Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 10, 1886

Gibbs, Dr.


December 1, 1886

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother in Christ:

I received your long letter remailed to me from Basel to Torre Pellice. I was much pleased to read your letter; for I have a deep and earnest interest that you should live so close to Jesus, that you will consult Him in all things, that you will have not only courage in the Lord, but the peace of Christ in your soul. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 1

I know how much you may be inclined to lean upon human support; for this is the danger with us all. There will be men of varied minds, with varied experience, who will give counsel which they think is sound; but should you follow their suggestions, their ideas and counsel, you would make serious blunders. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 2

You have a work of your own to do. The treatment of the sick in the institution requires skilful management and deep thought and power from above to deal with diseased minds. If you follow the counsel of those who have not your work to do, and who have not the best wisdom to deal with diseased bodies and ill-balanced minds, you will be in danger of making mistakes. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 3

You may trust in the Chief Physician of soul and body, seek His counsel, and then move according to your best judgment and practical knowledge. There are those who would move rashly and prematurely in some cases; but you must look to God and trust in God, the right arm of your power ever must be the Lord of hosts. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 4

Will you make the Lord your dependence and your strength? He will be to you a present help in every time of need. Trust in Him with all your heart—just with that simplicity that a child will trust in its parent. Do not let your judgment be swayed by any man’s mind; let God lead, let God direct you in all things. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 5

With Christ, the source of wisdom to guide you, you will have skill in the remedy for the soul as well as the body. You may be the occasion of spiritual joy and health, as well as the health of the body. You are in a position where you can do great good, if you are constantly relying upon God for strength and wisdom and daily counsel. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 6

The Lord is acquainted with every soul that makes Him his strength and gives Him the glory for all the good that He gives wisdom to perform. Personal religion is what you need; the peace of God in your heart will, imperceptibly to you, be imparted to the very ones who need the soothing power of God’s pure truth opened wisely in jots and titles to their understanding. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 7

He who is the guardian of the body’s health will be, if connected with God, the one who can help the diseased soul. The physician has a great missionary field before him. If he employs his talent aright, he can do good and precious work for God. He is not merely to amuse and pass away the time of the sufferer, to beguile his thoughts from the peril of his situation. No, no; he is to weave into all his ministration the consolation which true religion alone can afford. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 8

High and holy ends are to be kept in view; therefore the physician should have his soul connected with the source of all light, mercy, truth, and love, his own soul refreshed from drinking of the water of life; then he can lead others to the living fountain, turning the thoughts to Him who is ready to save to the uttermost all who come unto Him for peace and forgiveness, hope and salvation. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 9

There are precious opportunities opened up before the physician which are charged with vital results. Sick, suffering persons will have much more confidence in the physician whom they are convinced loves and fears God. His words will be relied upon. They feel a sense of safety, a confidence in the presence and administration of that physician. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 10

He who has the religion of Christ in his heart and brings it directly into the room of the suffering sick possesses a talent which will in every sense be put out to the exchanger and will reproduce itself a thousandfold. Never, never hide this precious talent in the earth. Improve it. The Word of God declares, “Them that honor Me, I will honor.” [1 Samuel 2:30.] 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 11

There is a large field the physician has before him in which to work, not only with the suffering sick alone, but with the relatives of the suffering ones, who have with care and anxiety and sorrow watched the suffering ones, and feel themselves powerless to save one pang of anguish. The hearts of the relatives are softened. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 12

A godly physician can drop into the heart seeds of truth which may spring up and bear fruit to the glory of God. Grief concealed from others may be expressed to the physician. Then is the opportunity to point them to Him who has invited the weary, the oppressed, the very ones whose soul is aching for their loved ones. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 13

What an opportunity to propose a word of prayer, which will not occupy more than three minutes’ time, presenting them to the Healer of all woes, the Soother of all sorrows. The physician who pursues this course can accomplish more than the minister in the pulpit. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 14

They are wise to win souls to Christ. If the physician has love for souls, he will improve these golden opportunities. Oh, if he could only know the value of these precious moments! And if wisely improved, he will see their far-reaching results in eternity. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 15

