Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene


Chapter 19—Fragments

Health is a treasure.—Of all temporal possessions it is the most precious. Wealth, learning, and honor are dearly purchased at the loss of the vigor of health. None of these can secure happiness, if health is lacking. It is a terrible sin to abuse the health that God has given us; such abuses enfeeble us for life, and make us losers, even if we gain by such means any amount of education. CTBH 150.1

Satan's Power—The present enfeebled condition of the human family has been presented before me. Every generation has been growing weaker, and diseases of every form afflict the race. Thousands of poor mortals, with deformed, sickly bodies, shattered nerves, and gloomy minds, are dragging out a miserable existence. Satan's power upon the human family increases. If the Lord were not soon to come and put an end to his cruel work, the earth would ere long be depopulated. CTBH 150.2

I was shown that Satan's power is especially exercised upon the people of God. Many were presented before me in a doubting, despairing condition. The infirmities of the body affect the mind. A cunning and powerful enemy attends our steps, and employs his strength and skill in trying to turn us out of the right way. Too often it is the case that the people of God are not on the watch, and are therefore ignorant of his devices. He works by means which will best conceal himself from view, and he often gains his object. CTBH 150.3

Appetite—Providence has been leading the people of God out from the extravagant habits of the world, away from the indulgence of appetite and passion, to take their stand upon the platform of self-denial, and temperance in all things. The people whom God is leading will be peculiar. They will not be like the world. If they follow the leadings of God, they will accomplish his purposes, and will yield their will to his will. Christ will dwell in the heart. The temple of God will be holy. Your body, says the apostle, is the temple of the Holy Ghost. God does not require his children to deny themselves to the injury of physical strength. He requires them to obey natural law, in order to preserve physical health. Nature's path is the road he marks out, and it is broad enough for any Christian. With a lavish hand God has provided us with rich and varied bounties for our sustenance and enjoyment. But in order for us to enjoy the natural appetite, which will preserve health and prolong life, he restricts the appetite. He says, Beware! restrain, deny, unnatural appetite. If we create a perverted appetite, we violate the laws of our being, and assume the responsibility of abusing our bodies and of bringing disease upon ourselves. CTBH 150.4

God has bountifully provided for the sustenance and happiness of all his creatures; if his laws were never violated, if all acted in harmony with the divine will, health, peace, and happiness, instead of misery and continual evil, would be the result. CTBH 151.1

Some are not impressed with the necessity of eating and drinking to the glory of God. The indulgence of appetite affects them in all the relations of life. It is seen in the family, in the church, in the prayer-meeting, and in the conduct of their children. It is the curse of their lives. It prevents them from understanding the truths for these last days. CTBH 151.2

I saw that God does not require any one to practice such rigid economy as to weaken or injure the temple of God. There are duties and requirements in his word to humble the church, and cause them to afflict their souls; there is no need of making crosses and manufacturing duties to distress the body, in order to cause humility. All this is outside the word of God. CTBH 151.3

The time of trouble is just before us, and then stern necessity will require the people of God to deny self, and eat merely enough to sustain life; but God will prepare them for that time. In that fearful hour, their necessity will be God's opportunity to impart strength, and sustain his people. But now God requires them to labor with their hands, the thing that is good, and lay by them in store as he has prospered them, and to do their part in sustaining the cause of truth. This is a duty enjoined upon all who are not especially called to labor in word and doctrine, to devote their time to proclaiming to others the way of life and salvation. CTBH 152.1

Those who labor with their hands, and those who labor in word and doctrine, must have a care to sustain their physical powers; for Satan and his evil angels are warring against them, seeking to undermine their strength. When they can, they should take rest both in body and mind, and should eat of nourishing food; for they will be obliged to use all the power they have. I saw that it does not glorify God in the least for any of his people to make a time of trouble for themselves. There is a time of trouble just before us, but he will prepare us for that fearful conflict. CTBH 152.2

The indulgence of lustful appetite wars against the soul; it is a constant hindrance to spiritual advancement. Those who yield to these lower impulses, bear an accusing conscience; and when strait truths are presented, they are ready to take offense. They are self-condemned, and think that these subjects have been purposely selected in order to reprove them. They feel grieved and injured, and withdraw themselves from the assemblies of the church. Then the conscience is not so disturbed. Thus they soon lose their interest in the meetings, and their love for the truth. If these will crucify fleshly lusts, the arrows of truth will pass harmlessly by them. But while they indulge lustful appetite, and thus cherish their idols, they make themselves a mark for the shafts of truth; if the truth is spoken at all, it must wound them. CTBH 152.3

