Manuscript Releases, vol. 6 [Nos. 347-418]


MR No. 417—Ellen G. White Counsels Relating to the Moving of Two Colleges—Battle Creek College and Pacific Union College

[Note: The following materials were cited in a 21-page paper prepared by Robert W. Olson in December, 1974, in response to a request to the White Estate for counsels from Ellen White which might have a bearing on plans for the possible move of Columbia Union College to a more rural location. The full paper is available from the White Estate upon request.] 6MR 396.1

Would it not be the best thing we could do to sell the large school building in Battle Creek, and take the money to establish a building free from debt where can be had the advantages of land for manual labor? Thus the students could work on the same plans that we are trying to work on here. We think that if this were done, it would be the first step in heeding the message given for families to get out of Battle Creek into a more healthful location and a more spiritual atmosphere. There are altogether too many interests in Battle Creek. But this matter needs to be handled with great prudence and much wisdom. The Lord is to be our counselor in all the movements made. 6MR 396.2

We greatly desire to see the spiritual atmosphere in Battle Creek changed for the better. Decided changes need to be made in the church; for her lack of moral power and spiritual efficiency is to be lamented. What can heal the church? What can create a pure and holy sentiment in all our institutions in Battle Creek? We need to begin at the very first principles of willing obedience to God's holy law. An outward observance of the Sabbath will not save the soul. The principles interwoven with every one of the ten commandments are to be honored and obeyed in the individual, practical life. The law, God requires, shall be written on the tablets of every soul.—Letter 191, 1899, pp. 3, 4. (To Elders Irwin and Haskell, November, 1899.) 6MR 396.3

Please to bear in mind that Dr. Kellogg is not to step in between you and me, and feel that my remarks are directed to him personally. It is you who are honored with the position of Board of Directors that I address. 6MR 397.1

I receive letters from those who are carrying the interests of the school in Battle Creek in regard to selling the college buildings there, and establishing schools in other localities out of and away from the city, so that they can have the advantage of land for agricultural purposes. The surrounding circumstances should be considered. Dr. Kellogg may feel delicate in regard to advising the Board to take these buildings, because some have felt that he has wanted those buildings, and was working to get possession of them. 6MR 397.2

If the Sanitarium needs more buildings, why should not the Directors buy the college buildings? There is no other way for the school to do but to sell. I would ask the Sanitarium Board to act as benevolently as possible in behalf of the school interest. It can help the school by purchasing these buildings at their own value. This will be the very best medical missionary work that could be done to advance the cause of God. It is our privilege to take this sick child off the hands of the school, to relieve it of this great burden. Is there not a privilege in this? Will not the Lord be pleased with such a movement? 6MR 397.3

You should not feel that you can buy the college buildings at a price far below their value, and thus bind up the hands of those who are working in the interest of the school, so that they cannot build another school away from the temptations of the city. 6MR 398.1

The youth should have the very best surroundings; for they are strongly influenced by that which they hear and see. The many things they see to talk about in the city affects their mental and physical faculties. Daily they come in contact with a way of doing things on incorrect principles. Thus it is that those who have had great light, great opportunities, great privileges, have also disadvantages. Those who make large profession, but do not reveal Christ in their words and deportment to all around them, imitate insensibly the words and actions of those who are denying the Saviour. If they only knew that the eye of the Lord was upon them, they would be Christians in every sense of the word. 6MR 398.2

The Lord is weighing actions. He has been telling those who have been crowding into Battle Creek to go out of Battle Creek, and begin in other places a work for those who need help. But how many have heeded the instruction given? In the place of people leaving Battle Creek, more money, ten thousand dollars, was called for to erect additional school buildings, while the college was under a heavy debt. How much better would it have been if they had heeded the word of the Lord. 6MR 398.3

That addition which the Lord warned them not to build has brought an oppressive debt, and we have now come to the place where something must be done to relieve the situation. Those who waved aside the testimonies given, should now be among the most earnest in restoring that which has been invested in a work that has brought depression rather than relief. 6MR 398.4

