Testimony for the Church — No. 11

The Health Reform

In the vision given me in Rochester, N. Y., Dec. 25, 1865, I was shown that our Sabbath-keeping people have been negligent in acting upon the light which God has given in regard to the Health Reform; that there was yet a great work before us; and that, as a people, we have been too backward to follow in God's opening providence as he has chosen to lead us. T11 40.1

I was shown that this work of Health Reform was scarcely entered upon yet. While some feel deeply, and act out their faith in this work, others remain indifferent and have scarcely taken the first step in reform. There seems to be in them a heart of unbelief, and as this reform restricts the lustful appetite, many will shrink. They have other gods before the Lord. Their taste, their appetite, is their god; and when the axe is laid at the root of the tree, and these who have indulged their depraved appetites at the expense of health are touched, and their sin pointed out, and their idols shown them, they do not wish to be convinced, and some will cling to hurtful things which they love, although God's voice should speak directly to them, to put away those health-destroying indulgences. They seem joined to their idols, and God will soon say to his angels, Let them alone. T11 41.1

I was shown that the Health Reform is a part of the third angel's message, and is just as closely connected with this message, as the arm and hand with the human body. I saw that we as a people must make an advance move in this great work. Ministers and people must act in concert. God's people are not prepared for the loud cry of the third angel. They have a work to do for themselves which they should not leave for God to do for them. He has left this work for them to do. It is an individual work. One cannot do this work for another. “Having these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Gluttony has been the prevailing sin of this age. Lustful appetite has made slaves of men and women, and has beclouded their intellects and stupefied their moral sensibilities to such a degree that the sacred, elevated, truths of God's word have not been appreciated. The lower propensities have ruled men and women. T11 41.2

In order for the people of God to be fitted for translation, they must know themselves. They must understand in regard to their own physical frames, that they can, with the psalmist, exclaim, “I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” They should ever have the appetite in subjection to the moral and intellectual organs. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body. T11 42.1

I was shown that there was a much greater work before us than we have yet had any idea of, if we would insure health by placing ourselves in the right relation to life. Dr. Jackson has been doing a great and good work in the treatment of disease, and in enlightening those who have all their lives been in ignorance in regard to the relation that eating, drinking, and working, sustain to health. God in his mercy has given his people light through his humble instrument, that in order for them to overcome disease, they must deny a depraved appetite, and practice temperance in all things. He has caused great light to shine upon their pathway. Shall those who are “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” be behind the religionists of the day who have no faith in the soon appearing of our Saviour? The peculiar people whom he is purifying unto himself, to be translated to Heaven without seeing death, should not be behind others in their good works. Their efforts to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, should be as far ahead of any class of people on the earth, as their profession is more exalted than that of others. T11 42.2

Some have sneered at this work of reform, and have said it was all unnecessary; that it was an excitement to divert minds from present truth. They have said that matters were being carried to extremes. Such do not know what they are talking about. While men and women professing godliness are diseased from the crown of the head to the soles of their feet, while their physical, mental and moral energies are enfeebled through gratification of depraved appetite, and excessive labor, how can they weigh the evidences of truth, and comprehend the requirements of God? If their moral and intellectual faculties are beclouded, they cannot appreciate the value of the atonement or the exalted character of the work of God, or delight in the study of his word. How can a nervous dyspeptic be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh him a reason of the hope that is in him, with meekness and fear? How soon would a nervous dyspeptic become confused and agitated, and his diseased imagination lead him to view matters in altogether a wrong light, and he dishonor his profession while contending with unreasonable men, by a lack of that meekness and calmness which characterized the life of Christ? Viewing matters from a high religious stand-point, we must be thorough reformers in order to be Christ-like. T11 43.1

I saw that our heavenly Father has bestowed upon us this great blessing of light upon the Health Reform, that we may obey the claims which he has upon us and glorify him in our bodies and spirits which are his, that we may finally stand without fault before the throne of God. T11 44.1

I was shown that our faith requires us to elevate the standard, and make an advance. While many question the course pursued by other health reformers, they, as reasonable men, should do something themselves. Our race is in a deplorable condition, suffering from disease of every description. Many have inherited disease, and are great sufferers because of the wrong habits of their parents; and yet they pursue the same wrong course in regard to themselves and their children which was pursued toward them. They are ignorant in regard to themselves. They are sick and do not know that their own wrong habits are causing them immense suffering. T11 44.2

There are but few as yet that are aroused sufficiently to understand how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their characters, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny. T11 44.3

