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General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1

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    H. P. HOLSER

    I HAVE been requested to continue the account of our work in Switzerland. When the question of Sunday work came up, some said it was not time for us to take a stand on that question; that we were not yet well enough acquainted in Europe for this, our constituency was too small; we should go slow until we had more members and were better acquainted and had circulated more literature, then it would do for us to join issue with the authorities on this important question. To this it was replied, It is always time to obey when we are convinced that a certain thing is our duty. If we believe that we should work on Sunday, then it is time to obey, and as to our numbers, that cuts no figure whatever. If a man be all alone in a nation, and is convinced that something is duty, he should perform that without stopping to reason about its effect. the fact that God requires it is sufficient to show that he is able, for one man with God on his side is a majority against the whole world. furthermore, as for making our work known in the country, the quickest and best way is for us to obey the Lord; that will bring us into favorable notice the soonest, and in the way in which we wish to become acquainted. That is the only thing that will give us a sure footing in the nation.GCB February 8, 1895, page 76.1

    Last evening I closed with the account of our visiting the publishers in the city of Basle. During this visit, all of them expressed the feeling that we should appeal our case, for the police court could not do otherwise than condemn us, as this was a Federal Law, and the only way to secure relief was to let the case come before the Federal Court. Every one believed that justice would be given us. they said, Furthermore, it is unfair for you to leave the matter here, it does not give our authorities a chance to express themselves favorably.GCB February 8, 1895, page 76.2

    After considering the matter further, it was decided to appeal. First, for the purpose of spreading the truth; second, for settling the question that has been raised. Whether this was the best step to take, I am not prepared to say, but the event has proved that it has spread the truth. if we made a mistake, the Lord in his mercy has helped us. As soon as this question was decided, another question arose, “Will you employ an advocate, a lawyer?” We said, “Yes, we will employ a lawyer, and we will employ the very best one; we want a lawyer who knows the situation thoroughly, an advocate who understands the hearts of men. There is but one advocate of this kind, — Jesus Christ the righteous.”GCB February 8, 1895, page 76.3

    There is a lawyer in the city of Basel who has attended to our legal affairs. We have often talked with him about our position and work, but he never could see that our question was a religious one, always contending that Sunday laws are not religious, but purely civil. In talking with him about the question of appealing, and some of the formalities in this step, some thought it might be best to let him manage it for us. We finally said to him, “Doctor, how could you properly present our case if you did not believe in it?” He said, “If I were to take it up, I would procure your works, study them, and work myself into it until I really believed it myself.” That reminds me of another lawyer in Switzerland who said, “Give me twenty francs and I will write an article against myself.” There is only one advocate that can plead cases in the Third Angel’s Message, and we trusted in Him.GCB February 8, 1895, page 76.4

    The appeal had to be presented in writing; we could not appear in person. this appeal was printed and fifty thousand copies were circulated in the French and German languages. We placed it first in the hands of the editors, who gave it a review in their journals. then it was placed in the hands of every citizen as far as possible. At the same time all of our churches were visited and brief studies on the situation held, — on our relation to the State, and our duties at the present hour.GCB February 8, 1895, page 76.5

    On the same trip we visited also the editors and talked with them about the question. One of the first called on was a leading publishing firm in Zurich. I had before met one of the managers. Upon entering his office, without introducing the matter, he said, “I have noticed you are having an interesting time at Basle. I have observed your case with much interest and have thought much about it. It is a very interesting question for us printers. I am glad to see the stand that you have taken.” We had a very pleasant interview, but we did not think of proposing to him that he insert an article in his paper. He was the editor of the official organ of the Printer’s Union in Switzerland. We did not suppose that he would care to discuss our question in his journal, but before the interview closed he asked, “Cannot you furnish us a brief statement of your case, an account of your people, their numerical standing, and the principles you represent? I would like to have it for our journal.” Of course we were not slow in presenting this to him, and without using our words, he worked it over and presented a most excellent article, taking a decided stand on the side of right and justice. this went to all the publishers in Switzerland.GCB February 8, 1895, page 76.6

