Mount Tamalpais, I believe, is a most pleasant location for the lovers of nature. Words fail, and it is beyond the ability of my pen, to even attempt to describe, the beauties which nature has bestowed upon the Mount of Tamalpais. Situated just across the bay of San Francisco, by the way of Socialito, on the train to Mill Valley and whence on the crookedest railroad in the world, climbing 2000 feet above the tide of water, we reach the lower top of the mountain, and there we find accommodations to entertain kings and princesses, and the most eccentric Yankee. Yet, I am assured, that scarcely one-tenth of the visitors to California, have ever had the exceptional privilege to spend 24 hours, on the top of Mount Tamalpais, and thereafter all through their lives enjoy the most wonderful recollection in all God's creation.
The Alps in Europe are too stupendous to be compared with this majestically magnificent mount of Tamalpais. The Himalaya in Asia are too brutish to be considered as a rival of this gentle and illustrious sky-scraper. The Olympus and Parnassus of Greece are out of season to be paralleled with this up-to-date marvelous throne of their Majesties the Kings of America. There is the Tamalpais Hotel, a real palace, where the guests can rest and from the verandas or the windows of their own rooms observe the animating sights on the left hand side the snow-covered top-heads of the mountains and following to the right look down upon the valleys and behold the myriads of orange and lemon and all the fruit-bearing trees blooming all the year around and decorated like brides in their wedding procession, not only for a few moments, till the law ties the knot, but forever as long as the life-giving climate of beautiful California lasts and time shall be no more.
When I went up to the Mountain, looking for employment, because I wanted to locate myself in such a place, if I could, till the celebration of the Knights Templar was over, I was surprised to find that the General Manager of the Hotel and the R. R. Station was a lady, of a striking majestical appearance, she was the controlling power of the whole business on Mount Tamalpais, and she was not a suffragette either. But she was a loving mother of two beautiful children, a typical Yankee girl, well up in her teens, supervising over the chambermaids, and variously assisting her mother, and an active boy of sixteen, the good-fellow of everybody, and especially to the Chinamen employed in the kitchen. Mr. Johnson was the husband and father of this happy family, and he occupied the position of butler of the house, receiving orders from his beloved wife.
I presented my credentials to Mrs. Johnson and she, being satisfied, was very kind to give me the charge of two tables to wait upon in the dining room. It seemed as though I made good as a waiter, judging by the coins which the customers, began to forget, beneath their plates, in leaving the table, some call it tips, I called it real money.
September was well at hand, one day old, and Mrs. Johnson was very anxious to have the premises well decorated, and a big arch should be erected at the entrance, with the sign, "WELCOME," to Knights Templar, as news came from San Francisco, that the Knights were already in possession of the Golden Gate. Mrs. Johnson was almost in despair, unable to find someone among that great army of employees, to have any artistic ideas of decorating or even to make a few flower designs and put up the arch out of some green foliage. We were all green, in that respect. But as I always find myself at hand, wherever help is to be rendered, I offered my services, and by what I could remember from my friend Jack, in New York, how he could decorate everything to a good taste, I have been able to put up a nice decoration and the third of September, 1904, the flags of all nations were waving and everything was ready for the reception of the Knights Templar. Mrs. Johnson was pleased to the extent of presenting me with an extra three dollars and relieving me from the dining room, she appointed me in charge of the pavilion, an out-doors building, where the Knights Templar would privately entertain their families and lady friends. In this position I was enabled to see more of the high American life than I ever dreamed of before. The English Lord, and the Parisien Dame de Honor, were eclipsed as they would look like pygmies by the side of the sunshining, bright-hearted American gentlemen, and the sweet and graceful demigoddess American lady. But my enthusiasm reached its zenith when a gentleman from Pittsburg, in company with his ladies, after an enjoyable dinner, at the pavilion, he left under his plate a shining five dollar gold piece; at the sight of the unexpected I made a sign to which the gentleman was obliged to respond, and that settled it, there was no mistake about it, the man and I were brothers and the coin was intended as my tip. And afterwards the incident occurred repeatedly during the celebration of Knights Templar in San Francisco.
Now, if everything in this world was just a procession like that of Knights Templar in San Francisco, and everybody was happy as the people I have seen on Mount Tamalpais, then there would be no sorrow, and there would be no pain; in fact this world would be the paradise on earth. But, alas! regretful as it may be, yet it is only the simple truth, that it is only the minority that are real happy, while the vast majority of men and women and children in this world are just a mass of suffering humanity, and if the investigations of religious societies, sociologists, and psychologists, are true, the cause of all misery in this world is misconduct or misfortune, which in one word is, sin, that brings misery. And there is where my purpose in life begins. I am out against sin. But to fight sin, it is absolutely necessary to be a soldier of the man who gave his life for the salvation of all mankind.
