Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Ms 21, 1887

Sermon/At Oakland, California

Oakland, California

October 14, 1887

Previously unpublished.

Now here we can see our appointed work. When Christ went away, He left His blessing upon those He left behind. He was parting from them, and He gave them to understand that their field extended to the uttermost parts of the world. They were not to confine their labors to their own home or to their own country, but they were to widen until it should compass the globe, it should go to the uttermost parts of the earth. Now this is the commission that Christ gave His disciples, and it comes sounding down along the lines to our times, and there is a work devolving upon every one of us which we cannot excuse ourselves from doing. 5LtMs, Ms 21, 1887, par. 1

Every soul who has received the light of life has a work to do to impart that light to those around him; and if they shall in any way by their course of action weaken their physical, mental, and moral powers so they cannot give themselves entirely to the work of God, they are not answering the purpose of God. We have something to do in this world, we have a solemn responsibility resting upon us toward the human family, and that responsibility rests upon every soul who has any knowledge of Bible truth. Now we don’t all have the same kind of work to do, but we are to engage in any part or branch of the Master’s service that we may accomplish the same end, the salvation of souls, and every church member should feel an interest in every other church member and not let his interest stop there, but it should go out to those who need a Saviour. 5LtMs, Ms 21, 1887, par. 2

Christ says, I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance [Mark 2:17]; therefore if we are co-laborers with the Master, we are to work to build up the Master’s kingdom. We are to go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, and doubtless we shall return again, bringing our sheaves with us. It is the greatest work, it is the most elevated work that was ever given to mortals, presenting and lifting up Jesus Christ to the people. There is no work that is so paying as this work; it may not be in dollars and cents, and yet it is a work that the reward to the faithful worker is nothing less than an eternal weight of glory. Can we measure it? Can we take it in—an eternal weight of glory? You will never know all there is to it, for eternity is revealing and opening the new treasures that are reserved for the saints of the most high God; therefore I tell you it is a paying business, and we have proved the Lord, and we know that even in this life we have the blessings of God resting upon us, and we would not exchange our experience for all the gold in California. 5LtMs, Ms 21, 1887, par. 3

Well now, what is our work while here? It is to try to be a blessing to humanity. No one of us has any time to devote to unimportant things. We have no time to study how to enrich ourselves. There are souls to save for whom Christ has paid an infinite price, and every one of us should take hold of this work. 5LtMs, Ms 21, 1887, par. 4

I have spent two years in Europe, and I know something of the work there. I have not compassed the earth, but I have seen so much that it makes my head swim. There are large cities there that have scarcely been touched with the truth. Copenhagen has hardly been entered. It is a beautiful city. One street is divided into four streets so making a place for the teams, horsemen, and footmen, and all these large streets are laid out with great skill and taste, and then there are the beautiful parks and gardens. Why, California does not begin to compare with the beautiful parks they have there. And what are all these for? Their gates are open to all, and the poor as well as the rich can go in there and rest. Now these things are well, just as it should be in our cities; but when you come to religion, you can hardly find a place to hold a religious meeting. You have to get into some small place out of the way, while the dance hall or place of amusement is well provided for. 5LtMs, Ms 21, 1887, par. 5

Well, here in this city you can walk the streets, and you will see the priests with their long robes, quilled ruffles, and every woman will curtsy to them, and man and child will bow. Well, I had the privilege to speak in Copenhagen three times, and God has raised up a church there, and we see the light shining in this dark and wicked city, and the means which have been sent over from this country are helping to raise up a church in this large city. Also in Christiania I had an invitation to speak to the people in Armoury Hall. Here were the bishops of the state church, and I treated the subject of temperance as many of you have heard me from a Bible standpoint. Now the question was raised (and you can see the phariseeism of this): it would not answer to pray in that house because the state ministers were there, and they would be offended with such a thing, and we had to go on without prayer, but they honored me by draping above me the stars and stripes of my own country. I felt thankful that they allowed me to stand under the banner of our own country. The Lord gave me freedom in speaking to the people although through an interpreter, and much is lost in this way. 5LtMs, Ms 21, 1887, par. 6

