We should strive to restore to physical and spiritual health those who come to our sanitariums. Let us therefore make preparation to draw them for a season away from those surroundings that lead away from God, into a purer atmosphere. Out of doors, surrounded by the beautiful things that God has made, breathing the fresh, health-giving air, the sick can best be told of the new life in Christ. Here God’s words can be taught. Here the sunshine of Christ’s righteousness can shine into hearts darkened by sin. Patiently, sympathetically, lead the sick to see their need of the Saviour. Tell them that He gives power to the faint and that to those who have no might He increases strength.
We need to appreciate more fully the meaning of the words: “I sat down under His shadow with great delight.” Song of Solomon 2:3. These words do not bring to our minds the picture of hasty transit, but of quiet rest. There are many professing Christians who are anxious and depressed, many who are so full of busy activity that they cannot find time to rest quietly in the promises of God, who act as if they could not afford to have peace and quietness. To all such Christ’s invitation is: “Come unto Me, … and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
Let us turn from the dusty, heated thoroughfares of life to rest in the shadow of Christ’s love. Here we gain strength for conflict. Here we learn how to lessen toil and worry, and how to speak and sing to the praise of God. Let the weary and the heavy-laden learn from Christ the lesson of quiet trust. They must sit under His shadow if they would be possessors of His peace and rest.
Those who engage in sanitarium work should have a treasure house full of rich experience because the truth is implanted in the heart and as a holy thing is tended and fed by the grace of God. Rooted and grounded in the truth, they should have a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Constantly asking for blessings, they should keep the windows of the soul closed earthward against the malarious atmosphere of the world and opened heavenward to receive the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.
Who is preparing to take hold understandingly of medical missionary work? By this work the minds of those who come to our sanitariums for treatment are to be led to Christ and taught to unite their weakness with His strength. Every worker should be understandingly efficient. Then in a high, broad sense he can present the truth as it is in Jesus.
The workers in our sanitariums are continually exposed to temptation. They are brought in contact with unbelievers, and those who are not sound in the faith will be harmed by the contact. But those who are abiding in Christ will meet unbelievers as He met them, refusing to be drawn from their allegiance, but always ready to speak a word in season, always ready to sow the seeds of truth. They will watch unto prayer, firmly maintaining their integrity and daily showing the consistency of their religion. The influence of such workers is a blessing to many. By a well-ordered life they draw souls to the cross. A true Christian constantly acknowledges Christ. He is always cheerful, always ready to speak words of hope and comfort to the suffering.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7. One sentence of Scripture is of more value than ten thousand of man’s ideas or arguments. Those who refuse to follow God’s way will finally receive the sentence, “Depart from Me.” But when we submit to God’s way, the Lord Jesus guides our minds and fills our lips with assurance. We may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Receiving Christ, we are clothed with power. An indwelling Saviour makes His power our property. The truth becomes our stock in trade. No unrighteousness is seen in the life. We are able to speak words in season to those who know not the truth. Christ’s presence in the heart is a vitalizing power, strengthening the entire being.
I am instructed to say to our sanitarium workers that unbelief and self-sufficiency are the dangers against which they must constantly guard. They are to carry forward the warfare against evil with such earnestness and devotion that the sick will feel the uplifting influence of their unselfish efforts.
No taint of self-seeking is to mar our service. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Lift Him up, the Man of Calvary. Lift Him up by living faith in God, that your prayers may prevail. Do we realize how near Jesus will come to us? He is speaking to us individually. He will reveal Himself to everyone who is willing to be clothed with the robe of His righteousness. He declares: “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand.” Let us place ourselves where He can hold us by the hand, where we can hear Him saying with assurance and authority: “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.”
Chapter 14—A Message to Our Physicians
The Christian physician is to be to the sick a messenger of mercy, bringing to them a remedy for the sin-sick soul as well as for the diseased body. As he uses the simple remedies that God has provided for the relief of physical suffering, he is to speak of Christ’s power to heal the maladies of the soul.
How necessary that the physician live in close communion with the Saviour! The sick and suffering with whom he deals need the help that Christ alone can give. They need prayers indited by His Spirit. The afflicted one leaves himself to the wisdom and mercy of the physician, whose skill and faithfulness may be his only hope. Let the physician, then, be a faithful steward of the grace of God, a guardian of the soul as well as of the body.
