Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4

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Ms 28, 1885

Diary, November 20 to November 25, 1885

Basel, Switzerland

November 20-25, 1885

This manuscript is published in entirety in 17MR 329-335.

Labors in Switzerland

November 20

Basel, Switzerland,

It seems pleasant to be once more in our own temporary home. We find M. K. White much improved in health. She has gained ten pounds. Ella May White is not looking well. I am some anxious about her. She is troubled with catarrhal difficulty. We find the rooms pleasantly furnished with articles lent and picked up, so that we think it looks very homelike. But the [stoves] are insufficient to warm the rooms. I am cold all the time. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 1

I have a conversation with Elder Whitney. He presents before me the necessity of our speedily visiting Italy. They need help at this time. I would have been gratified to have had a week’s rest, but I must not consult my own wishes or my pleasure. Jesus did not live to please Himself. He lived to do others good, and He is our example in all things. A stove is placed in my room so that I may kindle a fire when I arise early in the morning. If I had only had this one day earlier I should have escaped this cold which I have contracted. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 2

November 21, 1885

Basel

Sabbath. At the close of Sabbath I open my diary again. Today has been a day of weariness to me. Sabbath School was held in the forenoon. Brother Aufranc spoke to the people in French. In the afternoon I spoke to those assembled from John 3:14, 15. The Lord gave me strength and grace to address the people. Brother John Vuilleumier and an educated German translated into both languages for the benefit of the French and of the Germans. The Spirit of the Lord seemed to be in our midst. We then had social meeting. Many good testimonies were borne. These testimonies were translated to us. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 3

A converted Jew spoke well. This Jew was attending the theological college in Basel. He came to our Swiss conference and seemed to be interested. He understands Hebrew. He was desirous that our people should give him employment; but as long as he did not esteem the truth of that value to step out upon it from real conviction of duty, we felt he should not be hired to obey the truth. If the truth were not of that value to him that he could make any and every sacrifice for the truth’s sake—moving from principle and not be bribed or bought—the work is between God and his own soul. The question is, What does God say? What does He require? If he has a heart to be obedient to that which he knows to be truth, then his works will be acceptable to God. If he is not conscientious, but would wait to see if he can find a convenient position where it will be no cross to obey the truth, then his obedience is not acceptable to God. He will have a religion of convenience—serve God when it is for his interest to do so, and let it alone and be disobedient when the truth stands in his way of ease or prosperity. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 4

We dared not take up this converted Jew. We must pray for him. We must watch with interest to help him if we can, but leave him as much as possible to his conscience and to his God. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 5

The transgression of the law is sin, and the true believer in Christ will cease to sin. He will abhor sin, which caused so great sufferings to his Redeemer. He will not continue in sin that grace may abound, but he will cast away his sin—will war against the inclinations of the natural heart. This faith is not abstract, but attaches itself to actions. He shows the result of faith, which is obedience. He is learning to walk by faith, not by sight. He lives, yet not he, but Christ lives in him, by faith. He eats, drinks, and does all things to the glory of God. Christ is to him first and last and best in everything. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 6

We left this young man, with all his natural and acquired ability, to think, believe, and act before God conscientiously. We now see that this was the best course. He has continued to attend our meetings and has been turned out from the college. Now will be the time to help him to help himself. This move of the officials in the college has affected other youth. Two young men of the same college have come to our meetings on the Sabbath. They became interested through reading the papers. They have been looking into the reasons of our faith, and although in a school called the theological college, having a name to fit men to engage in the holy office of opening the Word of God to the people, our brethren state that they were astonished at such gross ignorance of Bible subjects, both in doctrines and the practical lessons of Christ. These young men have requested repeated interviews which have been granted to them. Last Sabbath two other intelligent young men came to the meeting and listened with deepest interest. After the meeting the two who have been interested had an interview with our youthful workers in the office, inquiring the meaning of certain Scriptures. In the evening I had a long interview with Brother and Sister Whitney in relation to some important matters connected with the workers in the office. We talked until a late hour. I carried the burden on my soul and slept only three hours during the night. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 7

November 22, 1885

Basel

I attended the morning meeting of the workers in the office, prayed with them and spoke to them about thirty minutes upon the necessity of faithfulness. I think many felt deeply upon this matter, for I know there have been influences that have drawn their minds from devotion and heart service to God to having their affection and their interest divided, placing human objects where the Lord alone should rule and reign. A request was made for all who would from this time make most earnest efforts to reach a higher standard to arise. All arose. We hope this now will have the effect to win them to God and to heavenly reflections and make earnest efforts to be all that God has given them power to be—faithful and true, devoted soldiers of the cross of Christ. How my heart is drawn out for these young men. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 8