Then I had the privilege of attending the first camp meeting in Norway, and we had a good outside attendance. My journey there was accomplished with great difficulties. I had been very sick, but the Lord preserved me, although out of the desk I could sit up but little; the malaria was upon me, but God gave me strength, and I felt that the God of Israel was working for the people in that great city. I had a testimony for that people, and the Lord gave me strength to present it. 5LtMs, Ms 21, 1887, par. 7

When the enemy afflicts me, I never succumb. I have labored under very great feebleness, I have traveled from place to place and gone away in greater strength than when I came. When I left Copenhagen this last time to take the boat, I had been unable to take food for about two weeks; and as I went on board the boat, it rocked wonderfully, and I knew I should suffer. I was very sick all the time, and I laid down in the stateroom, and it seemed to me the very gate of heaven. I knew that the presence of Christ was there, I felt that my peace was like a river, and I had not the slightest concern, and I just praised the Lord, for His goodness to me seemed so marvelous that I exalted Him through the entire night. But Jesus never seemed so precious to me, and whenever His name is mentioned, there is a spring of gladness in my heart, for in Him all our hopes are centered, and I want to know why we should not be the most happy beings upon the face of the earth when we have such a Saviour. And here were the gleams of glory coming into my stateroom, and I was lifted up above my feebleness and praised God for His mercy and blessings. 5LtMs, Ms 21, 1887, par. 8

We had a rough passage, but we went to the Moss camp meeting, and the Lord gave me strength there, and some advanced steps were taken; but many are struggling with poverty, yet they are trying with all their might to advance the work and cause of God, and we have reason to bless and praise God. After the camp meeting at Moss, then they wanted us to go to Stockholm, Sweden, and my ticket was bought so I had to go considerable out of my way, and the cars only traveled in the daytime, and we would have to put up at the hotel at night, and I felt as though with this great feebleness I could not go there; but the Lord made it favorable for us, and when we presented our ticket to the agent, we found out that we need not go that way, so he let us go another shorter way. 5LtMs, Ms 21, 1887, par. 9

This was in midsummer when the sun arose about two o’clock and set at nine thirty, and everywhere as we went along we could see them holding the little evergreen branches, and they would go out in the grove and keep that day as we do the fourth of July in this country. Well, I thought that we would not have much of a camp meeting, but the tent was full, there were unbelievers from every quarter, there was hardly standing room for the crowd in the tent; and when they were standing up, they are a very courteous people in Sweden, and the only move there was in that meeting was when the people would change their position to let others see the speaker. Well, I had to speak through an interpreter, but the Spirit of God rested upon me, and the people listened as though they were bound down;and when I would go out of the meeting, the people would make it a point to have the carriage at the door to take me away into the country. I would pass out while they were singing, but they would block the way and try to speak to me; they had no idea of my going away without speaking to me, and although we could not understand each other, they would point up as much to say that we would meet above. 5LtMs, Ms 21, 1887, par. 10

Well, what about the testimonies of these people? Why, they are just the same as we hear here—the same trails and experiences we have here—and it did my heart good to hear them thanking God that the people in America thought so much of them that they had sent Sr. White over to speak these things to them. Many would say, You cannot labor for men here as you do for the people in America. I knew better than this, for I knew the Lord had given me a testimony for the people there, and its influence upon their minds was just the same as the influence it has upon the minds of the people here in America, and it would do your heart good to see them respond to the truth as it was presented. Many of their habits are different from ours, and when they talked of sending the young people here to educate them, I said, No, it will spoil them; better send a teacher to them and let them be educated there. 5LtMs, Ms 21, 1887, par. 11

And wherever we went, I found a difficulty existing with the people on the subject of temperance; and I spoke to them in Grimsby, and they furnished me a large choir of singers, and I had a large congregation, and I spoke to them upon temperance. Now it is more difficult for them in Europe to take hold of the truth than for the people here, for their bread and their life depend upon it. If they keep the Sabbath, they are turned out of employment, and they think that the only thing reliable is the religion of the state church; but nevertheless the truth has taken hold in cities beyond our expectations. Bro. Matteson’s health failed him, and he went to work to drill the people, and he ... [Remainder missing.] 5LtMs, Ms 21, 1887, par. 12