Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 27, 1885

Diary, October 31 to November 19, 1885


October 31 - November 19, 1885

Portions of this manuscript are published in 2MR 116-121; 3Bio 328-329; EGWE 124-126.

First Visit to Norway

October 31, 1885

We have a clear day, but it is sharp and cold. Healthy weather for traveling. We tarried a night at the hotel in [blank]. We took our breakfast out of our lunch baskets. We ordered a pitcher of hot milk and made a very good breakfast. At about 12 o’clock noon, we reached Christiania and were welcomed by Brother Oyen at the depot. We were taken in a hack to the pleasant rooms occupied by Brother and Sister Oyen and family. We were once more among our English-speaking friends; and although we were welcomed and treated with every attention by our Danish and Swedish brethren and sisters, we felt all the time crippled because we could not converse together, and it was thus made impossible to do them all the good we much desired to do. But we are again in America, as it were! 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 1

November 1, 1885

Christiania, Norway

Sabbath was a pleasant day. I spoke to the people in the hall where the church met to worship from 1 Peter 1:13-17. I had freedom in presenting to the people the importance of practical godliness. All listened with great attention. The hall was full. In the afternoon the ordinances were administered, and the washing of feet. In the evening a discourse was given by Elder Matteson. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 2

November 2, 1885


Sunday forenoon spoke in a hall to a crowded assembly. It was estimated fourteen hundred were present. The text was 1 John 3:1-3. The Lord gave me much freedom and clearness in presenting the infinite love of God in giving His Son to die for the world. Although the aisles were crowded and every seat filled, and even standing place occupied, large numbers were obliged to go away because they could obtain no entrance. The crowd held perfect attention to the close of the discourse. We hope this effort will not be in vain, but that through Christ’s help much good may be the result. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 3

November 3, 1885

We went on the cars twenty miles to fill an appointment at Drammen. The fog settled down so thick we could not obtain a sight of the country through which we were passing. We were two hours on the cars. We found a hall full of people at the appointed hour. The hall could only accommodate seven hundred people. The passageway was filled. All the standing room was crowded, and respectful attention was given as I addressed them from John 3:16. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 4

November 4, 1885

We left Drammen at eight o’clock for Christiania. It was raining, but the fog had cleared away so that we could see the country through which the cars were passing. The scenery is very fine. The country is broken. There are high bluffs and rocky mountains, lakes and islands. In summer this would be a very pleasant place to live in. Spoke Wednesday night in the hall, which was well filled. I spoke from Luke 10:25-29. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 5

November 5, 1885


It is rainy, disagreeable weather. We have done much writing today. Visited at Brother Hansen’s. We had a very pleasant, profitable visit. I conversed some through an interpreter, relating some incidents in our earlier experience. We conversed some upon the habits of the people in regard to eating so frequently. Brother Hansen said he had made considerable reform in eating since he had embraced the truth. I related to them a little of my experience upon health reform and the manner of my eating since receiving the light from heaven. I also related to them the experience we had passed through in the first rise of this work. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 6

November 6, 1885


It is rainy, disagreeable weather. I spoke in a hired hall to a large audience from 2 Peter 1:1-13. All listened with respectful attention. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 7

November 7, 1885


It is a foggy, rainy day. I long for the pleasant sunshine, but we will seek to make all the sunshine we can by cheerful, pleasant conversation and in opening our hearts to let the Sun of righteousness in, that we may, amid clouds and disagreeable surroundings, be ourselves sunbeams of happiness to others because Christ abides in our hearts by living faith. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 8

Colossians 1:24-29. The Lord gave me freedom and power in addressing the people. There is indeed a work to be done for them; and if the Lord will use me as an instrument to arouse them from the irreligious state they are in, I will praise His holy name. I presented before them the great need of those who teach in word and in doctrine to take heed to themselves to be very circumspect in their course of action and in word and example seek to elevate the people to correct views and correct practices by their own habits and customs and to be sure that in no way they belittle the requirements of God—especially the fourth commandment, which enjoins the observance of the Sabbath. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 9

There is in the Sabbath of the fourth commandment a test. It is God’s test. It is no manmade test. This is to be the separating line to distinguish the loyal and the true—him that serveth God from him that serveth Him not. Some professing to be keeping all the commandments of God were sending their children to school upon the Sabbath. They were not compelled to do this, but because the schools objected to taking in their children unless they should attend the six days in the week, they sent them to the school to study and also learn to work. If they could not, by wise and judicious means, make some special contract with the authorities of the school, reserving the privilege to keep the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, then there is but one way—to keep the Sabbath of the fourth commandment strictly. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 10

