Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

April 5, 1887

Visit to Tramelan, Switzerland

By Mrs. E. G. White

We left Basel for Tramelan December 24, in company with Bro. and Sr. Ings, to be present at the dedication of the first chapel built in Europe by Seventh day Adventists. Brn. Ertzenberger and John Vuilleumier were also present on this occasion. Bro. Ertzenberg was my interpreter on the Sabbath. He also preached to the Germans.

This small but neat house of worship was built by Bro. Roth's family. Hitherto the meetings had been held in private houses. We felt that the Lord would honor this movement made to his glory. Friends came in from Bienne and Chaux-de-Fonds, and we had a profitable meeting. The Lord gave me his blessing in seeking to present to the people the necessity of cultivating respect for the place where they assembled to worship God. We had excellent meetings upon the Sabbath.

Notice was sent in to the National Baptist Church, that Mrs. White would speak there on Sunday afternoon; but the minister refused to read the notice to his congregation because he thought Mrs. White would speak upon the Sabbath question. Nevertheless there were from two to three hundred persons present, who gave the best of attention. Bro. John Vuilleumier interpreted for me, and the Lord blessed me by his Spirit as I presented before the people the plan of redemption, and what constitutes genuine faith in Jesus Christ, the atoning Sacrifice. Faith on the Son of God goes deeper than many discern. Dost thou believe on the Son of God? This inquiry is of deep spiritual import, and of the utmost importance. It is not merely whether we admit our faith in the world's Redeemer, but do we believe in him as our Saviour? Have we an intelligent personal faith? Is our acceptance of Christ as our Saviour not merely an article of faith, but a living, abiding presence in our homes? We are not to lay this knowledge aside as a memento to look at occasionally, but we are to believe on the Son of God as our own Saviour, and bring him into our life, practicing his virtues; our very life is to be hid with Christ in God. To believe on Christ is to have God dwell in the soul and have not merely the acts, but the words, and even the thoughts, brought into subjection to the Spirit of Christ. The general expressions after the meeting were, “I shall take home that which I have heard;” “I see nothing objectionable in that which we have heard today,” One man, in response as to what constitutes genuine faith, uttered his sentiments, and when asked, “What do you think of that which we have heard today,” answered, “Oh, it does not matter to me; I am saved, I am saved.”

The national minister expressed regret that he had not read the notice. Said he would have done so had he known that Mrs. White was going to speak upon the mission of Christ. We returned to Basel that night, praying that the seed sown might find lodgment in some hearts. We learned that the impression made upon the community was good, and that much prejudice was removed. And many desired to hear Mrs. White speak again.

By special invitation we left Basel February 4, accompanied by Bro. and Sr. Ings and our interpreter, Bro. John Vuilleumier. Friday night we had a meeting with the church in the new chapel. Sabbath, in the forenoon, Bro. Ings spoke to the people with much freedom, and all seemed to be deeply interested and profited. I spoke in the afternoon, from Malachi 3:16-18. The Spirit of the Lord moved upon hearts. After the discourse we had a social meeting, and many excellent testimonies were borne. One young man had not taken any part in the meetings for more than a year. He had been overcome through temptations, and fallen under discouragement. He made humble confessions, with weeping, and there made a decided stand to be wholly for the Lord, and expressed his determination to do all in his power to help others. His mother had never before taken part in social meeting, but she bore her testimony, and several others confessed and wept before the Lord. We all felt the deep movings of the Spirit of the Lord in our midst. The Lord was at work softening and subduing hearts. Bro. G. made very interesting remarks, which Bro. John Vuilleumier interpreted to me. He said he had for years been praying for his brother, who lived some miles away, that the Lord would draw him by the cords of his love, and that he might take hold of the truth. During the week of prayer Bro. G. made this case of his brother's a special subject of prayer. He went to visit him, to see if he could not say or do something to help him to walk in the light. He found that his brother had been deeply convicted. He stated that while engaged in work upon the Sabbath his tools seemed so heavy that he could scarcely hold them in his hands. It seemed that he must drop them, and keep the Sabbath. He read the tract, “Sufferings of Christ,” which had been translated into French, and that decided him to obey his convictions of conscience and keep the Sabbath. Expecting to receive his discharge, he told his employers that he could not work another Sabbath; but he was told to continue his work. Bro. G. was filled with joy and gratitude to God that his prayers were answered. He stated there were others, also, who were convicted, one a man of influence.

I had tried to impress upon them the importance of laboring for those close by their own doors, each child of God feeling that he has a sacred duty to bring others to Christ, and thus each becoming a missionary for God. This was responded to heartily, and many resolved that they would take hold more earnestly and in faith, and have more patience in well-doing, and not become weary and so quickly discouraged. Our meetings closed with the blessing of God. After the meeting we had an interesting season at the house of Bro. Roth. I was requested to pray for a young man who had resolved to be on the Lord's side. His wife and sisters were present, and as I offered prayer for him, Bro. Vuilleumier interpreted me. The Lord did bless, and hearts were melted into tenderness. The young man then, with affection and tears, kissed his sisters and the brethren Roth. There had been some unhappy feelings of difference, but all was confessed and forgiven, and the room seemed to be filled with the peace of Christ. Sr. Roth made the statement, “The peace of Christ has come to this house.” These precious tokens of God's love should be highly appreciated by us, and never be forgotten. They should awaken gratitude in our hearts continually.

