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General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1

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    This district contains a population several times greater than that of all the other districts put together. The work in every direction among this vast population has made encouraging progress during the past two years. The indications of this progress may be noted in the two items of membership and tithes.GCB February 20, 1895, page 254.5


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    The gain in membership in this conference since the last General Conference is 129, and the increase in the tithe is $997.74. The proportionate increase of the tithe, it will be noticed, is greater than is that of the membership, which indicates a healthy growth. The total membership in this field, June 30, 1894, was 435; tithes paid, $2084.83. The publishing house for the Scandinavian countries is in Christiana, Norway, and difficulties in the direction of prosecutions for Sunday labor are confronting our brethren there as never before.GCB February 20, 1895, page 254.6


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    This country has made a gain of ninety-seven in membership, and presents an increase of $766.11 in tithes. Last June there was a membership of 590, and the tithe at that time was $1671.96.GCB February 20, 1895, page 254.7


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    The gain in membership here has been the smallest that has been made in any field in the district. This has been due doubtless to the fact that some of the laborers have devoted considerable time to the building of the new school edifice located at Frederickshavn. This school was opened under very auspicious circumstances in August last; and if conducted on correct principles, it will prove a great blessing to all the Scandinavian countries. These three countries contain a total membership of 1458, with forty churches, eleven licentiates, thirteen ministers, and a total tithe of $5585.55, or an average of $3.83 for each member.GCB February 20, 1895, page 254.8


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    The advancement of the work in these fields in the two years under consideration, has been marked. Especially has this been true in the case of Germany, whose membership has almost doubled, presenting a gain of 173, and an increase in tithes of $1213. The present membership is 368, and the tithe is $2327.43, being an average of $6.32 for each member.GCB February 20, 1895, page 254.9

    In spite of the fact that many of our people have left Russia, a gain has been made there both in membership and in the payment of tithes. The membership now is 467, and the tithe paid last year amounted to $841.60. These two fields have seven ministers, eight licentiates, fourteen canvassers, twenty-seven churches, and a total membership of 835. The tithe amounted to $3169.02 making an average for each member of $3.79.GCB February 20, 1895, page 254.10

    At Hamburg suitable buildings for mission and school purposes have been purchased, and a meeting-house has been erected on grounds adjoining the school buildings. This city is an important center for the work in these fields.GCB February 20, 1895, page 254.11


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    This was our first mission field. The work here has been peculiarly interesting. Its growth, its reaching out into the countries and among the peoples in every direction, vividly calling to mind apostolic days, has contributed to its interest. Here is located our Central European publishing house, from which are issued publications in the French, German, Italian, Rumanian, Spanish, Bohemian, Russian, Dutch, Hungarian, Armenian-Turkish, and Greek-Turkish languages.GCB February 20, 1895, page 254.12

    The Sunday question has been brought to the front with a vigor that is startling when we stop to consider the situation. The manager of that publishing house has already served one term of imprisonment, while another awaits him upon his return to the field. The gain in membership in this conference has been fifty-nine, while the increase in tithes has amounted to $1598.18. The conference has four ministers, five licentiates, nineteen churches and 484 members. The tithe for the year ending June 30, 1894 was $4378.18, making an average of $9.04 for each member which is a marked gain over that of the previous year.GCB February 20, 1895, page 254.13


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    This field, with its nearly 40,000,000 people, occupies a very small territory. Its area is about equal to that of New Mexico, about twice the size of New England, with the States of Rhode Island and Connecticut thrown out.GCB February 20, 1895, page 254.14

    Strange as it seems, no Seventh-day Adventist ever visited this country till the year 1878, when Brother William Ings paid a visit to his native land. In the autumn of that year the General Conference decided to send a laborer to that field. Accordingly Elder J. N. Loughborough landed in Southampton Dec. 30, 1878, and days later began meetings in a public hall in that city. The work slowly spread to other parts of the country. At the end of ten years we had a membership of 152, and the total tithes and donations paid that year (1888) were $700. After making allowance for about thirty who have left the country, we have as the present membership 363. There are eleven churches, one licentiate, five ministers, and the tithe for the past year was $5077.20, making an average of $13.98 a member.GCB February 20, 1895, page 254.15

