Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 70, 1886

Diary, October and November 1886


October 14 - November 2, 1886

Portions of this manuscript are published in 3MR 61-64; 5MR 317-319; 3Bio 355.

First Visit to France

October 14, 1886

Paris, France

I arise at 5 A.M. and write several pages by the light of a candle before others are up. I seem to be transferred back to old times when candles were the only lights used except whale oil in our lamps. We took breakfast at a restaurant. Then we walked out, with Brother Garside to accompany us. We walked to the broker’s exchange and went up in the second-story galleries where we could look down into the room where the business was going on. What a scene! Their voices were clamoring for the supremacy and they resembled wild beasts rather than sensible men and women. Men were pushing and crowding one another, screeching at the top of their voices. Many were hoarse, and yet they shrieked on louder than ever. Hundreds were there, and men were coming and going, wrestling, crowding one another like mad men. And what was this all for? Trading in stocks. Some would gain, others lose. And it was all for a little of the inheritance in this life. Should we press in the value of the gift of eternal life, should we present the heavenly treasures, they would not be attracted for one moment. I thought of the scene when the day of judgment should take place. What confusion would come to all who have not made God their dependence and were not prepared for the great day of final decision. Let us make our calling and election sure. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 1

October 14, 1886


We visited the palaces of kings. There was an extensive building that had once been the home of the great, the crowned. Monarchs dwelt in these lofty, grand halls when France was under kingly rule. We view the bedchambers where kings and queens have slept, and the dining rooms where kings have feasted and the council rooms where great men of earth have planned to increase their glory and widen their kingdoms by aggressive warfare. But to me these historic halls are dark in their dark-colored paintings and designs, and I should regard them gloomy, resembling prisons, if I were compelled to live in them. In shape, the palace of kings resembles a hollow square and covers many acres of ground. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 2

These historic halls are now the property not of kings but of the government. There are many things of interest to look upon—the armors, the shields, the veritable saddles that they placed upon their horses. They appeared to be very heavy and were richly adorned and must be very expensive. These halls are now stored with historic mementoes and things which belonged to olden days, while other buildings are devoted to statuary and paintings of artists. These paintings might have been seen through other eyes than mine and be adored as evidences or specimens of wonderful taste and skill. But I have had my mind so completely satisfied and at rest with the works of God brought to our senses in nature, and have been so fully satisfied in viewing the glory of the heavens, the works of God’s creation, that these things in imitation of the natural seemed to fall so far below the works of the great Master Artist who made our world and everything beautiful in it, that these pictures could not charm my senses and meet my ideal. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 3

We visited [Les Invalides]. Here a guide urged himself upon us and by paying him a franc he told us the history of the things we looked upon. The remains of Napoleon were entombed in this building, and the marble tomb contained all that there is of this once great man, before whom kingdoms trembled. There were tombs of his great generals who shared his triumphs, his glory, and his defeats. The history of each of these was repeated by our guide. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 4

The best part and the most interesting part to us was the relation of the fact that this grand building was presented to the government for a hospital or asylum for old soldiers who served in Napoleon’s armies. Their families and their children and grandchildren were to be taken care of. There have been as many as five hundred sick and disabled soldiers in this building at one time. Their preparation for cooking is very extensive. These soldiers are supported by the government. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 5

We assembled in our chamber after ascending six flights of stairs—Willie, Brother Garside, Brother and Sister Ings, Sarah McEnterfer, and myself—and ate a simple lunch, preparatory to taking the hack which would take us four miles across the city to the depot where our train would be found to take us to Nimes. After eating we had a solemn season of prayer in which Brother Garside joined. We then stepped into the hacks—Sarah and Willie to go in one direction, which would take them to Basel; Brother and Sister Ings and myself in another direction, on the way to Nimes. We did not take our seats in the cars until past ten o’clock. Rode all night. Two other were in the compartment with us. We rode all the next day. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 6

