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Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]

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    MR No. 1597—One College Better Than Two in the Northwest

    (Written July 14, 1890, from Battle Creek, Michigan, to Brother Graham.)

    Your letter was received in due time, but I have been passing through trial and affliction, and for some time have been able to write but little. In looking over my letters, I see some things written years ago in reference to the Sabbathkeepers in Washington and Oregon. These conferences were reproved by the Lord because they in a large degree held themselves aloof from each other. From the light given me of God they should be in perfect harmony.21MR 457.1

    I saw that the enemy had been working, and would continue to work to lead them to draw apart, to encourage sectional interests that would lessen the strength of both conferences.21MR 457.2

    In the camp meeting held in Kansas last year, the subject of schools was quite fully canvassed. The several delegates from the conferences that were represented there made earnest pleas for the establishment of a school in the States where they lived. It was thought by many that two schools should be established in the West. But I had a word of counsel from the Lord. From the light which He had given me, I knew the true condition of these conferences—that with two schools there would certainly be weakness and inefficiency in both. Large expense would be incurred, money would be used that might better be applied to other enterprises. If all would unite as Christians, only one school would be necessary; and under the circumstances, the one would be much more complete and successful than two.21MR 457.3

    There were some determined ones who argued strongly for two schools. But the decision was made just as it should be, to have only one school, and our brethren are now seeking to unite their means and their influence to make it a success. If, as the work extends, it becomes necessary to have another school, they will have gained an experience that will help to make this also a success.21MR 457.4

    When I heard that in Oregon, and in the Upper Columbia Conference you were proposing to invest means in two institutions of learning, I said, God will not be pleased with these movements. These two conferences are quite small. If their influence and means were united, they might succeed in establishing one school; but if they have an unsanctified independence, and indulge sectional feelings, they will incur discouraging debts in the erection of buildings for two schools, neither of which will be likely to prosper. Now is the time to develop character in the decision of this school question. I cannot see light in your having two schools. Neither will be able to bear its own weight, and the Lord has shown me that the right kind of men to manage these institutions are not now at hand.21MR 457.5

    Now, brethren, I have not strength to write you as fully as I would, but one thing I do know, and that is, the condition of your conferences is such that you should unite willingly in establishing as complete a school as possible. Do not reveal your decided weakness by doing those things that tend to cause division instead of bringing you shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart. Press together, harmonize, unite. If you expect God to work for you, you must cooperate with Him and with one another.21MR 458.1

    There is not in either conference persons of the right talent to supply all the teachers for a school. New elements must be brought in; they must be supplied by those who know from experience what talents are needed to conduct a school profitably. Pride and ambition, selfish ideas and principles, will not meet the approval of God. All these things must be overcome through the grace of Christ. It is very much in fashion at this time for our brethren to work away from Christ, and do many things in their own finite wisdom. They are not humble in heart; they do not learn in the school of Christ the very lessons they need to learn. They incur peril to their own souls in stubbornly desiring to have their own way; they involve the churches in their conferences in the peril and guilt of fighting against God.21MR 458.2

    Even in our churches are found men who are engaged in unchristian strife. They set themselves in opposition to the purposes of the Most High. What is needed in both of these conferences is more of Jesus, and less of self. Humility is needed. All who are finally saved will in this life humble themselves before God, and seek to do His will. Thus the influence that goes forth from them will be of the character that makes for peace, that strengthens piety, that increases spiritual efficiency.21MR 458.3

    There are institutions of learning already established among us that are situated near important centers of our work—at Healdsburg and at Battle Creek—and yet these institutions have not proved to be self-sustaining. The rates of tuition have been so low that a cloud of debt still hangs over our schools. From time to time larger facilities have had to be provided in order to do justice to the students; and even now arrangements must be made at Healdsburg to carry forward the work more efficiently. The school in Battle Creek has an excellent faculty. In Healdsburg there is a call for additional help in order to do more perfect work.21MR 458.4

