Section V - Sanitariums--Their Objects And Aims
Pages 203 - 254
Every institution established by Seventh-day Adventists is to be to the world what Joseph was in Egypt and what Daniel and his fellows were in Babylon. As in the providence of God these chosen ones were taken captive, it was to carry to heathen nations the blessings that come to humanity through a knowledge of God. They were to be representatives of Jehovah. They were never to compromise with idolaters; their religious faith and their name as worshipers of the living God they were to bear as a special honor.
And this they did. In prosperity and adversity they honored God, and God honored them....
So the institutions established by God's people today are to glorify His name. The only way in which we can fulfill His expectation is by being representatives of the truth for this time. God is to be recognized in the institutions established by Seventh-day Adventists. By them the truth for this time is to be represented before the world with convincing power.
We are called to represent to the world the character of God as it was revealed to Moses. In answer to the prayer of Moses, "Show me Thy glory," the Lord promised, "I will make all My goodness pass before thee." "And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin." Exodus 33:18, 19; 34:6, 7. This is the fruit that God desires from His people. In the purity of their characters, in the holiness of their lives, in their mercy and loving-kindness and compassion, they are to demonstrate that "the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Psalm 19:7.
God's purpose for His institutions today may also be read in the purpose which He sought to accomplish through the Jewish nation. Through Israel it was His design to impart rich blessings to all peoples. Through them the way was to be prepared for the diffusion of His light to the whole world....
God desired to make of His people Israel a praise and a glory. Every spiritual advantage was given them. God withheld from them nothing favorable to the formation of character that would make them representatives of Himself.
Their obedience to the laws of God would make them marvels of prosperity before the nations of the world. He who could give them wisdom and skill in all cunning work would continue to be their teacher, and would ennoble and elevate them through obedience to His laws. If obedient, they would be preserved from the diseases that afflicted other nations and would be blessed with vigor of intellect. The glory of God, His majesty and power, were to be revealed in all their prosperity. They were to be a kingdom of priests and princes. God furnished them with every facility for becoming the greatest nation on the earth....
The Lord years ago gave me special light in regard to the establishment of a health institution where the sick could be treated on altogether different lines from those followed in any other institution in our world. It was to be founded and conducted upon Bible principles, as the Lord's instrumentality, and it was to be in His hands one of the most effective agencies for giving light to the world. It was God's purpose that it should stand forth with scientific ability, with moral and spiritual power, and as a faithful sentinel of reform in all its bearings. All who should act a part in it were to be reformers, having respect to its principles and heeding the light of health reform shining upon us as a people.
God designed that the institution which He should establish should stand forth as a beacon of light, of warning and reproof. He would prove to the world that an institution conducted on religious principles, as an asylum for the sick, could be sustained without sacrificing its peculiar, holy character; that it could be kept free from the objectionable features found in other health institutions. It was to be an instrumentality for bringing about great reforms.
The Lord revealed that the prosperity of the sanitarium was not to be dependent alone upon the knowledge and skill of its physicians, but upon the favor of God. It was to be known as an institution where God was acknowledged as the Monarch of the universe, an institution that was under His special supervision. Its managers were to make God first and last and best in everything. And in this was to be its strength. If conducted in a manner that God could approve, it would be highly successful and would stand in advance of all other institutions of the kind in the world. Great light, great knowledge, and superior privileges were given. And in accordance with the light received would be the responsibility of those to whom the carrying forward of the institution was entrusted.
As our work has extended and institutions have multiplied, God's purpose in their establishment remains the same. The conditions of prosperity are unchanged.
The human family is suffering because of transgression of the laws of God. The Lord desires that men shall be led to understand the cause of their suffering and the only way to find relief. He desires them to see that their well-being, physical, mental, and moral, depends upon their obedience to His law. It is His purpose that our institutions shall be as object lessons showing the results of obedience to right principles.
In the preparation of a people for the Lord's second coming, a great work is to be accomplished through the promulgation of health principles. The people are to be instructed in regard to the needs of the physical organism and the value of healthful living as taught in the Scriptures, that the bodies which God has created may be presented to Him a living sacrifice, fitted to render Him acceptable service. There is a great work to be done for suffering humanity in relieving their sufferings by the use of the natural agencies that God has provided, and in teaching them how to prevent sickness by the regulation of the appetites and passions. The people should be taught that transgression of the laws of nature is transgression of the laws of God. They should be taught the truth in physical as well as in spiritual lines, that "the fear of the Lord tendeth to life." Proverbs 19:23. "If thou wilt enter into life," Christ says, "keep the commandments." Matthew 19:17. Live out My law "as the apple of thine eye." God's commandments, obeyed, are "life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh." Proverbs 4:22.
Our sanitariums are an educating power to teach the people in these lines. Those who are taught can in turn impart to others a knowledge of health-restoring and health-preserving principles. Thus our sanitariums are to be an instrumentality for reaching the people, an agency for showing them the evil of disregarding the laws of life and health, and for teaching them how to preserve the body in the best condition. Sanitariums are to be established in different countries that are entered by our missionaries, and are to be centers from which a work of healing, restoring, and educating shall be carried on.
We are to labor both for the health of the body and for the saving of the soul. Our mission is the same as that of our Master, of whom it is written that He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by Satan. Acts 10:38. Of His own work He says: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek." "He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised." Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18. As we follow Christ's example of labor for the good of others, we shall awaken their interest in the God whom we love and serve.
Our sanitariums in all their departments should be memorials for God, His instrumentalities for sowing the seeds of truth in human hearts. This they will be if rightly conducted.
The living truth of God is to be made known in our medical institutions. Many persons who come to them are hungering and thirsting for truth, and when it is rightly presented they will received it with gladness. Our sanitariums have been the means of elevating the truth for this time and bringing it before thousands. The religious influence that pervades these institutions inspires the guests with confidence. The assurance that the Lord presides there, and the many prayers offered for the sick, make an impression upon their hearts. Many who have never before thought of the value of the soul are convicted by the Spirit of God, and not a few are led to change their whole course of life. Impressions that will never be effaced are made upon many who have been self-satisfied, who have thought their own standard of character to be sufficient, and have felt no need of the righteousness of Christ. When the future test comes, when enlightenment comes to them, not a few of these will take their stand with God's remnant people.
God is honored by institutions conducted in this way. In His mercy He has made the sanitariums such a power in the relief of physical suffering that thousands have been drawn to them to be cured of their maladies. And with many, physical healing is accompanied by the healing of the soul. From the Saviour they receive the forgiveness of their sins. They receive the grace of Christ and identify themselves with Him, with His interests, His honor. Many go away from our sanitariums with new hearts. The change is decided. These, returning to their homes, are as lights in the world. The Lord makes them His witnesses. Their testimony is, "I have seen His greatness, I have tasted His goodness. 'Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul.'" Psalm 66:16.
Thus through the prospering hand of God upon them, our sanitariums have been the means of accomplishing great good. And they are to rise still higher. God will work with the people who will honor Him.
