Manuscript Releases, vol. 5 [Nos. 260-346]

59/99

MR No. 319—History of Adventists in Italy

September 18, 1885—Dr. Vincenzo Guerini, a most promising, affable Italian, filled a tooth for me, from which the filling had come out. He is considered a superior workman in Naples, Italy. He is full in the faith. He filled three hundred cavities at the last conference for our people, for which he would receive nothing. 5MR 268.1

September 19, 1885—At half past six had a consultation with the Brethren Bourdeau, their wives, and Brother Whitney and his wife. We were talking in regard to the best way to help the Italian brethren. We received some light by talking over the matter together. 5MR 268.2

September 21, 1885—Brother Mallon bore an excellent testimony. He is an Italian. His wife was educated in Holland and speaks three languages. She is a woman of uncommon ability. 5MR 268.3

September 23, 1885—It was considered advisable that as soon as it could be well brought about, A. C. Bourdeau should go to Torre Pellice in Italy to labor, to hold what the truth has already gained and to gain still others to the truth. Brother and Sister Mallon live in this place. Brother Mallon is a publisher; has a printing office.... 5MR 268.4

Daniel [Bourdeau] then presented his plans that France and Italy be not encouraged to unite with Switzerland, but become a separate conference and use their means among themselves to build up their own conference. This I earnestly opposed, for the influence would be bad. It would not lead to union and harmony in the work, but to separate interest and they would not labor for that oneness that the Lord demands. 5MR 268.5

September 24, 1885—Attended early morning meeting. “If any man thirst let him come unto Me and drink.” I had the burden to speak of the different nationalities and the necessity of union and harmonizing in their efforts, that Italians, Germans, French, Swedes, and every tribe and nation have, not six paths, but only one model to copy, and this one mould to receive—Jesus Christ the perfect example.—Manuscript 16a, 1885, pp. 23-27. (Diary, “The Journey to Europe,” July 7 to September 24, 1885.) 5MR 269.1

I present that my brethren shall understand just how I treat this matter.... 5MR 269.2

The law of God was the great subject of controversy in heaven. It is the great subject of controversy ever since the fall of Satan and will continue to be the great test question showing the loyal and the transgressors in two parties.—Manuscript 22, 1885, 6, 9. (Diary, Torre Pellice, Italy, circa November 30, 1885.) 5MR 269.3

November 20, 1885—I have a conversation with Elder Whitney. He presents before me that necessity of our speedily visiting Italy. They need help at this time. 5MR 269.4

November 23, 1885—Have conversation with Elder Whitney. He read letters from Brethren D. and A. C. Bourdeau, urging our going to Italy, and Daniel urges us come around through Geneva. But this will cost time and money, and as our tickets take us on that route in returning we decide to go direct to Italy, leaving Basel next Thursday morning, which will bring us into Torre Pellice about noon.—Manuscript 28, 1885, 1, 4. (Diary, “Labors in Switzerland,” November 20-25, 1885.) 5MR 269.5

December 6, 1885—In the evening I spoke from Matthew 14:52. A young man consented to serve as my interpreter. His father encouraged him to do this. We hope this effort will help him. He says it is the first time he has interpreted for anyone. He has a good education, and we hope he will have moral courage to take his stand on the true platform. His father seems interested to hear me speak.... 5MR 270.1

December 9, 1885—How little knowledge these people have of the laws of life and health! But should you try to enlighten them, they would take it as an offense. We can only hope that the truth will take hold upon the hearts of some and then they will be elevated and sanctified through the truth.... From what we see with our eyes we think the cattle generally are well cared for—much better than the women. 5MR 270.2

December 11, 1885—He [the owner of a hall Adventists wished to rent] was smooth as only an Italian can be, but none the less determined. 5MR 270.3

December 13, 1885—Two brothers, and a son of one, are ministers. These three understood English.—Manuscript 29, 1885, 8, 11, 12, 13. (Diary, November 26 to December 15, 1885.) 5MR 270.4

December 22, 1885—Received a large bundle of letters from Brother Daniel [Bourdeau]. He writes tenderly. May the Lord guide His servant in judgment is my prayer and spare his life until his work is done. He does too much, and we know not how to hinder him. He has an active brain that cannot find repose and rest.—Manuscript 30, 1885, 4. (Diary, “Labors in Switzerland—#3,” December 16 to 31, 1885.) 5MR 270.5

