Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Ms 3, 1888

Sermon/Living for God

Oakland, California

September 25, 1888

Portions of this manuscript are published in Te 158, 192, 256; 2SM 301-302; 4MR 363-364; 9MR 374-375; 10MR 71; MRmnt 123.

1 Corinthians 9:24. “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain.” I do not propose to preach a discourse this afternoon. I only want to bring before you the subject of temperance and the importance of our institutions and the importance of every one of us working at the right point. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 1

We profess to believe a very great and solemn truth; we profess to believe that we are living in the very last scenes of this earth’s history, and if we practice our faith, we shall have a telling influence upon all that are around us. But if, while we claim to believe this great and divine truth, our works do not correspond with our faith, our influence is far less than though we made no profession to believe sacred and important truths. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 2

The apostle continues, “I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” [Verse 27.] Everything in regard to his appetite, his words, his practices, and his passions—all his members—are brought under the controlling influence of the Spirit of God and sanctified intellect. He shows to those who are around him the advantages of the knowledge that he has gained through the Scriptures and the living oracles of God. By living in connection with God, he shows the advantages he has gained by having right principles and by practicing them in his daily life. He will deny himself; he will not indulge himself. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 3

Every temptation and every suggestion that he has to gratify his inclination and passion, he meets and overcomes with his resolution, “I keep under my body and bring it into subjection.” Then he gives the reason, “lest that by any means when I have preached to others I myself should be a castaway.” What a tremendous result is here brought out! How clearly it is presented before us that he must carry out the principles of truth which he has accepted and claimed to believe. [He] must carry out these principles when he sits down at another’s table or when he engages in conversation with others. There is one principle to be kept ever before him, and that is that, as a representative of Jesus Christ, he must gather the divine rays from glory. He must reveal that the light which he grasps with his intellect has reached not only the chambers of the mind but has taken possession of the inner sanctuary of the soul. He must exhibit all the aptness, all the advantages, of this kind, that he may elevate these ennobling truths and the light which is of heavenly origin. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 4

Here is presented our work. We are so to labor that we shall not only save our own souls, but in working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, we shall have a decided influence upon those with whom we associate. Upon those who shall see us, upon those who will hear us, upon those who shall be in our presence, there will be manifest an unconscious influence as well as a conscious influence. As we work to the utmost of the ability that God has given us, God will do His part. “It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his own good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:13.] Not for our own glory, but for His own good pleasure. Therefore, we must not consider it essential to please ourselves, but every power is to be brought under the controlling influence of the Spirit of God. But when we have done all that God has enjoined upon us to do, we are to stand in Christ, our efficiency, our righteousness. The Lord is our fullness and power and efficiency. His name is to receive all the glory. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 5

When the Master went away, He gave to every man his work. Not one was excused to live in idleness and to please himself. The influence of the Spirit of God is brought to combine with human agencies. The power is all of God, but there must be a cooperation. The God of heaven does no work for man without his cooperation. The Spirit of God unites with the human effort. Thus it is that we become laborers together with God. We work out our own salvation, but with fear and trembling. Then it is not we who work, but it is God that worketh in us, to will and to do of His own good pleasure. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 6

Thus it is that we are to acknowledge always that in the great work of redemption, Jesus Christ is the ladder, the base of which rests upon the earth and the topmost round reaches unto the highest heaven. He connects earth with heaven, and finite man with the infinite God. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 7

God has given us talents of reason, talents of ability. They are God’s gifts to man, and it is for us to use these talents for His service, to employ them in doing good to mankind around us. We need not think that because we do not go to foreign countries there is no decided special work for us to do. There is missionary work to be done right at our own door. We want to know how to bless humanity. There is no soul before me today that will meet the high claims that God has upon him unless he will acknowledge that all his reasoning powers are a gift from God and that he must put every talent to use. He must use every ability that God has given him. The education that God has given him in his lifetime is never to cease. He is to continue reaching upward and forward, making the very most of his God-given abilities. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 8

Our sisters may do a holy work in connection with the things of God. They are being brought in to take hold of this work and to use the powers that God has given to them to use to His own glory. And God’s blessing is attending their efforts. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 9

Now we want to speak particularly upon the subject of health reform. We want to bring before you the importance of self-denial and self-sacrifice and to show that this is an individual work. We are not to feel that we can abuse our abilities, eat and drink only to gratify our perverted tastes. It is because there is so little power in the people on this coast [spoken in California] to meet the claims of high heaven that we have tried to establish in your midst a health institute. You may rest assured that this has not been done without much prayer. It has been established and carried on with much self-sacrifice. It requires means, earnest effort, and talent. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 10