I called together the girls from the office and talked with them seriously and affectionately, trying to have them see that they had enshrined Edith Andrews in their heart as an idol. The worship due to God they had given to a human, erring creature, one who was herself in need of mercy and the pardoning love of God or she would not be saved. May the Lord set the words that I have spoken to them home to their hearts. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 9

Again one of the young men mentioned—whose name, I learn, is Gree—came to Brother Whitney much troubled. He knows not what to do. He sees the truth and he sees the cross which he must lift if he accepts it. He can bear, he says, all that he will be called to pass through for the truth’s sake; but his parents—who have high hopes of him, and who have sent him at considerable expense to the college! Here comes in the question, Will he forsake all? He sees that the crisis has come. May the Lord give him grace to decide to obey the truth, to forsake all if need be—father, mother, sisters, and brothers—for the truth’s sake. This is a trying point in this young man’s experience. May he have strength from above. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 10

November 23, 1885

Basel

Devote some time to writing. Have conversation with Elder Whitney. He read letters from Brethren D. and A. C. Bourdeau, urging our going to Italy, and Daniel urges we come around through Geneva. But this will cost time and money; and as our tickets take us on that route in returning, we decide to go direct to Italy, leaving Basel next Thursday morning, which will bring us into Torre Pellice about noon. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 11

Walked down to the city and made some purchases. Rode down in the afternoon to look at the stoves. Purchased one at a cost of twenty dollars. This has advantages over the iron stoves. The head is not heated, the air is not burned. I must have every advantage if I must use my head so continually as I do in writing. Sent to America four pages to Marian Davis and six pages to W. C. White. Review and Herald comes today, and we eagerly devour its contents. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 12

November 24, 1885

Basel

I thank my heavenly Father for a precious night’s rest. I am still suffering with cold. Write to Elder Bourdeau at Geneva four large sheets of writing paper, in regard to his work and the best manner of taking hold of it. He has gathered up notices in papers as far back as when he was in Cal. and wishes these put into his circulars or notices to go before the public. It is just such things as these that hurt Brother Daniel’s influence. The appearance is that he is extolling himself. He wishes to make it very prominent that he is an American sent to Europe as a missionary. This is every word truth, but such notices put before the people are not the best way to reach them, for all notices of this character will arouse national prejudice and close doors to him that might otherwise be opened. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 13

The greatest prejudice of the Jewish nation of priests and rulers was stirred up against Christ because the people preferred to listen to Jesus rather than to them. The very same feelings of prejudice will be manifest in the priests and rulers of this time. We can do nothing that would close up the way before us in this country like taking a position of superiority and putting before the people that we consider them heathen. In truth they are worse than heathen, but this we are not to tell them. The clergy consider themselves as teachers, highly religious, and their churches send out missionaries to the work of converting the savages; but to have the implication that a similar work must be done for them they would consider the worst kind of insult. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 14

We wrote to Brother Daniel to guard his notices, just humbly to go to work in the fear and love of Jesus, and work temperately, keeping self out of sight, and let Jesus and the truth work their way to man’s hearts; that it is not best to hire the largest halls, but go to work in a less expensive way and then if the way opens come up higher, but test the interest first and see what that interest will warrant. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 15

November 25, 1885

Basel

I have rested well during the night. We have been blessed with a couple of days of partial sunshine. It now looks like rain. We hoped to have pleasant weather to cross the Alps to Italy, but we must take these things as they come and not be in the least discontented or unhappy. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 16

I had a talk with Brother and Sister Whitney. They bring good reports from the sisters with whom I conversed last Sunday in reference to their exalting any one too highly and thus making them idols. We must inquire what is the influence of the one I am adoring. Does she reveal in life and in character superior love to Jesus, devotion to the truth? Is it her work to lead minds to the contemplation of heavenly themes? Is Jesus the theme of conversation? Is her life such that it bears the heavenly credentials? I urged upon them the necessity of their loving God with all their heart. This effort has been blessed to these sisters. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 17

I had a conversation with Brother John Vuilleumier and presented before him the necessity of having his heart free from every idol, that he should honor and adore Jesus, that no human object should come between him and his God. If he made clay his idol, if he thought it was a paragon of perfection, he was deceived. Where he saw gold it was truly only tinsel. I sought to impress upon him the necessity of his loving and serving God as the One supreme. God was working in His providence to bring in close relationship to Him young men that He could mold and fashion as clay is molded in the hands of the potter, that He would make them vessels unto honor. He had a work for them to do which others who were older could not do as well. He wanted their whole heart, their affections, and He claimed them as His right. With those who were older, habits were formed and ideas were not always such that God could use them; but He wanted young men to reach the highest standard of holiness, as did Daniel. I devoted more than one hour in conversation with this young man, who is a youth of great promise. I believe that the Lord has a special work for him to do, and after talking with him we could only commit the case to God for Him to impress the heart. 4LtMs, Ms 28, 1885, par. 18