Special pains should be taken to establish schools among ourselves. Elder Matteson has not given to our people a correct example. He has sent his children to school upon the Sabbath and to justify his course has used the words of Christ, “It is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.” [Matthew 12:12.] He may urge the same reason why men should work on the Sabbath, because they must earn bread to feed their children; and there is no boundary line to tell what should and should not be done upon the Sabbath. And while holding the claims of the fourth commandment so loosely, these leaders were, by their example, encouraging the false tests which man has manufactured. The matter of dress was the subject to test character. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 11

Thus the commandments of God were made of little account by their traditions, while their own ideas and notions were binding heavy burdens and grievous to be borne. They were separating themselves such a great distance from the people that their influence could not reach them. They were giving altogether a wrong impression of the truth. There would be just such impressions given as would please Satan, that the Sabbathkeeping Adventists be regarded as a set of fanatics and extremists. The Lord’s precious cause is not exalted, but the impression given to unbelievers is that it is the doctrine that makes them unkind, uncourteous, and really unchristian in their character. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 12

The Lord would have the subjects of His kingdom represent the character of their sovereign. His commandments are not left for man to trim down to suit his ideas or his convenience. God’s great moral standard is His ten precepts, the foundation of the faith of prophets and apostles. The Sabbath is the great test question, and He has made precious promises to those who keep His Sabbath from polluting it. His infinite wisdom and power and love are engaged in our behalf. The heavenly host are registering our names as among the loyal and the true. It is safe always to be on the Lord’s side, and by faith to commit our whole interest, temporal and eternal, into the hands of Him who reigns over all in heaven and on earth. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 13

God is not pleased with His people in this place, for they have belittled His holy requirement, striving to bring His law into subjection to themselves, rather than bring themselves in subjection to His law. There has been a spirit prevailing of contention, of faultfinding, of making little items a test of Christian fellowship, while they have at the same time been lax and loose in keeping the Sabbath. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 14

After speaking with great plainness, I invited those to come forward who felt they were sinners, not in harmony with God, and who needed His converting power. About fifty came forward. We then knelt before the pulpit with the congregation, and by request I prayed while Elder Matteson interpreted. There was some of the melting Spirit of the Lord in our midst, but some remained hard and unimpressed. Their hearts are rebellious. Opportunity was given for testimonies to be borne, and quite a number confessed they had about given up the truth and separated from God and now wished to repent and come back with God’s people. We tried to find a place to close the meeting, but it seemed impossible. Three were on their feet at once, and our meeting lasted about three hours. The work must go deeper yet. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 15

November 8, 1885


The weather continues foggy and sunless. I write many pages today. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 16

At five o’clock by appointment I spoke in the large [gymnasium]. There were about seventeen hundred people assembled to hear the woman from America speak. The secretary of the temperance association introduced Mrs. White to the audience. As a canopy above the pulpit was the stars and stripes, which I highly appreciated, for I consider it an honor to be born in America, the land of the brave and the free. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 17

I spoke for one hour and twenty minutes, Brother Oyen acting as my interpreter. The people listened with deep interest. I showed them that the Bible was full of history upon temperance. I showed them the part Christ had taken in temperance. It was all due to Christ that man was given a second trial after Adam’s fall. Christ redeemed Adam’s disgraceful failure and fall by withstanding every temptation of the wily foe. I mingled Christ in this temperance lecture from beginning to end. The Bishop of the state church was present. There were a number of the clergy present. The higher class of society were my hearers. After I had ceased speaking and stepped from the desk, Dr. Nyson took the stand and endorsed every word that had been spoken and that Brother Oyen had interpreted for me. He was very liberal in his thanks to the speaker for giving them the discourse. He then introduced me to some of their leading temperance men and women. Not a few came to greet me by shaking hands and saying, “I am so thankful to have heard you tonight. I never listened to a temperance discourse like this before.” Indeed when I was speaking, the congregation looked as solemn as if attending a funeral. No smiles were seen and no stamping of feet was heard, for it was too solemn a subject to excite laughter or merriment. Dr. Nyson expressed the ardent desire that I should address them again; but I feel that our people here need my help, and I must do all for them that is in my power. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 18

November 9, 1885


The same foggy, drizzly weather that we have had for about one week continues. I feel wearied and am unable to write much today. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 19

