The Review and Herald


February 17, 1885

Notes of Travel

From Chicago to California


On the evening of the 8th of December we left Chicago for our long journey over the mountains and across the plains to California. We were somewhat crowded until we arrived at Kansas City, and those of our party who were feeble or advanced in years were permitted to occupy a chair car. Tuesday evening we changed cars, and had abundance of room in the two coaches provided for our accommodation. RH February 17, 1885, par. 1

As soon as we were by ourselves, and knew that we should give no offense, we commenced to hold religious services in the cars. The most of the time we had two meetings a day. There was a good degree of interest and freedom; and persons from the other coaches sometimes joined us. The services, some of which were Bible-readings, were conducted by Brn. Potter and Lunt. The first one was held Wednesday morning. We had a season of prayer, followed by a social meeting. Nearly all took part, and some of the testimonies borne were well wet down with tears. RH February 17, 1885, par. 2

Thursday afternoon we arrived at Lamy. Through the courtesy of the Company we were permitted to take an excursion eighteen miles to Santa Fe. Sr. Tolhurst, a member of our party, spent the first years of her married life in this place, where her husband was stationed as a Baptist missionary. At Santa Fe, the oldest Catholic mission in America was established. We walked more than a mile from the station to the old adobe church built by this mission in 1550. It is now vacant, a new one having been erected. This church is regarded by tourists as a curiosity. RH February 17, 1885, par. 3

School had just been dismissed, and there was a large number of Mexican boys in the street. As a general thing, their clothes were so thoroughly patched that it was impossible to tell of what they were originally made; but though patches were abundant, there were no rags. We tried to find the old church building by inquiring of these boys, but they looked at us curiously, and jabbered something that we did not understand. I suppose our words were as much jargon to them as their were to us; and they seemed to be laughing at us because we did not know how to talk. RH February 17, 1885, par. 4

The cars did not leave Santa Fe until nine o'clock P. M., and we spent the few hours of daylight that remained to us in examining this curious old town. The scenery is not without interest. It is said that many resort to this place because of the healthfulness of the climate; but I should certainly prefer a different location for my home. RH February 17, 1885, par. 5

Our rambles about the town would have been more enjoyable, had there been good sidewalks; but all except the principal streets were entirely destitute of walks, and in these there were only the rudest apologies,—stones or rough, broken boards laid down on account of the mud. As we passed through the streets, the dark-skinned Mexicans peered at us through the palings, their sharp black eyes expressing undisguised curiosity. The men were smoking, and the women and children chatting in their native language; and all seemed to be taking life very easy. We saw some fine buildings constructed after the modern style; but nearly all the houses were low, with old-fashioned flat roofs. They were built after the oriental fashion, in solid squares, inclosing a court-yard. RH February 17, 1885, par. 6

At one church that we passed, they were making preparations for a celebration. Paper lanterns were hung from the entrance to the gate posts, and on trees in the yard in front of the church; and in the street material had been collected for bonfires. This was a festival in honor of the birthday of a saint after whom this, one of their principal churches, was named. RH February 17, 1885, par. 7

We visited stores where curiosities were kept for sale. Some of these were of rude pottery, homely and coarse; others were rich and expensive articles of jewelry, many of them fashioned after the most beautiful models. After our sight-seeing, we were glad to be once more settled in the cars, as many of our party were thoroughly tired out, and grateful for the privilege of rest. RH February 17, 1885, par. 8

We stopped several hours in Holbrook. This region abounds in petrifactions. We were told that a short distance from here a petrified tree forms a bridge across a stream, and that about a quarter of a mile up the mountain-side there is a field strewn with fragments of these trees. Some of our party visited this field, and brought back many fine specimens of petrifaction, and other curiosities. They found the rocks and pebbles smooth and round, having the appearance of those on the ocean beach that have been worn by the action of the waves. Those who had strength for this exercise were greatly benefited by it; for it was a breaking of the monotony of the journey. Some of our sisters improved our long stay here in doing missionary work. The Sabbath was drawing on, and we had a prayer and social meeting in our car. To us who love God and appreciate his tender care, these seasons of worship were deeply interesting. The Lord drew very near by his Holy Spirit, and we felt that under his protecting care we could go to rest without fear of accident or harm. We could lie down in peace; for the Lord maketh us to dwell in safety. We made but little progress during the night. In the morning we found ourselves in the mountains, hemmed in by the snow, although we were in Arizona, where snow seldom falls. We saw many workmen with their shovels on their shoulders returning from their work, having spent the night in clearing the track. RH February 17, 1885, par. 9

Our preparations were made on Friday, so that on the Sabbath we could take our lunch as quietly as though we had been at home. We felt that while circumstances were such that we were obliged to travel on the Sabbath, we would make it a day of service, and worship God in our moving Bethel. Sabbath morning we had an excellent Bible-reading. Some who were not of our faith took part in this exercise, and seemed much interested. RH February 17, 1885, par. 10

