Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, pp. 639-648 Day 064

Many who have taken stock are not able to donate it. Some of these persons are suffering for the very money which they have invested in stock. As I travel from state to state, I find afflicted ones standing on the very verge of the grave, who should go to the Institute for a while, but cannot for want of the means they have in Institute stock. These should not have a dollar invested there. One case in Vermont I will mention. As early as 1850 this brother became a Sabbathkeeper, and from that date he contributed liberally to the several enterprises that have been undertaken to advance the cause, till he became reduced in property. Yet when the urgent, unqualified call came for the Institute, he took stock to the amount of one hundred dollars. At the meeting at —— he introduced the case of his wife, who is very feeble, and who can be helped, but must be helped soon, if ever. He also stated his circumstances, and said that if he could command the one hundred dollars then in the Institute, he could send his wife there to be treated; but as it was, he could not. We replied that he should never have invested a dollar in the Institute, that there was a wrong in the matter which we could not help, and there the matter dropped. I do not hesitate to say that this sister should be treated, a few weeks at least, at the Institute free of charge. Her husband is able to do but little more than to pay her fare to and from Battle Creek.

The friends of humanity, of truth and holiness, should act in reference to the Institute on the plan of sacrifice and liberality. I have five hundred dollars in stock in the Institute, which I wish to donate, and if my husband succeeds with his anticipated book, he will give five hundred dollars more. Will those who approve this plan please address us at Greenville, Montcalm County, Michigan, and state the sums they wish to donate, or to invest in stock to be held as the stock in the Publishing Association is held. When this is done, then let the donations come in as needed; let the sums, small and large, come in. Let means be expended judiciously. Let charges for patients be as reasonable as possible. Let brethren donate to partly pay the expenses at the Institute of the suffering, worthy poor among them. Let the feeble ones be led out, as they can bear it, to cultivate the beautifully situated acres owned by the Institute. Let them not do this with the narrow idea of pay, but with the liberal idea that the expense of the purchase of them was a matter of benevolence for their good. Let their labor be a part of their prescription, as much as the taking of baths. Let benevolence, charity, humanity, sacrifice for others’ good, be the ruling idea with physicians, managers, helpers, patients, and with all the friends of Jesus, far and near, instead of wages, good investment, a paying thing, stock that will pay. Let the love of Christ, love for souls, sympathy for suffering humanity, govern all we say and do relative to the Health Institute.

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Why should the Christian physician, who is believing, expecting, looking, waiting, and longing for the coming and kingdom of Christ, when sickness and death will no longer have power over the saints, expect more pay for his services than the Christian editor or the Christian minister? He may say that his work is more wearing. That is yet to be proved. Let him work as he can endure it, and not violate the laws of life which he teaches to his patients. There are no good reasons why he should overwork and receive large pay for it, more than the minister or the editor. Let all who act a part in the Institute and receive pay for their services, act on the same liberal principle. No one should be suffered to remain as helper in the Institute who does it simply for pay. There are those of ability who, for the love of Christ, His cause, and the suffering followers of their Master, will fill stations in that Institute faithfully and cheerfully, and with a spirit of sacrifice. Those who have not this spirit should remove and give place to those who have it.

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As nearly as I am able to judge, one half of the afflicted among our people who should spend weeks or months at the Institute are not able to pay the entire expense of the journey and a tarry there. Shall poverty keep these friends of our Lord from the blessings which He has so bountifully provided? Shall they be left to struggle on with the double burden of feebleness and poverty? The wealthy feeble ones, who have all the comforts and conveniences of life, and are able to hire their hard work done, may, with care and rest, by informing themselves and taking home treatment, enjoy a very comfortable state of health without going to the Institute. But what can our poor, feeble brethren or sisters do to recover health? They may do something, but poverty drives them to labor beyond what they are really able. They have not even all the comforts of life; and as for conveniences in houseroom, furniture, means of taking baths, and arrangements for good ventilation, they do not have them. Perhaps their only room is occupied by a cookstove, winter and summer; and it may be that all the books they have in the house, excepting the Bible, could be held between the thumb and finger. They have no money to buy books that they may read and learn how to live. These dear brethren are the very ones who need help. Many of them are humble Christians. They may have faults, and some of these may reach far back and be the cause of their present poverty and misery. And yet they may be living up to duty better than we who have the means to improve our own condition and that of others. These must be patiently taught and cheerfully helped.

But they must be willing and anxious to be taught. They must cherish a spirit of gratitude to God and their brethren for the help they receive. Such persons generally have no just ideas of the real expense of treatment, board, room, fuel, etc., at a Health Institute. They do not realize the magnitude of the great work of present truth and reform, and the many calls for the liberalities of our people. They may not be aware that the numbers of our poor are many times larger than the numbers of our rich. And they may not also feel the force of the frightful fact that a majority of these wealthy ones are holding on to their riches and are in the sure road to perdition.