I attend meeting in the evening and the house is well filled, but how can I come to the hearts of this people? I speak from these words found in Hebrews 12:12-17. The Lord gave me freedom. Brother Olsen made request that those who especially desired prayers in their behalf should arise. Quite a number stood upon their feet. I was requested to pray while Brother Oyen translated. The Spirit of the Lord came in, and hearts were softened and subdued by the Holy Spirit. Then many testimonies were borne. Some had backslidden from God, and they were unhappy and troubled and wished to return to the truth. And some expressed in their testimony great gratitude for the light they were receiving and that they were greatly blessed. It was quite late when we retired to rest. These meetings of labor are exceedingly taxing; but if the Lord gives me strength, I shall be very grateful to Him. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 20

November 10, 1885


It is still dark and cloudy, but the sun will shine, and we will keep up good courage. This has been a day of great weariness to me. I was unable to write. I am aware I am taxing my strength in doing so much, but I want to see this people greatly helped and strengthened. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 21

We had some talk with Sister Anna Rasmussen. I fear she is not happy and is somewhat discouraged. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 22

I had my foot measured for shoes to be made for me by a Norwegian. My cloak was brought home today. It will protect me from colds. I am very grateful that I can have so comfortable a garment. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 23

Although I feel nearly sick, I attend the meeting in the evening. The house is well filled. I spoke to the people from Colossians 3:12-17. I sought to impress the people with the necessity of exercising living faith in the promises of God. It was for them to seek to reach the Bible standard and then claim the precious promises of Jehovah. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 24

After speaking to the people, I again requested those who especially desired to be prayed for to come forward. Quite a number immediately responded, and we stepped down in their midst and prayed for them and the Spirit of the Lord came in and His sweet blessing rested upon us. I again prayed and was interpreted by Brother Oyen. Brother Olsen also prayed. Then there were many good testimonies borne. Some said they had been blessed all day in trying to talk upon the truth and in being much in prayer. Some confessed their backslidings and a good work is begun, but it is not universal. Some stand back as if in doubt and questioning. May the Spirit of God reach their hearts and bring them into the work is my prayer. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 25

November 11, 1885


Wednesday. I attended evening meeting and spoke to the people with a deep and solemn sense of the shortness of time and the great need we have of greater spirituality, more zeal, and reaching a higher standard. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 26

This day have had conversation with Brother Hansen. Brother Oyen was present. I talked with him very plainly, showing him just how he was standing and the influence he was exerting in the church. I had felt so burdened I had arisen at three o’clock and written some things that I wished to come before the people. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 27

November 12, 1885


Thursday night again spoke to the people. We had good congregations, but some of our brethren do not seem to feel that interest which they should feel to arise, put away their sins, and come into favor with God. I spoke with great plainness. During the day I wrote many pages to be translated for the benefit of the church. Brother Oyen translated the matter. W. C. White is feeling it to be duty to have laborers come to Norway, and it looks certain that they must have help. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 28

Last night W. C. White suggested that he was almost decided to attend the General Conference. At first I was surprised and said it could not be his duty to leave the work here to do this; but careful, calm consideration of the subject changed my mind. I thought he could serve the cause of God and especially His work in these mission fields better by going to America, so that from his own lips the Conference could hear of the necessities of the case for laborers and for money, rather than to read the same arguments in letter form. I now think it is right that W. C. White should go, although I shall miss him very much, and his counsel and advice seem to be almost a necessity at this time here. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 29


I feel worn and scarcely able to sit up. Last night W. C. White suggested he thought it might be his duty to go to America and attend the General Conference. At first I could not consent to this; but after thoughtful, prayerful consideration I felt that God had put this into his mind, and I would not stay him or hinder his going. I have written many pages today. W. C. White left us about three o’clock to cross the North Sea on his way to Liverpool and to take the steamer from there to New York. He will return, if it be the will of God, in about two months. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 30

November 14, 1885


Sabbath I spoke to the people from [blank in original]. I felt very solemn. The hall was filled, and we hope that deep impressions were made upon the minds of the people. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 31

November 15, 1885


This is the last day we will be in Christiania. Brother Hansen sent an invitation for us to ride out in his carriage to see the city. I had talked so plainly the day before, I feared he was offended at my plainness of speech. This day was pleasant. We had sunshine, but it was clear and cold. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 32

November 16, 1885


Arise early, for we must leave for the depot at quarter before six. My labors close in this place, and I know not when I shall be here again; perhaps never. Brother Hansen sent his carriage to take us to the depot. Brother Oyen accompanied us. At the depot we met several of our sisters who came to say good-by to us. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 33