I attended the morning meeting. There was quite a large gathering of Germans, French, Italians, and English.... 5MR 271.1

After meeting, Dr. Vincenzo Guerini, an Italian, filled a tooth for me. He is a refined gentleman, a dentist. He is considered the best workman in Naples. He is fully in the truth. A man of excellent spirit.... 5MR 271.2

At half past six a.m. had a consultation with Brethren Bourdeau, Whitney, and their families. We were considering the best way to help the Italian Mission. We can see only one way, if we can bring it to pass, to connect Brother and Sister Mallon from Torre Pellice with the Basel Publishing House, and A. C. Bourdeau with his family go to Italy and occupy their house.... The talent of Brother and Sister Mallon is much needed in the publishing house at Basel.... 5MR 271.3

One brother who has been laboring in Naples, Biglia by name, had been unwilling to come under the control of the conference. Yet he depended on them for means to carry on the work in his own way. He had manifested a spirit of independence. He expressed himself with deep feeling and confessed his unconsecrated condition. He said, “I have heard and read about the mission of Sister White, but now I have seen and handled this matter myself. I acknowledge that the power of God has come to my heart through her testimony. I receive it as from God. I humble myself before God. God's voice in reproof of my sins has come to me through Sister White”.... 5MR 271.4

I had a talk with Brother Whitney in regard to Brother and Sister Mallon's uniting their talent with the publishing house in Basel. It is thought best to carry this through. May the Lord help in working up this matter.—Letter 23, 1885, pp. 1-4. (To Elder G. I. Butler, September 18, 1885.) 5MR 272.1

We left Basel April 16, and arrived here safely and are all as well as usual. We were some wearied as it took us till Friday four o'clock to reach our destination. Our tickets took us by Milan and we had the privilege of visiting the cathedral there. This is one of the greatest cathedrals in Europe. We saw some other interesting things. 5MR 272.2

I spoke to the people here in Torre Pellice on Sabbath. I was so thankful for the blessing of the Lord that I felt, and also those assembled felt it. We had a precious season. Today I go five miles out where Bro. A. C. Bourdeau has been laboring, to speak at four o'clock.... 5MR 272.3

Evening meetings are very taxing to me, for I cannot sleep after speaking till midnight. Elder Bourdeau and Bro. Bigleo went to Villar Pellice to fill the appointment given out for me.... 5MR 272.4

The hall where they hold their meetings was packed full and then there was a large number, from 100 to 200, who could not get in, so a Bro. Geymete preached to the crowd outdoors while Elder A. C. Bourdeau to those inside. Thus two meetings were going on at the same time.... 5MR 272.5

My soul is burdened for poor, benighted Italy. I weep and pray over the matter, begging for wisdom and the power of God that He will help the laborers here, that the truth shall triumph, and that the work shall move on against the darkness and superstition and error. We cannot appreciate the truth only in contrast with error; with the dark background, false doctrines, and error, the truth shines forth clear and connected, link after link, uniting in a perfect whole; it binds all that is good and true together, and connects them with heaven.—Manuscript 15a, 1886, pp. 1, 4. (“Labors in Italy,” April 18, 1886.) 5MR 272.6

My text was Matthew 9:28-30. The congregation were, many of them, intelligent men and women. I presented the truth in its simplicity, that old and young could understand. This was the manner of Jesus’ preaching. He taught the people in simplicity. He used no large words that the unlearned could not understand. The unlearned, the veriest child, could understand His words.... 5MR 273.1

The elder of the Baptist church sent a request by one for the privilege of asking some questions and making some remarks after the discourse. Some prominent members of his church were present. He stated he wished to present his ideas.... None of these men will open their churches for us to speak to their congregations and yet when we have to crowd into little rooms and go out in the open air they would press their opposition to the truth even under these circumstances.... 5MR 273.2

April 26 we had profitable conversation with Brother Biglia in regard to his future field of labor, as he is now desirous to give himself full to the work.—Manuscript 55, 1886, 2. (“Visit to Babbio, Italy,” Sunday, April 25, 1886.) 5MR 273.3

