Manuscript Releases, vol. 8 [Nos. 526-663]


MR No. 630—Ellen White and Avondale College

At the seven o'clock meeting of the conference the subject of the need of establishing a school in the colonies was presented. W. C. White and Elder Tenney made appropriate remarks, and were listened to with deep interest. 8MR 358.1

At the nine o'clock meeting I read important matter in regard to our schools and the work that should be done in them.—Manuscript 45, 1891, 2. (Diary Fragments, December 28, 1891.) 8MR 358.2

This afternoon I had a very pleasant ride with Willie and Brother Rousseau. We spent the time profitably in talking about the preparation for and management of the school. I pray that this school shall be conducted in such a way as to glorify God. May every lesson given be filled with the riches of true knowledge.—Manuscript 35, 1892, 2. (Diary, August 7, 1892.) 8MR 358.3

Brother and Sister Rousseau are still with us, also Elder Israel's daughters, who are making up the linen for the school boarding home. I am very desirous that every dollar expended in preparing for the opening of this school shall be wisely invested. Strong, unbleached sheets and good, durable table linen have been bought. There are many things yet to be purchased.—Manuscript 35, 1892, 2, 3. (Diary, August 8, 1892.) 8MR 358.4

We are well pleased with the place that has been chosen for the school.—Manuscript 35, 1892, 4. (Diary, August 19, 1892.) 8MR 358.5

Last winter when we saw that we must have a school to meet the demands of the cause, we were put to our wits ends to know where we should obtain the funds. I was suffering with prostration of the nerves, and suffering from rheumatism. Our rent was $23.00 a month and water bills extra, and other expenses were still added to this, aside from the buying of food. A carriage had to be purchased, and although secondhand, it cost me $200.00. Nothing but what was easy of access and comfortable would be of any service to me then. And even to ride only a short distance was at times next to impossible. My hips and spine caused me such keen suffering, almost beyond endurance. The keeping of a horse, and sickness increased our household expenses so that it dared not hardly be estimated. But to return to the school question. Some thought it could not be done; yet we knew that it must be started in 1892. Some thought all that could be done was to hold a short institute for the ministers. 8MR 359.1

We knew that there were many youth who needed the advantages of the school.—Letter 79, 1893, pp. 9, 10. (To Mr. Harmon Lindsay, April 24, 1893.) 8MR 359.2

I see so many places I wish to use every shilling to benefit those whom I desire to send to the school.—Manuscript 80, 1893, 19. (Diary, May 22, 1893.) 8MR 359.3

We are much pleased with this place as a location for the school. The clearing of the land does not appear to be as formidable a task as we supposed. Some spaces are already cleared; some spaces have nothing on them but charred underbrush, with a few large monarchs of the forest still standing. There are trees of smaller growth which are as straight as an arrow. 8MR 359.4

I cannot for a moment entertain the idea that land which can produce such large trees can be of a poor quality.—Letter 82, 1894, pp. 3, 4. (To Edson and Emma White, May 24, 1894.) 8MR 360.1

Because of the slack, slipshod way the land holders cultivate their farms, nothing flourishes as it should, and the impression made upon those who view the land is that it is too poor to yield a good crop. I have been anxious that the land should be taken in hand and thoroughly worked. Even the orange trees are left to grow up amid the grass, as wild trees grow. But where such immense trees flourish as flourish here, many of them growing up perfectly straight toward heaven, I am convinced that with the blessing of God, with diligence and faithfulness in working the land, farmers might produce gratifying results, and in return for the labor put forth, they might reap a good harvest.... 8MR 360.2

I was much pleased with the ground. We walked over one farm where the land had been cleared, and which joined the school land. We examined the way in which they work the land, and found that the plough had been put in only to about the depth of six inches. An intelligent American farmer would not regard this as a faithful way of working the land. Those who work in this cheap, superficial way cannot expect to receive anything out of harmony with their method, but in accordance with it. 8MR 360.3

Having had this matter presented to me at different times, I am more than ever convinced that this is the right location for the school. Since I have been here for a few days and have an opportunity to investigate, I feel more sure than at my first visit that this is the right place. I think any land which I have seen will produce some kind of a crop.—Manuscript 35, 1894, 2-4. (To S. N. Haskell, August 27, 1894.) 8MR 360.4

