Section VIII - Nurses And Helpers
Pages 387 - 424
From Christ's methods of labor we may learn many valuable lessons. He did not follow merely one method; in various ways He sought to gain the attention of the multitude and, having succeeded in this, He proclaimed to them the truths of the gospel. His chief work lay in ministering to the poor, the needy, and the ignorant. In simplicity He opened before them the blessings they might receive, and thus He aroused their soul's hunger for the truth, the bread of life.
Christ's life is an example to all His followers, showing the duty of those who have learned the way of life to teach others what it means to believe in the word of God. There are many now in the shadow of death who need to be instructed in the truths of the gospel. Nearly the whole world is lying in wickedness. To every believer in Christ, words of hope have been given for those who sit in darkness: "The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." Matthew 4:15, 16.
Earnest, devoted young people are needed to enter the work as nurses. As these young men and women use conscientiously the knowledge they gain, they will increase in capability, becoming better and better qualified to be the Lord's helping hand.
The Lord wants wise men and women, who can act in the capacity of nurses, to comfort and help the sick and suffering. O that all who are afflicted might be ministered to by Christian physicians and nurses who could help them to place their weary, pain-racked bodies in the care of the Great Healer, in faith looking to Him for restoration! If through judicious ministration the patient is led to give his soul to Christ and to bring his thoughts into obedience to the will of God, a great victory is gained....
There are many lines of work to be carried forward by the missionary nurse. There are opportunities for well-trained nurses to go into homes and there endeavor to awaken an interest in the truth. In almost every community there are large numbers who will not listen to the teaching of God's word or attend any religious service. If these are reached by the gospel, it must be carried to their homes. Often the relief of their physical needs is the only avenue by which they can be approached.
Missionary nurses who care for the sick and relieve the distress of the poor will find many opportunities to pray with them, to read to them from God's word, and to speak of the Saviour. They can pray with and for the helpless ones who have not strength of will to control the appetites that passion has degraded. They can bring a ray of hope into the lives of the defeated and disheartened. The revelation of unselfish love, manifested in acts of disinterested kindness, will make it easier for these suffering ones to believe in the love of Christ.
Many have no faith in God and have lost confidence in man. But they appreciate acts of sympathy and helpfulness. As they see one with no inducement of earthly praise or compensation coming to their homes to minister to the sick, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to comfort the sad, and ever tenderly pointing all to Him of whose love and pity the human worker is but the messenger--as they see this, their hearts are touched. Gratitude springs up; faith is kindled. They see that God cares for them and they are prepared to listen to the teaching of His word.
Whether in foreign missions or in the home field, all missionaries, both men and women, will gain much more ready access to the people, and will find their usefulness greatly increased, if they are able to minister to the sick. Women who go as missionaries to heathen lands may thus find opportunity for giving the gospel to the women of those lands, when every other door of access is closed. All gospel workers should know how to give the simple treatments that do so much to relieve pain and remove disease.
Gospel workers should be able also to give instruction in the principles of healthful living. There is sickness everywhere, and much of it might be prevented by attention to the laws of health. The people need to see the bearing of health principles upon their well-being, both for this life and for the life to come. They need to be awakened to their responsibility for the human habitation fitted up by their Creator as His dwelling place, and over which He desires them to be faithful stewards.
Thousands need and would gladly receive instruction concerning the simple methods of treating the sick, methods that are taking the place of the use of poisonous drugs. There is great need of instruction in regard to dietetic reform. Wrong habits of eating and the use of unhealthful food are in no small degree responsible for the intemperance and crime and wretchedness that curse the world.
In teaching health principles, keep before the mind the great object of reform--that its purpose is to secure the highest development of body and mind and soul. Show that the laws of nature, being the laws of God, are designed for our good; that obedience to them promotes happiness in this life, and aids in the preparation for the life to come.
Encourage the people to study that marvelous organism, the human system, and the laws by which it is governed. Those who perceive the evidences of God's love, who understand something of the wisdom and beneficence of His laws and the results of obedience, will come to regard their duties and obligations from an altogether different point of view. Instead of looking upon an observance of the laws of health as a matter of sacrifice or self-denial, they will regard it as it really is, an inestimable blessing.
Every gospel worker should feel that to teach the principles of healthful living is a part of his appointed work. Of this work there is great need, and the world is open for it.
Christ commits to His followers an individual work --a work that cannot be done by proxy. Ministry to the sick and the poor, the giving of the gospel to the lost, is not to be left to committees or organized charities. Individual responsibility, individual effort, personal sacrifice, are the requirement of the gospel.
"Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in," is Christ's demand, "that My house may be filled." Luke 14:23. He brings men into touch with those whom they may benefit. "Bring the poor that are cast out to thy house," He says. "When thou seest the naked,...cover him." Isaiah 58:7. "They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Mark 10:18. Through direct contact, through personal ministry, the blessings of the gospel are to be communicated.
Those who take up their appointed work will not only bless others, but will themselves be blessed. The consciousness of duty well done will have a reflex influence upon their own souls. The despondent will forget their despondency, the weak will become strong, the ignorant intelligent, and all will find an unfailing helper in Him who has called them.
Those who engage in house-to-house labor will find opportunities for ministry in many lines. They should pray for the sick and should do all in their power to relieve them from suffering. They should work among the lowly, the poor, and the oppressed. We should pray for and with the helpless ones who have not strength of will to control the appetites that passion has degraded. Earnest, persevering effort must be made for the salvation of those in whose hearts an interest is awakened. Many can be reached only through acts of disinterested kindness. Their physical wants must first be relieved. As they see evidence of our unselfish love, it will be easier for them to believe in the love of Christ.
