Because time is short, we should work with diligence and double energy. Our children may never enter college, but they can obtain an education in those essential branches which they can turn to a practical use and which will give culture to the mind and bring its powers into use. Very many youth who have gone through a college course have not obtained that true education that they can put to practical use. They may have the name of having a collegiate education, but in reality they are only educated dunces.
There are many young men whose services God would accept if they would consecrate themselves to Him unreservedly. If they would exercise those powers of the mind in the service of God which they use in serving themselves and in acquiring property they would make earnest, persevering, successful laborers in the vineyard of the Lord. Many of our young men should turn their attention to the study of the Scriptures, that God may use them in His cause. But they do not become as intelligent in spiritual knowledge as in temporal things; therefore they fail to do the work of God which they could do with acceptance. There are but few to warn sinners and win souls to Christ, when there should be many. Our young men generally are wise in worldly matters, but not intelligent in regard to the things of the kingdom of God. They might turn their minds in a heavenly, divine channel and walk in the light, going on from one degree of light and strength to another until they could turn sinners to Christ and point the unbelieving and desponding to a bright track heavenward. And when the warfare is ended, they might be welcomed to the joy of their Lord.
Young men should not enter upon the work of explaining the Scriptures and lecturing upon the prophecies when they do not have a knowledge of the important Bible truths they try to explain to others. They may be deficient in the common branches of education and therefore fail to do the amount of good they could do if they had had the advantages of a good school. Ignorance will not increase the humility or spirituality of any professed follower of Christ. The truths of the divine word can be best appreciated by an intellectual Christian. Christ can be best glorified by those who serve Him intelligently. The great object of education is to enable us to use the powers which God has given us in such a manner as will best represent the religion of the Bible and promote the glory of God.
We are indebted to Him who gave us existence, for all the talents which have been entrusted to us; and it is a duty we owe to our Creator to cultivate and improve upon the talents He has committed to our trust. Education will discipline the mind, develop its powers, and understandingly direct them, that we may be useful in advancing the glory of God. We need a school where those who are just entering the ministry may be taught at least the common branches of education and where they may also learn more perfectly the truths of God’s word for this time. In connection with these schools, lectures should be given upon the prophecies. Those who really have good abilities such as God will accept to labor in His vineyard would be very much benefited by only a few months’ instruction at such a school.
Chapter 14—The Health Reform
December 10, 1871, I was again shown that the health reform is one branch of the great work which is to fit a people for the coming of the Lord. It is as closely connected with the third angel’s message as the hand is with the body. The law of Ten Commandments has been lightly regarded by man, but the Lord would not come to punish the transgressors of that law without first sending them a message of warning. The third angel proclaims that message. Had men ever been obedient to the law of Ten Commandments, carrying out in their lives the principles of those precepts, the curse of disease now flooding the world would not be.
Men and women cannot violate natural law by indulging depraved appetite and lustful passions, and not violate the law of God. Therefore He has permitted the light of health reform to shine upon us, that we may see our sin in violating the laws which He has established in our being. All our enjoyment or suffering may be traced to obedience or transgression of natural law. Our gracious heavenly Father sees the deplorable condition of men who, some knowingly but many ignorantly, are living in violation of the laws that He has established. And in love and pity to the race, He causes the light to shine upon health reform. He publishes His law and the penalty that will follow the transgression of it, that all may learn and be careful to live in harmony with natural law. He proclaims His law so distinctly and makes it so prominent that it is like a city set on a hill. All accountable beings can understand it if they will. Idiots will not be responsible. To make plain natural law, and urge the obedience of it, is the work that accompanies the third angel’s message to prepare a people for the coming of the Lord.
Adam and Eve fell through intemperate appetite. Christ came and withstood the fiercest temptation of Satan and, in behalf of the race, overcame appetite, showing that man may overcome. As Adam fell through appetite and lost blissful Eden, the children of Adam may, through Christ, overcome appetite and through temperance in all things regain Eden.
Ignorance is no excuse now for the transgression of law. The light shines clearly, and none need be ignorant, for the great God Himself is man’s instructor. All are bound by the most sacred obligations to God to heed the sound philosophy and genuine experience which He is now giving them in reference to health reform. He designs that the great subject of health reform shall be agitated and the public mind deeply stirred to investigate; for it is impossible for men and women, with all their sinful, health-destroying, brain-enervating habits, to discern sacred truth, through which they are to be sanctified, refined, elevated, and made fit for the society of heavenly angels in the kingdom of glory.
The inhabitants of the Noachian world were destroyed because they were corrupted through the indulgence of perverted appetite. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed through the gratification of unnatural appetite, which so benumbed the intellect that they could not discern the difference between the sacred claims of God and the clamor of appetite. The latter enslaved them, and they became so ferocious and bold in their detestable abominations that God would not tolerate them upon the earth. God ascribes the wickedness of Babylon to her gluttony and drunkenness.
