Ms 52, 1886

Ms 52, 1886

Visit to Bienne

Bienne, Switzerland

March 19, 1886

Portions of this manuscript are published in CTr 326.

In company with Brother Whitney, W. C. White, and Mary K. White, I left Basel March 19 to visit the church at Bienne. The weather was all we could desire, pleasant and favorable for our viewing the scenery through which we passed. 4LtMs, Ms 52, 1886, par. 1

The distance from Basel to Bienne was only sixty miles. We were four hours in the cars, and as the cars glided slowly along we had a fine opportunity of seeing the country through which we passed. On this line we have diversified scenery. There are settlements lying in between the mountains. The houses appear very ancient. Many of them are several hundreds of years old. Many are uncouth, without regularity, showing not much artistic skill in their form and arrangement. Then we pass by large cities and my thoughts are these: Who will give to these towns, villages, and cities the truth from the Word of God? These people, many of them, are in the darkness of error. We see chapels built, as in Italy, high up in the mountains. Castles are built upon the very brink of precipices, and we saw a church close by one of these. We would have been gratified could we have learned the history of these old castles and chapels. 4LtMs, Ms 52, 1886, par. 2

Here among the rocks and caverns of the earth the Lord has provided a hiding place for His people. These chapels, built so high upon the precipitous rocks that seem inaccessible to man, were thus arranged for safety and protection. They testify to us that there was a time when the people of God were suffering because they, like Daniel of old, purposed in their hearts that they would worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. They could not consent that man should be conscience for them, and they felt more secure in the wildness of rocks and mountains, where the wild beasts make their home from the snare of the fowler, than to trust themselves to the mercy of human beings who were infected with an erroneous religion and satanic zeal to maintain the customs and traditions of men, which were in direct opposition to the religion of the Bible. These were cruel as bloodthirsty wolves to extirpate all who should dare to differ with the doctrines of papists—men and women who would take the Bible and the Bible alone as their foundation, until its glorious beams scattered human tradition from their path, making clear the way of the Lord. The prince of darkness has marked these men as he marked Jesus the Light of the world. 4LtMs, Ms 52, 1886, par. 3

The man of sin is Satan’s agent. He sets his inventive powers to work, and Satan plans, and the followers of Jesus must prepare for a life-and-death struggle. The authority of the church, combined with the authorities of the nation, set themselves to work to cripple the consciences—to be themselves conscience for all men. For men to differ, and stand in opposition to these great men of the world in their religious faith and worship, would raise endless questions, and they could not keep this light to themselves. The more they pondered the question, the more they saw was involved in turning from old traditions to the Word of God. But they must face the conflict, harness for battle, rise above human littleness, and not have thoughts of self-preservation detain them in the prospect of unmeasurable danger and peril. The world’s Redeemer had given them in His life an example of what they must do and what they must be in order to win eternal life. This Jesus was a man of sorrows. He had suffered hunger and thirst and met the temptations of Satan with “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” [Matthew 4:4.] Jesus had told His followers that they must be ready to lose their lives if necessary for the truth’s sake. 4LtMs, Ms 52, 1886, par. 4

But our contemplations are broken in upon to view a mountain cataract, and then another scene opens before us. We view a round castle upon a high precipice. The walls are standing, and from this castle trees are growing. Near this castle quite a large church is located. It does not appear to have fallen into decay. We have a desire to know the history of this church, but we must, although reluctant, remain in ignorance. We pass through a much larger valley than we have yet seen. The snow-clad mountains surround the valley as a wall. 4LtMs, Ms 52, 1886, par. 5

Delemo is a very pretty town. It is a Catholic town. Here were carloads of wood, made up into small parcels—little sprouts of trees tied together with strings—to be marketed. 4LtMs, Ms 52, 1886, par. 6

We passed through a tunnel formed in the rock, and next was an iron foundry. The refuse of this iron is used by making it into a superior quality of brick. We saw houses, built of this brick, which looked very fine. Gigantic rocks we see everywhere. Birs River, which we have followed all the way from Basel, has been a rapid stream coming out of a rocky mountain, its head at Bienne. We see a most curious structure of rocks. Layer upon layer are distinctly seen. We see four tunnels at once through the heart of these rocky mountains. We pass through one tunnel and immediately enter a second, and then a third and fourth. Motier valley is beautiful and healthful. The cascades come down from the mountain sides. Another comes forth from the heart of a rock. Far down into a wild, deep chasm is seen a stream of water. The rocks rise perpendicularly from this gorge. 4LtMs, Ms 52, 1886, par. 7