Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, pp. 549-558 Day 055

Those who make a change and leave off these unnatural stimulants will for a time feel their loss and suffer considerably without them, as does the drunkard who is wedded to his liquor. Take away intoxicating drinks and he suffers terribly. But if he persists he will soon overcome the dreadful lack. Nature will come to his aid and remain at her post until he again substitutes the false prop in her place. Some have so benumbed the fine sensibilities of Nature that it may require a little time for her to recover from the abuse she has been made to suffer through the sinful habits of man, the indulgence of an acquired, depraved appetite, which has depressed and weakened her powers. Give Nature a chance, and she will rally and again perform her part nobly and well. The use of unnatural stimulants is destructive to health and has a benumbing influence upon the brain, making it impossible to appreciate eternal things. Those who cherish these idols cannot rightly value the salvation which Christ has wrought out for them by a life of self-denial, continual suffering and reproach, and by finally yielding His own sinless life to save perishing man from death.

Chapter 96—Life Insurance

I was shown that Sabbathkeeping Adventists should not engage in life insurance. [See Seventh-day Adventists and Life Insurance for 19th century insurance practices.] This is a commerce with the world which God does not approve. Those who engage in this enterprise are uniting with the world, while God calls His people to come out from among them and to be separate. Said the angel: “Christ has purchased you by the sacrifice of His life. ‘What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.’ ‘For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.’” Here is the only life insurance which heaven sanctions.


Life insurance is a worldly policy which leads our brethren who engage in it to depart from the simplicity and purity of the gospel. Every such departure weakens our faith and lessens our spirituality. Said the angel: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” As a people we are in a special sense the Lord’s. Christ has bought us. Angels that excel in strength surround us. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without the notice of our heavenly Father. Even the hairs of our head are numbered. God has made provision for His people. He has a special care for them, and they should not distrust His providence by engaging in a policy with the world.

God designs that we should preserve in simplicity and holiness our peculiarity as a people. Those who engage in this worldly policy invest means which belong to God, which He has entrusted to them to use in His cause, to advance His work. But few will realize any returns from life insurance, and without God’s blessing even these will prove an injury instead of a benefit. Those whom God has made His stewards have no right to place in the enemy’s ranks the means which He has entrusted to them to use in His cause.

Satan is constantly presenting inducements to God’s chosen people to attract their minds from the solemn work of preparation for the scenes just in the future. He is in every sense of the word a deceiver, a skillful charmer. He clothes his plans and snares with coverings of light borrowed from heaven. He tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit by making her believe that she would be greatly advantaged thereby. Satan leads his agents to introduce various inventions and patent rights and other enterprises, that Sabbathkeeping Adventists who are in haste to be rich may fall into temptation, become ensnared, and pierce themselves through with many sorrows. He is wide awake, busily engaged in leading the world captive, and through the agency of worldlings he keeps up a continual pleasing excitement to draw the unwary who profess to believe the truth to unite with worldlings. The lust of the eye, the desire for excitement and pleasing entertainment, is a temptation and snare to God’s people. Satan has many finely woven, dangerous nets which are made to appear innocent, but with which he is skillfully preparing to infatuate God’s people. There are pleasing shows, entertainments, phrenological lectures, and an endless variety of enterprises constantly arising calculated to lead the people of God to love the world and the things that are in the world. Through this union with the world, faith becomes weakened, and means which should be invested in the cause of present truth are transferred to the enemy’s ranks. Through these different channels Satan is skillfully draining the purses of God’s people, and for it the displeasure of the Lord is upon them.


Chapter 97—Circulate the Publications

I have been shown that we are not doing our duty in the gratuitous circulation of small publications. There are many honest souls who might be brought to embrace the truth by this means alone. Should there be on each copy of these small tracts an advertisement of our publications and the place where they can be obtained, it would extend the circulation of the larger publications and the Review, Instructor, and Reformer.


These small tracts of four, eight, or sixteen pages can be furnished for a trifle from a fund raised by the donations of those who have the cause at heart. When you write to a friend you can enclose one or more without increasing postage. When you meet persons in the cars, on the boat, or in the stage who seem to have an ear to hear, you can hand them a tract. These tracts should not at present be scattered promiscuously like the autumn leaves, but should be judiciously and freely handed to those who would be likely to prize them. Thus our publications and the Publishing Association will be advertised in a manner that will result in much good.

Chapter 98—The “Health Reformer”

The people are perishing for want of knowledge. Says the apostle: “Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.” After receiving the faith of the gospel, our first work is to seek to add virtuous and pure principles, and thus cleanse the mind and heart for the reception of true knowledge. Disease of almost every description is pressing upon the people, yet they seem willing to remain in ignorance of the means of relief and the course to pursue to avoid disease.

