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Manuscript Releases, vol. 17 [Nos. 1236-1300]

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    MR No. 1250—Lessons From Sightseeing in Nimes; The Wilderness Temptations of Christ; Faithful Sabbathkeeping Enjoined

    (Written October 18, 1886, from Nimes, France, to “Dear Brother and Sister Foss.”)

    Although many thousand miles separate us from you, yet we have not forgotten you. I have remembered you in my prayers many times. It was not my choice to come to Europe, but the General Conference urged my coming so earnestly I complied. I am not sorry I have done this, for the Lord has especially blessed me at every step. I have been sustained in a remarkable manner. I have done a great amount of labor and written many pages. I have been here two weeks, have spoken in a hall twelve times and written one hundred pages. I arise at four o'clock, and before the call to breakfast I have written from ten to fifteen pages. I have reason to praise God with heart and lips for His mercy and His sustaining grace.17MR 75.1

    This place is a large place, an ancient place, and there are many things here that make it worthwhile to see. There are the most ancient buildings I have ever looked upon. Elder D. T. Bourdeau is making it his home here with his family and he is laboring among the French here. There are quite a number who have accepted the Sabbath and been converted, some from the Catholics. There are many Catholics in this city of two hundred thousand inhabitants.17MR 75.2

    Here, as in many other cities in Europe, the marketplaces are all open. The marketplace here is a large building where everything like produce is brought in wagons, on the head, in baskets, and a variety of ways, to sell. It appeared to be anything but Sunday. There were hundreds of stalls where merchandise was displayed. It was a perfect Babel of confusion, men and women crying their goods for sale, and many in number were making their purchases as on other days of the week.17MR 75.3

    In these countries where the Catholic element prevails, the people are the lowest in morals and steeped in ignorance. Sunday is to them a festival, a day for sports, for all kinds of amusements. The people attend the service in church one hour in the day, then their religious observance of the day is at an end. Stores are open all through Nimes as on any of the other days that have no sacredness in their minds attached to them.17MR 76.1

    We visited a building called the “Square House” which had a large portico or piazza in front supported by immense pillars, very much after the style of some courthouses that I have seen. This building was very ancient, and stood in the days of Christ. The barbarians had invaded this city and made much destruction, and this building was buried beneath rubbish, but it has been dug out and stands exactly on the spot where it was built so many hundred years ago.17MR 76.2

    We went into the building, and saw many ancient relics and inscriptions as old as the days of Christ. The yard enclosing this building had many stones with ancient inscriptions piled up all around the building. This building was erected by Augustus Caesar for his sons. It would be a great curiosity for you to pass through these narrow, cobblestone-paved streets and find almost every building is a store or shop of some kind. You enter a dark little room and there are the most valuable goods piled up on shelves and displayed on counters. There are many bazaars that have all kinds of goods and every conceivable kind of goods, all very cheap.17MR 76.3

    Sabbath I spoke twice in the afternoon and evening. Sunday spoke in the evening to an intelligent audience. Elder Bourdeau interpreted for me. I had much freedom in speaking. Brother Ings is now reporting my discourse.17MR 77.1

    Sunday, after speaking, I was introduced to an evangelical minister, Mr. Gilley. He is preceptor of a school, and one who has acted the most prominent part in building and making an asylum for orphan children and fallen women. Tuesday we called upon Mr. Gilley and had a very pleasant interview. Wednesday he visited us at the home of Elder Bourdeau, by request, and gave me some very interesting facts in reference to the ancient buildings and objects of interest dating back as old as the days of Christ. This was valuable and interesting to me.17MR 77.2

    Thursday, October 21, we held a meeting in the hall in the afternoon. Some could attend at that time who were not able to come in the evening. After I had spoken with freedom for about one hour we called Mr. Gilley, who was at liberty. He favored us with his company, conducting us to an interesting ancient castle and giving us an explanation of many things that attracted our attention on the way. Here it was our work to climb up many granite steps, then a more gradual ascent higher and higher until we reached the remains of the old castle. It had in its day covered a large space of ground, but the stones were estimated of so high value they were removed and used for the material for other buildings.17MR 77.3

    We entered the tower and began to climb the narrow, stone, spiral stairs in the tower until we stood at the top and were richly rewarded for our toil in the magnificent view which was presented before us. We could overlook Nimes and the olive groves abounding in and about Nimes, presenting a very beautiful picture. I thought, while so high up, of the temptation of Christ when he was beset by Satan. He was placed on the pinnacle of the temple and then invited, and as well taunted, to evidence that He was the Son of God by casting Himself down from the dizzy height. Disguising his true character he quoted Scripture showing that he was not ignorant of the Scriptures: “If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Jesus answered him, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”17MR 77.4

    Failing here, “The devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.”17MR 78.1

    From this eminence we had a broad, extended view, but nothing that was in comparison to the view of the kingdoms of the world spread out before the Son of God in most bewitching loveliness and richness; and sorrow came into our hearts as we were impressed with the fact that many bow down and worship anything and everything but the Lord God who created the heavens and the earth.17MR 78.2

