Section IX - Teaching Health Principles
Pages 425 - 470
We have come to a time when every member of the church should take hold of medical missionary work. The world is a lazar house filled with victims of both physical and spiritual disease. Everywhere people are perishing for lack of a knowledge of the truths that have been committed to us. The members of the church are in need of an awakening, that they may realize their responsibility to impart these truths. Those who have been enlightened by the truth are to be light bearers to the world. To hide our light at this time is to make a terrible mistake. The message to God's people today is, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Isaiah 60:1.
On every hand we see those who have had much light and knowledge deliberately choosing evil in the place of good. Making no attempt to reform, they are growing worse and worse. But the people of God are not to walk in darkness. They are to walk in the light, for they are reformers.
Before the true reformer, the medical missionary work will open many doors. No one need wait until called to some distant field before beginning to help others. Wherever you are, you can begin at once. Opportunities are within the reach of everyone. Take up the work for which you are held responsible--the work that should be done in your home and in your neighborhood. Wait not for others to urge you to action. In the fear of God go forward without delay, bearing in mind your individual responsibility to Him who gave His life for you. Act as if you heard Christ calling upon you personally to do your utmost in His service. Look not to see who else is ready. If you are truly consecrated, God will, through your instrumentality, bring into the truth others whom He can use as channels to convey light to many that are groping in darkness.
All can do something. In an effort to excuse themselves, some say, "My home duties, my children, claim my time and my means." Parents, your children should be your helping hand, increasing your power and ability to work for the Master. Children are the younger members of the Lord's family. They should be led to consecrate themselves to God, whose they are by creation and by redemption. They should be taught that all their powers of body, mind, and soul are His. They should be trained to help in various lines of unselfish service. Do not allow your children to be hindrances. With you the children should share spiritual as well as physical burdens. By helping others they increase their own happiness and usefulness.
Let our people show that they have a living interest in medical missionary work. Let them prepare themselves for usefulness by studying the books that have been written for our instruction in these lines. These books deserve much more attention and appreciation than they have received. Much that is for the benefit of all to understand has been written for the special purpose of instruction in the principles of health. Those who study and practice these principles will be greatly blessed, both physically and spiritually. An understanding of the philosophy of health will be a safeguard against many of the evils that are continually increasing.
Many who desire to obtain knowledge in medical missionary lines have home duties that will sometimes prevent them from meeting with others for study. These may learn much in their own homes in regard to the expressed will of God concerning these lines of missionary work, thus increasing their ability to help others. Fathers and mothers, obtain all the help you can from the study of our books and publications. . . . Take time to read to your children from the health books, as well as from the books treating more particularly on religious subjects. Teach them the importance of caring for the body--the house they live in. Form a home reading circle, in which every member of the family shall lay aside the busy cares of the day and unite in study. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, take up this work heartily, and see if the home church will not be greatly improved.
Especially will the youth who have been accustomed to reading novels and cheap storybooks receive benefit by joining in the evening family study. Young men and young women, read the literature that will give you true knowledge, and that will be a help to the entire family. Say firmly: "I will not spend precious moments in reading that which will be of no profit to me, and which only unfits me to be of service to others. I will devote my time and my thoughts to acquiring a fitness for God's service. I will close my eyes to frivolous and sinful things. My ears are the Lord's, and I will not listen to the subtle reasoning of the enemy. My voice shall not in any way be subject to a will that is not under the influence of the Spirit of God. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and every power of my being shall be consecrated to worthy pursuits."
The Lord has appointed the youth to be His helping hand. If in every church they would consecrate themselves to Him, if they would practice self-denial in the home, relieving their careworn mother, the mother could find time to make neighborly visits, and, when opportunity offered, they could themselves give assistance by doing little errands of mercy and love. Books and papers treating on the subject of health and temperance could be placed in many homes. The circulation of this literature is an important matter; for thus precious knowledge can be imparted in regard to the treatment of disease --knowledge that would be a great blessing to those who cannot afford to pay for a physician's visits.
Parents should seek to interest their children in the study of physiology. There are but few among the youth who have any definite knowledge of the mysteries of life. The study of the wonderful human organism, the relation and dependence of its complicated parts, is one in which many parents take little interest. Although God says to them, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth" (3 John 2), yet they do not understand the influence of the body upon the mind or of the mind upon the body. Needless trifles occupy their attention, and then they plead a lack of time as an excuse for not obtaining the information necessary to enable them properly to instruct their children.
If all would obtain a knowledge of this subject and would feel the importance of putting it to practical use, we should see a better condition of things. Parents, teach your children to reason from cause to effect. Show them that, if they violate the laws of health, they must pay the penalty by suffering. Show them that recklessness in regard to bodily health tends to recklessness in morals. Your children require patient, faithful care. It is not enough for you to feed and clothe them; you should seek also to develop their mental powers, and to imbue their hearts with right principles. But how often are beauty of character and loveliness of temper lost sight of in the eager desire for outward appearance! O parents, be not governed by the world's opinion; labor not to reach its standard, Decide for yourselves what is the great aim of life, and then bend every effort to reach that aim. You cannot with impunity neglect the proper training of your children. Their defective characters will publish your unfaithfulness. The evils that you permit to pass uncorrected, the coarse, rough manners, the disrespect and disobedience, the habits of indolence and inattention, will bring dishonor to your names and bitterness into your lives. The destiny of your children rests to a great extent in your hands. If you fail in duty, you may place them in the ranks of the enemy and make them his agents in ruining others; on the other hand, if you faithfully instruct them, if in your own lives you set before them a godly example, you may lead them to Christ, and they in turn will influence others, and thus many may be saved through your instrumentality.
Fathers and mothers, do you realize the importance of the responsibility resting upon you? Do you realize the necessity of guarding your children from careless, demoralizing habits? Allow your children to form only such associations as will have a right influence upon their characters. Do not allow them to be out in the evening unless you know where they are and what they are doing. Instruct them in the principles of moral purity. If you have neglected to teach them line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, begin at once to do your duty. Take up your responsibilities and work for time and for eternity. Let not another day pass without confessing your neglect to your children. Tell them that you mean now to do your God-appointed work. Ask them to take hold with you in the reform. Make diligent efforts to redeem the past. No longer remain in the condition of the Laodicean church. In the name of the Lord I call upon every family to show its true colors. Reform the church in your own home.