The Lord has said to his people, “Ye are the light of the world.” We are representatives of Bible truth. God has made us the repositories of his law. Then let none hold the truth in unrighteousness, but let the spirit, the words, and the deportment correspond with the principles of truth we claim to believe. We keep Christ in the background, and do not bring him into our hearts. I feel deeply that as a people we are not following our Bibles in our treatment of one another. There is not that spirit of full and entire forgiveness which brings peace and rest to the soul. I find here in Europe that on this point there are special lessons to learn; and a neglect to learn these lessons separates the soul from God. Satan magnifies little things. If he sees that our efforts in behalf of others do not work a reformation in them at once, then there comes in a spirit of impatience, and sharp, rasping words are spoken, that do not work any reformation in them nor bind them any closer to our hearts. Love is the silken cord which binds hearts together. We are not to feel that we are to set ourselves up as a pattern. As long as we think of ourselves, and what is due us from others, it will be impossible for us to do our work of saving souls. When Christ takes possession of our hearts we shall no longer make the narrow circle of self the center of our thoughts and our attentions.

I spoke in the National Church on Sunday afternoon, upon the subject of temperance. The minister who had refused to give notice of my appointment the first time, was invited to be present and open the meeting with singing and prayer. He readily consented to do so. I had much freedom in speaking to an attentive audience. Although I am obliged to reach the people through an interpreter, my constant prayer is, Lord, speak thou to the hearts of the bearers; impress the truth upon the soul. Bro. Ings spoke in the evening, in the new chapel. Tramelan was the first place where the truth was preached in Europe, and this is our first chapel built, aside from our mission house in Basel. Our people feel grateful to God for the victory gained in this place. Prejudice has been overcome, and the doctrines we hold are looked upon in a very different light than heretofore. The way is being prepared for a course of lectures to be given in Tramelan; and if the church are laborers together with God, we believe that the Lord will increase their numbers, and that many souls will be saved.

To say we believe the truth while its principles are not practiced daily in our lives, will leave us in a condition similar to that of Capernaum,—exalted to heaven in point of light and bestowed blessings, yet these blessings and this light unappreciated. The Lord would have us wash our robes of character now, remove every stain in the blood of the Lamb. We see so many who estimate the character of their brethren and sisters by the manner in which they treat them. We are not here to be made much of, but to be helpful to others; and we must not measure the religious standing of others by their willingness to serve us. We love people who are pleasant, and who have no disagreeable ways; then let us gather to our souls the graces of the Spirit of Christ, and bring them into our life, that God may not turn from us with the same disgust with which we turn from others. Defects of character often close our hearts to those who need encouragement to overcome them. The Lord will close his heart to us who are wayward, unpleasant, disrespectful, disobedient, irreverent, and forgetful of him as a guest whom we should honor. Shall we require of others that deference, that respect, that honor which we refuse to give to Jesus in Christian politeness? Let our pride, our selfishness be humbled in the dust. Let self be hid with Christ in God, and let us remember that if we have an unforgiving spirit toward the erring, the Lord will not forgive our trespasses, but will deal with us as we deal with those erring ones who are connected with us in labor and in church capacity.

We need to have higher and more distinct views of the character of Christ, to lead us to copy his example. We need to better understand what constitutes a pure religious life. We must learn to be Christ-like in disposition and character. We need an increase of faith in the promises of God. He has shown us great and precious favors; he has revealed to us his glory, all loving, holy. These attributes are blended with justice and mercy. We are not to think of God only as a judge, and to forget him as our loving Father. Nothing can do our souls greater harm than this; for our whole spiritual life will be molded by our conceptions of God's character. We have lessons to learn of Jesus’ love. He has been ever solicitous for our welfare. His voice is ever inviting us to come to him with all our griefs and sorrows; and if we will obey the call, we shall draw toward Jesus.

Now let us improve the precious opportunities to become acquainted with our Heavenly Father, who “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Wondrous love that God, the infinite God, has made it our privilege to approach him by the name of father! No earthly parent could plead more earnestly with an erring child, than he who made us pleads with the transgressor. No human, loving interest has ever followed the impenitent with such tender invitations. Then with what tender sympathies should we labor for the erring, sin perishing souls around us! We must work in the spirit in which Christ worked, with the compassionate tenderness that he manifested. When by living faith we shall claim the promises of God, when we shall live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, we shall place ourselves on the side of Christ, and have his Spirit and his grace to work with our efforts to bring souls to a knowledge of the divine will.

“Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Why do we not come to Him who has promised? His word is pledged. “The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but his kindness shall not depart from his people, neither shall the covenant of his peace be removed.” His voice is heard, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” “With everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee.” How amazing is this love, that God condescends to remove all cause for doubt and questioning from human fears and weakness, and takes hold of the trembling hand reached up to him in faith; and he helps us to trust him by multiplied assurances and securities. He has made us a binding agreement upon condition of our obedience, and he comes to meet us in our own understanding of things. We think that a pledge or promise from our fellow men, if recorded, still needs a guarantee. Jesus has met all these peculiar fears, and he has confirmed his promise with an oath: “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” Hebrews 6:17, 18.

What more could our Lord do to strengthen our faith in his promises? The clean heart, the right spirit, he requires of us, which is the gift of Jesus Christ, Christ worked to this end, and man co-operates with him. The divine and human efforts are united. The white robe, the crown of righteousness, an eternal weight of glory, is laid up for those who love God and keep his commandments. Then let all pride, all self-sufficiency be laid at the feet of Jesus. He is faithful that hath promised. If we approach him with a lowly, child-like trust, he will give us his grace and the treasures of eternal life as a free and everlasting gift.

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