Missionary nurses are best qualified for this work, but others should be connected with them. These, although not specially educated and trained in nursing, can learn from their fellow workers the best manner of labor.-- Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 83, 84 (1900).
We are living in the last days. The end of all things is at hand. The signs foretold by Christ are fast fulfilling. There are stormy times before us, but let us not utter one word of unbelief or discouragement. He who understands the necessities of the situation arranges that advantages should be brought to the workers in various places, to enable them more effectively to arouse the attention of the people. He knows the needs and the necessities of the feeblest of His flock, and He sends His own message into the highways and the byways. He loves us with an everlasting love. Let us remember that we bear a message of healing to a world filled with sin-sick souls. May the Lord increase our faith and help us to see that He desires us all to become acquainted with His ministry of healing and with the mercy seat. He desires the light of His grace to shine forth from many places.
There are souls in many places who have not yet heard the message. Henceforth medical missionary work is to be carried forward with an earnestness with which it has never yet been carried. This work is the door through which the truth is to find entrance to the large cities, and sanitariums are to be established in many places.
Sanitarium work is one of the most successful means of reaching all classes of people. Our sanitariums are the right hand of the gospel, opening ways 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.
Christ is no longer in this world in person, to go through our cities and towns and villages, healing the sick; but He has commissioned us to carry forward the medical missionary work that He began. 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 suffering from disease may be placed under the care of God-fearing physicians and nurses and be treated without drugs.
I have been instructed that we are not to delay to do the work that needs to be done in health reform lines. Through this work we are to reach souls in the highways and byways. I have been given special light that in our sanitariums many souls will receive and obey present truth. In these institutions men and women are to be taught how to care for their own bodies, and at the same time how to become sound in the faith. They are to be taught what is meant by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. Said Christ, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63.
Our sanitariums are to be schools in which instruction shall be given in medical missionary lines. They are to bring to sin-sick souls the leaves of the tree of life, which will restore to them peace and hope and faith in Christ Jesus.
Let the Lord's work go forward. Let the medical missionary and the educational work go forward. I am sure that this is our great lack--earnest, devoted, intelligent, capable workers. In every large city there should be a representation of true medical missionary work. Let many now ask, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" Acts 9:6. It is the Lord's purpose that His method of healing without drugs shall be brought into prominence in every large city through our medical institutions. God invests with holy dignity those who go forth farther and still farther, in every place to which it is possible to obtain entrance. Satan will make the work as difficult as possible, but divine power will attend all truehearted workers. Guided by our heavenly Father's hand, let us go forward, improving every opportunity to extend the work of God.
The Lord speaks to all medical missionaries, saying, Go, work today in My vineyard to save souls. God hears the prayers of all who seek Him in truth. He has the power that we all need. He fills the heart with love and joy and peace and holiness. Character is constantly being developed. We cannot afford to spend the time working at cross-purposes with God.
There are physicians who, because of a past connection with our sanitariums, find it profitable to locate close to these institutions; and they close their eyes to the great field, neglected and unworked, in which unselfish labor would be a blessing to many. Missionary physicians can exert an uplifting, refining, sanctifying influence. Physicians who do not do this abuse their power and do a work that the Lord repudiates.
If ever the Lord has spoken by me, He speaks when I say that the workers engaged in educational line, in ministerial lines, and in medical missionary lines, must stand as a unit, all laboring under the supervision of God, one helping the other, each blessing each.
Those connected with our schools and sanitariums are to labor with earnest alacrity. The work that is done under the ministration of the Holy Spirit, out of love for God and for humanity, will bear the divine signature and will make its impression of human minds.
The Lord calls upon our young people to enter our schools and quickly fit themselves for service. In various places, outside of cities, schools are to be established where our youth can receive an education that will prepare them to go forth to do evangelical work and medical missionary work.
The Lord must be given an opportunity to show men their duty and to work upon their minds. No one is to bind himself to serve for a term of years under the direction of one group of men or in one specified branch of the Master's work, for the Lord Himself will call men, as of old He called the humble fishermen, and will Himself give them instruction regarding their field of labor and the methods they should follow. He will call men from the plow and from other occupations, to give the last note of warning to perishing souls. There are many ways in which to work for the Master, and the Great Teacher will open the understanding of these workers, enabling them to see wondrous things in His word.
Christ, the great Medical Missionary, is our example. Of Him it is written that He "went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people." Matthew 4:23. He healed the sick and preached the gospel. In His service, healing and teaching were linked closely together. Today they are not to be separated.
The nurses who are trained in our institutions are to be fitted up to go out as medical missionary evangelists, uniting the ministry of the word with that of physical healing.
We must let our light shine amid the moral darkness Many who are now in darkness, as they see a reflection of the Light of the world, will realize that they have a hope of salvation. Your light may be small, but remember that it is what God has given you, and that He holds you responsible to let it shine forth. Someone may light his taper from yours, and his light may be the means of leading others out from the darkness.
All around us are doors open for service. We should become acquainted with our neighbors and seek to draw them to Christ. As we do this, He will approve and cooperate with us.
Often the inhabitants of a city where Christ labored wished Him to stay with them and continue to work among them. But He would tell them that He must go to cities that had not heard the truths that He had to present. After He had given the truth to those in one place, He left them to build upon what He had given them, while He went to another place. His methods of labor are to be followed today by those to whom He has left His work. We are to go from place to place, carrying the message. As soon as the truth has been proclaimed in one place, we are to go to warn others.