As you faithfully do your duty in the home, the father as a priest of the household, the mother as a home missionary, you are multiplying agencies for doing good outside of the home. As you improve your own powers, you are becoming better fitted to labor in the church and in the neighborhood. By binding your children to yourselves and to God, fathers and mothers and children become laborers together with God.
As a means of overcoming prejudice and gaining access to minds, medical missionary work must be done, not in one or two places only, but in many places where the truth has not yet been proclaimed. We are to work as gospel medical missionaries, to heal the sin-sick souls by giving them the message of salvation.--Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 211 (1909).
Our ministers should become intelligent on health reform. They need to become acquainted with physiology and hygiene; they should understand the laws that govern physical life and their bearing upon the health of mind and soul.
Thousands upon thousands know little of the wonderful body God has given them or of the care it should receive, and they consider it of more importance to study subjects of far less consequence. The ministers have a work to do here. When they take a right position on this subject, much will be gained. In their own lives and homes they should obey the laws of life, practicing right principles and living healthfully. Then they will be able to speak correctly on this subject, leading the people higher and still higher in the work of reform. Living in the light themselves, they can bear a message of great value to those who are in need of just such a testimony.
There are precious blessings and a rich experience to be gained if ministers will combine the presentation of the health question with all their labors in the churches. The people must have the light on health reform. . . .
The presidents of our conferences need to realize that it is high time they were placing themselves on the right side of this question. Ministers and teachers are to give to others the light they have received. Their work in every line is needed. God will help them; He will strengthen His servants who stand firmly, and will not be swayed from truth and righteousness in order to accommodate self-indulgence.--Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 376, 377 (1900).
There needs to be a great reformation on the subject of temperance. The world is filled with self-indulgence of every kind. Because of the benumbing influence of stimulants and narcotics the minds of many are unable to discern between the sacred and the common. Their mental powers are weakened, and they cannot discern the deep spiritual things of the word of God.
The Christian will be temperate in all things--in eating, in drinking, in dress, and in every phase of life. "Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible." 1 Corinthians 9:25. We have no right to indulge in anything that will result in a condition of mind that hinders the Spirit of God from impressing us with the sense of our duty. It is a masterpiece of satanic skill to place men where they can with difficulty be reached with the gospel.
Shall there not be among us as a people a revival of the temperance work? Why are we not putting forth much more decided efforts to oppose the liquor traffic, which is ruining the souls of men and is causing violence and crime of every description? With the great light that God has entrusted to us, we should be in the forefront of every true reform. The use of drugged liquors is making men mad and leading them to commit the most horrible crimes. Because of the wickedness that follows largely as the result of the use of liquor, the judgments of God are falling upon our earth today. Have we not a solemn responsibility to put forth earnest efforts in opposition to this great evil?--Review and Herald, Aug. 29, 1907.
Every true reform has its place in the work of the third angel's message. Especially does the temperance reform demand our attention and support. At our camp meetings we should call attention to this work and make it a living issue. We should present to the people the principles of true temperance and call for signers to the temperance pledge. Careful attention should be given to those who are enslaved by evil habits. We must lead them to the cross of Christ.
Our camp meetings should have the labors of medical men. These should be men of wisdom and sound judgment, men who respect the ministry of the word and who are not victims of unbelief. These men are the guardians of the health of the people, and they are to be recognized and respected. They should give instruction to the people in regard to the dangers of intemperance. This evil must be more boldly met in the future than it has been in the past. Ministers and doctors should set forth the evils of intemperance. Both should work in the gospel with power to condemn sin and exalt righteousness. Those ministers or doctors who do not make personal appeals to the people are remiss in their duty. They fail of doing the work which God has appointed them.
In other churches there are Christians who are standing in defense of the principles of temperance. We should seek to come near to these workers and make a way for them to stand shoulder to shoulder with us. We should call upon great and good men to second our efforts to save that which is lost.
If the work of temperance were carried forward by us as it was begun thirty years ago, if at our camp meetings we presented before the people the evils of intemperance in eating and drinking, and especially the evil of liquor drinking, if these things were presented in connection with the evidences of Christ's soon coming, there would be a shaking among the people. If we showed a zeal in proportion to the importance of the truths we are handling, we might be instrumental in rescuing hundreds, yea thousands, from ruin.
Present truth lies in the work of health reform as verily as in other features of gospel work. No one branch when separated from others can be a perfect whole.
The gospel of health has able advocates, but their work has been made very hard because so many ministers, presidents of conferences, and others in positions of influence have failed to give the question of health reform its proper attention. They have not recognized it in its relation to the work of the message as the right arm of the body. While very little respect has been shown to this department by many of the people and by some of the ministers, the Lord has shown His regard for it by giving it abundant prosperity. When properly conducted, the health work is an entering wedge, making a way for other truths to reach the heart. When the third angel's message is received in its fullness, health reform will be given its place in the councils of the conference, in the work of the church, in the home, at the table, and in all the household arrangements. Then the right arm will serve and protect the body.--Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 327 (1900).
God bids His people blend harmoniously in their service for Him, that they may work in Christ's lines. This last message of warning must be brought to the world, and there are continual calls for those who will go forth and carry the message to the missionary fields that are calling for help. There are some who cannot themselves go to these fields, but they can help with their means in support of the work.
Many can engage in the work of selling our periodicals. Thus they can earn means for the work in foreign fields while sowing seeds of truth in the byways and hedges in the home field. Such labor will be blessed of God, and it will not be done in vain.
Wherever you are, let your light shine forth. Hand out papers and pamphlets to those with whom you associate, when you are riding on the cars, visiting, conversing with your neighbors; and improve every opportunity to speak a word in season. The Holy Spirit will make the seed productive in some hearts.
As a people we should cultivate kindliness and courtesy in our association with those whom we meet. Let us avoid any abruptness of manner, and strive always to present the truth in an easy way. This truth means life, eternal life to the receiver. Study therefore to pass easily and courteously from subjects of a temporal nature to the spiritual and eternal. A most courteous manner characterized the work of the Saviour. Seek in the most gentle way to introduce your mission. While walking by the way, or seated by the wayside, you may drop into some heart the seed of truth.
I have words of encouragement to speak in regard to the special number of the Watchman, which the Southern Publishing House is soon to bring out. I shall rejoice to see our conferences help in this work by taking a large number of this issue for circulation. Let there be no forbiddings placed upon the effort, but let all take hold to give this temperance number a wide circulation.