    We visited other editors and were favorably received. Some of them were decidedly in favor of the position that we took, saying that they were always ready to battle for liberty. We also had experiences which illustrated how such matters will spread the truth. Brother McKee, who was with me, brought the address of a lady in Zurich, whose two daughters had embraced the truth in New York. Upon calling on this lady, she at once began to express her regrets about her daughters. She was very much distressed because they had embraced the truth, and said, “That may do in America, but one can never live in Zurich and keep the Sabbath.” She had never heard of any there trying to keep the Sabbath; did not know that there were any in Switzerland, except in Basle. She had recently seen a notice in the paper about some difficulty they were having there. the fact is that we have had a church in zurich for eight years, the city has been canvassed repeatedly; thousands and thousands of tracts have been placed there, yet this woman knew nothing about S. D. Adventists, but as soon as this question came up, it attracted her attention at once, and I believe this is a good illustration of how these things will attract the attention of millions who have never heard the truth.GCB February 8, 1895, page 77.1

    In St. Gallen, where we have a church, I also visited the editors. Some of them were quite favorable, but in almost every case they could not see that there was a religious issue in this Sunday law movement. All claimed that it was but a political arrangement. I had a conversation of about one hour with one of the editors, who had formerly been a pastor, but thought I had not convinced him that it was a religious question. Later an article of some length appeared in his paper, and I was happily surprised to see by it that he had turned completely about, taking the position that Sunday laws were religious, and against liberty of conscience.GCB February 8, 1895, page 77.2

    Also at Schaffhausen, I visited, in addition to the editors, some of the state officials, one of which would correspond to our Congressman, whom I had met before, a man of extensive experience both in Europe and South America. He expressed himself as decidedly in favor of liberty, and wondered how it was that the authorities of Basle could treat us as they did. Said he: “If this matter comes up in the National Council [congress], I will take a decided stand in favor of liberty of conscience.”GCB February 8, 1895, page 77.3

    From here, in company with Brother McKee, I went to the city of Berne, the capital of Switzerland, to visit not only the editors, but also some of the state officials, as we knew the matter would come to their attention and we desired to talk with them about it. We first called on one of the directors of a leading railway system, who is also a congressman, and after this upon the minister of justice. We were favorably received in both cases. The minister of justice said that this would concern more directly the chief of the Department of Industry, and recommended us to call upon him. We did so, and had a very pleasant interview, discussing the question at issue. We went to these men not in the sense of asking anything of them, but to talk to them about the truth and to help them if possible to see the truth in the issue before us.GCB February 8, 1895, page 77.4

    The chief of the Department of Industry said, “I am decidedly in favor of liberty of conscience, and will do all in my power to see that you enjoy it. There are, however, certain limits to liberties of conscience. For example, if your conscience told you that you must every month set somebody’s house on fire, we would have to interfere with you. We replied that this would not be a question of conscience at all, it would be a crime, and they would take us in hand for the crime. This will illustrate to you how men in high positions like that, have not a just sense of what liberty of conscience is; and we, with limited learning, but with the truth of God, can enlighten even such men.GCB February 8, 1895, page 77.5

    After this we asked an audience of the President of Switzerland. this was granted. The first question was, How shall we introduce ourselves? What excuse shall we give for taking his time. To introduce ourselves, I took along the appointment which I had received from the General Conference as their business agent in Central Europe. This is quite a lengthy document, having first the appointment, then the signatures and seals of the officers of the General Conference, this being legalized by a Notary Public of this county. Then his signature was again legalized by the Secretary of the State of Michigan, this was further legalized by the Secretary of State of the United States, and lastly, by the Swiss minister at Washington. Thus there was a whole line of seals and signatures. I handed this to him to show who I was and what I represented. He took it and glanced through it until he came at last to the signature of the Swiss minister at Washington, when he said, “Why, this is my signature.” he was seven years ago the minister at Washington and signed that document; this made a friendly introduction.GCB February 8, 1895, page 77.6