There should be companies organized and educated most thoroughly to work as nurses, as evangelists, as ministers, as canvassers, as gospel students, to perfect a character after the divine similitude. To prepare to receive the higher education in the school above is now to be our purpose.
From the instruction that the Lord has given me from time to time, I know that there should be workers who make medical evangelistic tours among the towns and villages. Those who do this work will gather a rich harvest of souls, from both the higher and lower classes. The way for this work is best prepared by the efforts of the faithful canvasser.
Many will be called into the field to labor from house to house, giving Bible readings, and praying with those who are interested.
Let our ministers, who have gained an experience in preaching the word, learn how to give simple treatments and then labor intelligently as medical missionary evangelists.
Workers--gospel medical missionaries--are needed now. You cannot afford to spend years in preparation. Soon doors now open to the truth will be forever closed. Carry the message now. Do not wait, allowing the enemy to take possession of the fields now open before you. Let little companies go forth to do the work to which Christ appointed His disciples. Let them labor as evangelists, scattering our publications and talking of the truth to those they meet. Let them pray for the sick, ministering to their necessities, not with drugs, but with nature's remedies, and teaching them how to regain health and avoid disease.
The management of so large and important an institution as the sanitarium necessarily involves great responsibility, both in temporal and spiritual matters. It is of the highest importance that this asylum for those who are diseased in body and mind shall be such that Jesus, the Mighty Healer, can preside among them, and all that is done may be under the control of His Spirit. All connected with this institution should qualify themselves for the faithful discharge of their God-given responsibilities. They should attend to every little duty with as much fidelity as to matters of greater importance. All should study prayerfully how they can themselves become most useful and make this retreat for the sick a grand success.
We do not realize with what anxiety patients with their various diseases come to the sanitarium, all desiring help, but some doubtful and distrusting, while others are more confident that they shall be relieved. Those who have not visited the institution are watching with interest every indication of the principles which are cherished by its managers.
All who profess to be children of God should unceasingly bear in mind that they are missionaries, in their labors brought in connection with all classes of minds. There will be the refined and the coarse, the humble and the proud, the religious and the skeptical, the confiding and the suspicious, the liberal and the avaricious, the pure and the corrupt, the educated and the ignorant, the rich and the poor; in fact, almost every grade of character and condition will be found among the patients at the sanitarium. Those who come to this asylum come because they need help; and thus, whatever their station or condition, they acknowledge that they are not able to help themselves. These varied minds cannot be treated alike; yet all, whether they are rich or poor, high or low, dependent or independent, need kindness, sympathy, and love. By mutual contact, our minds should receive polish and refinement. We are dependent upon one another, closely bound together by the ties of human brotherhood.
It is through the social relations that Christianity comes in contact with the world. Every man or woman who has tasted of the love of Christ and has received into the heart the divine illumination, is required of God to shed light on the dark pathway of those who are unacquainted with the better way. Every worker in that sanitarium should become a witness for Jesus. Social power, sanctified by the Spirit of Christ, must be improved to win souls to the Saviour.
He who has to deal with persons differing so widely in character, disposition, and temperament will have trials, perplexities, and collisions, even when he does his best. He may be disgusted with the ignorance, pride, and independence which he will meet; but this should not discourage him. He should stand where he will sway rather than be swayed. Firm as a rock to principle, with an intelligent faith, he should stand uncorrupted by surrounding influences. The people of God should not be transformed by the various influences to which they must necessarily be exposed; but they must stand up for Jesus, and by the aid of His Spirit exert a transforming power upon minds deformed by false habits and defiled by sin.
Christ is not to be hid away in the heart and locked in as a coveted treasure, sacred and sweet, to be enjoyed solely by the possessor. We are to have Christ in our hearts as a well of water, springing up into everlasting life, refreshing all who come in contact with us. We must confess Christ openly and bravely, exhibiting in our characters his meekness, humility, and love, till men shall be charmed by the beauty of holiness. It is not the best way to preserve our religion as we bottle perfumes, lest the fragrance should escape.
The very conflicts and rebuffs we meet are to make us stronger and give stability to our faith. We are not to be swayed, like a reed in the wind, by every passing influence. Our souls, warmed and invigorated by the truths of the gospel and refreshed by divine grace, are to open and expand and shed their fragrance upon others. Clad in the whole armor of righteousness, we can meet any influence and our purity remain untarnished.
All should consider that God's claims upon them are paramount to all others. God has given to every person capabilities to improve, that he may reflect glory to the Giver. Every day some progress should be made. If the workers leave the sanitarium as they entered it, without making decided improvement, gaining in knowledge and spiritual strength, they have met with loss. God designs that Christians shall grow continually--grow up into the full stature of men and women in Christ. All who do not grow stronger and become more firmly rooted and grounded in the truth are continually retrograding.
A special effort should be made to secure the services of conscientious, Christian workers. It is the purpose of God that a health institution should be organized and controlled exclusively by Seventh-day Adventists; and when unbelievers are brought in to occupy responsible positions, an influence is presiding there that will tell with great weight against the sanitarium. God did not intend that this institution should be carried on after the order of any other health institute in the land, but that it should be one of the most effectual instrumentalities in His hands of giving light to the world. It should stand forth with scientific ability, with moral and spiritual power, and as a faithful sentinel of reform in all its bearings; and all who act a part in it should be reformers, having respect to its rules, and heeding the light of health reform now shining upon us as a people.
