“And as He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when He saw them, He said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And He said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.”
Here is a lesson for us all. These lepers were so corrupted by disease that they had been restricted from society lest they should contaminate others. Their limits had been prescribed by the authorities. Jesus comes within their sight, and in their great suffering they cry unto Him who alone has power to relieve them. Jesus bids them show themselves to the priests. They have faith to start on their way, believing in the power of Christ to heal them. As they go on their way they realize that the horrible disease has left them. But only one has feelings of gratitude, only one feels his deep indebtedness to Christ for this great work wrought for him. This one returns praising God, and in the greatest humiliation falls at the feet of Christ, acknowledging with thankfulness the work wrought for him. And this man was a stranger; the other nine were Jews.
For the sake of this one man, who would make a right use of the blessing of health, Jesus healed the whole ten. The nine passed on without appreciating the work done, and rendered no grateful thanks to Jesus for doing the work.
Thus will the physicians of the Health Institute have their efforts treated. But if, in their labor to help suffering humanity, one out of twenty makes a right use of the benefits received and appreciates their efforts in his behalf, the physicians should feel grateful and satisfied. If one life out of ten is saved, and one soul out of one hundred is saved in the kingdom of God, all connected with the Institute will be amply repaid for all their efforts. All their anxiety and care will not be wholly lost. If the King of glory, the Majesty of heaven, worked for suffering humanity, and so few appreciated His divine aid, the physicians and helpers at the Institute should blush to complain if their feeble efforts are not appreciated by all and seem to be thrown away on some.
I was shown that the nine who did not return to give glory to God correctly represent some Sabbathkeepers who come to the Health Institute as patients. They receive much attention and should realize the anxiety and discouragements of the physicians, and should be the last to cause them unnecessary care and burdens. Yet I regret to say that frequently the patients who are most difficult to manage at the Health Institute are those of our faith. They are more free to make complaints than are any other class. Worldlings, and professed Christians of other denominations, appreciate the efforts made for their recovery more than many Sabbathkeepers do. And when they return to their homes they exert an influence more in favor of the Health Institute than do Sabbathkeepers. And some of those who are so free to question, and to complain of the management at the Institute, are those who have been treated at reduced prices.
This has been very discouraging to physicians and helpers; but they should remember Christ, their great Pattern, and not become weary in well-doing. If one among a large number is grateful and exerts a right influence, they should thank God and take courage. That one may be a stranger, and the inquiry may arise: Where are the nine? Why do not all Sabbathkeepers give their interest and support in favor of the Health Institute? Some Sabbathkeepers have so little interest that, while receiving attention at the Institute free of charge, they will speak disparagingly to patients of the means employed for the recovery of the sick. I wish such to consider their course. The Lord regards them as He did the nine lepers who returned not to give Him glory. Strangers do their duty and appreciate the efforts made for their recovery, while these cast an influence against those who have tried to do them good.
Dr. B needs to cultivate courtesy and kindness lest he shall unnecessarily injure the feelings of the patients. He is frank and openhearted, conscientious, sincere, and ardent. He has a good understanding of disease, but he should have a more thorough knowledge of how to treat the sick. With this knowledge he needs self-culture, refinement of manners, and to be more select in his words and illustrations in his parlor talks.
Dr. B is highly sensitive and naturally of a quick, impulsive temper. He moves too much upon the spur of the moment. He has made efforts to correct his hasty spirit and to overcome his deficiencies, but he has a still greater effort to make. If he sees things moving wrong he is in too great haste to tell the ones in error what he thinks, and he does not always use the most appropriate words for the occasion. He sometimes so offends patients that they hate him and leave the Institute with hard feelings, to the detriment of both themselves and the Institute. It seldom does any good to talk in a censuring manner to patients who are diseased in body and mind. But few who have moved in the society of the world, and who view things from a worldling’s standpoint, are prepared to have a statement of facts in regard to themselves presented before them. The truth even is not to be spoken at all times. There is a fit time and opportunity to speak when words will not offend. The physicians should not be overworked and their nervous systems prostrated, for this condition of body will not be favorable to calm minds, steady nerves, and a cheerful, happy spirit. Dr. B has been confined too steadily to the Institute. He should have had change. He should go out of Battle Creek occasionally and rest and visit, not always making professional visits, but visiting where he can be free and where his mind will not be anxious about the sick.