But shall not we all do what we can to relieve the situation? The Sanitarium is the instrumentality that can purchase the college buildings, not at an under value, for this would close the door so that the very work which might not be done could not be done. I will do as I have proposed in the letter that goes in this mail. If our institutions will now act their part liberally, if the managers of the Sanitarium will purchase the college buildings, not at the lowest price, but with the idea in mind that they are aiding the cause of God, I will help in the way I have proposed. Let us all unite our efforts to relieve the situation in Battle Creek. 6MR 399.1

Our youth can be educated far better out of the cities; for where there is so much going on, so many temptations, they are affected by the injurious influences, and learn much that it is not for their best good to learn. The teachers may do all in their power to instruct, but independent of all that is taught in the Bible classes, an influence is constantly at work that molds characters in the wrong direction. 6MR 399.2

If the Sanitarium Board decide to purchase the college buildings in the place of erecting other buildings, as they will be tempted to do, they will have abundant room for educating their students in medical missionary lines. 6MR 399.3

A portion of the college building can be secured for the church school, in which should be carried forward a judicious, practical education in habits of order and punctuality and the proper distribution of physical duties and mental taxation. 6MR 399.4

If the Sanitarium Board do not take the buildings, I shall feel sad indeed, but not discouraged. I shall call upon all our institutions to share the burden and lift this debt by cooperating with me. Tangible proof of their willingness will be seen by the sacrifices they make in order to help. 6MR 400.1

Plan we must in the name of the Lord, and lift for all that we are worth. Let parents take their share of this work, and let us see what kind of a showing we can make for God when the new year shall open. Let all commence to work at once on a systematic plan. If we will draw in unity we shall achieve that which without united effort would be utterly impossible. Let us awake to our duty. The Lord will surely bless those who stand ready to bless one another. The Lord is soon to come, and in the place of drawing apart, we need to draw together in strong lines. 6MR 400.2

We need unselfish, devoted men to act as educators. Young men and young women are to be brought to our schools to receive an education, that they may learn how to teach others to understand the word of the Lord. We need ministerial laborers in every school to educate the children and youth in Bible lines, and the pastor has work to do for the teachers as well as the students. Our schools must be more like the schools of the prophets. We call upon teachers and all connected with the school to make self-sacrificing efforts. We call upon our sisters to work intelligently, devotedly, interestedly, to make the school a success. Let our churches help. God will bless all who cooperate with Him.—Letter 192, 1899. (To the Directors of the Sanitarium, November 21, 1899.) 6MR 400.3

I wish to express to you some things that appear to me of large importance. As Brother Irwin leaves here at five o'clock a.m., I can write but a few words. I write you the cautions that I have received, that nothing in regard to disposition of school property should be engaged in—the matter of transferring the property, any part of it, into other hands—at the present time. 6MR 401.1

The Lord has undertaken in your behalf. [Reference is here made to Mrs. White's gift of Christ's Object Lessons as a means of bringing financial relief to our schools.] Let the Lord's plan be fully and thoroughly worked out as it is outlined, and then after the Lord's plan is fully carried out, He will let you understand what next. 6MR 401.2

Keep your school up in all its elevated character; for much is involved in this. Consequences will follow hasty action, which will spoil the plan of God's devising. Cannot we trust the Lord, and wait prayerfully for Him to indicate duty at every step now, which means so much to the church in Battle Creek? Everything is to be carefully studied and prayerfully considered from cause to effect. There are issues that will—hasty moves that will—be regretted. We must not follow human wisdom now. We must look to God in the humble contrition of soul that we can be taught and led of God. 6MR 401.3

There are many youth in Battle Creek that need to have every advantage possible to be prepared to stand with the whole armor on, fully and entirely awake as [to] the tremendous issues that are to be met, which will test and try every soul that has any knowledge of the present truth for this time. 6MR 401.4

The education of the youth in the church school at Battle Creek is not to be left at haphazard or after a slack makeshift. God has His purposes to fulfill, and if we will learn of Jesus Christ day by day and hour by hour, His wisdom will become the wisdom of the true seeker. “Ask, and ye shall receive.” 6MR 401.5