Friday, October 15, 1886

Arrived at Nimes about six o’clock. Found Brethren Bourdeau and Comte and Badaut waiting for us. We took a tram which bore us to the home of Brother Bourdeau. Mounted two flights of stairs and found him in very comfortable but humble quarters. Those who depend upon hired homes in these large cities cannot always find places that are such as they would choose. They must accommodate themselves to the situation and be content in the name of the Lord. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 7

October 16, 1886


It is Sabbath. Brother Ings spoke in the early morning meeting, also in the afternoon upon the restoration of the Sabbath. All seemed to be pleased with his talk. I spoke in the forenoon and evening. In the afternoon there was a social meeting, and sixteen intelligent testimonies were borne by those who had embraced the Sabbath. All were much pleased to listen to these testimonies which were interpreted to us. These witnesses for God were indeed to reflect light in this wicked city. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 8

Sunday, October 17, 1886


We walked out. The stores were most of them open, as on any other day, the market just as active as on any day of the week. The noisy clamor, the exchange of produce, the buying and selling were like the temple courts in the days of Christ—as if Sunday to them had no sacredness. We visited a building called the square house. There was a large portico or piazza sustained by many pillars. Within were relics and ancient inscriptions, and in the enclosure where the house stood were large slabs of granite with inscriptions upon them. This building was erected before Christ, built by Augustus Caesar for his sons. It is very ancient in appearance. It was covered up with rubbish in the destruction of buildings in Nimes, but was unearthed and stands just where it stood before Christ. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 9

October 17, 1886


Sunday afternoon Brother Ings spoke. There were quite a number present, and I had freedom in speaking in the evening. Mr. Gilly, the Evangelical minister and preceptor of school as well as an asylum for orphans and fallen women, was present and I was introduced to him. He reminds me of Dr. Lewis in size and features and deportment. Elder Bourdeau is very feeble, and he needs much strength for the labor he has to perform. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 10

October 18, 1886


Raining today. Wrote many pages. In the afternoon Sister Ings, Patience Bourdeau, and I went to the stores to make purchases. I bought shoes and dress. The stores are in narrow, crooked streets. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 11

October 21, 1886


I spoke in the afternoon with much freedom. Then after speaking Mr. Gilly conducted us to an old castle up a steep ascent. We went up the winding stone stairs and had an extensive view from the tower of the surrounding country. Olive trees were growing in profusion everywhere. I thought while so high up from the earth of Satan’s taking Christ upon the pinnacle of the temple and presenting before Him the whole world in its glory in a moment and tempting Him by offering it to Him as a bribe if He would worship him. We had a pleasant association with Mr. Gilly. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 12

Friday, October 22, 1886


It was pleasant and we enjoyed a good warm bath at the bathing house. In the afternoon we enjoyed a long walk. I spoke in the evening. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 13

October 23, 1886


I spoke in the afternoon, then had a social meeting. Intelligent testimonies were borne. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 14

October 27, 1886


Accompanied by Brother Bourdeau’s family, we took the cars for Aigues-Mortes, situated by the Mediterranean Sea. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 15

Thursday, October 28, 1886


Mr. Gilly took dinner with us at Brother Bourdeau’s table, and we had some interesting conversation. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 16

Friday, October 29, 1886


We visited the large establishment for the orphan children and for fallen women. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 17

Sabbath, October 30, 1886


Brother Ings spoke in the forenoon. I spoke in the afternoon. An Evangelical minister associated with Mr. Gilly in the work came into meeting after I had finished my remarks. He was accompanied by the directors and his wife. They called upon us in Brother Bourdeau’s hired house, and we had a very pleasant interview. I spoke in the evening, and the minister and the preceptress and the minister’s wife and about fifty of his students came out to the meeting. We hope this acquaintance may be in the providence of God a blessing to them and to us. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 18

