Ellen G. White in Europe 1885-1887

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Chapter 17—The Magnificence of the Alps

Observations en route to Geneva

The Alps are the major system of mountains in south central Europe, forming a 680-mile arc from southeastern France across Switzerland, a portion of southern Germany, Austria, through Yugoslavia, to Albania. Mont Blanc (15,781 feet) is the highest point in the chain. The magnificent sweep of giant peaks forms the seat of a mammoth footstool, the legs of which stretch south into Yugoslavia and Italy. Gorgeous lakes of blue and more somber hues dot the alpine foothills, and streams flow north and south, east and west, from the snowclad summits. EGWE 181.1

Ellen White was deeply impressed as she viewed these mountains from her coach window while traveling northward through Italy and France into Switzerland. Her unique description of these scenic wonders, penned as she traveled, reveals a keen appreciation for natural beauty and, more important, a reverent and worshipful spirit. EGWE 181.2

The lessons she drew from nature's grand spectacle are worth repeating: EGWE 181.3

“The scenery is very grand on this route. With pen in hand, I sketch down the scenery as the cars move swiftly along. Now on either side of us rise almost perpendicular EGWE 181.4

mountains, pointing towards the heavens, and between these mountain gaps are seen in the distance mountain peaks above mountain peaks.... EGWE 182.1

“Villages are quite frequent here and there on the mountain sides and in the valleys are planted forests of evergreens. Then we come to rocks, bleak and bare like masonry towering up to an immense height. We pass through a tunnel and look down thousands of feet into a wild rocky ravine where the green waters are running over the rocks.... EGWE 182.2

“Then we reach again the high precipitous mountains. Houses are built, terrace after terrace, to the mountaintop, that looked as if hanging like nests to the very rocks.... EGWE 182.3

“Our track was cut through the heart of rocky mountains.... We come to a village. It is very old. Its name is Chilamonte. It stands two thousand feet above the level of the sea. These houses are roofed with dark brown flat stones, which give them an ancient appearance.... EGWE 182.4

“We pass through tunnel after tunnel. We emerge from one quickly to enter another. With pen in hand I have not chance to write more than one word before we are enclosed in darkness. We emerge from the fifteenth tunnel, and a beautiful scene is opened to our view.* Down, down, a long way below us is a valley which is nicely cultivated land. This smooth plain of grass and grain of living green extends to some distance. There are houses far below us. There is a stone wall—large, but in ruins—while on the tops of high mountains are buildings and ruined castles.... EGWE 182.5

“After traveling some hours we reached ... France, which is a beautiful country and the climate is mild and healthful. This scenery is composed of hills and mountains, with beautiful trees. The earth is now most lovely, clothed in her garments of living green, the trees are covered with the loveliest green foliage, and the fruit trees, many of them, are in full bloom. The apple, plum, peach, and horse chestnut and hedges of lilac make the air fragrant with their blossoms. There are trees that bear a rich pink and red blossom resembling a tulip in shape. There are also trees with pure white blossoms of the same description.* These broad valleys with the mountains in the background are clothed with forest trees. Up on the high mountain summits are built round towers and observatories and castles. EGWE 182.6

“The varied scenery is a scene of indescribable loveliness. As I look upon the marvelous works of God in nature I am filled with amazement at the ingratitude of men, that their hearts are not drawn out in love and adoration to God.... EGWE 183.1