Wonderful is the work which God designs to accomplish through His servants, that His name may be glorified. God made Joseph a fountain of life to the Egyptian nation. Through Joseph the life of that whole people was preserved. Through Daniel God saved the life of all the wise men of Babylon. And these deliverances were as object lessons; they illustrated to the people the spiritual blessings offered them through connection with the God whom Joseph and Daniel worshiped. So through His people today God desires to bring blessings to the world. Every worker in whose heart Christ abides, everyone who will show forth His love to the world, is a worker together with God for the blessing of humanity. As he receives from the Saviour grace to impart to others, from his whole being flows forth the tide of spiritual life. Christ came as the Great Physician to heal the wounds that sin has made in the human family, and His Spirit, working through His servants, imparts to sin-sick, suffering human beings a mighty healing power that is efficacious for the body and the soul. "In that day," says the Scripture, "there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." Zechariah 13:1. The waters of this fountain contain medicinal properties that will heal both physical and spiritual infirmities.
From this fountain flows the mighty river seen in Ezekiel's vision. "These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that everything that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live.... And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine." Ezekiel 47:8-12.
Such a river of life and healing God designs that, by His power working through them, our sanitariums shall be.
Christ has empowered His church to do the same work that He did during His ministry. Today He is the same compassionate physician that He was while on this earth. We should let the afflicted understand that in Him there is healing balm for every disease, restoring power for every infirmity. His disciples in this time are to pray for the sick as verily as His disciples of old prayed. And recoveries will follow, for "the prayer of faith shall save the sick." James 5:15. We need the Holy Spirit's power, the calm assurance of faith that can claim God's promises. --Review and Herald, June 9, 1904.
The Lord wants wise men and women, acting in the capacity of nurses, to comfort and help the sick and the suffering. . . .
It is for the object of soul saving that our sanitariums are established. In our daily ministrations we see many careworn, sorrowful faces. What does the sorrow on these faces show? The need of the soul for the peace of Christ. Poor, sad human beings go to broken cisterns, which can hold no water, thinking to quench their thirst. Let them hear a voice saying, "Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters," "Come to Me, that ye might have life." Isaiah 55:1; John 5:40.
It is that thirsting souls may be led to the living water that we plead for sanitariums--not expensive, mammoth sanitariums, but homelike institutions in pleasant places.
The sick are to be reached, not by massive buildings, but by the establishment of many small sanitariums, which are to be as lights shining in a dark place. Those who are engaged in this work are to reflect the sunlight of Christ's face. They are to be as salt that has not lost its savor. By sanitarium work, properly conducted, the influence of true, pure religion will be extended to many souls.
From our sanitariums, trained workers are to go forth into places where the truth has never been proclaimed, and do missionary work for the Master, claiming the promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Matthew 28:20.--Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 8, pp. 13, 14 (1907).
Our sanitariums are one of the most successful means of reaching all classes of people. Christ is no longer in this world in person, to go through our cities and towns and villages healing the sick. He has commissioned us to carry forward the medical missionary work that He began, and in this work we are to do our very best. Institutions for the care of the sick are to be established, where men and women may be placed under the care of God-fearing medical missionaries and be treated without drugs. To these institutions will come those who have brought disease on themselves by improper habits of eating and drinking. These are to be taught the principles of healthful living. They are to be taught the value of self-denial and self-restraint. They are to be provided with a simple, wholesome, palatable diet and are to be cared for by wise physicians and nurses.
Our sanitariums are the right hand of the gospel, opening doors whereby suffering humanity may be reached with the glad tidings of healing through Christ. In these institutions the sick may be taught to commit their cases to the Great Physician, who will co-operate with their earnest efforts to regain health, bringing to them healing of soul as well as healing of body.
There is most precious missionary work to be done in our sanitariums. In them Christ and the angels work to relieve suffering caused by bodily disease. And the work is by no means to stop there. The prayers offered for the sick and the opening of the Scriptures to them give them a knowledge of the great Medical Missionary. Their attention is called to Him as the One who can heal all disease. They learn about the great gift of eternal life, which the Lord Jesus is longing to bestow on those who receive Him. They learn how to prepare for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him. If I go away, He said, "I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:3. In the word of God there are gracious promises, from which those who are suffering, whether in body or in mind, may receive comfort and hope and encouragement.
The plan to provide institutions for the proper care of the sick originated with the Lord. He has instructed His people that these institutions should be established. With them are to be connected intelligent, God-fearing physicians, who know how to treat the sick from the standpoint of the skillful Christian physician. These physicians are to be earnest and active, serving the Lord in their activity. They are to remember that they are working in the place and under the oversight of the Great Physician. They stand as guardians of the beings that Christ has purchased with His own blood, and it is therefore essential that they be governed by high, noble principles, carrying out the will of the divine Medical Missionary, who is ever watching over the sick and suffering.
He who is set as a guardian of the health of the sick should understand by experience the soothing power of the grace of Christ, so that to those who come to him for treatment he can impart in words the uplifting, health-giving power of God's own truth. A physician is not fit for medical missionary work until he has gained a knowledge of Him who came to save perishing, sin-sick souls. If Christ is his teacher, if he has an experimental knowledge of the truth, he can hold up the Saviour before the sick and dying.
The sick note carefully the looks and words and acts of their physician, and as the Christian physician kneels beside the bedside of the sufferer, asking the Great Physician to take the case into His own hands, an impression is made upon the mind of the sick one that may result in the saving of his soul.
Christ embraced the world in His missionary work, and the Lord has shown me by revelation that it is not His plan for large centers to be made, for large institutions to be established, and for the funds of our people in all parts of the world to be exhausted in the support of a few large institutions, when the necessities of the times call for something to be done, as Providence opens the way, in many places. Plants should be established in various places all over the world. First one, and then another part of the vineyard is to be entered, until all has been cultivated. Efforts are to be put forth wherever the need is greatest. But we cannot carry on this aggressive warfare and at the same time make an extravagant outlay of means in a few places.
The Battle Creek Sanitarium is too large. A great many workers will be required to care for the patients who come. A tenth of the number of patients who come to that institution is as many as can be cared for with the best results in one medical missionary center. Centers should be made in all the cities that are unacquainted with the great work that the Lord would have done to warn the world that the end of all things is at hand. "There is too much," said the Great Teacher, "in one place."--Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, pp. 204, 205 (1903).
God has qualified His people to enlighten the world. He has entrusted them with faculties by which they are to extend His work until it shall encircle the globe. In all parts of the earth they are to establish sanitariums, schools, publishing houses, and kindred facilities for the accomplishment of His work.
The closing message of the gospel is to be carried to "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." Revelation 14:6. In foreign countries many enterprises for the advancement of this message must yet be begun and carried forward. The opening of hygienic restaurants and treatment rooms, and the establishment of sanitariums for the care of the sick and the suffering, is just as necessary in Europe as in America. In many lands medical missions are to be established to act as God's helping hand in ministering to the afflicted.
Christ co-operates with those who engage in medical missionary work. Men and women who unselfishly do what they can to establish sanitariums and treatment rooms in many lands will be richly rewarded. Those who visit these institutions will be benefited physically, mentally, and spiritually--the weary will be refreshed, the sick restored to health, the sin-burdened relieved. In far-off countries, from those whose hearts are by these agencies turned from the service of sin unto righteousness, will be heard thanksgiving and the voice of melody. By their songs of grateful praise a testimony will be borne that will win others to allegiance and to fellowship with Christ.
The conversion of souls to God is the greatest, the noblest work in which human beings can have a part. In this work are revealed God's power, His holiness, His forbearance, and His unbounded love. Every true conversion glorifies Him and causes the angels to break forth into singing.