We are living in an age of the world when self-indulgence is so great and so common to human minds that they take our youth and make them devotees to passion, appetite, and pleasure, so that the powers are wasted that might be made to do a good and great work in various callings and positions of trust. They are totally unfitted for the service they might render. That is just as the devil meant it should be. He meant to control their intellect that they should become selfish, so that they could not devote their God-given powers to bless humanity in a character that should be rightly influencing those who are around them. They have not brought the very best material into their character building. The enemy brings in evil and seeks to engross the affections. He takes the youth from their very childhood and fashions them and molds them for his own service, so that they serve him in the place of serving Jesus Christ. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 11

It is difficult to secure men and women to bear responsibility, men who will say, “all of Jesus and none of self,” and who will enlist in the work as co-laborers with Jesus Christ, the world’s Redeemer. But there are many who will gladly put their minds to work to invent and plan things that will please and satisfy their tastes. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 12

There is a work to be done for humanity, a work to be carried over into the future eternal life, when every one of us will have an opportunity to work. God does not compel any to do this work. He laid out the great plan of redemption and then created the world. He placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, but they fell, and the flood gates of woe were opened to our world. The world became corrupt before God, and because they would not believe, only a few were saved in the ark, Noah and his family. He has given to humanity the privilege of gaining back their God-given manhood and womanhood, that the immortal image of God may be restored in humanity. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 13

Using our ability to God’s glory, we are to make Christ first, best, and last in everything. If we stand thus, our Saviour is represented as the Saviour of the world. The devil says this shall not be. Yet, because Christ fought the battles for us in the likeness of Adam, we may become victors through His name and power. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 14

Now brethren and sisters, is it not time for us to work? Is it not time for us to arouse our God-given capabilities, to catch holy zeal that we have not had as yet? And is it not time that we should stand as Calebs, come to the front, raise our voices, and cry out against the reports that are going all around us? Are we not able to possess the land? We are able in God to do a mighty work upon the point of temperance. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 15

We have established our health institution in St. Helena—just such a place as the people love to go to—out from the cities and amid hills and mountains, where they can look and see how God balances the hills and how He weighs them in scales, and where they can look at the lofty trees and the mysterious works of the God of creation. All this aids in the recovery of health. Everything around them will call to their minds the majesty and goodness and love of our God. We can see His majesty; we can see His glory; we can talk of His power. It is away from the city. You can establish your health institutes in the cities, but they can never have the influence that they will have when located among God’s mountains and the retirements of the hills and where there is the pure atmosphere of heaven. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 16

We should get away from these fashionable resorts. The less we have to do with them the better. The earth is accursed with devotees of fashion. We want places of retirement. And there are those who delight to get away from these busy places. It is true the devil is not bound—every one of you is aware of that—and he will follow you even into the mountains. But we may with a united front do much to press back the powers of darkness. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 17

There are many sick and suffering. What are we going to do about them? Shall we advise them to go to the drug [merchants?] Or shall we try to place them in positions where they can be taught how to preserve health? Shall we not awaken their moral sensibilities and intellect that they learn the reasons for their sickness? 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 18

Not one-half the mothers know how to cook or what to set before their children. They place before their little nervous children these rich substances that burn in the throat and all the way down to the tender coats of the stomach, making it like a burnt boot, so it does not recognize healthful food. The little ones will come to the table, and they cannot eat this, or they cannot eat that. They take control and get just what they want, whether it is for their good or not. I would recommend letting them go without for at least three days, until they are hungry enough to enjoy good wholesome food. I would risk their starving. I have never placed on my table things which I did not allow my children to partake of. I would place before them just what I myself would eat. The children would eat of this food and never think of asking for things not on the table. We should not indulge the appetites of our children by placing before them these rich foods. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 19

The health institute was established that we might teach persons how to cook, in order to have the best food. Housewives should know how to cook good bread. We want good bread on our tables at home. If there is a batch of sour bread, there is a cause for it. Go to these schools and be taught how to make sweet bread. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 20

In our institutions the great difficulty is to get such meals as will not humor the tastes of everyone who shall come to that institution. They want tea, and they want coffee, and they want flesh meats all the time. But to serve such things is against the principles of the institution. It is difficult to get those in our institutions who will stand firm as a rock and try to bring up the institution[s] to the high standard on health reform, not health deform. There are many dishes we can prepare with rich substances, but we do not want them. It takes tact and thoughtfulness to prepare these dishes free from any rich substances and free from grease. The less of these dishes we have on our tables the better. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 21