Some think they cannot reform, that it would ruin their health to leave off the use of tea, tobacco, and flesh-meats. This is a suggestion of Satan. These hurtful stimulants will surely undermine the constitution, and prepare the system for acute disease; for they impair nature's delicate machinery, and batter down the fortifications she has erected against disease and premature decay. CTBH 153.1

Some feel as though they would like to have somebody tell them how much to eat. This is not as it should be. We are to act from a moral and religious standpoint. We are to be temperate in all things, because an incorruptible crown, a heavenly treasure, is before us. CTBH 153.2

I wish to say to my brethren and sisters, I would have moral courage to take my position, and govern myself. I would not want to put that on some one else. You eat too much, and then you are sorry; and so you keep thinking of what you eat and drink. Just eat that which is for the best, and go right away, feeling clear in the sight of Heaven, and you need not suffer from remorse of conscience. CTBH 153.3

We do not believe in removing temptation entirely away from either children or grown persons. We all have a warfare before us, and must stand in a position to resist the temptations of Satan. CTBH 153.4

Some have sneered at health reform, and have said it was all unnecessary, that it was an excitement which tended to divert minds from present truth. They have said that matters were 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 sole of the 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, nor 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 for the hope that is in him, with meekness and fear? How soon would such a one become confused and agitated, and by his diseased imagination be led to view matters in an altogether wrong light, and by a lack of that meekness and calmness which characterized the life of Christ, be caused to dishonor his profession while contending with unreasonable men? CTBH 153.5

As a people, with all our profession of health reform, we eat too much. Indulgence of appetite is the greatest cause of physical and mental debility, and lies at the foundation of a large share of the feebleness which is apparent everywhere. CTBH 154.1

The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, who, if they had conquered on this point, would have had the moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation. But those who are slaves to appetite will fail of perfecting Christian character. The continual transgression of man for over six thousand years has brought sickness, pain, and death as its fruit. And as we draw near the close of time, Satan's temptations to indulge appetite will be more powerful, and more difficult to resist. CTBH 154.2

There are but few who are roused sufficiently to understand how much their habits of diet affect their health, their character, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny. I saw that it is the duty of those who have received the light from heaven, and have realized the benefit of walking in it, to manifest a greater interest for those who are still suffering for want of knowledge. 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, and ministers and people should feel that the burden of the work rests upon them to agitate the subject and seek to educate others. CTBH 154.3

To become intelligent upon the subject of hygiene is the duty of every family professing to believe present truth. CTBH 155.1

Appetite and passion are overcoming thousands of Christ's professed followers. Through familiarity with sin, their senses become so blunted that evil seems attractive to them, rather than abhorrent. The end of all things is at hand. God will not much longer bear with the crimes and debasing iniquity of the children of men. Their sins have reached unto heaven, and will soon be answered by the fearful plagues of God upon the earth. They will drink the cup of his wrath, unmixed with mercy. CTBH 155.2

Church Trials—The abuses of the stomach by the gratification of appetite are a fruitful source of most church trials. Those who eat and work intemperately and irrationally, talk and act irrationally. It is not necessary to drink alcoholic liquors in order to be intemperate. The sin of intemperate eating—eating too frequently, too much, and of rich, unwholesome food—destroys the healthy action of the digestive organs, affects the brain, and perverts the judgment, preventing rational, calm, healthy thinking and acting. In order for the people of God to be in an acceptable state with him, where they can glorify him in their bodies and spirits, which are his, they must with interest and zeal deny the gratification of appetite, and exercise temperance in all things. Then they can comprehend the truth in its beauty and clearness, and carry it out in their lives, and by a judicious, straight-forward course give the enemies of our faith no occasion to reproach the cause of truth. God requires all who believe the truth to make special, persevering efforts to place themselves in the best possible condition of bodily health, for a solemn and important work is before us. Health of mind and body is required in this work; it is as essential to a healthy religious experience, to advancement in the Christian life, to progress in holiness, as is the hand or foot to the human body. God requires his people to cleanse themselves “from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” [2 Corinthians 7:1.] All who are indifferent, and excuse themselves from this work, waiting for the Lord to do for them what he requires them to do for themselves, will be found wanting when the meek of the earth, who have wrought his judgments, are hid in the day of the Lord's anger. CTBH 155.3

