The Review and Herald

419/1902

December 6, 1887

Our Missions in Europe

EGW

A great work is committed to those who present the truth in Europe. No branch of our work has a more important field that the Central European Mission. There are France and Germany, with their great cities and teeming population. There are Italy, Spain, and Portugal, after so many centuries of darkness, freed from Romish tyranny, and opened to the word of God—opened to receive the last message of warning to the world. There are Holland, Austria, Roumania, Turkey, Greece, and Russia, the home of millions upon millions, whose souls are as precious in the sight of God as our own, who know nothing of the special truths for this time. The population comprised within the limits of this mission alone is four times that of the United States. RH December 6, 1887, par. 1

A good work has already been done in these countries. There are those who have received the truth, scattered as light-bearers in almost every land. We have nearly three hundred Sabbathkeepers in Switzerland. There are little companies in France, Germany, and Italy, and two hundred souls in Russia, who are obeying God's law; and there is a church of forty members away in the far east, almost to the line of Asia. The foundation has been laid for a church in Holland. In Roumania and Corsica there are a few who are seeking to keep God's commandments, and to wait for his Son from heaven. RH December 6, 1887, par. 2

But how little has been done in comparison with the great work before us! Angels of God are moving upon the minds of the people, and preparing them to receive the warning. Missionaries are needed in fields that have yet been scarcely entered. New fields are constantly opening. The truth must be translated into different languages, that all nations may enjoy its pure, life giving influences. The laborers in this mission are striving to the utmost of their ability, to meet the wants of the cause. But money is needed to sustain and extend the work. The call is coming in from different countries, “Send us a minister to preach the truth.” How shall we answer this call? RH December 6, 1887, par. 3

Our printing-house at Basel needs help to carry forward its great and good work of translating and publishing books on the present truth, in the different languages of Europe. Colporteurs are meeting with encouraging success in the sale of our books. The light is thus brought to the people, while the colporter—who in many cases has been thrown out of employment by accepting the truth—is enabled to support himself, and the sales are a financial help to the office. In the days of the Reformation, monks who had left their convents, and who had no other means of support, traversed the country, selling Luther's works, which were thus rapidly circulated throughout Europe. Colportage work was one of the most efficient means of spreading the light then, and so it will prove now. But the work of translating and publishing is necessarily difficult and expensive. The office must be supplied with funds. RH December 6, 1887, par. 4

In the Scandinavian Mission, in the face of poverty and great difficulties, many have heard and believed the warning. There are twenty-three churches and nearly 1,000 Sabbath keepers in these countries. Nine ministers and licentiates, and about thirty colporteurs, are now in the field. It is only by self-denial and the closest economy that this has been gained. There is great need of financial help to send out laborers and publications to these Northern peoples. RH December 6, 1887, par. 5

The mission in London, that great city of 5,000,000 inhabitants, demands a place in our thoughts, our prayers, and our gifts. A great work must be done there, and as yet it is scarcely begun. Think of the many cities of England, Scotland, and Ireland, all speaking the same language as our own, that have never yet been entered by the truth. RH December 6, 1887, par. 6

There will be obstacles to retard this work. These we have had to meet wherever missions have been established. Lack of experience, imperfections, mistakes, unconsecrated influences, have had to be overcome. How often have those hindered the advancement of the cause in America! We do not expect to meet fewer difficulties in Europe. Some connected with the work in these foreign fields, as in America, become disheartened, and, following the course of the unworthy spies, bring a discouraging report. Like the discontented weaver, they are looking at the wrong side of the web. They cannot trace the plan of the Designer; to them all is confusion, and instead of waiting till they can discern the purpose of God, they hastily communicate to others their spirit of doubt and darkness. RH December 6, 1887, par. 7

But we have no such report to bring. After a two years’ stay in Europe we see no more reason for discouragement in the state of the cause there than at its rise in the different fields in America. There we saw the Lord testing the material to be used. Some would not bear the proving of God. They would not be hewed and squared. Every stroke of the chisel, every blow of the hammer, aroused their anger and resistance. They were laid aside, and other material was brought in, to be tested in like manner. All this occasioned delay. Every fragment broken away was regretted and mourned over. Some thought that these losses would ruin the building; but, on the contrary, it was rendered stronger by the removal of these elements of weakness. The work went steadily forward. Every day made it plainer that the Lord's hand was guiding all, and that a grand purpose ran through the work from first to last. So we see the cause being established in Europe. RH December 6, 1887, par. 8

One of the great difficulties there is the poverty that meets us at every turn. This retards the progress of the truth, which, as in earlier ages, usually finds its first converts among the humbler classes. Yet we had a similar experience in our own country, both east and west of the Rocky Mountains. Those who first accepted this message were poor, but as they set to work in faith to accomplish what they could with their talents of ability and means, the Lord came in to help. In his providence he brought men and women into the truth who were willing-hearted; they had means, and they wanted to send the light to others. So it will be now. But the Lord would have us labor earnestly in faith till that time comes. RH December 6, 1887, par. 9

