Ellen G. White in Europe 1885-1887


Signing the Temperance Pledge

But some of the Adventists would not sign the temperance pledge. The reasons given were not justified, however. Mrs. White explained: EGWE 270.3

“Their excuse was that their work called them into places where wine would be passed to them (as is customary in this country), and they could not refuse to take it for fear of offending those for whom they worked. I thought that here was a very good opportunity for them to lift the cross, and let their light shine forth as God's peculiar people whom He was purifying unto Himself. EGWE 270.4

“We should never be ashamed of temperance in all things, while we remember Christ's long and painful fast to break the power of Satan's temptations over the race upon the point of appetite. Christ fought the battle in painfulness, in weakness, and conquered Satan, making it possible for man to conquer in the name and strength of Jesus Christ. Then why should the followers of Jesus be ashamed to refuse the tempting wine cup?”—Ibid. EGWE 270.5

And what was to be done about the drinking of beer? Was this matter of no consequence for the Adventist? EGWE 270.6

“The beer-drinkers will present their glasses of beer, and those who claim to be children of God may plead the same excuse for not signing the temperance pledge,—because they will be treated with beer, and it will not be agreeable to refuse. These excuses may be carried to any length, but they are not of any weight; and we were sorry that any who claimed to believe the truth should refuse to sign the pledge—refuse to put barriers about their souls and fortify themselves against temptation. They choose to leave the bars down, so that they can readily step over and accept temptation without making the effort to resist it.”—Ibid. EGWE 271.1

The servant of God brought the test of temperance home to the consciences of the people with fine distinction: EGWE 271.2

“Jesus endured the painful fast in our behalf, and conquered Satan in every temptation, thus making it possible for man to conquer in his own behalf, and on his own account, through the strength brought to him by this mighty victory gained as man's substitute and surety. We thank the Lord that a victory was gained upon these points, even here in Basel; and we hope to carry our brethren and sisters up to a still higher standard to sign the pledge to abstain from Java coffee and the herb that comes from China. We see that there are some who need to take this step in reform.”—Ibid. EGWE 271.3

The Swiss Conference continued until March 8. During the nearly three weeks of the session Ellen White spoke 17 times. Apparently there were some obstreperous and harsh spirits to be conquered, for Ellen White felt the need for words to be spoken about kindness and patience, and on Sunday, March 6, she addressed the workers from Ephesians 6:10-12. Then she wrote: “My mind was taken into a channel wholly unexpectedly to me upon the subject of patience and kindness and forbearance with one another.”—Manuscript 29, 1887. EGWE 271.4