Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4

377/448

Ms 20, 1886

Sketch of Journey

Basel, Switzerland

June 11, 1886

Portions of this manuscript are published in 5MR 18-23; 3Bio 342; EGWE 190.

I think you will want to hear some particulars in regard to our family. We now number ten. W. C. White and Mary and Ella are well. Ella has grown to be quite a girl since you last saw her. Sarah McEnterfer is well, and just as busy as she can be, taking letters by dictation and writing them out on the calligraph. Marion’s health is about as it usually is. She is at work on Vol. 4, Great Controversy. Bro. and Sr. Powelson board with us. They are well. Lillie P. is now doing our house work. Christene Dahl from Christiania, Norway, has been doing our work since we returned from Norway. She is about to return to Norway again. She is now sick, and I have feared that she will not be able to ride on the cars a three or four days’ journey. We have a French teacher in our family who is working in the office. She has her board for giving lessons to the family in French. I believe I have told you now all who compose our family. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 1

My health has not been very good for some time, but my unceasing prayer to my heavenly Father is for physical strength and mental clearness that I may do the work that He has given me without making blunders. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 2

One week ago last Tuesday we returned home from visiting the churches in Switzerland. We traveled with our own horse and carriage and by thus doing obtained a view of the places and scenery of interest which we should not have done had we ridden on the cars. Switzerland is far ahead of Colorado for landscape scenes. The hills and mountains here are indescribably grand. I do not think I ever viewed scenery which made so deep an impression on my mind. It seemed as though my heart was lifted up to heaven as I viewed the works of God in nature. I could not refrain from saying, “Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty.” [Revelation 15:3.] I looked upon the high rocks seamed by the mighty cataracts which had worn a channel through them, and at the mountains towering toward heaven and then down hundreds of feet into the ravine through which a rapid stream was noisily beating its way over the stones and rugged rocks. I was filled with awe as I looked upon this scenery. I meditated upon the things which my eyes were beholding. How great was the living God who held and controlled these wonderful places of the earth, holding the mountains of stone in their place by His own hand, subject to His will. Oh, what power and what majesty has our God! Himself is the Rock of Ages. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 3

These mountains clad with forest trees and high towering rocks of every conceivable form are beautifully adorned with the fir, hemlock, and beech. The evergreens are of the darkest green; the beech of a light, living green. The combination of colors is as beautiful as a bouquet. Interspersed with these are pure white blossoms resembling the snowball. All the beauties and the marvelous greatness of things in nature are open to our senses that we may better understand the love of God for man and learn lessons of His wisdom and His power. These things which my eyes behold draw me personally and trustingly to my heavenly Father, for I recognize Him as the source of all our blessings. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 4

If our hearts were softened and subdued with the love of God, they would be open to discern His mercy and loving-kindness, as expressed to us in every shrub and the profusion of blooming flowers which meet our eyes in God’s world. The delicate leaf, the spires of grass, every lofty tree is an expression of the love of God to His children. They tell us that God is a lover of the beautiful. He speaks to us from nature’s book that He delights in the perfection of beauty of character. He would have us look up through nature to nature’s God and [would have] our hearts drawn out in love and affection to Him as we view His created works. The beautiful forests stretch out before us and the groves where the merry songsters congregate and make our world vocal with their songs of praise; their rich and joyous music should awaken the song of melody and gratitude to God in our own hearts. The Lord wants us to rejoice in the works of His creation. He rejoices in the work of His hands which He has clothed with such a profusion of beauty. His glory is not only declared in the heavens in the sun, moon, and stars, but in everything in nature, opening bud and blooming flowers which His hand has created. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 5

We may consider, as Jesus bade us, the lilies of the valley, and the beautiful flowers growing up around us should awaken in our hearts not only reverence but love to God. We need greater natural simplicity and far more spirituality than we now possess in order to read aright the pages of the book of nature God has opened before us. We want to grasp the eternal through faith which He has set before us in earthly forms and semblances that the depths of our souls may be reached, that we may magnify and reverence the God of nature. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 6