All can be a blessing to others, if they will place themselves where they will correctly represent the religion of Jesus Christ. But there has been greater anxiety to make the outward appearance in every way presentable, that it may meet the minds of worldly patients, than to maintain a living connection with Heaven, to watch and pray, that this instrumentality of God may be wholly successful in doing good to the bodies and also to the souls of men.
What can be said, and what can be done, to awaken conviction in the hearts of all connected with this important institution? How can they be led to see and feel the danger of making wrong moves unless they daily have a living experience in the things of God? The physicians are in a position where, should they exert an influence in accordance with their faith, they would have a molding power upon all connected with the institution. This is one of the best missionary fields in the world, and all in responsible positions should become acquainted with God and ever be receiving light from Heaven....
There are some who are not what the Lord would have them to be. They are abrupt and harsh and need the softening, subduing influence of the Spirit of God. It is never convenient to take up the cross and follow in the path of self-denial, and yet this must be done. God wants all to have His grace and His Spirit to make fragrant their life. Some are too independent, too self-sufficient, and do not counsel with others as they should....
There must be, with all who have any influence in the sanitarium, a conforming to God's will, a humiliation of self, an opening of the heart to the precious influence of the Spirit of Christ. The gold tried in the fire represents love and faith. Many are nearly destitute of love. Self-sufficiency blinds their eyes to their great need. There is a positive necessity for a daily conversion to God, a new, deep, and daily experience in the religious life.
There should be awakened in the hearts of the physicians, especially, a most earnest desire to have that wisdom which God alone can impart; for as soon as they become self-confident they are left to themselves, to follow the impulses of the unsanctified heart. When I see what these physicians may become, in connection with Christ, and what they will fail to become if they do not daily connect with Him, I am filled with apprehension that they will be content with reaching a worldly standard and have no ardent longings, no hungering and thirsting for the beauty of holiness, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
The peace of Christ, the peace of Christ--money cannot buy it, brilliant talent cannot command it, intellect cannot secure it; it is the gift of God. The religion of Christ--how shall I make all understand their great loss if they fail to carry its holy principles into the daily life? The meekness and lowliness of Christ is the Christian's power. It is indeed more precious than all things which genius can create or wealth can buy. Of all things that are sought, cherished, and cultivated, there is nothing so valuable in the sight of God as a pure heart, a disposition imbued with thankfulness and peace.
If the divine harmony of truth and love exists in the heart, it will shine forth in words and actions. The most careful cultivation of the outward proprieties and courtesies of life has not sufficient power to shut out all fretfulness, harsh judgment, and unbecoming speech. The spirit of genuine benevolence must dwell in the heart. Love imparts to its possessor grace, propriety, and comeliness of deportment. Love illuminates the countenance and subdues the voice; it refines and elevates the entire man. It brings him into harmony with God, for it is a heavenly attribute.
Many are in danger of thinking that in the cares of labor, in writing and practicing as physicians, or performing the duties of the various departments, they are excusable if they lay down prayer, neglect the Sabbath, and neglect religious service. Sacred things are thus brought down to meet their convenience, while duties, denials, and crosses are left untouched. Neither physicians nor helpers should attempt to perform their work without taking time to pray. God would be the helper of all who profess to love Him, if they would come to Him in faith and, with a sense of their own weakness, crave His power. When they separate from God their wisdom will be found to be foolishness. When they are small in their own eyes and lean heavily upon their God, then He will be the arm of their power, and success will attend their efforts; but when they allow the mind to be diverted from God, then Satan comes in and controls the thoughts and perverts the judgment....
Brethren, I entreat you to move with an eye single to the glory of God. Let His power be your dependence, His grace your strength. By study of the Scriptures and earnest prayer seek to obtain clear conceptions of your duty, and then faithfully perform it. It is essential that you cultivate faithfulness in little things, and in so doing you will acquire habits of integrity in greater responsibilities. The little incidents of everyday life often pass without our notice, but it is these things that shape the character. Every event of life is great for good or for evil. The mind needs to be trained by daily tests, that it may acquire power to stand in any difficult position. In the days of trial and of peril you will need to be fortified to stand firmly for the right, independent of every opposing influence.
God is willing to do much for you, if you will only feel your need of Him. Jesus loves you. Ever seek to walk in the light of God's wisdom; and through all the changing scenes of life, do not rest unless you know that your will is in harmony with the will of your Creator. Through faith in Him you may obtain strength to resist every temptation of Satan and thus increase in moral power with every test from God.
You may become men of responsibility and influence if, by the power of your will, united with divine strength, you earnestly engage in the work. Exercise the mental powers and in no case neglect the physical. Let not intellectual slothfulness close up your path to greater knowledge. Learn to reflect as well as to study, that your minds may expand, strengthen, and develop. Never think that you have learned enough and that you may now relax your efforts. The cultivated mind is the measure of the man. Your education should continue during your lifetime; every day you should be learning and putting to practical use the knowledge gained.
You are rising in true dignity and moral worth as you practice virtue and cherish uprightness in heart and life. Let not your character be affected by a taint of the leprosy of selfishness. A noble soul, united with a cultivated intellect, will make you men whom God will use in positions of sacred trust.
It should be the first work of all connected with this institution to be right before God themselves, and then to stand in the strength of Christ, unaffected by the wrong influences to which they will be exposed. If they make the broad principles of the word of God the foundation of the character, they may stand wherever the Lord in His providence may call them, surrounded by any deleterious influence, and yet not be swayed from the path of right.