    Can you expect that in Oregon or Upper Columbia, with your interests divided, you can secure thoroughness and efficiency, with fewer advantages and workers who are not so thoroughly trained? Will the Lord be pleased to have large expense incurred merely to indulge a selfish, sectional interest? Is it not time that “me and mine” should cease to be a controlling power? The means that God has entrusted to His servants to be wisely invested for advancing the interests of His cause, may through selfish desires be diverted to building up partition walls, to separate the interests and divide the strength of sister conferences that should be closely united.21MR 459.1

    What is the object of establishing colleges among Seventh-day Adventists? It is to provide for our youth, so far as possible, the very best instruction, that which is free from error and in every respect pure from corrupting influences. There are in our land, schools in abundance where education in the sciences may be carried to a high point, but they fail to reach the Bible standard of education. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The Lord must preside in our institutions of learning, or the object for which they were brought into existence, with great outlay of means, will fail of being accomplished. We profess to believe important truth, that the Lord is soon coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory to take the faithful to the higher school in the mansions He has gone to prepare for them. We should meet a standard very much higher than do those who do not believe these solemn truths.21MR 459.2

    The Lord has placed great responsibilities upon His people who have had so much light. But the majority of those who claim to believe present truth are neither doing nor attempting to do their duty in the education of the youth. There is great neglect on the part of parents, both of home training and of cooperation with the school workers in that kind of education which is dearest to the Saviour's heart.21MR 459.3

    They lay off their own responsibility for the training of their children, so that the schools established shall be a success, after the Lord's plans. They are but little better than idlers in the Lord's vineyard, when they should be earnest workers, making the most of the facilities God has placed within their reach.21MR 459.4

    I would feel sad indeed to see two schools established, one in Oregon and one in Upper Columbia, it is so contrary to the light which God has been pleased to give me. If you have a school, you want to make it the best that both conferences, with their united means and talent, shall be able to secure. I hope that as Christians you will be awake to your ever-increasing responsibilities, and be prepared to act the part of faithful stewards, both of means and of talents. Will you lay aside all selfish interests, and all sectional feelings, and manifest your missionary zeal to work for the best interest of the cause of God? Will you put away all strife in the matter, and show that we are all one in Christ Jesus? God help us as a people to see how imperfect is our service to Him. May He help you to feel that you are brethren.21MR 459.5

    Jesus has shown His interest in you by an infinite sacrifice, and the remembrance of this calls for intense interest in, and devotion to, one another in our great missionary work. We are fellow laborers in the same cause. The harvest truly is great, and the laborers are few. The opposing forces of the world are vastly great. Satan with his hosts is arrayed against any and every enterprise that will be for the saving of souls. We must bend all our energies to devising and planning how to make the most of the talents found in young men and women, how to educate and train them, not only to become devoted home missionaries, but to carry the truth to all nations, tongues, and peoples.21MR 460.1

    There is a positive necessity among us of obtaining grace and knowledge in our Lord Jesus Christ. Then we shall have clearer conceptions of the sacred character of our educational work for this time. We need more earnestness, we need to make the truth more of a living reality, that we may arouse the flagging zeal of others. We need the faith that is a working power to convert the soul, and then we shall strengthen our brethren. There are so few who feel the necessity of disciplining the soul, seeking grace daily that they may appreciate the position we occupy, and arouse in others the earnest devotion so much needed at this time. Again I repeat: If you will, in your two conferences, consolidate your capital of means and ability, so as to have one good school, you will meet the mind of the Spirit of God.21MR 460.2

    There are persons in each of your conferences who should attend the Healdsburg or the Battle Creek College to gain an experience and training which you cannot give them in your school. They need instruction that will qualify them to become active educators in some branch of the great missionary field. The Lord Jesus has been disappointed in many ways in regard to the laborers. They bring so much of self into the work; they put their own impress upon it. In order that we may have complete success, the impress of Christ must be upon the work. The teachings of Christ must be understood and practiced by every educator.21MR 460.3

