Ellen G. White: The Lonely Years: 1876-1891 (vol. 3)


Visit to Sweden

“We left Copenhagen this morning,” wrote Ellen White in her diary for Thursday, October 15, on the steamer for Malmo, Sweden (Manuscript 21, 1885). 3BIO 318.4

Both her diaries and letters abound in references to the historical and religious significance of cities and towns she passed through or visited. She gleaned information from brochures and by visiting with those familiar with the circumstances. 3BIO 319.1

A night's trip by train took them to Stockholm, where they were met by a Brother Norlin, who took the worker group to his home. Ellen White wrote of him as one who, in humble circumstances, was earnestly seeking to spread the knowledge of the truth, laboring as a colporteur: 3BIO 319.2

Shouldering his pack, stocked with our books and papers, he goes on foot from place to place, often traveling many miles a day. His profits have been very small.... On one of the large bound books [imported from America] he received but five cents a copy, on some other books only three cents. On those works published at our office in Christiania he received one-third discount.... 3BIO 319.3

Brother Norlin's wife is an industrious worker, doing housecleaning, washing, or any other kind of hard work by which she can help in gaining a livelihood. They live in a very economical manner, occupying one good-sized room on a fourth floor, with the use of a small kitchen with another family.—Ibid., 189. 3BIO 319.4

After pointing out that this is a sample of how the work had to be done in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, she declared: 3BIO 319.5

Those who are thus traveling on foot and carrying the books and papers in their leathern sacks are apparently engaged in a humble work; but they should not feel that it is in any sense degrading. It was in a humble manner that Christ labored when he was on the earth; He went on foot from place to place, teaching as He walked. Those who are spreading a knowledge of the truth are scattering precious light that some souls will accept. In the kingdom of God the fruit of their labors will be seen.—Ibid. 3BIO 319.6

While in Stockholm she and Sara were entertained in the home of a Sister Johanneson, who had lived in America and could speak English quite well. It was a comfortable home, heated by tall earthen stoves that reached nearly to the ceiling. Ellen White much enjoyed and appreciated the comfort provided. 3BIO 319.7

The worker group was in Stockholm from Friday to Wednesday morning, October 21, with meetings Friday evening, Sabbath morning, and then Sunday and Monday evenings. Of the Sabbath morning meeting held in a small public hall, Ellen White noted in her diary, “We call this a good day. The Lord strengthened me to speak to His people with clearness and power.” She then referred to prevailing sentiments she met: 3BIO 320.1

There is a spurious experience that is prevailing now everywhere in regard to the love of Jesus—that we must dwell on the love of Jesus, that faith in Jesus is all we need—but these souls must be instructed that the love of Jesus in the heart will lead to humility of life and obedience to all His commandments.... 3BIO 320.2

Those who reject the truth of the Bible do it under a pretense of loving Jesus. Those who love Jesus will reveal that love by being obedient children. They will be doers of the Word and not hearers only. They will not be continually pleading, “All that we have to do is to believe in Jesus.” This is true in the fullest sense, but they do not comprehend, they do not take it in its fullest sense. To believe in Jesus is to take Him as your Redeemer, as your Pattern. All who love Jesus must follow His example.”—Manuscript 26, 1885. 3BIO 320.3

Before the meeting that Sabbath morning, Matteson thought to give her a little guidance in the matter of the subject she should present. His suggestion was: 3BIO 320.4

That it would please the people if I speak less about duty and more in regard to the love of Jesus. But I wish to speak as the Spirit of the Lord shall impress me. The Lord knows best what this people needs. I spoke in the forenoon from Isaiah 58. I did not round the corners at all. If this is Brother Matteson's work, let him do it, but it is not my work. 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. 3BIO 320.5

In the social meeting that followed the sermon, the people expressed their thankfulness that the Lord sent them help from America, and revealed their gratitude to God for the truth and for the increased light Mrs. White had given them. They could see, they said, as they had not done before, “the necessity of greater strictness in keeping the Sabbath and could sense the offensive character of sin, and they would make earnest efforts to put sin away” (Ibid.). 3BIO 321.1

After a successful meeting Sunday night, with the hall crowded and many standing, Ellen White expressed her disappointment in the unfavorable accommodations. The repetition of such experiences led her to appeal for more faith and vision as to what could be done if proper preparations were made. 3BIO 321.2

The visit to Sweden included a few days at Grythyttehed, 150 miles northwest of Stockholm, and then Orebro, meeting with companies of believers at each place. In imagination she relived the days of the reformation, and then the preaching of the Advent message in Sweden in 1842 and 1843, when the mouths of those who would herald the message were closed by authorities. In these circumstances the power of God came upon several children, and they heralded the message and called upon the people to get ready. [See The Great Controversy, 366, 367.] After reviewing the experience, she wrote in her account of her visit to Sweden: 3BIO 321.3

Years ago, the work of the first [angel's] message in these countries was presented before me, and I was shown circumstances similar to those related above. It was God's will that the tidings of the Saviour's coming should be given in Sweden, and when the voices of His servants were silenced, He put His spirit upon the children, that the work might be accomplished.—Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 206. 3BIO 321.4

She had an opportunity to see firsthand the adverse circumstances of many in regard to the Sabbath. She wrote: 3BIO 321.5

Worldly prosperity is not often the lot of those who receive the truth. Our brethren in America have but little idea of the difficulties to be met by those who keep the Sabbath in these countries.... 3BIO 321.6

Many a man works for thirty-five cents a day in the summer, and fifteen in the winter. Most of our people are poor, and it is very difficult for them to obtain work, even at low prices.... There are many who have to lift a heavy cross, and walk by faith, not by sight. Many suffer poverty and reproach; but this should not prevent them from obeying God's commandments. Their reward will be in accordance with their self-denial and sacrifice for the truth's sake.—Ibid., 194. 3BIO 322.1