Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 59, 1886

Smith, Hubbel


December 20, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in Ev 449-451.

Dear Sister Hubbel Smith, Fayette, Idaho Territory:

It was a surprise to me on opening a letter from the Pacific Coast to find a letter from you, one whom I had never seen. The words as well as the little donation were appreciated. My heart was touched with the evidence that I have tender friends in the faith whom I have never seen whose sympathy and prayers are following me in my travels. Will you, dear sister, permit me to use this little donation from your hand to help forward the work here in this mission field. I have many opportunities where I could help but am powerless because I have not the means in my hands. When laboring in Nimes, France, we made it our work to save souls. There was a young man who had become discouraged through the temptations of Satan and through some mistakes of our brethren who did not understand how to deal with the minds of the youth. He gave up the Sabbath and engaged to work in a manufacturing establishment to perfect his trade in watchmaking. He is a very promising young man. My watch needed repairing, which brought us together. I was introduced to him, and as soon as I looked upon his countenance, I knew that he was the one whom the Lord had presented before me in vision. The whole circumstance came distinctly before me. 4LtMs, Lt 59, 1886, par. 1

He was connected with a little church in Switzerland, and among the believers had come in a spirit of criticism or faultfinding, which was displeasing to God. When the youth made mistakes, they were not treated with tenderness and love, but a censorious spirit was manifested toward them, and love and sympathy which have been given to the erring was withheld, and the result was three young men wandered away from God and from the truth. This young man of whom I speak is one of them. 4LtMs, Lt 59, 1886, par. 2

He attended the meeting when he thought I would speak and would sit with his eyes riveted on me through the entire discourse, which was translated into French by Bro. Bourdeau. I felt a duty to labor for this young man. I talked two hours with him and urged upon him the peril of his situation. I told him because his brethren had made a mistake that was no reason that he should grieve the heart of Christ who had loved him so much that He had died to redeem him. He was the purchase of the blood of Christ, he was Christ’s property, and by withholding himself from His service, he was robbing God of the time, of talent, and of influence; and the records made in the books of heaven since he had given himself to the service of Satan was that which he would not be pleased to meet in the judgment, for he would have no excuse for turning from Jesus because he had not been treated wisely. Had Jesus withheld His tender, compassionate love, had Jesus dealt with him unmercifully in the light reflected from the cross of Calvary, what would be his condemnation. I told him I knew the history of his life and his errors (which were the simple errors of youthful indiscretion) which were not of a character that should have been treated with so great severity. I then entreated him with tears to turn square about, to leave the service of Satan and of sin, for he had become a thorough backslider, and return like the prodigal to his father’s house, his father’s service. He was in good business, learning his trade; if he kept the Sabbath, he would lose his position. As yet, while learning his trade, he had received only two dollars per week and his board; but a few months more would finish his apprenticeship, and then he would have a good trade. But I urged an immediate decision. 4LtMs, Lt 59, 1886, par. 3

We prayed with him most earnestly, and I told him that I dared not have him cross the threshold of the door until he would, before God and angels and those present, say, “I will from this day be a Christian.” How my heart rejoiced when he said this. He slept none that night. He said as soon as he made the promise, he seemed to be in a new channel. His thoughts seemed purified, his purposes changed; and the responsibility that he had taken seemed so solemn that he could not sleep. The next day he notified his employer that he could work for him no longer. He slept but little for three nights. He was happy, so thankful that the Lord had evidenced to him His pardon and His love. 4LtMs, Lt 59, 1886, par. 4

But now I had something to do. This young man after purchasing some necessary clothing had no means left. I wished him to go to Basel, Switzerland, and connect with Elders Ertzenberger and Conradi who were giving a course of lectures to the Germans. He could be learning the truth more perfectly and become better acquainted with the work of colporteuring and unite his labor with these brethren, but how would he get to Basel without means? I told him to work with Elder Bourdeau and soon he would have means to take him to Basel. We had only a limited supply of means, but I placed in the hands of Elder Bourdeau nine dollars to defray his expenses, and we made our means lengthen by riding in the third-class cars. Eld. Ings, his wife, and I saved enough in this way to pay this young man’s fare to Basel. 4LtMs, Lt 59, 1886, par. 5