    As we presented the matter to him, he said, “I have already heard of you. A short time ago I was in Basle, and met while there your Mr. Kronsberg, who told me of your experience. Mr. Kronsberg has charge of our bindery, but is not one of our people. When young, he was a playmate of Mr. Frey’s. and thus just at this juncture they chanced to meet, and the President learned of our situation by this means, and also this document happened to be signed by him, and it all worked together to favor the interview; the Lord directs in all such matters; he sees the end from the beginning, and prepares the way for us, and we do not know how many things he is now preparing for us in the future, and if we are faithful and trust him, he will bring all to have an influence at the right time and right place.GCB February 8, 1895, page 78.1

    Although he had been in America many years as an officer in our last war, and minister at Washington, he had never heard of Seventh-day Adventists. that interview with Mr. Kronsberg in Basle was the first he had heard of us as a people. As stated, my interview was pleasant with him, and he made some suggestions as to what course we had better pursue to secure justice. He advised that it be presented to Congress, as the law-making body only could give relief in the matter. It is just the reverse of what it is here in America. Here the Supreme Court decision is final and can declare the laws of Congress unconstitutional; but in Switzerland this is not so, the Supreme Court can never question the constitutionality of federal laws. congress only can do that. Of course, if it makes a law, it believes it constitutional or it would not make it, so there is not much hope of getting relief from it.GCB February 8, 1895, page 78.2

    After this visit to Berne, we went to the French churches, visiting the editors at the same time, and found in many instances that the people were much stirred up by the occurrence in Basle. Now an illustration: In the Jura mountains, in one of the beautiful valleys, we have a small church. The husband of one of our sisters here is a professor in the school. In several visits we have tried to talk with him about the truth, but he was always indifferent. However, on this occasion, as soon as we came in he commenced at once to talk about the situation and the truth, and for a whole hour he continued to talk about the matter.GCB February 8, 1895, page 78.3

    He was all stirred up about it, and related an experience he had had in the school. Just about that time one of our families had been fined for not sending their little girl to the public school on the Sabbath. this matter was presented in a meeting of the teachers and professors. the teacher who presented the case was a Jewess. As soon as she presented it, the gentleman referred to, arose and reproved her before the teachers. Said he, “That little girl staid at home because she keeps the Sabbath. You are a Jewess and instead of accusing that little girl for this conduct, you, yourself, ought to have remained at home and kept the Sabbath.” Thus outsiders bear testimony to the truth where we have no access.GCB February 8, 1895, page 78.4

    At this place, another gentleman, an outsider, said, “If the Supreme Court decides against these people, I will be the first one to circulate a petition to have that law changed.” In Switzerland all laws are submitted to popular vote, and in case a petition is circulated to have a law changed, or repealed, if fifty thousand signatures are obtained, it must be submitted to a popular vote. That is what he meant by circulating a petition.GCB February 8, 1895, page 78.5

    While on this visit, the appeal was already in the hands of the Supreme Court. We tried to find out when it would come off, but our lawyer at Basle said we could not know this. Thinking that he knew better than we, we dropped the matter, not expecting to be present at the hearing; but the Lord had a way, and where man could not help us, he helped us. While on this visit among the churches, I received word from one of our brethren in Lausanne, where the Supreme Court Palace is located, saying that on the 10th of October our case would be heard. It happened he was acquainted with a Secretary of the Court (we did not know that before), and he learned of him when our case would come on the docket.GCB February 8, 1895, page 78.6

    Our appeal was not read in full. It was referred to one of the seven judges of the court. He studied the case and presented it with the opinion that it be rejected. Hereupon the president of the Court called upon each one of the judges for his opinion. Two of them were in our favor, one of them decidedly so. He saw plainly that there was a religious issue in it that it was a question of conscience, that Sunday laws were contrary to the Swiss Constitution, but said he, “We are helpless in the matter; the only help for these people is to bring it before the law-making body,” and he recommended that that be done.GCB February 8, 1895, page 78.7

