Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)


Ms 99, 1908

The Buena Vista Property


September 23, 1908 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in 2SM 359; Te 252; 5MR 89; 17MR 31.

The Buena Vista Property as a Probable School Location

On Wednesday, [September] 2, in company with several members of the committee on a school location, I visited a large property near Sonoma, which had been considered as a possible location for the school formerly conducted at Healdsburg. We found a large tract of land on which was a large, beautiful building called the Castle. The building has three stories and basement, with twelve spacious rooms on each floor. The property is a mile or two from the town of Sonoma, and some distance from any house. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 1

Why We Should Secure the Whole Tract, if Any

A proposal had been made to the brethren, offering the building with three hundred acres of land. At first we thought that this would be all the land we would care for; but during the following night light was given me that we would meet with difficulties if the remaining portion of the land were sold to other parties and settled by people not of our faith. I was in conversation with interested ones in regard to this matter. We weighed the matter well on every side, and we concluded that we must purchase either the whole or none. Then we could control to a large extent the settlement of the land. We would have the privilege of refusing to sell land to those whom we might regard as undesirable neighbors, and thus avoid disturbance and trouble to the school, which might otherwise arise. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 2

Again, I was instructed that we are not to locate ourselves where we will be forced into close relations with those who do not honor God. Concerning the sanctity of the seventh day, God has plainly taught us. “The heavens and the earth were finished,” He declares, “and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended the work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all the work which God created and made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.” [Genesis 2:1-3.] 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 3

“Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle; nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.” [Deuteronomy 5:12-15.] 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 4

“For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: and the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 5

“Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them: He will not be slack to him that hateth Him, He will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.” [Deuteronomy 7:6-11.] 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 6

“And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.” [Deuteronomy 6:6-8.] 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 7

Here is God’s great test, and the sign of our loyalty to Him. We must either observe the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, or repudiate the Word and accept a day that He has not sanctified and set apart for our observance. In the day when every case if decided, these charges of the Word of God will be brought forth, and men will be judged by them. Those who have not searched the Scriptures to know what God has commanded, and who have observed a day that He has not blessed, will not be excused for their ignorance. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 8

A crisis is soon to come in regard to the observance of Sunday, and we are to understand that no authority has been given to any man for the observance of the first day of the week. Yet the Sunday party is strengthening itself in its false claims, and this will mean oppression to those who determine to keep the Sabbath of the Lord. We are to place ourselves where we can carry out the sabbath commandment in its fulness. “Six days shalt thou labor,” the Lord declares, “and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt not do any work.” [Exodus 20:9, 10.] And we are to be careful not to place ourselves where it will be hard for ourselves and our children to keep the Sabbath. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 9

If in the providence of God we can secure places away from the cities, the Lord would have us do this. There are troublous times before us, when Satan will make every effort to call in among us the unconverted, that they may prove stumbling blocks to souls and workers whom Satan can use to deceive. I am instructed to say to our people, Satan holds the minds of not a few of those who pass among us as believers of the truth. There are among us even ministers and physicians who are held in a net of deception. Many there are whom we regard as friends of the truth who are working in direct opposition to the principles of truth that have made us what we are today. Through a spirit of self-sufficiency they have been led to act a part in counterworking the instruction that God has sent through His Word and through the testimonies of His Spirit. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 10

I was shown that in no case should our children and youth, while obtaining their education, be associated with those who do not love and respect their parents. One sinner worketh much harm. Should we decide to purchase this place, our students could soon be accommodated with school facilities in a place where they would be away from the temptations of city life. Here they would have ample opportunity to exercise physical as well as mental powers, and brain and muscles would be equally taxed. And those parents who wish to have their children at home, and still share the advantages of the school, could secure a lot on which they could make a home, where they could train their family in Christian lines. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 11

The Word of God is to be the guide book in our schools. Those who diligently and faithfully study the Word will secure the highest education. This alone will fit them for a place in the school above where Christ will walk and talk with His people, leading them to the tree of life and to fountains of living waters. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 12

If we are able to purchase the property at Buena Vista, the sooner we do it, the better. And if we can obtain the whole of it, we will work to place students and teachers in a favorable position to receive the preparation they need for the accomplishment of their work. We will gather about us those parents who desire to educate their children in the love and fear of God, and who will strive with us to accomplish this work. We are to unite with Christ in the work He came to do for fallen humanity. We are to act a self-denying part as Christ has given us example. Let us keep self humble by learning of the One who gave Himself for us. To save souls was the great object of Christ’s lifework. We are to draw in even lines with Him. We have received His grace that we may impart it to others. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 13

