Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)

Ms 73, 1886

Descriptive Items From Travels



Portions of this manuscript are published in OHC 252; 3MR 216-217; EGWE 237-238.

Falling Stars—Italy

Standing upon a piazza in Northern Italy, I saw a sight to me very wonderful. The evening was mild. We had but just arrived in Torre Pellice, Italy, when we saw stars flashing across the heavens in numbers and then disappearing. We gazed upon this sight with awe. We called to mind the words of Christ, “The stars shall fall from heaven” “as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.” [Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:13.] There are large, noble fig trees in my orchard in California, and this figure I could understand. When the tempest shook the trees the untimely figs were scattered everywhere. And here I was looking upon a sight I never expected to see—the starry heavens ablaze with shooting, falling stars, each leaving a tail of light in its passage across the heaven and then disappearing. They were crisscrossing in every direction, yet we could not miss any of these bright jets of light. With emotions I cannot describe, we looked for hours upon these shooting, flashing meteors. I looked upon the snow-capped Alps, and the flashing lights seemed to fall directly upon them. 4LtMs, Ms 73, 1886, par. 1

There seemed to be disorder among the starry host, as though that which appears the brightest of all the hosts of heaven was brushing across the sky, leaving its trail of brightness in its wake and disappearing, going out in darkness. What did it mean? When we returned at midnight the same scene continued. But for all the hundreds of stars flying across the heavens, we could not miss one—not a single glory in the starry host seemed to be missing. The following nights we had no such scene repeated. God’s host still shines in the firmament of the heavens. 4LtMs, Ms 73, 1886, par. 2

On the Cars En Route for Bienne From Basel

We are moving very slowly, and we can get a nice view of the scenery. It is more striking and grand than the scenery in Colorado, the Rocky Mountains. I had to hold my pencil still. We have passed through a long tunnel made in the solid rock. When we emerge from it, the scenery is indescribably majestic. Rocks of a wonderful formation impress us with the grandeur of God’s work. We have passed through three tunnels since writing these few lines, and the rocks are a wonderful layer upon layer of such curious formation, running up thousands of feet, and the cataracts come from the highest of these rocks, towering heavenward. Hundreds of cataracts are frozen up, and the ice is as white and pure as pure can be. 4LtMs, Ms 73, 1886, par. 3

We pass the rocks, and there are mountains covered with trees. There is on the summit [a] tableland covered with snow. This land is a little plain in the forest of fir trees and is cultivated. We cannot see how it is possible for any vehicles to be drawn up these mountain steeps. 4LtMs, Ms 73, 1886, par. 4

Mountains and Rocks

When our Creator formed the world to be a habitation for man, its arrangements were prepared by the God of wisdom to help the mental as well as the physical wants of man. The great Architect has formed and fashioned the scenes of nature, that they may have an important bearing upon man’s intellectual and moral character. These are to be God’s school to educate the mind and morals. Here the mind may have a vast field for study in the display of the majestic works of the Infinite One. 4LtMs, Ms 73, 1886, par. 5

The rocks are among the precious things of earth, containing treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In the rocks and mountains are registered the fact that God did destroy the wicked from off the earth by a flood, and the broken surface of the earth reveals, in the gigantic rocks and towering mountains, that the Lord’s power has done this because of the wickedness of man in the transgression of His law. The evervarying scenery that meets the eye is the work of the God of wisdom, that in His stupendous works men may discern that there is a living God whose power is unlimited. The marvelous works of majesty are to refine the soul and to soften the roughness of man’s nature, to help him in character building. 4LtMs, Ms 73, 1886, par. 6