April 19, 1886—It is a hard field, but not any harder field than Jesus had to work in—no harder hearts than Jesus had to meet, no greater discouragements than Jesus met daily.... 5MR 274.1

Our prayer to our heavenly Father is that light may shine in upon the moral darkness of the people here in these Piedmont Valleys.... 5MR 274.2

April 20, 1886—The Vaudois ministers are satisfied to be supported, to keep the people in a state of ignorance. They are religiously without life and practical godliness and are content to remain so. 5MR 274.3

April 21, 1886—Brother Biglia arrived here. He called on Mr. Mallon and expected to meet him as he had done, but was treated very rudely. We had met him only about an hour before. Brother Biglia had not heard of his apostasy, and he was greatly shocked. He asked where A. C. Bourdeau lived and if Brother White had arrived at Torre Pellice. He answered roughly [that] he knew nothing about them and he had nothing to do with them. 5MR 274.4

April 24, 1886—There is a Vaudois church and a Catholic church in this place, but the Protestant church is as firmly closed against us as is the Catholic. We will have to reach the people through God in some way. A tent is sent for and that will be tried ere long.... 5MR 274.5

April 27, 1886—Superstition, unbelief, and ignorance prevail here in Italy among these Vaudois. Has the glory forever departed from this people, the descendants of the Waldenses? The religion, systems, and forms, have sunk into apostasy. Will they never rise gain? There is in Christianity that which these churches do not possess.—Manuscript 62, 1886, 7, 9, 11, 20. (Diary, “Second Visit to Italy,” April 15 to 29, 1886.) 5MR 274.6

There is one man who has been laboring in Naples, who by appointment met us in Torre Pellice, Italy, and we labored with him, and sought most earnestly to help him to take hold of the work, not as a fighter, contending and debating, as was his habit, driving people away from the truth rather than into it. He saw we talked the truth, not with storm; not pelting the people with denunciations like hailstones.... 5MR 275.1

This brother from Naples said he had received much light, and would labor in altogether a different manner than he had done. The Italians are an excitable people. They will bring every power to bear suddenly, and under great excitement will exclaim, “Is this so? What will you do? Will you keep the Sabbath? Say Yes or No!” They are as sharp as a razor, [and] cut off the ears of the people, and make them mad, and that is the end of the business, so far as converting them to the truth is concerned. 5MR 275.2

Now we have to work with these men who are really intelligent, just as we worked with them one by one in the infancy of the Seventh-day Adventist cause; separating from these precious souls their unsanctified ways and manners; talking to them about Jesus, His great love, His meekness, His lowliness, His self-denial. These rough stones we bring if possible into the worship of God where they will be hewed and squared, and all the rough edges removed, and they be polished under the divine hand until they will make precious stones in the temple of God and shall be living stones, emitting light. Thus they may grow up into a holy temple for God.... 5MR 275.3

Brother A. C. Bourdeau occasionally attends these meetings [in the stables] but the principal workers are Italians.... Italians can stand this atmosphere much better, so we are seeking to educate the Italians to go into the stables, and when once the people are interested, then halls are hired. These halls are generally only rooms in a private dwelling, which will hold about one hundred people. Then Elder A. C. Bourdeau, our laborer in Italy, speaks to them. But if they should once get the impression that he would not condescend to meet them in the stable, they would say, because he is an American he thinks himself too good to associate with us, and we will not go to hear him.... 5MR 275.4

Brother Geyment, an Italian, is doing what he can. We tried to educate him. He can talk both French and Italian, so he is fitted for this field. This brother walks up the rugged mountains through the defiles in paths where precipices are on either side, and where in fogs, which are so common to these mountains, a stranger would most surely imperil his life, but one who is accustomed to these trails can find his way, but he dare not go alone. He is holding meetings in three different villages, one five miles away, another seven, and another three. He goes on foot to these places, holds his meetings commencing at eight o'clock and then walks home, getting to his bed about midnight. This is done night after night.... 5MR 276.1

We left W. C. White with Brother Geymet to attend the meeting in the stable.—Letter 44, 1886, pp. 2-6. (To Brother and Sister W. H. Littlejohn, May 10, 1886.) 5MR 276.2

Released March 7, 1973.