There could be no better time than now for a movement of this kind, when the temperance question is creating such widespread interest. Let our people everywhere take hold decidedly to let it be seen where we stand on the temperance question. Let everything possible be done to circulate strong, stirring appeals for the closing of the saloon. Let this paper be made a power for good. Our work for temperance is to be more spirited, more decided.
Precious light will be given in the publications you scatter through the towns and cities. Your humble prayers, your unselfish activity, will be blessed of God, and the truth as it is in Jesus will come to those who need it. The words that Christ spoke to men while He was in the world He will speak again through His humble, faithful followers. Through them He will give to men the bread of life and the waters of salvation. Brethren, take up this work in humility of heart. The simplicity of true godliness will cause you to be respected and will lead men and women to seek the source of your power. Believe, and you will receive the things you ask for.
The Woman's Christian Temperance Union is an organization with whose efforts for the spread of temperance principles we can heartily unite. The light has been given me that we are not to stand aloof from them, but while there is to be no sacrifice of principle on our part, as far as possible we are to unite with them in laboring for temperance reforms. My husband and I, in our labors, united with these temperance workers, and we had the joy of seeing several unite with us in the observance of the true Sabbath. Among them there is a strong prejudice against us, but we shall not remove this prejudice by standing aloof. God is testing us. We are to work with them when we can, and we can assuredly do this on the question of utterly closing the saloon.
As the human agent submits his will to the will of God, the Holy Spirit will make the impression upon the hearts of those to whom he ministers. I have been shown that we are not to shun the W.C.T.U. workers. By uniting with them in behalf of total abstinence, we do not change our position regarding the observance of the seventh day, and we can show our appreciation of their position regarding the subject of temperance. By opening the door and inviting them to unite with us on the temperance question, we secure their help along temperance lines; and they, by uniting with us, will hear new truths which the Holy Spirit is waiting to impress upon hearts.
My brethren, be workers together with Christ. Make every possible effort in season and out of season to spread the light of present truth. The Lord has taught us how safe is the cable that anchors us to the living Rock. Here is an opportunity to labor for those who have truth on some points, but who on other points are not safely anchored. Keep in touch with the people wherever you can. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16.
We must go no faster than we can take those with us whose consciences and intellects are convinced of the truths we advocate. We must meet the people where they are. Some of us have been many years in arriving at our present position in health reform. It is slow work to obtain a reform in diet. We have powerful appetites to meet, for the world is given to gluttony. If we should allow the people as much time as we have required to come up to the present advanced state in reform, we would be very patient with them and allow them to advance step by step, as we have done, until their feet are firmly established upon the health-reform platform. But we should be very cautious not to advance too fast, lest we be obliged to retrace our steps. In reforms, we would better come one step short of the mark than to go one step beyond it. And if there is error at all, let it be on the side next to the people.
Above all things, we should not with our pens advocate positions that we do not put to a practical test in our own families, upon our own tables. . . .
If we come to persons who have not been enlightened in regard to health reform, and present our strongest positions at first, there is danger of their becoming discouraged as they see how much they have to give up, so that they will make no effort to reform. We must lead the people along patiently and gradually, remembering the hole of the pit whence we were digged.--Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 20, 21 (1872).
The victims of evil habit must be aroused to the necessity of making an effort for themselves. Others may put forth the most earnest endeavor to uplift them, the grace of God may be freely offered, Christ may entreat, His angels may minister; but all will be in vain unless they themselves are roused to fight the battle in their own behalf.
The last words of David to Solomon, then a young man, and soon to receive the crown of Israel, were, "Be thou strong, . . . and show thyself a man." 1 Kings 2:2. To every child of humanity, the candidate for an immortal crown, are these words of inspiration spoken, "Be thou strong, and show thyself a man."
The self-indulgent must be led to see and feel that great moral renovation is necessary if they would be men. God calls upon them to arouse, and in the strength of Christ win back the God-given manhood that has been sacrificed through sinful indulgence.
Feeling the terrible power of temptation, the drawing of desire that leads to indulgence, many a man cries in despair, "I cannot resist evil." Tell him that he can, that he must resist. He may have been overcome again and again, but it need not be always thus. He is weak in moral power, controlled by the habits of a life of sin. His promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. The knowledge of his broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens his confidence in his own sincerity and causes him to feel that God cannot accept him or work with his efforts. But he need not despair.
Those who put their trust in Christ are not to be enslaved by any hereditary or cultivated habit or tendency. Instead of being held in bondage to the lower nature, they are to rule every appetite and passion. God has not left us to battle with evil in our own finite strength. Whatever may be our inherited or cultivated tendencies to wrong, we can overcome through the power that He is ready to impart. . . .
Through the right exercise of the will an entire change may be made in the life. By yielding up the will to Christ, we ally ourselves with divine power. We receive strength from above to hold us steadfast. A pure and noble life, a life of victory over appetite and lust, is possible to everyone who will unite his weak, wavering human will to the omnipotent, unwavering will of God.
Those who are struggling against the power of appetite should be instructed in the principles of healthful living. They should be shown that violation of the laws of health, by creating diseased conditions and unnatural cravings, lays the foundation of the liquor habit. Only by living in obedience to the principles of health can they hope to be freed from the craving for unnatural stimulants. While they depend upon divine strength to break the bonds of appetite, they are to co-operate with God by obedience to His laws, both moral and physical. . . .
For every soul struggling to rise from a life of sin to a life of purity, the great element of power abides in the only "name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved." "If any man thirst," for restful hope, for deliverance from sinful propensities, Christ says, "let him come unto Me, and drink." The only remedy for vice is the grace and power of Christ.
As Christians, we should stand firmly in defense of temperance. There is no class of persons capable of accomplishing more in the cause of temperance, than our God-fearing youth. If the young men who live in our cities would unite in a firm, decided army, and set their faces as a flint against every form of selfish, health-destroying indulgence, what a power they might be for good! How many they might save from becoming demoralized by visiting the halls and gardens that are fitted up with music and every attraction to allure the youth! Intemperance, Licentiousness, and Profanity are sisters.
Let every God-fearing youth gird on the armor and press to the front. Let no excuse be offered when you are asked to put your name to the temperance pledge, but sign every pledge presented and induce others to sign with you. Work for the good of your own souls and the good of others. Never let an opportunity pass to cast your influence on the side of strict temperance.
We thank the Lord that a victory has been gained, but we hope to carry our brethren and sisters up to a still higher standard, where they will sign the pledge to abstain from coffee and the herb that comes from China.
