This case is for our instruction. Physicians who would be successful in the treatment of disease should know how to minister to a diseased mind. They can have a powerful influence for good if they make God their trust. Some invalids need to be relieved of pain before the mind can be reached. After relief has come to the body, the physician can frequently the more successfully appeal to the conscience, and the heart will be more susceptible to the influences of the truth. There is danger of those connected with the Health Institute losing sight of the object for which such an institution was established by Seventh-day Adventists, and working from the worlding’s standpoint, patterning after other institutions.
The Health Institute was not established among us for the purpose of obtaining money, although money is very necessary to carry forward the institution successfully. Economy should be exercised by all in the expenditure of means, that money be not used needlessly. But there should be sufficient means to invest in all necessary conveniences which will make the work of helpers, and especially of physicians, as easy as possible. And the directors of the Institute should avail themselves of every facility which will aid in the successful treatment of patients.
Patients should be treated with the greatest sympathy and tenderness. And yet the physicians should be firm and not allow themselves, in their treatment of the sick, to be dictated to by patients. Firmness on the part of the physicians is necessary for the good of the patients. But firmness should be mingled with respectful courtesy. No physician or helper should contend with a patient, or use harsh, irritating words, or even words not the most kindly, however provoking the patient may be.
One of the great objects of our Health Institute is to direct sin-sick souls to the Great Physician, the true healing Fountain, and call their attention to the necessity of reform from a religious standpoint, that they no longer violate the law of God by sinful indulgences. If the moral sensibilities of invalids can be aroused and they see that they are sinning against their Creator by bringing sickness upon themselves and by the indulgence of appetite and debasing passions, when they leave the Health Institute they will not leave their principles behind, but will take them with them and be genuine health reformers at home. If the moral sensibilities are aroused, patients will have a determination to carry out their convictions of conscience; and if they see the truth they will obey it. They will have true, noble independence to practice the truths to which they assent. And if the mind is at peace with God, the bodily conditions will be more favorable.
The greatest responsibility rests upon the church at Battle Creek to live and walk in the light, and to preserve their simplicity and separation from the world, that their influence may tell with convincing power upon strangers to the truth who attend our meetings. If the church at Battle Creek is a lifeless body, filled with pride, exalted above the simplicity of true godliness, and leaning to the world, its influence will be to scatter from Christ and to make the most solemn and essential truths of the Bible of no force. The members of this church have opportunities to be benefited by lectures from the physicians of the Health Institute. They can obtain information upon the great subject of health reform if they desire it. But the church at Battle Creek, who make great profession of the truth, are far behind other churches who have not been blessed with the advantages they have had. The neglect of the church to live up to the light which they have had upon health reform is a discouragement to the physicians and to the friends of the Health Institute. If the church would manifest a greater interest in the reforms which God Himself has brought to them to fit them for His coming, their influence would be tenfold what it now is.
Many who profess to believe the Testimonies live in neglect of the light given. The dress reform is treated by some with great indifference and by others with contempt, because there is a cross attached to it. For this cross I thank God. It is just what we need to distinguish and separate God’s commandment-keeping people from the world. The dress reform answers to us as did the ribbon of blue to ancient Israel. The proud, and those who have no love for sacred truth, which will separate them from the world, will show it by their works. God in His providence has given us the light upon health reform, that we may understand it in all its bearings, follow the light it brings, and by rightly relating ourselves to life have health that we may glorify God and be a blessing to others.
The church in general at Battle Creek have not sustained the Institute by their example. They have not honored the light of health reform by carrying it out in their families. The sickness that has visited many families in Battle Creek need not have been if they had followed the light God has given them. Like ancient Israel they have disregarded the light and could see no more necessity of restricting their appetite than did ancient Israel. The children of Israel would have flesh meats and said, as many now say: We shall die without meat. God gave rebellious Israel flesh, but His curse was with it. Thousands of them died while the meat they desired was between their teeth. We have the example of ancient Israel and the warning for us not to do as they did. Their history of unbelief and rebellion is left on record as a special warning that we should not follow their example of murmuring at God’s requirements. How can we pass on so indifferently, choosing our own course, following the sight of our own eyes, and departing further and further from God, as did the Hebrews? God cannot do great things for His people because of their hardness of heart and sinful unbelief.
God is no respecter of persons; but in every generation they that fear the Lord and work righteousness are accepted of Him; while those who are murmuring, unbelieving, and rebellious will not have His favor nor the blessings promised to those who love the truth and walk in it. Those who have the light and do not follow it, but disregard the requirements of God, will find that their blessings will be changed into curses and their mercies into judgments. God would have us learn humility and obedience as we read the history of ancient Israel, who were His chosen and peculiar people, but who brought their own destruction by following their own ways.