    While in London I heard that a gentleman connected with the publishing house which does our printing in London, on returning from a visit to Switzerland, asked what had happened to our people, for he heard of our situation there repeatedly. We know of some who have been reached by this agitation who had not before known of the truth. There is one case of a teacher who has charge of a boy’s school in Germany, on the border of Holland. One of his former pupils sent him a clipping from a journal in Belgium, which presented our case. Hereupon, this professor sent to us a half-dozen pamphlets which he had written upon the Sabbath question, strongly advocating the Sabbath. Before this, we had never heard of him nor he of us. Since, we have had quite an interesting correspondence with this gentleman.GCB February 8, 1895, page 79.1

    Another, a professor of a school in Eastern Prussia, on the border of Russia, also learned of the matter, and has become interested in our case. I also received a letter from a gentleman in England, who sent a pamphlet which he had written on the Sabbath, advocating the Sabbath, but had not before heard of us. In addition to his letter, he sent also $5 to help in agitating the question in Switzerland. How much further these journals have spread a knowledge of the truth, we know not, but it is attracting the attention as nothing else that has occurred. Everywhere in Switzerland people know of it, their attention is called to the truth, and those who have a real desire to know the truth, will know where to learn more.GCB February 8, 1895, page 79.2

    One occurrence that has been of special interest in our experience is a meeting of the Evangelical Alliance in Basle, at the time that our appeal was before the Supreme Court. the Evangelical Alliance has quite a record in Europe for its efforts in behalf of liberty of conscience. It has worked for liberty of conscience, not only among the Protestants, but also among the Catholics in the far East, and it was thought by many that it would certainly take up our case, for not long ago they took up the case of the Salvation Army, and worked very diligently to secure their liberty in Switzerland. One member of the Alliance, quite a leading theologian in Switzerland, wrote to this meeting in Basle, asking the Alliance if they could not do something in our case. His letter was presented to the meeting, and discussed informally, and referred to one member for his opinion, and he reported adversely, his chief point being this, — that we were the great enemies of Sunday; therefore they could do nothing for us. (To be continued.)GCB February 8, 1895, page 79.3


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    THE eighth meeting of the State Agents’ Convention was called promptly at eight A. M., Feb. 6. the blessing of God which was earnestly sought at the opening of the meeting, was manifested in a gratifying manner. Brother N. Z. Town presented a paper on “The Progress and Needs of the Work in Great Britain.”GCB February 8, 1895, page 79.4

    Through the labors of Brother Ellery Robinson and a visit from Brother E. M. Morrison in the spring of 1891, the canvassing work in Great Britain was placed on a solid basis. The Principles and methods are much the same as those followed in the United States. Hard times have cut down the subscription book sales to some extent during the past two years, but there has been a great increase in the sale of Present Truth, “Steps to Christ,” and of tracts.GCB February 8, 1895, page 79.5

    The larger part of the territory in the British Isles is as yet untouched by the canvassers. “Bible Readings” has been sold among the Protestants of Northern Ireland, and there are canvassers located in thirteen of the English counties, but during the past year there has been only one regular canvasser to each of the forty millions in that field. The area of that whole conclave of islands is less than Missouri and Illinois, but the population is equal to all the United States, excluding General Conference District No. 1 and North Carolina. Nearly all are English-speaking people. At the present time the northern counties of England and nearly the whole of Scotland, which have been hardly touched, present a very promising field for work. Would it not be wisdom to send men from drouth-stricken districts to this field of labor? Since the call for laborers is so great, and all fields are wanting more men, Brother Town made the modes request that only fifty be selected for the British field. The spring being the most favorable time to go to that climate, he advised that they be sent as soon as possible after the General Conference.GCB February 8, 1895, page 79.6

    At the close of the reading, many questions were asked concerning the conditions of work in Great Britain which called forth many interesting suggestions, and some vital principles. We should hold before us the fact that “the field is the world.” Adaptability is the secret of success in going to a new field, and, above all things, one should avoid making invidious comparisons. We should enter into, and enjoy the condition of, things as we find them in any country to which we may be sent.GCB February 8, 1895, page 79.7

