Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)


Lt 322, 1908

Members in the California Conference

St. Helena, California

November 1, 1908

This letter is published in entirety in 1MR 326-330. +Note

To the members of our churches in the California Conference

Dear Brethren and Sisters:

We have long wanted to move our conference school from Healdsburg, and have kept inquiring of the Lord, What shall we do? 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 1

Several good offers of properties suitable for a school site have been made by different landowners. Excellent farming lands in the vicinity of Lodi, and elsewhere, were offered; but it did not seem best to accept any of these. We believed that the school should be located in some place more retired than any we had thus far seen. 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 2

Some months ago, while the brethren were still searching for a suitable school site, they were informed of a desirable property for sale near the town of Sonoma. 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 3

On the morning of September 2, in company with several members of the committee on a school location, we visited this property. We were met at the railway station by two gentlemen with hired teams, in which we were taken to view the site in question. 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 4

Before reaching the Buena Vista property, we were shown another property, a fine house, surrounded by beautiful orchard lands; but this did not seem like any of the properties that we had hoped to find. 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 5

From this place we were driven to the Buena Vista property that had been regarded by some of our brethren as a possible location for the school. We found, about two miles from the town of Sonoma, and some distance from any house, a large tract of land on which was a large, beautiful dwelling, called “The Castle,” and several smaller buildings. We found the Castle to contain three stories, with twelve spacious rooms on each floor, besides a basement and a large cupola above the third story, capable of being converted into good rooms. 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 6

I ascended the stairs to the second story and partially viewed the rooms on the first two floors. This was as far as I could venture; but the brethren who had visited the property before this reported that they had examined the rooms on the next story and found them to be as well furnished and fitted as those I had seen. Each floor was furnished with excellent bathroom accommodations. 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 7

As I descended to the first story again, I had little to say. I believed that here was a property that corresponded with representations given me. 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 8

We drove over the grounds, but did not examine them thoroughly. We were in the midst of mountain scenery, and in the specious grounds surrounding the house were many and beautiful trees. At some distance from the Castle stood a large stone winery, now being used as stables for cattle. There were some fruit trees on the place, and near to the main building a hot spring which fed an artificial pool. There was an abundance of pure, soft water, which was conducted by pipes to the different buildings. 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 9

After a hasty view of the grounds—for our time was limited—we left to take the cars again for Oakland; but I was impressed that this was just such a location for our school as we had been looking for. Here was a large tract of land away from the cities, where we could have an abundance of water and wood, and a healthful climate. In this retired place we could ward off a large class of temptations which in a less-favored place would be presented through manifold agencies. 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 10

There was one perplexity. Where could we obtain the means to secure this property, so well supplied with many of the advantages we needed? We feared that the price asked by the owner was more than we could consider, and felt that we must take time to think over the proposition. 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 11

That night in my dreams I seemed to be making plans in regard to this property. One spoke to me and said, “How were you impressed with this location?” I replied, “Favorably; but I do not see how we can purchase; we have not the means. We might lessen the price by selling the stone winery.” 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 12

“You cannot do that,” our adviser said. “If you should do so, parties who do not regard the seventh day would be at work on the land on the Sabbath. Your only plan will be to purchase the entire property and keep every part of it under your control. Not one foot of the land should be allowed to come under the control of those who would work it on the Sabbath day.” 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 13

The following morning, we had some conversation with Brother Covell. He had a map of the whole district, and he placed this before us for our examination. He pointed out several things that we might do to lessen the purchasing price of the property. But it seemed clear that the wisest plan would be to leave no part unpurchased. We must have the land under our full control. I said, In having land to cultivate, ample opportunity will be given to the students to work brain and muscles equally. Here the students can build cottages, as many are trained to do in the school near Madison, Tennessee, and gain practical knowledge in many lines that will make them useful members of society. And this kind of training will help fit them to go forth to other places as educators. 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 14

It would be well if the students in all our schools could learn to make the most of brain and bone and muscle. When they go out as laborers to foreign countries, such students will find their knowledge of practical work of the highest value, not only to themselves, but to those also for whom they labor. Those who learn to work in simplicity after Christ’s own manner of labor will accomplish much in the fulfilling of the command of Christ that we preach the gospel to “every nation and kindred and tongue and people.” [Revelation 14:6.] If ever it has been essential that we understand and follow right methods of teaching, and follow the example of Christ, it is now. 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 15

I now ask the members of our churches in the California Conference to help us raise the money to purchase this desirable property, and to furnish the school home with good but simple furniture. Shall we not seek to make this school a school after the Lord’s order? We ask you not to let this opportunity pass by of making this school what the Lord would have it. We need your help, that this school may be secured to us, and manned with wise, well-balanced teachers. We believe that our brethren will help at this time. We cannot afford to delay the matter; it must be settled at once, if we would secure the property. I send you this invitation to help in this emergency. If the brethren and sisters will act a part in this work, the Lord will bless them in doing it. 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 16

I ask our churches in California to consider just now what they can do in coming to the help of the Lord in this time of opportunity. Those who have not the money to send immediately can pledge; money can be hired on the strength of your pledges. Brethren Cottrell and Knox are straining every nerve to bring this matter to a successful issue. Let us do all we can, that there may be no failure. Let us humble our hearts before God and pray in faith. The Lord will work wonders through a self-denying people, endowing them with a rich measure of grace to work for the salvation of souls. Christ’s example is before us. Let us, as His followers, make His example ours. 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 17

The judgments of God are in the land, and Christ is soon to come. Fire and flood and earthquake are warning us that the end of all things is at hand. Believers need to arise to their privileges and responsibilities. Our understanding needs to be quickened daily by the Holy Spirit. We need to stand humble and contrite before God. It is no time to lift up our souls in pride, or to manifest carelessness and indifference. We need to arouse and give to our youth the evidence that we believe this last message of warning. Let us lay our freewill offerings upon the altar of the Lord. In doing this we are only giving Him what is already His; for Christ has paid the price for our redemption. “Ye are not your own,” Christ declares; “for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] 23LtMs, Lt 322, 1908, par. 18