Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)

Ms 56, 1886

Traveling in Switzerland

Laufen, Switzerland

May 20, 1886

Portions of this manuscript are published in TMK 146, 360; 10MR 367-370; 3Bio 343.

We are about fourteen miles from Basel, sitting upon the grass under a large, widespread oak, which is a shelter to us from the rays of a noonday sun in May in Switzerland. The horse Dolly is unharnessed. John Vuilleumier and Willie are at work rubbing him, using hay in the place of a curry comb; then he is left free to graze and do as he pleases. John and W. C. White walk to the nearest house, which is not far distant, for milk to be used with our dry lunch. A bed has been made for me under the shelter of the friendly tree where I may lie down to rest. Sarah McEnterfer prepares the luncheon, which is spread upon the grass upon smooth Manila paper used as tablecloth. The prayer is made for the blessing upon our food, and the simple lunch is eaten with a relish. W. C. White engages in writing letters on the calligraph. Sarah has arranged the dinner basket, washed the dishes in a stream of water close by, and E. G. White lies down hoping to sleep. She has been sick for several days and has not slept as many hours as health required. John Vuilleumier takes the German and French papers to the house where the milk was obtained, to do some missionary work and obtain names to whom he can send these little messengers of light and truth. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 1

Being refreshed with a short nap, I begin to use my pen. Not many miles from Basel we had an interesting sight of old towers upon high rocks. These had fallen into decay. We came to a very interesting spot where there were ancient castles. The cars pass through the rocky foundation of one ancient castle which is in very good repair and is inhabited at the present time. One castle at our right was built for a prince, but is now turned into a school room. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 2

We pass through the defile of the Jura Mountain Range. Beyond these are the Alps. The scenery is indeed very beautiful and interesting. We are now seated near a massive rock which Napoleon Bonaparte approached from the rear; and he planted his cannon upon these very rocks. He set his heart on taking this place, but it is a strong fortification; battlements of rock range on either side of this valley. It is God’s great work of masonry, and a passage is left only wide enough for the cars and the carriage road and between the two the swift-running waters of the Birse. Napoleon did not succeed. He was badly beaten and had to retreat. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 3

There are in this village three ancient castles. One stands at the entrance of the village. We pass through the archway directly under the castle where once stood heavy gates to the entrance of the village. There are stores and workshops. We pass through the city, through another arched gateway under the second castle, and are out of the village enclosure. One large castle at the entrance of the village has been remodeled and looks very pleasant and convenient. These castles have three or four watchtowers. These towers are built round, and extend up high, overlooking the valleys for a great distance. There are small slits of crevices in these towers, and from these openings, with the aid of a spyglass, armies with hostile intent could be at once detected. Napoleon desired greatly to command this place, for it was the entrance to the valleys in Switzerland; but if kept from this point, then they could not take the villages in the valleys. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 4

The horse is again harnessed, the things packed up, and we hear the cry, “All aboard.” 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 5

May 21

We have rested well through the night. We found accommodations in a very nice hotel in the village of Moutier. This is a very beautiful valley. It has seemed as we were winding our course through the defile of the mountains that we should come to where the mountains would block our way, but the road winds on through the openings of the mountains. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 6

The scenery through which we passed was altogether too majestic, too awfully grand, to give anything like a description that can compare to the scenery as it really is. The battlements of rocks—the time-worn rocky walls that have stood since the flood, washed with the mountain torrents—stand out smooth as if polished, while rocks diverse from these in shape are seen in regular layers as if art had fashioned them. Here on this ride, from three o’clock until past six, we viewed the most interesting, grand scenery that our eyes ever looked upon. The rocks ascend higher and still higher from the earth, and growing from these rocks are beautiful, dark-colored pines intermingled with the lighter and most beautiful living green of the maple and beech. These rocks are covered to the very summit with their garment of rich foliage which nature has furnished. The heart of these mountains of rocks are tunnels, one after another, many of them close together. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 7

We have thought we should see nothing more grand and striking than the towering rocky heights of Colorado, but this scenery far exceeds anything we there witnessed. Such wild grandeur, such solemn scenery, carries one back to the period when the waters rose to the highest points of land, and the unbelieving antediluvians perished for their great wickedness in the waters of the flood. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 8

As we look upon the openings in these rocks—the caverns that open to the sight, the deep channels worn by the mighty cataracts—and the rocks of every conceivable shape, we say, “How wonderful, O Lord, are Thy works in all the earth.” The softening, subduing touches penciled by the great Master Artist in the beautiful arrangement of dress of dark and living green, this beautiful combination of colors to cover the rugged, time-seamed rocks! Then the deep gorges, the noisy, fast-running streams, and the grand mountains covered with forest trees in their beautiful summer robes! The view is grand in the extreme and presents to the senses such high and holy and strong and sacred ideas of God our Maker. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 9

And then the thought that we may call Him Father! We will not look upon the magnificent works of His almighty power and forget God. This did the inhabitants of the world before the flood. The giant forests—trees that knew scarcely anything of decay—the blooming gardens resembling Eden, the bubbling fountains, the running streams, the beautiful lakes, the rich minerals, the precious metals—gold and silver and precious stones—were given of God to enrich the earth for the good of men. But all these things did not inspire them with love, with gratitude to the Giver. They looked upon all these precious things of the mountains and the glorious things of the valleys as exclusively their own, as if they themselves had brought them into existence, and the very treasures God had given them as a means of remembering Him, they made the means of forgetting Him. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 10