Let not the physician allow persons that are believers in the truth to talk their faith, even the truth, to patients unless questions are asked them. Then let them not feel at liberty to go on and give a long sermon. A word or two is enough. Let the anxiety be on the part of the patient, and let not the patient become disgusted or the mind braced against the truth by its being talked quite frequently to them. The true love for souls will lead to great self-control and wisdom in seeking to do them good. There will need to be constantly the grace of Christ upon helpers connected with the sick and caring for them to thus represent Christ in patience. The sick may be unreasonably exacting, fretful; but Christians should bear with this and not become disturbed and retaliate by word or gesture. They are to seek to make correct impressions that will recommend the religion which they profess, and thus honor the truth they believe. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 16

This is a missionary field of the highest order. And it is a school for those who are naturally impatient; it is a training school; and if they improve as they may, they will obtain a most valuable power of self-control. But if there are those who are not patient, tenderhearted, and pitiful and forbearing, who do not show that they are improving, learning lessons they should learn, dismiss them, and find others. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 17

Although they may claim to believe present truth, they have not been converted. They need to be fully and entirely brought under the sway of the Spirit of God before they are fitted for any position of trust. There will be those of our own people who profess to believe the truth, who will show that under affliction they are not Christians. They will manifest their own peculiar traits of character, exacting, imperious, and impatient, demanding large attention, impatient if their demands are not instantly obeyed, as if they were the only ones who have wants and who need the advice and counsel of the physician. His time may be employed with cases more needful, but they do not reason. They will not be patient and exercise self-control and look to Jesus to help them be kind and courteous. They will find fault with the physician who is doing his very utmost and taxing his physical and mental powers for those who need his care and attention. But if selfishness has been cherished in the heart, it will make itself known when any suffering comes upon individuals. If impatience has not been kept under by the grace of Christ, it will be revealed, and the physician will have a thankless set on his hands; and they are the very ones who claim to believe the present truth, fitting for the society of heavenly angels and the purified, sanctified, around the throne of God. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 18

Now, my Brother Gibbs, all these will need good Bible lessons upon the Christian graces; for they will be in your institution not the ones to recommend our faith or the religion of Christ before the unbelieving patients. They show themselves unprepared to live Christ before the unbelieving patients. They show themselves unprepared to live Christ or to die in Jesus. They show that they need the converting power of God. In the place of being exercised by the grace of Christ, who bore insult, neglect, mockery, and cruel scourgings and an ignominious death without murmuring, they show themselves to be exercised by the spirit of Satan. They are accusers, judging others freely, feeling hurt and slighted, and have a spirit of retaliation, feeling abused and neglected, as though there were [no] others that demanded attention and care as much as they. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 19

Now, do not become an infidel over these inconsistent professors of the truth. These are the ones, when the furnace fires are kindled upon them, [who] reveal that they are dross, not pure metal; not gold, not silver, not precious stones, but natures that have never been subdued and transformed by the grace of Christ. They have a false hope, a spurious religion, that will be consumed with them in the day of God’s judgment. Those who claim to know Jesus, if the claim is true, will reveal that they do know Him, that they have learned of Jesus to be meek and lowly of heart, pure, uncorrupted by sinful habits. When affliction comes upon them, they will think of Jesus, that the Captain of their salvation was made perfect through suffering. They would consider Jesus every day, what He endured in their behalf, the agonies of the cross of Calvary; and they will bear their pain with patience, with fortitude, and with courage. They will think of Jesus. They trust in Jesus, and will rely on His grace, and cling to His promises, and will comfort their souls in the thought: Jesus knows every pang of anguish, and will not suffer me to be tempted above that which I am able to bear, but will with every temptation make a way of escape, that I shall not be overcome to deny Christ in thought, in word, or in action. These are precious victories to gain under the chastening rod. It is submission to reveal the precious fruits of righteousness and peace and willingness to endure all that God sees fit to send us. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 20

If imprudence of indulgence in intemperate appetite, if there has been a neglect to care for the health, if there has been mismanagement because ignorant of the laws of life and health, then there are lessons to be learned to become wise to avail themselves of every opportunity to learn in regard to the wonderful mechanism of the human body and become intelligent in regard to disease and its cause. If they are ignorant here, it is sin of which they need to repent. Their sufferings are of their own bringing on, not chargeable to God at all. If they give loose reign to lustful passion, disease must [be] the sure result; and to such I would say: Repentance, remorse, and contrition of soul are far more appropriate than petulance and faultfinding and complaints. You need simply pure and undefiled religion, that will make you servants of Jesus Christ, rather than to be servants of sin and Satan. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 21