We are nearing the end of this earth's history, and the different lines of God's work are to be carried forward with much more self-sacrifice than is at present manifest. The work for these last days is in a special sense a missionary work. The presentation of present truth, from the first letter of its alphabet to the last, means missionary effort. The work to be done calls for sacrifice at every advance step. From this unselfish service the workers will come forth purified and refined as gold tried in the fire.
The sight of souls perishing in sin should arouse us to put forth greater effort to give the light of present truth to those who are in darkness, and especially to those in fields where as yet very little has been done to establish memorials for God. In all parts of the world a work that should have been done long ago is now to be entered upon and carried forward to completion.
Our brethren generally have not taken the interest that they ought in the establishment of sanitariums in the European countries. In the work in these countries the most perplexing questions will arise, because of the circumstances peculiar to the various fields. But from the light given me, institutions will be established which, though at first small, will, by God's blessing, become larger and stronger.
Our institutions for any land are not to be crowded together in one locality. God never designed that the light of truth should be thus restricted. For a time the Jewish nation was required to worship at Jerusalem. But Jesus said to the Samaritan woman: "Believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father." "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." John 4:21, 23, 24. Truth is to be planted in every place to which we can possibly gain access. It is to be carried to regions that are barren of the knowledge of God. Men will be blessed in receiving the One in whom their hopes of eternal life are centered. The acceptance of the truth as it is in Jesus will fill their hearts with melody to God.
To absorb a large amount of means in a few places is contrary to Christian principles. Every building is to be erected with reference to the need for similar buildings in other places. God calls upon men in positions of trust in His work not to block the way of advance by selfishly using in a few favored places, or in one or two lines of work, all the means that can be secured.
In the early days of the message, very many of our people possessed the spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice. Thus a right beginning was made, and success attended the efforts put forth. But the work has not developed as it should have developed. Too much has been centered in Battle Creek and in Oakland and in a few other places. Our brethren should never have built so largely in any one place as they have in Battle Creek.
The Lord has signified that His work should be carried forward in the same spirit in which it was begun. The world is to be warned. Field after field is to be entered. The command given us is, "Add new territory." Shall we not as a people, by our business arrangements, by our attitude toward a world unsaved, bear a testimony even more clear and decisive than that borne by us twenty or thirty years ago?
Upon us has shone great light in regard to the last days of this earth's history. Let not our lack of wisdom and energy give evidence of spiritual blindness. God's messengers must be clothed with power. They must have for the truth an elevating reverence that they do not now possess. The Lord's solemn, sacred message of warning must be proclaimed in the most difficult fields and in the most sinful cities--in every place where the light of the third angel's message has not yet dawned. To everyone is to be given the last call to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
In proclaiming the message, God's servants will be called upon to wrestle with numerous perplexities and to surmount many obstacles. Sometimes the work will go hard, as it did when the pioneers were establishing the institutions in Battle Creek, in Oakland, and in other places. But let all do their best, making the Lord their strength, avoiding all selfishness, and blessing others by their good works. . . .
The Lord is calling upon us to awake to a realization of our responsibilities. God has given to every man his work. Each one may live a life of usefulness. Let us learn all that we can and then be a blessing to others by imparting a knowledge of truth. Let every one do according to his several ability, willingly helping to bear the burdens.
Everywhere there is a work to be done for all classes of society. We are to come close to the poor and depraved, those who have fallen through intemperance. And, at the same time, we are not to forget the higher classes--the lawyers, ministers, senators, and judges, many of whom are slaves to intemperate habits. We are to leave no effort untried to show them that their souls are worth saving, that eternal life is worth striving for. To those in high positions we are to present the total-abstinence pledge, asking them to give the money they would otherwise spend for the harmful indulgences of liquor and tobacco to the establishment of institutions where children and youth may be prepared to fill positions of usefulness in the world.
Great light has been shining upon us, but how little of this light we reflect to the world? Heavenly angels are waiting for human beings to co-operate with them in the practical carrying out of the principles of truth. It is through the agency of our sanitariums and kindred enterprises that much of this work is to be done. These institutions are to be God's memorials, where His healing power can reach all classes, high and low, rich and poor. Every dollar invested in them for Christ's sake will bring blessings both to the giver and to suffering humanity.
Medical missionary work is the right hand of the gospel. It is necessary to the advancement of the cause of God. As through it men and women are led to see the importance of right habits of living, the saving power of the truth will be made known. Every city is to be entered by workers trained to do medical missionary work. As the right hand of the third angel's message, God's methods of treating disease will open doors for the entrance of present truth. Health literature must be circulated in many lands. Our physicians in Europe and other countries should awake to the necessity of having health works prepared by men who are on the ground and who can meet the people where they are with the most essential instruction.
The Lord will give to our sanitariums whose work is already established an opportunity to co-operate with Him in assisting newly established plants. Every new institution is to be regarded as a sister helper in the great work of proclaiming the third angel's message. God has given our sanitariums an opportunity to set in operation a work that will be as a stone instinct with life, growing as it is rolled by an invisible hand. Let this mystic stone be set in motion.
The Lord has instructed me to warn those who in the future establish sanitariums in new places, to begin their work in humility, consecrating their abilities to His service. The buildings erected are not to be large or expensive. Small local sanitariums are to be established in connection with our training schools. In these sanitariums young men and young women of ability and consecration are to be gathered--those who will conduct themselves in the love and fear of God, those who, when prepared for graduation, will not feel that they know all that they need to know, but will diligently study and carefully practice the lessons given by Christ. The righteousness of Christ will go before such ones, and the glory of God will be their rearward.
The Lord has repeatedly given instruction regarding the importance of this institution and the necessity for its establishment. He desires the sanitarium to be built that we may co-operate with His instrumentalities in relieving the sufferings of humanity.
In the work in the sanitarium, physicians, matron, and nurses are to co-operate with God in restoring the sick to health. In doing this, they co-operate with Him in restoring His image in the soul. Let us not limit the Holy One of Israel. Is not Christ officiating for us in the sanctuary above, at the right hand of God? Is He not making intercession for those who are suffering physically and those who are suffering spiritually? He invites them to come to Him who was dead, but is alive forevermore.
God desires suffering human beings to be taught how to avoid sickness by the practice of correct habits of eating, drinking, and dressing. Many are suffering under the oppressive power of sinful practices, who might be restored to health by an intelligent observance of the laws of life and health, by co-operating with Him who died that they might have eternal life. This is the knowledge that men and women need. They need to be taught how to study the divine laws given by Christ for the good of all mankind. This is the work that is to be done in our sanitarium.
God's instrumentalities should seek to follow in the footsteps of the divine Healer. Those who come to the sanitarium should be taught how to take care of the body, remembering the words, "Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. Yes, we are God's property, and the path of obedience to nature's laws is the direct path to heaven. He who is converted from errors in eating, drinking, and dressing is being prepared to hear and receive the truth into a good and willing heart. Many, by practicing the laws of nature and by receiving the renovating grace of God into the soul, obtain a new lease of physical and spiritual life. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Proverbs 9:10. Let wisdom's voice be heard, for "her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." Proverbs 3:17....
