THE closing of the Adventist academy in Rhea County, Tenn., by the persecution at that place, naturally suggests some question as to the extent and nature of the educational work conducted by this people.
The education facilities of the denomination are summarized by Prof. W. W. Prescott, their educational secretary, in his recent report to the General Conference, as follows:—
Battle Creek College, at Battle Creek, Mich.; Union College, at College View, Neb.; Healdsburg College, at Healdsburg, Cal.; Walla Walla College, at College Place, wash.; and Claremont College, at Claremont, South Africa. There are four academies, or schools, doing work of academic grade, in this country; at South Lancaster, Mass.; Mt. Vernon, Ohio; Keene, Texas; and Graysville, Tenn.; and one abroad [Frederikshavn, Denmark]. There are also the West Virginia Preparatory School, the Australasian Bible School, a school in Mexico in connection with the Medical Mission; schools for native children upon Pitcairn Island, upon Raiatea of the Society groups, in the South Pacific Ocean, upon Bonacca of the Bay Islands in the Caribbean Sea, about fifteen church schools in this country and abroad, two General Conference Bible schools, and quite a number of local colporters’ and conference schools not regularly organized.
At the time of the making of this report, February 17, there were enrolled in the regular schools, not including the local colporters’ and conference schools not regularly organized, over three thousand pupils. The total number of instructors and helpers engaged in school work was at the same time one hundred and seventy, approximately. This does not include Bible schools, schools for the education of colporters, or local church schools.
Thus it will be seen that for a denomination numbering only about fifty thousand communicants, the Seventh-day Adventists are doing a large amount of educational work.
Battle Creek College, Battle Creek, Mich., has an enrollment of six hundred and twenty-eight; Union College, Lincoln, Neb., has an enrollment of four hundred and thirty-six; and Graysville Academy, the school closed by the imprisonment of the principal and his first assistant, is credited with an enrollment of one hundred and five. The number of teachers in the Graysville Academy was nine; at Union College, thirty-seven; and Battle Creek College, thirty-four. A larger number at Union College is due to the fact that there are German and Scandinavian departments.
The educational work done by the Adventists is by no means superficial. In fact, they aim at thoroughness in all their work. Education is essential to any people who espouse unpopular doctrines. They must be able to defend their positions, and to defend them intelligently, and this they cannot do without education. Of course, their educational work differs somewhat from that of other denominations, for it has reference more to religious training than perhaps that given by any other denomination. Bible truth is taught in all their schools, and almost everyone takes the “Book of books” as one of his studies. However, the sciences are not neglected, and students leaving some of their institutions and entering various colleges in the country, have passed very satisfactory examinations; in fact, some of the Adventist schools have been highly complimented on the quality of their work by those who have learned of them by coming in contact with students who have entered other and higher institutions of learning.
The Adventists are a practical people, and as far as possible, give a practical education. Most of the students in their colleges and academies have some definite purpose in view, and are studying to fit themselves for some particular sphere of usefulness. Being reared in Christian families, and having Christian aspirations themselves, their students, as a rule, work from a conscientious standpoint, and not simply to be able to pass certain examinations and receive a diploma at the end of their course. They realize that they are fitting themselves for active work in the cause of God, and that their time and even themselves are not their own. Hence a different spirit pervades these institutions from that found in many schools.
The medical missionary work is receiving a good deal of attention from this people. They have at Battle Creek the largest and best equipped medical and surgical sanitarium in  the world, and here are educated nurses who receive a thorough training and preparation for active work. Those desiring to take a medical course are encouraged to go to Ann Arbor and enter the regular course there; and many of them subsequently take a post-graduate course at Bellevue, New York. A number of these have already gone to foreign fields and others are preparing to go ere long.
Tennessee and other States may persecute this people, and attempt to drive them from their borders, but they cannot stay the onflowing tide of their work. They are not fanatical, but they are enthusiastic, and have the courage of their convictions. They are willing to suffer reproach, loss of property, loss of liberty, or even loss of life, for the sake of the truth which they profess. No people make their religion a part of their daily lives more than do the Adventists, and prison bars have no terrors for them when they have the consciousness that they are doing God’s service.
As related in these columns four weeks ago the academy at Graysville is closed, owing to persecution; but it will not be permitted to remain so. It is the purpose of the denomination to re-open it at the usual time for the beginning of the fall term.