Spalding and Magan Collection


School Finance

Dear Brother,

Your letters have been received. Your last in reference to the College came this morning. I was not aware that our College was in debt twenty thousand dollars. This must make it a necessity to call for donations. SpM 132.1

The evils to centering so many responsibilities in Battle Creek have not been small. The dangers are great. There are unconsecrated elements waiting only for circumstances to put all their influences on the side of wrong. I can never feel exactly safe in regard to Battle Creek or Battle Creek College. I can not at this time state all my reasons. That which led me to write as I did was the great need of business managers, godly devoted men to take hold of the work and push it in a God-fearing manner. SpM 132.2

Whatever may have been the object of placing the tuition of students at so low figures, the fact that the College has been running behind so heavily is sufficient reason for changing the price, so that this shall not be the showing in the future. The low price is not in its favor, even if at higher rates the College is not so largely patronized. Those who really want the advantage to be obtained at Battle Creek will make extra exertions to receive those advantages, and a large class who would be induced to come because of the low tuition would be of no benefit to other students or to the church. The larger the number, the more tact, skill, and vigilance are required to keep them in order, and from becoming demoralized SpM 132.3

Some provision should be made to have a fund raised to loan to worthy poor students who desire to give themselves to the missionary work, and in some cases they should even receive donations. Then these youth should have it plainly set before them that they must work their way as far as possible and partly defray their expense. SpM 132.4

The churches in different localities should feel that a solemn responsibility rests upon them to train youth and educate talent to engage in missionary efforts. When they see any in the church who give promise of making useful workers, but who are not able to educate themselves, they should lift that responsibility and send them to College to be instructed, and developed, with the object in view of becoming workers in the cause of God. There is material that needs to be worked up, and that would be of good service in the Lord's vineyard, but they are too poor to obtain the advantages of the College. The church should feel it a privilege to take the responsibility of defraying their expenses. SpM 132.5

The tuition should be placed higher, and if there are some who need help, let them be helped as above stated. When the College was first started there was a fund placed in the Review and Herald Office for the benefit of those who wish to obtain an education, but who had not the means. This was used by several students until they could get a good start, and earn enough to replace that which they had drawn so that others could be benefited by it. That which cost little will be appreciated little, but that which costs something near its real value will be estimated accordingly. SpM 132.6

If there were fewer students, and they were of a hopeful character, it would be a blessing to Battle Creek. If there are men as teachers in the College, and associated with it, who are well balanced, and have a strong moral influence, who know how to deal with minds, and possess the true missionary spirit; then if the College was crowded so as to necessitate the building of another equally as large, that would be the best missionary field in the world. It is this ability that is greatly needed in the College. SpM 133.1

If these superior qualities were found in the men connected with the Office at Battle Creek, the outlook would be more encouraging. Great and important interests are in danger of being misshaped, and of coming forth defective from their hands. If some felt their ignorance more and would depend less on self, be less self-sufficient, they might learn of the Great Teacher meekness and lowliness of heart. SpM 133.2

In regard to the College I would say, Raise the price of tuition and have a better class of students. But provision should be made to do the very best for those who come: to secure for them every healthful, intellectual, and moral advantage. I see the need of still another boarding house, and there may be the need of another building for the students. I can not see how you could do better than you have in calling for means while this debt is against the College. It ought not to be there, and if there had been the right kind of planning it would not exist; that is, if those especially employed in the College were all enterprising men, of broader ideas. They would constantly be exercising ingenuity and tact, and devising means whereby the College should not become burdened by debt. SpM 133.3

If we only had devoted, spiritual-minded workers connected with our important institutions, who relied upon more than themselves, we might certainly look for far greater prosperity than we have had hitherto. But where there is a decided want of humble trust, and of an entire dependence upon God, we are sure of nothing. Our great need today is men who are baptized with the Holy Spirit of God, men who walk with God as did Enoch, men who are not so narrow in their outlook that they will bind about the work in place of enlarging it, men who will not say “business is business, religion is religion.” We need men who can take in the situation, men who are far-seeing, men who can reason from cause to effect.... SpM 133.4

I will here give some extracts from a letter written November 8, 1880: “The interest of every part of the cause is as dear to me as my life. Every branch of the work is important. I was shown that there was great danger now of making the tract and missionary work so absorbing that it will become perplexing and absorb every other interest. It was brought before me that there was too much machinery in the tract and missionary and in the Sabbath School work. There was form and arrangement, but little of Christ-like simplicity felt or practiced by the workers. We want less machinery and mechanical arrangement, and more heart work, more real piety and true holiness, especially in the missionary work everywhere. There needs to be piety, purity and wise generalship, and then for greater and much better work would be done with less expenditure of means. SpM 133.5

There is a broad field to be covered, and a getting above the simplicity of the work. Now is the time to work, and to work in the wise counsel of God. If you connect unconsecrated persons with the mission fields and with the Sabbath Schools, our work will take on a formal mold and be without Christ. The workers must study carefully, prayerfully in every part of the field, how to work with the simplicity of Christ, and in an economical manner, to plan and devise the most successful manner of reaching hearts. SpM 134.1

We are in danger of spreading over more territory and starting more enterprises when we can possibly attend to properly. There is danger of our overdoing some branches of the work, and leaving some important parts of it to be neglected. To undertake a large amount of work and do nothing perfectly, would be a bad plan. We are to move forward, but must not be so far above the simplicity of the work that it will be impossible to look after the enterprise entered into without sacrificing our best helpers to keep things in order. Life and health must be regarded. While we should ever be ready to follow the opening providence of God, we should lay no larger plans, nor occupy more ground than there are help and means to bind off and work well, keep up and increase the interest already started. While there are broader plans and fields constantly opening for the laborers, our ideas and views must broaden in regard to the workers who are to labor to bring souls into the truth.” SpM 134.2

E. G. White