Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 29a, 1886

Brownsberger, Brother

Basel, Switzerland

February 7, 1886

Previously unpublished.

[In the first portion of this letter Ellen White shares with Br. Brownsberger what she wrote to the Hansons (Lt 29, 1886), adding additional encouragement.] 4LtMs, Lt 29a, 1886, par. 1

Dear Bro. Brownsberger:

I have not lost my interest in you, but my heart is still burdened on your account. I hoped to have written to you three weeks ago; but through overlabor in Italy and much labor in speaking and writing which came upon me here, I could not endure the burden. Congestion of the brain and congestion of the eyes compelled me to lay aside the pen, and last Wednesday I was taken with a chill lasting two hours. I had a very sick day and have been able to sit up but little since. It seems a very strange thing to have to give up and lie in bed. This morning I came near fainting away, and I am propped up with pillows, and my writing paper before me, trying to pen a few lines to you. 4LtMs, Lt 29a, 1886, par. 2

Soon after we returned from Norway, a German who was attending the theological college took his stand upon the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. He had many inducements presented by an uncle and his parents to continue to study and obtain an education. The professor told him he could keep the Sabbath and still continue his studies. They introduced him to ministers who argued with him, but they brought only customs, the practices of men, the testimonies of the Fathers. Like Luther, he told them if the Fathers found their evidence in the Scriptures, he had reasoning powers and he could find the evidence there. They either did or did not obtain their light from the Bible. If they did, he could go to the same Bible; if they did not, then it was only the judgment and doctrines of men and not that which he would want to risk his soul upon. “My soul’s salvation is of altogether too great consequence to risk any uncertainty,” (he said). As they could not prove that the first day was the Sabbath, he told them his feet must stand on that platform until a plain “thus saith the Lord” should be shown as evidence he was not right. 4LtMs, Lt 29a, 1886, par. 3

He had many arguments with them and finally told them he must leave them. The Lord was at work upon the heart of this young man. No one went after him, but he came to solicit conversation with the young men at work in the office, presenting before them everything which appeared to be objectionable. 4LtMs, Lt 29a, 1886, par. 4

He told the professor that if this were truth, he had a work to do not only to believe it, but to teach it to others. Well, he has come out free and strong. He did not know what he should do, but in answer to “What will you do now?” after he left school, he said, “I am strong. I will engage in manual labor. I am not afraid of work.” 4LtMs, Lt 29a, 1886, par. 5

Brother Whitney then suggested he come to the office and work on the German paper. This he has been doing, and he is just the help they needed. This is the Lord’s work, and as every soul is precious we feel to greatly rejoice. Others in this theological college are interested and are inquiring in regard to the truth. 4LtMs, Lt 29a, 1886, par. 6

Yesterday our hearts were made glad that a businessman employed in the bookbinding establishment in the city came to our meeting and kept his first Sabbath. His help is needed in the office very much. He is a smart, intelligent man, and will have an influence over others. As yet no labor in public effort has been made for the Germans in Basel, but the Lord is at work upon hearts. 4LtMs, Lt 29a, 1886, par. 7

We have letters from Italy, not the part I visited, that they had by accident obtained an old, worn-out French Signs and become interested. They found these papers were issued from Basel and they wanted more. Other letters have come from the same people, wishing them to thank Mrs. White for her articles which are of great value to them. Letters came from France. Several have embraced the truth by reading the papers, and they sent several subscriptions for the paper. 4LtMs, Lt 29a, 1886, par. 8

Letters came from a young man who wanted the paper sent for a time, and he would try to pay for it. He is an apprentice in a bank and earns no money yet. Another letter comes from him saying he wants the paper continued. His father and mother had opposed his reading it; but now they are interested in it, as well as he, and he desires that it shall not be stopped. He asks if they would take a record book as part pay for the Signs. He does not know how glad they are to let him have the Signs if he cannot pay one cent. 4LtMs, Lt 29a, 1886, par. 9

Letters come from Russia and India stating that a number are keeping the Sabbath. The one from Russia was signed by five names, expressing their appreciation of the paper. So the good work is going on. Brother Conradi is now here. He thinks of visiting Russia, as there is a deep interest already awakened there through reading. 4LtMs, Lt 29a, 1886, par. 10

My dear Brother Brownsberger, I am deeply interested in the college and in the church at Healdsburg, and I am sure the enemy will seek in every way to hurt you and to discourage you through your wife. Whatever she may do or say, maintain your principles. If you feel that you may safely take her to yourself as your wife, that you can love and cherish her, then do so. I think she will be planning and contriving to this end all the time; but if you feel that she has no genuine work of grace in her heart, then move cautiously and know that Jesus will be your helper. 4LtMs, Lt 29a, 1886, par. 11

One thing, do not be drawn away from the college. Be a man. Stand in your God-given manhood, free from every gin and snare of Satan. I have thought much of your case. I have longed to learn that the device of Satan has been broken and that you could again feel that you had a family. As things are, you will be ever harassed, but cling to your work. Please write me just how you feel upon this matter. I will let no one see the letter. I am really anxious to know what you purpose to do in the future. I hope and pray that the Lord will bless you and strengthen you and give you wisdom, fortitude, and courage. Lie low at the feet of Jesus. Let not the enemy dwarf and cripple your religious experience. I know you are often sore perplexed. I know you want to do the will of God, and I hope and pray that you may understand what the will of God is. Press closer and still closer to the bleeding side of your Redeemer. Walk in all humility of mind. You may do up your work for time and for eternity so that you will not be ashamed to meet your record in the day of final accounts. Please write me when you can. I will be happy to receive a line from you. 4LtMs, Lt 29a, 1886, par. 12