But do not make any movements now to change responsibilities, that will create issues just at this time that will be unfavorable to the instruction of the youth in the very lines that they need to be receiving in every grade. Attach the very best abilities to this class of school work, and make every effort to educate the youth to stand in truth and in righteousness; and leave not the field of battle as if you were defeated, and scar and mar the work of God which should stand, in presentation, symmetrical and elevated. Then when the cloud shall move, it will be your time to make your changes. Let your souls’ dependence be every hour upon God. When your school interests should be transferred, it will be at a time that will not mean defeat, but victory, climbing up the upward grade. 6MR 402.1

There are now issues that are before us, and we must be careful how we treat them, and be sure we make no mistakes. 6MR 402.2

Years ago, had the school been located as now looks to you the best thing to do, great advantages would have been the result. But now there is need of holding the fort, as you do not all see.—Letter 165, 1900, pp. 1, 2. (To Brethren Magan and Sutherland, September, 1900.) 6MR 402.3

I have been conversing with you in the night season. You seemed to be quite anxious to make changes just now, and to give up the school in Battle Creek. 6MR 402.4

Much has been said on this line, but for years nothing has been done. Had this movement been made when the Lord indicated that it was duty, the showing would be very different from what it is at the present time. But circumstances have changed, and the movements that might have been made with advantage in the past will not at this time be advisable. All the reasons I shall not attempt to lay before you. Many things will be revealed in the future that are not discerned now. 6MR 403.1

The Lord has put it into my mind to give the book on the parables [Christ's Object Lessons] to do a work which at this crisis should be done. The Lord has wrought upon the minds of the brethren to work up this matter nobly. Any changes in the school at Battle Creek at this time would be premature. You are now to tarry, and hold the fort. Do not do anything out of the Lord's order. Let the plan devised by the Lord be fully carried out. Do as your first work all that it is possible to do to free the school from the heavy debt upon it. This movement is in the order of God, and you will know from the great General of armies what is to be done next. Let the Lord devise and plan. This will be better than any human devising. 6MR 403.2

There is more depending on the movements you make now than presents itself from outward observation. I say now, Watch and pray, and pray and watch. Let not the enemy obtain an advantage by your haste. There are many things now that will have after results. Let the work of canvassing for “Christ's Object Lessons” do its level best; and when this work is carried out as earnestly and energetically as it is possible to carry it, you will understand what to do next in the order of God. 6MR 403.3

One movement must not be rushed upon the heels of another. Nothing must be done to confuse the work which the Lord has outlined to be accomplished. Let not your desire to get out of Battle Creek lead to a work similar to the defeat of Israel through the testimony of the unfaithful spies. The Lord was holding back the armies that inhabited Canaan, but because of unbelief the children of Israel did not make the right moves at the right time; and their opportunity was lost. Then the people, determined to avert the judgment pronounced by the Lord, decided to follow their human impulses; and the result is plainly outlined. 6MR 404.1

Wait; do not cut across the Lord's designs. Let the plan He has devised have every advantage. When this plan is fully carried out, in accordance with the divine mind, the Lord will indicate what you are to do next. 6MR 404.2

I present this to you so that you will not rush forward to dispose of the school property till the purpose of God is accomplished. Many things devised by human wisdom will be failures. I shall write more when I feel at liberty. We are praying for you.—Letter 129, 1900. (To Brother Magan, October 16, 1900.) 6MR 404.3

I will attempt once more to write to you in response to your letters. I cannot at this time write much. I do not feel it my duty to write all that I could write in truth; for it would not be the best thing to do. I must wait and watch and pray. I feel that the Holy Spirit is working you who are on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. But I have not light now that I should visit Battle Creek, and I shall not do this unless with a plain Thus saith the Lord. When God sees that the work He has given me will not be refused, and rejected, and His instruction mis-stated and misappropriated, then I shall have a work to do in connection with those who will cooperate with me in the last great work before us.... 6MR 404.4

I will now come right to the point. You do not understand me. When I spoke of your petering out, I had reference to the impression which would be made upon others if you should at this point close up the school at Battle Creek. If this change were made now, if the school in Battle Creek were closed and the buildings sold, it would have the appearance that you were compelled to make this move. Have faith in God. He gave me the idea of giving “Christ's Object Lessons” for the relief of the schools. He is testing His people and institutions in this thing, to see if they will work together and be of one mind in self-denial and self-sacrifice. Carry forward this work without flinching in the name of the Lord. Let God's plan be vindicated. Let His proposition be fully carried out and heartily endorsed as the means of uniting the members of the churches in self-sacrificing effort. Thus they will be sanctified, soul, body, and spirit, as vessels unto honor, to whom God can impart His Holy Spirit. By this means they will accomplish the work God designs to have done. 6MR 405.1