Brethren Rousseau and Daniells had propositions to lay before us that land selected for the locating of the school was not as good land as we should have on which to erect buildings; we should be disappointed in the cultivation of the land; it was not rich enough to produce good crops, etc., etc. This was surprising intelligence to us and we could not view the matter in the same light. We knew we had evidence that the Lord had directed in the purchase of the land. They proposed searching still for land. Already much money and much time and anxiety had been expended in searching for suitable land and there were objectionable features in all places they investigated. The land purchased was the best, as far as advantages were concerned. To go back on this and begin another search meant loss of time, expense in outlay of means, great anxiety and uneasiness, and delay in locating the school, putting us back one year. We could not see light in this. We thought of the children of Israel who inquired, Can God set a table in the wilderness? He did do this, and with God's blessing resting upon the school the land will be blessed and will produce good crops. 8MR 361.1

We talked the matter over some time, and we found these two brethren very firm and decided. I knew that anything I might say would make no change in their ideas. They left for Melbourne about five o'clock, and we left for Granville at the same time. But a weight was upon my soul. I felt dazed and too amazed to sleep. I knew from light given we had made no mistake.... 8MR 361.2

I am impressed by representations that we have made no mistake in the place we have selected. I see that place before me, and buildings and orchards and produce from the grounds and property. I see success and rejoicing. Then I awake with the impression our brethren Rousseau and Daniells are keeping in their minds the rich lands they have worked in Iowa, and that they will not trust the Lord to make a home for us in the wilderness. But I shall hold right on and believe and trust and wait.—Manuscript 77, 1894, 3. (Diary Fragment, August 31, 1894.) 8MR 362.1

I want you all, brethren, to seek the Lord and see light for yourselves, and follow your own convictions after the presentation of that which I consider light from the Lord. Do not make decision unless that light is your own light and you can step forward in confidence because that which has been spoken by me to you commends itself to your judgment, and it becomes light to you as it has to me. Will you keep this prayer constantly ascending to God, Show me Thy way, O God? The Lord desires to lead you whom He will make representative men, who will be taught of God if you walk humbly before Him. But if any one of you becomes wise in your own conceit, be sure the Lord will leave you to follow your own finite judgment. The Lord God is our Strength, our Guide, our Counsellor. Keep mind and heart in constant prayer when in consideration on the land. Oh, do not regard this matter of little consequence, for it means much.—Letter 153, 1894, pp. 1, 4. (To W. C. White, November 5, 1894.) 8MR 362.2

As you go to Dora Creek my prayers shall follow you. This is an important mission and angels of God will accompany you. We are to watch and pray and believe and trust in God and look to Him every moment.... The Lord would have you pray and receive answers to prayer and have perfect faith in Jesus Christ. No really good thing will be withheld from them that walk uprightly. Believe in the bare Word of God and go not to worldly wise men for wisdom, for they receive not that wisdom which cometh from above.—Letter 154, 1894, p. 1. (To “Brethren,” November 5, 1894.) 8MR 363.1

These students are doing their best to follow the light God has given to combine with mental training the proper use of brain and muscle. Thus far the results have exceeded our expectations. At the close of the first term, which was regarded as an experiment, opportunity was given for the students to have their vacation and engage in whatever work they chose to do. But everyone begged that the school might be continued as before, with manual labor each day, combined with certain hours of study. The students did not want to give up the present opportunity of learning how to labor and how to study. If this is their choice under the most disadvantageous circumstances, what influence will it have when the school buildings are up and there are more favorable surroundings for the students? ... 8MR 363.2

The students work hard and faithfully. They are gaining in strength of nerve and in solidity as well as activity of the muscles. This is the proper education, which will bring forth from our schools young men who are not weak and inefficient, who have not a one sided education, but an all-round physical, mental, and moral training. The builders of character must not forget to lay the foundation which will make education of the greatest value. This will require self-sacrifice, but it must be done. The physical training will, if properly conducted, prepare for mental taxation. But the one alone always makes a deficient man. The physical taxation, combined with mental effort, keeps the mind and morals in a more healthful condition, and far better work is done. Under this training, students will come forth from our schools educated for practical life, able to put their intellectual capabilities to the best use. Physical and mental exercise must be combined if we do justice to our students. We have been working on this plan here with complete satisfaction, notwithstanding the inconveniences under which students have to labor.—Letter 47a, 1895, pp. 1, 4. (To Dr. and Mrs. J. H. Kellogg, August 27, 1895.) 8MR 363.3