I saw that it was the duty of those who have received the light given from Heaven, and have realized the benefit of walking in the light, to manifest a greater interest for those who are suffering for want of knowledge. I saw that Sabbath-keepers who are looking for the soon appearing of their Saviour should be the last to manifest a lack of interest in this great work of reform. Men and women must be instructed. Ministers and people should feel that the burden of the work rests upon them to agitate the subject, and urge it home upon the people. T11 45.1

I was shown that we should provide a home for the afflicted, and those who wish to learn how to take care of their bodies that they may prevent sickness. We should not remain indifferent and compel our sick who are desirous of living out the truth, to go to popular water-cure institutions for the recovery of health, where no sympathy for our faith exists. If they recover health it may be at the expense of their religious faith. Those who have suffered greatly from bodily infirmities are weak in both mental and moral strength. As they realize the benefit derived from correct application of water, the right use of air and a proper diet, they are led to believe that the physicians who understood how to treat them thus successfully, cannot be greatly at fault in their religious faith; that as they are engaged in the great and good work of benefiting suffering humanity, they must be nearly or quite right. And thus our people are in danger of being ensnared through the efforts made to recover their health at these establishments. T11 45.2

Again I was shown that those who are strongly fortified with religious principles and are firm in the faith of obeying all God's requirements, cannot receive that benefit from the popular health institutions of the day that others of a different faith can. Sabbath-keepers are singular in their faith. To keep all God's commandments as he requires them to do, in order to be owned and approved of him, is exceedingly difficult in a popular water-cure. They have to carry along with them at all times the gospel sieve and sift everything they hear, that they may choose the good and refuse the bad. T11 46.1

The water-cure establishment at Dansville, has been the best institution in the United States. They have been doing a great and good work as far as the treatment of disease is concerned. Yet we cannot have confidence in their religious principles. While they profess to be Christians, they recommend to their patients, card-playing, dancing, and attending theaters, all of which have a tendency to evil, or to say the very least, have the appearance of evil, and are directly contrary to the teachings of Christ and his apostles. Conscientious Sabbath-keepers who visit these institutions for the purpose of regaining health, cannot receive the benefit they would if they were not obliged to keep themselves constantly guarded lest they compromise their faith and dishonor the cause of their Redeemer, and bring their own souls into bondage. T11 46.2

I was shown that Sabbath-keepers should open a way for those of like precious faith to be benefited without their being under the necessity of expending their means at institutions where their faith and religious principles are endangered, and where there is no sympathy or union with them in regard to their belief. T11 47.1

I was shown that God in his providence had directed the course of Dr. H. S. Lay to Dansville, that he might there obtain an experience he would not otherwise have had, for he had a work for him to do in the Health Reform. As a practicing physician, for years he had been obtaining a knowledge of the human system, and God would now have him by precept and practice obtain a knowledge of how to apply the blessings he has placed within the reach of man, and thus be prepared to benefit the sick, and instruct those who lack knowledge how to preserve the strength and health they already have, and by a wise use of pure water, air and diet, Heaven's remedies, prevent disease. T11 47.2

I was shown that Dr. Lay was a cautious and strictly conscientious man; a man that God loves. He has passed through many trials, which have worked for his good, although he could not at all times while passing through them, see how he could be benefited by them. Dr. Lay is not a man that will become exalted, while he believes the truth and follows in its path. He is not a man that will be arbitrary or over-bearing. He is too fearful of putting on that dignity which his position would allow him to maintain. He will counsel with others, and is easy to be entreated, and his great danger will be a willingness to take on burdens which he ought not to bear. He sees and feels what ought to be done, and will be in danger of doing too much. He is extremely sensitive and sympathetic, and will feel to the very depth all the cases of his patients; and, if he is permitted, will carry so heavy a load of responsibility as to be crushed under its weight. T11 47.3

I was shown that men and women of influence should help Bro. Lay with their prayers, their sympathy, their hearty co-operation, their cheering, hopeful words, and their counsel and advice, all of which will be appreciated by him. His position cannot be an enviable one. If he assumes so great responsibilities it will not be from choice, or to obtain a livelihood; for he can procure this in a much easier way and avoid the care, anxiety, and perplexity, which such a position would bring upon him. Duty alone will lead him; and when he is once convinced where lies the path of duty, he will follow it, and stand at his post, let the consequences be what they may; and he should have the sympathy and co-operation of those who have influence, those whom God would have stand by his side and sustain him in this laborious work. Dr. Lay could, so far as this world is concerned, do better than in the position he now occupies. I was shown that it would be a most difficult position for him to be placed in. Many would have no idea of the magnitude of the enterprise, and many who have no experience would want things to go according to their ideas; and some would wonder why the poor could not come and be treated for nothing, and would be tempted to think that it was a money-making enterprise after all; and this one, and that and the other, would wish to have something to say, and would have just about so much fault to find let matters go as they would; for I was shown that some would consider it a virtue to be jealous, and stand out and oppose. They pride themselves on not receiving everything just as soon as it comes. Like Thomas they boast of their unbelief. But did Jesus commend unbelieving Thomas? As he granted him the evidence he had declared that he would have before he would believe, Jesus saith unto him, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me thou hast believed, blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” T11 48.1

