Testimonies – Vol. 8, Day 432

Chapter 30—Words of Encouragement

Cooranbong, N. S. W.,

December 12, 1899

To the Medical Superintendent of the Battle Creek Sanitarium—

My Dear Brother,

You speak as if you had no friends. But God is your friend, and Sister White is your friend. You have thought that I had lost confidence in you; but, my dear brother, as I have before written you, I know that the Lord has placed you in a very responsible position, standing as you do as a physician to whom the Lord has given knowledge and understanding, that you may do justice and judgment, and reveal a true missionary spirit in the institution established to present truth in contrast with error.

My brother, the Lord has not left you to go on a warfare at your own charges. He has given you wisdom, and favor with God and man. He has been your helper. He has chosen you as His agent to exalt the truth in the Battle Creek Sanitarium as it is not exalted in the medical institutions of the world. It was His purpose that the Battle Creek Sanitarium should be known as an institution where the Lord is daily acknowledged as the Monarch of the universe. “He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?” Daniel 4:35.

The Lord designs that the proclamation of the third angel’s message shall be the highest, greatest work carried on in our world at this time. He has honored you by placing you in a very responsible position in His work. You were not to separate your influence from the ministry of the gospel. Into every line of your work you were to bring an understanding of and obedience to the truth. The place assigned you by the Lord was under Him in the divine theocracy. You were to learn of Jesus, the Great Teacher, planning and working in accordance with His example. You were to make God first, ever obeying His word. In this would be your strength.


You were to be a faithful physician of the souls as well as of the bodies of those under your charge. Had you fulfilled this trust, using aright the talents God gave you, you would not have worked alone. One who never makes a mistake was presiding. Only the Holy Spirit’s power can keep the spirit sweet and fragrant, soft and subdued, enabling the worker to speak the right words at the right time.

You have not been faultless. Often you lost control of yourself. Then your words were not what they should have been. At times you were arbitrary and exacting. But when you were striving for the mastery over self, angels of God cooperated with you, because, through you, God was working to exalt His truth and cause it to receive honored recognition in the world. God gave you wisdom, not that your name should be magnified, but that those coming to the sanitarium in Battle Creek should carry away with them favorable impressions regarding the work of Seventh-day Adventists and respect for the principles that are the foundation of their work. The honor given you did not come to you because you were righteous above all men, but because God desired to use you as His Instrument.

God’s Purpose in Establishing the Sanitarium

It was God’s purpose that in the sanitarium, missionaries, teachers, and physicians should become acquainted with the third angel’s message, which embraces so much. Angels of God were to be your strength in the work that was to be done in order that the Battle Creek Sanitarium might be known as an institution under the special supervision of God. The missionary feeling and the sympathy that prevailed in this institution was a result of the work of invisible heavenly agencies there. God said: “I thought it good to show signs and wonders. In My might I wrought to glorify My name.” Many have gone from the sanitarium with new hearts. The change has been decided. These, returning to their homes, have been as lights in the world. Their voices have been heard, saying: “Come all ye that fear God, and I will make known to you what He hath done for my soul. I have seen His greatness; I have tasted His goodness.”


A World-Wide Work

The Lord has shown me that if the enemy can by any means divert the work into wrong channels, and thus hinder its advancement, he will do so. Many of our people have made investments without sitting down to count the cost, without finding out whether there was money enough to carry forward the work started. Shortsightedness has been shown. Men have failed to see that the Lord’s vineyard embraces the world.

The income of the sanitariums that have been established is not to be drawn upon to sustain numerous lines of work for the lower classes in our wicked cities. Much of the means that has been used to sustain this large and ever-increasing work should, by the Lord’s order, have been used in making plants in other countries, where the light of health reform has not shone. Sanitariums, less costly than the large ones erected in America, should have been built in many lands. Thus plants would have been made which, when strong, would have assisted to make plants in other places.

The Lord is not partial. But He has been misrepresented by His workmen. That which should have been done in many different parts of His vineyard has been greatly hindered, because men at the heart of the work have failed to see how the work could be advanced in more distant parts of the vineyard. In some parts of the field the work has been overdone. In this way money has been absorbed that should have been used to enable workers in other parts of the vineyard to move forward without hindrance in planting the standard of truth in new places. Some portions of the vineyard are not to be robbed in order that the means may be used freely in other portions of the field.