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These poor afflicted persons should be taught that when they murmur at their lot and against the wealthy on account of their covetousness, they commit a great sin in the sight of heaven. They should first understand that their sickness and poverty are misfortunes most generally caused by their own sins, follies, and wrongs; and if the Lord puts it into the hearts and minds of His people to help them, it should inspire in them feelings of humble gratitude to God and His people. They should do all in their power to help themselves. If they have relatives who can and will defray their expenses at the Institute, these should have the privilege.

And in view of the many poor and afflicted ones who must, to a greater or less extent, be objects of the charity of the Institute, and because of the lack of funds and the want of accommodations at the present time, the stay of such at the Institute must be brief. They should go there with the idea of obtaining, as fast and as far as possible, a practical knowledge of what they must do, and what they must not do, to recover health and to live healthfully. The lectures which they hear while at the Institute, and good books from which to learn how to live at home, must be the main reliance of such. They may find some relief during a few weeks spent at the Institute, but will realize more at home in carrying out the same principles. They must not rely on the physicians to cure them in a few weeks, but must learn so to live as to give nature a chance to work the cure. This may commence during a few weeks’ stay at the Institute, and yet it may require years to complete the work by correct habits at home.

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A man may spend all that he has in this world at a Health Institute, and find great relief, and may then return to his family and to his old habits of life, and in a few weeks or months be in a worse condition of health than ever before. He has gained nothing; he has spent his limited means for nothing. The object of the health reform and the Health Institute is not, like a dose of “Painkiller” or “Instant Relief,” to quiet the pains of today. No, indeed! Its great object is to teach the people how to live so as to give nature a chance to remove and resist disease.

To the afflicted among our people I wish to say, Be not discouraged. God has not forsaken His people and His cause. Make known your state of health and your ability to meet the expenses of a stay at the Institute to the physicians, addressing Health Institute, Battle Creek, Michigan. Are you diseased, running down, feeble, then do not delay till your case is hopeless. Write immediately. But I must say again to the poor: At present but little can be done to help you, on account of capital already raised being invested in material and buildings. Do all you possibly can for yourselves, and others will help you some.

Chapter 111—Sketch of Experience

From October 21, 1867 to December 22, 1867

Our labor with the Battle Creek church had just closed, and, notwithstanding we were much worn, we had been so refreshed in spirit as we witnessed the good result that we cheerfully joined Brother J. N. Andrews in the long journey to Maine. On the way we held a meeting at Roosevelt, New York. Testimony No. 13 was doing its work, and those brethren who had taken part in the general disaffection were beginning to see things in their true light. This meeting was one of hard labor, in which pointed testimonies were given. Confessions were made, followed by a general turning to the Lord on the part of backsliders and sinners.

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Our labors in Maine commenced with the Conference at Norridgewock the first of November. The meeting was large. As usual, my husband and myself bore a plain and pointed testimony in favor of truth and proper discipline, and against the different forms of error, confusion, fanaticism, and disorder naturally growing out of a want of such discipline. This testimony was especially applicable to the condition of things in Maine. Disorderly spirits who professed to observe the Sabbath were in rebellion and labored to diffuse the disaffection through the Conference. Satan helped them, and they succeeded to some extent. The details are too painful and of too little general importance to be given here.

It may be enough to say at this time that in consequence of this spirit of rebellion, faultfinding, and, with some, a sort of babyish jealousy, murmuring, and complaining, our work in Maine, which might have been done in two weeks, required seven weeks of the most trying, laborious, and disagreeable toil. Five weeks were lost, yes, worse than lost, to the cause in Maine; and our people in other portions of New England, New York, and Ohio were deprived of five general meetings in consequence of our being held in Maine. But as we left that state we were comforted with the fact that all had confessed their rebellion, and that a few had been led to seek the Lord and embrace the truth. The following, relative to ministers, order, and organization, has a special application to the condition of things in Maine.

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Chapter 112—Ministers, Order, and Organization

Some ministers have fallen into the error that they cannot have liberty in speaking unless they raise their voices to a high pitch and talk loud and fast. Such should understand that noise and loud, hurried speaking are not evidence of the presence of the power of God. It is not the power of the voice that makes the lasting impression. Ministers should be Bible students, and should thoroughly furnish themselves with the reasons of our faith and hope, and then, with full control of the voice and feelings, they should present these in such a manner that the people can calmly weigh them and decide upon the evidences given. And as ministers feel the force of the arguments which they present in the form of solemn, testing truth, they will have zeal and earnestness according to knowledge. The Spirit of God will sanctify to their own souls the truths which they present to others, and they will be watered themselves while they water others.

I saw that some of our ministers do not understand how to preserve their strength so as to be able to perform the greatest amount of labor without exhaustion. Ministers should not pray so loud and long as to exhaust their strength. It is not necessary to weary the throat and lungs in prayer. God’s ear is ever open to hear the heartfelt petitions of His humble servants, and He does not require them to wear out the organs of speech in addressing Him. It is the perfect trust, the firm reliance, the steady claiming of the promises of God, the simple faith that He is and that He is a rewarder of all those who diligently seek Him, that prevails with God.