In sanitariums and hospitals, where nurses are constantly associated with large numbers of sick people, it requires a decided effort to be always pleasant and cheerful and to show thoughtful consideration in every word and act. In these institutions it is of the utmost importance that the nurses strive to do their work wisely and well. They need ever to remember that in the discharge of their daily duties they are serving the Lord Christ.
The sick need to have wise words spoken to them. Nurses should study the Bible daily, that they may be able to speak words that will enlighten and help the suffering. Angels of God are in the rooms where these suffering ones are being ministered to, and the atmosphere surrounding the soul of the one giving treatment should be pure and fragrant. Physicians and nurses are to cherish the principles of Christ. In their lives His virtues are to be seen. Then, by what they do and say, they will draw the sick to the Saviour.
The Christian nurse, while administering treatment for the restoration of health, will pleasantly and successfully draw the mind of the patient to Christ, the healer of the soul as well as of the body. The thoughts presented, here a little and there a little, will have their influence. The older nurses should lose no favorable opportunity of calling the attention of the sick to Christ. They should be ever ready to blend spiritual healing with physical healing.
In the kindest and tenderest manner nurses are to teach that he who would be healed must cease to transgress the law of God. He must cease to choose a life of sin. God cannot bless the one who continues to bring upon himself disease and suffering by a willful violation of the laws of heaven. But Christ, through the Holy Spirit, comes as a healing power to those who cease to do evil and learn to do well.
The efficiency of the nurse depends, to a great degree, upon physical vigor. The better the health, the better will she be able to endure the strain of attendance upon the sick and the more successfully can she perform her duties. Those who care for the sick should give special attention to diet, cleanliness, fresh air, and exercise. Like carefulness on the part of the family will enable them also to endure the extra burdens brought upon them and will help to prevent them from contracting disease....
Nurses, and all who have to do with the sickroom, should be cheerful, calm, and self-possessed. All hurry, excitement, or confusion should be avoided. Doors should be opened and shut with care and the whole household be kept quiet. In cases of fever, special care is needed when the crisis comes and the fever is passing away. Then constant watching is often necessary. Ignorance, forgetfulness, and recklessness have caused the death of many who might have lived had they received proper care from judicious, thoughtful nurses.--The Ministry of Healing, pages 219-222 (1905).
The helpers at the sanitarium should not feel at liberty to appropriate to their own use articles of food provided for the patients. The temptation is especially strong to indulge in things allowed to newcomers, who must be induced gradually to correct pernicious habits. Some of the workers, like the children of Israel, allow perverted appetite and old habits of indulgence to clamor for victory. They long, as did ancient Israel, for the leeks and onions of Egypt. All connected with this institution should strictly adhere to the laws of life and health, and thus give no countenance, by their example, to the wrong habits of others, which have made it necessary for them to come to the sanitarium for relief.
Employees have no right to help themselves to crackers, nuts, raisins, dates, sugar, oranges or fruit of any kind; for, in the first place, in eating these things between meals, as is generally done, they are injuring the digestive organs. No food should pass the lips between the regular meals. Again, those who partake of these things are taking that which is not theirs. Temptation is continually before them to taste the food which they are handling; and here is an excellent opportunity for them to gain control of the appetite. But food seems to be very abundant, and they forget that it all represents so much money value. One and another thoughtlessly indulge the habit of tasting and helping themselves, until they fancy that there is no real sin in the practice.
All should beware of cherishing this view of the matter, for conscience is thus losing its sensitiveness. One may reason, "The little I have taken does not amount to much;" but the question comes home, Did the smallness of the amount lessen the sin of the act? Again, the little which one person takes may not amount to much, but when five act on the same plan, five littles are taken. Then ten, twenty, or even more, may presume in the same way, until every day the workers may, to their own injury, appropriate many littles that they have no right to touch. Many littles make much in the end. But the greatest loss is sustained by the ones who digress, for they are violating the principles of right and learning to look upon transgression in small matters as no transgression at all. They forget the words of Christ. "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much." Luke 16:10.
When an effort is made to correct these practices, it is generally received as an evidence of stinginess on the part of the managers; and some will make no change, but go on hardening the conscience, until it becomes seared as with a hot iron. They rise up against any restriction and act and talk defiantly, as though their rights had been invaded. But God looks upon all these things as theft, and so the record is carried up to heaven.
All fraud and deceit is forbidden in the word of God. Direct theft and outright falsehood are not sins into which persons of respectability are in danger of falling. It is transgression in the little things that first leads the soul away from God. By their one sin in partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve opened the floodgates of woe upon the world. Some may regard that transgression as a very little thing; but we see that its consequences were anything but small. The angels in heaven have a wider and more elevated sphere of action than we; but right with them and right with us are one and the same thing.
The managers of the sanitarium are not actuated by a mean, penurious spirit in reproving the wrongs that have been mentioned, and requiring what is due to such an institution. It is no stepping down from proper dignity to guard the interests of the sanitarium in these matters. Officers who are faithful themselves, naturally look for faithfulness in others. Strict integrity should govern the dealings of the managers and should be enforced upon all who labor under their direction.
Men of principle need not the restriction of locks and keys; they do not need to be watched and guarded. They will deal truly and honorably at all times--alone, with no eye upon them, as well as in public. They will not bring a stain upon their souls for any amount of gain or selfish advantage. They scorn a mean act. Although no one else might know it, they would know it themselves, and this would destroy their self-respect. Those who are not conscientious and faithful in little things would not be reformed, were there laws and restrictions and penalties upon the point. . . .