Man judges in accordance with his finite judgment. God looks at the character of the fruit borne and then judges the tree. In the name of the Lord I call upon all to think of the work that we are required to do and how this work is to be sustained. The world is the Lord’s vineyard, and it is to be worked.

It is not a great number of institutions, large buildings, and outward display that God requires, but the harmonious action of a peculiar people, a people chosen by God and precious, united with one another, their life hid with Christ in God. Every man is to stand in his lot and place, exerting a right influence in thought, word, and deed. When all God’s workers do this, and not till then, His work will be a complete, symmetrical whole.

A Word of Caution

God desires His institutions and His chosen, adopted children to honor Him by revealing the attributes of Christian character. The work that the gospel embraces as missionary work is a straightforward, substantial work, which will shine brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. God does not want the faith of His people to take on the features or appearance of the humanitarian work now called medical missionary work. The means and talents of His people are not to be buried in the slums of New York or Chicago. God’s work is to be carried on in right lines.

Self-denial and self-sacrifice are to be shown. We are to work as Christ worked, in simplicity and meekness, in lowliness and consecration. Thus we shall be enabled to do a work distinct from all other missionary work in our world.


There are many of those who are supposed to be rescued from the pit into which they have fallen who cannot be relied on as counselors, or trusted to engage in the work in these last days. The enemy is determined to mix error with truth. To do this he uses the opportunity given him by the debased class for whom so much labor and money are expended, the class whose appetites have been perverted through indulgence, whose souls have been abused, whose characters are misshapen and deformed, whose habits and desires are groveling, who think habitually upon evil. Such ones can be transformed in character; but how few there are with whom the work is thorough and lasting!

Some will be sanctified through the truth; but many make a superficial change in their habits and practices, and then suppose that they are Christians. They are received into church fellowship, but they are a great trouble and a great care. Through them Satan tries to sow in the church the seeds of jealousy, dishonesty, criticism, and accusing. Thus he tries to corrupt the other members of the church. The disposition that has mastered them from childhood, that led them to break away from all restraint and brought them down to degradation, still controls them. They are reported to be rescued, but too often time shows that the work done for them did not make them submissive children of God. At every supposed slight, resentful feelings rise. They cherish bitterness, wrath, malice. By their words and spirit they show that they have not been born again. Their tendencies are downward, tending to sensuality. They are untrustworthy, unthankful, unholy. Thus it is with all who have not been soundly converted. Every one of these marred characters, untransformed, becomes an efficient worker for Satan, creating dissension and strife.

The Lord has marked out our way of working. As a people we are not to imitate and fall in with Salvation Army methods. This is not the work that the Lord has given us to do. Neither is it our work to condemn them and speak harsh words against them. There are precious, self-sacrificing souls in the Salvation Army. We are to treat them kindly. There are in the Army honest souls, who are sincerely serving the Lord and who will see greater light, advancing to the acceptance of all truth. The Salvation Army workers are trying to save the neglected, downtrodden ones. Discourage them not. Let them do that class of work by their own methods and in their own way. But the Lord has plainly pointed out the work that Seventh-day Adventists are to do. Camp meetings and tent meetings are to be held. The truth for this time is to be proclaimed. A decided testimony is to be borne. And the discourses are to be so simple that children can understand them.


Helping or Hindering the Lord

There are those entering the medical missionary work who are in danger of bringing into it the objectionable sentiments received in their former education. They need to practice the principles laid down in the word of God, else the work will be marred by their preconceived ideas. When we work with all the sanctified ability that God has given us, when we put aside our will for the will of God, when self is crucified day by day, then good results are seen. We move forward in faith, knowing that our Lord has promised to undertake the work entrusted to Him and that He will accomplish it; for He never makes a mistake or a failure.

The Lord’s servants are merely stewards. The Lord will work through them when they surrender themselves to Him to be worked by the Holy Spirit. When by faith men place themselves in the Lord’s hands, saying, “Here am I; send me,” He accepts them for service. But men must not hinder His plans by ambitious devisings. For years the Lord has had a controversy with His people because they have followed their own judgment and have not relied on divine wisdom. Let the workers take heed lest they get in the Lord’s way, hindering the advancement of His work, thinking that their wisdom is sufficient for the successful planning and carrying forward of the work. If they do this, the Lord will correct their error. By His divine Spirit He enlightens and trains His workers. He shapes His own providences to carry forward His work according to His mind and will.