Should you at this time sell the school buildings, you would defeat the purpose of God. Stir up every family, every church, to do the very utmost of their power, every one consecrating himself to God, putting the leaven of evil out of his heart, out of the home, and out of the church. Let every family make the most of this the Lord's opportunity. Let self-denial and self-sacrifice be revealed. Let the teachers in the school do as others of God's servants are doing—cut down their wages. This self-sacrifice will be required of us all. Let all place themselves where they will be sure to receive the answer to their prayers. It is the cause of God which is at stake.... 6MR 405.2

I wish to say that the time will come when there will be a willingness to get out of Battle Creek. At present, let patience have her perfect work. There is to be a decided work done to accomplish God's plan. Make every stroke tell for the Master in the work of canvassing for “Christ's Object Lessons.” God desires His people to be vitalized for work as they have never been before, for their good and for the upbuilding of His cause. Ministering angels will be round about the workers. 6MR 406.1

Let our institutions make every effort to free themselves from debt. Let every family arouse. Let the ministers of our churches and the presidents of our conferences awaken. Let God's plan be worked out after the Lord's order. Then He will tell you what to do next. 6MR 406.2

You will need to have patience with the tardy ones, who do not feel the necessity of doing anything promptly, thoroughly, earnestly. They have so much to say, so much unbelief to express, and so much criticizing, that they lose the peace and joy and happiness in the purposes of God before they can decide to move. We must become men and women of God's opportunity. I am so glad that so much harmonious action has been shown in striving to carry out this purpose of God, and to make the most of His providences.—Letter 141, 1900, pp. 1-3, 6, 7. (To Brethren Magan and Sutherland, October, 1900,) 6MR 406.3

I have something to write in regard to the school interest. “Christ's Object Lessons,” in accordance with the Lord's instructions, was donated to our schools for the special purpose of releasing them from debt. And this gave the Review and Herald opportunity to do a generous work in behalf of the Battle Creek school. If the work of selling “Christ's Object Lessons” had not been taken up, there would scarcely have been a hope that the debt of the Battle Creek College to the Review Office would ever have been paid. From the light given me by the Lord, I know that He will be displeased if the Review and Herald is in any way exacting in dealing with those who are trying to release our schools from debt. As those in the Review and Herald see their brethren struggling to free the schools from debt, they are to cooperate with them.... 6MR 406.4

I hear that there is some thought of locating the school at Berrien Springs, in the southwest of Michigan. I am much pleased with the description of this place. The one hundred and twelve acres of unimproved land will be a great blessing to the school in many ways; also the forty acres of wood land. It will be a great blessing to have cheap water transportation. And the offer of buildings is of great value. The good hand of the Lord appears to be in this opening; and I hope and pray that if this is the place for the school, no hand will be stretched out to prevent the matter from reaching a successful issue. In such a place as Berrien Springs the school can be made an object lesson, and I hope that no one will interpose to prevent the carrying forward of this work. 6MR 407.1

The Review and Herald and the Sanitarium should help in this matter. I appeal to these institutions to do all in their power to help to secure this favorable opening. Let the school be established in such a place, and the name of the Lord will be magnified. I hope to see that which we ought now to behold,—the establishment of important interests outside of Battle Creek. I hope that there will be a revival and a reformation among our people, bringing back to hearts the first love of the gospel.—Letter 80, 1901, pp. 1, 2, 4, 5. (To the Managers of the Review and Herald Office, July 12, 1901.) 6MR 407.2

I rejoiced when I heard that the Battle Creek school was to be established in a farming district. I know that there will be less temptation there for the students than there would be in the cities that are fast becoming as Sodom and Gomorrah, preparing for destruction by fire. The popular sentiment is that cities should be chosen as locations for our schools. But God desires us to leave the sin-polluted atmosphere of the cities. It is His design that our schools shall be established where the atmosphere is purer.—Manuscript 67, 1901, 9. (“The Church School,” typed July 29, 1901.) 6MR 408.1