Coffee is a hurtful indulgence. It temporarily excites the mind to unwonted action, but the aftereffect is sad --prostration and exhaustion of the physical, mental, and moral forces. The mind becomes enervated, and unless through determined effort the habit is overcome, the activity of the brain is greatly lessened.
In some cases it is as difficult to break up this tea-and- coffee habit as it is for the inebriate to discontinue the use of liquor. The money used for tea and coffee as a common drink is worse than wasted. It does the user, be it man or woman, harm, and that continually.
All these nerve irritants are wearing away the life forces, and the restlessness, the impatience, the mental feebleness caused by shattered nerves become a warring element, ever working against spiritual progress. Shall Christians bring their appetite under the control of reason, or will they continue its indulgence because they feel so "let down" without it, like the drunkard without his stimulant? Shall not those who advocate temperance reform awake in regard to these injurious things also? And shall not the pledge embrace coffee and tea as hurtful stimulants?
The Lord desires our ministers, physicians, and church members to be careful not to urge those who are ignorant of our faith to make sudden changes in diet, thus bringing men to a premature test. Hold up the principles of health reform and let the Lord lead the honest in heart. They will hear and believe. Nor does the Lord require His messengers to present the beautiful truths of healthful living in a way that will prejudice minds. Let no one put stumbling blocks before the feet that are walking in the dark paths of ignorance. Even in praising a good thing, it is well not to be too enthusiastic, lest you turn out of the way those who come to hear. Present the principles of temperance in their most attractive form.-- Gospel Workers, page 233 (1915).
As a people we have been given the work of making known the principles of health reform. There are some who think that the question of diet is not of sufficient importance to be included in their evangelistic work. But such make a great mistake. God's word declares, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31. The subject of temperance, in all its bearings, has an important place in the work of salvation.
In connection with our city missions there should be suitable rooms where those in whom an interest has been awakened can be gathered for instruction. This necessary work is not to be carried on in such a meager way that an unfavorable impression will be made on the minds of the people. All that is done should bear favorable witness to the Author of truth, and should properly represent the sacredness and importance of the truths of the third angel's message.
Cooking schools are to be held. The people are to be taught how to prepare wholesome food. They are to be shown the need of discarding unhealthful foods. But we should never advocate a starvation diet. It is possible to have a wholesome, nutritious diet without the use of tea, coffee, and flesh food. The work of teaching the people how to prepare a dietary that is at once wholesome and appetizing is of the utmost importance.
The work of health reform is the Lord's means for lessening suffering in our world and for purifying His church. Teach the people that they can act as God's helping hand, by co-operating with the Master Worker in restoring physical and spiritual health. This work bears the signature of Heaven and will open doors for the entrance of other precious truths. There is room for all to labor who will take hold of this work intelligently.
Keep the work of health reform to the front is the message I am instructed to bear. Show so plainly its value that a widespread need for it will be felt. Abstinence from all hurtful food and drink is the fruit of true religion. He who is thoroughly converted will abandon every injurious habit and appetite. By total abstinence he will overcome his desire for health-destroying indulgences.
I am instructed to say to health-reform educators, Go forward. The world needs every jot of the influence you can exert to press back the tide of moral woe. Let those who teach the third angel's message stand true to their colors. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:1, 2. May the Lord arm those who labor in word and doctrine, with the clearest messages of truth. If His workers will give these messages with simplicity, assurance, and all authority, the Lord will work with them.
The circulation of our health publications is a most important work. It is a work in which all who believe the special truths for this time should have a living interest. God desires that now, as never before, the minds of the people shall be deeply stirred to investigate the great temperance question and principles underlying true health reform. The physical life is to be carefully educated, cultivated, and developed, that through men and women the divine nature may be revealed in its fullness. Both the physical and the mental powers, with the affections, are to be so trained that they can reach the highest efficiency.
Reform, continual reform, must be kept before the people, and by our example we must enforce our teachings. True religion and the laws of health go hand in hand. It is impossible to work for the salvation of men and women without presenting to them the need of breaking away from sinful gratifications, which destroy the health, debase the soul, and prevent divine truth from impressing the mind. Men and women must be taught to take a careful review of every habit and practice, and at once put away those things that cause an unhealthy condition of the body, and thus cast a dark shadow over the mind.
God desires His people to be light bearers to a world lying in midnight darkness. But if they refuse to go forward in the light which He causes to shine on their pathway, the light will finally become to them darkness; and instead of being light bearers to the world, they themselves will be lost in the blackness that surrounds them. God desires His light bearers ever to keep a high standard before them. By precept and example they must hold this perfect standard high above Satan's false standard, which, if followed, will lead to misery, degradation, disease, and death for both body and soul.
Those who act as teachers are to be intelligent in regard to disease and its causes, understanding that every action of the human agent should be in perfect harmony with the laws of life. The light God has given on health reform is for our salvation and the salvation of the world. Men and women should be informed in regard to the human habitation fitted up by our Creator as His dwelling place, and over which He desires us to be faithful stewards. These grand truths must be given to the world. We must reach the people where they are and by example and precept lead them to see the beauties of the better way.
The world is in sad need of instruction along these lines. The time has come when each soul must be staunch and true to every ray of light God has given, and begin in earnest to give this gospel of health to the people. We shall have strength and power to do this, if we practice these truths in our own lives. If we all followed the light we have received, the blessing of God would rest on us and we should be anxious to place these truths before those who know them not. . . .
In all our work caution should be used that no one branch be made a specialty, while other interests are left to suffer. There has not been that interest taken in the circulation of our health journals that there should be. The circulation of these journals must not be neglected, or the people will suffer great loss.
Let none think that the circulation of the health journals is a minor matter. All should take hold of this work with more interest and make greater efforts in this direction. God will greatly bless those who take hold of it in earnest, for it is a work that should receive attention at this time.
Ministers can and should do much to urge the circulation of the health journals. Every member of the church should work as earnestly for these journals as for our other periodicals. There should be no friction between the two. Both are essential, and both should occupy the field at the same time. Each is the complement of the other, and can in no wise take its place. The circulation of the health journals will be a powerful agency in preparing the people to accept those special truths that are to fit them for the soon coming of the Son of man.
To all hygienic reformers I would say, Live up strictly to the convictions of your own enlightened mind. Be not led into indulgence by the entreaties of friends. Live the reform at home; and when you go abroad, carry it with you. Live it, and at proper times, in proper places, and in a proper manner, talk its principles. Never let the opposition or the kind entreaties of friends gain ground on you. Ever hold on your way, and by all proper means labor to impress those around you with the importance of the subject.--Christian Temperance, pages 200, 201 (1890).