God designs that the scenes of nature should influence the children of God to delight in the pure, simple, quiet beauty with which our Father adorns our earthly home. Jesus tells us that the mightiest king that ever swayed a scepter could not compare in gorgeous array to the simple flowers that God has clothed with loveliness. [Matthew 6:28, 29.] We wish to learn God’s lesson out of His book. The heavens above, pure and beautiful and lovely, in faint colors presented to our senses here upon the earth, and we may put the imagination to the highest stretch to grasp the glories which these represent in the paradise of God; and yet the eye hath not seen, the ear hath not heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for those who love Him. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 7

We must be preparing for the white robe of character in order that we may pass within the pearly gates of the city of God to a heaven of bliss. Revelation presents the scene—fountains of living waters, rivers that are as clear as crystal proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb, trees of living green growing on either side of this river of life. [Revelation 7:17; 22:1, 2.] The foliage gives health and life to those who eat it, as well as the fruit. The walls and foundation of the city are of precious stone. The streets are paved with gold. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 8

We have in the glorious things of nature a mere shadow of the original which we shall see in their full loveliness in the paradise of God. Let us learn the precious lesson which God designed we should. He who careth for the simple flowers in their season, will He not much more care for you whom He has created in His own image? Look upon these things of beauty. God prepares and clothes them with a robe of loveliness, and yet they perish in a day. All these earthly, temporal beauties are to be appreciated as the voice of God speaking to us of the treasures and glories of the unseen and the eternal. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 9

It will be impossible for me to describe the scenery which I beheld on this journey. It is too awfully grand. I might write you much more upon this, but I will pursue my narrative of my journey. Our first day out from Basel at noon we halted under the widespread branches of a grand old oak. W. C. White unharnessed Dolly, and John Vuilleumier brushed her down, using hay as a curry-comb, then left her to eat grass which privilege she enjoyed, if we can judge from appearance. A bed was made for me on the grass. I had been sick for several days, and the proposition was made to defer the journey until the next week, being unable, as they thought, to travel. This day, the twentieth of May, was very warm. I decided to undertake the journey, and if it were impossible for me to travel safely, to return to Basel. I was very weak, but my rest in sleep did me good. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 10

Close by us was a large rock running up abruptly from the road, but in the rear was a plat of level ground which, without much difficulty, would bring one to the top of the huge rock. Here Napoleon placed his cannon upon the top of the rock, and his army must have stood upon the very spot we had chosen for our noon lunch. The name of this place was Laufen, fourteen miles from Basel. Sarah McEnterfer prepares the luncheon which is spread upon the ground upon smooth Manila paper used as a tablecloth. The blessing of God is asked upon our food, and the simple lunch is eaten with a relish. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 11

W. C. White engaged in writing letters on the calligraph, and Sarah washed the dishes in a stream close by and arranged the dinner basket to be strapped again on the back of the wagon. John took the German and French paper to a house not far distant where we obtained milk and did some missionary work. He obtained names to whom he could send these little messengers of light and truth. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 12

The entire journey was one of interest for remarkable scenery. Having ridden thirty miles, we tarried that night in Moutter, a beautiful village located in a valley of loveliness. The inhabitants are mostly Roman Catholics. We had good accommodations, and early in the morning took a breakfast in our room consisting of bread and hot milk, and then were seated in our carriage again to continue our journey. We arrived at Tramelan about noon and were welcomed by the family of Brother Roth. Brother and Sister Roth are most excellent people, wholehearted in the truth. They have now living seven sons and three daughters. One daughter died in the faith not long since. All are established in the truth that are old enough to understand. Their family are in the best circumstances of any of our people in Switzerland. The father and eldest son are merchant tailors. The second son is a baker, but has given himself to the missionary work, and is fitting up for a laborer. He is a young man of superior ability. One young woman is working in the office at Basel. She understands French, German, and English. The third son is also working in the office. We enjoyed our visit with this dear family. Tramelan is one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland. It is high up among the mountains. There is much snow there in winter, and the summers are quite warm. I think we shall have a camp meeting in this place before we leave Europe. We had good meetings in Tramelan. I spoke three times. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 13