It is the glory of the gospel that it is founded upon the principle of restoring in the fallen race the divine image by a constant manifestation of benevolence. This work began in the heavenly courts. There God decided to give human beings unmistakable evidence of the love with which He regarded them. He "so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave Themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption. In order fully to carry out this plan, it was decided that Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, should give Himself an offering for sin. What line can measure the depth of this love? God would make it impossible for man to say that He could have done more. With Christ He gave all the resources of heaven, that nothing might be wanting in the plan for man's uplifting. Here is love--the contemplation of which should fill the soul with inexpressible gratitude! Oh, what love, what matchless love! The contemplation of this love will cleanse the soul from all selfishness. It will lead the disciple to deny self, take up the cross, and follow the Redeemer.
The establishment of churches and sanitariums is only a further manifestation of the love of God, and in this work all God's people should have a part. Christ formed His church here below for the express purpose of showing forth through the members the grace of God. Throughout the world His people are to raise memorials of His Sabbath--the sign between Him and them that He is the One who sanctifies them. Thus they are to show that they have returned to their loyalty and stand firmly for the principles of His law.
The Lord permitted fire to consume the principal buildings of the Review and Herald and the sanitarium, and thus removed the greatest objection urged against moving out of the Battle Creek. It was His design that instead of rebuilding the one large sanitarium, our people should make plants in several places. These smaller sanitariums should have been established where land could be secured for agricultural purposes. It is God's plan that agriculture shall be connected with the work of our sanitariums and schools. Our youth need the education to be gained from this line of work. It is well, and more than well,--it is essential,--that efforts be made to carry out the Lord's plan in this respect.--Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, pp. 227, 228 (1903).
Saint Helena, California, Sept. 4, 1902. To the Leaders in Our Medical Work--
Dear Brethren: The Lord is working impartially for every part of His vineyard. It is men who disorganize His work. He does not give to His people the privilege of gathering in so much means to establish institutions in a few places, that nothing will be left for the establishment of similar institutions in other places.
Many plants are to be established in the cities of America, and especially in the Southern cities, where as yet little has been done. And in foreign lands many medical missionary enterprises are to be started, and carried forward to success. The establishment of sanitariums is as essential in Europe, and other foreign countries, as in America.
The Lord desires His people to have a right understanding of the work to be done, and, as faithful stewards, to move forward wisely in the investment of means. In the erection of buildings, He desires them to count the cost to see whether they have enough with which to finish. He also desires them to remember that they should not selfishly gather all the means possible to invest in a few places, but that they should work with reference to the many other places where institutions must be established.
From the light given me, the managers of all our institutions, and especially of newly established sanitariums, are to be careful to economize in the expenditure of means, that they may be in a position to help similar institutions that are to be established in other parts of the world. Even if they have a large amount of money in the treasury, they should make every plan with reference to the needs of God's great missionary field.
It is not the Lord's will for His people to erect mammoth sanitariums anywhere. Many sanitariums are to be established. They are not to be large, but sufficiently complete to do a good and successful work.
Cautions have been given me in reference to the work of training nurses and medical missionary evangelists. We are not to centralize this work in any one place. In every sanitarium established, young men and young women should be trained to be medical missionaries. The Lord will open the way before them as they go forth to work for Him.
The evidences before us of the fulfillment of prophecy declare that the end of all things is at hand. Much important work is to be done out of and away from the places where in the past our work has been largely centered.
When we bring a stream of water into a garden to irrigate it, we do not provide for the watering of one place only, leaving the other parts dry and barren, to cry, "Give us water." And yet this represents the way in which the work has been carried forward in a few places, to the neglect of the great field. Shall the desolate places remain desolate? No. Let the stream flow through every place, carrying with it gladness and fertility.
Never are we to rely upon worldly recognition and rank. Never are we, in the establishment of institutions, to try to compete with worldly institutions in size or splendor. We shall gain the victory, not by erecting massive buildings, in rivalry with our enemies, but by cherishing a Christlike spirit--a spirit of meekness and lowliness. Better far the cross and disappointed hopes, with eternal life at last, than to live with princes and forfeit heaven.
The Saviour of mankind was born of humble parentage, in a sin-cursed, wicked world. He was brought up in obscurity at Nazareth, a small town in Galilee. He began His work in poverty and without worldly rank. Thus God introduced the gospel, in a way altogether different from the way in which many in our day deem it wise to proclaim the same gospel.
At the very beginning of the gospel dispensation He taught His church to rely, not on worldly rank and splendor, but on the power of faith and obedience. The favor of God is of greater value than gold and silver. The power of His Spirit is of inestimable worth.
Thus saith the Lord: "Buildings will give character to My work only when those who erect them follow My instruction in regard to the establishment of institutions. Had those who have managed and sustained the work in the past always been controlled by pure, unselfish principles, there never would have been the selfish gathering of a large share of My means into one or two places. Institutions would have been established in many localities. The seeds of truth, sown in many more fields, would have sprung up and borne fruit to My glory.
"Places that have been neglected are now to receive attention. My people are to do a sharp, quick work. Those who with purity of purpose fully consecrate themselves to Me, body, soul, and spirit, shall work in My way and in My name. Everyone shall stand in his lot, looking to Me, his Guide and Counselor.
"I will instruct the ignorant and anoint with heavenly eyesalve the eyes of many who are now in spiritual darkness. I will raise up agents who will carry out My will to prepare a people to stand before Me in the time of the end. In many places that before this ought to have been provided with sanitariums and schools, I will establish My institutions, and these institutions will become educational centers for the training of workers."
The Lord will work upon human minds in unexpected quarters. Some who apparently are enemies of the truth will, in God's providence, invest their means to develop properties and erect buildings. In time, these properties will be offered for sale at a price far below their cost. Our people will recognize the hand of Providence in these offers and will secure valuable property for use in educational work. They will plan and manage with humility, self-denial, and self-sacrifice. Thus men of means are unconsciously preparing auxiliaries that will enable the Lord's people to advance His work rapidly.
In various places, properties are to be purchased to be used for sanitarium purposes. Our people should be looking for opportunities to purchase properties away from the cities, on which are buildings already erected and orchards already in bearing. Land is a valuable possession. Connected with our sanitariums there should be lands, small portions of which can be used for the homes of the helpers and others who are receiving a training for medical missionary work.
The managers of the sanitarium should not be governed by the principles which control other institutions of this kind, in which the leaders, acting from policy, too often pay deference to the wealthy, while the poor are neglected. The latter are frequently in great need of sympathy and counsel, which they do not always receive, although for moral worth they may stand far higher in the estimation of God than the more wealthy. The apostle James has given definite counsel with regard to the manner in which we should treat the rich and the poor:
"For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him?" James 2:2-5.
Although Christ was rich in the heavenly courts, yet He became poor that we through His poverty might be made rich. Jesus honored the poor by sharing their humble condition. From the history of His life we are to learn how to treat the poor. Some carry the duty of beneficence to extremes, and really hurt the needy by doing too much for them. The poor do not always exert themselves as they should. While they are not to be neglected and left to suffer, they must be taught to help themselves.
The cause of God should not be overlooked that the poor may receive our first attention. Christ once gave His disciples a very important lesson on this point. When Mary poured the ointment on the head of Jesus, covetous Judas made a plea in behalf of the poor, murmuring at what he considered a waste of money. But Jesus vindicated the act, saying, "Why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on Me." "Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her." Mark 14:6, 9. By this we are taught that Christ is to be honored in the consecration of the best of our substance. Should our whole attention be directed to relieving the wants of the poor, God's cause would be neglected. Neither will suffer if His stewards do their duty, but the cause of Christ should come first.