Now, my brother, let all these classes be educated as far as possible; but be assured if they have a spurious religion, they will abuse your best efforts, misjudging your actions, complain of you to others, and reproach Jesus in the person of His saints. But be not troubled, be not disturbed. Just cling to Jesus. He will help you; He will vindicate you; He will be to you a present help in every time of need. When sorely pressed by the ingratitude and unhappy tempers of those who claim to know Jesus, but do not, just think that Jesus knows all about it; and if you have done the best you could, let God take care of the result. I know that you will have thankless hearts to deal with, but have faith in God. He will give you precious victories. Only be true to yourself, and true to your God, and He will work with your efforts. He will stand by your side in the difficult cases you are called upon to treat. He will be nerve to your hand, He will impart wisdom and skill, and you may trust Him fully. I want you to be every day a faithful child of God. He loves you; He wants to elevate you to His throne. May the Lord be with you, is the prayer of one who feels a deep interest in your case. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 22

I have carefully noted that which you have written in regard to Elder Loughborough. He has come at a time when he was greatly needed, and he has labored with disinterested efforts to get the institution upon the right foundation. With the means with which he has had to work, he has done nobly. He knew if he should accumulate a heavy debt, it would be discouraging to the future prosperity of the Health Retreat. He has had experience and has been a safe financier. The Health Retreat must grow up gradually. Many improvements have already been made; and how much better it is to do slowly than to dash ahead and be overwhelmed in debt! It was through the suggestion of W. C. White to Elder Loughborough that Brother Phip’s money was turned into the Health Retreat, even after the papers were written for receipt of it in the publishing association. It was Elder Loughborough, I think, that secured for the Health Retreat several thousand dollars, and it is Elder Loughborough that will work interestedly in its healthful upbuilding and progress. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 23

It is no difficult matter for one to discern the improvements that might be made in enlarging the facilities at the Health Retreat. But do not become elated in regard to this matter till you know that the means are at your command. Brother Church may devise liberal things, and I hope he may make liberal donations to the Health Retreat. If he can get the means, he can be the manager of all the improvements he wishes to make, with the united judgment and counsel of others. We would be pleased to see very large improvements made upon the retreat grounds, but it must be done in the right way. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 24

Brother Church can never have the sole control of that retreat. Go to his own home, and see his management. There is not furniture or anything else sufficient to make a decent home. It will not and must not be left with him to superintend the retreat. He may superintend outside arrangements, but never to get the management of the institution in his own hands. As a surveyor, he may lay out roads; for he has experience in this work. We know him to be defective in many respects. He may be strong in some points, but very weak in other points. At a time when we needed means so badly to purchase our college, he made a visit to Healdsburg and had money in his pocket, designing to purchase the college, but learned that W. C. White was negotiating for the building which the board of directors had authorized him to do. But when Brother Church found that he could not buy the building and have the deed made out in his own name, he did nothing, but went back with the money in his pocket and has not donated a cent to the college. His own son that has been a student at the college for years could scarcely obtain money enough to pay his tuition or his board, because the father had his son’s property in his charge. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 25

Now, my brother, it will not be wisdom to change a discreet, careful manager for one untried, whose own home is devoid of comforts. He does not bring into his house suitable provision to nourish the body. Brother Church has kept his money rolling about in the many ditches which he has had on hand. Notwithstanding warnings and cautions from the Lord, when he desired he could get hold of thousands of dollars to invest in a mill, when we were pleading for a small amount to set this institution on its feet. And when our college was struggling under financial pressure, we obtained nothing from him. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 26

I acknowledge that Elder Loughborough has a very close and narrow management with means—sometimes may lead him to narrow plans; but I would much rather it would be thus than to have him on the other side, extravagant in the outlay of means, laboring to extend and to enlarge, when the institution will be under debt and financial pressure. Beware of placing men where they desire to be, in having control of matters in the Health Retreat. Remember, you cannot judge of a man’s capabilities and qualities by his keen discernment in regard to wonderful improvements, involving a large outlay of means. We could, any of us, see where the improvements could be made. If our brother will donate a few thousand dollars for the enterprise, to be managed by the board of directors, we will thank Brother Church, and we will thank the Lord who gave him the heart to [do] this. We will first expend the means in making suitable buildings for the retreat, for the present necessities, and then will go one step in advance, until we see the retreat standing on solid foundation, but free, unburdened by debt, and not under the control of any one man to receive any one man’s mold and carry the mark of any one man’s deficiencies. I believe any exchange in the managers at present would be unwise. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 27

