Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 18, 1886

Rice, J. D.

Basel, Switzerland

March 12, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in 3Bio 340-341. +Note

Elder Rice

Dear Brother in Christ:

Your letter was received yesterday. I have a short time before the Sabbath and will answer as best I can. In regard to the wood’s being cut, no one has been gossiping to me. Reuben wrote as to what was being done without any word of complaint; but in answer to a letter in regard to his cutting wood, he wrote for information and made no word of complaint against any doing at the retreat, but merely stated that the wood was being cut by him and others as though it were a well-understood matter. I had written that I did not wish him to cut at all until I could be there to see what was done, for I did not want any, not one living tree, cut on my place by a set of boys or men, for they might take down trees that I wished to have remain. Now, Brother Rice, as far as money value is concerned, I care not; but to remove a green tree or living tree, except what I specified, I did not want done, and I do not want done at any time until I am on the ground myself. Money cannot replace a natural tree. I may have spoken too broad and covered too much in my letter, but I felt in earnest. Three weeks of cutting would go on before my letter could reach you, and I felt certainly uneasy and disturbed; and if there has been wood cut down and spoiling, let the retreat take it; for of what value will it be to me to rot on the ground. Take all the wood you have cut, but please cut no more. I never meant that tree that Brother Lockwood specifies as scraggly old tree cut, but these things I do not allow to trouble me after I have done what I can do in the matter. 4LtMs, Lt 18, 1886, par. 1

I thank you for your letter. You have not told me how much wood has been cut, whether you have cut my green trees or not; but no matter, I will not let this trouble me. I do not expect to be at California before another year shall roll around. Should I have my choice, I would be glad to be in California, but I do not want to follow inclination; I want to do the will of God and remain in Europe long enough to pay for coming. I must spend some time in England. 4LtMs, Lt 18, 1886, par. 2

There has not yet been any effort made at Basel for the French and Germans. Other fields seemed to need workers, so this field was left for the present. Brother Daniel Bourdeau lives in Geneva, one of the most beautiful and wealthy cities in Europe. But Brother Daniel commenced the effort alone, not as the Lord had shown him he should commence; and there are but few—about four embraced the truth. There will have to be a second effort, and it will not be as favorable as if they had had proper help at the commencement of an effort in so large and important a place. Brother Ertzenberger commenced an effort at Chandefaus. There was a small church at that place. As the result, eighteen good souls have taken hold of the truth. This makes our hearts glad. 4LtMs, Lt 18, 1886, par. 3

Brethren Ertzenberger and Conradi, and Brother Daniel Bourdeau are now working in Lausanne. Brother Ertzenberger is laboring for the Germans and has a good interest. Brother Bourdeau is laboring for the French and has a good attendance. There are other helpers uniting with them. Lausanne is an important place, but Lausanne is about forty miles from Geneva, and we feel deeply interested for this place. We believe that there will be a church raised up there to the glory of God. 4LtMs, Lt 18, 1886, par. 4

There has been that which has cheered and made us thankful to God in the additions to the church here since the conference. One Jew was being educated in the college for the ministry. He came to our conference meetings and has finally left the school and united with the church. We do not count so much upon the addition of a Jew because we have been so many times disappointed in them. They are artful and so inclined to be licentious. But this called the attention of a most worthy nobel German. This Jew was expelled from the school for keeping the Sabbath, which led the German to investigate the matter, and he became convicted and step by step he advanced cautiously until he saw that he must keep the Sabbath. 4LtMs, Lt 18, 1886, par. 5

He told the president of the college and preceptor of his true convictions. They tried to argue with him; doctors of divinity sought to reason him out of his views, but the student had studied every point. He prepared essays and read them and of course no Bible argument could be brought against him. He saw the fallacy of every effort made to show him what they called his delusion. Then when they saw they could not move him from his position, then they said his Sabbath views would not need to interfere with his student college life, but, said he, How can I, seeing this to be the truth of the Bible, remain here? I have a work to do to enlighten others. I cannot keep these things to myself. If it is Bible truth and you see you have brought no argument to show that it is not Bible truth, I must do what I can to teach the truth to others. After he had taken his position, Elder Whitney said, What are [you] going to do now? He answered readily, I can work, I am an able-bodied man, I can engage in manual labor. Then he was called to the office and is the very help that they needed, and he is a good scholar. He has access to the public libraries and has found in old German histories most important information on the Sunday question. 4LtMs, Lt 18, 1886, par. 6

We were troubled about book bindery; help was needed, and we prayed over the matter, and a few Sabbaths since an experienced book binder has taken his position upon the Sabbath. His wife and daughter are keeping the Sabbath. His daughter was baptized about eight weeks ago. He comes to the office, accepting one hundred francs less per month than what he is now receiving. We feel grateful for these precious tokens of good. 4LtMs, Lt 18, 1886, par. 7

We have most interesting letters from France. Souls are embracing the truth from reading the papers. There is quite a little number raised up in Algeria which is the northern part of Africa. A minister sent the name of a friend to whom he wished the paper sent, and he sent the subscription price. That friend embraced the truth, and now the minister’s wife has taken the truth. He pleads for the paper to be sent this year to him, and next year he will drop some of his papers and become a regular subscriber for the French paper. 4LtMs, Lt 18, 1886, par. 8

In France quite a large number have embraced the truth by reading alone and are begging for a minister to come and help them. Letters are coming from Russia. Quite a company has been raised up from reading, and Conradi is going to Russia soon. 4LtMs, Lt 18, 1886, par. 9

Well it is getting most mail time. I must close. I feel an interest in all that concerns the Health Retreat. I am more glad than I can express for your prosperity. If you trust alone in God, if you keep the Lord ever before you, He will be at your right hand to help you. 4LtMs, Lt 18, 1886, par. 10

Tell Dr. Gibbs I thank him for his letter and will answer it soon. I have been gaining strength of eyesight. I feared I should lose my eyes at one time. I am now quite a cripple from the broken ankle. It was injured five years ago in B.C. I cannot at time walk without a cane. I have had to purchase me a horse and carriage, cost something more than three hundred dollars for the whole outfit. All deemed it necessary for me as they saw I could not get exercise by walking; now I shall ride some. If I had felt free to get this horse before, I might have saved myself this lameness. 4LtMs, Lt 18, 1886, par. 11

I want you to tell your mother that the little feather bed she gave me goes everywhere I go and is a great comfort to me. My hip remains afflicted more severely now than for sometime, but I am thankful that I am improving in health. I am cheerful and happy. Much love to Sister Chase and Sister Ings, and all dear friends. 4LtMs, Lt 18, 1886, par. 12

Yours with respect. 4LtMs, Lt 18, 1886, par. 13

I have written this in haste, dare not read it because I cannot try my eyes. Excuse this miserable scribbling. Willie and his family are well, and W. C. White and his wife are full of business. They send love. 4LtMs, Lt 18, 1886, par. 14