Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


The Furrow Story

In 1898 she wrote specifically of an experience with which several were familiar: 4BIO 154.6

Before I visited Cooranbong, the Lord gave me a dream. In my dream I was taken to the land that was for sale in Cooranbong. Several of our brethren had been solicited to visit the land, and I dreamed that I was walking upon the ground. I came to a neat-cut furrow that had been plowed one quarter of a yard deep and two yards in length. Two of the brethren who had been acquainted with the rich soil of Iowa were standing before the furrow and saying, “This is not good land; the soil is not favorable.” But One who has often spoken in counsel was present also, and He said, “False witness has been borne of this land.” Then He described the properties of the different layers of earth. He explained the science of the soil, and said that this land was adapted to the growth of fruit and vegetables, and that if well worked it would produce its treasures for the benefit of man.... 4BIO 154.7

The next day we were on the cars, on our way to meet others who were investigating the land; and as I was afterward walking on the ground where the trees had been removed, lo, there was a furrow just as I had described it, and the men also who had criticized the appearance of the land. The words were spoken just as I had dreamed. [Note: Neither of the two Ellen G. White accounts of this experience fixes precisely the time of the dream and later the seeing of the furrow on the School Land. Nor do they pinpoint the exact location, except “close to where our school buildings now stand” (Letter 350, 1907). W. C. White penciled in on a copy of the account as given in Manuscript 62, 1898, the words, in parentheses, “the committee on their last visit.” In 1921 he placed the event as following the ashfield camp meeting when “A large committee were sent up to give the land another careful examination” (DF 170, WCW to F.C. Gilbert, December 22, 1921). An inability to fix precisely the exact timing or point out the exact location cannot undercut the validity of the event. In 1958 the author was taken by Jack Radley, retired mission boat captain, to the approximate location of the furrow as pointed out to him by his father, john radley, of castle hill. The latter had seen it in connection with one of the inspection trips to cooranbong as the purchase of the estate was under consideration. Today a granite monument on the college grounds commemorates the furrow experience and reminds all of God's providence in the founding of the College.]—Manuscript 62, 1898. 4BIO 155.1

As she recounted the experience in a letter to Edson White some years later, she seemed to locate the finding of the furrow at a point in time not so early as her first visit to the property, but rather a little later when serious questions were raised by church leaders acquainted with the soil of Iowa, and the whole matter of the land at Cooranbong hung in the balance. In her dream she had seen the furrow as in an open space “close to where our school buildings now stand.” She recounted finding the furrow this wise: 4BIO 155.2

When we came to Avondale to examine the estate, I went with the brethren to the tract of land. After a time we came to the place I had dreamed of, and there was the furrow that I had seen. The brethren looked at it in surprise. “How had it come there?” they asked. Then I told them the dream that I had had. 4BIO 156.1

“Well,” they replied, “you can see that the soil is not good.” “That,” I answered, “was the testimony borne by the men in my dream, and that was given as the reason why we should not occupy the land. But One stood upon the upturned furrow, and said, ‘False testimony has been borne concerning this soil. God can furnish a table in the wilderness.’”—Letter 350, 1907. 4BIO 156.2