    Because of the unconsecrated lives of those who claim to believe the truth, but little is done, when very much more might be accomplished if the soul were fully surrendered to God. Is Satan always to have so great control of the mind, as well as of the body? Jesus, in giving His life for our redemption, intended greater things for man than our eyes have witnessed.21MR 461.1

    If all who claim to believe the truth for this time would use in His service the power that God has provided for them through Jesus Christ, we should see the working of the Spirit of God that would produce great changes. The divine blessing would be greatly increased by the cooperation of human agencies to communicate these blessings to the world. Because of unbelief and want of consecration, the church has scarcely tested the strength of the promises of God.21MR 461.2

    We have not realized the wonderful power of education and religious training for the youth. And those of all ages may receive greater benefit than they have yet realized through the same means. In the Scriptures are mines of precious ore which have not been sought for, because there is so great satisfaction in working merely upon the surface. A more persevering, careful, thorough effort put forth in exploration would reveal precious resources which have scarcely seemed possible. The Lord has for us a storehouse full of treasures that will, if appropriated, tend to the present and lasting improvement of teachers, both in our day schools and in our Sabbath schools.21MR 461.3

    There is talent among us that may be and should be developed. Every year a company of enlightened workers may be raised up to do home and foreign missionary work—workers who will have more breadth of mind and will plan with far greater wisdom because they have a conception of the greatness of the work which God would have done. They will realize something of its depth and vastness, for their eyes have been anointed to see the sacred trust given to every man, according to his ability. Through the selfishness, covetousness, and slothfulness of those who claim to be children of God, through their misconception of duty, the work of God has been greatly lowered and constricted.21MR 461.4

    When as sons and daughters of God, we stand in our place, doing our appointed work, we shall be clearing the King's highway. Those whose eyes are anointed with the heavenly eyesalve will read lessons in the life of Christ that will mean more to them than they ever before conceived of. They will recognize a standard of piety that would put to shame their present ideas, their want of faith, and their practice, so unlike that of Christ. If the right training is given in our colleges, the youth coming forth from them will have a mind to work, and new light will shine upon the mind and heart of the workers.21MR 461.5

    Parents, the teachers in our day schools and Sabbath schools, and the laborers in word and doctrine, should harmonize in their work, for all are educators, both for this life and for the life to come. All should join hands, putting their personal interests at the disposal of Christ, who has purchased them by His own blood. Then they will see fresh beams of light shining forth from the Word of God, which will not only rejoice their own heart, but which they may place before other minds. There will be a new, inspiring zeal to engage in the work of God in any of its many branches, all of which are embraced in the one great commission, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”21MR 462.1

    For this work there must be a deeper consecration. We must have all of Jesus, and none of self. Then there will not exist one selfish thought. With an eye single to the glory of God, we shall do good as we have opportunity. We shall give of our means as God has prospered us. We shall not take into consideration whether we ourselves are to be benefitted, but shall do all we can for the common good.21MR 462.2

    It should be the object of our colleges to prepare workers for home and foreign fields. The duty devolves on the church to see that a fund is raised to be appropriated to the education of students who are worthy but have not at their command the means of obtaining an education. When these students shall be in a position where they can replace what they receive, they should do so, that the fund may be kept good. Our colleges are not able to give the students their tuition, for they do not, like other denominational schools, receive donations and endowments. Hence there is greater necessity for raising special funds to be wisely appropriated by the judgment of a board of directors. There are many unordained men and also women who can do much in the several branches of the work in the great harvest field. May the Lord open the minds and the hearts of His people to discern what needs to be done, and to do it. Let us work while the day lasts, for the night cometh, in which no man can work.—Letter 25a, 1990.21MR 462.3

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Silver Spring, Maryland,

    June 13, 1991.

    Entire Letter.