The school land, fifteen hundred acres, was purchased for $5,500. The school has twelve acres put into orchard. I have two acres in fruit trees. We shall experiment on this land, and if we make a success, others will follow our example. Notwithstanding oranges and lemons have yielded year after year, not a new tree is planted by the settlers. Their indolence and laziness causes false witness to be borne against the land. When right methods of cultivation are adopted there will be far less poverty than now exists. I did not expect to write you in this way, but these particulars we want you to have that you may understand what we are doing. We intend to give the people practical lessons upon the improvement of the land, and thus induce them to cultivate their land, now lying idle. If we accomplish this, we shall have done good missionary work.—Letter 42, 1895, p. 3. (Letter to Dr. J. H. Kellogg, August 28, 1895.) 8MR 364.1

On October 1, 1896, we assembled on the school grounds to lay the corner stone of our first school building. A draft for one thousand pounds had come a few days before, and we were able to walk by sight. The Lord had moved upon the hearts of Sister Wessels and her sons to grant my request for a loan of one thousand pounds at four and a half per cent interest. 8MR 365.1

This was an important occasion, but only a few were present. It had been hurriedly planned that I should have the privilege of laying the corner stone, as I was to leave the following day for Sydney, en route for Melbourne and Adelaide. We had a season of prayer and singing, and then I took the stone in my hand, and laid it in position. My heart was filled with gratitude to God that He had opened the way that we could erect this first building. We praised the Lord for this favor. The building had been delayed for want of means, and the faith of our people had almost come to a standstill. Many, I fear, had lost faith. But I knew that God would work in our behalf, and prepare the way.—Manuscript 55, 1896, 1. (Diary, October 1, 1896.) 8MR 365.2

April 28 our school opened. At the opening exercises the upper room of the second building, above the dining room, was quite full. Bro. Haskell opened the meeting by reading a portion of Scripture. He then prayed, and made a few remarks. I then followed. My subject principally was that the smaller children should not be neglected. This work is fully as essential as the work for the older pupils. For many years my attention has been called to this phase of the work. Schools should be established where children may receive the proper education. From the teachers in the public schools, they receive ideas that are opposed to truth. But farther than this, they receive a wrong education by associating with children that have no training, that are left to obtain a street education. Satan uses these children to educate children that are more carefully brought up. Before Sabbath-keeping parents know what evil is being done, the lessons of depravity are learned. The souls of their children are corrupted. 8MR 365.3

This subject has long been neglected. The first seven or ten years of a child's life is the time when lasting impressions for good or for evil are made. What is education? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The child should be educated to receive the truth in the heart. It should be given instruction which will lead it to see what constitutes sin. It should be taught to see that all sin is an offense toward God. The heart should be carefully guarded; for by giving the life of his dear Son, God has purchased the soul of every child. He would have the precious life that has been redeemed by Jesus Christ moulded and fashioned after the similitude of a palace, that Christ may be enshrined as the king of the soul. 8MR 366.1

Is obedience to all the commandments of God taught the children in their very first lessons? Is sin presented as an offense toward God? I would rather children grew up in a degree of ignorance of school education as it is today, and employ some other means to teach them. But in this country parents are compelled to send their children to school. Therefore in localities where there is a church, schools should be established, if there are no more than six children to attend. A teacher should be employed who will educate the children in the truths of the word of God, which are so essential for these last days, and which it is so important for them to understand. A great test is coming; it will be upon obedience or disobedience to the commandments of God. Intemperance is seen everywhere. Disregard for the law of God, rioting, and drunkenness prevail. 8MR 366.2

“The word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.” When should education commence? “Whom shall he teach knowledge, and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.” It is then that the education of children in Bible principles should commence.—Letter 141, 1897, pp. 1, 2. (Letter to W. C. White, May 5, 1897.) 8MR 367.1

We rejoice to tell you that we now have two buildings. The one first started is completed. The second is enclosed. This is as far as we can go at present, but we can use it all the same; for it is much better than anything we have had since coming to this region. We are more than pleased; we are deeply thankful we have a better room for meetings. Some feared that we could not commence the school at the time appointed. They looked at the still unfinished building, which was to be used for dining room, kitchen, boy's sleeping rooms, and meeting house. Only a few of the weatherboards were on this building, no floors were laid, and a cistern of large circumference was to be dug, to provide water for both buildings. And we had only about three weeks before the time for the school to open.—Letter 126, 1897, pp. 1, 2. (To Brother and Sister John Wessels, May 18, 1897.) 8MR 367.2