The poor should be treated with as much interest and attention as the rich. The practice of honoring the rich, and slighting and neglecting the poor, is a crime in the sight of God. Those who are surrounded with all the comforts of life, or who are petted and pampered by the world because they are rich, do not feel the need of sympathy and tender consideration as do persons whose lives have been one long struggle with poverty. The latter have but little in this life to make them happy or cheerful, and they will appreciate sympathy and love. Physicians and helpers should in no case neglect this class, for by doing so they may neglect Christ in the person of His saints.
Our sanitarium was erected to benefit suffering humanity, rich and poor, the world over. Many of our churches have but little interest in this institution, notwithstanding they have sufficient evidence that it is one of the instrumentalities designed of God to bring men and women under the influence of truth and to save many souls. The churches that have the poor among them should not neglect their stewardship and throw the burden of the poor and sick upon the sanitarium. All the members of the several churches are responsible before God for their afflicted ones. They should bear their own burdens. If they have sick persons among them, whom they wish to be benefited by treatment, they should, if able, send them to the sanitarium. In doing this, they will not only be patronizing the institution which God has established, but will be helping those who need help, caring for the poor as God requires us to do.
It was not the purpose of God that poverty should ever leave the world. The ranks of society were never to be equalized; for the diversity of conditions which characterizes our race is one of the means by which God has designed to prove and develop character. Many have urged with great enthusiasm that all men should have an equal share in the temporal blessings of God; but this was not the purpose of the Creator. Christ has said that we shall have the poor always with us. The poor, as well as the rich, are the purchase of His blood; and among His professed followers, in most cases, the former serve Him with singleness of purpose, while the latter are constantly fastening their affections on their earthly treasures, and Christ is forgotten. The cares of this life and the greed for riches eclipse the glory of the eternal world. It would be the greatest misfortune that has ever befallen mankind if all were to be placed upon an equality in worldly possessions.
Physicians and ministers are to unite in an effort to lead men and women to obey God's commandments. They need to study the intimate relationship existing between obedience and health. Solemn is the responsibility resting upon medical missionaries. They are to be missionaries in the true sense of the term. The sick and the suffering who entrust themselves to the care of the helpers in our medical institutions must not be disappointed. They are to be taught how to live in harmony with heaven. As they learn to obey God's law, they will be richly blessed in body and in spirit.
The advantage of outdoor life must never be lost sight of. How thankful we should be that God has given us beautiful sanitarium properties at Paradise Valley and Glendale and Loma Linda! "Out of the cities! out of the cities!"--this has been my message for years. We cannot expect the sick to recover rapidly when they are shut in within four walls, in some city, with no outside view but houses, houses, houses--nothing to animate, nothing to enliven. And yet how slow some are to realize that the crowded cities are not favorable places for sanitarium work!
Even in Southern California not many years ago, there were some who favored the erection of a large sanitarium building in the heart of Los Angeles. In the light of the instruction God had given, we could not consent to the carrying out of any such plan. In the visions of the night the Lord had shown me unoccupied properties in the country, suitable for sanitarium purposes, and for sale at a price far below the original cost.
It was some time before we found these places. First, we secured the Paradise Valley Sanitarium, near San Diego. A few months later, in the good providence of God, the Glendale property came to the notice of our people and was purchased and fitted up for service. But light came that our work of establishing sanitariums in Southern California was not complete, and on several different occasions testimonies were given that medical missionary work must be done somewhere in the vicinity of Redlands.
In an article published in the Review of April 6, 1905, I wrote:
"On our way back to Redlands, as our train passed through miles of orange groves, I thought of the efforts that should be made in this beautiful valley to proclaim the truth for this time. I recognized this section of Southern California as one of the places that had been presented to me with the word that it should have a fully equipped sanitarium.
"Why have such fields as Redlands and Riverside been left almost unworked? As I looked from the car window and saw the trees laden with fruit, I thought, Would not earnest, Christlike efforts have brought forth just as abundant a harvest in spiritual lines? In a few years these towns have been built up and developed, and as I looked upon their beauty and the fertility of the country surrounding them, there rose before me a vision of what the spiritual harvest might have been had earnest, Christlike efforts been put forth for the salvation of souls.
"The Lord would have brave, earnest men and women take up His work in these places. The cause of God is to make more rapid advancement in Southern California than it has in the past. Every year thousands of people visit Southern California in search of health, and by various methods we should seek to reach them with the truth. They must hear the warning to prepare for the great day of the Lord, which is right upon us. . . .
"We are called upon by God to present the truth for this time to those who year by year come to Southern California from all parts of America. Workers who can speak to the multitudes are to be located where they can meet the people and give them the warning message. Ministers and canvassers should be on the ground, watching their opportunity to present the truth and to hold meetings. Let them be quick to seize opportunities to place present truth before those who know it not. Let them give the message with clearness and power, that those who have ears to hear may hear.". . .
Let us remember that one most important agency is our medical missionary work. Never are we to lose sight of the great object for which our sanitariums are established--the advancement of God's closing work in the earth.
Loma Linda is to be not only a sanitarium, but an educational center. With the possession of this place comes the weighty responsibility of making the work of the institution educational in character. A school is to be established here for the training of gospel medical missionary evangelists.
I have been instructed that our medical institutions are to stand as witnesses for God. They are established to relieve the sick and the afflicted, to awaken a spirit of inquiry, to disseminate light, and to advance reform. These institutions, rightly conducted, will be the means of bringing a knowledge of the reforms essential to prepare a people for the coming of the Lord, before many that otherwise it would be impossible for us to reach.
Many of the patrons of our medical institutions have high ideas in regard to the presence of God abiding in the institution they visit, and they are very susceptible to the spiritual influences that prevail. If all the physicians, nurses, and helpers are walking circumspectly before God, they have more than human power in dealing with these men and women. Every institution whose helpers are consecrated is pervaded by divine power; and the patrons not only obtain relief from bodily infirmities, but find a healing balm for their sin-sick souls.
Let the leaders among our people emphasize the necessity of a strong religious influence being maintained in our medical institutions. The Lord designs that these shall be places where He will be honored in word and in deed, places where His law will be magnified and the truths of the Bible made prominent. Medical missionaries are to do a great work for God. They are to be wide-awake and vigilant, having on every piece of the Christian armor, and fighting manfully. They are to be loyal to their Leader, obeying His commandments, including the one by which they reveal the sign of their order.
The observance of the Sabbath is the sign between God and His people. Let us not be ashamed to bear the sign that distinguishes us from the world. As I considered this matter in the night season recently, One of authority counseled us to study the instruction given the Israelites in regard to the Sabbath. "Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep," the Lord declared to them; "for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you. . . . Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever." Exodus 31:13-17.
The Sabbath is ever the sign that distinguishes the obedient from the disobedient. With masterly power Satan has worked to make null and void the fourth commandment, that the sign of God may be lost sight of. The Christian world have trodden underfoot the Sabbath of the Lord and observe a sabbath instituted by the enemy. But God has a people who are loyal to Him. His work is to be carried forward in right lines. The people who bear His sign are to establish churches and institutions as memorials to Him. These memorials, however humble in appearance, will constantly bear witness against the false sabbath instituted by Satan, and in favor of the Sabbath instituted by the Lord in Eden, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy.
