Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)

Ms 25, 1885

Diary, October 6 to October 14, 1885

[Copenhagen, Denmark]

October 6 - 14, 1885

Portions of this manuscript are published in 5MR 157-160; 6MR 143, 295; EGWE 99-100.

First Visit to Denmark

October 6, 1885

We left Basel at half-past 9 P.M. We were taken by hack to little Basel which was over the Rhine. We were favored with a compartment to ourselves and could arrange the seats so that we rested tolerably well through the night. My teeth continue to trouble me. It is rainy. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 1

We make no change of cars until six in the morning [Oct. 6]. We stopped at the depot at Frankfort two hours. Here we found the depot arranged for the convenience of travelers. We spread our lunch upon the tables, obtained warm milk from restaurant, and enjoyed our breakfast. Then we took the train for Hamburg. Then we changed cars. Walked about one mile from one depot to another. Waited two hours for train. We found the small waiting room filled with tobacco smokers. We could not endure this. It was cold and rainy. We took our position in the only chair of the room where passengers entered to reach the ticket office to purchase their tickets and then waited. Others of our party had the privilege of standing. We rode three hours, and at twelve o’clock P.M. we came to Kiel depot and took the boat. We were furnished a stateroom, and past one o’clock we found rest in sleep. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 2

Through Germany we saw much that interested us. There were the ancient castles of history, built upon high ledges of rocks and almost inaccessible mountains. We felt some curiosity to learn the history of these now deserted castles. The houses of the farmers are built as are villages in America, but are crowded nearly as close together as in the most populated large cities. Then every man owns his farm which is not divided by fences. Hedges are planted in many places, which give a very pleasant appearance to the farms. The lands are in the highest state of cultivation. We were interested as we frequently came through the German forests. The houses are indescribable. They are composed of brick or stone plastered upon the outside, with joist frames in sight. They have small panes of glass for windows and steep roofs. These houses are very cold in winter. I wonder why the more comfortable and fully as convenient styles of building are not adopted here. These improvements would add much to their beauty, and to the comfort of the inhabitants, but it looks as if they had studiously kept out improvements and chosen to be uncomfortable. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 3

October 7 [8], 1885

We have still the suffering teeth, but it is a beautiful day. We reached Corsor and there changed from the six-hours’ ride on the boat to cars again and ride until half-past ten A.M. when we reach Copenhagen. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 4

October 8, 1885

Copenhagen, Denmark

Brother Matteson and Brother Brorson and a Danish brother, a jeweler, met us on the arrival of the train, and we were gratified to see them. We took a hack to the house of Brother Matteson. They are comfortably situated, but up in the sixth story. They have no elevators in Denmark, so we were obliged to climb flight after flight of stairs. Went to the dentist in afternoon to have my troublesome tooth treated, which seemed inclined to cause me considerable suffering. The dentist was a man who drank beer, and his breath was very offensive to me. The treatment gave me more pain for a time,but some relief afterward. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 5

We look from our sky parlor down upon an extensive burying ground just across the way or road. It is very finely arranged with trees, shrubs, and flowers, showing much taste and labor. The graves are not raised in mounds. All is as level as the floor, and the walks are made of concrete. Close by this is a floral nursery and botanical garden with an abundance of choice flowers. There are flowers rich and rare in many of the windows of the stores. From our sleeping room we see a clear lake—artificial. We look down upon the roofs of houses, for we are far up in the world. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 6

A short distance from this is a hospital where the sick, wounded, and diseased are taken and provided with everything—room, food, bedding—for thirty cents per day. This is one of Copenhagen’s great blessings, especially for the poorer class, who must suffer with want of proper care and conveniences if it were not for this merciful provision for rich and poor and suffering humanity in general. We see here the hand organs and strolling musicians seeking to gain a few pence by their music. If a child takes a fancy to them, then their efforts are rewarded with a mere pittance. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 7

October 8 [9], 1885


It is rainy and windy. I walk to the dentist, which is a full mile. It ceased raining for a while. We returned by the lake. It is an extensive body of water. There are many swans in this lake. It is very clear and beautiful. There are many large, grand blocks which resemble Oakland and San Francisco and are altogether in advance of any place we have visited in Europe. There are finely constructed buildings, broad and high. Copenhagen has three hundred and twenty thousand inhabitants. Copenhagen is the city where the king of Denmark makes his home. At the present time the king of Russia is visiting the king of Denmark. These kingdoms are united through the marriage of their children. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 8

October 9, 1885


There is an appointment out for me tonight. We descend the many steps, turn the corner of the block, then pass under an arch into a court and begin to ascend until we mount four pairs of stairs into the hall. No fire has been built in this hall through the season until that afternoon; and as the plastering is upon the brick, all that the fire could do was to draw out the dampness and make more lurid and objectionable the atmosphere. I felt that I was inhaling cold, damp air that made my lungs smart and caused them to be painful for some hours afterward. There was a little company assembled of intelligent, noble-looking men and women—Danes. They had accepted the truth through Brother Brorson’s and Matteson’s labors, and many of them had received the truth under difficulties that our American brethren know nothing of. I think that these who thus take hold of the truth will receive a greater reward according as their faith is tested. I spoke upon the barren fig tree. Luke 13:6-9. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 9

