the additional building has been hanging over the school as a discouragement, and thus it will ever be until there shall be a deeper consecration and self-sacrifice all through our churches. Every true character, and no other, ill be qualified to cope with difficulties in following a “Thus saith the Lord.” Men are not prepared to understand their obligation to God until they have learned in Christ’s school to wear His yoke of restraint and obedience. Sacrifice <was exercised> at the very beginning of our work in advancing the truth and in establishing institutions. Sacrifice must become habitual in all our character building in this life if we would have a building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 5

There are lessons to learn daily in regard to offering praise and thanksgiving to God. To praise God and glorify Him in the fullness and sincerity of heart is as much the duty of those who love God as is prayer. We are to show to all the heavenly intelligences that we appreciate their ministrations, and that we are expecting and waiting for the goodness and mercy and large blessings of God. Never should we lose sight of His wondrous love for the fallen human family. We are under obligations to God to offer thanksgiving. Whoso offereth praise glorifieth God. After a special outpouring of His Holy Spirit, our cheerfulness, our helpfulness, our joy in the Lord will be increased by recounting His goodness and His wonderful works to the children of men. This will make the Christian courageous and yet simple and trustful as a little child. Read Matthew 18:1-6. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 6

True humility will be evidenced by recounting the mercies of God. Think of His goodness and praise His name. The more we see and tell of the love and goodness and compassion of God, the more will gratitude spring up in our hearts. This will put a stop to grumbling. Distrust, censuring, jealousy, and evil surmisings are never cherished in a heart that is thankful because of the mercies of God. True Christian life is that of higher and still higher education. Christians must grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. This is the character we must form if we have the wisdom of the Lord with us. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 7

But I am almost forgetting my subject. The Lord does not require the General Conference or the Review and Herald that is now under a burden of debt to bear the burden of the college debt. That would be doing injustice to the general necessities of the cause in new fields and in foreign lands. Methods must be devised to stop this continual accumulation of debt. The whole cause must not be made to suffer because of these debts, which will never be lifted unless there is an entire change and the work is carried forward on some different basis. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 8

Under the present embarrassment, I would not advise that the interest of the money due from the college to the Review and Herald should be remitted. It cannot be done as though the Review and Herald were a person dealing with another person, or even as though it were handling its own goods. Those who are bearing responsibilities in the Review and Herald Office, or in any of the interests relating to the General Conference, are dealing with capital which is not their own, which has been brought in by the people; and they have no right to handle these goods as they have been doing. The means should not be grasped as it has been by selfish men who have not helped to build up the work, but whose selfish hearts, knowing little of sacrifice, have grasped all the wages they could obtain. God has been dishonored by those men who have worked as worldlings work. The means which is in the hands of responsible men should be carefully and faithfully handled. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 9

The publishing institution was built up by sacrifice, but by the examples men in responsible places have given to the people this spirit has been lost. The Lord has not stirred hearts to give for the advancement of the cause, and selfishness has leavened the churches. Unfaithful stewardship has been revealed in the payment of large wages to men who have made God’s work and cause a matter of merchandise by which to enrich themselves. Those at the very heart of the work have displeased the Lord, and He has turned away from His people. Temptations came to the people, and backsliding was the result. If they had called together the men of the conferences and demanded an investigation of matters—which it was their right to do—decisive measures would have been taken to stop the existing evil. But this was not done. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 10

Had they changed the order of things and brought in the same principles which were revealed in the work when the first buildings were erected, the spirit of self-sacrifice would have been retained, and the work have moved onward and upward. God’s people would have understood that the way and work of the Lord cannot prosper when His people are unwilling to sacrifice self. Heavenly intelligences would have helped them to climb to higher levels to understand by experimental knowledge that they were to be laborers together with God. God desires that His people shall be conquerors, moving bravely through all difficulties. God is faithful. He will make His people complete in Him. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 11

There has been a mistake all round; and it is a great work to come back from every wrong path and choose the right. The Lord has honored men by allowing them to unite with His work, but to manifest sympathy for the tempted, to encourage them in an evil course by showing confidence in them, will not help the wrongdoer or enrich the experience of those who by their course become partakers of their evil deeds. Those men who should have stood firm as a rock to principle spoiled their influence by succumbing to temptation when brought into a strait place. The saving power of Christ was not with them. Christ’s sympathy was not impaired by His sinlessness. It was His steadfast adherence to righteousness and truth that made Him a power of grace to redeem. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 12

All emergencies will call the faithful ones to action. All combinations of difficulties which arouse us to seek God’s help are really working together for good to those who love God, and who will maintain their integrity at all hazards. When emergencies force men to a decision and the ones who act their part unselfishly, bravely, are called to resist the working of evil men, they are obtaining a clearer self-knowledge. They see the necessity of standing steadfast to pure, unadulterated principles, if they would save the souls ready to perish, such a sympathy Christ had when He rebuked wrong. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 13

When men were bringing in wrong principles and were criticizing those who would not vindicate their course of selfishness, if those entrusted with holy interests had refused every approach to selfishness, refused to cover selfishness in anyone connected with the work, they would have become followers of Christ, strong in uplifting faith, determined to press close to the side of Christ. They would have realized the ideal of His Sonship, which God has revealed in and through Christ. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 14

These thoughts I cannot possibly express in the few moments I have to write. I will say, The college has no right to draw from the General Conference or the Review and Herald to pay its indebtedness. Let all who have acted a part in allowing this cloud of debt to cover them now feel it their duty to do what they can to lessen it. Lessen expenses and raise the fee for tuition. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 15

Brother Sutherland, be careful not to go to opposite extremes. We very much dislike to present wrongs to be corrected, lest the opposite extreme shall be taken. You must not let the students suppose that their education is to be loose and haphazard. Let the students, the young especially, study books that are free from infidelity. As fast as possible let the youth perfect their knowledge of the common branches. Bring in the Word of God and its principles as the foundation of solid education. Not all the youth are to receive a medical education in order to be fitted for labor. Young boys and girls need to go through the proper period of discipline in the study of the common branches and Bible lessons. But let them have no encouragement that they can engage in medical missionary work unless they give evidence of thorough conversion. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 16

When men and women are sent to our schools to learn how to work for the Master, do not teach them that they must have a five-years’ drill in Latin and Greek. Many who take this course come from the school deficient in a knowledge of the Bible. They know scarcely anything of the reasons of our faith. Teach the students solidly. Teach them how to learn, and how to keep learning. Let them become as efficient as possible, that they in their turn may be educators. Ministers and those who have been fitting themselves for missionary work should not spend years in medical missionary classes. Little boys and girls need thorough discipline in study, but there are those who need only a short time at school. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 17

It seems to be unnecessary to go into all these particulars, but I fear lest some may go to extremes that will weaken in the place of strengthening the work of God. May the Lord give sanctified understanding is my prayer. 14LtMs, Ms 86, 1899, par. 18