A spirit of irreverence and carelessness in the observance of the Sabbath is liable to come into our sanitariums. Upon the men of responsibility in the medical missionary work rests the duty of giving instruction to physicians, nurses, and helpers in regard to the sanctity of God's holy day. Especially should every physician endeavor to set a right example. The nature of his duties naturally leads him to feel justified in doing on the Sabbath many things that he should refrain from doing. So far as possible, he should so plan his work that he can lay aside his ordinary duties.
Often physicians and nurses are called upon during the Sabbath to minister to the sick, and sometimes it is impossible for them to take time for rest and for attending devotional services. The needs of suffering humanity are never to be neglected. The Saviour by His example has shown us that it is right to relieve suffering on the Sabbath. But unnecessary work, such as ordinary treatments and operations that can be postponed, should be deferred. Let the patients understand that physicians and helpers should have one day for rest. Let them understand that the workers fear God and desire to keep holy the day that He has set apart for His followers to observe as a sign between Him and them.
The educators and those being educated in our medical institutions should remember that to keep the Sabbath aright means much to them and to the patrons. In keeping the Sabbath, which God declares shall be kept holy, they give the sign of their order, showing plainly that they are on the Lord's side.
Now and ever we are to stand as a distinct and peculiar people, free from all worldly policy, unembarrassed by confederating with those who have not wisdom to discern God's claims so plainly set forth in His law. All our medical institutions are established as Seventh-day Adventist institutions, to represent the various features of gospel medical missionary work, and thus to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. We are to show that we are seeking to work in harmony with Heaven. We are to bear witness to all nations, kindreds, and tongues that we are a people who love and fear God, a people who keep holy His memorial of creation, the sign between Him and His obedient children that He sanctifies them. And we are plainly to show our faith in the soon coming of our Lord in the clouds of heaven.
As a people we have been greatly humiliated by the course that some of our brethren in responsible positions have taken in departing from the old landmarks. There are those who, in order to carry out their plans, have by their words denied their faith. This shows how little dependence can be placed on human wisdom and human judgment. Now, as never before, we need to see the danger of being led unguardedly away from loyalty to God's commandments. We need to realize that God has given us a decided message of warning for the world, even as He gave Noah a message of warning for the antediluvians. Let our people beware of belittling the importance of the Sabbath, in order to link up with unbelievers. Let them beware of departing from the principles of our faith, making it appear that it is not wrong to conform to the world. Let them be afraid of heeding the counsel of any man, whatever his position may be, who works counter to that which God has wrought in order to keep His people separate from the world.
The Lord is testing His people to see who will be loyal to the principles of His truth. Our work is to proclaim to the world the first, second, and third angels' messages. In the discharge of our duties we are neither to despise nor to fear our enemies. To bind ourselves up by contracts with those not of our faith is not in the order of God. We are to treat with kindness and courtesy those who refuse to be loyal to God, but we are never, never to unite with them in counsel regarding the vital interests of His work. Putting our trust in God, we are to move steadily forward, doing His work with unselfishness, in humble dependence upon Him, committing to His providence ourselves and all that concerns our present and future, holding the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end, remembering that we receive the blessings of Heaven, not because of our worthiness, but because of Christ's worthiness and our acceptance, through faith in Him, of God's abounding grace.
I pray that my brethren may realize that the third angel's message means much to us, and that the observance of the true Sabbath is to be the sign that distinguishes those who serve God from those who serve Him not. Let those who have become sleepy and indifferent awake. We are called to be holy, and we should carefully avoid giving the impression that it is of little consequence whether or not we retain the peculiar features of our faith. Upon us rests the solemn obligation of taking a more decided stand for truth and righteousness than we have taken in the past. The line of demarcation between those who keep the commandments of God and those who do not is to be revealed with unmistakable clearness. We are conscientiously to honor God, diligently using every means of keeping in covenant relation with Him, that we may receive His blessings--the blessings so essential for the people who are to be so severely tried. To give the impression that our faith, our religion, is not a dominating power in our lives is greatly to dishonor God. Thus we turn from His commandments, which are our life, denying that He is our God and that we are His people.
I have been repeatedly shown that it is not wise to erect mammoth institutions. It is not by the largeness of an institution that the greatest work for souls is to be accomplished. A mammoth sanitarium requires many workers. And where so many are brought together, it is exceedingly difficult to maintain a high standard of spirituality. In a large institution it often happens that responsible places are filled by workers who are not spiritual-minded, who do not exercise wisdom in dealing with those who, if wisely treated, would be awakened, convicted, and converted.
Not one quarter of the work has been done in opening the Scriptures to the sick that might have been done, and that would have been done, in our sanitariums, if the workers had themselves received thorough instruction in religious lines.
Where many workers are gathered together in one place, management of a much higher spiritual tone is required than has been maintained in our large sanitariums. --Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, pp. 102, 103 (1902).
Those who bear the responsibility at the sanitarium should be exceedingly guarded that the amusements shall not be of a character to lower the standard of Christianity, bringing this institution down upon a level with others and weakening the power of true godliness in the minds of those who are connected with it. Worldly or theatrical entertainments are not essential for the prosperity of the sanitarium or for the health of the patients. The more they have of this kind of amusements, the less will they be pleased unless something of the kind shall be continually carried on. The mind is in a fever of unrest for something new and exciting, the very thing it ought not to have. And if these amusements are once allowed, they are expected again, and the patients lose their relish for any simple arrangement to occupy the time. But repose, rather than excitement, is what many of the patients need.
As soon as these entertainments are introduced, the objections to theatergoing are removed from many minds, and the plea that moral and high-toned scenes are to be acted at the theater breaks down the last barrier. Those who would permit this class of amusements at the sanitarium would better be seeking wisdom from God to lead these poor, hungry, thirsting souls to the Fountain of joy and peace and happiness.
When there has been a departure from the right path, it is difficult to return. Barriers have been removed, safeguards broken down. One step in the wrong direction prepares the way for another. A single glass of wine may open the door of temptation which will lead to habits of drunkenness. A single vindictive feeling indulged may open the way to a train of feelings which will end in murder. The least deviation from right and principle will lead to separation from God and may end in apostasy. . . . It takes less time and labor to corrupt our ways before God than to ingraft upon the character habits of righteousness and truth. Whatever a man becomes accustomed to, be its influence good or evil, he finds it difficult to abandon.
The managers of the sanitarium may as well conclude at once that they will never be able to satisfy that class of minds that can find happiness only in something new and exciting. To many persons this has been the intellectual diet during their lifetime; there are mental as well as physical dyspeptics. Many are suffering from maladies of the soul far more than from diseases of the body, and they will find no relief until they shall come to Christ, the wellspring of life. Complaints of weariness, loneliness, and dissatisfaction will then cease. Satisfying joys will give vigor to the mind and health and vital energy to the body.
If physicians and workers flatter themselves that they are to find a panacea for the varied ills of their patients by supplying them with a round of amusements similar to those which have been the curse of their lives, they will be disappointed. Let not these entertainments be placed in the position which the living Fountain should occupy. The hungry, thirsty soul will continue to hunger and thirst as long as it partakes of these unsatisfying pleasures. But those who drink of the living water will thirst no more for frivolous, sensual, exciting amusements. The ennobling principles of religion will strengthen the mental powers and will destroy a taste for these gratifications.
In the building of our sanitariums we must guard carefully against any unnecessary extravagance in our outlay of means. It is our duty to study simplicity. Yet there are a few places of special importance and influence where better accommodations and more room are needed than for sanitarium work in other places. The impression that we desire to be left upon the minds of the patients is that of the truths we teach rather than of the grandeur of the buildings.