October 10, 1885


I am sick through the cold that I have contracted. May the Lord help me, is my prayer. I venture into the hall again. Find the hall well filled. Spoke to the people from (John 15), first eight verses. The Lord did help me. His Holy Spirit rested upon me and upon the people. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 10

We had a social meeting after the discourse. Testimonies were borne, intelligent and interesting, that made my heart rejoice. These testimonies evidenced that the testimonies of the Spirit of God that had been translated from English into Danish were doing the very work the Lord designed they should do—making the Word of God more plain to their understanding, presenting before them the high standard they must reach, leading them to heart searching, to repentance, to putting away of sin, and to pray more, to read their Bibles more, and to love Jesus with the whole heart. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 11

One brother stated that when he listened to Sister White’s impressing upon them that they must be holy and pure or they could never enter heaven, he felt that his case was almost hopeless; but when she stated that sanctification was not an instantaneous work, not an emotion, but the work of a lifetime, then he was encouraged and decided that day by day he would pray, he would put away sin, he would be an overcomer and gain an experience daily until the warfare should close. All expressed their gratitude to God that He had sent Sister White away from America to this country. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 12

All stated they had read my books and articles in the paper and it had been to them great light and blessing. With many tears they expressed their gratitude. It is an encouragement to me to see that the light given through the testimonies reaches hearts that never saw the instrument that the Lord has employed. The Lord speaks to these souls by His Spirit. They find comfort and encouragement and hope. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 13

October 11, 1885


It is raining this morning. Brother Matteson preached this forenoon and left an appointment for me at five o’clock this afternoon in the city. We are now out from the hustle and confusion of the city. Wrote eighteen pages. I had not been well all day and felt that unless the Lord helped me I could not speak. I cast myself wholly upon my Saviour. The hall was in a basement in the place of being up high. It was practically a cellar. The room was full. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 14

I spoke from the first epistle of John, third chapter: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God,” etc. The Lord gave me much of His Spirit and power. I seemed to be taken away from myself, and the Lord spoke through me. The people listened with deepest interest. Appointments were given me for Monday evening. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 15

I felt as deeply in earnest for the small congregation before me as if ten thousand were present. I have felt in doing the work of God I must do my best on every occasion, if there are no more than two hearers. Their souls are precious in the sight of God, and they need to receive the very best instruction we can give them because they have manifested interest enough to come to hear. God wants us to do our very best on all occasions and under all circumstances. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” [Luke 16:10.] The Lord will not accept of careless, indolent work at any time, for the few or for the many. We are His employed servants to bear His message to all who will hear it. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 16

For nearly all my speeches I have my interpreters, often two, who speak to the hearers. I have to keep close attention, and my interpreters—reporting in two languages, and sometimes three—are at work before the different nationalities. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 17

October 12, 1885


Wrote fifteen pages today. It is raining, then clears away a little. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 18

We bid farewell to some of our Danish brethren who are obliged to leave for their homes. One Brother C. C. Hansen had been convicted upon the Sabbath by reading his Bible alone. But about this time Brother Brorson came to the place and gave “New Testament Sabbath” to the Methodist preacher. He read it and gave it to Brother Hansen, whose mind had been exercised on baptism. The object was to quiet his mind, for here is this little tract the Seventh-day Sabbath was enjoined by the Word of God; and the Baptists, while they made so much of baptism, did not obey the institution of the Sabbath. He would impress Brother Hansen that as the seventh day was binding from the Scriptures and was not kept, so baptism, even if enjoined, might be neglected, for the Sabbath was certainly as important as baptism. Here, then, the tract was in Brother Hansen’s possession, and he read it; but it had altogether a different effect on him than the Methodist preacher designed. He read it again and again. He wept over it, prayed over it, attempted to keep the Sabbath but to keep Sunday just the same. He had rather a remarkable experience. He was wrought upon by the Spirit of God. He left keeping the Sabbath two or three times, but Brother Brorson gave him help at this time. The Tidende came to him, containing the view I had of some who received tracts, read and prayed over them, and came out on the Sabbath. This was exactly his case. And then the testimonies came to him and he read them and they were a great blessing to him. He believed they were as the voice of God to him, and now he is firm in the Sabbath and I am rejoiced. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 19

Brother and Sister Matteson and Willie and myself rode ten miles on the cars into the country. We saw much that was interesting—very fine houses, large fisheries, many nets that were hung to dry. We walked out upon the pier, looking into the ocean. The water for a long distance was as clear as crystal. The bottom was pure white sand, with some mounds of moss, which made the sight very beautiful. We walked to the park. It is a forest of beech trees principally, but there are some evergreens also interspersed. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 20

These pleasure resorts are for rich and poor, high or low. Every pains is taken to make them attractive, convenient with seats, and beautiful with flowers. This forest is four miles through. There are the most beautiful graveled roads, smooth as a floor, and the forest is kept like a very fine cultivated garden. No underbrush, nothing offensive or that will litter in any way. We had not time to go far in the forest, as I had an appointment to speak in the hall in the evening. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 21

