The evils arising from centering so many responsibilities in Battle Creek have not been few. The dangers are many because of the unconsecrated elements that wait only until a change of circumstances shall encourage them to put all their influence on the side of wrong. If all those connected with our institutions were only devoted and spiritually minded, relying upon God more than upon themselves, there would be far greater prosperity than we have hitherto seen. But while there is such decided lack of humble trust and entire dependence upon God, we cannot be sure of anything. Our great need today is for men who are baptized with the Holy Spirit of God--men who walk with God as did Enoch. We do not want men who are so narrow in their outlook that they will circumscribe the work instead of enlarging it, or who follow the motto: "Religion is religion; business is business." We need men who are farseeing, who can take in the situation and reason from cause to effect.
The teachers in our college should be men and women of well-balanced minds, who have a strong moral influence, who know how to deal wisely with minds, and who possess the true missionary spirit. If all were of this character, the burdens that now rest on the president would be lightened, and the danger of his becoming prematurely worn would be obviated. But it is this wisdom that is lacking.
It is not desirable to place the tuition too low. It should be sufficient to meet the expenses, even if the college is not so largely patronized. Those who really prize the advantages to be obtained there will make extra exertions to secure them. The larger part of those 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 is required in their management.
When the college was first started, there was a fund placed in the Review and Herald office for the benefit of those who wished to obtain an education, but had not the means. This was used by several students, who thus had a good start and could earn enough to replace the amount they had drawn, that others might be benefited by it.
Some provision should now be made for the maintenance of such a fund to loan to poor but worthy students who desire to prepare themselves for missionary work. There are among us persons of ability who might be of good service in the cause were they but looked after and encouraged. When any of these are too poor to obtain the advantages of the college, the churches should feel it a privilege to defray their expenses. The youth should have it plainly set before them that so far as possible they must work to meet their own expenses. That which costs little will be lightly appreciated; that which costs something near its true value will be estimated accordingly. But the churches in different fields should feel that a solemn responsibility rests upon them in regard to training youth and educating older persons to engage in missionary effort. When they see among them any who give promise of making useful workers, but who are not able to educate themselves, they should take the responsibility of sending them to the college to be instructed and developed.
Qualifications of Managers
There should be a thorough reformation on the part of the men who are now connected with our important institutions. They possess some valuable traits of character, while they are sadly lacking in others. Their character needs to have a different mold, one after the likeness of Christ. They must all remember that they have not yet attained unto perfection, that the work of character building is not yet finished. If they will walk in every ray of light that God has given; if they will compare themselves with Christ's life and character, they will discern where they have failed to meet the requirements of God's holy law and will seek to make themselves perfect in their sphere, even as God in heaven is perfect in His sphere. If these men had realized the importance of these things, they would today be far in advance of their present condition, far better qualified to fill places of trust. During these hours of probation they are to seek for perfection of character. They must learn daily of Christ. They are connected with the work of God, not because they are perfect, unerring men, without defects of character, but notwithstanding these defects. God expects them, while connected with His work, to be constantly studying and learning how to copy the Pattern.
Jesus connected John, Peter, and Judas with Him in His work, making them colaborers with Him; but at the same time they were to be constantly learning lessons of Christ. They were to gather from His divine teachings instructions which were to correct their wrong ideas and their erroneous views of what constitutes a Christian character. John and Peter were not perfect men, but they improved every opportunity to learn. Peter did not learn to distrust himself, to be jealous of himself, until he was overcome by the temptations of the devil and denied his Lord. Judas had the same opportunity that these disciples had to learn the lessons taught by Christ, but he did not appreciate their value. He was a hearer only and not a doer. The result was seen in his betrayal of his Lord.
The men whom God has connected with His institutions are not to feel that there is no improvement for them to make because they stand in responsible positions. If they are to be representative men, guardians of the most sacred work ever committed to mortals, they must take the position of learners. They must not feel self-sufficient or self-important. They should ever realize that they are treading on holy ground. Angels of God are ready to minister to them, and they must be continually in reception of light and heavenly influences, or they are no more fitted for the work than unbelievers.
If the character of the men connected with the office at Battle Creek were so transformed that they could have a helpful influence over those under their control, then the outlook would be more encouraging. Whatever the men employed there may think of their ability, I have reason to say that many will need to improve greatly before they are qualified to fill their positions acceptably. They may feel competent to give counsel, but they are themselves in need of counsel from Him who is unerring in wisdom. Great and important interests are in danger of being misshaped and of coming forth defective from their hands. If all felt their ignorance more, and would depend less on self, they might learn of the great Teacher meekness and lowliness of heart.
God is observing everything that transpires in the office. "Thou God seest me," should be always in mind. Everyone who bears responsibilities in the office should be courteous and kind to all. An ever-abiding sense of the presence of Christ would prevent the encroachment upon others' rights which is so common in the world's practice, but which is an offense to God. The love of Jesus must be incorporated into the lives of the workers in the several departments of the office, in order that justice may be done, not only to the work, but to one another.
The very first work, my brethren, is to secure the blessing of God in your own hearts. Then bring this blessing into your homes, put away your criticisms, overcome your exacting ways, and let the spirit of cheerfulness and kindness prevail. The atmosphere of your homes will be carried with you to the office, and heavenly peace will surround your souls. Wherever the love of Jesus reigns there is pitying tenderness and thoughtfulness of others. The most precious work that my brethren can engage in is that of cultivating a Christlike character.
It was shown me that those who preside over our institutions should ever bear in mind that there is a chief director, who is the God of heaven. There should be strict honesty in all business transactions in every department of the work. There must be firmness in preserving order, but compassion, mercy, and forbearance should be mingled with the firmness. Justice has a twin sister, Love. These should stand side by side. The Bible should be your guide. There can be no greater deception than for a man to think that he can find a better guide, when in difficulty, than the word of God. The blessed word must be a lamp to our feet. Bible precepts must be carried into the everyday life.