The Review and Herald

364/1902

July 20, 1886

Among the Churches of Switzerland

EGW

Thursday morning, May 20, we left our home in Basel for a two weeks’ tour among the churches of Switzerland. We traveled by private conveyance, partly because we needed the benefit healthwise to be derived from such a journey. The roads of Switzerland are excellent. They are everywhere broad and macadamized, and are so carefully kept that there is but little dust or mud; and although Switzerland is very mountainous, the roads have been so laid out that there are few steep or difficult places. At noon we would usually stop to rest and eat our dinner in the grove, or under some broad-spreading tree by the way-side, and while resting in the heat of the day, our guide and interpreter would supply the neighboring families with our French or German missionary papers, according to the language they spoke. Much of the scenery was beautiful, and in places its grandeur was beyond all description. For grandeur and beauty combined, we think it exceeds anything we have seen in America, not excepting the mountains of Colorado. RH July 20, 1886, par. 1

Friday noon, we arrived at Tramelan, where we were cordially welcomed and entertained at the home of Bro. Roth. With the exception of the youngest three, this entire family—father, mother, seven sons, and three daughters—are members of the church. One son and one daughter are at work in the office at Basel. Bro. Roth is a merchant tailor, and his oldest son is in the same business. The second son has been a successful baker, and still retains an interest in the bakery, while he gives himself to the work as a colporter. The bakery, with its sales room, the two tailoring establishments, a store for general merchandise, and rooms for three or four families are all found in one commodious building. This arrangement by which the work and business are conducted under the same roof where the persons engaged in it find their home, is a characteristic feature of this country. This family is better situated and much more independent than most of our brethren in Switzerland, many of whom find it very difficult to obtain work on account of keeping the Sabbath. RH July 20, 1886, par. 2

The church at Tramelan is not large, and their meetings are held at the houses of the brethren. When the time for meeting comes, the largest room is quickly cleared, benches and boards which are kept for this purpose are brought in, and the large family room soon assumes the appearance of a meeting hall. On Sabbath, quite a number came in from the neighboring churches, so that the meeting room was filled and the adjoining rooms were occupied. It is seldom that these brethren have the privilege of listening to preaching, and they seemed hungry for gospel food. As I looked around upon those assembled, I thought, What great good they may do if they maintain their allegiance to God! Those who love not the truth will place many obstacles in the way of all such little companies; false doctrines will surely be presented for their acceptance. But if they are listening attentively to the voice of the True Shepherd, they will walk in the light as he is in the light. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” He who is all-powerful is able to keep his people, although they may be exposed to temptations and perils. He has promised to do this, however, only on condition that they trust and obey him. “Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” RH July 20, 1886, par. 3

On Sunday, services were held during the day, and in the evening the brethren came together for a missionary meeting. I spoke a short time on the privileges and duties of the Christian. If our brethren do not enjoy much ministerial labor, it is all the more important that they place themselves in a right relation to God, so that they can receive of his blessing themselves, and become channels of light to others. Much more is included in the term “missionary work” than is commonly supposed. Every true follower of Christ is a missionary, and there is almost an endless variety of ways in which he can work. But there is one thing which is frequently overlooked and neglected. It is the work of making the prayer and social meetings as interesting as they should be. If every one would do his duty with fidelity, he would be so filled with peace, faith, and courage, and would have such an experience to relate when he came to the meetings, that others would be refreshed by his clear, strong testimony for God. RH July 20, 1886, par. 4

Our prayer and social meetings are not what they should be,—seasons of special help and encouragement to one another. Each one has a duty to do to make these gatherings as interesting and profitable as possible. This can best be done by having a fresh experience daily in the things of God, and by not hesitating to speak of his love in the assemblies of his saints. If you do not allow darkness and unbelief to enter your hearts, they will not be manifest in your meetings. Do not gratify the enemy by dwelling upon the dark side of your experience, but trust Jesus more fully for help to resist temptation. If we thought and talked more of Jesus and less of ourselves, we should have much more of his presence in our meetings. RH July 20, 1886, par. 5

When we make our Christian experience appear to unbelievers, or to one another, as one that is joyless, filled with trial, doubt, and perplexity, we dishonor God; we do not correctly represent Jesus or the Christian faith. We have a friend in Jesus, who has given us the most marked evidence of his love, and who is able and willing to give life and salvation to all who come unto him. Why, then, do we not bring cheerfulness, hope, and thankfulness into our religious life? Why do we not praise God for his goodness, and speak with confidence of what he is doing for us? It is not necessary for us to be ever stumbling and repenting and mourning and writing bitter things against ourselves. It is our privilege to believe the promises of the word of God, and accept the blessings that Jesus loves to bestow, that our joy may be full. RH July 20, 1886, par. 6

