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    THE city of Battle Creek, Mich., having become the seat of the main branch of our publishing work, our College, and the Sanitarium, it is thought proper to give a sketch of the work at this important post from the commencement.LIFSK 387.2

    Elder Joseph Bates had visited Jackson in the year 1848, when a number of persons of moral value and devotion to the cause embraced the doctrines connected with the last message. But the first meeting of our people at Battle Creek was held in a small private dwelling. Gathering all the Sabbath-keepers in this vicinity, there were only as many persons as were in Noah’s ark.LIFSK 387.3

    In company with Mrs. W. and Elder Loughborough we held a meeting in the village of Battle Creek, June 6, 1853. Gathering in some from the adjoining towns, the congregation about half filled a private room. We there remarked that if the brethren and sisters were faithful, there might yet be quite a church raised up at Battle Creek. No one then present comprehended the significance of these words.LIFSK 388.1

    The growth of the cause and the work at Battle Creek is quite clearly indicated by the sizes of the several houses of worship occupied. The first house built by our people was 18x28 feet. The Review Office was moved from Rochester, N. Y., to its present location in the autumn of 1855. The increase of the work in two years from that time made a larger house of worship necessary, and a second one, 28x44 feet, was built. And for the same reason, a third house, 40x65, with gallery, was built in 1867. This third house would seat only about six hundred persons. The congregation of Sabbath-keepers rapidly increased, in consequence of the growth of the publishing work demanding more hands, and the increase in numbers of students at the College, and patients at the Sanitarium, to such a degree that in the winter of 1878-9 the Sabbath-school and Bible class were held in three rooms besides the house of worship, and a portion of the congregation had to retire to their homes during the regular service for want of room.LIFSK 388.2

    The necessity for a still larger house had been apparent for some years, and in August, 1878, the third house was moved from its site on Washington Street, fronting the public square, and the tabernacle was commenced on the same location.LIFSK 388.3




    The size of this building is 105x130. The main auditorium will seat 900 persons. This is surrounded by a north, an east, and a south vestry, seating respectively 250, 350, and 250 persons. These rooms are separated from the main auditorium by ground-glass sliding partitions, which can all be raised when necessary, throwing the entire lower floor into one room, capable of seating at least 1,750 persons. A gallery running around three sides, seats 800; wall-seats and chairs, 650 more; giving the entire building a seating capacity for 3,200 persons. The height of the central dome is 66 feet, clock tower, 108 feet. The arrangement of rooms described above adapts the house equally to large and small meetings, and makes it especially convenient for Sabbath-school work and inquiry meetings. The cost of the tabernacle was less than $27,000. It was dedicated April 20, 1879, and by actual count, 3,649 persons were present. For our own use, the Battle Creek church does not need so large a place of worship, but on special occasions, which will become more frequent in the future, there is need of just such a house as the Battle Creek Tabernacle.

    In the organization and management of our institutions great care has been taken to secure the general good of the cause, and to prevent personal benefits. The highest officer of the Publishing Association and leading editors receive the same wages as printers. The result of this course has been the establishment of the confidence of all our people in the managers of the publishing department, resulting in union, strength, and unparalleled prosperity. The sacrifices and liberalities of those who have conducted this department have been great, which has inspired similar sacrifices and liberalities on the part of patrons.LIFSK 390.1

    The same policy has been pursued in the health department, with not quite so good results, for the reason that in its earlier history the influence of bigoted and selfish persons tended, in some degree, to cripple its influence. These influences being overcome in a good degree, and the Sanitarium now being established upon a broader and more liberal basis, we confidently expect that this work will be attended with prosperity similar to that seen in the publishing department.LIFSK 390.2

    Above all others, institutions of learning are objects of charity. We had supposed that it would be necessary to raise large sums of money annually to sustain our College; but the friends of education among S. D. Adventists are happy to know that this institution, in its youth, is self-sustaining. Teachers, however, work on smaller salaries, by nearly one-half, than they could obtain elsewhere, and still continue their liberalities to help the cause in other branches. In these sacrifices, the entire church at Battle Creek, with few exceptions, sympathize and bear a part. These facts are not generally understood, hence the faithful workers at this important post do not share the confidence and sympathy of our people abroad, as they deserve.LIFSK 391.1

    In the prosecution of this work, the church at Battle Creek has borne very heavy burdens. And when the fact is taken into the account, that the entire membership of the Battle Creek church is composed of the poorer class, with very few exceptions, and that nearly all earn their bread as day-laborers, the amount that this church has given of their hard-earned means seems incredible. As early as 1879 the entire State of Michigan had taken stock in the Battle Creek College to the amount of $22,384.16. Of this sum the church at Battle Creek took $11,363.66, which is $343.16 more than has been taken by all others in the State.LIFSK 391.2

    The church at Battle Creek has taken stock in the Sanitarium and the Publishing Association in amounts nearly in the same proportion as the foregoing figures of College stock. Including what this church has given for the College, Sanitarium, Publishing House, book fund, missions, houses of worship, the support of the poor that have moved to Battle Creek from other churches, and tithes paid into the Michigan Conference Treasury, from 1860 to 1880, the entire sum would not be less than $60,000.LIFSK 391.3

    The church at Battle Creek has acted a part in building up our institutions worthy of the sympathy and confidence of our people everywhere. And we are happy to report that the working condition of the Publishing Association, the College, and Sanitarium, has never been as good as at the present time. It was necessary, in order to make ample provisions to prosecute the increasing work, to make debts. And that which increased the pressure of those debts was the hard times which immediately followed. But with the improved times, came lower rates of interest and greatly increased patronage.LIFSK 392.1