Our people far and near need to ask themselves how the Lord regards their neglect of important centers in America. There are many places in this country in which the truth has never been proclaimed. Many years ago there should have been a sanitarium in Washington, D.C. But men have chosen their way in many things, and the places to which the truth should have found entrance, by the establishment of medical missionary work, have been neglected. . . .
Why have not those who have taken a leading part in medical missionary work been burdened to carry to Washington the message of temperance in eating, drinking, and dressing? There would have been less difficulty in giving the message in this place than in some other places.
There are many places that need gospel medical missionary work. Plants should be made in these places. God designs that our sanitariums shall be a means of reaching high and low, rich and poor. They are to be so conducted that by their work attention will be called to the message that God has sent to the world. Many will not heed the call of mercy; nevertheless it is to be given to all, that whosoever will may come to the water of life and drink.--Review and Herald, Aug. 11, 1903.
We should educate ourselves, not only to live in harmony with the laws of health, but to teach others the better way. Many, even of those who profess to believe the special truths for this time, are lamentably ignorant with regard to health and temperance. They need to be educated, line upon line, precept upon precept. The subject must be kept fresh before them. This matter must not be passed over as nonessential, for nearly every family needs to be stirred up on the question. The conscience must be aroused to the duty of practicing the principles of true reform. God requires that His people shall be temperate in all things. Unless they practice true temperance, they will not, they cannot, be susceptible to the sanctifying influence of the truth.
Our ministers should become intelligent upon this question. They should not ignore it, nor be turned aside by those who call them extremists. Let them find out what constitutes true health reform and teach its principles, both by precept and by a quiet, consistent example. At our large gatherings instruction should be given upon health and temperance. Seek to arouse the intellect and the conscience. Bring into service all the talent at command, and follow up the work with publications upon the subject. "Educate, educate, educate," is the message that has been impressed upon me.
In all our missions, women of intelligence should have charge of the domestic arrangements--women who know how to prepare food nicely and healthfully. The table should be abundantly supplied with food of the best quality. If any have a perverted taste that craves tea, coffee, condiments, and unhealthful dishes, enlighten them. Seek to arouse the conscience. Set before them the principles of the Bible upon hygiene. Where plenty of good milk and fruit can be obtained, there is rarely any excuse for eating animal food; it is not necessary to take the life of any of God's creatures to supply our ordinary needs. In certain cases of illness or exhaustion it may be thought best to use some meat, but great care should be taken to secure the flesh of healthy animals. It has come to be a very serious question whether it is safe to use flesh food at all in this age of the world. It would be better never to eat meat than to use the flesh of animals that are not healthy. . . .
Again and again I have been shown that God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to His original design--that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth. Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view, and endeavor to work steadily toward it. . . .
One reason why many have become discouraged in practicing health reform is that they have not learned how to cook so that proper food, simply prepared, would supply the place of the diet to which they have been accustomed. They become disgusted with the poorly prepared dishes, and next we hear them say that they have tried the health reform and cannot live in that way. Many attempt to follow out meager instructions in health reform and make such sad work that it results in injury to digestion and in discouragement to all concerned in the attempt. You profess to be health reformers, and for this very reason you should become good cooks. Those who can avail themselves of the advantages of properly conducted hygienic cooking schools will find it a great benefit both in their own practice and in teaching others.
Do not catch hold of isolated ideas and make them a test, criticizing others whose practice may not agree with your opinion; but study the subject broadly and deeply, and seek to bring your own ideas and practices into perfect harmony with the principles of true Christian temperance.
There are many who try to correct the lives of others by attacking what they regard as wrong habits. They go to those whom they think in error and point out their defects, but do not seek to direct the mind to true principles. Such a course often comes far short of securing the desired results. When we make it evident that we are trying to correct others, we too often arouse their combativeness and do more harm than good. And there is danger to the reprover also. He who takes it upon himself to correct others is likely to cultivate a habit of faultfinding, and soon his whole interest will be in picking flaws and finding defects. Do not watch others, to pick at their faults or expose their errors. Educate them to better habits by the power of your own example. . . .
A great amount of good can be done by enlightening all to whom we have access, as to the best means, not only of curing the sick, but of preventing disease and suffering. The physician who endeavors to enlighten his patients as to the nature and causes of their maladies, and to teach them how to avoid disease, may have uphill work; but if he is a conscientious reformer, he will talk plainly of the ruinous effects of self-indulgence in eating, drinking, and dressing, of the overtaxation of the vital forces that has brought his patients where they are. He will not increase the evil by administering drugs till exhausted nature gives up the struggle, but will teach the patients how to form correct habits and to aid nature in her work of restoration by a wise use of her own simple remedies.
In all our health institutions it should be made a special feature of the work to give instruction in regard to the laws of health. The principles of health reform should be carefully and thoroughly set before all, both patients and helpers. This work requires moral courage, for while many will profit by such efforts, others will be offended. But the true disciple of Christ, he whose mind is in harmony with the mind of God, while constantly learning, will be teaching as well, leading the minds of others upward, away from the prevailing errors of the world.
Much of the prejudice that prevents the truth of the third angel's message from reaching the hearts of the people might be removed if more attention were given to health reform. When people become interested in this subject, the way is often prepared for the entrance of other truths. If they see that we are intelligent with regard to health, they will be more ready to believe that we are sound in Bible doctrines.
This branch of the Lord's work has not received due attention, and through this neglect much has been lost. If the church would manifest a greater interest in the reforms through which God Himself is seeking to fit them for His coming, their influence would be far greater than it now is. God has spoken to His people and He designs that they shall hear and obey His voice. Although the health reform is not the third angel's message, it is closely connected with it. Those who proclaim the message should teach health reform also. It is a subject that we must understand in order to be prepared for the events that are close upon us, and it should have a prominent place.
I was shown that the work of health reform has scarcely been entered upon yet. While some feel deeply, and act out their faith in the work, others remain indifferent and have scarcely taken the first step in reform. There seems to be in them a heart of unbelief, and as this reform restricts the lustful appetite, many shrink back. They have other gods before the Lord. Their taste, their appetite, is their god, and when the ax is laid at the root of the tree, and those who have indulged their depraved appetites at the expense of health are touched, their sin pointed out, their idols shown them, they do not wish to be convinced; and although God's voice should speak directly to them to put away those health-destroying indulgences, some would still cling to the hurtful things which they love. They seem joined to their idols, and God will soon say to His angels, Let them alone. . . . I saw that we as a people must make an advance move in this great work. Ministers and people must act in concert. God's people are not prepared for the loud cry of the third angel. They have a work to do for themselves which they should not leave for God to do for them. He has left this work for them to do. It is an individual work; one cannot do it for another.--Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 486 (1865).