The privilege of getting away from the Health Institute should occasionally be accorded to all the physicians, especially to those who bear burdens and responsibilities. If there is such a scarcity of help that this cannot be done, more help should be secured. To have physicians overworked, and thus disqualified to perform the duties of their profession, is a thing to be dreaded. It should be prevented if possible, for its influence is against the interests of the Institute. The physicians should keep well. They must not get sick by overlabor or by any imprudence on their part.
I was shown that Dr. B is too easily discouraged. There will ever be things arising to annoy, perplex, and try the patience of physicians and helpers. They must be prepared for this and not become excited or unbalanced. They must be calm and kind whatever may occur. They are exerting an influence which will be reflected by the patients in other states and which will be reflected again upon the Health Institute for good or for evil. They should ever consider that they are dealing with men and women of diseased minds, who frequently view things in a perverted light and yet are confident that they understand matters perfectly. Physicians should understand that a soft answer turneth away wrath. Policy must be used in an institution where the sick are treated, in order to successfully control diseased minds and benefit the sick. If physicians can remain calm amid a tempest of inconsiderate, passionate words, if they can rule their own spirits when provoked and abused, they are indeed conquerors. “He that ruleth his spirit [is better] than he that taketh a city.” To subdue self, and bring the passions under the control of the will, is the greatest conquest that men and women can achieve.
Dr. B is not blind to his peculiar temperament. He sees his failings, and when he feels the pressure upon him he is disposed to beat a retreat and turn his back upon the battlefield. But he will gain nothing by pursuing this course. He is situated where his surroundings and the pressure of circumstances are developing the strong points in his character, points from which the roughness needs to be removed, that he may become refined and elevated. For him to flee from the contest will not remove the defects in his character. Should he run away from the Institute, he would not in so doing remove or overcome the defects in his character. He has a work before him to overcome these defects if he would be among the number who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, having come up through great tribulation, and having washed their robes of character and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. The provision has been made for us to wash. The fountain has been prepared at infinite expense, and the burden of washing rests upon us, who are imperfect before God. The Lord does not propose to remove these spots of defilement without our doing anything on our part. We must wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb. We may lay hold of the merits of the blood of Christ by faith, and through His grace and power we may have strength to overcome our errors, our sins, our imperfections of character, and come off victorious, having washed our robes in the blood of the Lamb.
Dr. B should seek to add daily to his stock of knowledge and to cultivate courteousness and refinement of manners. In his parlor talks he is too apt to come down to a low level; they do not have an influence to elevate. He should bear in mind that he is associated with all classes of minds and that the impressions he gives will be extended to other states and will be reflected upon the Institute. To deal with men and women whose minds as well as bodies are diseased is a nice work. Great wisdom is needed by the physicians at the Institute in order to cure the body through the mind. But few realize the power that the mind has over the body. A great deal of the sickness which afflicts humanity has its origin in the mind and can only be cured by restoring the mind to health. There are very many more than we imagine who are sick mentally. Heart sickness makes many dyspeptics, for mental trouble has a paralyzing influence upon the digestive organs.
In order to reach this class of patients, the physician must have discernment, patience, kindness, and love. A sore, sick heart, a discouraged mind, needs mild treatment, and it is through tender sympathy that this class of minds can be healed. The physicians should first gain their confidence, and then point them to the all-healing Physician. If their minds can be directed to the Burden Bearer, and they can have faith that He will have an interest in them, the cure of their diseased bodies and minds will be sure.