In the establishment of the Health Institute it was the design of God not only that knowledge might be imparted to the comparatively few who should visit it, but that the many might be instructed as to home treatment. The Health Reformer is the medium through which rays of light are to shine upon the people. It should be the very best health journal in our country. It must be adapted to the wants of the common people, ready to answer all proper questions and fully explain the first principles of the laws of life and how to obey them and preserve health. The great object to be kept in view by the publication of such a journal should be the good of the suffering people of God. The common people, especially those too poor to attend the Institute, must be reached and instructed by the Health Reformer.


Chapter 99—The Health Institute

In the vision given me December 25, 1865, I saw that the health reform was a great enterprise, closely connected with the present truth, and that Seventh-day Adventists should have a home for the sick where they could be treated for their diseases and also learn how to take care of themselves so as to prevent sickness. I saw that our people should not remain indifferent upon this subject and leave the rich among us to go to the popular water cure institutions of the country for the recovery of health, where they would find opposition to, rather than sympathy with, their views of religious faith. Those who are reduced by disease suffer not only for want of physical but also of mental and moral strength; and afflicted, conscientious Sabbathkeepers cannot receive as much benefit where they feel that they must be constantly guarded lest they compromise their faith and dishonor their profession, as at an institution whose physicians and conductors are in sympathy with the truths connected with the third angel’s message.

When persons who have suffered much from disease are relieved by an intelligent system of treatment, consisting of baths, healthful diet, proper periods of rest and exercise, and the beneficial effects of pure air, they are often led to conclude that those who successfully treat them are right in matters of religious faith, or, at least, cannot greatly err from the truth. Thus if our people are left to go to those institutions whose physicians are corrupt in religious faith, they are in danger of being ensnared. The institution at ——, I then saw (in 1865), was the best in the United States. So far as the treatment of the sick is concerned, they have been doing a great and good work; but they urge upon their patients dancing and card playing, and recommend attendance at theaters and such places of worldly amusement, which is in direct opposition to the teachings of Christ and the apostles.


Those connected with the Health Institute now located at Battle Creek should feel that they are engaged in an important and solemn work, and in no way should they pattern after the physicians at the institution at —— in matters of religion and amusements. Yet I saw that there would be danger of imitating them in many things and losing sight of the exalted character of this great work. And should those connected with this enterprise cease to look at their work from a high religious standpoint, and descend from the exalted principles of present truth to imitate in theory and practice those at the head of institutions where the sick are treated only for the recovery of health, the special blessing of God would not rest upon our institution more than upon those where corrupt theories are taught and practiced.

I saw that a very extensive work could not be accomplished in a short time, as it would not be an easy matter to find physicians whom God could approve and who would work together harmoniously, disinterestedly, and zealously for the good of suffering humanity. It should ever be kept prominent that the great object to be attained through this channel is not only health, but perfection, and the spirit of holiness, which cannot be attained with diseased bodies and minds. This object cannot be secured by working merely from the worldling’s standpoint. God will raise up men and qualify them to engage in the work, not only as physicians of the body, but of the sin-sick soul, as spiritual fathers to the young and inexperienced.

I was shown that the position of Dr. E in regard to amusements was wrong, and that his views of physical exercise were not all correct. The amusements which he recommends hinder the recovery of health in many cases to one that is helped by them. He has to a great degree condemned physical labor for the sick, and his teaching in many cases has proved a great injury to them. Such mental exercise as playing cards, chess, and checkers excites and wearies the brain and hinders recovery, while light and pleasant physical labor will occupy the time, improve the circulation, relieve and restore the brain, and prove a decided benefit to the health. But take from the invalid all such employment, and he becomes restless, and, with a diseased imagination, views his case as much worse than it really is, which tends to imbecility.


For years I have from time to time been shown that the sick should be taught that it is wrong to suspend all physical labor in order to regain health. In thus doing the will becomes dormant, the blood moves sluggishly through the system and constantly grows more impure. Where the patient is in danger of imagining his case worse than it really is, indolence will be sure to produce the most unhappy results. Well-regulated labor gives the invalid the idea that he is not totally useless in the world, that he is, at least, of some benefit. This will afford him satisfaction, give him courage, and impart to him vigor, which vain mental amusements can never do.

The view that those who have abused both their physical and mental powers, or who have broken down in either mind or body, must suspend activity in order to regain health, is a great error. In a very few cases entire rest for a short period may be necessary, but these instances are very rare. In most cases the change would be too great. Those who have broken down by intense mental labor should have rest from wearing thought, yet to teach them that it is wrong and even dangerous for them to exercise their mental powers to a degree leads them to view their condition as worse than it really is. They become still more nervous and are a great trouble and annoyance to those who have the care of them. In this state of mind their recovery is doubtful indeed.