From time to time I have received letters from both ministers and lay members of the church, inquiring if I think it wrong to consult spiritualist and clairvoyant physicians. So numerous are these agents of Satan becoming, and so general is the practice of seeking counsel from them, that it seems needful to utter words of warning.
God has placed it in our power to obtain a knowledge of the laws of health. He has made it a duty to preserve our physical powers in the best possible condition, that we may render to Him acceptable service. Those who refuse to improve the light and knowledge that have been mercifully placed within their reach are rejecting one of the means which God has granted them to promote spiritual as well as physical life. They are placing themselves where they will be exposed to the delusions of Satan.
Not a few in this Christian age and Christian nation resort to evil spirits, rather than trust to the power of the living God. The mother watching by the sickbed of her child, exclaims, "I can do no more. Is there no physician who has power to restore my child?" She is told of the wonderful cures performed by some clairvoyant or magnetic healer, and she trusts her dear one to his charge, placing it as verily in the hands of Satan as if he were standing by her side. In many instances the future life of the child is controlled by a satanic power which it seems impossible to break.
I have heard a mother pleading with an infidel physician to save the life of her child; but when I entreated her to seek help from the Great Physician, who is able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him in faith, she turned away with impatience.
When Ahaziah, king of Israel, was sick, "he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, inquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease." On the way they met Elijah, and instead of a message from the idol, the king heard the awful denunciation from the God of Israel, "Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die." 2 Kings 1:2, 6.
It was Christ that bade Elijah speak these words to the apostate king. Jehovah Immanuel had cause to be greatly displeased at Ahaziah's impiety. What had Christ not done to win the hearts of Israel and to inspire them with unwavering confidence in Himself? For ages He had visited His people with manifestations of the most condescending kindness and unexampled love. From the time of the patriarchs, He had shown how His "delights were with the sons of men." Proverbs 8:31. He had been a very present help to all who sought Him in sincerity. "In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them." Isaiah 63:9. Yet Israel had revolted from God and turned for help to the Lord's worst enemy.
The Hebrews were the only nation favored with a knowledge of the true God. When the king of Israel sent to inquire of a pagan oracle, he proclaimed to the heathen that he had more confidence in their idols than in the God of his people, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. In the same manner do those who profess to have a knowledge of God's word dishonor Him when they turn from the Source of strength and wisdom, to ask help or counsel from the powers of darkness. If God's wrath was kindled by such a course on the part of a wicked, idolatrous king, how must He regard a similar course pursued by those who profess to be His servants?
Many are unwilling to put forth the needed effort to obtain a knowledge of the laws of life and the simple means to be employed for the restoration of health. They do not place themselves in right relation to life. When sickness is the result of their transgression of natural law, they do not seek to correct their errors and then ask the blessing of God, but they resort to the physicians. If they recover health, they give to drugs and doctors all the honor. They are ever ready to idolize human power and wisdom, seeming to know no other god than the creature --dust and ashes.
It is not safe to trust to physicians who have not the fear of God before them. Without the influence of divine grace, the hearts of men are "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." Jeremiah 17:9. Self-aggrandizement is their aim. Under cover of the medical profession, what iniquities have been practiced, what delusions supported! The physician may claim to possess great wisdom and marvelous skill, while at the same time his character is abandoned, and his practice contrary to the laws of health. The Lord our God assures us that He is waiting to be gracious; He invites us to call upon Him in the day of trouble.
Furthermore, the teaching of these physicians is continually leading away from the principles God has given us in regard to health, especially on the diet question. They say we are not living as we ought and prescribe changes that are contrary to the light God has sent. Brethren, how can the Lord let His blessing rest upon us when we are going right upon the enemy's ground?
Why is it that men are so unwilling to trust Him who created man and who can, by a touch, a word, a look, heal all manner of disease? Who is more worthy of our confidence that the One who has made so great a sacrifice for our redemption? Our Lord has given us definite instruction, through the apostle James, as to our duty in case of sickness. When human help fails, God will be the helper of His people. "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up." James 5:14, 15. If the professed followers of Christ would, with purity of heart exercise as much faith in the promises of God as they repose in satanic agencies, they would realize, in soul and body, the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit.
God has granted to this people great light, yet we are not placed beyond the reach of temptation. Who among us are seeking help from the gods of Ekron? Look on this picture--a picture not drawn from imagination. In how many, even among Seventh-day Adventists, may its leading characteristics be seen! An invalid, apparently very conscientious, yet bigoted and self-sufficient, freely avows his contempt for the laws of life and health, which divine mercy has led us as a people to accept. His food must be prepared in a manner to satisfy his morbid cravings. Rather than sit at a table where wholesome food is provided, he will patronize restaurants, because he can there indulge appetite without restraint. A fluent advocate of temperance, he disregards its foundation principles. He wants relief, but refuses to obtain it at the price of self-denial.
That man is worshipping at the shrine of perverted appetite. He is an idolater. The powers which, sanctified and ennobled, might be employed to honor God, are weakened and rendered of little service. An irritable temper, a confused brain, and unstrung nerves are among the results of his disregard of nature's laws. He is inefficient and unreliable. Whoever has the courage and honesty to warn him of danger thereby incurs his displeasure. The slightest remonstrance or opposition is sufficient to rouse his combative spirit. But now an opportunity is presented to seek help from one whose power comes through the medium of witchcraft. To this source he applies with eagerness, freely expending time and money in the hope of securing the proffered boon. He is deceived, infatuated. The sorcerer's power is made the theme of praise, and others are influenced to seek his aid. Thus the God of Israel is dishonored, while Satan's power is revered and exalted.
In the name of Christ I would address His professed followers: Abide in the faith which you have received from the beginning. "Shun profane and vain babblings." 2 Timothy 2:16. Instead of putting your trust in witchcraft, have faith in the living God. Cursed is the path that leads to Endor or to Ekron. The feet will stumble and fall that venture upon this forbidden ground. There is a God in Israel, with whom is deliverance for all who are oppressed. Righteousness is the foundation of His throne.