The apostle Paul exhorts the church: 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.” Men, then, can make their bodies unholy by sinful indulgences. If unholy, they are unfitted to be spiritual worshipers and are not worthy of heaven. If man will cherish the light that God in mercy gives him upon health reform, he may be sanctified through the truth and fitted for immortality. But if he disregards that light and lives in violation of natural law he must pay the penalty.
God created man perfect and holy. But man fell from his holy estate because he transgressed God’s law. Since the Fall there has been a rapid increase of disease, suffering, and death. Yet notwithstanding man has insulted his Creator, God’s love is still extended to the race; and He permits light to shine that man may see that in order to live a perfect life he must live in harmony with those natural laws which govern his being. Therefore it is of the greatest importance that he know how to live so that his powers of body and mind may be exercised to the glory of God.
It is impossible for man to present his body a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, while, because it is customary for the world to do so, he is indulging in habits that are lessening physical, mental, and moral vigor. The apostle adds: “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.” Jesus, seated upon the Mount of Olives, gave instruction to His disciples concerning the signs which should precede His coming. He said: “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the Flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
The same sins exist in our day which brought the wrath of God upon the world in the days of Noah. Men and women now carry their eating and drinking to gluttony and drunkenness. This prevailing sin, the indulgence of perverted appetite, inflamed the passions of men in the days of Noah and led to general corruption, until their violence and crimes reached to heaven, and God washed the earth of its moral pollution by a flood.
The same sins of gluttony and drunkenness benumbed the moral sensibilities of the inhabitants of Sodom so that crimes seemed to be the delight of the men and women of that wicked city. Christ thus warns the world: “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”
Christ has here left us a most important lesson. He does not in His teaching encourage indolence. His example was the opposite of this. Christ was an earnest worker. His life was one of self-denial, diligence, perseverance, industry, and economy. He would lay before us the danger of making eating and drinking paramount. He reveals the result of giving up to indulgence of appetite. The moral powers are enfeebled so that sin does not appear sinful. Crimes are winked at, and base passions control the mind until general corruption roots out good principles and impulses, and God is blasphemed. All this is the result of eating and drinking to excess. This is the very condition of things which He declares will exist at His second coming.
Will men and women be warned? Will they cherish the light, or will they become slaves to appetite and base passions? Christ presents to us something higher to toil for than merely what we shall eat, and what we shall drink, and wherewithal we shall be clothed. Eating, drinking, and dressing are carried to such excess that they become crimes, and are among the marked sins of the last days, and constitute a sign of Christ’s soon coming. Time, money, and strength, which are the Lord’s, but which He has entrusted to us, are wasted in needless superfluities of dress and luxuries for the perverted appetite, which lessen vitality and bring suffering and decay. It is impossible to present our bodies a living sacrifice to God when they are filled with corruption and disease by our own sinful indulgence.
Knowledge must be gained in regard to how to eat and drink and dress so as to preserve health. Sickness is caused by violating the laws of health; it is the result of violating nature’s law. Our first duty, one which we owe to God, to ourselves, and to our fellow men, is to obey the laws of God, which include the laws of health. If we are sick we impose a weary tax upon our friends and unfit ourselves for discharging our duties to our families and to our neighbors. And when premature death is the result of our violation of nature’s law, we bring sorrow and suffering to others; we deprive our neighbors of the help we ought to render them in living; we rob our families of the comfort and help we might render them, and rob God of the service He claims of us to advance His glory. Then, are we not, in the worst sense, transgressors of God’s law?
But God is all-pitiful, gracious, and tender, and when light comes to show who have injured their health by sinful indulgences, and they are convinced of sin, and repent and seek pardon, He accepts the poor offering rendered to Him, and receives them. Oh, what tender mercy that He does not refuse the remnant of the abused life of the suffering, repenting sinner! In His gracious mercy He saves these souls as by fire. But what an inferior, pitiful sacrifice, at best, to offer to a pure and holy God! Noble faculties have been paralyzed by wrong habits of sinful indulgence. The aspirations are perverted, and the soul and body defaced.
Chapter 15—The Health Institute
The great work of reform must go forward. The Health Institute has been established at Battle Creek to relieve the afflicted, to disseminate light, to awaken the spirit of inquiry, and to advance reform. This institution is conducted upon principles which are different from those of any other hygienic institution in the land. Money is not the great object with its friends and conductors. They conduct it from a conscientious, religious standpoint, aiming to carry out the principles of Bible hygiene. Most institutions of the kind are established upon different principles and are conservative, making it their object to meet the popular class halfway and to so shape their course that they will receive the greatest patronage and the most money.
The Health Institute at Battle Creek is established upon firm religious principles. Its conductors acknowledge God as the real proprietor. Physicians and helpers look to Him for guidance, and aim to move conscientiously, in His fear. For this reason it stands upon a sure basis. When feeble, suffering invalids learn in regard to the principles of the directors, superintendent, physicians, and helpers at the Institute that they have the fear of God before them, they will feel safer there than at popular institutions.