We have none too many sanitariums. There is in our world a great field for true medical missionary work. Our sanitariums are to be as lights shining amid the moral darkness. In them the sick and suffering are to behold the miracle-working power of Christ as revealed in the lives of the workers. "Let your light so shine before men," says Christ, "that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16. Let the lamp of light from the word of God shine forth unmistakably.
Let everything connected with the sanitarium and its surroundings be kept orderly and neat, that the work may stand high in the esteem of the people, and may exert constantly an uplifting influence. . . .
An educational work should be carried on in connection with all our sanitariums. There is a close relation between the work of our schools and our sanitariums, and wherever it is practicable, there are decided advantages in having a school in close connection with a sanitarium. There would be in such an arrangement decided advantages to both lines of work.
Let us not discourage one another. Let us take hold unitedly to make every line of the Lord's work a success. If someone comes to you and talks discouragingly about the work in one or another of our institutions, telling you that they are extravagant beyond measure, say to them, "I am sorry if that is so, but let us help them out if they are in difficulty." If you will speak thus you may avoid much of the evil that might result were you to withdraw your sympathy, and should you refuse to help those who, possibly, may have been misrepresented. Let us never discourage even those who have done wrong, by treating them as if they had committed against us an unpardonable sin. Let us rather encourage them in every way possible, and if we see that they are lifting hard in a worthy enterprise, let us lift with them. . . .
We need to be instant in prayer. It is our great privilege to hang our helpless souls upon Jesus Christ, and to rest for our salvation upon His merits. Let us speak words that will elevate and ennoble, and that will make pleasant impressions on the minds of those with whom we converse. The Lord wants us to be sanctified and to walk in humility of mind before Him. If we are obedient to His commandments, not a reproach can fall on us justly. Others may talk about us, they may spread evil reports concerning us, but these reports need not be true.
In our institutions, where many persons of varied temperaments are brought together, it is necessary that each should cultivate a spirit of unselfishness. Let no one feel that it is his place to mold others to his individual mind or opinions. While each will manifest an individuality, yet it should be an individuality that is under the control of the Holy Spirit. If we are kind and Christlike, there will be a blending of hearts and of interests that will be beneficial to all alike.
Our sanitariums are to be agencies for imparting to the sick a health that is maintained in happiness and peace of soul. Every worker is to co-operate with the physician, for by the manifestation of kindness and tenderness he may bring to the suffering ones a healing balm.
Everyone is responsible to God for the use he makes of his abilities. He is responsible for making a daily growth in grace. Let no one feel, even though he may theoretically be established in the present truth, that he makes no mistakes. But if mistakes are made, let there be a readiness to correct them. And let us avoid everything that is likely to create dissension and strife, for there is a heaven before us, and among its inhabitants there will be no strife.
We are to live, not to elevate ourselves, but that we may, as God's little children, do to the very best of our ability the work that He has committed to us. It is our business to give a right impression to others. We are preparing for eternity, for the sanitarium above, where the Great Physician shall wipe away the tears from every eye, and where the leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nation.
The religion of Christ is not to be placed in the background and its holy principles laid down to meet the approval of any class, however popular. If the standard of truth and holiness is lowered, the design of God will not then be carried out in this institution.
But our peculiar faith should not be discussed with patients. Their minds should not be unnecessarily excited upon subjects wherein we differ, unless they themselves desire it; and then great caution should be observed not to agitate the mind by urging upon them our peculiar faith. The Health Institute [THE NAME OF THE BATTLE CREEK SANITARIUM IN ITS EARLY DAYS.] is not the place to be forward to enter into discussion upon points of our faith wherein we differ with the religious world generally. Prayer meetings are held at the Institute, in which all may take part if they choose; but there is an abundance to dwell upon in regard to Bible religion without touching objectionable points of difference. Silent influence will do more than open controversy.
In exhortation in the prayer meetings, some Sabbathkeepers have felt that they must bring in the Sabbath and the third angel's message, or they could not have freedom. This is characteristic of narrow minds. Patients not acquainted with our faith do not know what is meant by the third angel's message. The introduction of these terms without a clear explanation of them does only harm. We must meet the people where they are, and yet we need not sacrifice one principle of the truth. The prayer meeting will prove a blessing to patients, helpers, and physicians. Brief and interesting seasons of prayer and social worship will increase the confidence of patients in their physicians and helpers. The helpers should not be deprived of these meetings by work, unless it is positively necessary. They need them and should enjoy them.
By thus establishing regular meetings, the patients gain confidence in the Institute and feel more at home. And thus the way is prepared for the seed of truth to take root in some hearts. These meetings especially interest some who profess to be Christians and make a favorable impression upon those who do not. Mutual confidence is increased in one another, and prejudice is weakened and in many cases entirely removed. Then there is an anxiety to attend the Sabbath meeting. There, in the house of God, is the place to speak our denominational sentiments. There the minister can dwell with clearness upon the essential points of present truth, and with the spirit of Christ, in love and tenderness, urge home upon all the necessity of obedience to all the requirements of God, and let the truth convict hearts.
We are to invite everyone--the high and the low, the rich and the poor, all sects and classes--to share the benefits of our medical institutions. We receive into our institutions people of all denominations. But as for ourselves, we are strictly denominational; we are sacredly denominated by God and are under His theocracy. But we are not unwisely to press upon anyone the peculiar points of our faith.--Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 109 (1902).
I saw that the reason why God did not hear the prayers of His servants for the sick among us more fully was that He could not be glorified in so doing while they were violating the laws of health. And I also saw that He designed the health reform and Health Institute to prepare the way for the prayer of faith to be fully answered. Faith and good work should go hand in hand in relieving the afflicted among us, and in fitting them to glorify God here and to be saved at the coming of Christ. God forbid that these afflicted ones should ever be disappointed and grieved in finding the managers of the Institute working only from a worldly standpoint, instead of adding to the hygienic practice the blessings and virtues of nursing fathers and mothers in Israel.
Let no one obtain the idea that the Institute is the place for them to come to be raised up by the prayer of faith. This is the place to find relief from disease by treatment and right habits of living, and to learn how to avoid sickness. But if there is one place under the heavens more than another where soothing, sympathizing prayer should be offered by men and women of devotion and faith, it is at such an institute. Those who treat the sick should move forward in their important work with strong reliance upon God for His blessing to attend the means which He has graciously provided, and to which He has in mercy called our attention as a people, such as pure air, cleanliness, healthful diet, proper periods of labor and repose, and the use of water. They should have no selfish interest outside of this important and solemn work.--Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 561 (1865).
The Lord has ordained that sanitariums be established in many places to stand as memorials for Him. This is one of His chosen ways of proclaiming the third angel's message. By this means the truth will reach many who, but for these agencies, would never be lightened by the brightness of the gospel message. In the presentation of truth some will be attracted by one phase of the gospel message and some by another. We are instructed by the Lord to work in such a way that all classes will be reached. The message must go to the whole world. Our sanitarium work is to help make up the number of God's people. Through this line of missionary effort infidels will be converted. By the wonderful restorations taking place in our sanitariums many will be led to look to Christ as the healer of soul and body.