    How many Satan tempts to worship him who yield to the temptation. They do the very things Satan wants them to do, which is to give attention and devotion to those things which separate the mind and heart from God. Beautiful were the kingdoms and their glory spread out like a panorama before the sight of the Son of God. He was tempted in all points like as we are, but the beauty of holiness, the uncorrupted heart, was to be more desired than any of the glitter or tinsel of earthly things.17MR 79.1

    If those who worship God will only place their feet upon one single text of the Bible, and meet Satan with “It is written,” they can effectually resist Satan. Wherever you are, be it in Paris, in Nimes, in Constantinople, in Venice or Rome, Babylon or London, place yourself upon the Lord's side. “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.” “As for me and my house,” whatever other men may do, whatever they may serve and worship, “we will serve the Lord.”17MR 79.2

    The temptation will come. If you keep the Sabbath, the very day the fourth commandment has specified, you shall have to give up this source of gain. You shall have to close your business on Saturday, the busiest and most profitable day in the week. And when you hesitate to comply with a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” because you will lose profit, and riches will not increase unto you, you continue in disobedience to God and bow the knee to Satan as he tempted Christ to do.17MR 79.3

    If you gain a loftier place and are in favor with the transgressors of God's law, you may escape some inconvenience and opposition and reproach, but you have bowed the knee and acknowledged Satan's supremacy. You have chosen his way and his will to be your way and your will, but have refused God's claims and made yourself liable to suffer the penalty of the transgression of His holy law against all disobedience.17MR 79.4

    The impressions made upon my mind upon this occasion will never be effaced. This tower has stood for ages upon a most commanding eminence. Could we only know the history of these ancient buildings, what revelations would be made to us. I appreciated the information given us by Mr. Gilley.17MR 80.1

    October 23, Sabbath. Elder Ings spoke to those assembled, with profit. In the afternoon I talked to the people, and then we had a social meeting, and many good testimonies were borne which were translated to me. There was one converted from Catholicism, some from the Methodist and Baptist [churches], and one from a life of dissipation. The testimonies had the true ring. Here were the few who had separated themselves from the many to obey God and serve Him, refusing to worship the prince of this world, for he is the prince of darkness. To be singular for singularity's sake is positively detestable, below the dignity of a Christian, but to be singular because it is necessary to be so as the result of worshiping God and Him only, places Heaven's dignity upon man. We must not be afraid of being singular when duty requires us to be thus to exalt and honor God; and we must bear in mind that the work of Christ is specified. “Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14).17MR 80.2

    “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people” (Deuteronomy 7:6, 7).17MR 80.3

    We must not be afraid of being singular. Do not court singularity for the sake of being odd, but for the sake of avoiding sin and dishonor to God. And in this case we are not to mind even the multitude who are against us. “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2). Because the law of God is made void in our world, does it make it a virtue to transgress that law? It may appear to the world a very small matter for the Christian to be in harmony with the world by just the act of keeping Sunday for the Sabbath in the place of the seventh day, but God's Word says the seventh day is “My holy day.” The man of sin says, “I make a sabbath for you and you must keep the first day of the week.”17MR 81.1

    The God-fearing Christian sees that Satan is tempting, “Worship me” and “all these things will I give thee.” But naked duty must be chosen. Worship God in obeying His commandments, and [do] not bow the knee to the man of sin. Let not Satan's bribe be accepted, but manfully be true to God. Even if the world calls you singular, that which is right in God's sight, do. “He that walketh uprightly walketh surely” (Proverbs 10:9).17MR 81.2

    We thank the Lord that a few have had the moral courage in Nimes to cease to longer transgress the law of God, to accept the light and take their position firmly to keep the Sabbath that God has sanctified and blessed. Let the light shine forth from these few in bright, steady rays, reflecting light upon those who are in darkness. Said Christ to His disciples, “Ye are the light of the world.”17MR 81.3

    God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and keep His commandments. “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” Where Christ is, even among the humble few, this is Christ's church, for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church. Where two or three are present who love and obey the commandments of God, Jesus there presides, let it be in the desolate place of the earth, in the wilderness, in the city, [or] enclosed in prison walls. The glory of God has penetrated the prison walls, flooding with glorious beams of heavenly light the darkest dungeon. His saints may suffer, but their sufferings will, like the apostles’ of old, spread their faith and win souls to Christ and glorify His holy name. The bitterest opposition expressed by those who hate God's great moral standard of righteousness should not and will not shake the steadfast soul who trusts fully in God.17MR 81.4

    All things shall work together for good to those who love God. “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” They that will be doers of the word are building securely, and the tempest and storm of persecution will not shake their foundation, because their souls are rooted to the eternal Rock.17MR 82.1

    October 29—We visited the large establishment for the orphan children and for fallen women.—Letter 108, 1886.17MR 82.2

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Washington, D. C.,

    Entire Letter.