There are those who with the Bible as their standard have been working in the fear of God to carry out the principles of true education. They are not old men, but they are, nevertheless, men whom the Lord desires to place on vantage ground. They have sought to bring into their teaching the principles that would lead the students to become Bible workers. They have walked humbly with God. They have wrestled with difficulties in different places. In their work there have been hard places to pass through, and many obstacles to surmount. There have been stern conflicts and fierce battles.... 6MR 408.2

The Lord sent them the message that propositions would be made to divide their working force, sending one to one place and one to another; but that unless providence indicated that some of their number were needed to take charge of schools in other important places, they were to keep their company united, and carry forward their work in complete harmony. Their force must not be weakened; their strength must be added to rather than diminished. They must stand together in unity, showing that nothing is so successful as success. 6MR 409.1

The words of criticism that have been spoken have at times had a very discouraging effect. But again and again in their necessity, the Lord sent them the word to go straight ahead, to follow their Leader. I have been instructed to lift up the hands that hang down and to strengthen the feeble knees, to encourage the faithful laborers with words from the Lord. 6MR 409.2

In the most trying times they took their stand firmly determined to breast every difficulty, and to free Battle Creek College from debt; also, if it were possible, to move the school from Battle Creek. I had been instructed by the Lord that the College should not remain in Battle Creek, because in that place there are many influences that are a temptation both to teachers and to students. Just before the General Conference, there seemed to be a favorable opportunity to sell the school buildings. But the word of the Lord came to me for the brethren, “You are in too great a hurry. Follow on as God shall open the way. He will guide you. Work up the sale of Christ's Object Lessons. Interest the people in the work that you are trying to do. You will find that believers and unbelievers will help you.” 6MR 409.3

During the General Conference, the way opened for the school to be moved from Battle Creek with the full approval of our people. 6MR 410.1

Cautions were given to Brother Magan and Brother Sutherland against carrying their teaching so far above the spiritual line of education to which the students had been accustomed. They were told that the people were not prepared at once to understand and act intelligently upon the advanced light in regard to the Bible in education. I was instructed that they must advance steadily and solidly, and that they must guard against going to extremes in any line and against expressing their ideas in language that would confuse minds. Plain, simple language must be used. Instruction must be given line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, leading the mind up slowly and intelligently. Every idea that they expressed must be clearly defined. 6MR 410.2

They were told that unless they heeded this instruction, their teaching would result in a harvest of fanciful believers, who would not make straight paths for their feet, and who would look upon themselves as far ahead of all other Christians. In their teaching of truth, they were not to go so far in advance that it would be impossible for their students to follow them. Christ said to His disciples, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” 6MR 410.3

I thank the Lord that the brethren heeded the instruction given them, and that they carried forward His work in simplicity and meekness, and yet intelligently. The Lord is qualifying them to teach the lessons He has given in His word, by object lessons from nature. This is the grandest, the most helpful, all-around education that the youth can have. Cultivating the soil, planting and caring for trees, sowing seed and watching its growth,—this work teaches precious lessons. Nature is an expositor of the word of the living God. But only through Christ does creation answer the highest purpose of the Creator. The Saviour has wonderful revelations for all who will walk humbly with God. Under the discipline and training of the higher teaching, they will behold wondrous things out of His law. 6MR 410.4

In establishing schools, enough land should be secured to give the students opportunity to gain a knowledge of agriculture. If it is necessary to curtail the expense anywhere, let it be on the buildings. There should be no failure to secure land; for from the cultivation of the soil, the students are to learn lessons illustrating the truths of the word of God, truths that will help them to understand the work of the Creator. 6MR 411.1

Those who have charge of the school at Berrien Springs have been learners in the school of Christ, and He has been working with them, preparing them to be acceptable teachers. It is right that they carry on the work they have begun. If they will watch unto prayer, and plead earnestly with God to supply them with His grace, they will increase in wisdom and knowledge. 6MR 411.2

