Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

October 26, 1886

Visit to Copenhagen

By Mrs. E. G. White

From Christiana we went by steamer direct to Copenhagen. This was a pleasant journey of about twenty-four hours. Much of the way we were in sight of land. Christiana is situated at the head of a bay, or fiord, extending about fifty miles into the country from the sea. While passing through this fiord we have a fine view of the scenery on each side. Sometimes the bay narrows so that there seems to be little more than room to pass, and again widening stretches away to a great distance. Along the coast are mountains, sometimes covered with pine forests, and again bare and rocky, while here and there are clusters of little houses, perched high upon the rocks.

Arriving in Copenhagen, we found Bro. Brorsen waiting for us. Eld. Matteson's family, with whom we stayed last fall, had moved to Stockholm, and we now took rooms at the hotel. We were very pleasantly situated. Just across the street were the city botanical gardens, of which we had a fine view from our windows. The grounds were very attractive, and being open to the public afforded us a pleasant place to walk, apart from the noise and confusion of the crowded streets. My health improved much after coming to Copenhagen, so that I was in a better condition to labor than when I left home.

Our meetings here were appreciated, and seemed to be a blessing to the church. Last fall there were only about a dozen in Copenhagen keeping the Sabbath. Since that time there have been several valuable additions to their number. Those who have received the truth, have moved very cautiously. Some have been six months searching the Bible, like the noble Bereans, to see if these things are so. Among this number was a retired sea captain, who was a member of the Methodist Church, and a teacher in their Bible class. The members of his class were very much attached to him, and he had hoped, by moving with wisdom and caution, to bring some of them to accept the truth. But the minister, learning of his change of views, became alarmed, and deprived him of his class. This brother's testimony in our meetings revealed a warm interest in this work. He said that in past ages the gospel had gone from the east to the west, and now he thanked God that the precious light of truth was returning with increased power from the west to the east.

In one of our meetings a stranger arose to speak, saying that he had not been in Copenhagen before for years; he could not see anything good there; but he was thankful he had come now. He had never listened to such things as he had heard in that meeting. He believed that the time had come for the outpouring of the Spirit of God, spoken of by the prophet Joel. He seemed deeply moved, and expressed a desire to go with this people. He also attended the Sabbath-school, which was conducted by Bro. Oyen with life and spirit, presenting a marked contrast to the ordinary Sunday-school. The stranger seemed greatly interested in the exercises, and at the close he spoke again, saying that he had never before seen anything like it; that he must go home and tell his Baptist brethren all that he had seen and heard.

This man's wife, who was present at the meeting, had been a Sabbath-keeper for several years, and had been bitterly opposed by her husband. The change in him was to her an unexpected blessing, and she was filled with joy. With Sr. Matteson as interpreter, she afterward came to speak to me, and with deep emotion expressed her gratitude for what she had heard.

One brother who with his wife has recently accepted the truth, is a first-class carpenter. He stated his faith to his employer, saying that he could not work on the seventh day; but instead of being discharged, as he had feared, he was retained and allowed to keep the Sabbath. Whatever one's business or calling, it always pays to be thorough, to do our very best, and to be continually learning and improving. Those who do this, will be retained by their employers when others, who are less capable and efficient, are discharged. And, as a rule, those who are faithful and thorough in their business will bring the same characteristics into their religious life. God grant that this may be the case with this dear brother.

There are some who have had to take less pleasant and profitable positions because they keep the Sabbath; yet they are not discouraged, but are fully decided to obey God's commandments. There are others who are convinced of the truth, and are endeavoring to arrange their business so they can keep the Sabbath. One encouraging feature which we noticed in the little company here is that they are all anxious to have special efforts made to spread the truth in this large city, well knowing that such labor will involve efforts and responsibility on their part.

If those who have received the truth will let their light shine out to others in meekness, holiness, and love, they will be a power for good in the world. Every truly converted soul will, like Daniel, Ezra, and other faithful servants of God, stand as a witness for him amid the almost universal apostasy. They will catch the divine rays of light shining from God's word, and will reflect it to the world. If his servants under the former dispensation were to shine brightly, as lights amid the darkness, how much more should we in this age, when in addition to the light which they had, we have all the increased light which has since been shining from God's word and from his dealings with his people. When the Christian church was established, the light of heaven was in the midst of it, and its bright beams penetrated everywhere. So it should be now.

