Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 58, 1886

Visit to the Hansen Home

Christiania, Norway

July 1886

Portions of this manuscript are published in 8MR 122-123.

By invitation we visited Brother and Sister Hansen in their island home. They had a retired residence which was reached by a half-hour’s ride upon the steamer from Christiania to the island or peninsula. Here we met brethren and sisters from America. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 1

Brother Hansen took us in a rowboat to the king’s summer palace on this island. There are buildings in which the family of the king spend some time in summer. They overlook the lake, and it is a very beautiful location for its fine scenery. These grounds are kept in order, no one living in the tall mansion, but one has charge of the buildings. Here are treasured antiquities of kings. Many things were curious and ancient. There was a museum of old costumes of the kings. There were the bridal dresses of the queens—heavy, white satin, trimmed with silver and gold. The trail was several yards long, and in walking an attendant followed the queen, holding up the long trail of her dress. My mind was active while looking upon these things. I was considering that those who love God and keep His commandments are members of the royal family, and they shall be kings and priests unto God. Those who have the precious white robes of Christ’s righteousness will have a wondrous garment purchased for them by the blood of Christ. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 2

Not far from this palace is a church hundreds of years old. It is in a retired spot in the borders of a grove of forest trees. It overlooks the lake, and it is a very beautiful location. These grounds are kept in order. No one is living in the tall mansion, but someone has charge of the buildings. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 3

We were to leave Christiania, Norway, July 16. I spoke for the last time to the church from (Philippians 2:1-5): “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 4

The Spirit of the Lord moved me to speak plainly to the church and to present before them the necessity of a thorough change in the characters of all those who claim to be children of God. Then they would come to worship God with subdued hearts, with reverence. They would feel that the house of God, which in His mercy had been built for the worshipers, was a sacred place—not a place for unholy feelings, malice, faultfinding, and bitterness of spirit. They would, if united to Christ, have the mind of Christ and would preserve order in the house of God. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 5

I presented before them the importance of their being in accordance with the light God had given them in the observance of the Sabbath. This house dedicated to God would not bring them at all nearer to God. Their hearts must be cleansed from all their spiritual defilement before the Lord would signally bless them as His chosen people. The work has begun in the church. Let it go forward to completion. Let there be no half-hearted work, but thorough repentance, thorough conversion to the truth—which many church members have never experienced. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 6

There should be deep repentance and confession and forsaking of the sins which have shut away the sweet spirit of Christ from the church. When this work is carried forward as it should be, there will be not one or two, but many who will fall upon the Rock and be broken. When the heart welcomes Jesus and He abides therein, then there will be love, tenderness, compassion, and all bitterness and evil speaking will be forever put away. We then called for those who would take a decided position on the Lord’s side to come forward. Many responded. Good testimonies were borne and fervent prayers were offered by Brethren Matteson and Olsen. We hope this advancement is but the beginning of a decided advance move upon the part of every church member. Our meeting closed at a late hour. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 7

July 16 we stepped on board the steamer for Copenhagen. Many friends accompanied us to the steamer, and a very fine bouquet of flowers was handed me as a token of friendship. I love flowers. Jesus said, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” [Matthew 6:28, 29.] 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 8

We rested well in our stateroom. This passage on the water was very pleasant. We saw the early morning sun at three o’clock. We were scarcely out of sight of land. The scenery of the landscape was very fine. When we reached Copenhagen, Brother Brorsen and others were waiting for us. Our party was taken to a hotel. We climbed sixty-five stairs to reach pleasant rooms, high up. We had a very light lunch for our breakfast, but we obtained nothing more to eat until four o’clock. This is the customary hour for dinner. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 9

Our location is pleasant. There is a botanical garden just opposite us. We walk through this garden nearly every day. Here we had early morning meetings. I spoke to those assembled about thirty minutes. Elder Olsen interpreted for me in these meetings; Elder Matteson in the evening when I spoke at length. The meetings seemed to be a blessing to those assembled. After I had spoken there was a social meeting. Many excellent testimonies were borne. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 10

There have been several valuable additions to the believers in this place. Those who have received the truth have come very cautiously. Some have been six months searching their Bibles like the noble Bereans to see if these things that had been taught them were the truth. One of these was a retired sea captain. He was connected with the Methodist church. He was the teacher of a Bible class. He understands and speaks English. The class he taught were much attached to him, and he hoped, by moving with great wisdom, to bring some of these along with him to rejoice in the light of truth. But the minister was troubled and said they could not have this; he could no longer teach the Bible class. He bore evidence of moving understandingly. His testimonies revealed the deep interest of his heart in the work. In one testimony he said the light had gone from the East to the West, and now he thanked the Lord that He was sending the precious light of truth from the West to the East. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 11

In one of our meetings after I had spoken to the people in regard to the light that is shining in our world, a stranger arose to speak. He said he had not been to Copenhagen for years. He could not see anything good in Copenhagen, but he thanked the Lord he had come. He never listened to such things as he had heard in this meeting; it was wonderful. He believed that the time had come spoken of by Joel the prophet: “I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit.” Joel 2:28, 29. He seemed to be deeply moved and expressed a desire to go with this people. He attended the Sabbath school and bore another testimony. It was something he had never seen anything like before; he must go home and tell his Baptist brethren all about the things he had seen and heard in these meetings. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 12

