Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 15b, 1886

Visit to Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark

July 1886

Formerly Undated Ms 47a. See Lt 101, 1886. Portions of this manuscript are published in LDE 232; 6MR 143-144.

Since coming to Copenhagen I have been feeling much better healthwise. I have been enabled to walk twice a day the distance of one mile. I have been speaking in our morning meetings. Tuesday I spoke both morning and evening. We are situated in the fourth story of a boarding house. Directly opposite our windows is the City Botanical Garden. In this garden are many trees of every variety, and plants and flowers of every description. There are several large nursery buildings in the enclosure. There is an artificial lake and artificial hill where many rocks are gathered and classified. In this garden seats are arranged for the conveniences of visitors, and all may enter it that chose. 4LtMs, Ms 15b, 1886, par. 1

W. C. White and I have walked over the grounds nearly every day. Just opposite this garden on one side is the hospital for invalids. The buildings are noble and well constructed. We have had very pleasant weather since we came here. Scarcely a cloud in the horizon and no rain. Just a short distance from this hotel is the barracks, and every day in the early morning the tramp, tramp of many feet is heard from the soldiers marching through the streets with their knapsacks and their guns over their shoulders. I think they go to the parade grounds for drill. 4LtMs, Ms 15b, 1886, par. 2

Here are many things which make the place one of great attractiveness. There are many city parks nicely arranged, beautified with trees and flowers of every variety. There are artificial lakes with swans in them, and there are many seats prepared to accommodate visitors. The streets here are arranged upon a very liberal plan. The street which leads to our place of meeting is over 100 feet wide and is divided into seven parts with three rows of trees between them. The first is sidewalk, the second a place for carriages, this paved with stone; then comes a place for men on horseback; then a broad street for footmen; next another carriage way, and then the sidewalk. This is all grand, safe, and convenient for all parties. But I look away from this in imagination to that city whose builder and maker is God, and whose broad streets are of pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And He showed me a pure river of water of life clear as crystal proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life which bear twelve manner of fruits and yielded her fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nation. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it. 4LtMs, Ms 15b, 1886, par. 3

W. C. White, Eld. Brorson, and I visited the tower that stands at one end of a large church. This tower is so constructed that in the place of stairs to ascend there is a broad street paved with stone, and it winds round and round, ascending gradually as it rises nine stories high. We went to the very top and obtained an extensive view of the city, and of the surrounding cities and islands. I did not take great pleasure in looking down from such a dizzy height. I was told that Peter the Great and Frederick the Fourth with horse and carriage rode to the top of this tower, but they could not have ridden clear to the top because there are three sets of stairs before you enter the top, but horse and carriage could without any difficulty go to the last story where the stairs commence. 4LtMs, Ms 15b, 1886, par. 4

It is said that while looking down from this dizzy height Peter the Great addressed Frederick in these words: “Which of us has soldiers who would prove their fidelity by throwing themselves down from here if the king told them to do so?” King Frederick answered [he could not say] that he had any soldier that would do this; but he could say that he was not afraid to sleep in the house of the poorest subject in his kingdom. Noble man who could give such a noble answer! 4LtMs, Ms 15b, 1886, par. 5

I cannot express to you how much at times I long for retirement. Especially is this the case when I am in a large, noisy city like this. The noise of carriages on the stone pavements makes it difficult at times for common conversation to be heard. When upon the streets, the clatter of wooden shoes, people coming and constantly on foot, the baby carriages, women and men and boys wheeling their handcarts, screeching out to the top of their voices their goods for merchandise, and the noisy heavy carriages are so confusing you scarcely know where you are. Ah, well, all this will have an end! 4LtMs, Ms 15b, 1886, par. 6

My heart is filled with joy at the thought Jesus is coming. I long to hear the sound of the last trump and see the righteous dead come forth to immortal life. Then we that are alive shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, caught up with them to meet our Lord in the air, and so forever be with our Lord. 4LtMs, Ms 15b, 1886, par. 7

We see that everything here in Copenhagen has been arranged upon a broad plan. Large means must have been expended to place things in the condition of so great perfection. There is a Greek church, the dome of which is covered with gold. Its appearance glistening in the rays of the setting sun presents a splendid picture. The view from our windows is very fine—large and expensive buildings, domes, spires, and noble trees of every variety, making it look like a forest in the very heart of the city. As I looked over the city from the high tower, and then contemplated the scene which must take place at the second advent of our Lord in the clouds of heaven, it almost made me shudder. He will come with power and glory, with the speed of the lightning flash, as a thief in the night. Every strong bolt and fancied secured fastenings are shaken open by the mighty earthquake, and the trumpet sounds. Oh, what terror, what shrieks of agony will come from human lips that have mocked and derided every overture of mercy from God’s messengers. But there are waiting, watching ones. They are not surprised as those in unbelief, as those in the days of Noah. They did believe the message of old, and they did prepare for the event. 4LtMs, Ms 15b, 1886, par. 8

I think of this city given to beer drinking, card playing, gambling, dancing, and revelries; and if they hear the last message of mercy, they mock the message and the messenger as in Noah’s day, saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?” [2 Peter 3:4.] All things remain as they were from the beginning. When the message has fallen upon their ears of the threatened wrath of God upon the despisers of His mercy, they have mocked at the words of warning. Self-indulgence, love of pleasure, and sin so engross their minds that they care for none of these things. The dwellers in Copenhagen will be awakened only too late, as were the dwellers in Sodom. As they awoke in the morning of that eventful day when the retributive judgment of God fell upon the wicked city, they thought to commence a day of godless riot, when suddenly [from] the sun shining [in the] heavens were hurled balls of fire upon the doomed capital. What a scene of misery and screams of anguish and distress was that day of retributive judgment. 4LtMs, Ms 15b, 1886, par. 9