God’s Purpose for His Workers

If men will but humble themselves before God, if they will not exalt their judgment as the all-controlling influence, if they will make room for the Lord to plan and work, God will use the qualifications He has given them in a way that will glorify His name. He will purify His workers from all selfishness, cutting off the branches that would entwine around undesirable objects, pruning the vine so that it will produce fruit. God is the great Husbandman. He will make everything in the lives of those who are laborers together with Christ subservient to His great purpose of growth and fruit bearing. It is His plan, by conforming His servants day by day to the image of Christ, by making them partakers of the divine nature, to cause them to bear fruit abundantly. He desires His people, through actual experience in the truth of the gospel, to become true, solid, trustworthy, experimental missionaries. He would have them show results far higher, holier, and more definite than in our day have yet been revealed.

The potter takes the clay in his hands and molds and fashions it according to his own will. He kneads it and works it. He tears it apart and then presses it together. He wets it and then dries it. He lets it lie for a while without touching it. When it is perfectly pliable, he continues the work of making of it a vessel. He forms it into shape and on the wheel trims and polishes it. He dries it in the sun and bakes it in the oven. Thus it becomes a vessel fit for use. So the great Master Worker desires to mold and fashion us. And as the clay is in the hands of the potter, so are we to be in His hands. We are not to try to do the work of the potter. Our part is to yield ourselves to the molding of the Master Worker.


The Need of Wise Counselors

The Lord has appointed the physicians in the sanitarium to stand as faithful sentinels. Through them God desired to do the work that must be done in the institution. They were to be your helpers. Through them impressions were to be made in regard to the work of relieving suffering humanity.

But you have needed the counsel of others besides your colaborers. Fresh, new ideas were needed in your counsels, for not all your plans bore the divine credentials. You have been swaying the minds of those connected with you in the medical missionary work, until you and they were becoming like men lost in the fog of uncertainty.

I was instructed by the Lord that your temptation would be to make your medical missionary work stand independent of the conference. But this plan was not right. I saw that you could not plan as you had been doing, or carry out your ideas, without injury to yourself and to the cause of God.

A Divine Helper

My brother, as a surgeon you have had the most critical cases to handle, and at times a dread has come upon you. To perform these difficult duties, you knew that rapid work must be done and that no false moves must be made. Again and again you had to pass swiftly from task to task. Who has been by your side as you have performed these critical operations? Who has kept you calm and self-possessed in the crisis, giving you quick, sharp discernment, clear eyesight, steady nerves, and skillful precision? The Lord Jesus has sent His angel to your side to tell you what to do. A hand has been laid upon your hand. Jesus, and not you, has guided the movements of your instrument. At times you have realized this, and a wonderful calmness has come over you. You dared not hurry, and yet you worked rapidly, knowing that there was not a moment to lose.


The Lord has greatly blessed you. You have been under the divine guidance. Others who knew not of the presiding Presence working with you gave you all the glory. Eminent physicians have witnessed your operations and praised your skill. This has been pleasant to you. You have been greatly honored by God, that His name, not yours, should be magnified; but you have not always been able to endure the seeing of the Invisible. You have had a desire to distinguish yourself, and you have not at all times placed your entire dependence upon God. You have not been willing to heed the counsel of the Lord’s servants. In your own wisdom you have planned many things. The Lord would have you respect the gospel ministry. At the very time when you needed discernment, that you might see, not only one side of the work, but all sides, you chose for counselors men under the reproof of God. You were willing to link up with them if they would second your propositions.

By prayer and consecration, by seeking the Lord for wisdom and surrendering yourself to His guidance, you would have been prevented from starting many enterprises that have been born, not of the will of God, but of the will of man. You were given your appointed work. But you have neglected things of great importance to take up, with impulsive spirit, unadvised by the Lord or your brethren, things of minor importance. Your brethren could have given you counsel, but you despised any word that interfered with your plans. This has placed you in a difficult position. Had you abode by your appointed work, God would have made you more and more a successful laborer together with Him.


The Lord wants your mind to blend with other minds. Sometimes, when His servants have differed from you, this was the very thing that God required them to do. But you treated their advice in such a way that afterward they remained silent when they should have spoken. God desires those whom He has placed in positions of trust to do justice and judgment in all wisdom.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8 pp. 179-188