    It may be proper to say a word here about our new buildings in London — they are not yet erected. Until recently it has seemed impossible to secure ground in anything like a desirable localityGCB February 20, 1895, page 254.16

    The London church meanwhile has secured a small chapel of which it has full control. It seems far better, therefore, to erect a suitable place for worship only in the city, which will be much less expensive than the building first contemplated; and instead of putting so much means into one place, distribute it round in two or three places.GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.1

    The Sunday labor question is at this moment a live issue in this field. The situation may be stated briefly as follows:—GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.2

    England has all the laws that are necessary for the prosecution and persecution of Seventh-day Adventists. The old law, however, of King Charles, is nearly obsolete. An attempt is made occasionally to prosecute under that act, but such efforts usually meet with disfavor.GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.3

    Then a few years ago a law was gotten through Parliament called the Factory Act. This act prescribes the amount of space there shall be to each workman in a factory; it defines the time for taking dinner, demands that all exposed machinery shall be covered, and forbids the employment of women and children on the various legal holidays and Sundays.GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.4

    After this act was passed, the government inspector called at our office. He was more than pleased at what he saw, and he decided that we were on the same basis as the Jews, for whom an exemption clause had been secured. He therefore let the matter rest, and so we went on with our work just the same on Sundays as other days. But last summer a new inspector was appointed, and he visited the office. At the time the Board was scattered. The manager of the office had quite an interview with this man, told him distinctly that we were not Jews, in the ordinary sense of that term; so the inspector demanded that women and children be not employed on Sunday. This was temporarily conceded, as the Board of Directors could not be gotten together at the time.GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.5

    A few weeks later the matter was considered seriously by the Board.GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.6

    Each member of the Board having satisfied himself that we had a perfect right to employ any one who wanted to work on Sunday, we were then prepared to place ourselves on record as to our position. In view of the fact that a promise had been made to the government to obey this law, we decided that common courtesy demanded that we inform the government of our convictions. We therefore drew up the following statement and resolution, which were sent to the Home Office about the time I left England:—GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.7

    In consideration of the facts that we are commanded by God to keep holy the seventh day as the Sabbath, and that we cannot so keep the day holy to the Lord while at the same time regarding the Sunday, which is a rival institution to God’s Sabbath, thus yielding homage to the power which established the Sunday in opposition to the law of God and Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath: therefore, be it —GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.8

    Resolved, That it be recorded as the mind of the Board of Directors that, having closed our office on the Sabbath, we cannot in conscience also close it to any regular employees on Sunday, nor can we refuse to allow such persons to work on Sunday if they desire to do so; and, further, —GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.9

    Resolved, That those in charge of departments be instructed to see that the provisions of the Factory Act are otherwise, where this principle is not involved, carefully complied with; and, further, —GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.10

    Resolved, That a statement of the case be prepared for submission to the Home Office, setting forth the reasons for this action.GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.11

    (Signed) D. A. ROBINSON, Chairman.
    JOHN I. GIBSON, Secretary.

    The above resolution, accompanied by the following statement, was sent to the Home Secretary of the government:—GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.12

    Statement of the Relation of the International Tract Society, Limited, to the Factory Act.GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.13

    The International Tract Society, Limited, is a Seventh-day Adventist institution, a body whose members regard the Bible as the word of God, and as telling in plain terms our duty to our Creator. As a consequence, they observe the seventh day of the week, in obedience to the fourth commandment, which says:—GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.14

    “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.”GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.15

    By this commandment we are strictly forbidden to labor on the seventh day of the week. Not only so, but we are forbidden to recognize any other day having a religious significance, as a day of rest; for if any other such day be to any degree recognized as a rest day, the distinction between it and the true Sabbath is to that degree broken down, and therefore the Sabbath is not kept holy or separate from other days.GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.16