Other health institutions are looking with a jealous eye upon the Health Institute at Battle Creek. They work from the world’s standpoint, while the managers of the Health Institute work from a religious standpoint, acknowledging God as their proprietor. They do not labor selfishly for means alone, but for the sake of Christ and humanity. They are seeking to benefit suffering humanity, to heal the diseased mind as well as the suffering body, by directing invalids to Christ, the sinner’s Friend. They do not leave religion out of the question, but make God their trust and dependence. The sick are directed to Jesus. After the physicians have done what they can in behalf of the sick, they ask God to work with their efforts and restore the suffering invalids to health. This He has done in some cases in answer to the prayer of faith. And this He will continue to do if they are faithful and put their trust in Him. The Health Institute will be a success, for God sustains it. And if His blessing attends the Institute, it will prosper and will be the means of doing a great amount of good. Other institutions are aware that a high standard of moral and religious influence exists at our Institute. They see that its conductors are not actuated by selfish, worldly principles, and they are jealous in regard to its commanding and leading influence.
Chapter 16—Danger of Applause
I have been shown that great caution should be used, even when it is necessary to lift a burden of oppression from men and women, lest they lean to their own wisdom and fail to make God their only dependence. It is not safe to speak in praise of persons or to exalt the ability of a minister of Christ. In the day of God, very many will be weighed in the balance and found wanting because of exaltation. I would warn my brethren and sisters never to flatter persons because of their ability, for they cannot bear it. Self is easily exalted, and, in consequence, persons lose their balance. I say again to my brethren and sisters: If you would have your souls clean from the blood of all men, never flatter, never praise the efforts of poor mortals; for it may prove their ruin. It is unsafe, by our words and actions, to exalt a brother or sister, however apparently humble may be his or her deportment. If they really possess the meek and lowly spirit which God so highly esteems, help them to retain it. This will not be done by censuring them nor by neglecting to properly appreciate their true worth. But there are few who can bear praise without being injured.
Some ministers of ability who are now preaching present truth, love approbation. Applause stimulates them, as the glass of wine does the inebriate. Place these ministers where they have a small congregation which promises no special excitement and which provokes no decided opposition, and they will lose their interest and zeal, and appear as languid in the work as the inebriate when he is deprived of his dram. These men will fail to make real, practical laborers until they learn to labor without the excitement of applause.
Chapter 17—Labor for the Erring
Brethren C and D failed in some respects in their management of church matters at Battle Creek. They moved too much in their own spirit and did not make God their whole dependence. They failed of doing their duty by not leading the church to God, the Fountain of living waters, at which they could supply their want and satisfy their soul hunger. The renewing, sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit, which would give peace and hope to the troubled conscience, and restore health and happiness to the soul, was not made of the highest importance. The good object they had in view was not attained. These brethren had too much of a spirit of cold criticism in the examination of individuals who presented themselves for church membership. The spirit of weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice was not in the hearts of these ministering brethren as it should have been.
Christ identified Himself with the necessities of His people. Their needs and their sufferings were His. He says: “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.” God’s servants should have hearts of tender affection and sincere love for the followers of Christ. They should manifest that deep interest that Christ brings to view in the care of the shepherd for the lost sheep; they should follow the example given by Christ and exercise the same compassion and gentleness, and the same tender, pitying love that He has exercised toward us.
The great moral powers of the soul are faith, hope, and love. If these are inactive, a minister may be ever so earnest and zealous, but his labor will not be accepted of God and cannot be productive of good to the church. A minister of Christ who bears the solemn message from God to the people should ever deal justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before God. The spirit of Christ in the heart will incline every power of the soul to nourish and protect the sheep of His pasture, like a faithful, true shepherd. Love is the golden chain which binds believing hearts to one another in willing bonds of friendship, tenderness, and faithful constancy, and which binds the soul to God. There is a decided lack of love, compassion, and pitying tenderness among brethren. The ministers of Christ are too cold and heartless. Their hearts are not all aglow with tender compassion and earnest love. The purest and most elevated devotion to God is that which is manifested in the most earnest desires and efforts to win souls to Christ. The reason ministers who preach present truth are not more successful is that they are deficient, greatly deficient, in faith, hope, and love. There are toils and conflicts, self-denials and secret heart trials, for us all to meet and bear. There will be sorrow and tears for our sins; there will be constant struggles and watchings, mingled with remorse and shame because of our deficiencies.