These are especially festive days with the Catholics. We hear them all times of night calling upon their dead friends to come and visit them. They believe that the dead come from their graves and communicate with them, and they declare that they see them and talk with them, and all through the night there is carousing and singing and loud voices going through the streets, calling upon the dead to appear. Oh, what ignorance and heathen superstition! I saw the most extravagant display of wreaths, beautiful bouquets, and flowers arranged in the form of a cross. These were taken to the graveyards and in honor of the dead placed upon their graves. I learn that they believe the dead respond and reveal themselves. This is Spiritualism. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 19

Sunday, October 31, 1886


I spoke in the afternoon to a well-filled hall. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 20

November 1, 1886

Monday morning at half-past eight we left Nimes and journeyed six hours and a half on the road toward Turan. Stopped at Valence. There are a few here who are keeping the Sabbath. Brother Ings spoke some time to them, then I spoke about three quarters of an hour. We felt so great interest for them here that we consented to stay one day and speak to them once more. There was one present who had with the rest started to keep the Sabbath and had given it up. We hope the remarks made may have a good influence upon him. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 21

Tuesday, November 2, 1886

Valence, France

I arose early and engaged in writing. Brethren Bourdeau and Ings were accommodated at another place. We went to the house and found Brother Ings sick. He had a hard night. Elder Bourdeau went ten miles in the country to get a brother to come to the meeting, but his mission was fruitless as the brother was away from home and the rain increased so that he could not have attended had he been at home. We had, however, a good season with the few. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 22

We visited the cathedral. It was a dismal, dark place, but there were services. The officiating priests had dresses of white and over this a surplice of black velvet trimmed with gold braid and the form of a cross upon the back. They keep their backs to the people. They repeated words of prayer and then they chanted hymns. These cathedrals, so very expensive in their designs, are most uncomfortable within for the worshipers. The roughest kind of chairs are furnished, and before these flag or splint-bottom chairs is a small chair, inclined forward by the front legs being much shorter than the hind legs, in which the worshipers kneel in their devotion. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 23

There was nothing cheerful about the premises, nothing bore the least resemblance to heaven and heavenly things. Candles were burning before the pulpits and altars which were necessary, it seemed to us, to be substituted for the light which they had not. The divine enlightenment was wanting. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 24

We looked upon the bust of Pius VI. The marble statue beneath the bust contained the heart of the pope. This is the pope specified in prophecy, which received the deadly wound. He was carried captive to Valence, and we looked upon the tower where he was confined and where he died. From this tower he could look upon the beautiful waters of the Rhone, and this gave him much delight. It was a gratification to look upon this representation of the pope which prophecy has so faithfully described. We looked upon a black cloth stretched across the walls of the portion of the building where the people were worshiping the second day of November. This black cloth was adorned with ghastly death’s-heads and bones in white, which looked frightful. But they were observing the feast for the dead. These vestments of the priests, symbolically adorned with large figures of the cross and with a variety of colors, bore no resemblance to the simplicity of worship. But priestly ceremonies burdened with pompous display, processions, and art to produce effect are abundant. Lighted tapers and outward display are very poor substitutes for spiritual vitality, which was wanting. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 25

November 2, 1886


We had last evening a profitable meeting. The rain kept away some who designed to come, but we felt just as much interest, and even more, to speak to the few as to the many—the very few who had not been blessed with ministerial help, and yet had held fast their faith in the truth. These few had not been without trials, and the blessing of the Lord rested upon us while we sought to strengthen their faith and courage—the courage of the few. There was a young man of excellent capabilities—a bookbinder. He had been learning the trade for nearly three years, and for his labor he was paid only three dollars per week and boarded himself. His keeping the Sabbath threw him out of two days. His sister has a good education, but keeping the Sabbath places her where she labors daily for twenty cents per day in doing common serving. She would make a good missionary worker if she only had the chance. Her mother engages in working in the field, receiving twenty cents when she can obtain work. We must seek to connect with the office in Basel. 4LtMs, Ms 70, 1886, par. 26