    The keeping of Sunday is therefore a direct violation of the fourth commandment, the day itself being a rival of the Sabbath of the Lord, brought into the church when the pagan element gained control of it in the third and fourth centuries. We cannot, therefore, without disloyalty to God, recognize Sunday in any way whatever as different from the other laboring days of the week, nor as having anything whatever in common with the Sabbath of the Lord.GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.17

    On this ground, we find it impossible to make any difference in our work on that day, by requiring some of the regular employees to remain away from work. This statement is the result of the careful consideration of all the principles involved, and is made out of respect to the authorities, so that they may not misunderstand our position, and that we may not appear to be acting evasively in the matter.GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.18

    Since the seventh day of the week is recognized as the Sabbath by the cessation of all labor, it follows that, as a matter of conscience, work cannot be performed in our factory on more than six days of the week. No consideration whatever could induce the society to employ labor on the seventh day (from sunset Friday night to sunset Saturday night), nor would the employees consent to labor on that day if it were required. They are all conscientious in their observance of the fourth commandment, and therefore freely and gladly labor on any and all of the six working days, having rested the seventh. Each individual is free to act upon his or her own convictions as to laboring on the first day of the week; but whether they labor on that day or not, they could not by any possibility labor on more than six days in one week.GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.19

    The directors of the International Tract Society, Limited, feel bound in conscience to observe with the utmost faithfulness every provision of the Factory Act that does not require a violation of the commandment of the Lord. In fact, the object of the Act, in so far as it seeks to guard employees against being overworked, is fully met, and must be as a matter of conscience, even if there were no such Act, since the seventh day must be strictly observed, and since, as Christians, and followers of Him who said, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,” we are bound to do all that may be pointed out as necessary for the safety and health of those employed; but to recognize Sunday as in any way whatever different from other working days, by ceasing a portion of our work on that day, we may not do, since it would be sin against God.GCB February 20, 1895, page 255.20

    D. A. ROBINSON (Chairman)
    E. MYLREA, JOHN I. GIBSON (Managing Director and Secretary.)

    Since reaching this city, I have received the following letter from London, showing the condition of things at that time:—GCB February 20, 1895, page 256.1

    LONDON, JAN. 30, 1895.

    Dear Brother Robinson:—GCB February 20, 1895, page 256.2

    I have not much time this afternoon, but I must write you a few words about the progress of affairs here. Perhaps others will write you, but I will tell you the story of our Sunday case, at any rate.GCB February 20, 1895, page 256.3

    A few days after the statement setting forth our position (that is, the resolution passed by the Board, and the additional explanation) had been sent to the authorities, we received a reply from the office of the Chief Inspector of Factories to the effect that he regretted that it was not in his power to grant our “request,” as he chose to put it. Then last Friday evening, just as we were closing, the inspector for this district, the same we had had to deal with before, called, saying he was sent from the chief’s office to learn what we were going to do about it.GCB February 20, 1895, page 256.4

    Brother Gibson called me in, and we had about an hour and a quarter with him. Of course we had nothing to say save to tell him the facts in the case, and set as much of the truth before him as possible in that time. We had a very free and good talk, and it was evident that he could see clearly the principles by which we must act if we would not compromise what we held as truth. I was glad we could come at the matter so simply. We told him it was not a question of our rights; that as Christians and followers of Christ, we could not fight for our own rights; that we were precluded from contending for them, and if men choose to deprive us of our rights, even to life itself, we were in their power. But the Lord’s rights we could not compromise, and he had a right to our service according to his Word. It left us so completely out of the question, and brought the law so plainly in a fight against the Lord, that the man could say nothing. He was very kind, and I think sincerely wanted to avoid making us trouble.GCB February 20, 1895, page 256.5

    We talked over the question of majorities, but he could see that it was one man’s duty to obey the Lord if he were alone, just as much as though he had millions with him. He said we ought to think of the end of it all, that it would make trouble for us. But he seemed familiar with the Bible, as we talked of men who got into trouble for serving the Lord in olden times. He himself (he is a Scotchman) brought up the case of the Covenanters, and said they suffered injustice until they were strong enough to win a battle, and gain their rights. But we told him we could do nothing of that kind; but that we knew what the end would be of the Sunday-law crusade — that the Lord would come and put an end to it.GCB February 20, 1895, page 256.6