The physician who has received wisdom from above, who knows that Christ is his personal Saviour, because he has himself been led to the Refuge, knows how to deal with the trembling, guilty, sin-sick souls who turn to him for help. He can respond with assurance to the inquiry: “What must I do to be saved?” He can tell the story of the Redeemer’s love. He can speak from experience of the power of repentance and faith. As he stands by the bedside of the sufferer, striving to speak words that will bring to him help and comfort, the Lord works with him and through him. As the mind of the afflicted one is fastened on the Mighty Healer, the peace of Christ fills his heart; and the spiritual health that comes to him is used as the helping hand of God in restoring the health of the body.
Precious are the opportunities that the physician has of awakening in the hearts of those with whom he is brought in contact a sense of their great need of Christ. He is to bring from the treasure house of the heart things new and old, speaking the words of comfort and instruction that are longed for. Constantly he is to sow the seeds of truth, not presenting doctrinal subjects, but speaking of the love of the sin-pardoning Saviour. Not only should he give instruction from the word of God, line upon line, precept upon precept; he is to moisten this instruction with his tears and make it strong with his prayers, that souls may be saved from death.
In their earnest, feverish anxiety to avert the peril of the body, physicians are in danger of forgetting the peril of the soul. Physicians, be on your guard, for at the judgment seat of Christ you must meet those at whose death-bed you now stand.
The solemnity of the physician’s work, his constant contact with the sick and the dying, require that, so far as possible, he be removed from the secular duties that others can perform. No unnecessary burdens should be laid on him, that he may have time to become acquainted with the spiritual needs of his patients. His mind should be ever under the influence of the Holy Spirit, that he may be able to speak in season the words that will awaken faith and hope.
At the bedside of the dying no word of creed or controversy is to be spoken. The sufferer is to be pointed to the One who is willing to save all who come to Him in faith. Earnestly, tenderly, strive to help the soul that is hovering between life and death.
The physician should never lead his patients to fix their attention on him. He is to teach them to grasp with the hand of faith the outstretched hand of the Saviour. Then the mind will be illuminated with the light radiating from the Sun of Righteousness. What physicians attempt to do, Christ did in deed and in truth. They try to save life; He is life itself.
The physician’s effort to lead the minds of his patients to healthy action must be free from all human enchantment. It must not grovel to humanity, but soar aloft to the spiritual, grasping the things of eternity.
The physician should not be made the object of unkind criticism. This places on him an unnecessary burden. His cares are heavy, and he needs the sympathy of those connected with him in the work. He is to be sustained by prayer. The realization that he is appreciated will give him hope and courage.
The intelligent Christian physician has a constantly increasing realization of the connection between sin and disease. He strives to see more and more clearly the relation between cause and effect. He sees that those who are taking the nurses’ course should be given a thorough education in the principles of health reform, that they should be taught to be strictly temperate in all things, because carelessness in regard to the laws of health is inexcusable in those set apart to teach others how to live.
When a physician sees that a patient is suffering from an ailment caused by improper eating and drinking, yet neglects to tell him of this and to point out the need of reform, he is doing a fellow being an injury. Drunkards, maniacs, those who are given over to licentiousness—all appeal to the physician to declare clearly and distinctly that suffering is the result of sin. We have received great light on health reform. Why, then, are we not more decidedly in earnest in striving to counteract the causes that produce disease? Seeing the continual conflict with pain, laboring constantly to alleviate suffering, how can our physicians hold their peace? Can they refrain from lifting the voice in warning? Are they benevolent and merciful if they do not teach strict temperance as a remedy for disease?
Physicians, study the warning which Paul gave to the Romans: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1, 2.
The spiritual work of our sanitariums is not to be under the control of physicians. This work requires thought and tact and a broad knowledge of the Bible. Ministers possessing these qualifications should be connected with our sanitariums. They should uplift the standard of temperance from a Christian point of view, showing that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and bringing to the minds of the people the responsibility resting upon them as God’s purchased possession to make mind and body a holy temple, fit for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When temperance is presented as a part of the gospel, many will see their need of reform. They will see the evil of intoxicating liquors and that total abstinence is the only platform on which God’s people can conscientiously stand. As this instruction is given, the people will become interested in other lines of Bible study.