I have many fears for Brother Church. He has already thousands of dollars pledged to the various branches of the work, but it has remained thus for years. He loves to superintend and do a large work; but when it comes to the minor, very important interests of life, he shows a surprising stupidity. So it would be with the Health Retreat. The furnishing of the house would be woefully neglected, if left to him. I know; for his case has been presented before me. I know that his wife has not been treated as she should have been; that his relatives are indignant because of this. She has not had the essential things in the line of food and clothing, to say nothing of home conveniences. We wish to take these things into consideration. If you move slowly and surely, then you will not become embarrassed. I heartily approve of Elder Rice’s movement in securing water for the retreat. This is golden—of more consequence than the erecting of large buildings, of more consequence than the laying out of new roads just now. But this will come in time, if we move cautiously and economically. We placed Elder Loughborough in the position of trust he occupies, because he would, by being thus connected, use his influence, which is not small, to secure means and turn it into the channel to build up the retreat. He feels under a responsibility to secure for it patronage; and while Brother Rice and Elder Loughborough are connected with it, the people who know them will feel safe that the evils of the past experience will not be repeated. They feel safe in the present managers; and whereas the people’s confidence has been terribly shaken and abused heretofore, there is now a growing confidence, because cautious and discreet men are managing the finances. Although things may seem to move rather slowly, more has already been done than we could reasonably expect in a little more than one year. Let us make haste slowly and enlarge safely. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 28

The water privilege, I must mention again, is a wise thing. The Lord help the managers to work in His wisdom, and bear in mind that this is God’s institution, that grandeur and display are not the aim, but to work discreetly as we go, to build up. The most important thing is that the religious interest keep pace with the improvements that shall be made. Let the good of souls be the aim of every effort made. May the Lord let His blessing rest upon the Health Retreat. Let the prayers ascend to heaven, that the pillar of cloud shall abide upon this retreat as God’s instrumentality. We must guard its interests sacredly; and if those who claim to believe the truth will verify their faith by their words and works, we shall have a chapel on the hill, we shall have a church there, and souls will be gathered into the fold. But some who claim to believe the truth are not sanctified through it. They cannot bear the test of trial; when affliction comes, they show that they are not converted. They are impatient, fretful, and demanding great attention. They show that they have not the graces of the Spirit specified in the Word of God. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 29

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” [Galatians 5:22, 23.] Now, some very plain things will have to be spoken to our people in regard to these things; for although some claim to believe the truth, the carnal mind still remains, and they will, if evil-minded, speak against the physicians. They will not have any sense of the burdens and anxieties these men have to carry; but because their own peculiar ideas are not met on every point, in the place of seeking to build up, they will tear down, some claiming to be of Israel, who are selfish, covetous. They have very large and extravagant ideas what the institution should be, but at the same time will not give one dollar to make it after their lofty ideas; and if they are patients, they will want the best chances, and with the least pay. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 30

Brother Gibbs, our dear Saviour has very crooked material to deal with, and how patient and long-suffering He has been! Then we will try to be patient and forbearing and hopeful to the last, but we must be discreet. We must not be surprised to find ourselves disappointed in men and women, but we must remember that Jesus alone is infallible. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 31

I am very happy to learn that there is harmony between you and Dr. Burke. May the Lord bless you both in consulting together and in being a strength in sustaining each other and jealously guarding the interests of each other. The institution cannot prosper unless the physicians labor together in love and unity. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 32

In regard to our work and duty in this life, we should be sincere, true, unselfish; for God looketh upon the heart. The prayer may well go up to God, “Create in me a clean heart.” [Psalm 51:10.] It is for our eternal interest that this should be, that the heart is clean, pure, and holy. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 33

In the medical profession, none but Christian men can perform aright the high duties of their profession. All then will be subordinate to the high eternal interest of the future immortal life. This is the only way that the Saviour’s example is best copied and His name exalted upon the earth. Oh, how anxious I am that the physicians that are working at the retreat shall daily learn in the school of Christ His humility, His meekness, and then they will represent Jesus to all connected with them. Blessed, thrice blessed, will you be as physicians, if you have learned from the Head of the church to watch for souls as they that must give an account, while at the same time divine wisdom combined with your skill and effort will bring relief to suffering humanity and bless the bodies as well as the souls of men for whom Christ has died. Do not fail, my brethren, to devote much time to prayer and the study of the Scriptures. 4LtMs, Lt 10, 1886, par. 34