So shall also the coming of the Son of man be; they will be eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage until the wrath of God falls upon the heads of the guilty without mixture of mercy. The world is rocked to sleep in the cradle of carnal security. Men and women hurrying to and fro upon their expeditions of pleasure without a thought of the all-important subject of the Lord’s coming. 4LtMs, Ms 15b, 1886, par. 10

Have they not been taught by the ministers that the second coming of Christ is only spiritual? The literal appearing of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven has been discarded by the largest class of the religious world. The prophetic figures which trace down the history of events have had no interest to them. Christ at the door has been denounced as fanaticism and heresy. The lovers of pleasure were intent upon their own amusement; the moneymaker was seeking wealth; and all saying, Where is the promise of His coming? Skepticism and that which is called science have undermined the faith to a large degree of the Christian world in their Bibles. Error and fables are gladly accepted, that they may pursue the path of self-indulgence and be not alarmed, for they are striving not to retain God in their knowledge. They say tomorrow will be as this day and much more abundant. But in the midst of their unbelief and godless pleasure, the shout of the archangel and the trump of God are heard. The fatal deception is broken at last, and they find themselves weighed in the balance and found wanting. 4LtMs, Ms 15b, 1886, par. 11

Behold I come as a thief. Just when the world has been rocked to sleep by the peace and safety cry of the professed watchman, just when the scoffer is uttering his bold challenge, Where is the promise of His coming; when everything in our world is busy activity immersed in selfish ambition for gain, Jesus comes as a thief in the night. Watch therefore for the solemn events predicted. The believing, watching ones are addressed, “Yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night, for when they shall cry, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them and they shall not escape.” [1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3.] 4LtMs, Ms 15b, 1886, par. 12

These grand and magnificent buildings will be shaken down. The guilty worshipers will be buried in their ruins. Jesus has pronounced a blessing upon the waiting, watching ones who are faithful sentinels, who are anticipating the Lord’s coming. They are ever of the watchtower faithfully doing their work, having on the whole armor of God. Christ sees the danger of even those who believe the truth, becoming careless and losing the spirit of watchfulness. He addresses to His own followers the solemn words, “Watch ye therefore, for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, at midnight, at the cockcrowing or in the morning, lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.” [Mark 13:35, 36.] Eternal vigilance is our only safety. I feel deeply in earnest at this time and have some sense of the dangers that threaten the church lest many of its members will not be found in a waiting, watching, expectant attitude. We are exhorted by the apostle to not only be looking for, but hastening unto the day of God. The coming of Christ is called the blessed hope, and the blessing is pronounced upon him that watcheth and keepeth his garments. The watching and waiting ones will be more active in doing and working in the vineyard of the Lord. They will be strictly temperate in eating and dressing. Humility and simplicity will be expressed in all their acts. In harmony with the truth which they believe, those who are watching more nobly and truly are the ones who are working with the greatest vigilance to arouse souls to their danger. All heaven is in busy activity preparing for the great day of God’s judgment, which is the days of Zion’s deliverance, and shall not the waiting ones by word and action proclaim to all the end of all things is at hand: Be ye ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh. Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 4LtMs, Ms 15b, 1886, par. 13

We must keep faithful watch over the affections of the heart and character. We must maintain a spotless life and be jealous of ourselves lest the least sin shall defile our character. We cannot be too careful in our preparation that we may meet our Lord in peace. All our powers should be taxed to the utmost to understand the Word of God; to listen to His voice of warnings and counsel. We should seek earnestly to adorn the soul temple in a manner to please our Lord. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning the plaiting of the hair, the wearing of gold, the putting on of apparel, but the hidden man of the heart in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great price. The little while of tarrying is almost ended; the pilgrims and strangers here upon the earth who are seeking a better, even a heavenly, country are almost home. Are we then looking and waiting to see the King in His beauty? We now should be earnestly getting ready. We have great and holy truths, but they will be of no benefit to us if we do not bring them into our practical life and if our hearts are not sanctified through the truth. The blessed hope of Christ’s soon appearing should impart to us new animation and give intensity to every Christian grace, strengthen our faith, increase our confidence and trust in God, quickening our zeal and earnest fervor. 4LtMs, Ms 15b, 1886, par. 14

Since coming to Copenhagen, I have spoken twice at length to a full hall and they seemed deeply interested. I have spoken four times in the morning meetings, half an hour each time. These meetings seem to be as highly appreciated as in America, if we can judge from the testimonies borne. This morning I spoke with unusual freedom. A gentleman arose and said he lived in the country, and in visiting Copenhagen he had never found anything good in it, but he thanked God that he had come to this morning meeting. He had not visited Copenhagen for nine years, but he had found something this morning which made him thankful that he had come. He had heard the truth as he never heard it before, and it had made an impression upon him which he should never forget. He believed the time had come mentioned by the prophet when your sons and your daughters should prophesy. He said he wanted to be among the people of this faith. The wife of this man was in the meeting. He had bitterly opposed her, for she had been a believer for several years. After meeting closed his wife took my hand and in a most affectionate manner kissed me again and again and spoke in Danish, looking up to heaven. Sr. Matteson said she had read my writings, but never expected to see me, but the Lord had greatly blessed her in hearing the message from my lips. She seemed unwilling to let go my hand. Her feelings were deeply stirred. The position her husband had taken was a matter of unexpected blessing to her. 4LtMs, Ms 15b, 1886, par. 15