I was shown that there is no lack of means among Sabbath-keeping Adventists. At present their greatest danger is through their accumulations of property. Some are continually increasing their cares and labors. They are overcharged; and the result is God and the wants of his cause are nearly forgotten by them; and they are spiritually dead. They are required to sacrifice to God an offering. A sacrifice does not increase, but decreases and consumes. T11 49.1

Here, I was shown, was a worthy object for God's people to engage in; and where they can invest means which will advance the glory of God. I was shown that there was an abundance of means among our people which was only proving an injury to those who were holding on to it. T11 49.2

Our people should have an institution of their own, under their own control, for the benefit of the diseased and suffering among us, who wish to have health and strength, that they may glorify God in their bodies and spirits which are his. Such an institution, rightly conducted, would be a means of bringing our views before many whom it would be impossible for us to reach by the common course of advocating the truth. As unbelievers shall resort to an institution devoted to the successful treatment of disease, and conducted by Sabbath-keeping physicians, they are brought directly under the influence of the truth. By becoming acquainted with Sabbath-keepers, and our real faith, their prejudice is overcome, and they are favorably impressed. By thus being placed under the influence of truth, some will not only obtain relief from bodily infirmities, but their sin-sick souls will find a healing balm. T11 50.1

As the health of invalids improves under judicious treatment, and they begin to enjoy life, they have confidence in those who have been instrumental in their restoration to comfortable health. Their hearts are filled with gratitude, and the good seed of truth will find a lodgement in the heart more readily, and will, in some cases, be nourished, spring up, and bear fruit to the glory of God. One such precious soul saved, will be worth more than all the means which will be needed to establish such an enterprise. T11 50.2

Some will not have moral courage enough to yield to their convictions. They are convinced that Sabbath-keepers have the truth; but the world and unbelieving relatives are obstacles to their reception of truth. They cannot bring their mind to the point to sacrifice all for Christ. Yet some of this last-mentioned class will go away with their prejudice removed, and will stand as defenders of the faith of Sabbath-keeping Adventists. T11 51.1

Some who will come to such an institution and go away restored, or greatly benefited, will use their influence in favor of Sabbath-keepers, which will be the means of introducing our faith in new places, and raising the standard of truth where it would have been impossible to gain access had not prejudice been first removed from minds by a tarry among our people for the object of gaining their health. T11 51.2

And some will prove sources of trial as they go to their homes. Yet this should not discourage any, or hinder them in their efforts in this good work. Satan and his agents will do all they can to hinder, to perplex, and bring burdens upon those who earnestly engage with all their hearts to advance this work of reform. T11 51.3

There is a liberal supply of means among our people to carry forward this great enterprise without any embarrassment, if all will feel the importance of the work. All should feel a special interest in sustaining this enterprize; and especially those who have means, should invest in it. A suitable home should be fitted up for the reception of invalids, that they may, through the use of proper means and the blessing of God, be relieved of their infirmities, and learn how to take care of themselves, and thus prevent sickness. T11 51.4

Many who profess the truth are growing close and covetous. They need to be alarmed for themselves. They have so much of their treasure upon the earth, that their hearts are on their treasure. They have much the largest share of their treasure in this world, and but little in Heaven; therefore their hearts and affections are placed on earthly possessions instead of on the heavenly inheritance. There is now a good object before them where they can use their means for the benefit of suffering humanity, and also for the advancement of the truth. This enterprise should never be left to struggle in poverty. These stewards to whom God has entrusted means should now come up to the work and use their means to the glory of God. Those who through covetousness withhold their means will find it will prove to them a curse rather than a blessing. T11 52.1

I was shown that those to whom God has entrusted means should invest something in providing a fund to be used for the object of benefiting the sick worthy poor, who are not able to defray the expenses of receiving treatment at the institution. There are some precious, worthy poor whose influence has been a benefit to the cause of God. A fund should be deposited, without calling for returns, to be used for the express purpose of treating such of the poor as the church where these poor reside shall decide are worthy to be benefited with this fund. T11 52.2

Those who have of their abundance, and are thinking that the poor will be unable to avail themselves of the benefits derived from the treatment of disease at the institution, where means are required for labor bestowed, should give of their abundance for this object, that such an institution need not in its infancy while struggling to live, become embarrassed, by a constant expenditure of means without realizing any returns. T11 53.1