Self-sacrificing workers, who have full faith in God, should be chosen to take charge of these institutions. Wise men and women, acting in the capacity of nurses, are to comfort and help the sick and suffering. Our sanitariums are to be as lights shining in a dark place, because physicians, nurses, and helpers reflect the sunlight of Christ's righteousness. . . .
Sanitariums are to be so established and conducted that they will be educational in character. They are to show to the world the benevolence of Heaven. Though Christ's visible presence is not discerned, yet the workers may claim the promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Matthew 28:20. He has assured His followers that to those who love and fear Him He will give power to continue the work that He began. He went about doing good, teaching the ignorant and healing the sick. His work did not stop with an exhibition of His power over disease. He made each work of healing an occasion of implanting in the heart the divine principles of His love and benevolence. Thus His followers are to work. Christ is no longer in this world in person, but He has commissioned us to carry forward the medical missionary work that He began; and in this work we are to do our very best. For the furtherance of this work institutions for the care of the sick are to be established, where men and women suffering from disease may be placed under the care of God-fearing physicians and nurses.
In our sanitariums truth is to be cherished, not banished nor hidden from sight; and from them the light of present truth is to shine forth in clear, distinct rays. These institutions are the Lord's agencies for the revival of a pure, elevated morality. We do not establish them as a speculative business, but to help men and women to follow right habits of living. Those who are now ignorant are to become wise. Suffering is to be relieved, and health restored. People are to be taught how, by exercising care in their habits, they may keep well. Christ died to save men from ruin. Our sanitariums are to be His helping hand, teaching men and women how to live in such a way as to honor and glorify God. If this work is not carried on in our sanitariums, those who are conducting them will make a great mistake.
The workers in our sanitariums have a high and holy calling. They need to awake to a realization of the sacredness of their work. The character of this work and the extent of its influence call for earnest effort and unreserved consecration.
In our sanitariums the sick and suffering are to be led to realize that they need spiritual help as well as physical restoration. They are to be given every advantage for the restoration of physical health; and they should be shown also what it means to be blessed with the light and life of Christ, what it means to be bound up with Him. They are to be led to see that the grace of Christ in the soul uplifts the whole being. And in no better way can they learn of Christ's life than by seeing it revealed in the lives of His followers.
The faithful worker keeps his eyes fixed on Christ. Remembering that his hope of eternal life is due to the cross of Christ, he is determined never to dishonor Him who gave His life for him. He takes a deep interest in suffering humanity. He prays and works, watching for souls as one that must give an account, knowing that the souls whom God brings in contact with truth and righteousness are worth saving.
Our sanitarium workers are engaged in a holy warfare. To the sick and the afflicted they are to present the truth as it is in Jesus; they are to present it in all its solemnity, yet with such simplicity and tenderness that souls will be drawn to the Saviour. Ever, in word and deed, they are to keep Him uplifted as the hope of eternal life. Not a harsh word is to be spoken, not a selfish act done. The workers are to treat all with kindness. Their words are to be gentle and loving. Those who show true modesty and Christian courtesy will win souls to Christ.
We should strive to restore to physical and spiritual health those who come to our sanitariums. Let us therefore make preparation to draw them for a season away from those surroundings that lead away from God, into a purer atmosphere. Out of doors, surrounded by the beautiful things that God has made, breathing the fresh, health-giving air, the sick can best be told of the new life in Christ. Here God's words can be taught. Here the sunshine of Christ's righteousness can shine into hearts darkened by sin. Patiently, sympathetically, lead the sick to see their need of the Saviour. Tell them that He gives power to the faint, and that to those who have no might He increases strength.
We need to appreciate more fully the meaning of the words, "I sat down under His shadow with great delight." Song of Solomon 2:3. These words do not bring to our minds the picture of hasty transit, but of quiet rest. There are many professing Christians who are anxious and depressed, many who are so full of busy activity that they cannot find time to rest quietly in the promises of God, who act as if they could not afford to have peace and quietness. To all such Christ's invitation is, "Come unto Me, . . . and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.
Let us turn from the dusty, heated thoroughfares of life to rest in the shadow of Christ's love. Here we gain strength for conflict. Here we learn how to lessen toil and worry, and how to speak and sing to the praise of God. Let the weary and the heavy-laden learn from Christ the lesson of quiet trust. They must sit under His shadow if they would be possessors of His peace and rest.
Those who engage in sanitarium work should have a treasure house full of rich experience, because the truth is implanted in the heart, and as a holy thing is tended and fed by the grace of God. Rooted and grounded in the truth, they should have a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Constantly asking for blessings, they should keep the windows of the soul closed earthward against the malarious atmosphere of the world, and opened heavenward to receive the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.
Who is preparing to take hold understandingly of medical missionary work? By this work the minds of those who come to our sanitariums for treatment are to be led to Christ and taught to unite their weakness with His strength. Every worker should be understandingly efficient. Then in a high, broad sense he can present the truth as it is in Jesus.
The workers in our sanitariums are continually exposed to temptation. They are brought in contact with unbelievers, and those who are not sound in the faith will be harmed by the contact. But those who are abiding in Christ will meet unbelievers as He met them, refusing to be drawn from their allegiance, but always ready to speak a word in season, always ready to sow the seeds of truth. They will watch unto prayer, firmly maintaining their integrity, and daily showing the consistency of their religion. The influence of such workers is a blessing to many. By a well-ordered life they draw souls to the cross. A true Christian constantly acknowledges Christ. He is always cheerful, always ready to speak words of hope and comfort to the suffering.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." Proverbs 1:7. One sentence of Scripture is of more value than ten thousand of man's ideas or arguments. Those who refuse to follow God's way will finally receive the sentence, "Depart from Me." But when we submit to God's way, the Lord Jesus guides our minds and fills our lips with assurance. We may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Receiving Christ, we are clothed with power. An indwelling Saviour makes His power our property. The truth becomes our stock in trade. No unrighteousness is seen in the life. We are able to speak words in season to those who know not the truth. Christ's presence in the heart is a vitalizing power, strengthening the entire being.
I am instructed to say to our sanitarium worker that unbelief and self-sufficiency are the dangers against which they must constantly guard. They are to carry forward the warfare against evil with such earnestness and devotion that the sick will feel the uplifting influence of their unselfish efforts.
No taint of self-seeking is to mar our service. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Matthew 6:24. Lift Him up, the Man of Calvary. Lift Him up by living faith in God, that your prayers may prevail. Do we realize how near Jesus will come to us? He is speaking to us individually. He will reveal Himself to everyone who is willing to be clothed with the robe of His righteousness. He declares, "I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand." Isaiah 41:13. Let us place ourselves where He can hold us by the hand, where we can hear Him saying with assurance and authority, "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore." Revelation 1:18.
When flesh food is discarded, its place should be supplied with a variety of grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruits, that will be both nourishing and appetizing. This is especially necessary in the case of those who are weak or who are taxed with continuous labor. In some countries, where poverty abounds, flesh is the cheapest food. Under these circumstances the change will be made with greater difficulty; but it can be effected. We should, however, consider the situation of the people and the power of lifelong habit, and should be careful not to urge even right ideas unduly. None should be urged to make the change abruptly. The place of meat should be supplied with wholesome foods that are inexpensive. In this matter very much depends on the cook. With care and skill, dishes may be prepared that will be both nutritious and appetizing, and will, to a great degree, take the place of flesh food. --The Ministry of Healing, pages 316, 317 (1905).