Cooking—For want of knowledge and skill in regard to cooking, many a wife and mother daily sets before her family ill-prepared food, which is steadily and surely impairing the digestive organs, and making a poor quality of blood; the result is, frequent attacks of inflammatory disease, and sometimes death. Many a life has been sacrificed by the eating of heavy, sour bread. An instance was related to me, of a hired girl who made a batch of such bread. In order to get rid of it and conceal the matter, she threw it to some very large hogs. Next morning the man of the house found his swine dead; and upon examining the trough he found pieces of this heavy bread. He made inquiries, and the girl acknowledged what she had done. She had not thought of the effect of such bread upon the swine. If sour, heavy bread will kill swine, which can devour rattlesnakes and almost every detestable thing, what effect must it have upon that tender organ, the human stomach? CTBH 156.1

It is a religious duty for every Christian girl and woman to learn to make good, sweet, light bread from unbolted wheat flour. Mothers should take their daughters into the kitchen with them when very young, and teach them the art of cooking. The mother cannot expect her daughters to understand the mysteries of housekeeping without education. She should instruct them patiently, lovingly, and make the work as agreeable as she can by her cheerful countenance and words of approval. If they fail once, twice, or thrice, censure not. Already discouragement is doing its work, and tempting them to say, “It is no use; I can't do it.” This is not the time for censure. The will is becoming weakened. It needs the spur of encouraging, cheerful, hopeful words: “Never mind the mistakes you have made. You are but a learner, and must expect to make blunders. Try again. Put your mind on what you are doing. Be very careful, and you will certainly succeed.” CTBH 157.1

Many mothers fail to realize the importance of this branch of knowledge, and rather than have the trouble and care of instructing their children and bearing with their failures and errors, they prefer to do all the cooking themselves. And when their daughters make mistakes in their efforts, they send them away with, “It is no use; you can't do this or that. You perplex and trouble me more than you help.” Thus the first efforts of the learners are repulsed, and the failure so cools their interest and ardor to learn that they dread another trial, and will propose to knit, sew, clean house,—anything but cook. Here the mother was greatly at fault. She should have patiently instructed them, that they might, by practice, acquire skill and efficiency. CTBH 157.2

We can have a variety of good, wholesome food, cooked in a healthful manner, so that it will be palatable to all. It is of vital importance to know how to cook. Poor cooking produces disease and bad tempers; the system becomes deranged, and heavenly things cannot be discerned. There is more religion in good cooking than you have any idea of. When I have been away from home sometimes, I have known that the bread upon the table, as well as most of the other food, would hurt me; but I would be obliged to eat a little in order to sustain life. It is a sin in the sight of Heaven to have such food. CTBH 157.3

Milk and Sugar—Large quantities of milk and sugar eaten together are injurious. They impart impurities to the system. Animals from which milk is obtained are not always healthy. Could we know that animals were in perfect health, I would recommend that people eat flesh-meats sooner than large quantities of milk and sugar. It would not do the injury that milk and sugar do. CTBH 158.1

There was a case in Michigan to which I will refer. It was that of a man of fine physical appearance. I had previously conversed with him in regard to his manner of living, and was called to visit him in his sickness. “I do not like the looks of your eyes.” I said. He was eating large quantities of sugar, and in answer to my question why he did this, he said that he had left off meat, and did not know anything that would supply its place as well as sugar. His food did not satisfy him. This man was suffering simply because his wife did not know how to cook. She was deficient in this important branch of education; and as the result, the poorly cooked food not being sufficient to sustain the demands of the system, sugar was eaten immoderately, and this brought on a diseased condition of the entire system. I tried to tell them as well as I could how to manage, and soon the sick man began to improve. But he imprudently exercised his strength when not able, ate a small amount not of the right quality, and was taken down again. This time there was no help for him. His system seemed to be a living mass of corruption. He died a victim to poor cooking. CTBH 158.2

Domestic Duties for Students.—However good the advantages of the student may be for gaining a knowledge of books, his character is still unformed if he has not an experience in the practical duties of everyday life. CTBH 159.1

Dress—We as a people do not believe it our duty to go out of the world in order to be out of fashion. If we have a plain, neat, modest, comfortable style of dress, and others choose to adopt it, shall we change our dress in order to be different from them?—No; we should not be singular in our dress for the sake of differing from the world: they would despise us for so doing. Christians are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. Their dress should be neat and modest, their conversation chaste and heavenly, and their deportment blameless. CTBH 159.2