I have presented a few of the reasons why we could not purchase a part only of the Buena Vista property, leaving the other part to be occupied by those who do not profess to obey God or to live by the principles of His Word. I hope our people will be able to secure the land. In some respects this property may not be regarded as altogether desirable; but if we secure the property at all, we should come into possession of the whole. It is not desirable that we be closely linked up with those who are not Sabbathkeepers. And in this retired place we can ward off a large class of temptations which in a less favored place would be presented through manifold agencies. Satan seeks to deceive if possible the very elect, to sow his tares among the wheat. When danger is least suspected, he is working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 14

The Object of Our Educational Work

Our object must be to help the children and youth to come to Christ and to place themselves on vantage ground, that they may exert a saving influence in the school. In this place the youth could be more readily trained for the future immortal life, and be prepared to receive a welcome to the courts of God. There is a great work to be done. Let us watch and pray and believe. Parents and children have no time to lose. They are to learn to work for the souls for whom Christ has died. Let parents and children consecrate themselves to God, and seek to exert a positive influence for good. Those who bear the responsibilities of parenthood need to be converted daily. They need as devoted Christians to humble their souls before God, and to work with consecrated powers for Him. Let several families meet together to seek the Lord. God calls upon the heads of families to do with faithfulness their appointed work. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 15

There has been in the experience of many professed Christians too much preaching and too little praying and believing and praising God. There are hundreds of men and women who are doing nothing to gather with Christ. Whole families are in need of conversion. They need to seek the Lord with all their hearts, that they may find Him. Why are there so many who carry no burden for souls. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 16

The Lord has presented before me the necessity of our workers coming into line. Begin now to take up your appointed work. If you will live humble, devoted, Christian lives, you may accomplish much good. By watchfulness and prayer in your own homes, by house-to-house labor for those who need the help that you can give them, you can do much for the conversion of your children and your neighbors. Will you not do this work? 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 17

We need to work in the interests of temperance reform and to make this question one of living interest. This is one way in which we may become fishers of men. A good work is being done in the circulation of our literature. Form yourselves into companies for the prosecution of a vigilant work. Learn to speak in such a way that you will not give offense. Cultivate gentleness of speech. Let the grace of Christ dwell in you richly, speaking to one another encouraging words. I make an earnest appeal to all our people, Come into line, come into line. Magnify self no longer. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 18

There are but two classes in our world. Satan is working through the children of darkness to deceive with his seducing wiles. And Jesus acts His part through His faithful followers. They are to understand that they are bought with a price. The life of the infinite Son of God was given for them. Those who claim to be His will strive to be Christlike. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 19

“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things?” [Romans 8:32.] When this priceless gift was bestowed, the heavenly universe was mightily stirred in an effort to understand God’s unfathomable love, stirred to awaken in human hearts a gratitude proportionate to the value of the gift. Shall we, for whom Christ has given His life, halt now between two opinions? Shall the human agencies return to God only a tittle of their capabilities and powers? 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 20

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] He who was commander in the heavenly courts laid aside His royal robes, laid off His kingly crown, and came as a little child to our world to experience all the ills that humanity is heir to. He broke the power of Satan over humanity. Uniting His divinity with humanity, He worked out the salvation for the race and made it possible for men and women to become partakers of the divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 21

This is the mystery of godliness. Through Christ’s grace man may be an overcomer. All heaven is pledged to unite with him in his efforts, and thus carry forward God’s great plan for the redemption of a ruined world. Man has a work to do in representing Christ’s likeness of character. We all need all the help we can give each other in practicing the virtues of that perfect character. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 22

We who profess to believe the Word are to be faithful watchmen. Speaking of His second coming, the Saviour said, “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” [Matthew 24:36-39.] These words are being fulfilled. We should be preparing life and character to meet the demands of the times that are upon us. The Lord calls upon His people to prepare for the coming of the Son of man. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 23

Christ made every sacrifice that we might stand perfected before Him at last. He calls upon every believer in the Word to become His helping hand, working with unwearying earnestness to seek and to save the lost. All who accept Christ as their Saviour pledge themselves to unite with Him in bearing the cross. At their baptism they pledged themselves to become laborers together with God in winning souls to Christ. They are to be His witnesses, bound by their covenant of baptism to act a part in the great plan of redemption. The transforming power of God’s grace will mold and fashion every soul who gives himself to Christ. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. ... And of His fulness have all we received and grace for grace.” [John 1:14, 16.] The hearts of His disciples, under the influence of the grace of Christ, may be so filled with His love, that their hearts will feel the burden He felt for the souls He purchased by His suffering and shame and reproach. 23LtMs, Ms 99, 1908, par. 24