Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Ms 5, 1881

Proper Use of the Testimonies on Health Reform

Battle Creek, Michigan

March 23, 1881

This manuscript is published in entirety in 3SM 283-288.

I fully believe that the end of all things is at hand, and every power that God has given us should be employed in the very wisest and highest service to God. The Lord has brought out a people from the world to fit them not only for a pure and holy heaven, but to prepare them through the wisdom He shall give them to be co-laborers with God in preparing a people to stand in the day of God. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 1

Great light has been given upon health reform, but it is essential for all to treat this subject with candor and to advocate it with wisdom. In our experience we have seen many who have not presented health reform in a manner to make the best impression upon those whom they wish should receive their views. The Bible is full of wise counsel, and even the eating and drinking receive proper attention. The highest privilege that man can enjoy is to be a partaker of the divine nature, and faith that binds us in strong relationship to God will so fashion and mold mind and conduct that we become one with Christ. No one should through intemperate appetite so indulge his taste as to weaken any of the fine works of the human machinery and thus impair the mind or the body. Man is the Lord’s purchased possession. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 2

If we are partakers of the divine nature, we will live in communion with our Creator and value all of God’s work which led David to exclaim, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14. We will not consider the organs of the body our own property, as if we had created them. All the faculties God has given to the human body are to be appreciated. “Ye are not your own,” “for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 3

We are not to treat unwisely one faculty of mind, soul, or body. We cannot abuse any of the delicate organs of the human body without having to pay the penalty because of transgression of nature’s laws. Bible religion brought into practical life insures the highest culture of the intellect. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 4

Temperance is exalted to a high level in the Word of God. Obeying His Word, we can rise higher and still higher. The danger of intemperance is specified. The advantage to be gained by temperance is laid open before us all through the Scriptures. The voice of God is addressing us, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 5

The example of Daniel is presented for us to study carefully and learn the lessons that God has for us to learn in this example given us in sacred history. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 6

We wish to present temperance and health reform from a Bible standpoint and to be very cautious not to go to extremes in abruptly advocating health reform. Let us be careful not to graft into health reform one false shoot according to our own peculiar over-strained ideas and weave into it our own strong traits of character making these as the voice of God and passing judgment on all who do not see as we do. It takes time to educate away from wrong habits. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 7

Questions are coming in from brethren and sisters making inquiries in regard to health reform. Statements are made that some are taking the light in the testimonies upon health reform and making it a test. They select statements made in regard to some articles of diet that are presented as objectionable, statements written in warning and instruction to certain individuals who were entering or had entered on an evil path. They dwell on these things and make them as strong as possible, weaving their own peculiar, objectionable traits of character in with these statements and carry them with great force, thus making them a test and driving them where they do only harm. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 8

The meekness and lowliness of Christ is wanting. Moderation and caution are greatly needed, but they have not these desirable traits of character. They need the mold of God upon them. And such persons may take health reform and do great harm with it in prejudicing minds so that ears will be closed to the truth. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 9

Health reform, wisely treated, will prove an entering wedge where the truth may follow with marked success. But to present health reform unwisely, making that subject the burden of the message, has served to create prejudice with unbelievers and to bar the way to the truth, leaving the impression that we are extremists. Now the Lord would have us wise and understanding as to what is His will. We must not give occasion for us to be regarded extremists. This will place us and the truth God has given us to bear to the people at a great disadvantage. Through weaving in unconsecrated self, that which we are ever to present as a blessing becomes a stumbling block. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 10

We see those who will select from the testimonies the strongest expressions and, without bringing in or making any account of the circumstances under which the cautions and warnings are given, make them of force in every case. Thus they produce unhealthy impressions upon the minds of the people. There are always those who are ready to grasp anything of a character which they can use to rein up people to a close, severe test and who will work elements of their own characters into the reforms. This, at the very outset, raises the combativeness of the very ones they might help if they dealt carefully, bearing a healthful influence which would carry the people with them. They will go at the work, making a raid upon the people. Picking out some things in the testimonies, they drive them upon every one and disgust rather than win souls. They make divisions when they might and should make peace. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 11

I have been shown the danger of families that are of an excitable temperament, the animal predominating. Their children should not be allowed to make eggs their diet, for this kind of food—eggs and animal flesh—feeds and inflames the animal passions. This makes it very difficult for them to overcome the temptation to indulge in the sinful practice of self-abuse, which in this age is almost universally practiced. This practice weakens the physical, mental, and moral powers and bars the way to everlasting life. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 12

Some families were shown me as in a deplorable condition. Because of this debasing sin, they are where the truth of God cannot find access to heart or mind. This practice leads to deception, to falsehood, to licentious practices, and to the corrupting and polluting of other minds, even of very young children. The habit once formed is more difficult to overcome than the appetite for liquor or for tobacco. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 13

These evils, so prevalent, led me to make the statements that I have made. The special reproofs were presented in warning to others; thus they come before other families than the very individuals corrected and reproved. But let the testimonies speak for themselves. Let not individuals gather up the very strongest statements given for individuals and families and drive these things because they want to use the whip and to have something to drive. Let these active, determined temperaments take the Word of God and the testimonies, which present the necessity of forbearance and love and perfect unity, and labor zealously and perseveringly. With their own hearts softened and subdued by the grace of Christ, with their own spirits humble and full of the milk of human kindness, they will not create prejudice, neither will they cause dissension and weaken the churches. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 14

The question whether we shall eat butter, meat, or cheese is not to be presented to anyone as a test, but we are to educate and to show the evils of the things that are objectionable. Those who gather up these things and drive them upon others do not know what work they are doing. The Word of God has given tests to His people. The keeping of God’s holy law, the Sabbath, is a test, a sign between God and His people throughout their generations forever. Forever this is the burden of the third angel’s message—the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 15

Tea, coffee, tobacco, and alcohol we must present as sinful indulgences. We cannot place on the same ground meat, eggs, butter, cheese, and such articles placed upon the table. These are not to be borne in front, as the burden of our work. The former, tea, coffee, tobacco, beer, wine, and all spirituous liquors, are not to be taken moderately, but discarded. The poisonous narcotics are not to be treated in the same way as the subject of eggs, butter, and cheese. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 16

In the beginning animal food was not designed to be the diet of man. We have every evidence that the flesh of dead animals is dangerous because of disease that is fast becoming universal, because of the curse resting more heavily in consequence of the habits and crimes of man. We are to present the truth. We are to be guarded how to use reason and select those articles of food that will make the very best blood and keep the blood in an unfevered condition. 3LtMs, Ms 5, 1881, par. 17