Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 30, 1887

Rice, Brother


June 11, 1887

Portions of this letter are published in 3SM 43-44; ML 235, 242; MM 166, 172, 207, 212-213; TSB 147; WM 168. +Note

Dear Brother Rice:

I arise at three o’clock this morning with a burden on my mind for the Health Retreat. In my dreams I was at the Health Retreat, and I was told by my Guide to mark everything I heard and to observe everything I saw. I was in a retired place, where I could not be seen, but could see all that went on in the room. Persons were settling accounts with you, and I heard them remonstrating with you in regard to the large sum charged for board and room and treatment. I heard you with firm, decided voice refuse to lower the charge. I was astonished to see that the charge was so high. You seemed to be the controlling power. I saw that the impression made by your course on the minds of those who were settling their bills was unfavorable to the institution. I heard some of your brethren pleading with you, telling you that your course was unwise and unjust. But you were as firm as a rock in your adherence to your course. You claimed that in what you were doing, you were working for the good of the institution. But I saw persons go from the Retreat anything but satisfied. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 1

I then saw you engaged in business transactions with others. I saw that your management was not wise, that by it the institution would not gain, but lose. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 2

I became much burdened. My Guide said, “Brother Rice is not qualified to fill the position he occupies. He needs to be transformed in character. He needs to be more conciliatory. He is too dictatorial. He wishes his will to be regarded as law. He is not willing to receive counsel or advice. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 3

“Dr. Gibbs is a man of tender heart, pitiful and courteous. He has been so often wounded and crushed by cruel transactions that his health is becoming seriously affected. His life is embittered. He looks on the dark side. His state of mind causes him to neglect the duties devolving on him as a physician. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 4

“This condition of things must be changed. An altogether different mold must be placed on the institution. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 5

“The physician-in-chief has needed help that he has not received. But he must not allow discouragement to come upon him; for this will unfit him for his work. Dr. Gibbs is no novice, but a skilful physician. He has humbled himself and submitted to treatment most galling to any man. But he is not without fault. He is inclined to allow his mind to be diverted by interests outside his work. He does not do justice to his work. He should be prompt in filling his appointments. He should counsel with his brethren. He should use his tact and energy in his work for the patients. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 6

“But Dr. Gibbs is not the only one at fault. Your superintendent is not a man of far-seeing judgment. He is not discriminating. He does not understand that in dealing with some he is to have compassion, making a difference. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 7

“Both Dr. Gibbs and Brother Rice need to stand on a higher level. Amiability of disposition is to be combined with firm integrity. The men and women connected with our institutions are to be pure, upright, honest, and trustworthy, and they are also to be tenderhearted, and compassionate, filled with sympathy for all. They are to be pleasant in deportment and kind in their intercourse with others. They are to be courteous and polite. They are to be meek and forbearing and easy to be entreated. They are not to set up their will and their way as infallible. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 8

“Every one connected with the Retreat, from the manager to the humblest worker, should be constantly learning how to adapt himself to the situation. Brother and Sister Heald are too unsocial. Social intercourse is essential in an institution for the care of the sick. In our institutions, fragrance of Christian character, true Christian courtesy are much needed. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 9

“The physician and superintendent should work together with mutual interest, taking counsel with each other. But your superintendent acts according to his own ideas. He is stubborn and unyielding. He thinks that his decisions should not be questioned. He is not condescending; and he makes enemies where he should make friends. The spirit of love and the law of kindness are fast disappearing from the Health Retreat. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 10

“Sad will it be for the institution if there is no change in the management. Can we expect Christ to overlook the present condition of things? 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 11

“Your superintendent must be changed in mind, changed in spirit, or he will become unfitted to serve God in any branch of His work. He must have less of self. He must receive more fully of the Spirit of God. He must bring religion into all business transactions. Business and religion are never to be divorced. His heart needs to be filled, by the sanctification of the Spirit of the greatest Educator the world has ever known, with the principles of kindness and love. The oracles of God do not condemn merely the grosser vices. They strike at every wrong trait of character, molding the whole man, internally and externally, abasing his pride and self-exaltation, leading him to bring the Spirit of Christ into the smaller as well as the larger duties of life. They teach him to be unswerving in his allegiance to justice and purity, and at the same time always to be kind and amiable. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 12