My meditations were traveling back. In my mind’s eye, there was the picture that had been presented to me of the Eden glories. Marred because of sin, yet although the blight of God was upon it, the curse did not rest heavily. As after the curse man set himself to devising ways and means to indulge in sin and disobedience and forgetfulness of God, the Lord sent the message by Noah that at the end of one hundred and twenty years He would send a flood of waters upon the impenitent inhabitants of the earth. Oh, if they had only repented, God would not have destroyed the inhabitants of the old world! 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 11

But I looked upon deep gorges, the seamed and cleft rocks, the varied shapes and structures, and then thought how the people had brought all this curse upon themselves because of ingratitude to God and disobedience to His law. The torrents of rain descending from the heavens above, the fountains of the great deep broken up, the trees which men had enjoyed and idolized uprooted and swept away with the inhabitants, the groves, the palaces, the costly works to satisfy the pleasure lovers—all swept away. Those places where men had placed their idols and worshiped the works of their own hands were filled with masses of rubbish and earth, and rocks which were concealed under the surface of the earth were thrown up above the earth, covering the most lovely places that man had adored and glorified. The fruitful trees, the shady avenues, the beautiful forests and gardens they had enjoyed were utterly destroyed. The lovely home God had given to man was turned to a broken, uneven surface, and the earth was a frightful solitude. Here before me was the evidences of the destruction of the old world by a flood because the law of God was not observed. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 12

And then I looked forward in prospect to the day of the Lord’s coming, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate and destroy the sinners thereof out of it. The mountains shake and tremble before the tread of the Lord’s hosts. The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Conqueror, comes to be glorified in His saints—those who love His appearing. Before the glory of Him who is to reign, the mountains will tremble and bow, the rocks will be moved out of their place; for once more will the Lord shake not alone the earth, but the heavens also. The scattered ones who have fled for their lives to the rocks, the dens, the caverns of the earth, because of the fury of the oppressor, will be made glad at the voice of God. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 13

As John, exiled upon the Isle of Patmos, was startled from his contemplation of [the works of] God in nature and as on bended knees he was praying to Him, he hears a voice, saying, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.” [Revelation 1:11.] At the sound of the voice, John falls down in astonishment as if dead. He is unable to bear the sight of the divine glory. But a Hand raises John up, and the voice he remembers as the voice of his Master. He is strengthened and can endure to talk with the Lord Jesus. So will it be with the remnant people of God who are scattered—some in the mountain fastness, some exiled, some pursued, some persecuted. When the voice of God is heard, and the brightness of the glory is revealed, and the trial is over, the dross removed, they know they are in the presence of One who has redeemed them by His own blood. Just what Christ was to John in his exile, He will be to His people who are made to feel the hand of oppression for the faith and testimony of Jesus Christ. These very martyrs will one day be resplendent with the glory of God because He has faithful ones who have been loyal where the world, the churches, have made void His holy law. These were driven by the storm and tempest of persecution to the crevices of the rocks, but were hiding in the Rock of Ages; and in the fastness of the mountains, in the caves and dens of the earth, the Saviour reveals His presence and His glory. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 14

Yet a little while, and He that is to come will come and will not tarry. His eyes as a flame of fire penetrate into the fast-closed dungeons and hunt out the hidden ones, for their names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. These eyes of the Saviour are above us, around us, noting every difficulty, discerning every danger; and there is no place where His eyes cannot penetrate, no sorrows and sufferings of His people where the sympathy of Christ does not reach. They reach the persecuted ones everywhere. Inasmuch as ye have done this to one of the least of My brethren, ye have done it unto Me. Every deed of darkness that Satan united with wicked men may do, Christ’s eyes like a flame of fire detect, and it is noted and registered by the great Heartsearcher. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 15

The child of God will be terror stricken at the first sight of the majesty of Jesus Christ. He feels that he cannot live in His holy presence. But the word comes to him as to John, “Fear not.” [Verse 17.] Jesus laid His right hand upon John; He raised him up from his prostrate position. So will He do unto His loyal, trusting ones, for there are greater revelations of the glory of God to be given them. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 16

There is also to be a revelation to the transgressors of the law of Jehovah—them that made void the law of God, that have taken their stand on the side of him who thought to change times and laws. From the terror-stricken myriads comes the cry, “The great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:17. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 17

We can never describe the scenery, for it is indescribable. This view of Switzerland by carriage ride makes me desire to travel more by private conveyance. We have roads that cannot be excelled. The public roads are kept in excellent condition. Men are employed and make it a business to break up stone very fine. This crushed stone is kept constantly applied, and these roads are white as limestone and as level as the floor. There is not a bad depression, not a hole, not a rut or anything of the kind. When it rains, men have it as their business to scrape all the mud from the road. It is left in piles along the roadside, to be taken off in a cart. There is seldom much dust flying, because of the care taken of the roads, and this is seen in Europe everywhere. We are traveling in a low, heavy, covered coach with four persons, and luggage that makes the load equal to five persons, but the carriage rolls so easily on these roads that one horse easily draws such a load. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 18

If anyone can look upon this scenery without being impressed with the greatness and majesty of God, his heart must indeed be unimpressible. I do so long for a closer connection with God. This God of majesty and might may be our Father, our Friend, our hope and crown of rejoicing. 4LtMs, Ms 56, 1886, par. 19