It was true we had not conveniences, we had to be exposed to tobacco smoke, to be crowded in with emigrants, but we were happy in doing this. We found in most cases when we requested them not to smoke they were respectful and favored us. We traveled to Valance, France, and held two meetings there. We had but a small company. Here was another young man, the only son of a widow, and although there was a pouring rain without and a few in a private house, the Lord gave me much freedom. I spoke to the half dozen with all that interest and fervor I would speak to ten thousand. This young man was also backslidden, but through our labors in Christ, he also came back to his father’s house. 4LtMs, Lt 59, 1886, par. 6

I wish to give you a sample of the condition of those here in Europe who will obey the truth at any cost. The house in which our meeting was held was rented by a family consisting of mother, daughter, and son. The daughter has a finished education but cannot teach school on account of the Sabbath. She works out in different families, sewing for twenty cents per day and her dinner. The son is a fine young man of excellent appearance, has learned the bookbinder’s trade. He receives three dollars per week and out of that boards himself. The mother of my age, 59, works from early morn till night in the field as a man and receives twenty cents per day. This is a fair sample of the wages that the workers in Europe obtain. It is much higher living here than in America. Wood sells by the pound. Now such families as these we want to help into some position where they can better help themselves. They are firm in the truth. We think if they could come to Basel they could be connected with the work in some way. They will need a little help to get here. 4LtMs, Lt 59, 1886, par. 7

We passed on to Torre Pellice, Italy, and made it our home with A. C. Bourdeau. They have to live very close, and we felt that we could not be an additional expense so that we paid our board while we stayed with them. Here we saw two men, one Italian and the other French, both laboring with all their powers to get the truth before the ignorant, benighted souls of Italy. They traveled fifteen miles on foot to attend the meeting. They cannot afford the luxury of riding in the cars and paying fifty cents. They hold meetings in the stables with the cattle all around them. There they open the Scriptures to the people who listen with interest. They walk seven or eight miles right up in the narrow gorges of the mountains, precipices on either side of the path. They speak to the people, give Bible readings, and return on foot the same night. 4LtMs, Lt 59, 1886, par. 8

Now these men are poor. The treasury of mission funds is empty, and they have a cold winter before them. We have tried to help them some by sending them clothing and have sent to England to purchase blankets for them to keep them comfortable this winter. Now these workers are no cheap class of illiterate men, but they are intelligent as any of our workers. They have the truth at heart and are devoted to the work. They go poorly clad, subsist on cheap food, and get along any way, practicing great economy. If you will not object, I will use this money to help these men to go out literally into highways and hedges to hunt for souls, holding meetings in stables and open the Scripture to those who eagerly listen to words of truth. I see that if the work goes in these places we must have means to make it go. 4LtMs, Lt 59, 1886, par. 9

I attended meetings in Torre Pellice, in Villar Pellice, seven miles from the former place we climb, climb up the steep ascent among the mountains, where pilgrim feet have trod, and there in a small room called a hall, we had a congregation packed in as close as possible—women with their white caps or bonnets and blue calico dresses, their faces showing intelligence. Men also come and listen with eagerness to the words of truth. Who can but feel intensely in such a place. My heart is stirred to its depths. I have to speak to them through an interpreter, but they come after meeting, eager to shake hands with me, thanking me for the words of comfort and light which they have heard. 4LtMs, Lt 59, 1886, par. 10

We visited St. Germain. The hall was filled, and many had to go away because there was not room. We believe the Lord has a people in the Piedmont Valleys, and we believe that a company will be raised up to stand in defense of the truth. But because of poverty, we fear the work goes slowly, and we fear the workers will become worn out with privation, exposure, and overwork. I could write volumes upon this matter, but I stop. Please receive my thanks for this donation. I will not use a dollar of it for myself, but to help those whom I see need help so very much. Thus you will make me your steward to lay up for you a treasure in the heaven. 4LtMs, Lt 59, 1886, par. 11

With much love. 4LtMs, Lt 59, 1886, par. 12

I will send you a sketch of our work in Europe. 4LtMs, Lt 59, 1886, par. 13