Ellen G. White in Europe 1885-1887


Elevating the Standard of Piety

She spoke on Friday evening, October 16, to a full hall on the True Vine of John 15. Matteson interpreted for her into Swedish, though he was more comfortable translating into Danish. EGWE 104.6

He had noted a strong antinomian element among the people of Stockholm and, after listening to God's servant preach, he suggested to her that she should speak less of “duty” and more in regard to “the love of Jesus.” EGWE 104.7

“But I wish to speak as the Spirit of the Lord shall impress me,” she wrote in her diary. “The Lord knows best what this people needs.” And when she preached the next morning in church on Isaiah 58, she “did not round the corners at all” (Manuscript 26, 1885). EGWE 105.1

“My work is to elevate the standard of piety and true Christian life, and urge the people to put away their sins and be sanctified through the truth. I tried to impress them with the necessity of strictly observing the Sabbath according to the commandment.”—Ibid. EGWE 105.2

Even though Matteson sincerely believed this was the wrong approach, the people responded warmly to Ellen White's message. There was a “precious social meeting” after the sermon, during which many expressed their desire to keep the Sabbath more carefully and confessed that they had gained a new sense of the “offensive character of sin” (Ibid.). EGWE 105.3

Sunday she spoke again to a hall so crowded with people that one woman fainted. All through this stay in Stockholm she continued to suffer from the cold, foggy weather. She was sometimes afraid she would permanently damage her lungs, but she said, “My prayer day by day is, Keep me, my Saviour, and permit not that I shall leave this country before my work is done” (Ibid.). EGWE 105.4

There was yet another sermon on Monday about the second coming of Christ. That night it snowed, and Sister White observed how the four Johanneson children, aged 8 down to 3, were happily getting out their sleds, “full of joy” at the prospects of good snow and a happy time sledding! Did Mrs. White wish that she were young again? The joys of childhood were pleasant to her, and she counseled parents to make happy homes for their children: EGWE 105.5

“Youth cannot be made as sedate and grave as old age, the child as sober as the sire. While sinful amusements are condemned, as they should be, let parents, teachers, and guardians of youth provide in their stead innocent pleasures which will not taint or corrupt the morals. Do not bind down the young to rigid rules and restraints that will lead them to feel themselves oppressed and to break over and rush into paths of folly and destruction. With a firm, kind, considerate hand hold the lines of government, guiding and controlling their minds and purposes, yet so gently, so wisely, so lovingly, that they will still know that you have their best good in view.”—The Adventist Home, 498. EGWE 106.1