    The Sanitarium is actually worth, after the payment of all its debts, two dollars for every one taken in stock. The Publishing Association has two dollars and fifty cents for each dollar taken, and the College stock is worth one dollar and twenty-five cents on every dollar.LIFSK 392.2

    Those who have charge of these institutions are faithful men of God, close thinkers, judicious managers, and hard workers. They should have the confidence of our people everywhere.LIFSK 392.3

    It need not be denied that our people are beset with temptations and severe trials everywhere. This has ever been the portion of those who have devoted themselves to the work of God. And the more important their position in that work, and the more they are devoted to it, the sharper will be their conflicts with the powers of darkness. Those who hold no responsible position in the work and cause of God, and who are at ease in Zion, are not objects of solicitude with Satan. He is indeed pleased that they are doing nothing to injure his cause, and he reposes quietly, as far as their cases are concerned.LIFSK 392.4

    His attacks are upon those who devote their lives to the service of God and the good of humanity, those whose efforts are constantly put forth to the injury of his cause. He will do all in his power to bring burdens upon the weary burden-bearers. If possible, he will divide, and grieve, and discourage the people of the Lord. And if there is one thing above another that fills Satan and his angels with hellish delight, and causes the holy angels to weep, it is the cool, selfish criticisms of those who will not bear burdens, upon those who are bearing heavy burdens.LIFSK 393.1

    During the late American war, Washington was fortified more thoroughly than any other Northern city, and was guarded by veteran troops; for the reason that the seat of government, being a very desirable point of attack, was in greater danger than any other city. Battle Creek has been the headquarters of this cause, a sort of Washington, during the last twenty-five years. Here Satan has rallied his forces. And it has not been as easy a task to manage the interests of the growing cause in all its branches, and maintain a life of Christian devotion under the constant fire of the enemy, as many have supposed. Our brethren generally, who had no practical knowledge of our toils and sacrifices and the difficulties under which we labored, were willing to let heavy burdens fall on us, which they themselves should have borne. And when we fell from paralysis, August 15, 1865, they were poorly prepared to bear the burdens that had crushed us. And in their ignorance of the work, they supposed that almost any one could fill the place we had occupied.LIFSK 393.2

    The paralytic stroke had so far touched the brain that for eighteen months we carried neither watch nor purse. And for the four years that immediately followed the war, we did not bear responsibilities at headquarters. During this time, sad changes took place at Battle Creek, in the spiritual and financial condition of things. Although it was the best time to do business in the history of the cause, not less than $20,000 was lost during that four years, at the Publishing House and Health Institute, when $30,000 should have been earned.LIFSK 394.1

    Here we wish to acknowledge the mercy and power of God in raising us to health, and giving us our position again in the work, and such a place in the confidence and love of the brethren as we had never before enjoyed. With the faithful co-operation of the brethren, and the especial blessing of God, the capital stock of the Publishing Association was raised, during the four years that followed, from $30,000 to $70,000, and corresponding success attended the work at the Health Institute.LIFSK 394.2

    The work rapidly increased everywhere. About this time, our camp-meetings were introduced into most of the State Conferences. And in company with Mrs. W., we went the rounds of the camp-meetings year after year. And as labors and cares increased, our work became fearfully hard, and soon we suffered a second paralytic stroke, which made it necessary that we should visit Colorado and California. Appeals were made for picked men at the head of the work. Having been connected with it from the very commencement, we understood the general management better than those of little experience. We needed helpers, - men willing to bear burdens, and to unite in patiently carrying out plans which those of experience might devise.LIFSK 394.3

    Those who moved to Battle Creek for this object, came with the best of intentions, and made sacrifices; but the difficulties attending the work, and the constant attacks of the powers of darkness, proved too much for them. It was a very trying position for these brethren, who were farmers at home. Like most of our brethren who are successful farmers, enjoying the quiet of their accustomed business, they did not comprehend the difficulties at this common point of attack, supposing that almost any one would be equal to the work here. Our own mistakes and errors in the experience of the past, while endeavoring to push the work in the face of a thousand difficulties, lead us to sympathize with those brethren who found the work at Battle Creek too much for them. They failed where others will probably fail, in taking the work in their own hands, without properly counseling with those who had long carried the burdens.LIFSK 395.1

    The prejudicial influence against the work at Battle Creek, which has been cast upon the minds of the brethren abroad in consequence of the failure of those who came to help in the work, is cruel and unjust. The Judgment will present this matter in its true character. God would have given these men grace and wisdom to help bear the burdens at Battle Creek, had they stood in his counsel, and obeyed the testimonies of his Spirit.LIFSK 395.2

    And now, after an experience of a quarter of a century, we come to the deliberate conclusion that there is not a more sacrificing, burden-bearing, and devoted people in our ranks, than the church at Battle Creek. And taking as representatives those who came to help in the work at Battle Creek, it is hard to believe that those whom they represented would do as well at headquarters as the members of the Battle Creek church have done. In justice to the members of this church and to meet existing prejudices abroad, we make the foregoing statements, with a heart of love for the general cause, and of pity and forgiveness toward the erring.LIFSK 395.3

    In going the rounds of the camp-meetings we have robbed the church at Battle Creek, and our institutions located at this point, of that labor and counsel which was needed at the heart of the work. And when we have returned to this people, worn and weary, we have entered upon this work to great disadvantage. We now identify our interest with this people in hope of finding that repose with them, and in God, that will enable us to finish the work he has for us to do.LIFSK 396.1

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