There is danger in departing in the least from the Lord's instruction. When we deviate from the plain path of duty, a train of circumstances will arise that seems irresistibly to draw us farther and farther from the right. Needless intimacies with those who have no respect for God will seduce us ere we are aware. The fear of offending worldly friends will deter us from expressing our gratitude to God or acknowledging our dependence upon Him.
We must keep close to the word of God. We need its warnings and encouragement, its threatenings and promises. We need the perfect example given only in the life and character of our Saviour. Angels of God will preserve His people while they walk in the path of duty, but there is no assurance of such protection for those who deliberately venture upon Satan's ground. An agent of the great deceiver will say and do anything to gain his object. It matters little whether he calls himself a spiritualist, an "electric physician," or a "magnetic healer." By specious pretenses he wins the confidence of the unwary. He pretends to read the life history and to understand all the difficulties and afflictions of those who resort to him. Disguising himself as an angel of light, while the blackness of the pit is in his heart, he manifests great interest in women who seek his counsel. He tells them that all their troubles are due to an unhappy marriage. This may be too true, but such counsel does not better their condition. He tells them that they need love and sympathy. Pretending great interest in their welfare, he casts a spell over his unsuspecting victims, charming them as the serpent charms the trembling bird. Soon they are completely in his power, and sin, disgrace, and ruin are the terrible sequel.
Our only safety is in preserving the ancient landmarks. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:20.
Through spiritualism, Satan appears as a benefactor of the race, healing the diseases of the people and professing to present a new and more exalted system of religious faith; but at the same time he works as a destroyer. His temptations are leading multitudes to ruin. Intemperance dethrones reason; sensual indulgence, strife, and bloodshed follow. Satan delights in war, for it excites the worst passions of the soul and then sweeps into eternity its victims steeped in vice and blood. It is his object to incite the nations to war against one another; for he can thus divert the minds of the people from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God.
Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows. When he was suffered to afflict Job, how quickly flocks and herds, servants, houses, children, were swept away, one trouble succeeding another as in a moment. It is God that shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer. But the Christian world have shown contempt for the law of Jehovah, and the Lord will do just what He has declared that He would--He will withdraw His blessings from the earth and remove His protecting care from those who are rebelling against His law and teaching and forcing others to do the same. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard. He will favor and prosper some, in order to further his own designs; and he will bring trouble upon others and lead men to believe that it is God who is afflicting them.
While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast. "The earth mourneth and fadeth away," "The haughty people . . . do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant." Isaiah 24:4, 5.
Some will be tempted to receive these wonders as from God. The sick will be healed before us. Miracles will be performed in our sight. Are we prepared for the trial which awaits us when the lying wonders of Satan shall be more fully exhibited? Will not many be ensnared and taken? By departing from the plain precepts and commandments of God and giving heed to fables, the minds of many are preparing to receive these lying wonders. We must all now seek to arm ourselves for the contest in which we must soon engage. Faith in God's word, prayerfully studied and practically applied, will be our shield from Satan's power and will bring us off conquerors through the blood of Christ.--Testimonies for the Church, vol. I, p. 302 (1862).
The temperance question is to receive decided support from God's people. Intemperance is striving for the mastery; self-indulgence is increasing, and the publications treating on health reform are greatly needed. Literature bearing on this point is the helping hand of the gospel, leading souls to search the Bible for a better understanding of the truth. The note of warning against the great evil of intemperance should be sounded; and that this may be done, every Sabbathkeeper should study and practice the instruction contained in our health periodicals and our health books. And they should do more than this: they should make earnest efforts to circulate these publications among their neighbors.
The sale of our health literature will in no way hinder the sale of publications dealing with other phases of the third angel's message. All are to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.
Canvassers should call the attention of those they visit to our health publications, telling them of the valuable instruction these periodicals contain regarding the care of the sick and treatment of diseases. Tell them this instruction, studied and practiced, will bring health to the family. Explain how important it is for every family to understand the science of life. Direct their minds to Him who formed and who keeps in motion the wonderful machinery of the body. Tell them that it is our part to co-operate with God, caring wisely for all our faculties and organs. The proper care of the body is a great responsibility and requires an intelligent knowledge of its parts. Tell them that God is dishonored when, for the gratification of appetite and passion, man misuses the machinery of the body, so that it does its work feebly and with difficulty. Tell them that the books you have for sale give much valuable instruction regarding health and that by practicing this instruction much suffering, and also much of the money spent in paying doctors' bills, will be saved. Tell them that in these books there is advice which they cannot possibly obtain from their physician during the short visits he makes.
In his association with those whom he meets, the canvasser can do much to show the value of healthful living. Instead of staying at a hotel, he should, if possible, obtain lodging with a private family. As he sits at the table with the family, let him practice the instruction given in the health works he is selling, holding up the banner of strict temperance. As opportunity is offered, let him speak of the value of a healthful diet. He should never be ashamed to say, "No, thank you; I do not eat meat." If tea is offered, let him refuse it, explaining that it is harmful, that though for a time stimulating, the stimulating effect passes off, and a corresponding depression is left. Let him explain the injurious effect of intoxicating drinks, and of tobacco, tea, and coffee, on the digestive organs and the brain.
As the canvasser goes from place to place, he will find many who are sick. He should have a practical knowledge of the causes of disease and should understand how to give simple treatments, that he may relieve the suffering ones. More than this, he should pray in faith and simplicity for the sick, pointing them to the Great Physician. As he thus walks and works with God, ministering angels are beside him, giving him access to hearts. What a wide field for missionary effort lies before the faithful, consecrated canvasser; what a blessing will be his in the diligent performance of his work.
Young men, young women, you are called by the Master to take up His work. His requirements are too sacred to be tampered with. In the name of the Lord I ask you to conquer every unlawful appetite and passion and to purify your souls by a belief in the truth. Overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony. Discharge faithfully your obligations, looking to God for strength.
Church members, awake to the importance of the circulation of our literature and devote more time to this work. Place in the homes of the people papers, tracts, and books that will preach the gospel in its several lines. There is no time to be lost. Let many give themselves willingly and unselfishly to the canvassing work, and thus help to sound a warning that is greatly needed. When the church takes up her appointed work, she will go forth "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." Song of Solomon 6:10.