God has given the individual members of his church ability to exert an influence on other minds. He expects all to improve in ability by putting to exercise the talents he has lent them. The pen, the power of speech, and the affections sanctified, are to be used in his work of enlightening the world. And as we thus work in his order, he will be constantly renewing, sanctifying, elevating, and increasing our powers, that we may accomplish a greater amount of good. The Christian no longer asks, What is agreeable to self, or for my own interest? but, What is God's will? what is for his glory, and the good of my fellow-men? How can I be instrumental in the salvation of souls? Every one who is a partaker of the divine nature will feel the burden of souls. He will love as Christ loved and work as Christ worked, expecting the reward at the end of the warfare. What is needed in every church is the vitalizing spirit of Christ, earnest, practical piety. In Christ we can do all things; without him we can do nothing.

While in Copenhagen we visited several beautiful parks, and one day ascended the “round tower,” a very large and high tower connected with an old church. The ascent to this tower is not by stairs, but by an inclined plane, winding round and round, nine stories high. From this point a few stairs take us to the roof, which commands an extensive view of the city and the surrounding towns and islands. The ascent to the tower is so gradual, and the passage so wide, that several horses could be driven abreast. We were told that Peter the Great and Frederick IV. rode to the top of this tower, and while looking down from the dizzy height the former said to his companion, “Which of us has soldiers who would prove their loyalty by throwing themselves down from here if their king required it?” Frederick replied that he could not claim to have any soldier that would do this, but he could say that he was not afraid to sleep in the house of the poorest subject in his kingdom.

As I looked down upon the great city, I could but think of the scenes that will be witnessed here when Christ shall come. This city is given up to pleasure and worldliness. Beer-drinking and card-playing, dancing and reveling, absorb the attention of the people. The multitudes will mock at the message of warning. Like the dwellers in Sodom, they will be awakened only when it is too late. As the sun arose for the last time upon the cities of the plain, the people thought to commence another day of godless riot. All were eagerly planning their business or their pleasure, and the messenger of God was derided for his fears and his warnings. Suddenly as the thunder peal from an unclouded sky, fell balls of fire on the doomed capital. “So shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” The people will be eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage, until the wrath of God shall be poured out without mixture of mercy. The world will be rocked to sleep in the cradle of carnal security. They have been taught by their ministers to believe that the second advent of Christ is to be spiritual or to take place in the distant future, and the warning of his soon coming is denounced as fanaticism or heresy. Skepticism and “science falsely so called” have undermined faith in the Bible. The multitudes are striving to forget God, and they eagerly accept fables, that they may pursue the path of self-indulgence undisturbed. The people are hurrying to and fro, the lovers of pleasure intent upon amusement, the money-makers seeking wealth, and all are saying, Where is the promise of his coming? Then it is that the voice of the archangel and the trump of God are heard. Oh, what terror will then overwhelm the wicked! What cries of anguish will be heard from those who have derided the overtures of mercy from God's messengers! The bolts and bars by which they sought to guard their treasures are rent asunder by the mighty earthquake. The grand and magnificent buildings are shaken down, and the guilty triflers are buried in the ruins.

Says the apostle, “Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” Yet Jesus sees that even those who have received the light are in danger of becoming careless and losing the spirit of watchfulness, and he addresses to them the solemn warning words, “Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.” Increased vigilance is our only safety. The waiting, watching ones will be actively engaged in preparing to meet their Lord. They will keep a faithful watch over themselves lest the least sin shall defile the character. They will maintain strict temperance. Humility and simplicity will characterize every action, in harmony with the truth they hold. We cannot be too careful in our preparation that we may meet the Lord in peace. Our powers should be tasked to the utmost to understand the word of God, and to heed its warning and counsels. We should seek earnestly to adorn the soul temple in a manner to please our Lord. “Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

Those are watching most nobly and truly who are laboring with the greatest diligence to arouse souls to their danger. All heaven is astir, actively engaged in preparing for the great day of God's vengeance, the day of Zion's deliverance; and shall not equal earnestness and zeal be manifested by his people on the earth?

The little while of tarrying is almost ended. The pilgrims and strangers who have so long been seeking a better country are almost home. Let the blessed hope of our Saviour's soon appearing inspire us with fresh courage, and give vigor to every Christian grace. “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”

Basel, Switzerland.

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