The religion of the Bible is not detrimental to the health of the body or of the mind. The influence of the Spirit of God is the very best medicine that can be received by a sick man or woman. Heaven is all health, and the more deeply the heavenly influences are realized the more sure will be the recovery of the believing invalid. At some other health institutions they encourage amusements, plays, and dancing to get up an excitement, but are fearful as to the result of a religious interest. Dr. Jackson’s theory in this respect is not only erroneous but dangerous. Yet he has talked this in such a manner that, were his instructions heeded, patients would be led to think that their recovery depended upon their having as few thoughts of God and heaven as possible. It is true that there are persons with ill-balanced minds who imagine themselves to be very religious and who impose upon themselves fasting and prayer to the injury of their health. These souls suffer themselves to be deceived. God has not required this of them. They have a pharisaical righteousness, which springs, not from Christ, but from themselves. They trust to their own good works for salvation and are seeking to buy heaven by meritorious works of their own instead of relying, as every sinner should, alone upon the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. Christ and true godliness, today and forever, will be health to the body and strength to the soul.
The cloud which has rested upon our Health Institute is lifting, and the blessing of God has attended the efforts made to place it upon a right basis and to correct the errors of those who through unfaithfulness brought great embarrassment upon it and discouragement upon its friends everywhere.
Those who have assigned to the charitable uses of the Institute the interest, or dividend, of their stock, have done a noble thing, which will meet its reward. All those who have not made an assignment, who are able to do so, should, at their first opportunity, assign all or a part, as most of the stockholders have done. And as the growing interest and usefulness of this institution demand it, all, especially those who have not done so, should continue to take stock in it.
I saw that there was a large amount of surplus means among our people, a portion of which should be put into the Health Institute. I also saw that there are many worthy poor among our people who are sick and suffering, and who have been looking toward the Institute for help, but who are not able to pay the regular prices for board, treatment, etc. The Institute has struggled hard with debts the last three years and could not treat patients to any considerable extent without full pay. It would please God for all our people who are able to do so to take stock liberally in the Institute to place it in a condition where it can help God’s humble, worthy poor. In connection with this I saw that Christ identifies Himself with suffering humanity, and that what we have the privilege of doing for even the least of His children, whom He calls His brethren, we do to the Son of God.
“Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me. Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was anhungered, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed Me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not. Then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee anhungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee? Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
To raise the Health Institute from its low state in the autumn of 1869 to its present prosperous, hopeful condition has demanded sacrifices and exertions of which its friends abroad know but little. Then it had a debt of thirteen thousand dollars and had but eight paying patients. And what was worse still, the course of former managers had been such as to so far discourage its friends that they had no heart to furnish means to lift the debt or to recommend the sick to patronize the Institute. It was at this discouraging point that my husband decided in his mind that the Institute property must be sold to pay the debts, and the balance, after the payment of debts, be refunded to stockholders in proportion to the amount of stock each held. But one morning, in prayer at the family altar, the Spirit of God came upon him as he was praying for divine guidance in matters pertaining to the Institute, and he exclaimed, while bowed upon his knees: “The Lord will vindicate every word He has spoken through vision relative to the Health Institute, and it will be raised from its low estate and prosper gloriously.”
From that point of time we took hold of the work in earnest and have labored side by side for the Institute to counteract the influence of selfish men who had brought embarrassment upon it. We have given of our means, thus setting an example to others. We have encouraged economy and industry on the part of all connected with the Institute and have urged that physicians and helpers work hard for small pay until the institute should again be fully established in the confidence of our people. We have borne a plain testimony against the manifestation of selfishness in anyone connected with the Institute and have counseled and reproved wrongs. We knew that the Health Institute would not succeed unless the blessing of the Lord rested upon it. If His blessing attended it, the friends of the cause would have confidence that it was the work of God and would feel safe to donate means to make it a living enterprise, that it might be able to accomplish the design of God.
The physicians and some of the helpers went to work earnestly. They worked hard under great discouragements. Drs. Ginley, Chamberlain, and Lamson worked with earnestness and energy, for small pay, to build up this sinking institution. And, thank God, the original debt has been removed, and large additions for the accommodation of patients have been made and paid for. The circulation of the Health Reformer, which lies at the very foundation of the success of the Institute, has been doubled, and it has become a live journal. Confidence in the Institute has been fully restored in the minds of most of our people, and there have been as many patients at the Institute, nearly the year round, as could well be accommodated and properly treated by our physicians.