May 25, we went with our carriage to Bienne, about 15 miles. We had a missionary meeting and spoke about one-half hour. W. C. White and others talked with interest. Bienne is a large and beautiful city. Bienne Lake comes close to the city. Wednesday morning early we were in our carriage on our way to Chaux-de-Fonds. Here I spoke twice. I was not well here. We had to mount four pairs of stairs. Up so near heaven we found very pleasant rooms. There was still another story above us. We had for three or four days cold, disagreeable weather. Thursday we went to Locle, visited an excellent family. Tarried a few hours, left an appointment for Sunday evening, then rode back and spoke in C. that night. I also spoke Sabbath forenoon with great freedom. The Lord blessed me. I was very weak, but I knew Jesus was in our midst, and His sustaining grace was given me. My heart is seldom more deeply stirred than it was at this meeting. I could not forbear weeping as I had a vivid sense of the love of Christ. The congregation were many of them in tears. I knew that Jesus of Nazareth was passing through our midst, and His blessing was flowing in rich waves of love to our souls. I knew some were convicted of the truth, but had not consented to lift the cross. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 14

I presented before them the words of Joshua, “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.” [Joshua 24:15.] I asked those who wished to take a decided stand for the truth, and to be fully on the Lord’s side, to arise; also those who had backslidden, or had become cold in the service of the Lord, to stand upon their feet. The house was so crowded that they could not come forward, but nearly every one in the house was deeply moved and stood upon their feet. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 15

Brother Ertzenberger offered deep and earnest prayer to God. Then we had a precious social meeting. Testimonies were given in quick succession; short and to the point. John Vuilleumier interpreted to me so that I was privileged to know what was said. I felt in this meeting as though we were very near the blessed Saviour, that the heavenly breezes from the Land of Canaan wafted over us. I am all the time learning new and precious lessons from the heavenly Teacher. I have been learning to trust more calmly and casting all my care upon Jesus. I never knew as fully as now the great care and love Jesus has for us, and the precious privilege we have in committing the keeping of our soul to God as unto a faithful Creator, and resting in His love without anxiety and without doubt. God has given us every evidence of His love. I will not doubt Him, never, no never. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 16

Sunday we went to Locle. This is a place where our people have suffered the greatest opposition. They were almost afraid to have me speak, fearing the opposition would be more intense. But they were much pleased to see the hall full of the best of the community, who listened to the temperance discourse with the deepest interest. I was sick, but the Lord helped me to rise above my infirmities and to talk to the people that night. I praise His holy name for His goodness and loving-kindness to me, that He gives me strength according to my day. After speaking evenings I cannot sleep until midnight, for I feel so intensely earnest to benefit the souls before me. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 17

May 30, we left our carriage to be driven to Tramelan by Brother Ertzenberger while we took the train for Neuchâtel to see Brother Albert Vuilleumier who had just come from Africa. I spoke to a room full that night under great pain, with ulcerated tooth. The blood rushed to my head just before speaking, my nose bled freely, but I obtained no relief. Used fomentations without receiving any benefit, but felt that I could not disappoint the people, and spoke to them about three quarters of an hour. Those present were none the wiser for my sufferings. I did not again take the carriage, but Sarah and I hastened home to Basel on the cars to my dentist. He said the nerve of the tooth was dying, and he could relieve me. He drilled a hole through the tooth through the gum, and I was relieved in about one hour. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 18

We leave for Sweden next Monday. I have much dreaded this journey, for I know it will be attended with great weariness. Nevertheless, I have decided to go and trust myself in the hands of the Lord. We ride thirty-six hours on the first stage of the journey to Leipzig, remain there over twenty-four hours. Elders Whitney, Conradi, and W. C. White accompany us to transact important business there. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 19

I have now run over this very limited sketch of our journey, knowing you would be interested to hear it. 4LtMs, Ms 20, 1886, par. 20