Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 11, 1886

Gibbs, Dr.

Basel, Switzerland

April 5, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in TDG 104; 3Bio 341.

Dr. Gibbs

Dear Brother in Christ:

I have suffered severe attacks of sickness since I came to Europe, but I have not been situated so I could do much for myself, and I could only pray, urging the necessity of my case to my heavenly Father. My eyes by constantly using them gave out. I suffered intense pain in the back of the ball of the eye. I could not write, but the Lord was my physician. I put forth all the strength of the soul in grasping the hand of infinite power. I dared not do anything for fear I should do something that would make them worse. But the Lord heard me. I know that He heard my prayers. I was indeed blessed, and health came to my eyes. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 1

Next I was attacked with malaria caused by overwork and anxiety. I was unable to sit up for one week and was feeble much longer. Again my trembling faith grasped the promises of God. I knew that Jesus understood all about my feebleness. My prayer was answered. I was healed and was filled with gratitude to God. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 2

Next my broken ankle began to swell and my lame hip to trouble me. Again I sought the Lord and urged my case to the throne of grace. I was a cripple for a number of weeks. Could not walk out of doors at all; but the Lord heard my prayer, and I am now walking with a rubber band about my ankle. Last Sabbath I spoke standing. The week before, for the first time in my life, I had to speak sitting, followed by two interpreters. I have proved the Lord on this journey to be a present help in every time of need. What a privilege is prayer! How sad and lonely would we be if in our sufferings we could not go to Jesus and tell Him all about it. Oh, if every one would only know by personal experience how much of heaven’s promised rest can be secured to the soul even now by sincere prayer. If one has not learned this lesson, every other lesson of life better not be learned till he shall learn in the school of Christ how to master this lesson. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 3

As Christians we want a new and living experience every day. We want to learn how to trust Jesus, to believe in Him and confide everything to Him. Jacob was raised from a man of feebleness and defects through faith in God in prayer to be a prince with God. He prevailed through faith. God is omnipotent. Man is finite. In converse with God, we may lay the most secret thing of the soul open to Him, for He knows it all; but not to man. We want more faith, greater trust, more firm reliance. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 4

“The conflict which was once urged in Scotland which gave her greatest victory was not gained in Holy Rood Palace, neither in the contest of armies, but in the secret chamber alone with God.” “Men prayed all night. One man was crying in agony, and in the desperation of his faith he exclaimed, ‘Give me Scotland or I die!’” 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 5

We are often brought into strait places with uncertainties and then, oh then, we must pray. I believe as I have for years that the Health Retreat will succeed if God is made first and last and best in everything. If you put God out of sight, if you sink principle into policy plans, then you separate God from you and will have the frown of God and not His blessing. I see by faith in the near future success to your institution. I see by faith that the physicians will succeed in tact and skill and wisdom because they will honor Jesus as the chief Physician. Let no man glory in his wisdom, but let him glory in this, that he knows God. And if he will make God first, angels of God will minister to those who are in the institution and have the care of it. God is at work for you. Let Him mold you as clay is molded in the hands of the potter. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 6

We are now contemplating another journey to Italy. We should visit the churches; they are calling for us loudly. They call for us to again visit Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. These places demand much hard work, and I dread it, but I may feel that I must go. Jesus lived not to please Himself. I do not know as we will get away from here this winter. May the Lord direct. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 7

It is now beautiful weather. The grass is a lovely green. Trees are leafing out, the birds are caroling their songs, and my heart is filled with gratitude to God. I will make melody to God in my heart. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 8

This is a hard field. Poverty meets us on every hand. I do not want to stay here any longer than duty demands. I want to be just where the Lord would have me to be and work with all the strength and power God has given me. There is a great work to be done here. Men and women are convinced of the truth, but poverty stands to bar the way. I wish some who had means would come into the truth and open some manufacturing establishment to give work to those who keep the Sabbath. Well, we must pray. The mightiest man on earth is the man who prays in the sincerity of his soul. He grasps the arm of Infinite Power. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 9