Ministers should discipline themselves and learn how to perform the greatest amount of labor in the brief period allotted them, and yet preserve a good degree of strength, so that if an extra effort should be required, they may have a reserve of vital force sufficient for the occasion, which they can employ without injuring themselves. Sometimes all the strength they have is needed to put forth effort at a given point, and if they have previously exhausted their fund of strength and cannot command the power to make this effort, all they have done is lost. At times all the mental and physical energies may be drawn upon to make the very strongest stand, to array evidences in the clearest light, and set them before the people in the most pointed manner, and urge them home by the strongest appeals. As souls are on the point of leaving the enemy’s ranks and coming up on the Lord’s side, the contest is most severe and close. Satan and his angels are unwilling that any who have served under the banner of darkness should take their position under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel.

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I was shown opposing armies who had endured a painful struggle in battle. The victory was gained by neither, and at length the loyal realize that their strength and force is wearing away, and that they will be unable to silence their enemies unless they make a charge upon them and obtain their instruments of warfare. It is then, at the risk of their lives, that they summon all their powers and rush upon the foe. It is a fearful struggle; but victory is gained, the strongholds are taken. If at the critical period the army is so weak through exhaustion that it is impossible to make the last charge and batter down the enemy’s fortifications, the whole struggle of days, weeks, and even months is lost; and many lives are sacrificed and nothing gained.

A similar work is before us. Many are convinced that we have the truth, and yet they are held as with iron bands; they dare not risk the consequences of taking their position on the side of truth. Many are in the valley of decision, where special, close, and pointed appeals are necessary to move them to lay down the weapons of their warfare and take their position on the Lord’s side. Just at this critical period Satan throws the strongest bands around these souls. If the servants of God are all exhausted, having expended their fund of physical and mental strength, they think they can do no more, and frequently leave the field entirely, to commence operations elsewhere. And all, or nearly all, the time, means, and labor have been spent for nought. Yes, it is worse than if they had never commenced the work in that place, for after the people have been deeply convicted by the Spirit of God, and brought to the point of decision, and are left to lose their interest, and decide against these evidences, they cannot as easily be brought where their minds will again be agitated upon the subject. They have in many cases made their final decision.

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If ministers would preserve a reserve force, and at the very point where everything seems to move the hardest, then make the most earnest efforts, the strongest appeals, the closest applications, and, like valiant soldiers, at the critical moment make the charge upon the enemy, they would gain the victory. Souls would have strength to break the bands of Satan and make their decisions for everlasting life. Well-directed labor at the right time will make a long-tried effort successful, when to leave the labor even for a few days will in many cases cause an entire failure. Ministers must give themselves as missionaries to the work and learn how to make their efforts to the very best advantage.

Some ministers at the very commencement of a series of meetings become very zealous, take on burdens which God does not require them to bear, exhaust their strength in singing and in long, loud praying and talking, and then are worn out and must go home to rest. What was accomplished in that effort? Literally nothing. The laborers had spirit and zeal, but lacked understanding. They manifested no wise generalship. They rode upon the chariot of feeling, but there was not one victory gained against the enemy. His stronghold was not taken.

I was shown that ministers of Christ should discipline themselves for the warfare. Greater wisdom is required in generalship in the work of God than is required of the generals engaged in national battles. Ministers of God’s choosing are engaged in a great work. They are warring not merely against men, but against Satan and his angels. Wise generalship is required here. They must become Bible students and give themselves wholly to the work. When they commence labor in a place, they should be able to give the reasons of our faith, not in a boisterous manner, not with a perfect storm, but with meekness and fear. The power which will convince is strong arguments presented in meekness and in the fear of God.

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Able ministers of Christ are required for the work in these last days of peril, able in word and doctrine, acquainted with the Scriptures, and understanding the reasons of our faith. I was directed to these scriptures, the meaning of which has not been realized by some ministers: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

The man of God, the minister of Christ, is required to be thoroughly furnished unto all good works. A pompous minister, all dignity, is not needed for this good work. But decorum is necessary in the desk. A minister of the gospel should not be regardless of his attitude. If he is the representative of Christ, his deportment, his attitude, his gestures, should be of such a character as will not strike the beholder with disgust. Ministers should possess refinement. They should discard all uncouth manners, attitudes, and gestures, and should encourage in themselves humble dignity of bearing. They should be clothed in a manner befitting the dignity of their position. Their speech should be in every respect solemn and well chosen. I was shown that it is wrong to make coarse, irreverent expressions, relate anecdotes to amuse, or present comic illustrations to create a laugh. Sarcasm and playing upon the words of an opponent are all out of God’s order. Ministers should not feel that they can make no improvement in voice or manners; much can be done. The voice can be cultivated so that quite lengthy speaking will not injure the vocal organs.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1 pp. 639-648

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