Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 77, 1886

Labors in Tramelan, Switzerland


[December 1886]

For portions of this manuscript, see RH 04/05/1887.

December 24 we left Basel for Tramelan in company with Brother and Sister Ings to be present at the dedication of the first chapel built in Europe by Seventh-day Adventists. Brethren Ertzenberger and John Vuilleumier were also present on this occasion. Brother Ertzenberger was my interpreter upon the Sabbath. He also preached to the Germans. 4LtMs, Ms 77, 1886, par. 1

This small but neat house of worship was built by the family of Brother Roth. Hitherto the meetings had been held in private houses. We felt that the Lord would honor this movement made to His glory. Friends came in from Bienne and Chaux-de-Fonds. We had a profitable and solemn meeting. The Lord gave me His blessing in seeking to present to the people the necessity of cultivating respect for the place where they assembled to worship God. We had excellent meetings upon the Sabbath. 4LtMs, Ms 77, 1886, par. 2

Notice was sent in to the National Baptist church that Mrs. White would speak in the national chapel Sunday afternoon, but the minister refused to read it to his congregation because he thought Mrs. White would speak upon the Sabbath question. Nevertheless there were from two to three hundred people present, who gave the best of attention. Brother John Vuilleumier interpreted for me. 4LtMs, Ms 77, 1886, par. 3

The Lord blessed me with His Spirit as I presented before them the plan of redemption and what constituted genuine faith in Jesus Christ, the atoning Sacrifice. Faith in the Son of God goes deeper than many discern. “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” John 9:35. This inquiry is of deep spiritual import and of the uttermost importance. It is not to admit our faith in the world’s Redeemer, but do we believe in Him as our Saviour? Have we an intelligent faith? To accept Christ as our Saviour as an article of faith is not enough. We are not to lay this knowledge aside as a memento to look at occasionally, but to believe on the Son of God as our own Saviour and bring Him into our life, practicing His virtues, the very life hid with Christ in God. To believe on Christ is to have God dwell in the soul; and the words and works and even the thoughts are brought into subjection to the Spirit of Christ. 4LtMs, Ms 77, 1886, par. 4

The general expressions were, “I shall take home that which I have heard.” “I see nothing objectionable in that which we have heard today.” One man in response as to what constitutes genuine faith uttered his sentiments. When asked, “What do you think of that which we have heard?” he answered, “Oh well, it does not affect me; I am saved; I am saved.” 4LtMs, Ms 77, 1886, par. 5

The national minister expressed regret that he had not read the notice. Said he would have done so if he had known Mrs. White would speak on that subject. We left that night to return to Basel, praying that the seed sown might find lodgment in some hearts. We learned that the impression made upon the community was good. Much prejudice was removed. 4LtMs, Ms 77, 1886, par. 6

By special invitation we left Basel February 4, accompanied by Brother and Sister Ings and our interpreter Brother John Vuilleumier. Friday night we had a meeting with the church in the new chapel. Sabbath in the forenoon Elder Ings spoke to the people with much freedom, and all seemed to be deeply interested and profited. I spoke in the afternoon from Malachi 3:16-18. The Spirit of the Lord moved upon hearts. 4LtMs, Ms 77, 1886, par. 7

After the discourse we had a social meeting, and many excellent testimonies were borne. One young man had not taken any part in meetings for more than one year. He had been overcome through temptations and fallen under discouragements. He made humble confessions, with weeping, and there took a decided stand for the Lord and expressed his determination to seek to help others all in his power. His mother had not taken part in social meetings, but she bore her testimony and several others confessed and wept before the Lord. We felt that the deep movings of the Spirit of the Lord were in our midst. The Lord was at work, softening and subduing hearts. 4LtMs, Ms 77, 1886, par. 8

Brother G. made very interesting remarks. Brother John Vuilleumier interpreted. He said he had for years been praying for his brother, who lived some miles away, that the Lord would draw him by the cords of His love, that he would take hold of the truth. During the Week of Prayer he made the case of his brother a special subject of prayer. He went to see his brother, to see if he could say or do anything to help him to walk in the light. He found that his brother had been deeply convicted. He stated that while engaged in work upon the Sabbath his tools seemed to be heavy; he could scarcely hold them in his hands; it seemed that he must drop them and keep the Sabbath. He read the tract that had been translated into French on The Sufferings of Christ, and that decided him to obey his convictions of conscience and keep the Sabbath. He told his employers he could not work on another Sabbath, expecting to receive his discharge, but he was told to continue his work. 4LtMs, Ms 77, 1886, par. 9

Brother G. was filled with joy and gratitude to God that his prayers were answered. He stated that there were others who were also convicted, one a man of influence. 4LtMs, Ms 77, 1886, par. 10

I had tried to impress upon them the importance of laboring for those close by our own doors, each follower of Christ feeling that he had a sacred duty to bring others to Christ, and thus each becoming a missionary for God. This was responded to heartily, and many resolved that they would take hold heartily and in faith, have more patience in well-doing, and not become weary and so quickly discouraged. Our meeting closed with the blessing of God. 4LtMs, Ms 77, 1886, par. 11

After the meeting we had an interesting season in the house of Brother Roth. The young man who had resolved to be on the Lord’s side, his wife, and his sisters were present. I was requested to pray for him, which I did, interpreted by Brother John Vuilleumier. The Lord did bless and hearts were melted into tenderness. The young man then with affection and tears kissed his sisters and the brethren Roth. There had been some unhappy feelings of difference, but all was confessed and forgiven, and the room seemed to be filled with the peace of Christ. Sister Roth made the statement, “The peace of Christ has come to this house.” These precious tokens of God’s love should be highly appreciated by us and never forgotten, but should awaken gratitude in our hearts continually. 4LtMs, Ms 77, 1886, par. 12

I spoke in the national chapel Sunday afternoon upon the subject of temperance. The national minister who refused to give notice of my appointment was present and opened the meeting by request with singing and prayer. He is president of the temperance association. I had much freedom in speaking to an attentive audience. Brother John Vuilleumier interpreted for me. Although I am obliged to reach the people through an interpreter, my constant prayer is, Lord speak Thou to the hearts of the hearers. Impress the truth upon the soul. 4LtMs, Ms 77, 1886, par. 13

Elder Ings spoke in the evening in the new chapel. 4LtMs, Ms 77, 1886, par. 14

Tramelan is the first place where a church was raised up in Europe, and this is the first chapel built, aside from our missions. Our people feel grateful to God for the victory gained in this place. Prejudice has been overcome, and the doctrines we hold are looked upon in a very different light than heretofore. The way is preparing for a course of lectures to be given in Tramelan; and if the church will be laborers together with God, we believe that the Lord will increase their numbers, and many souls will be saved. 4LtMs, Ms 77, 1886, par. 15