April 5. I received your letter and was glad that everything between myself and the Rural Health Retreat was not frozen up solid. Now spring has come, and the ice is broken up. I hope to receive more communications from that institution, in which I have had so great an interest. I received a letter this morning from R. G. Lockwood in which he speaks of the retreat in the highest terms. He reports that it is full and running over. Glad to hear this. I hope and pray that you may all have wisdom to move in the order of God. Do not let go your hold from above. Cling fast to the Mighty One. God has said, “Them that honor Me I will honor.” [1 Samuel 2:30.] When Christ and the truth are not put into a corner out of sight, but made prominent, then God will work with your efforts. I believe it, I believe it. The more you feel your own weakness and make God your trust, the more will He work with all your efforts. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 10

You need Christ as the Physician in Chief in your institution. “Without Me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] Therefore you may be assured and have confidence in God. But do not trust to your own wisdom. Do not become careless and separate from the Source of your strength. Watch your thoughts, watch your words, and in all things you seek to do, seek to glorify God. The more closely you lie at the foot of the cross, the more clearly will you see the matchless charms of Jesus and the unparalleled love He has evidenced for fallen man. Stand, my brother, firmly for principle. This health retreat may be the means of great good. This is the object to be kept prominent. It is one branch of the work of God in these last days to fit a people to stand in the day of the Lord. It is an instrumentality in the hands of God’s stewards to accomplish great good, if it will be kept pure and holy and undefiled. Satan will seek always to work through the natural inclinations. This is the reason so much is said in the teachings of Christ of a radical change in the entire man, represented as being born again. New motives must be created. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 11

There is much work to be done in your position of trust. But let not the pressure of business separate you from God, for if you ever need counsel and clear forethought and sharp ideas, it is when you have much work on your hands. It is then that you need to take time to pray, to have increased faith and implicit trust in the counsel of the Physician in Chief. Ask Him to help you. Pray the oftener the more critical [the] work you have to do. Stand firm as a rock to principle. Jesus will recognize every sincere effort made to glorify Him. Overcome defects in character. You may now, while entrusted with sacred responsibilities, be obtaining a most valuable experience. You may by precept and example be as Joseph was, a man whom God could trust. You may in all things not only be a physician to the body, but also to the soul. You should have new spiritual life in yourself, that you may impart light and knowledge to others. The love and fear of God is to be inwrought in the character. Jesus in His lessons laid down principles which should govern our efforts in all self-improvement. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 12

We should contemplate the wonderful love of God and the infinite sacrifice made for us, that we might reach the highest standard possible. Oh, what a theme to contemplate, that man, depraved and lost in his natural condition, may be renewed and saved by the gracious help that Christ gives him in the gospel. The love of Jesus in the soul will drive out the enemy who is seeking to take possession of man. Every trial patiently borne, every blessing thankfully received, every temptation faithfully resisted, will make you a strong man in Jesus Christ. All this grace may be gained in [the] prayer of faith. Jesus, precious Saviour! I hope and long to see every worker connected with the Health Retreat altogether what God would have them; but I beseech of you, do keep humble. Do not disconnect from God. Let gratitude be cherished in your hearts for every token of good. It is well to often enter into a close examination of self. Is all right between my soul and God? Is it well with my soul? Jesus taught that men ought always to pray and not to faint. Lay hold upon strength from above. Even Jesus, when preparing for some great trial, would resort to the solitude of the mountains and spend the night in prayer to His Father. May God help you and bless you. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 13

I will say a few words in reference to the cottages. Willie says: “Mother, do not sell your upper cottage; keep it; you need it.” So his arrangements in regard to it may stand just as he has made it to Elder Loughborough. It stands on the very best place on the hill, and to me the most desirable; therefore I will hold it for the present and rent it to the institute. As W. C. White says, the Scott cottage must bring me something more than the upper cottage. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 14

I pay here about $14 per month for rent. It may be $15 now we have more rooms. I had to buy me a horse and carriage which cost me about $325. Since I have become so crippled, I can walk but a very little, and I must be in the open air. We live very plain because of the scarcity of means. Every worker has to be paid, for it is all he has to put bread into the mouths of his family. I never saw such a state of things in America. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 15

Well, I must close. Respect to all the workers and to the friends. 4LtMs, Lt 11, 1886, par. 16