On Tuesday, we drove from Tramelan to Bienne, where we attended their evening missionary meeting. A goodly number were present. I spoke about half an hour on the importance of not being discouraged in our efforts to spread the truth, and W. C. W. and others followed. They have here an active missionary society; but there is always danger of the workers’ becoming discouraged when all their expectations are not realized. How was it with the Prince of life, the world's Redeemer? He came to men with messages of love and warning; but only a few took any interest in his work. Did he then become discouraged because of the hardness of men's hearts? If he had, the whole human race would have been hopelessly lost. But no; he continued to work with unabated interest, whether men would hear or whether they would forbear. He was man's only hope, a bright and shining light amid the darkness. And shall the light of his followers grow dim amid the surrounding darkness because their labor is not appreciated? God forbid. We have entered upon a life-long struggle. We have started to run a race for an immortal crown, and we must run with patience if we would succeed. If we are weak, Christ is strong; if we are ignorant, he is wise; and we may unite our ignorance to his wisdom, and our frailty to his enduring might. RH July 20, 1886, par. 7

From Bienne we went to Chaux-de-Fonds, where we have a growing church of about forty members. Ten of these have been added during the last few months by the labors of Brn. Ertzenberger and Vuilleumier. Here I spoke Thursday evening, also Sabbath forenoon. Although followed by two interpreters, one in French and one in German, I felt the deep movings of the Spirit of God upon my heart. The truth seemed so clear and powerful, that I felt to say with the beloved John, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life,” “declare we unto you.” Although pressed by infirmities before I commenced to speak, the power of God rested upon me to such a degree, and I felt such a sense of the worth of souls, that every faculty seemed to be renewed. RH July 20, 1886, par. 8

I was specially called out to appeal to those who had been convinced of the truth, but who were still in a state of indecision, shrinking at the cross. Now was the time for them to decide to be on the Lord's side. Joshua said to Israel in their backslidings, “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.” We could not call the people forward, for they were packed in too closely; but nearly the entire congregation arose to signify their intention to put away every sin, and obey God. RH July 20, 1886, par. 9

After an earnest season of prayer, testimonies were borne in quick succession by nearly all present. It was a profitable meeting to us all. Although of different nationalities, our hearts were united on worshiping the one only true God. It is with an earnest longing that I look forward to the time when the events of the day of Pentecost shall be repeated with even greater power than on that occasion. John says, “I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.” Then, as at the Pentecostal season, the people will hear the truth spoken to them, every man in his own tongue. God can breathe new life into every soul that sincerely desires to serve him, and can touch the lips with a live coal from off the altar, and cause them to become eloquent with his praise. Thousands of voices will be imbued with the power to speak forth the wonderful truths of God's word. The stammering tongue will be unloosed, and the timid will be made strong to bear courageous testimony to the truth. May the Lord help his people to cleanse the soul temple from every defilement, and to maintain such a close connection with him that they may be partakers of the latter rain when it shall be poured out. RH July 20, 1886, par. 10

Several meetings were held at Chaux-de-Fonds for the special benefit of the church, and Sunday evening we went to Locle, where I had an appointment to speak on temperance. The brethren there had secured a large hall, and it was filled with a fine class of people, who listened with deep interest. While here in Europe, I shall try to improve every opportunity of reaching the public. Here, as in America, whenever the truth is presented in a new place, our enemies try to arouse the prejudice of the people against me and my work. If, when these false reports are put in circulation, there are some who have heard me speak, and can testify of the nature of my work, it may help counteract the influence of these falsehoods, and prevent much prejudice that might otherwise arise. RH July 20, 1886, par. 11

We have now visited all the churches in Switzerland, and spoken once or more in each place. But we feel a great desire to do more thorough work for them. While the brethren are noble, whole-hearted, and generous to the last with what little they have, there is still a great work to be done for them. They need more of a spirit of union and brotherly love. Not only is this the case in the churches of Switzerland, but we find the same difficulty existing all through Europe. There is a criticising, exacting spirit manifested, which, if long cherished, is sure death to spirituality and a growth in grace. May God give his ministering servants wisdom to know how to suppress this tendency wherever it may appear, and grant strength to his people to so overcome in this respect that the sweet spirit of the Lord may run from heart to heart, and His name be glorified. RH July 20, 1886, par. 12

In a few days we start for Scandinavia, where we expect to spend about four weeks in attending the Conference in Sweden, and other general meetings, as may be appointed. RH July 20, 1886, par. 13

Basel, Switzerland,

June 13, 1886.