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Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists

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    Along the Rhine

    We leave Cologne in the early morning. The weather during the entire homeward journey is bright and sunny, and we have a good opportunity to see the country. From this place to Bingen our route lies through the far-famed highlands of the Rhine. The scenery is grand and picturesque, and in summer it must be beautiful beyond description. The railroad lies close to the river bank, the track winding around the mountains, and affording a fine view of the river all the way. On each side there are mountains, here sloping gradually to the shore, there rising abruptly from the water's edge. Palaces and towers are scattered everywhere on the river bank, adorning every commanding position along the shores. From almost every rocky crag or mountain summit an ancient castle or ruined arch looks down upon the smiling valley. The mountains are terraced and covered with vineyards, and steep, zigzag paths lead up their sides, to the watchtowers and pavilions on the pinnacles of the rocks, or far up to the towers and castles that crown the summit. On the hills and in the valleys are groves, orchards, and gardens; and nestled at the foot of the mountains, or clinging to the steep hillsides, may be seen the villages of the peasants, a grey old church lifting its spire from some elevated site above the little hamlet. On each side of the river are the road and the railroad track, the train on the opposite bank dashing along as if in strife with ours, and often disappearing from view as it darts through some mountain tunnel. Close beside us flows the beautiful Rhine, as still and smooth as glass, and upon its quiet bosom little steamers are gliding up and down.HS 223.1

    This country being the resort of tourists and pleasure-seekers, great attention is given to everything connected with their comfort and entertainment. Large and elegant hotels, surrounded by beautiful terraced grounds, groves, shrubbery, and flowers, are built all along the river banks. And even in the smallest and most secluded villages the hotels and inns are like palaces in comparison with the dwellings of the people.HS 223.2

    The roads along the Rhine are as near perfect as it is possible to make them. And well they may be; for workmen have been constantly employed in building and improving them for nearly two thousand years. In many places they have been walled up on the side toward the river, the rock cut away on the land side, valleys filled up, hillsides terraced, and chasms bridged over, so that though passing through a very mountainous region, they are almost as level as a railroad.HS 223.3

    Great labor has been bestowed also on the paths up the mountain sides. There is nothing like them to be seen in America. They are made just wide enough for two mules to pass each other; not a foot of ground is wasted. On the upper side is a wall supporting the vineyard terrace, on the other, one that incloses the vine plantings. The paths are graveled hard, so that the rain may not wash them out, and they mount by regular zigzags to lessen the steepness of the ascent. Except the streams and mountains themselves, these roads and mountain paths are, no doubt, more ancient than anything else which we look upon.HS 223.4

    The mountains are terraced for vineyards, to the very summit. It must have cost an immense amount of labor to build these terraces, and the cultivation of the vineyards thus formed is no easy task. Earth as well as dressing has to be carried from the valley below; and as in many places even donkeys cannot be used, the work is done by men and women. Large baskets three or four feet long, flat on one side and rounded on the other, are lashed to the back, and they carry these, filled with earth or dressing, up the steep mountain paths.HS 224.1

    At Bingen the aspect of the country changes. Instead of the romantic scenery of the mountains, we see level and highly cultivated plains. In summer they must be very beautiful, with their groves and orchards and crops of every kind, separated by green hedges, and dotted with villages and towns.HS 224.2

    About noon we passed through Worms, the quaint old town which Luther has inseparably linked with the history of the Reformation, and from which went forth Tyndale's Bible, the most powerful agent in the Reformation of England.HS 225.1

    At Mayence the train waited two hours, and we improved the opportunity for a walk about the city. On our return to the station, our baggage, which we had left in the waiting room, was nowhere to be seen. After considerable search we succeeded in finding it in charge of a railway porter, who informed us that it needed guarding. We were required to pay a mark (25 cents) to one man for removing it from the waiting room, a franc (20 cents) to another for standing guard over it, and a franc to another for putting it in the car. This is an illustration of what is to be constantly met in traveling in Europe.HS 225.2

    We reached Basle, November 19, our homeward journey having occupied four days. We were absent six weeks on this Scandinavian tour, and traveled more than twenty-five hundred miles.HS 225.3

    In all the meetings in Scandinavia as in Switzerland, my sermons were spoken in English, and translated sentence by sentence into the language of the people. Although this was hard work for the speaker, yet the interest of the hearers was sufficient encouragement, it being equal to that of any congregations we have seen in America. On some occasions some who could not find seats would stand for one hour without any sign of weariness.HS 225.4

    Wherever we went, our people warmly expressed their gratitude for the help which had been sent them and the interest manifested in their behalf by the brethren in America. In the social meetings nearly all spoke with deep feeling of their sorrow that we could not understand each other's speech. They knew that this barrier was the result of sin, and they looked forward with earnest expectation to the time when there would be nothing to prevent our communion with one another.HS 225.5

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