Brother and Sister Olsen and Brother and Sister Hansen also came to say farewell. They remained until the cars started. Shall we meet again in this life, or shall we meet no more until the judgment? It is a solemn thing to die and a far more solemn thing to live. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 34

The scenery was interesting. Very many places resembled Colorado in its high and rocky summits, its towering mountains and rocky fields. We passed large forests of pine. The trees do not grow large. They are thick, straight, and small. This is a poor country for people to obtain a living in. Every little available spot of land is improved. The houses generally are small and cheap. There are some houses that show more wealth and prosperity. This would have been a wearisome day to us all were it not for the romantic scenery. The sun sets at this season of the year at half past three and rises about nine o’clock. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 35

November 17, 1885


I arose at three o’clock and used my pen until we were obliged to take breakfast at eight o’clock. Wrote eight pages. Took breakfast, and then we were taken in a hack to the boat. The steamer was small, but for the first hour we enjoyed our steamboat ride; then the captain advised us to go below, that we were getting into rough water. We did as directed and soon were made to realize the wisdom of this movement. We became very sick. Seasickness is very distressing to me. I vomited most earnestly. Sarah was also sick, severely. She said she was afraid several times that I was dead. My face was like a corpse and my eyes closed. This was a very severe experience to me, because of heart difficulty. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 36

In such a time I feel unable to carry the burden and trust myself in my weakness to my Saviour. He will take care of me. I have chosen Him as my helper, and I feel that I may safely commit the keeping of my soul and body to Him as to a faithful Creator. He will not leave His children who love and trust and serve Him to the will and power of Satan. It is so great a comfort to have such a friend. When the sea is tempestuous, how we long for something solid to set our feet upon. I tried to walk a short distance with the help of the stewardess. We were thrown to one side and the other, forward, backward, clinging with all our remaining powers to something that would not give way. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 37

While the boat is rolling, pitching, and tumbling about like a cork upon the water, I thought of the perils to which we are exposed by sea and by land. How much more dreadful it must be for one to feel the land like an ocean heave beneath their feet, the solid earth, hitherto firm and secure, rocking beneath them. I thought of the earth rolling like the waves of the great deep. I thought of the necessity of our refuge which cannot be moved, the sure mercies of God. In God we may trust. The mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but the kindness of God does not depart, nor His covenant of peace be removed from us. God never forsakes His trusting ones. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 38

November 18, 1885

We were on the cars from four o’clock the 17th until nine o’clock the 18th. I was too weak to sit up much through the day. We had a convenient compartment through the night. The seats were opened so we could lie down. At three o’clock we were all commanded to get out of the car, to have not only our baggage, but ourselves inspected. It was a bitterly cold night, and all insisted I should not go out into the cold. When the officials found the girls ready to get out, then they said, “You can go back and not go into the custom house.” But they were not exactly satisfied about that reported sick woman, so two officials with their regimentals came to the car with bright lanterns flashing into the car to see if a bundle of goods was not being transported into Germany and was being passed off as a sick woman. I sat upright and pleasantly said, “Here I am, gentlemen; please look at me, for I am a living woman.” I do not know whether they understood me or not. They burst into a good-natured, hearty laugh and said, “All right,” and we were left to sleep again if we could or lie awake after this untimely disturbance. We changed cars. Rode all day until seven o’clock, then the cars went no farther, and we stopped at Cologne. (Give description from guide book.) We had the privilege of seeing the cathedral which had been many, many years in building. It had been finished only in recent years [1880]. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 39

November 19, 1885

We arose early and walked a few steps to the train and traveled over a country abounding with remarkable places—high mountain heights. Land—or rather—rocks were cultivated to their very mountainous tops. There were some yards up terrace after terrace to the crest of the rocky heights. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 40

The cars stopped at this place, where we had to change for another car. Our baggage, which was no small amount, was all transferred to the waiting room. After seeing it nicely stacked, we walked out a short distance. When we returned it was about time to take the cars, and our baggage was gone we knew not where. Search was at once begun. We had paid the porters for bringing in our baggage, and after much diligent search, no one being able to talk to these sharp porters and officials, we found our baggage loaded onto a truck wagon. One man who had transferred it stood by, while another stood watch over the truck. Both must be paid a franc each, then an extra franc to put it in the car. You are not left to seek your porter, for the moment the guard opens the door then will one or two seize your satchels and walk off with them to the station or to transfer to another car. Sometimes this is an accommodation, sometimes an annoyance. It is quite convenient when a woman travels alone for the porter, for a franc—or less than twenty cents—will see you seated in the car with your baggage all safe. 4LtMs, Ms 27, 1885, par. 41