The word has gone forth to Europe, “Go forward.” The humblest toiler for the salvation of souls is a laborer together with God, a co-worker with Christ. Angels minister unto him. As we advance in the opening path of his providence, God will continue to open the way before us. The greater the difficulties to be overcome, the greater will be the victory gained. RH December 6, 1887, par. 10

The progress of our foreign missions depends not alone upon a few laborers, nor even upon many, but upon all who have received the light of truth. Every one can do something for the advancement of the work in distant lands. Our people are not half awake to the demands of the times. The voice of Providence is calling upon all who have the love of God in their hearts, to arouse to this great emergency. Never was there a time when there was so much at stake as today. Never was there a period in which greater energy and self-sacrifice were demanded. RH December 6, 1887, par. 11

Every dollar and every dime that we can spare is needed now, to aid in carrying the message of truth to other lands. At the holiday season much is spent by our own people upon gifts and various gratifications which are not only useless but often hurtful. Appetite is indulged, pride and self-love are fostered, and Christ is forgotten. If the money usually devoted to these objects were all brought into the mission treasury, our foreign missions would be lifted above embarrassment. Shall we not this year consecrate to God not merely a part but all our holiday gifts for the relief of his cause, which is in so great need? How can we more appropriately celebrate the coming Christmas, how better express our gratitude to God for the gift of his dear Son, than by offerings to send to all the world the tidings of his soon coming? RH December 6, 1887, par. 12

Did those who profess to be looking for Christ but realize how near is the end of all work for the salvation of souls, they would sacrifice their possessions as freely as did the members of the early church. “The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul; neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own.... As many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet.” Those who had money or possessions freely sacrificed them to the existing emergency. The believers had one common interest—the success of the mission intrusted to them. Their love for Christ was far greater than their love for money. They acted out their faith, and by their works testified that they accounted the souls of men of more worth than any earthly treasure. Have we not even greater reason to sacrifice than they had? Have we not far less time than they in which to accomplish our work? RH December 6, 1887, par. 13

For what shall we hoard up treasures? To be swept away by the flames of the last day? Shall we lay up gold and silver, to be a witness against us in the Judgment,—to eat our flesh as it were fire? Shall we cling to our possessions till they fall into the hands of our enemies? The time is coming when commandment keepers can neither buy nor sell. Of what use will houses and lands, bank stock and merchandise, be to us then? Now is the time to place our treasures where they will be eternally secure. It is time for those who have large possessions to cut down the principal, that God's work may be extended in foreign lands. “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.” That which we give to the cause of God becomes our own forever. Says Christ, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” These alone, of all that we possess, are really ours. All that we lay up on earth, we must leave at last. It is only what we give for Christ that we can take with us into the eternal world. Jesus bids us, “Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.” RH December 6, 1887, par. 14

The Lord does not need our offerings. We cannot enrich him by our gifts. Says the psalmist: “All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” Yet God permits us to show our appreciation of his mercies by self-sacrificing efforts to extend the same to others. This is the only way in which it is possible for us to manifest our gratitude and love to God. He has provided no other. RH December 6, 1887, par. 15

Every offering, however humble, bestowed in his name and from love to him, is precious in his sight. Parents value their children's gifts, not because they are rich and costly, but for what they express of loving self-denial, of tender thoughtfulness and grateful appreciation. So does our Heavenly Father regard the gifts of his children. He sees in them a spirit of devotion and sacrifice, the expression of a grateful, loving heart; and such offerings are as fragrant incense before him. RH December 6, 1887, par. 16

In every effort to benefit others, we benefit ourselves. When we invest our means in the different missions, we enlist our interest and our prayers for these missions; we draw the different nationalities nearer to ourselves; our affections go out to them, and we are stimulated to greater devotion and stricter obedience to God, that we may be enabled to do others the greatest good. If we desire to have our affections set upon heavenly things, we must place our treasure in heaven. Where the treasure is, there the heart will be. What has cost us little, we have no special interest in; but that in which we invest our means claims our interest and attention, and we labor to make it a success. RH December 6, 1887, par. 17

God is the source of life and light and joy to the universe. Like rays of light from the sun, blessings flow out from him to all the creatures he has made. In his infinite love he has granted men the privilege of becoming partakers of the divine nature, and, in their turn, of diffusing blessings to their fellow-men. This is the highest honor, the greatest joy, that it is possible for God to bestow upon men. Those are brought nearest to their Creator who thus become participants in labors of love. He who refuses to become a “laborer together with God,”—the man who for the sake of selfish indulgence ignores the wants of his fellowmen, the miser who heaps up his treasures here,—is withholding from himself the richest blessing that God can give him. RH December 6, 1887, par. 18

Brethren, “ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” As we recount the numberless mercies of our God, and meditate upon his matchless love; as we behold the wonderful sacrifice of the Redeemer, may gratitude awaken in our hearts, till it shall kindle a flame of sacred love that shall flow out to souls even in far-off Europe. RH December 6, 1887, par. 19