After one of our meetings, the wife of this man came to me, grasped my hands, and saluted me. I learned she had been a firm, consistent believer for several years. Her husband had opposed her. She stated—interpreted by Sister Matteson—that she was so glad to see me. She was acquainted with me by reading my books, and she never expected to have the privilege of seeing me and speaking to me. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 13

There is one brother and his wife who recently embraced the truth. He is a first-class carpenter and earns good wages. When he made his statement of his faith to his employer and told him that he could not work on Saturday, his employer did not discharge him, but kept him and allowed him to keep the Sabbath. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 14

I had these thoughts: whatever trade men may learn, it always pays to be thorough, to be constantly learning and perfecting themselves to do their very best. Such men will find employment when many who are less capable and efficient will not be retained. Such men, who are thorough in their business, will be thorough and efficient in their religious life. God grant this may be the case with this dear brother. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 15

Some have embraced the truth who are firm and decided; and although some have to take lower positions because they keep the Sabbath, yet they are not discouraged, but are fully decided to obey the truth, to keep God’s commandments. In this great city are others who are fully convinced and are seeking to arrange their business so they can keep the Sabbath according to the commandment. We hope the leaven of truth will continue to work in this city. We noticed one encouraging feature—that they were all earnest to have special efforts made in these large cities, well knowing that all such labor involves responsibilities and personal efforts. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 16

Elder Matteson remained two or three weeks to labor after we left. If those who have the light will reveal to those in moral darkness the living and true God, in holiness, condescension, goodness, and love, they will be a power for good in the world. We are among a nation of idolaters, and this is especially true in Copenhagen. These souls may not, many of them, bow down to graven images, but their affections are placed upon earthly things. The truly converted souls will, like Daniel, Ezra, and other faithful servants of God, be God’s witnesses amid the almost general apostasy. They will catch the divine rays of light shining from the Word of God and reflect this light on the world. If the servants of God under the Old Testament were to shine brightly, as lights, how much more brightly should those living in this age shine. We have not only all the light those faithful ones had, shining down to our time in firm, steady rays, but all the increased light that has been shining from the Word of God, from His dealings with His people, and from the manifestation of His greatness and His majesty. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 17

When the Christian church was established, the light of heaven was in their midst, and its bright beams diffused light everywhere. God has given the individual members of the church in these villages natural faculties adapted to exert an influence on other minds. God expects every one who has the knowledge of the truth to improve in ability by putting to exercise the talents He has lent them. The pen, the power of speech, the sanctified affections are to be used in His work of enlightening the world and in working in God’s lines. God is constantly renewing, sanctifying, elevating and increasing the moral power of the light-bearers to do a great amount of good. God has brought truth to them. They see it, they love it. The believer sees that he has a Bible full of important truth, and God’s voice is heard and acknowledged in His Word. This to him is a treasure superior to everything else. He no longer asks what is agreeable to self and his own interests, but what is God’s will, what is for His glory and for the good of his fellow men? How shall I be instrumental in the salvation of souls? Let every one who claims to believe the truth in these cities feel the burden of souls. If he is indeed a partaker of the divine nature, he will feel the burden, he will love as Christ loved, he will work as Christ worked, expecting the reward at the end of the warfare. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 18

Saul’s life was most pitiful. None need to envy the honors of a king whom God does not bless and honor. Saul felt that his soul was divorced from God, that he no longer had His favor, but was left to his own will and his own judgment. It is a fearful thing to be left to the damning power of evil. It is a terrible calamity to sin against light and to grieve the Holy Spirit of God away forever. The king was forsaken of God. Saul’s life was one of unsubdued pride and remorse. There was living at Endor a famous sorceress. She was called the witch of Endor. Saul, in his desperation, went to this woman for counsel. He concealed his identity as king of Israel by assuming the common apparel of a citizen. He went in the darkness of night. The very man who had made laws to cleanse the land of familiar spirits and wizards sought one himself. This witch knew the sentence had been passed to put all such characters to death, and she did not discern that her visitor was the king of Israel until his request was made to bring up Samuel. Then she discerned the true state of things. “Wherefore,” said she, “layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?” [1 Samuel 28:9.] Saul gave his oath that no punishment should come upon her. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 19

Samuel did not come from the dead. There is no earthly or satanic power that can bring up a child of God from their rest in the grave—nothing but the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. But Satan will work marvels for the guilty rejecters of truth who have connected themselves with him. And Satan did personate Samuel. Here was a revelation of satanic power. And the very one who had tempted Saul to rebellion, disobedience, and stubbornness now charged his crime home upon him and uttered a declaration against him in his speedy ruin. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 20

Oh, how much the vitalizing Spirit of Christ is needed in every church, if it is to be a growing, working church. It is not a form that you need so much as the spirit of Christ—piety, deep, earnest, practical piety. In Christ we can do all things; without Christ we can do nothing. 4LtMs, Ms 58, 1886, par. 21