Chapter 15—The Value of Outdoor Life
The great medical institutions in our cities, called sanitariums, do but a small part of the good they might do were they located where the patients could have the advantages of outdoor life. I have been instructed that sanitariums are to be established in many places in the country and that the work of these institutions will greatly advance the cause of health and righteousness.
The things of nature are God’s blessings, provided to give health to body, mind, and soul. They are given to the well to keep them well and to the sick to make them well. Connected with water treatment, they are more effective in restoring health than all the drug medication in the world.
In the country the sick find many things to call their attention away from themselves and their sufferings. Everywhere they can look upon and enjoy the beautiful things of nature—the flowers, the fields, the fruit trees laden with their rich treasure, the forest trees casting their grateful shade, and the hills and valleys with their varied verdure and many forms of life.
And not only are they entertained by these surroundings, but at the same time they learn most precious spiritual lessons. Surrounded by the wonderful works of God, their minds are lifted from the things that are seen to the things that are unseen. The beauty of nature leads them to think of the matchless charms of the earth made new, where there will be nothing to mar the loveliness, nothing to taint or destroy, nothing to cause disease or death.
Nature is God’s physician. The pure air, the glad sunshine, the beautiful flowers and trees, the orchards and vineyards, and outdoor exercise amid these surroundings, are health-giving—the elixir of life. Outdoor life is the only medicine that many invalids need. Its influence is powerful to heal sickness caused by fashionable life, a life that weakens and destroys the physical, mental, and spiritual powers.
How grateful to weary invalids accustomed to city life, the glare of many lights, and the noise of the streets are the quiet and freedom of the country! How eagerly do they turn to the scenes of nature! How glad would they be for the advantages of a sanitarium in the country, where they could sit in the open air, rejoice in the sunshine, and breathe the fragrance of tree and flower! There are life-giving properties in the balsam of the pine, in the fragrance of the cedar and the fir. And there are other trees that are health-promoting. Let no such trees be ruthlessly cut down. Cherish them where they are abundant, and plant more where there are but few.
For the chronic invalid nothing so tends to restore health and happiness as living amid attractive country surroundings. Here the most helpless ones can be left sitting or lying in the sunshine or in the shade of the trees. They have only to lift their eyes and they see above them the beautiful foliage. They wonder that they have never before noticed how gracefully the boughs bend, forming a living canopy over them, giving them just the shade they need. A sweet sense of restfulness and refreshing comes over them as they listen to the murmuring breezes. The drooping spirits revive. The waning strength is recruited. Unconsciously the mind becomes peaceful, the fevered pulse more calm and regular. As the sick grow stronger, they will venture to take a few steps to gather some of the lovely flowers—precious messengers of God’s love to His afflicted family here below.
Encourage the patients to be much in the open air. Devise plans to keep them out of doors, where, through nature, they can commune with God. Locate sanitariums on extensive tracts of land, where, in the cultivation of the soil, patients can have opportunity for healthful, outdoor exercise. Such exercise, combined with hygienic treatment, will work miracles in restoring and invigorating the diseased body and refreshing the worn and weary mind. Amid conditions so favorable the patients will not require so much care as if confined in a sanitarium in the city. Nor will they in the country be so much inclined to discontentment and repining. They will be ready to learn lessons in regard to the love of God, ready to acknowledge that He who cares so wonderfully for the birds and the flowers will care for the creatures formed in His own image. Thus opportunity is given physicians and helpers to reach souls, uplifting the God of nature before those who are seeking restoration to health.
In the night season I was given a view of a sanitarium in the country. The institution was not large, but it was complete. It was surrounded by beautiful trees and shrubbery, beyond which were orchards and groves. Connected with the place were gardens, in which the lady patients, when they chose, could cultivate flowers of every description, each patient selecting a special plot for which to care. Outdoor exercise in these gardens was prescribed as a part of the regular treatment.
Scene after scene passed before me. In one scene a number of suffering patients had just come to one of our country sanitariums. In another I saw the same company; but, oh, how transformed their appearance! Disease had gone, the skin was clear, the countenance joyful; body and mind seemed animated with new life.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7 pp. 69-78