Shunning Duty—Those who, having had the light upon the subject of eating and dressing with simplicity, in obedience to moral and physical laws, still turn from the light which points out their duty, will shun duty in other things. By shunning the cross which they would have to take up in order to be in harmony with natural law, they blunt the conscience; and they will, to avoid reproach, violate the ten commandments. There is with some a decided unwillingness to endure the cross and despise the shame. CTBH 159.3

Woman's Rights—There are speculations as to woman's rights, and her duty in regard to voting; but many women have had no discipline which would qualify them to understand the bearing of important questions. They have lived a life of fashion and self-gratification. Women who might develop a good intellect, who might perfect a noble character, are mere slaves to custom. They lack breadth of thought and intellectual culture. They can talk understandingly of the latest styles of dress, or of the next party or ball; but they are not prepared to act wisely in political matters. They are mere creatures of circumstance. CTBH 159.4

Exercise—Air is the free blessing of Heaven; it invigorates the whole system. Deprived of pure air, the body becomes diseased, torpid, and enfeebled. CTBH 160.1

Physicians often advise invalids to visit foreign countries, to go to some mineral spring, or to traverse the ocean, in order to regain health; when, in nine cases out of ten, if they would eat temperately, and engage in healthful exercise with a cheerful spirit, they would regain health, and save time and money. Exercise, and a free, abundant use of the air and sunlight,—blessings which Heaven has bestowed upon all,—would in many cases give life and strength to the emaciated invalid. CTBH 160.2

Many have suffered from severe mental taxation, unrelieved by physical exercise. The result is a deterioration of their powers, and they are inclined to shun responsibilities. What they need is more active labor. This condition is not confined to those whose heads are white with the frost of time; men young in years have fallen into the same state, and have become mentally feeble. CTBH 160.3

Strictly temperate habits, combined with exercise of the muscles as well as of the mind, will preserve both mental and physical vigor, and give power of endurance to those engaged in the ministry, to editors, and to all others whose habits are sedentary. CTBH 160.4

Ministers, teachers, and students do not become as intelligent as they should in regard to the necessity of physical exercise in the open air. They neglect this duty, a duty which is most essential to the preservation of health. They closely apply their minds to study, and yet eat the allowance of a laboring man. Under such habits, some grow corpulent, because the system is clogged. Others become thin and feeble, because their vital powers are exhausted in throwing off the excess of food. The liver is burdened, being unable to throw off the impurities of the blood, and sickness is the result. If physical exercise were combined with mental exertion, the circulation of the blood would be quickened, the action of the heart would be more perfect, impure matter would be thrown off, and new life and vigor would be felt in every part of the body. CTBH 160.5

When the minds of ministers, school teachers, and students are continually excited by study, and the body is allowed to be inactive, the nerves of emotion are taxed, while the nerves of motion are inactive. The wear being wholly on the mental organs, they become overworked and enfeebled, while the muscles lose their vigor for want of employment. There is no inclination to exercise the muscles in physical labor; exertion seems to be irksome. CTBH 161.1

It is a sacred work in which we are engaged. The apostle Paul exhorts his brethren, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” [2 Corinthians 7:1.] It is a duty that we owe to God to keep the spirit pure, as a temple for the Holy Ghost. If the heart and mind are devoted to the service of God, obeying all his commandments, loving him with all the heart, might, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, we shall be found loyal and true to the requirements of Heaven. CTBH 161.2

We are now in God's workshop. Many of us are rough stones from the quarry. But as the truth of God is brought to bear upon us, every imperfection is removed, and we are prepared to shine as lively stones in the heavenly temple, where we shall be brought into association, not only with the holy angels, but with the King of heaven himself. CTBH 161.3

The consciousness of right-doing is the best medicine for diseased bodies and minds. The special blessing of God resting upon the receiver is health and strength. A person whose mind is quiet and satisfied in God, is in the pathway to health. To have a consciousness that the eyes of the Lord are upon us, that his ears are open to our prayers, is a satisfaction indeed. To know that we have a never-failing Friend to whom we can confide all the secrets of the soul, is a privilege which words can never express. Those whose moral faculties are beclouded by disease are not the ones rightly to represent the Christian life or the beauties of holiness. They are too often in the fire of fanaticism, or the water of cold indifference or stolid gloom. The words of Christ are of more worth than the opinions of all the physicians in the universe: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” [Matthew 6:33.] CTBH 162.1