Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1


Chapter 100—Health and Religion

[This and the following article are extracts from letters which I addressed to those at the head of the Health Institute, the first one, the first of May, 1867, and the second, in June following. E. G. W.]

God would have a health institution established which will in its influence be closely connected with the closing work for mortals fitting for immortality, one that will have no tendency to weaken the religious principles of old or young and which will not improve the health of the body to the detriment of spiritual growth. The great object of this institution should be to improve the health of the body, that the afflicted may more highly appreciate eternal things. If this object is not continually set before the mind and efforts are not made to this end, it will prove a curse instead of a blessing, spirituality will be regarded as a secondary thing, and the health of the body and diversion will be made primary. 1T 564.1

I saw that the high standard should not be lowered in the least in order that the institution may be patronized by unbelievers. If unbelievers choose to come while its conductors occupy the exalted spiritual position which God designs they should, there will be a power that will affect their hearts. With God and angels on their side, His commandment-keeping people can but prosper. This institution is not to be established for the object of gain, but to aid in bringing God's people into such a condition of physical and mental health as will enable them to rightly appreciate eternal things and to correctly value the redemption so dearly purchased by the sufferings of our Saviour. This institution is not to be made a place for diversion or amusement. Those who cannot live unless they have excitement and diversion will be of no use to the world; none are made better for their living. They might just as well be out of the world as to be in it. 1T 564.2

I saw that the view that spirituality is a detriment to health, which Dr. E sought to instill into the minds of others, is but the sophistry of the devil. Satan found his way into Eden and made Eve believe that she needed something more than that which God had given for her happiness, that the forbidden fruit would have a special exhilarating influence upon her body and mind, and would exalt her even to be equal with God in knowledge. But the knowledge and benefit she thought to gain proved to her a terrible curse. 1T 565.1

There are persons with a diseased imagination to whom religion is a tyrant, ruling them as with a rod of iron. Such are constantly mourning over their depravity and groaning over supposed evil. Love does not exist in their hearts; a frown is ever upon their countenances. They are chilled by the innocent laugh from the youth or from anyone. They consider all recreation or amusement a sin and think that the mind must be constantly wrought up to just such a stern, severe pitch. This is one extreme. Others think that the mind must be ever on the stretch to invent new amusements and diversions in order to gain health. They learn to depend on excitement, and are uneasy without it. Such are not true Christians. They go to another extreme. The true principles of Christianity open before all a source of happiness, the height and depth, the length and breadth of which are immeasurable. It is Christ in us a well of water springing up into everlasting life. It is a continual wellspring from which the Christian can drink at will and never exhaust the fountain. 1T 565.2

That which brings sickness of body and mind to nearly all is dissatisfied feelings and discontented repinings. They have not God, they have not the hope which reaches to that within the veil, which is as an anchor to the soul both sure and steadfast. All who possess this hope will purify themselves even as He is pure. Such are free from restless longings, repinings, and discontent; they are not continually looking for evil and brooding over borrowed trouble. But we see many who are having a time of trouble beforehand; anxiety is stamped upon every feature; they seem to find no consolation, but have a continual fearful looking for of some dreadful evil. 1T 566.1

Such dishonor God, and bring the religion of Christ into disrepute. They have not true love for God, nor for their companions and children. Their affections have become morbid. But vain amusements will never correct the minds of such. They need the transforming influence of the Spirit of God in order to be happy. They need to be benefited by the mediation of Christ, in order to realize consolation, divine and substantial. “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” Those who have an experimental knowledge of this scripture are truly happy. They consider the approbation of Heaven of more worth than any earthly amusement; Christ in them the hope of glory will be health to the body and strength to the soul. 1T 566.2

The simplicity of the gospel is fast disappearing from professed Sabbathkeepers. I inquire a hundred times a day, How can God prosper us? There is but little praying. In fact, prayer is almost obsolete. Few are willing to bear the cross of Christ, who bore the shameful cross for us. I cannot feel that things are moving at the Institute as God would have them move. I fear that He will turn His face from it. I was shown that physicians and helpers should be of the highest order, those who have an experimental knowledge of the truth, who will command respect, and whose word can be relied on. They should be persons who have not a diseased imagination, persons who have perfect self-control, who are not fitful or changeable, who are free from jealousy and evil surmising, persons who have a power of will that will not yield to slight indispositions, who are unprejudiced, who will think no evil, who think and move calmly, considerately, having the glory of God and the good of others ever before them. Never should one be exalted to a responsible position merely because he desires it. Those only should be chosen who are qualified for the position. Those who are to bear responsibilities should first be proved and give evidence that they are free from jealousy, that they will not take a dislike to this or that one, while they have a few favored friends and take no notice of others. God grant that all may move just right in that institution. 1T 566.3