In the afternoon we had a social meeting, in which nearly all took part. Bro. Potter said he felt impressed to invite any present who might wish to take their stand for Christ to arise. Several responded to this invitation, among them my nephew and his wife. They were then requested to come to the center of the car, and we bowed in prayer for these dear souls, asking that God would pardon their transgressions, and number them among his people. This revival meeting on the cars en route for California was a deeply impressive scene, such a one as I never before witnessed or even heard of in all my extensive travels. RH February 17, 1885, par. 11

Those who came forward expressed their full purpose to give themselves unreservedly to the service of God, and to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. One remarked that he was so full of faults and mistakes that he felt very much afraid that he should never obtain a fitness for Heaven. The more earnest his efforts to overcome, the more discouraged he became in view of his own imperfect life and character. RH February 17, 1885, par. 12

I felt it a privilege to make remarks that would meet the case of this young man, and of all others present who might be as wearily climbing, reaching up a trembling hand to grasp the next round of the steep ladder of progress, fearful that a fall would prove fatal, yet knowing that there is much more climbing to be done before they reach the point at which they aim. They feel disheartened; and words of discouragement and doubt would be to them a savor of death unto death. The hand that needed strengthening would become nerveless, and the efforts palsied, were one of these to be told, “You will never succeed in the formation of a Christian character. You will soon tire of the effort. You have not sufficient determination of purpose to persevere. Your experience has been all wrong; and the lessons you must learn in order to become Christlike in character will be so new and hard that you will never master them.” RH February 17, 1885, par. 13

Words like these should never be spoken to one who has decided to live a Christian life. Whatever may have been his past experience, however discouraging, if he will change his course, if he will come to Jesus just as he is, weak, helpless, and despairing, our compassionate Saviour will meet him a great way off, and will throw about him his arms of love and his robe of righteousness. He speaks to him kind, loving words: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” RH February 17, 1885, par. 14

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” RH February 17, 1885, par. 15

It is your thought that your mistakes and transgressions have been so grievous that the Lord will not have respect unto your prayers, and will not bless and save you. Satan comes in with his temptations, and a flood of unbelief. If you attempt to strengthen your souls in God, he will try to divert your attention to yourself. Here you see nothing but weakness, nothing to recommend you to God; and he tells you it is no use, you cannot remedy your defects of character. Answer him, “It is true that I am a sinner; I cannot save myself. But Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. He is my only hope. He is my strength and my deliverer. He is made unto me sanctification and righteousness.” RH February 17, 1885, par. 16

The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to his perfect nature. But do not be discouraged. This is evidence that Satan's delusions have lost their power; that the vivifying influence of the Spirit of God is arousing you, and your indifference and unconcern are passing away. RH February 17, 1885, par. 17

No deep-seated love for Jesus can dwell in the heart that does not see and realize its own sinfulness. The soul that is transformed by grace will admire his divine character; but if we do not see our own moral deformity, it is unmistakable evidence that we have not had a view of the beauty and excellence of Christ. The less we see to esteem in ourselves, the more we shall see to esteem in the infinite purity and loveliness of our Saviour. A view of our own sinfulness drives us to Him who can pardon. Jesus will accept us; for his word is pledged. As our substitute, he takes our guilt on his own soul, and imputes his righteousness to the sinner. When the soul, realizing its helplessness, reaches out after Christ, he will reveal himself in power. The more our sense of need drives us to him and to the word of God, the more enlarged views we shall have of his character, and the more fully we shall reflect his image,—show in our own lives the excellence of his character. RH February 17, 1885, par. 18

God does not deal with us as finite men deal with one another. His thoughts are thoughts of mercy, love, and tenderest compassion. “He will abundantly pardon.” He says, “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins.” Let us trust in the word of the Lord, and by our cheerful obedience testify our gratitude for his pardoning love. RH February 17, 1885, par. 19

Brethren and sisters, look up; you who are tried, tempted, and discouraged, look up. Let no weary, halting, sin-oppressed soul become faint-hearted. The promises of God that come down along the lines to our times assure you that heaven can be reached if you will continue to climb. It is ever safe to look up; it is fatal to look down. If you look down, the earth reels and sways beneath you; nothing is sure. But heaven above you is calm and steady, and there is divine aid for every climber. The hand of the Infinite is reaching over the battlements of heaven to grasp yours in its strong embrace. The mighty Helper is nigh to bless, lift up, and encourage the most erring, the most sinful, if they will look to him by faith. But the sinner must look up; he must see the glory of God above the shining ladder, and the angels ascending and descending with messages of mercy. RH February 17, 1885, par. 20

Paul exhorts Timothy to “follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” And in the next sentence he adds: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” A conflict is here brought to view in which every Christian must engage. There must be no flagging of the energies; day by day there must be a hand-to-hand fight with the powers of darkness, or victory will never be ours. RH February 17, 1885, par. 21