We need not go to China for our tea or to Java for our coffee. Some have said: “Sister White uses tea, she keeps it in her house;” and [that she] has placed it before them to drink. They have not told the truth, because I do not use it, neither do I keep it in my house. Once when crossing the waters, I was sick and could retain nothing on my stomach, and I did take a little weak tea as a medicine, but I don’t want any of you again to make the remark that Sister White uses tea. If you will come to my house I will show you the bag that contains my herb drink. I send to Michigan, across the mountains, and get the red-clover top. In regard to coffee, I never could drink it, so those who reported that Sister White drinks coffee made a mistake. But the question is, What are we going to do about this matter? Now we recommend that you tea drinkers and coffee drinkers let them alone. They are injurious to your nerves. Now we want to do away with all these things. You don’t need them. We need not depend on coffee or tea. We want to educate the people away from these things—these darling luxuries. It is no denial, it is a blessing to let these things alone. Every time you indulge in your darling cup of tea, you are injuring your nervous system. What you want is health. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 22

Now we have a proposition to make to you. Suppose you deny your appetite and leave alone your tea until this time next year, for there is nothing to be gained healthwise by its use. It makes you miserable at best. So leave it alone, and take the money you would spend for your tea and put it in a box, and at the end of the year when you come around to the next camp meeting, just see what kind of an offering you will have to give to the Health Retreat to help some of the sick poor to go to our Health Retreat. Educate the children also to put the money which they have been spending for candies and sweetmeats into a box, and see how much they can save for the foreign missions. We have a large mission to be supported in London. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 23

In the last few days as I lay confined in my room, I saw how helpless I was to help anybody. I have seen how others sympathize with me in my affliction. It is my duty to keep my body in a healthful condition, that I may be a help to others. Therefore, it is my duty to recognize the laws of nature, that I may preserve the body in the very best condition for the use of the Master. I am to keep my body under. [Whether] I eat or drink or whatsoever I do, I am to do all to the glory of God. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 24

Now, if you can sit down and ask the blessing of God upon a cup of tea or coffee, or upon your tobacco, I will change my ideas materially. But you cannot do it. You cannot with these habits and practices in life lift up holy hands to God. Brethren and sisters, we want your help; we want the help of every one of you. We do not want that some of you will have all the blessing. Let the light of truth flash upon you pathway. “Oh, you must indulge your appetite! Oh, that darling cup of tea!” [But] it does you no good. Will you not stand by us? Will you help us in our work to build up the very institutions which God wants to build up? 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 25

Why is it that our sisters seem to be able to do so little in one direction? I speak of the missionary work. It is the greatest marvel to me, because they have the Bible. If they did not understand the great plan of redemption, that every soul is to be elevated and that we are to work with all our God-given powers for the salvation of our fellow men, then I should not be as astonished as I am. But when I see men and women claiming to be co-workers in God’s vineyard doing nothing, I am astonished; I cannot understand it. I do not know what it means. Can it be that God has sent me since I was 14 years old to go from east to west and never let anything hinder me from doing His work, while you sit at home so comfortably and act as though you had nothing to do? Are the ministers to do all the work and the lay members nothing? Why was my husband laid in the grave? Why did he close his eyes in death? Why are there so many white heads that ought not to be? It is because there are so few men and women coming to the front to share their burdens. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 26

God wants you to put your hands to the work, to educate your children. The very best thing you can do in the work is to present to the world a well-ordered and a well-educated family. Now God wants you to put your hand to the work. Every one of you has a missionary work at home to do, right among your neighbors, and you have to educate your children. We need efficient matrons in our health institution and in our boarding houses, for we have established boarding houses that our tables might be spread with good wholesome food, so that our youth will not be tempted to go to these places of intemperance. We have established a boarding house in Healdsburg in connection with our college, and we have appointed managers to take care of this institution and cooks to prepare food and to educate those who shall come there to prepare wholesome food. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 27

Well now, here is our work. But we go into some houses and we see our sisters sitting with their little crochet needles, crocheting and spending their time in this way. Well, I am not idle either when I am on the cars, going from one place to another. I have my knitting, but what am I knitting for? Why, I am knitting stockings for this one and for that one and the other. I am not using the crochet needle, but am knitting for those who are in need around me. There are many of our ministers who go with their feet thinly clad. I can give these to them, and they do not come amiss; and I advise you to do the same. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 28