Let not the ministers of the cross of our dear Saviour forget their experience in these things; but let them ever bear in mind that they are but men, liable to err, and possessing like passions with their brethren, and that if they help their brethren they must be persevering in their efforts to do them good, having their hearts filled with pity and love. They must come to the hearts of their brethren and help them where they are weak and need help the most. Those who labor in word and doctrine should break their own hard, proud, unbelieving hearts if they would witness the same in their brethren. Christ has done all for us because we were helpless; we were bound in chains of darkness, sin, and despair, and could therefore do nothing for ourselves. It is through the exercise of faith, hope, and love that we come nearer and nearer to the standard of perfect holiness. Our brethren feel the same pitying need of help that we have felt. We should not burden them with unnecessary censure, but should let the love of Christ constrain us to be very compassionate and tender, that we can weep over the erring and those who have backslidden from God. The soul is of infinite value. Its worth can be estimated only by the price paid to ransom it. Calvary! Calvary! Calvary! will explain the true value of the soul.
Chapter 18—The Sabbath School
Vital godliness is a principle to be cultivated. The power of God can accomplish for us that which all the systems in the world cannot effect. The perfection of Christian character depends wholly upon the grace and strength found alone in God. Without the power of grace upon the heart, assisting our efforts and sanctifying our labors, we shall fail of saving our own souls and of saving the souls of others. System and order are highly essential, but none should receive the impression that these will do the work without the grace and power of God operating upon the mind and heart. Heart and flesh would fail in the round of ceremonies, and in the carrying out of our plans, without the power of God to inspire and give courage to perform.
The Sabbath school at Battle Creek was made the one great theme of interest with Brother E. It absorbed the minds of the young, while other religious duties were neglected. Frequently, after the Sabbath school was closed, the superintendent, a number of the teachers, and quite a number of scholars would return home to rest. They felt that their burden for the day was ended and that they had no further duty. When the bell sounded forth the hour for public service, and the people left their homes for the house of worship, they would meet a large portion of the school passing to their homes. And however important the meeting, the interest of a large share of the Sabbath school could not be awakened to take any pleasure in the instruction given by the minister upon important Bible subjects. While many of the children did not attend public service, some that remained were not advantaged by the word spoken; for they felt that it was a wearisome tax.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3 pp 179-188
- Pray for the merciful Jesus to heal us of physical and spiritual diseases.
- Thank our Lord Jesus for His blessings of health and salvation.
- Pray that we would work with little appreciation, as Jesus did, for suffering humanity.
- Pray that we discern a fit time and opportunity to speak when words will not offend.
- Pray for our missionary physicians, that they not be overworked.
- Pray for us to understand that a soft answer turns away wrath.
- Pray that we remain calm amid a tempest of inconsiderate, passionate words.
- Pray that we rule our own spirits when provoked and abused, and be conquerors indeed.
- Pray that we lay hold on the merits of the blood of Christ by faith, and through His grace and power have strength to overcome our errors, our sins, our imperfections of character, and come off victorious, having washed our robes in the blood of the Lamb.
- Pray for the work of your local mission.
- Pray for God to bless the plans for the worship services and business sessions for next Annual Council.
- Pray for the plans for the worship services at next General Conference Session.
- Pray for the plans for the business sessions at next General Conference Session.
- Pray for God to bless all who attend, and especially the officers, delegates, and their families at next General Conference Session.