Those who do not overcome in little things will have no moral power to withstand greater temptations. All who seek to make honesty the ruling principle in the daily business of life will need to be on their guard that they "covet no man's silver, or gold, or apparel." While they are content with convenient food and clothing, it will be found an easy matter to keep the heart and hands from the defilement of covetousness and dishonesty. . . .
Those who are employed at our sanitarium have in many respects the best advantages for the formation of correct habits. None will be placed beyond the reach of temptation; for in every character there are weak points that are in danger when assailed. . . . All should feel the necessity of keeping the moral nature braced by constant watchfulness. Like faithful sentinels, they should guard the citadel of the soul, never feeling that they may relax their vigilance for a moment. In earnest prayer and living faith is their only safety.
Those who begin to be careless of their steps will find that before they are aware of it, their feet are entangled in a web from which it is impossible for them to extricate themselves. It should be a fixed principle with all to be truthful and honest. Whether they are rich or poor, whether they have friends or are left alone, come what will, they should resolve in the strength of God that no influence shall lead them to commit the least wrong act. One and all should realize that upon them, individually, depends in a measure the prosperity of the sanitarium.
The mind must be trained through daily tests to habits of fidelity, to a sense of the claims of right and duty above inclination and pleasure. Minds thus trained do not waver between right and wrong, as the reed trembles in the wind; but as soon as matters come before them, they discern at once that principle is involved, and they instinctively choose the right without long debating the matter. They are loyal because they have trained themselves to habits of faithfulness and truth.--Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 22 (1872).
As the condition of the sanitarium was presented before me in vision, an angel of God seemed to conduct me from room to room in the different departments. The conversation I was made to hear in the rooms of the helpers was not of a character to elevate and strengthen mind or morals. The frivolous talk, the foolish jesting, the meaningless laugh, fell painfully upon the ear. . . .
I was astonished as I saw the jealousy indulged and listened to the words of envy, the reckless talk, which made angels of God ashamed. Words and actions and motives were recorded. And how little did these light, superficial heads and hard hearts realize that an angel of God stood at the door, writing down the manner in which these precious moments were employed. God will bring to light every word and every action. He is in every place. These messengers, although unseen, are visitors in the bedchamber. The hidden works of darkness will be brought to light. The thoughts, the intents and purposes of the heart, will stand revealed. All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
I was conducted to a few rooms from which came the voice of prayer. How welcome was the sound! A bright light shone upon the face of my guide as his hand traced every word of the petition. "The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers." 1 Peter 3:12.
From still other rooms came the most disagreeable sallies of low wit and vain talk. Some were making sport of individuals and even imitating the words uttered in meeting; sacred things were made the subject of jest. Young men and young women were severely criticized; courtship and marriage were dwelt upon in a low, disgusting manner. There was scarcely a serious word spoken; the conversation was of a character to debase the mind and taint the morals, and all retired without committing themselves to God.
You may never know the result of your influence from day to day, but be sure that it is exerted for good or evil. Many who have a kind heart and good impulses permit their attention to be absorbed in worldly business or pleasure, while the souls that look to them for guidance drift on to hopeless wreck. Such persons may have a high profession and may stand well in the opinion of men, even as Christians, but in the day of God, when our works shall be compared with the divine law, then it will be found that they have not come up to the standard. Others who saw their course fell a little below them, and still others fell below the latter class, and thus the work of degeneracy went on.
Throw a pebble into the lake and a wave is formed, and another and another; and as they increase, the circle widens until they reach the very shore. Thus our influence, though apparently insignificant, may continue to extend far beyond our knowledge or control.--Review and Herald, Jan. 24, 1882.
In our institutions, where many are laboring together, the influence of association is very great. It is natural to seek companionship. Everyone will find companions or make them. And just in proportion to the strength of the friendship, will be the amount of influence which friends will exert over one another for good or for evil. All will have associates, and will influence and be influenced in their turn.
The link is a mysterious one which binds human hearts together, so that the feelings, tastes, and principles of two individuals are closely blended. One catches the spirit, and copies the ways and acts, of the other. As wax retains the figure of the seal, so the mind retains the impression produced by intercourse and association. The influence may be unconscious, yet it is no less powerful.
If the youth could be persuaded to associate with the pure, the thoughtful, and the amiable, the effect would be most salutary. If choice is made of companions who fear the Lord, the influence will lead to truth, to duty, and to holiness. A truly Christian life is a power for good. But, on the other hand, those who associate with men and women of questionable morals, of bad principles and practices, will soon be walking in the same path. The tendencies of the natural heart are downward. He who associates with the skeptic will soon become skeptical; he who chooses the companionship of the vile will most assuredly become vile. To walk in the counsel of the ungodly is the first step toward standing in the way of sinners and sitting in the seat of the scornful.
Let all who would form a right character choose associates who are of a serious, thoughtful turn of mind, and who are religiously inclined. Those who have counted the cost and wish to build for eternity must put good material into their building. If they accept of rotten timbers, if they are content with deficiencies of character, the building is doomed to ruin. Let all take heed how they build. The storm of temptation will sweep over the building, and unless it is firmly and faithfully constructed it will not stand the test.
