Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4


Chapter 52—Moral and Intellectual Culture

In the view given me October 9, 1878, I was shown the position which our sanitarium at Battle Creek should occupy and the character and influence which should be maintained by all connected with it. This important institution has been established by the providence of God, and His blessing is indispensable to its success. The physicians are not quacks nor infidels, but men who understand the human system and the best methods of treating disease—men who fear God and who have an earnest interest for the moral and spiritual welfare of their patients. This interest for spiritual as well as physical good the managers of the institution should make no effort to conceal. By a life of true Christian integrity they can give to the world an example worthy of imitation, and they should not hesitate to let it be seen that in addition to their skill in treating disease, they are continually gaining wisdom and knowledge from Christ, the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. They must have this connection with the Source of all wisdom, to make their labor successful. 4T 545.1

Truth has a power to elevate the receiver. If Bible truth exerts its sanctifying influence upon the heart and character, it will make believers more intelligent. A Christian will understand his responsibilities to God and to his fellow men if he is truly connected with the Lamb of God, who gave His life for the world. Only by a continual improvement of the intellectual as well as the moral powers can we hope to answer the purpose of our Creator. 4T 545.2

God is displeased with those who are too careless or indolent to become efficient, well-informed workers. The Christian should possess more intelligence and keener discernment than the worldling. The study of God's word is continually expanding the mind and strengthening the intellect. There is nothing that will so refine and elevate the character, and give vigor to every faculty, as the continual exercise of the mind to grasp and comprehend weighty and important truths. 4T 545.3

The human mind becomes dwarfed and enfeebled when dealing with commonplace matters only, never rising above the level of the things of time and sense to grasp the mysteries of the unseen. The understanding is gradually brought to the level of the subjects with which it is constantly familiar. The mind will contract its powers and lose its ability if it is not exercised to acquire additional knowledge and put to the stretch to comprehend the revelations of divine power in nature and in the Sacred Word. 4T 546.1

But an acquaintance with facts and theories, however important they may be in themselves, is of little real value unless put to a practical use. There is danger that those who have obtained their education principally from books will fail to realize that they are novices so far as experimental knowledge is concerned. This is especially true of those connected with the sanitarium. This institution needs men of thought and ability. The physicians, superintendent, matron, and helpers should be persons of culture and experience. But some fail to comprehend what is needed at such an establishment, and they plod on, year after year, making no marked improvement. They seem to be stereotyped; each succeeding day is but a repetition of the past one. 4T 546.2

The minds and hearts of these mechanical workers are impoverished. Opportunities are before them; if studious, they might obtain an education of the highest value; but they do not appreciate their privileges. None should rest satisfied with their present education. All may be daily qualifying themselves to fill some office of trust. 4T 546.3

It is of great importance that the one who is chosen to care for the spiritual interests of patients and helpers be a man of sound judgment and undeviating principle, a man who will have moral influence, who knows how to deal with minds. He should be a person of wisdom and culture, of affection as well as intelligence. He may not be thoroughly efficient in all respects at first, but he should, by earnest thought and the exercise of his abilities, qualify himself for this important work. The greatest wisdom and gentleness are needed to serve in this position acceptably yet with unbending integrity, for prejudice, bigotry, and error of every form and description must be met. 4T 546.4

This place should not be filled by a man who has an irritable temper, a sharp combativeness. Care must be taken that the religion of Christ be not made repulsive by harshness or impatience. The servant of God should seek, by meekness, gentleness, and love, rightly to represent our holy faith. While the cross must never be concealed, he should present also the Saviour's matchless love. The worker must be imbued with the spirit of Jesus, and then the treasures of the soul will be presented in words that will find their way to the hearts of those who hear. The religion of Christ, exemplified in the daily life of His followers, will exert a tenfold greater influence than the most eloquent sermons. 4T 547.1

Intelligent, God-fearing workers can do a vast amount of good in the way of reforming those who come as invalids to be treated at the sanitarium. These persons are diseased, not only physically, but mentally and morally. The education, the habits, and the entire life of many have been erroneous. They cannot in a few days make the great changes necessary for the adoption of correct habits. They must have time to consider the matter and to learn the right way. If all connected with the sanitarium are correct representatives of the truths of health reform and of our holy faith, they are exerting an influence to mold the minds of their patients. The contrast of erroneous habits with those which are in harmony with the truth of God has a convicting power. 4T 547.2

Man is not what he might be and what it is God's will that he should be. The strong power of Satan upon the human race keeps them upon a low level; but this need not be so, else Enoch could not have become so elevated and ennobled as to walk with God. Man need not cease to grow intellectually and spiritually during his lifetime. But the minds of many are so occupied with themselves and their own selfish interests as to leave no room for higher and nobler thoughts. And the standard of intellectual as well as spiritual attainments is far too low. With many, the more responsible the position they occupy, the better pleased are they with themselves; and they cherish the idea that the position gives character to the man. Few realize that they have a constant work before them to develop forbearance, sympathy, charity, conscientiousness, and fidelity—traits of character indispensable to those who occupy positions of responsibility. All connected with the sanitarium should have a sacred regard for the rights of others, which is but obeying the principles of the law of God. 4T 547.3

Some at this institution are sadly deficient in the qualities so essential to the happiness of all connected with them. The physicians, and the helpers in the various branches of the work, should carefully guard against a selfish coldness, a distant, unsocial disposition; for this will alienate the affection and confidence of the patients. Many who come to the sanitarium are refined, sensitive people of ready tact and keen discernment. These persons discover such defects at once and comment upon them. Men cannot love God supremely and their neighbor as themselves, and be as cold as icebergs. Not only do they rob God of the love due Him, but they rob their neighbor as well. Love is a plant of heavenly growth, and it must be fostered and nourished. Affectionate hearts, truthful, loving words, will make happy families and exert an elevating influence upon all who come within the sphere of their influence. 4T 548.1

Those who make the most of their privileges and opportunities will be, in the Bible sense, talented and educated men; not learned merely, but educated, in mind, in manners, in deportment. They will be refined, tender, pitiful, affectionate. This, I was shown, is what the God of heaven requires in the institutions at Battle Creek. God has given us powers to be used, to be developed and strengthened by education. We should reason and reflect, carefully marking the relation between cause and effect. When this is practiced, there will be, on the part of many, greater thoughtfulness and care in regard to their words and actions, that they may fully answer the purpose of God in their creation. 4T 548.2

We should ever bear in mind that we are not only learners but teachers in this world, fitting ourselves and others for a higher sphere of action in the future life. The measure of man's usefulness is in knowing the will of God and doing it. It is within our power to so improve in mind and manners that God will not be ashamed to own us. There must be a high standard at the sanitarium. If there are men of culture, of intellectual and moral power, to be found in our ranks, they must be called to the front, to fill places in our institutions. 4T 549.1

The physicians should not be deficient in any respect. A wide field of usefulness is open before them, and if they do not become skillful in their profession they have only themselves to blame. They must be diligent students; and, by close application and faithful attention to details, they should become care-takers. It should be necessary for no one to follow them to see that their work is done without mistakes. 4T 549.2

Those who occupy responsible positions should so educate and discipline themselves that all within the sphere of their influence may see what man can be, and what he can do, when connected with the God of wisdom and power. And why should not a man thus privileged become intellectually strong? Again and again have worldlings sneeringly asserted that those who believe present truth are weak-minded, deficient in education, without position or influence. This we know to be untrue, but is there not some reason for these assertions? Many have considered it a mark of humility to be ignorant and uncultivated. Such persons are deceived as to what constitutes true humility and Christian meekness. 4T 549.3