I have not been well through the day, but walked about one mile to the meeting. The room was crowded. There were many not of our faith present, and they looked like intelligent men and women. I spoke from Titus 2:10-14. They listened with the greatest attention. I sought to impress upon them our duty to God and His high claims upon us. Several strangers came to shake hands with me. We rode home in the hack. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 22

The cold made me hoarse, but I am glad I did not disappoint the people. There were several who I afterwards learned were convicted of the truth, understood it all, but have not faith and confidence in God to come out and be separate from the world and lift the cross in obeying the commandments of God. Pleasure loving, dancing, and amusement are that which the people in Copenhagen are living for. From this city missionaries have been sent out to heathen lands to preach the gospel. But they are in far greater need of missionaries here in Copenhagen. It is a city full of skeptics and infidels and socialists. This large and beautiful city needs missionaries to preach Christ and Him crucified. What is to arouse the people? What can arrest their attention to have a care for their souls? 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 23

October 13, 1885


It is a beautiful morning. I am thankful to God I am as well as I am this morning. We visit the dentist, and he advises the filling of the tooth that has had the nerve destroyed. I am not prepared to do this yet. It feels very uncomfortable, and it may have to be taken out. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 24

Brother Matteson, Willie, Sarah, and I walk to the large and beautiful building of the Panopticon. Here are the great men of the kingdom in wax, life-like figures. They appear exactly as if alive. We saw the king of Denmark and his wife, the princes, the king of Wales and his wife. She is a very beautiful woman, the daughter of the king of Denmark. The king of Norway and his wife both are noble looking, especially the king. The view was much better than to have seen them in life. All the historic men were dressed exactly as was the custom of their day and time. It seemed difficult to think that these were not living, breathing human beings before us. The expression of the eye and the countenance seemed so perfectly natural. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 25

We passed through a beautiful park decorated with flowers and shrubs of a great variety and fine trees. In this park great pains and skill had been exercised to make it attractive as a place to please the senses. There was an artificial lake with swans to make it seem homelike and attractive. This lake is in winter supplied with warm water so that there will be no freezing or discomfort to the swans in winter. We walked through the park, which is in the very center of the city. It is large and very beautiful. Flowers, shrubs, and trees beautify the place and make it very attractive. There were seats all through the park and an artificial lake. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 26

The city is extensive. It has broad streets which give plenty of room without crowding, large open spaces, ample grounds around large buildings. It is a curious sight to see ships standing in the inlet of water, crowded as thick as possible—many loaded with produce, vegetables, and fruit—and on either side of this water crowded with ships are large mercantile buildings in solid blocks. I never saw anything to resemble Copenhagen. To all intents and purposes the ships look as though they compose a part of the city. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 27

If the worship and devotion to God were as great even as the devotion to selfish pleasure and above the worship of the creature, it would be a most remarkable place. But as I look upon these beautiful things in nature and art, I call to mind beautiful Eden which was Adam’s home. Their yielding to temptation, their transgression of the law of God lost for them beautiful Eden. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 28

Oh, sin! How it blights and mars everything! The beautiful groves and forests and rich and varied scenery of the world, before it was deluged with the flood, made it surpassingly lovely, but there was a blight because of sin. Men transgressed the law of God; and the Lord said He would destroy man, for the thoughts and imaginations of his heart were evil and only evil continually. [Genesis 6:5-7.] They put God out of their thoughts. All their mind was engrossed in selfish enjoyment to gratify their own desires and leave the God of heaven out of their thoughts. They corrupted their ways before God, and their evil works defiled the beautiful earth. They worshiped the things their own hands had made, and violence and crime became almost universal, and the Lord washed the earth of the moral pollution with a flood. The beauties which delight the senses, both natural and artificial, will be of value and a blessing as men treat them. If they recognize God’s goodness, His greatness and His power, in His created works, look up through nature to nature’s God and worship the Creator of the heavens and of the earth and make Him first and supreme, then the enjoyment of all these things will be of that character as not to detract from the glory of God. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 29

October 14, 1885


It is foggy this morning, but think it will clear away. Last night I spoke in the hall to all that it would seat. They listened with interest. My text was Psalm 16:8, 9. I had much freedom in speaking. I felt like saying something to arouse them from their lethargy and stupor. It seems to be a difficult matter to create an interest in religious things in these large cities; and yet this field, hard as it is, must be more promising than India or China; and why should not those who have a desire for missionary work come to this irreligious, Christless city and make some efforts here? How strange Copenhagen is sending missionaries to far-off places to convert the heathen, when there are just as great heathen—as far as the knowledge of God and His Word are concerned—right in their midst; but pleasure, amusement, dancing and card playing, gambling, beer drinking, and deplorable ignorance which always follow in the train of Christless indulgence are flooding the city. In passing men and women upon the street, you are compelled to have your senses regaled with the strong scent of beer mingled with tobacco. But as far as this is concerned, the tobacco habit is as generally followed in America as in Denmark, and there is less regard to real politeness that is due to one another than I have seen in Denmark. 4LtMs, Ms 25, 1885, par. 30