A good name is more precious than gold. There is an inclination with the youth to associate with those who are inferior in mind and morals. What real happiness can a young person expect from a voluntary connection with persons who have a low standard of thoughts, feelings, and deportment? Some are debased in taste and depraved in habits, and all who choose such companions will follow their example. We are living in times of peril that should cause the hearts of all to fear. We see the minds of many wandering through the mazes of skepticism. The causes of this are ignorance, pride, and a defective character. Humility is a hard lesson for fallen man to learn. There is something in the human heart which rises in opposition to revealed truth on subjects connected with God and sinners, the transgression of the divine law and pardon through Christ.
My brethren and sisters, old and young, when you have an hour of leisure open the Bible and store the mind with its precious truths. When engaged in labor, guard the mind, keep it stayed upon God, talk less and meditate more. Remember, "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." Matthew 12:36. Let your words be select; this will close a door against the adversary of souls. Let your day be entered upon with prayer; work as in God's sight. His angels are ever by your side, making a record of your words, your deportment, and the manner in which your work is done.
If you turn from good counsel and choose to associate with those who you have reason to suspect are not religiously inclined, although they profess to be Christians, you will soon become like them. You place yourself in the way of temptation, on Satan's battleground, and will, unless constantly guarded, be overcome by his devices. There are persons who have for some time made a profession of religion, who are, to all intents and purposes, without God and without a sensitive conscience. They are vain and trifling; their conversation is of a low order. Courtship and marriage occupy the mind to the exclusion of higher and nobler thoughts.
The associations chosen by the workers are determining their destiny for this world and for the next. Some who were once conscientious and faithful have sadly changed; they have disconnected from God, and Satan has allured them to his side. They are now irreligious and irreverent, and they have an influence upon others who are easily molded. Evil associations are deteriorating character; principle is being undermined. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." Proverbs 13:20.
The young are in danger, but they are blind to discern the tendencies and result of the course they are pursuing. Many of them are engaged in flirtation. They seem to be infatuated. There is nothing noble, dignified, or sacred in these attachments; as they are prompted by Satan, the influence is such as to please him. Warnings to these persons fall unheeded. They are headstrong, self-willed, defiant. They think the warning, counsel, or reproof does not apply to them. Their course gives them no concern. They are continually separating themselves from the light and love of God. They lose all discernment of sacred and eternal things; and while they may keep up a dry form of Christian duties, they have no heart in these religious exercises. All too late, these deceived souls will learn that "strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matthew 7:14.
Words and actions and motives are recorded; but how little do these light, superficial heads and hard hearts realize that an angel of God stands writing down the manner in which their precious moments are employed. God will bring to light every word and every action. He is in every place. His messengers, although unseen, are visitors in the workroom and in the sleeping apartment. The hidden works of darkness will be brought to light. The thoughts, the intents and purposes of the heart, will stand revealed. All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
The workers should take Jesus with them in every department of their labor. Whatever is done should be done with an exactness and thoroughness that will bear inspection. The heart should be in the work. Faithfulness is as essential in life's common duties as in those involving greater responsibility. Some may receive the idea that their work is not ennobling; but this is just as they choose to make it. They alone are capable of degrading or elevating their employment. We wish that every drone might be compelled to toil for his daily bread, for work is a blessing, not a curse. Diligent labor will keep us from many of the snares of Satan, who "finds some mischief still for idle hands to do."
None of us should be ashamed of work, however small and servile it may appear. Labor is ennobling. All who toil with head or hands are working men or working women. And all are doing their duty and honoring their religion as much while working at the washtub or washing the dishes, as they are in going to meeting. While the hands are engaged in the most common labor, the mind may be elevated and ennobled by pure and holy thoughts. When any of the workers manifest a lack of respect for religious things, they should be separated from the work. Let none feel that the institution is dependent upon them.
Those who have been employed in our institutions should now be responsible workers, reliable in every place, as faithful to duty as the compass to the pole. Had they rightly improved their opportunities, they might now have symmetrical characters and a deep, living experience in religious things. But some of these workers have separated from God. Religion is laid aside. It is not an inwrought principle, carefully cherished wherever they go, into whatever society they are thrown, proving as an anchor to the soul. I wish all the workers carefully to consider that success in this life, and success in gaining the future life, depend largely upon faithfulness in little things. Those who long for higher responsibilities should manifest faithfulness in performing the duties just where God has placed them.
The perfection of God's work is as clearly seen in the tiniest insect as in the king of birds. The soul of the little child that believes in Christ is as precious in His sight as are the angels about His throne. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48. As God is perfect in His sphere, so man may be perfect in his sphere. Whatever the hand finds to do should be done with thoroughness and dispatch. Faithfulness and integrity in little things, the performance of little duties and little deeds of kindness, will cheer and gladden the pathway of life; and when our work on earth is ended, every one of the little duties performed with fidelity will be treasured as a precious gem before God.
In our schools missionary nurses should receive lessons from well-qualified physicians, and as a part of their education should learn how to battle with disease and to show the value of nature's remedies. This work is greatly needed. Cities and towns are steeped in sin and moral corruption, yet there are Lots in every Sodom. The poison of sin is at work at the heart of society, and God calls for reformers to stand in defense of the law which He has established to govern the physical system. They should at the same time maintain an elevated standard in the training of the mind and the culture of the heart, that the Great Physician may co-operate with the human helping hand in doing a work of mercy and necessity in the relief of suffering.--Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 136 (1900).