It is a matter of deep regret that the first managers of the Institute should take a course to nearly overwhelm it in debt and discouragement. But the financial losses which stockholders have felt and regretted have been small in comparison to the labor, perplexity, and care which my husband and I have borne without pay, and which physicians and helpers have borne for small wages. We have taken stock in the Institute to the amount of fifteen hundred dollars, which is “assigned,” but which is a small consideration compared with the wear we have suffered in consequence of former reckless managers. But as the Institute now stands higher in reputation and patronage than ever before, and as the property is worth more than all the money that has been invested, and as former errors have been corrected, those who have lost their confidence have no excuse for cherishing feelings of prejudice. And if they still manifest a lack of interest, it will be because they choose to cherish prejudice rather than to be led by reason.
In the providence of God, Brother A has given his interest and energies to the Health Institute. He has had an unselfish interest to advance the interests of the Institute and has not spared or favored himself. If he depends on God and makes Him his strength and counselor he can be a blessing to physicians, helpers, and patients. He has linked his interest to everything connected with the Institute and has been a blessing to others in cheerfully bearing burdens which were neither few nor light. He has blessed others, and these blessings will again be reflected upon him.
But Brother A is in danger of taking upon himself burdens which others can and should bear. He should not wear himself out in doing those things which others, whose time is less valuable, can do. He should act as a director and superintendent. He should preserve his strength, that with his experienced judgment he can direct others what to do. This is necessary in order for him to maintain a position of influence in the Institute. His experience in managing with wisdom and economy is valuable. But he is in danger of separating his interest too much from his family, of becoming too much absorbed in the Institute, and of taking too many burdens upon himself, as my husband has done. My husband’s interest for the Health Institute, the Publishing Association, and the cause generally was so great that he broke down and has been compelled to retire from the work for a time, when, had he done less for these institutions and divided his interest with his family, he would not have had a constant strain in one direction, and would have preserved his strength to continue his labors uninterruptedly. Brother A is the man for the place. But he should not do as my husband has done, even if matters are not in as prosperous a condition as if he devoted his entire energies to them. God does not require either my husband or Brother A to deprive himself of social family enjoyment, to divorce himself from home and family, even for the interest of these important institutions.
During the past three or four years several have had an interest for the Health Institute and have made efforts to place it in a better condition. But some have lacked discernment and experience. As long as Brother A acts an unselfish part and clings to God, He will be his helper and his counselor.
The physicians of the Health Institute should not feel compelled to do work that helpers can do. They should not serve in the bathroom or in the movement room, expending their vitality in doing what others might do. There should be no lack of helpers to nurse the sick and to watch with the feeble ones who need watchers. The physicians should reserve their strength for the successful performance of their professional duties. They should tell others what to do. If there is a want of those whom they can trust to do these things, suitable persons should be employed and properly instructed, and suitably remunerated for their services.
None should be employed as laborers but those who will work unselfishly in the interest of the Institute, and such should be well paid for their services. There should be a sufficient force, especially during the sickly season of summer, so that none need to overwork. The Health Institute has overcome its embarrassments; and physicians and helpers should not be compelled to labor as hard, and suffer such privations, as when it was so heavily embarrassed in consequence of unfaithful men, who managed it almost into the ground.
I was shown that the physicians at our Institute should be men and women of faith and spirituality. They should make God their trust. There are many who come to the Institute who have, by their own sinful indulgence, brought upon themselves disease of almost every type. This class do not deserve the sympathy that they frequently require. And it is painful to the physicians to devote time and strength to this class, who are debased physically, mentally, and morally. But there is a class who have, through ignorance, lived in violation of nature’s laws. They have worked intemperately and have eaten intemperately, because it was the custom to do so. Some have suffered many things from many physicians, but have not been made better, but decidedly worse. At length they are torn from business, from society, and from their families; and as their last resort they come to the Health Institute with some faint hope that they may find relief. This class need sympathy. They should be treated with the greatest tenderness, and care should be taken to make clear to their understanding the laws of their being, that they may, by ceasing to violate them, and by governing themselves, avoid suffering and disease, the penalty of nature’s violated law.
Dr. B is not the best adapted to fill a position as physician at the Institute. He sees men and women ruined in constitution, who are weak in mental and moral power, and he thinks it time lost to treat such cases. This may be so in many cases. But he should not become discouraged and disgusted with sick and suffering patients. He should not lose his pity, sympathy, and patience, and feel that his life is poorly employed when doing for those who can never appreciate the labor they receive, and who will not use their strength, if they regain it, to bless society, but will pursue the same course of self-gratification that they did in losing health. Dr. B should not become weary or discouraged. He should remember Christ, who came in direct contact with suffering humanity. Although, in many cases, the afflicted had brought disease upon themselves by their sinful course in violating natural law, Jesus pitied their weakness, and when they came to Him with disease the most loathsome, He did not stand aloof for fear of contamination; He touched them and bade disease give back.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3 pp 169-178