Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)



Ms 1, 1888

Our Health Institutions

Healdsburg, California

February 1, 1888

Portions of this manuscript are published in 1MR 278-281; SpM 208-210. +Note

[In EGW handwriting:] <This is a portion of a long article written and read before a large number of helpers and physicians. The private sentences were not read to but a limited selected few. Ellen G. White.> 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 1

The burden of inquiry is, How shall our institutions be made a success? How shall good work be done in them, work that will stand the test of the Judgment? Day by day God is testing and proving His people. The inspired Word plainly declares that by our works we are deciding our eternal destiny. 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 2

It is evident that the world is becoming as wicked as it was before the Flood. Christ said that thus it should be. The influence of the prevailing evil is felt even in our health institutions. Even here the iniquity that has been cherished in human hearts counterworks the work of God in restoring His moral image in man; and because iniquity abounds, the love of many (for God and righteousness) waxes cold. 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 3

In our health institutions a decided, firm principle should be maintained, not a vague belief. The blessings that God has provided for those who will stand firm as a rock to principle are worth all the efforts and sacrifice we may be called upon to make. We are to press our way upward, heavenward, notwithstanding all the corrupting, worldly influence that will oppose every step of reformation and restoration and purification which God requires. The world’s standard can never be the standard of the [Rural] Health Retreat. Those who are entrusted with sacred, holy principles should pray a great deal in faith for wisdom from God. If they meditate and hold converse with God, as is their privilege, they will be enabled to obey the Word of God; they will eat of that living bread which cometh down from heaven. 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 4

But selfishness has been cherished. High opinions of one’s self will not give strength, but weakness. Guard the appetite, act intelligently, take a firm stand in harmony with the light God has given, and maintain your position. Many things that dishonor God have been practiced because of the perversity of the human heart. All who have a part to act in counsel or in educating should first show that they themselves have the true kind of education. Such an education will lead to practical results in the choice and preparation of food for the table. 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 5

Shall meat become the staple article of food because those who are in responsible positions have educated themselves to enjoy a meat diet? Shall the physicians be free to indulge their own habits, to gratify appetite they choose, and thus mold the sentiments of the institution? Shall those who have had great light and who are seeking to walk in that light and to reflect the light see their efforts counterworked by both precept and example? 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 6

In the name of the Lord I testify that those who plead for indulgence of appetite in meat-eating are the very ones who need most to reform and bring themselves into line. Then they will give fewer directions for the patients to eat the flesh of dead animals because their own appetites crave meat. When the habits and tastes are brought into correct lines, it will be seen that light and truth are guiding the ones who are acting as guides to poor, weak, self-indulgent, intemperate souls. 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 7

The physicians should educate the patients so as to lead them away from the use of hurtful things and should point out safe paths for the feet to walk in. If the minds of patients are left to their own direction, many will, of course, choose the gross diet of flesh rather than the fruits of the ground and of the trees. When those who act as physicians lead away from health principles, God is not honored. Whatever may be the religious instruction, when this is the case, there is a dead fly in the ointment. 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 8

How can you plead that you are conscientious in the work? Know ye not that there is a good conscience and a bad conscience? Which is pure and elevating and ennobling? When one takes a course that is in harmony with his own perverted hereditary and cultivated taste in indulgence of appetite, shall his claims of conscientiousness be respected as of heavenly birth? Is it safe for him to follow his own human impulses? Shall he become a law unto himself and by precept and example encourage others in the indulgence of appetite, entirely contrary to the light which God in His mercy has been pleased to give? The development of evil in this age of the world is largely due to the indulgence of depraved appetite. The animal passions are excited and strengthened by that which is placed in the stomach for food. We are built up from that which we eat. Physicians should study from cause to effect. The animal propensities should not be educated and strengthened to rule the whole being. 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 9

“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and 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.] This expression, “bought with a price,” means everything to us. In consideration of the price paid for us, shall we not yield our bodies and souls up to Him who has bought us with His blood? Shall not that which He has redeemed be kept in as wholesome and pure and holy a condition as possible? Christ has redeemed us; our very flesh He has saved at an infinite cost, giving His own flesh for the life of the world. The lower passions have their seat in the body and work through it. The words “flesh” or “fleshly” or “carnal lusts” [1 Peter 2:11] embrace the lower, corrupt nature; the flesh of itself cannot act contrary to the will of God. We are commanded to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. How shall we do it? Shall we inflict pain on the body? No; but put to death the temptation to sin. The corrupt thought is to be expelled. Every thought is to be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul. The love of God must reign supreme; Christ must occupy an undivided throne. Our bodies are to be regarded as His purchased possession. The members of the body are to become the instruments of righteousness. 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 10

What is the result of giving loose reign to the lower passions? The delicate organs of women are worn out. The animals that have not reason have not debased their bodies as the human race have done. The bed chamber, where angels of God should preside, is made unholy by unholy practices. And because shameful animalism rules, bodies are corrupted; loathsome practices lead to loathsome diseases. That which God has given as a blessing is made a curse. In many cases the wife is little better than a bed-servant to the passions of him who should stand as the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. The most terrible diseases are the sure result of this course of incontinence that is pursued. And the animal propensities are inflamed by gross living, especially by a flesh diet. Children are taught to practice iniquity. 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 11

“Moreover, the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks, and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.” [Isaiah 3:16, 17.] “For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen, because their tongue and their doings is against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory. The show of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom. They hide it not. Woe unto their souls! For they have rewarded evil unto themselves. Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! It shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.” [Verses 8-11.] 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 12

When we see how much misery women are suffering in consequence of the indulgence of the base passions, we are led to cry in distress, Let, O Lord, the wickedness of the wicked come to an end. The earth is defiled under the inhabitants thereof. 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 13

What is the special work that we are called upon to do in our health institutions? Instead of giving, by precept and example, an education in the indulgence of perverted appetite, educate away from these things. Lift the standard of reform in every line. The apostle Paul lifts up his voice, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” [Romans 12:1, 2.] 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 14

Our health institutions are established to present the living principles of a clean, pure, healthful diet. Knowledge must be imparted in regard to self-denial, self-control. Jesus, who made man and redeemed man, is to be held up before all who shall come to our institutions. The knowledge of the way to life, peace, health, must be given line upon line, precept upon precept, that men and women may see the need of reform. They must be led to renounce the debasing customs and practices which existed in Sodom and in the antediluvian world, which God destroyed because of their iniquity. Said Christ, “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” [Matthew 24:37-39.] 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 15

All who shall visit our health institutions are to be educated. The plan of redemption should be brought before all, high and low, rich and poor. Carefully prepared instruction is to be given, that indulgence in fashionable intemperance in eating and drinking may be seen as the cause of disease and suffering and of evil practices that follow as a result. 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 16

Shall these things go on and the victims be uninformed, unwarned? Are the youth to follow in the footsteps of the lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God? Shall the cleansing fountain be shown to all? Shall the last message of mercy be given to the world? Are there to be no faithful sentinels who will work with all their God-given powers to reform those who are debased and restore the moral image of God in man? In Battle Creek they are doing a good work, but not half what they might do. Faithful workers need to be multiplied. Missionaries in every line are needed to reach the hearts and consciences of all that shall come in contact with those who have had the light, who know that the end of all things is at hand. Let all who fill important positions of trust know that God has placed a solemn work upon them to let their light shine in clear, strong rays to a world perishing in their sins. 5LtMs, Ms 1, 1888, par. 17