While in Europe we saw the women with their lap dogs, carrying them in their arms and petting them and spending their money on them, when they might have taken some poor child and educated it to become useful. Well, there is something better for us than such activities. There are many needy souls around us; there are children to take out of ignorance and educate and bring them up for eternal life. I beg of you to put your means into some institution, and when you begin to do something, you will find that you will have more of the religion of God than ever before. I think it is time that we begin to work for time and eternity. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 29

I once went into a house and there sat a man reading his Bible. Soon there came in four or five little ragged children and called him Papa, but he sent them away. He was too holy to have them with him, for it would disturb his holy thoughts. Well now, it is good religion to keep your children sweet and neatly clad and educate them to have good dispositions, to be modest, and to bring them with you into the truth. Brethren and sisters, we want to be sanctified to God, soul, body and spirit. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 30

Here we are, connected with the God of wisdom and Jesus Christ the Christian teacher. Why should we not seek a higher order of intelligence than those who have not a living connection with God? 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 31

Let us look around and see what there is that we can do. While in Europe we were in need of money, and I sent over and had my carpets and my cow sold and put the money in where it was needed so much. I want my money put in bags that wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that fadeth not away. I might build me costly houses if I wanted to, but I see all around me souls who are the purchase of the blood of Christ, and I want to see them in eternity with the white raiment on. I want to see them cast their glittering crowns at the feet of Jesus, and I want to hear their immortal tongues saying, “Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world.” [Revelation 5:12; 13:8.] Will not one immortal tongue that shall give praises to God and the Lamb forever and ever be enough to repay us for all the sacrifices we have made here? 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 32

Is it any sacrifice, I ask you, is it any sacrifice that you have made when you are transferring your means to the bank of heaven, I ask you, when you have taken it from earthly substances, when you have brought it and laid it on the foundation stone as gold and silver and precious stones, that will stand the great day of the conflagration, do you call that a sacrifice? No, indeed. Then let your treasure go beforehand into glory. Do something! You better not get that rich dress. If you will take off the extras from your dress, why then you will have something to put into the treasure. If you have a plain, simple dress you are neatly clad, and you are exerting a good influence, and the money goes into the treasury of the Lord. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 33

There are those here that might have done much for the cause of God, and if they had had Christ abiding in them and had His mind and spirit and love and beneficence interwoven into their characters, they might have been today richer by hundreds and thousands and millions. Years ago, when the mission first started in Europe, some of the sisters thought they would do me a great favor, and they bought me a good American silk dress that cost $45.00. It was just at the time that Brother Andrews needed means to use in the mission in Europe. I took the dress and sold it for $50.00 and sent the money to him to use in the cause, and it came just in the right time, and I was so thankful. And while we were over in Europe, we were at Nimes, France; they wanted means so much to live upon, and they could not get it. The minister there had to meet a debt and knew not where the money was coming from, and he just laid his head on the table and cried. Just then we received the money that had been sent from California, and we gave him the money needed. Then he cried again for joy, because the Lord had answered our prayers and the money had come just in time. So we know how these things go. Now, when you are tempted to get a rich dress, just ask yourself if you cannot get as much satisfaction out of one that does not cost so much, and then you can put the money you have saved into the treasury of God. Just begin to see if you cannot work in this direction. I do not begrudge a cent that I have put into the cause, and I have kept on until my husband and myself have about 30,000 invested in the cause of God. We did this a little at a time, and the Lord saw that He could trust these Daniels with His means and that we would not bestow it on ourselves. He kept pouring it in and we kept letting it out. If you do the same, you may not meet so many worldly losses. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 34

Young men who think that you cannot eat the simple wholesome food provided at the health institute and that you must go down to the restaurant and get something to gratify your appetite, it is time for you to arouse and assert your manly liberty. And remember that those who come to the health institute are not all perfect. It is humanity that wants help from humanity. If you see errors and weaknesses in people, try to convert them from the error of their way. Try to help them instead of picking up everything you can find that is objectionable in their character and telling it to others. It is a terrible thing, and will you want to meet that record in the Judgment? I think not. Well, give it all the contempt it deserves. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 35

We shall endeavor to do the very best we can for the [Rural] Health Retreat, and we ask every one to stand by us. Is it not time to consider where you are going? It is high time that we should begin to consider where our course is leading and what we are doing. Will you not obey the dictates of your conscience today and say, “I will work for God”? Will you not stand as a Caleb and help today? Will you choose all of Jesus and none of self? When you reach heaven, you will see that Christ will be represented in the person of His saints. You will hear the songs of triumph and victory, and your work will be as far-reaching as eternity. And may God help you to take your stand right here today and do what you can in the way of helping our institutions. 5LtMs, Ms 3, 1888, par. 36