    So we went back and forth through the case. He was anxious for us to put in a petition to the Home Secretary. But we told him our statement, put the authorities into possession of the facts in the case, and we could not ask permission of men to obey the Lord. Of course he said they had simply to enforce the law. We told him that whatever he did we should have no quarrel with him, but that it was for him personally to decide whether he could in conscience have a part in enforcing such a law. We told him of the sheriff in America, who threatened to resign if the Prison Board insisted on a certain ruling in the case of our people who were imprisoned. When he talked of the majesty of the law, we talked of God’s law; and moreover, we asked him how it was that he said we were all right in working our male force on Sunday, when we were breaking the Lord’s-day Act every time we did it? Of course this was only an argument showing the inconsistency of those who plead that they must enforce the law, and yet do take the personal responsibility of picking and choosing what shall be enforced.GCB February 20, 1895, page 256.7

    Evidently the authorities had an idea that we were hankering for a little advertising, as along at the first he said that it might create remark for a day or two, and then it would all die down, and we would only have the trouble. But before we were done, I am sure that idea was altogether banished from his mind. He said the fines would be levied from the property of the office if they were not paid. I asked him if they would take it out in books. He laughed, and said they would take something that would be more saleable for the government. He said they would probably take our press or the engine.GCB February 20, 1895, page 256.8

    Well, the Sunday following he came in and interviewed Freddy Pickwick and the young ladies, taking their statements in writing. They said he seemed to feel quite embarrassed. He said it was most extraordinary. He said that usually people denied the work, and they had to prove it. He said to Brother Gibson: “I suppose you will not deny the work.” Of course he felt satisfied there would be no denial of it, and said we would probably hear by the middle of the week.GCB February 20, 1895, page 256.9

    Nothing has come in yet. Doubtless they are taking good time to consider the matter. But it is very unlikely that they will give in, as it would be a fearful let down to the dignity of the government; and yet the case has a mean look. As it comes out, it is simply this: They cannot plead humaneness as the ground of action; for if we had no conscience in the matter, and were to lie, and say we were Jews, we could go on just as we have been doing. The other alternative is to regard the Sunday; and that they can see we could not do while keeping the Sabbath holy. The law says to us, You either recognize the Sunday, or you must turn Jews. The case looks clearer all the time. The inspector, I think, could see that for us to recognize the Sunday would be to break the Sabbath, and in all our talk he was on the apologetic side, and we were out of the case, save as we were brought in because we chose to stand on the word of the Lord against which they were fighting.GCB February 20, 1895, page 256.10

    W. A. SPICER.

    When the Inspector called, he said we would probably hear from the case in three or four days; but at the end of two weeks nothing had been heard from the government.GCB February 20, 1895, page 256.11

    In this district we therefore have a total membership of 3140, with ninety-seven churches, twenty-nine ministers, and twenty-five licentiates; and the tithe for the year ending June 30, 1894, was $18,209.73.GCB February 20, 1895, page 256.12

    Here is a territory for the sale of our publications that is almost unlimited. In the Central European field, where this branch of the work has gone exceedingly hard, a gratifying change has come. During the past few months it has stood second to no other field in the sale of our books.GCB February 20, 1895, page 256.13

    But more workers are needed, — workers of untiring energy and of living faith in Him who has said, “Go; ... and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.” We may find it difficult to secure many to take up the work in foreign tongues, but assistance should be rendered in some way whereby the printed truth may be scattered through these countries like the leaves of autumn.GCB February 20, 1895, page 256.14

    In Great Britain we have at the present moment about one canvasser to each million souls in that field. The facilities for multiplying our books there are practically unlimited, and this, too, without our investing means to do it; but we greatly need a number of men to take up the book work, and the paper work also. If the Signs of the Times should go to 100,000 homes in this country (and no one will dispute that it should) how much more imperative is it that 100,000 copies of the Present Truth should find their way weekly to as many homes in England. It is to be hoped that this Conference will make some provision for more workers to take up the work of circulating our books and papers in this important field.GCB February 20, 1895, page 256.15

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