If those connected with the Health Institute at Battle Creek should descend from the pure, exalted principles of Bible truth to imitate the theories and practices of those at the head of other institutions, where only the diseases of invalids are treated, and that merely for money, the conductors not working from a high, religious standpoint, God’s special blessing would not rest upon the Institute. This institution is designed of God to be one of the greatest aids in preparing a people to be perfect before God. In order to attain to this perfection, men and women must have physical and mental strength to appreciate the elevated truths of God’s word and be brought into a position where they will discern the imperfections in their moral characters. They should be in earnest to reform, that they may have friendship with God. The religion of Christ is not to be placed in the background and its holy principles laid down to meet the approval of any class, however popular. If the standard of truth and holiness is lowered, the design of God will not then be carried out in this institution.
But our peculiar faith should not be discussed with patients. Their minds should not be unnecessarily excited upon subjects wherein we differ, unless they themselves desire it; and then great caution should be observed not to agitate the mind by urging upon them our peculiar faith. The Health Institute is not the place to be forward to enter into discussion upon points of our faith wherein we differ with the religious world generally. Prayer meetings are held at the Institute in which all may take part if they choose, but there is an abundance to dwell upon in regard to Bible religion without touching objectionable points of difference. Silent influence will do more than open controversy.
In exhortation in the prayer meetings some Sabbathkeepers have felt that they must bring in the Sabbath and the third angel’s message or they could not have freedom. This is characteristic of narrow minds. Patients not acquainted with our faith do not know what is meant by the third angel’s message. The introduction of these terms without a clear explanation of them does only harm. We must meet the people where they are, and yet we need not sacrifice one principle of the truth. The prayer meeting will prove a blessing to patients, helpers, and physicians. Brief and interesting seasons of prayer and social worship will increase the confidence of patients in their physicians and helpers. The helpers should not be deprived of these meetings by work unless it is positively necessary. They need them and should enjoy them.
By thus establishing regular meetings the patients gain confidence in the Institute and feel more at home. And thus the way is prepared for the seed of truth to take root in some hearts. These meetings especially interest some who profess to be Christians and make a favorable impression upon those who do not. Mutual confidence is increased in one another, and prejudice is weakened and in many cases entirely removed. Then there is an anxiety to attend the Sabbath meeting. There, in the house of God, is the place to speak our denominational sentiments. There the minister can dwell with clearness upon the essential points of present truth and with the spirit of Christ, in love and tenderness, urge home upon all the necessity of obedience to all the requirements of God, and let the truth convict hearts.
I was shown that a larger work could be accomplished if there were gentlemen physicians of the right stamp of mind who had proper culture and a thorough understanding of every part of the work devolving on a physician. The physicians should have a large stock of patience, forbearance, kindliness, and pity; for they need these qualifications in dealing with suffering invalids, who are diseased in body, and many of whom are diseased both in body and in mind. It is not an easy matter to obtain the right class of men and women, those who are fitted for the place and who will work harmoniously, zealously, and unselfishly for the benefit of suffering invalids. Men are wanted at the Institute who will have the fear of God before them and who can minister to sick minds and keep prominent the health reform from a religious standpoint.
Those who engage in this work should be consecrated to God and not make it their only object to treat the body merely to cure disease, thus working from the popular physician’s standpoint, but to be spiritual fathers, to minister to diseased minds, and point the sin-sick soul to the never-failing remedy, the Saviour who died for them. Those who are reduced by disease are sufferers in more than one sense. They can endure bodily pain far better than they can bear mental suffering. Many carry a violated conscience and can be reached only by the principles of Bible religion.
When the poor, suffering paralytic was brought to the Saviour, the urgency of the case seemed not to admit of a moment’s delay, for already dissolution was doing its work upon the body. When those who bore him upon his bed saw that they could not come directly into the presence of Christ, they at once tore open the roof and let down the bed whereon the sick of the palsy lay. Our Saviour saw and understood his condition perfectly. He also knew that this wretched man had a sickness of the soul far more aggravating than bodily suffering. He knew that the greatest burden he had borne for months was on account of sins. The crowd of people waited with almost breathless silence to see how Christ would treat this case, apparently so hopeless, and were astonished to hear the words which fell from His lips: “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”
These were the most precious words that could fall upon the ear of that sick sufferer, for the burden of sin had lain so heavily upon him that he could not find the least relief. Christ lifts the burden that so heavily oppressed him: “Be of good cheer;” I, your Saviour, came to forgive sins. How quickly the pallid countenance of the sufferer changes! Hope takes the place of dark despair, and peace and joy take the place of distressing doubt and stolid gloom. The mind being restored to peace and happiness, the suffering body can now be reached. Next comes from the divine lips: “Thy sins be forgiven thee;” “arise; and walk.” In the effort to obey the will, those lifeless, bloodless arms are quickened; a healthful current of blood flows through the veins; the leaden color of his flesh disappears, and the ruddy glow of health takes its place. The limbs that for long years have refused to obey the will are now quickened to life, and the healed paralytic grasps his bed and walks through the crowd to his home, glorifying God.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3 pp 159-168