    The General Agent expressed his gratitude that the meeting had taken such a pleasant turn in favor of supplying laborers for needy fields.GCB February 8, 1895, page 79.8


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    ONE may by a careful reading of the reports catch the spirit of the meetings; at least, they may discern it. But all will feel that there is a wide difference between being here and reading about it. to those who do not have the privilege of attending these grand meetings, we want to say that the Lord is here. His blessing is felt in every meeting. those who have the work of teaching have sought the aid of the Spirit, and light is beaming from the sacred Word. There is no undue excitement. Why should there be? We have contemplated our present position for years. God has not brought us to this place at a bound, — but step by step. and, as Elder Olsen remarked before the Council, we are now in a place where we cannot afford to make mistakes. Calm judgment, deep study, prayerful pondering of our steps should characterize our work.GCB February 8, 1895, page 80.1

    God never moves rashly or departs from that word which is everlasting. God never becomes flurried or hurried. Time is short; but he who measures time and sets its bounds controls the work, and he will see that one does not run out before the other.GCB February 8, 1895, page 80.2

    There is an evident lack among us of an intimate knowledge of the Scriptures. Our study has been too superficial. As we go down, the veins seem to become richer. And it is often remarked that “this is going deeper than ever.” There is manifest a prevailing desire for a deep personal work in Christian experience. Such desires, if retained and acted upon, will secure God’s rich blessing. And so, while we are already enjoying the divine favor, we confidently expect that greater blessings are yet in store, and that this meeting, as it is the most important ever held, will also be the best, because the most blest.GCB February 8, 1895, page 80.3


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    ELDER DURLAND gave utterance to some good sentiments about the use of the various readings and versions of Bible passages. The practice of using them is subject to two extremes. One is the rejection of such readings. They have their uses as giving the different forms which the same idea assumes in the minds of different men. These different forms of the same idea will frequently assist us in forming an intelligent and correct idea of a text. On the other hand, the practice of substituting other reading for the accepted version may be carried to such an extent as to undermine confidence in the Bible as God has in his providence given it to us. It may be safely claimed that no version of the Scriptures extant is so well entitled to our unlimited confidence as the Authorized Version and Revised Version of the English Bible. Harm may be done by constant or too frequent use of other translations by imparting to the one who uses them and to his hearers the impression that the Bible we have is unreliable. the result would be to lead to the conclusion that none but the learned, who are able to read various languages, are qualified to read or teach the Scriptures. this is the great bugbear of the church of Rome. Her priests hold that it is unsafe to place the Bible in the hands of the common people.GCB February 8, 1895, page 80.4

    THERE are many features and circumstances of such a meeting as this which the BULLETIN represents that do not get into the reports, and are yet of themselves precious; and they would be interesting to our readers. The BULLETIN would earnestly request delegates to furnish it with the knowledge of such features of the meeting in order that the absent readers may as far as possible enjoy the privileges we share together here.GCB February 8, 1895, page 80.5

    ROOM is gladly given in this and the next BULLETIN to the remarks of Elder Holser in reference to the emergencies that have arisen in Switzerland, all the more so because here the enemy is at present crowding in his forces to crush the truth. Let us pray for those who now have to stand the brunt of the battle. Switzerland is an old battle-field between truth and oppression.GCB February 8, 1895, page 80.6

    THE studies conducted by Elder Durland on the Epistle to the Colossians each forenoon are given as class studies in an informal manner. Questions and answers are quite freely exchanged between teacher and class, though not to the extent to impede the study. This mode of study brings the teacher nearer his auditors, and by way of variety, if for no other reason, it adds to the interest of the exercises. The nature of the exercises do not readily admit of an exact report of all that is said, and we must leave our readers to put in mentally the questions, replies, and remarks that are interspersed.GCB February 8, 1895, page 80.7

    PROF. W. W. PRESCOTT has been incapacitated for filling his part of the program for three evenings by a severe cold. We all hope he may soon be able to resume his chosen topic. For two evenings Elder Holser spoke in his place, and on last evening Elder F. J. Hutchins, of Central America, occupied the hor.GCB February 8, 1895, page 80.8

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