Elder Haskell visited me in the afternoon and invited me to attend the school faculty meeting, which I consented to do, at half past six. The days are the shortest now that they will be. It was dark. We passed over the new-made road, through the woods. We dared not trust to our eyesight. Brother Connell, mounted on his horse and wearing a white coat so we could see him, led the way. Sara and I followed with Jessie. We have no moon now, but one will soon appear. 8MR 368.1

We had an excellent meeting, consulting in regard to how we shall bring our expense in the eating line within the low figures given for rooms, board, and tuition. I had considerable talking to do, and read matter I had written, which was important to be acted upon. Should the teachers of our school relax their strict and vigilant rules of order, cleanliness, thoroughness, and neatness, it would involve a moral loss to the pupils. There are few of the human family strong enough to grasp the eternal holiness, without the means God has provided, that their fellow beings shall encourage and help those who are weak in the faith to a higher standard. It is the Lord's anointed ones who keep their full hold of their own souls to impart knowledge and strength to the poor and needy ones.—Manuscript 173, 1897, 7. (Diary, June 30, 1897.) 8MR 368.2

We have been picking the later peaches in January. These are the most beautiful in appearance that I have ever seen, being delicately and highly colored. And they are just as choice in taste as they are in appearance. I think I have never seen larger. Two of them weighed one pound. These same peaches are selling in Sydney at three pence each. If the Lord favors us next year, we will have at this time, beginning with December and lasting until the last of January, all the early peaches, nectarines, and apricots that we can eat and can.... 8MR 368.3

We are seeing the exact fulfilment of the light the Lord has given me, that if the land is worked thoroughly it will yield its treasures. I was never in a more healthful place than this. There seems to be health in the very air we breathe.—Letter 92, 1897, pp. 2, 3. (To Sister Lindsay, January 31, 1897.) 8MR 369.1

The Lord designs that the school shall also be a place where a training may be gained in women's work—cooking, house-work, dressmaking, book-keeping, correct reading and pronunciation. They are to be qualified to take any post that may be offered,—superintendents, Sabbath-school teachers, Bible workers. They must be prepared to teach day schools for children.—Letter 3, 1898, pp. 4, 5. (To “Brethren,” February 2, 1898.) 8MR 369.2

We are much pleased to have the privilege of hearing how greatly the blessing of the Lord is resting upon the Avondale school. How pleased I should be to see the grounds as they are now, looking as I was instructed they might look under proper, intelligent cultivation. 8MR 369.3

In the darkest hour of the establishment of the Avondale school, when the outlook seemed the most discouraging, I was sitting in the hotel in Cooranbong then used by our people, completely wearied out by the complaints made regarding the land. My heart was sick and sore. But suddenly a great peace came upon me. Angels seemed to be in the room, and then the words were spoken, “Look ye.” And I saw flourishing, cultivated land, bearing its treasure of fruit and root-crops. Many resources were spread out before me, and wherever my eye was directed, I saw prosperity. 8MR 369.4

I saw the school filled with promising students. All seemed to be helped, by the inspiration of well-organized efforts, to stand and work upon a high platform. There was so large a number of pleasant faces that I could not fail to understand that the light of the Lord's countenance was lifted upon them. 8MR 370.1

A great light and peace came upon me. I was so blessed that I praised the Lord aloud, saying, “His word is fulfilled, ‘God will spread a table in the wilderness.’” 8MR 370.2

I had this vision in that hotel, when the enemy was working decidedly to create forebodings and unbelief. Since then I have not had one hour of discouragement in regard to the Avondale school. 8MR 370.3

Early in the morning, at six o'clock, some one tapped at the door of my room, and inquired, “Will Sister White speak to the students this morning?” I said, “I will.” I found a goodly number assembled, and I told them what God had revealed to me in the night season. Brother Rousseau and all the rest present, listened with intense interest. When I had finished speaking, Brother Rousseau said, “Sister White, a similar impression came to me; and now, for the first time, I confess my unbelief. If the Lord will pardon me, not another shade will I cast upon your soul to cause you sorrow. I will now look and work on the side of faith.” 8MR 370.4

We felt the Holy Spirit's power in that meeting. Since that time we have had unwavering faith regarding the school. 8MR 371.1

At this time, not a building was started. The ground was being prepared, but there were a few who did not have faith to go forward. But after this, all took hold to carry forward the work in faith and hope.—Letter 36, 1907, pp. 1-3. (To Professor Irwin and Others Bearing Responsibilities in the Avondale School, February 6, 1907.) 8MR 371.2

Released June 21, 1978.