Several speakers had addressed large and attentive congregations at the camp meeting at Rome, N.Y., on First day, September 12, 1875. The following night I dreamed that a young man of noble appearance came into the room where I was, immediately after I had been speaking. This same person has appeared before me in important dreams to instruct me from time to time during the past twenty-six years. Said he: You have called the attention of the people to important subjects, which, to a large number, are strange and new. To some they are intensely interesting. The laborers in word and doctrine have done what they could in presenting the truth, which has raised inquiry in minds and awakened an interest. But unless there is a more thorough effort made to fasten these impressions upon minds, your efforts now made will prove nearly fruitless. Satan has many attractions ready to divert the mind, and the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches all combine to choke the seed of truth sown in the heart, and in most cases it bears no fruit.
In every effort such as you are now making, much more good would result from your labors if you had appropriate reading matter ready for circulation. Tracts upon the important points of truth for the present time should be handed out freely to all who will accept them, without money and without price, which might eventually result in a hundredfold return to the treasury. You are to sow beside all waters.
The press is a powerful means to move the minds and hearts of the people. And the men of this world seize the press and make the most of every opportunity to get poisonous literature before the people. If men under the influence of the spirit of the world and of Satan are earnest to circulate books, tracts, and papers of a corrupting nature, you should be more earnest to get reading matter of an elevating and saving character before the people.
There should be more earnest efforts made to enlighten the people upon the great subject of health reform. Tracts of four, eight, twelve, sixteen, and more pages, containing pointed, well-written articles on this great question, should be scattered like the leaves of autumn.
Small tracts on the different points of Bible truth applicable to the present time should be printed in different languages and scattered where there is any probability that they would be read. God has placed at the command of His people advantages in the press, which, combined with other agencies, will be successful in extending the knowledge of the truth. Tracts, papers, and books, as the case demands, should be circulated in all the cities and villages in the land. Here is missionary work for all to engage in.
"The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
The large gatherings of our people afford an excellent opportunity of illustrating the principles of health reform. Some years ago at these gatherings much was said in regard to health reform and the benefits of a vegetarian diet; but at the same time flesh meats were furnished at the tables in the dining tent, and various unhealthful articles of food were sold at the provision stand. Faith without work is dead; and the instruction upon health reform, denied by practice, did not make the deepest impression. At later camp meetings those in charge have educated by practice as well as by precept. No meat has been furnished at the dining tent, but fruits, grains, and vegetables have been supplied in abundance. As visitors ask questions in regard to the absence of meat, the reason is plainly stated, that flesh is not the most healthful food.
As we near the close of time, we must rise higher and still higher upon the question of health reform and Christian temperance, presenting it in a more positive and decided manner. We must strive continually to educate the people, not only by our words but by our practice. Precept and practice combined have a telling influence.
At the camp meeting, instruction on health topics should be given to the people. At our meetings in Australia, lectures on health subjects were given daily, and a deep interest was aroused. A tent for the use of physicians and nurses was on the ground, medical advice was given freely and was sought by many. Thousands of people attended the lectures, and at the close of the camp meeting the people were not satisfied to let the matter drop with what they had already learned. In several cities where camp meetings were held, some of the leading citizens urged that a branch sanitarium be established, promising their co-operation. In several cities the work has been started, with good success. A health institution, rightly conducted, gives character to our work in new fields. And not only is it a benefit to the people, but the workers connected with it can be a help to the laborers in evangelistic lines.
In every city where we have a church, there is need of a place where treatment can be given. Among the homes of our church members there are few that afford room and facilities for the proper care of the sick. A place should be provided where treatment may be given for common ailments. The building might be inelegant and even rude, but it should be furnished with facilities for giving simple treatments. These, skillfully employed, would prove a blessing, not only to our own people, but to their neighbors, and might be the means of calling the attention of many to health principles.
It is the Lord's purpose that in every part of our world health institutions shall be established as a branch of the gospel work. These institutions are to be His agencies for reaching a class whom nothing else will reach. They need not to be large buildings, but should be so arranged that effective work may be done.
Beginnings might be made in every prominent place where camp meetings are held. Make small beginnings and enlarge as circumstances may demand. Count the cost of every undertaking, that you may be sure of being able to finish. Draw as little as possible from the treasury. Men of faith and financial ability are needed to plan economically. Our sanitariums must be erected with a limited outlay of means. Buildings in which to begin the work can often be secured at low cost.
In letters received from our brethren, the questions are asked, "Why do we expend so much effort in establishing sanitariums? Why do we not pray for the healing of the sick, instead of having sanitariums?"
There is more to these questions that is at first apparent. In the early history of our work, many were healed by prayer. And some, after they were healed, pursued the same course in the indulgence of appetite that they had followed in the past. They did not live and work in such a way as to avoid sickness. They did not show that they appreciated the Lord's goodness to them. Again and again they were brought to suffering through their own careless, thoughtless course of action. How could the Lord be glorified in bestowing on them the gift of health?
When the light came that we should begin sanitarium work, the reasons were plainly given. There were many who needed to be educated in regard to healthful living. As the work developed, we were instructed that suitable places were to be provided, to which we could bring the sick and suffering who knew nothing of our people and scarcely anything of the Bible, and there teach them how to regain health by rational methods of treatment without having recourse to poisonous drugs, and at the same time surround them with uplifting spiritual influences. As a part of the treatment, lectures were to be given on right habits of eating and drinking and dressing. Instruction was to be given regarding the choice and the preparation of food, showing that food may be prepared so as to be wholesome and nourishing and at the same time appetizing and palatable.
In all our medical institutions, patients should be systematically and carefully instructed how to prevent disease by a wise course of action. Through lectures and the consistent practice of the principles of healthful living on the part of consecrated physicians and nurses, the blinded understanding of many will be opened, and truths never before thought of will be fastened on the mind. Many of the patients will be led to keep the body in the most healthy condition possible, because it is the Lord's purchased possession. . . .
When we have shown the people that we have right principles regarding health reform, we should then take up the temperance question in all its bearings, and drive it home to the hilt.
It is to save the souls, as well as to cure the bodies, of men and women, that at much expense our sanitariums are established. God designs that by means of these agencies of His own planting, the rich and the poor, the high and the low, shall find the bread of heaven and the water of life. He designs that they shall be educated in right habits of living, spiritual and physical. The salvation of many souls is at stake. In the providence of God, many of the sick are to be given the opportunity of separating for a time from harmful associations and surroundings and of placing themselves in institutions where they may receive health-restoring treatments and wise instruction from Christian nurses and physicians. The establishment of sanitariums is a providential arrangement, whereby people from all churches are to be reached and made acquainted with the truth for this time.