President Emeritus Eliot of Harvard University, a man of colossal thought-machine, man, who controls the unprejudiced intellectual minds of America, in his address on "The Religion of the Future," is quoted as saying: "I venture to add that I am not at the hold of any proud world -- whatever; second, that such little part of the world as I am best acquainted with loves the Lowly Nazarene -- and does not hate Him; thirdly, that I have met during my life most of the sorrows which are accounted heaviest; fourth, that Jesus will be in the religion of the future, not less, but more, than in the Christianity of the past." All efforts without Jesus, trying to better the world, shall fail. It is and will be the opinion of all sane minds for many generations yet to come. This was my opinion and the only imposing motive that brought me down on my knees on the 14th of October, 1904, in a poorly furnished hall where the Salvation Army had the Sunday night's meeting. I gave my heart to Jesus, for life and for eternity, to be his and his alone. And I knew, there and then, that I was honorably converted.
To make the surrender complete I offered my services to the Salvation Army, that I should use all I had, my time and my talent, to uplift the down-fallen humanity and help to make this world better. Major Harris Connett and Adjutant Allison Coe, were the officers in charge of the Los Angeles Salvation Army and they received me into their ranks and for ten months I was engaged in this wonderful organization, visiting the sick, praying in the saloons, in the slums and everywhere doing all that I could to promote the cause of Jesus in bringing souls into his fold. But nothing gave me so great pleasure as the poor children of Los Angeles at Christmas time when I was dressed in the Santa Claus clothing distributing presents to them. I never felt happier in all my life even in the best days as a High Priest.
After passing successfully my preparatory studies in Los Angeles, word came from the Headquarters that they wanted me in the college Training Home, in Chicago, to take the course of officership; and the 15th of August, 1905, finds me sweeping the back yard at the Training Home, West Adams St., Chicago, Illinois.
Were it possible for every man and woman who pretends to be a minister of Jesus, to pass six months in any of the Training Colleges of the Salvation Army, then there should be fewer ministers, but far more useful, in the betterment of the world, than many of them that are under the present conditions.
It is the most psychological system, in these Training Colleges that brings out all the virtues that every heart possesses and every bit of iniquity that may be hidden in the personal character of the man or woman who willingly denies himself or herself of all prospects and pleasures in this world just for the only purpose to live and love and serve the suffering humanity. There are exceptions to the rule among the officers of the Salvation Army, once in a great while some one will prove unworthy to the cause, but these exceptions are common in every human institution, and they are so few in the Salvation Army that fully justifies the public confidence upon this marvelously developing great movement.
I went through the theoretical and practical work for which I could make a whole volume of the experiences in the slums of Chicago, where I had to reprove a policeman, whom I found in a saloon drinking in full uniform, while in the back room there was a girl not over fifteen years old, in the company of a most reckless middle-aged man, both exceedingly intoxicated and still drinking. I dismissed the man, and sent the girl to the rescue home, where she would be taken care of.
The 17th of January, 1906, I received my diploma as an active member of the National First Aid Association of America, and my commission as a Captain in the Salvation Army, and I was appointed in charge of No.4 in Chicago. I went to my quarters and there was not kindling wood enough to start a fire, and no coal; and the weather 14 degrees below zero, half the glass panes of the windows broken, and everything in the house frozen, and the Corps indebted to the extent of 175 dollars, that I was expected to pay. You have to put yourself in a position of this kind in order to appreciate the circumstances under which I was placed. Yet, when everything seems dark, and there is no visible way out of the difficulty, it is then that with Jesus on our side, we shall always find some way. The first consideration in a missionary work should be to get souls converted to God. With much prayer and great faith upon the Almighty, I began my work, and when the Spirit spread all round that community and the sinners began to flock into the fold of Jesus, there was a change in a very short time. The old debt was paid, and we had comfortable quarters to lay our heads; and the roll-call of the Corps increased, and God was glorified, and there is a Corps, till this day, in Chicago, which they call the big 4 of the Salvation Army.
The San Francisco disaster came and the Salvation Army called me into its relieving department to help the sufferers. After which they appointed me assistant to the Illinois Division, where for two years I made a deeper and more thorough study of the various departments in operation.
In April, 1908, I visited England with the desire to study closer and more extensively the methods, and see for myself the great works which the Salvation Army has accomplished in the British Isles.
On my return to the United States I was appointed divisional solicitor for the Northern New England, where, splendid success was the result of my efforts, and there was a great field to work in and every opportunity to do good.
But in searching my heart's ambition I find that it was high time for me to turn all my energies toward the people for whose Salvation I was ordained a High Priest in the Church, and although the Church failed in its mission, yet, to uplift my people is still the aim of my life.
After much thought and due consideration of my obligations to the Salvation Army, I came to the conclusion that in view of the fact that following an unsuccessful correspondence with the Salvation Army, the National Headquarters refused to grant me a leave of absence, and insisted that I should go back West, while I knew that the field where I was called to fight the battle of my life was right here in New England, the best thing for me to do remained to send in my resignation, and I did so, thus thrusting myself entirely upon the hands of God.
And though as yet I have received no reply from the National Headquarters, my resignation is final, and now I am free, and my work unmolested of all denominational differences, dogmas and doctrines, which in the light of the Ecclesiastical history has always been the fatal cause of failure, in the Churches, to accomplish their mission in the Salvation of the world.