Those who have broken down by physical exertion must have less labor, and that which is light and pleasant. But to shut them away from all labor and exercise would in many cases prove their ruin. The will goes with the labor of their hands, and those accustomed to labor would feel that they were only machines to be acted upon by physicians and attendants, and the imagination would become diseased. Inactivity is the greatest curse that could come upon such. Their powers become so dormant that it is impossible for them to resist disease and languor, as they must do in order to regain health.

Dr. E has made a great mistake in regard to exercise and amusements, and a still greater in his teaching concerning religious experience and religious excitement. The religion of the Bible is not detrimental to the health of body or mind. The exalting influence of the Spirit of God is the best restorative for the sick. Heaven is all health, and the more fully the heavenly influences are felt the more sure the recovery of the believing invalid. The influence of such views as are advanced by Dr. E has reached us as a people in some degree. Sabbathkeeping health reformers must be free from all these. Every true and real reform will bring us nearer to God and heaven, closer to the side of Jesus, and increase our knowledge of spiritual things and deepen in us the holiness of Christian experience.

It is true that there are unbalanced minds that impose upon themselves fasting which the Scriptures do not teach, and prayers and privation of rest and sleep which God has never required. Such are not prospered and sustained in their voluntary acts of righteousness. They have a pharisaical religion which is not of Christ, but of themselves. They trust in their good works for salvation, vainly hoping to earn heaven by their meritorious works instead of relying, as every sinner should, upon the merits of a crucified, risen, and exalted Saviour. These are almost sure to become sickly. But Christ and true godliness are health to the body and strength to the soul.


Let invalids do something instead of occupying their minds with a simple play, which lowers them in their own estimation and leads them to think their lives useless. Keep the power of the will awake, for the will aroused and rightly directed is a potent soother of the nerves. Invalids are far happier to be employed, and their recovery is more easily effected.

I saw that the greatest curse that ever came upon my husband and Sister F was the instructions they received at —— in regard to remaining inactive in order to recover. The imagination of both was diseased, and their inactivity resulted in the thought and feeling that it would be dangerous to health and life to exercise, especially if in doing so they became weary. The machinery of the system, so seldom put in motion, lost its elasticity and strength, so that when they did exercise, their joints were stiff and their muscles feeble, and every move required great effort and of course caused pain. Yet this very weariness would have proved a blessing to them had they, irrespective of feeling or unpleasant symptoms, perseveringly resisted their inclinations to inactivity.

I saw that it would be far better for Sister F to be with her family by herself and feel the responsibilities resting upon her. This would awaken into life her dormant energies. I was shown that the broken-up condition of this dear family while at —— was unfavorable to the education and training of their children. For their own good these children should be learning to take responsibilities in household labor and should feel that some burdens in life rest upon them. The mother, engaged in the education and training of her children, is employed in the very work which God has assigned to her and for the sake of which He has in mercy heard the prayers offered for her recovery. While she should shun wearing labor, she should above all avoid a life of inactivity.


When the vision was given me at Rochester, New York, I saw that it would be far better for these parents and children to form a family by themselves. The children should each do a part of the family labor and thus obtain a valuable education which could not be obtained in any other way. Life at —— or in any other place, surrounded by waiters and helpers, is the greatest possible injury to mothers and children. Jesus invites Sister F to find rest in Him and to let her mind receive a healthy tone by dwelling upon heavenly things and earnestly seeking to bring up her little flock in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. In this way she can best assist her husband by relieving him of the feeling that she must be the object of so much of his attention, care, and sympathy.

As to the extent of the accommodations of the Health Institute at Battle Creek, I was shown, as I have before stated, that we should have such an institution, small at its commencement, and cautiously increased, as good physicians and helpers could be procured and means raised, and as the wants of invalids should demand; and all should be conducted in strict accordance with the principles and humble spirit of the third angel’s message. And as I have seen the large calculations hastily urged by those who have taken a leading part in the work, I have felt alarmed, and in many private conversations and in letters I have warned these brethren to move cautiously. My reasons for this are that without the special blessing of God there are several ways in which this enterprise might be hindered, for a time at least, any one of which would be detrimental to the institution and an injury to the cause. Should the physicians fail, through sickness, death, or any other cause, to fill their places, the work would be hindered till others were raised up; or should means fail to come in when extensive buildings were in process of erection, and the work stop, capital would be sunk, and a general discouragement would come over all interested; also there might be a lack of patients to occupy present accommodations, consequently a lack of means to meet present expenses. With all the efforts in every department put forth in a correct and judicious manner, and with the blessing of God, the institution will prove a glorious success, while a single failure in any one direction might sooner or later prove a great injury. It should not be forgotten that out of many hygienic institutions started in the United States within the last twenty-five years but few maintain even a visible existence at the present time.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1 pp. 549-558