As my guide conducted me through the different departments, the lack of economy everywhere stirred my soul with grief, for I had a full sense of the debt hanging over the institution. The petty dishonesty, the selfish neglect of duty, were marked by the recording angel. The waste permitted here and there, in the course of a year amounts to a considerable sum. Much of this might be saved by the helpers; but each will say, "It does not belong to me to look after these things." Would they pass these things by so indifferently if the loss was to be sustained by themselves? No, they would know exactly what to do and how to do it; but it makes all the difference, now that it belongs to the institution. This is the fruit of selfishness and is registered against them under the heading of unfaithfulness.
In the dining room and kitchen I saw marks of negligence and untidiness. The floors were not cleanly, and there was a great lack of thoroughness, of nicety and order. These things speak to all who have access to these rooms, of the character of the workers. The impression would not be made that the sanitarium had a class of neat, faithful, orderly helpers. Some have labored faithfully, while others have done their work mechanically, as though they had no interest in it except to get through as quickly as possible. Order and thoroughness were neglected, because no one was near to watch them and criticize their work. Unfaithfulness was written against their names.
The matron looked upon the same that I saw, but she good-naturedly passed it by and seemed to have no sense of the true state of things. I saw a few trying to change things for the better and pleading for a faithful discharge of duty; but an indignant protest was raised, and most unmerciful thrusts were given those who ventured to take this responsibility. Unpleasant remarks were unsparingly made, and feelings of jealousy and envy indulged, and those who would have been true and faithful found numbers so large against them that they were compelled to allow things to drift on as before. These are some of the existing evils at the sanitarium.
Every act of our lives affects others for good or evil. Our influence is tending upward or downward; it is felt, acted upon, and to a greater or less degree reproduced by others. If by our example we aid others in the development of good principles, we give them power to do good. In their turn they exert the same beneficial influence upon others, and thus hundreds and thousands are affected by our unconscious influence. If we by acts strengthen or force into activity the evil powers possessed by those around us, we share their sin and will have to render an account for the good we might have done them and did not do, because we made not God our strength, our guide, our counselor.--Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 133 (1868).
No soul can prosper without time to pray, to search the Scriptures; and all should, as far as possible, have the privilege of attending public worship. All need to keep the oil of grace in their vessels with their lamps. Above all others, the workers who are thrown into the society of worldlings need to have Jesus held up before them, that they may behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. The godless element to which they are exposed makes it essential that personal labor should be bestowed upon them. Who could be closely related to these patients, and hear them talk, and breathe in the atmosphere that surrounds their souls, without running some risk? Counteracting influences should always be exerted, lest, through the tempting allurements of Satan, the worldly element shall steal away hearts from God. Never let the worldly class be honored and great deference be paid to them above those who love God and are seeking to do His will.
Those who, from whatever cause, are obliged to work on the Sabbath, are always in peril; they feel the loss, and from doing works of necessity they fall into the habit of doing things on the Sabbath that are not necessary. The sense of its sacredness is lost, and the holy commandment is of no effect. A special effort should be made to bring about a reform in regard to Sabbath observance. The workers in the sanitarium do not always do for themselves what is their privilege and duty. Often they feel so weary that they become demoralized. This should not be. The soul can be rich in grace only as it shall abide in the presence of God. God is the great proprietor of the sanitarium, of the Review and Herald office, of the Pacific Press, of our colleges. In all these institutions the managers must receive their directions from above. And wherever the temptations that come through association with the ungodly are strongest, there the greatest care must be exercised to place the workers in close connection with Christ and the influences proceeding from Him. His word must be our guide in all things; and if poverty comes because we abide by a plain "Thus saith the Lord," we must abide by it, even at the loss of all things else. Better have poverty in temporal things, and abide in Christ and be nourished by His word, which is spirit and life. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4. The world may smile as we repeat this to them, but it is the word of the Son of God. He says, "Whoso eateth My flesh [the word that Christ speaks to us] . . . hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:54.
We cannot always be on our knees in prayer, but the way to the mercy seat is always open. While engaged in active labor, we may ask for help; and we are promised by One who will not deceive us, "Ye shall receive." The Christian can and will find time to pray. Daniel was a statesman; heavy responsibilities rested upon him; yet three times a day he sought God, and the Lord gave him the Holy Spirit. So today men may resort to the sacred pavilion of the Most High and feel the assurance of His promise, "My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places." Isaiah 32:18. All who really desire it can find a place for communion with God, where no ear can hear but the one open to the cries of the helpless, distressed, and needy--the One who notices even the fall of the little sparrow. He says, "Ye are of more value than many sparrows." Matthew 10:31.
If the rush of work is allowed to drive us from our purpose of seeking the Lord daily, we shall make the greatest mistakes; we shall incur losses, for the Lord is not with us; we have closed the door so that He cannot find access to our souls. But if we pray even when our hands are employed, the Saviour's ear is open to hear our petitions. If we are determined not to be separated from the Source of our strength, Jesus will be just as determined to be at our right hand to help us, that we may not be put to shame before our enemies. The grace of Christ can accomplish for us that which all our efforts will fail to do. Those who love and fear God may be surrounded with a multitude of cares, and yet not falter or make crooked paths for their feet. God takes care of you in the place where it is your duty to be. But be sure, as often as possible, to go where prayer is wont to be made. The Saviour says, "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy." Revelation 3:4. These souls overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Amid the moral pollution that prevailed on every hand, they held fast their integrity. And why? They were partakers of the divine nature, and thus they escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. They became rich in faith, heirs to an inheritance of more value than the gold of Ophir. Only a life of constant dependence upon the Saviour is a life of holiness.