It has been a tremendous struggle for them to advance in the face of great financial embarrassment. They planned and contrived and devised in every way, with self-denial and self-sacrifice, to bring the school through, and to free it from its burden of debt. Now they begin to see that the way pointed out was the way of the Lord's leading. This is the lesson the Lord would have many more to learn.—Manuscript 98, 1902, 5-10. (“Consideration to be Shown to Those Who in Their Work Have Wrestled with Difficulties,” July 10, 1902.) 6MR 411.3

Our college that was in Battle Creek for so many years has been moved to Berrien Springs, a beautiful Michigan town about a hundred miles west of Battle Creek. This school was deeply in debt, and for a time the managers did not know how they could move the school away from Battle Creek; but through the sale of Christ's Object Lessons, this was made possible. They have succeeded in paying a large portion of the debt already, and they hope soon to be free.—Letter 133, 1903, p. 3. (To Mary Foss, August 10, 1902.) 6MR 412.1

When the Lord warned His people against making Battle Creek a Jerusalem center, and said that plants should be made in many places, He meant just what He said. The large patronage of the Sanitarium is no sign that this institution should have been built up in its present magnificence. [Written in August, 1903, subsequent to the erection of the new sanitarium building following the fire of 1902.] Even though it had many more patients, this would be no evidence in this matter. 6MR 412.2

It is God with whom we have to deal, and we are not to move in accordance with human policy or with man's shortsighted wisdom. The Lord is in earnest with us. He means what He has said, and for us to build up in Battle Creek something to draw our youth there, and to give the families already there are excuse for staying, is working contrary to the light He has given. 6MR 412.3

Had our brethren been humbly studying the light which has been given in regard to the scattering of our forces, the new sanitarium in Battle Creek would have been established in some other place, even though apparently strong reasons called for its rebuilding in Battle Creek. 6MR 413.1

The Lord presented to us the reasons for removing the College from Battle Creek. This instruction should now be searched out and studied by those who desire to see the former college re-established there. Let the light already given shine forth in its purity and beauty, that God's name may be glorified. It is not wise to plan to maintain such a school in a place where worldly influences prevail to so great an extent as to counterwork that which the Lord has outlined should be done for the youth in our educational institutions. 6MR 413.2

Many youth should not be brought together in Battle Creek. Let no plans be laid for enlarging the work at Battle Creek. But the question remains, What shall be done for those who are there? It is certainly our plain duty to do our best to guard the young men and young women who are serving those who know not the Lord. Knowing that those who are trying to obey God will be brought into close connection with those who know not the truth, let faithful pastors and teachers work zealously to save the souls both of helpers and of patients.—Manuscript 112, 1903, 1, 2. (“The Work to be Done in Battle Creek,” August 22, 1903.) 6MR 413.3

In moving the College from Battle Creek and establishing it in Berrien Springs, Brethren Magan and Sutherland have acted in harmony with the light that God gave. They have worked hard under great difficulties. Upon the school there was a heavy burden of debt that they had not created. They labored and toiled and sacrificed in their endeavor to carry out right lines of education. And God has been with them. He has approved of their efforts. 6MR 413.4

But who has appreciated the work that has been done in this place? Many have taken an attitude of opposition, and have spoken words that have caused sadness, and have made it hard to carry forward the work. Wicked prejudice and false accusations have been met. With some there has been a settled disposition to complain and to find fault with those who have striven with all their might to carry out the Lord's instruction.... 6MR 414.1

You see the work that has been established here. You see that advancement has been made, and that the education has been carried forward in right lines, under many discouraging circumstances. This work of opposition and dissatisfaction has come from the enemy.... 6MR 414.2

I would say to Brethren Magan and Sutherland, God has looked with pleasure upon you as you have struggled through the difficulties you have had to meet here.—Manuscript 54, 1904, 1-3. (Remarks at Berrien Springs, Michigan, May 23, 1904.) 6MR 414.3

Some who were opposed to the school being moved from Battle Creek have kept up a continual warfare. They were not in harmony with the movement, and they have made it hard for Brother Magan and Brother Sutherland. 6MR 414.4

There is a condition of things existing at the present time that unless changed will be greatly to the dishonor of God. The Lord forbids that it shall prevail.—Manuscript 58, 1904, 1, 2. (“A Change of Feeling Needed,” May 24, 1904.) 6MR 414.5