“In no branch of God’s work is one man’s mind and one man’s judgment to be absolute authority to those connected with him. Workers should not move without counselling together. The propositions made by one are to be laid before his brethren, to be explained, and accepted or rejected. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 13

“The grace of God leads men to place themselves, in all their business transactions, in the place of those with whom they are dealing. It leads men to look not only on their own things, but also on the things of others. It leads them to reveal tenderness, sympathy, and kindness. Cherishing a right spirit, living a holy life—this is what being Christlike means. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 14

“Those who are connected with our institutions need to be ever learning of Him who is meek and lowly in heart. They need to realize that the plan of redemption is a plan of mercy, set in operation by the Lord, to soften what is hard and rugged in man’s nature and deportment. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 15

“When the truth is received in love, it exerts a transforming influence on the character. Abraham is a pattern of piety. He was a true gentleman. Because he was taught of God, he knew what was due from man to his fellow man. Let not men allow their business dealing to rob them of their humaneness. Jesus, the precious Saviour, the pattern Man, was firm as a rock where truth and duty were concerned. And His life was a perfect illustration of true courtesy. Kindness and gentleness gave fragrance to His character. He had ever a kind look and a word of comfort and consolation for the needy and the oppressed.” 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 16

This is a portion of what was spoken. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 17

Brother, the light that I have regarding the condition of things at the Retreat alarms me. I fear that you are exacting and forbearing. This will greatly lessen your influence and will injure the reputation of the institution with which you are connected. In the place of the institution’s reaching the place God desires it to reach, it will be narrowed and dwarfed in its work. Let men feel that they have not been dealt with considerately, and they will go away from the institution with an unfavorable impression of it, and this unfavorable impression they will take to others. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 18

Your sincerity may not be doubted, your uprightness may not be questioned. But sincerity and uprightness will not atone for a lack of kindness and conciliation. Remember that there are those who have an interest in the institution fully as great as the interest you have in it. Do nothing without counselling with your brethren. Your conduct is so lacking in kindness and sympathy that the good you possess is evil spoken of. Your management is not only an offense to your brethren, but an offense to God. The course you pursue in choosing a few as favorites is against you. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 19

You must live and work for Christ’s sake. Selfishness is to have no part in the work of God. The desire to have one’s own way, contrary to the judgment of co-workers, is to find no place in our institutions. “All ye are brethren.” [Matthew 23:8.] A spirit of love and tenderness is to be shown. In our sanitariums, and in any institution, kind words, pleasant looks, a condescending demeanor are of great value. There is a charm in the intercourse of men who are truly courteous. In business transactions what power for good a little condescension has! 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 20

How restoring and uplifting the influence of such dealing upon men who are poor and depressed, borne down to the earth by sickness and poverty! Shall we withhold from them the balm that such dealing brings? 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 21

It may seem to you that in dealing thus you will lose money, but it is not so. Far greater than the apparent loss will be the gain. God marks our every action as we deal with the suffering and afflicted. If men realized how much hope and courage could be inspired in hearts by condescension, how different would be the condition of things in our world! 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 22

Remember that human kindness is not an unfailing spring, but a spring which must be supplied from the Fountain of life, or it will run dry. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 23

Those in responsible positions will have to deal with those whose lot is far from easy. Toil and deprivation, with no hope for better things in the future, make their burden very heavy. And when pain and sickness are added, the load is almost greater than they have strength to bear. Let not God’s stewards put sharpness into their dealing with such ones. This would be cruelty itself. Let them clothe themselves with courtesy as with a garment. Let them be kind and conciliatory in their dealing with the lowliest and poorest. God will see and reward such dealing. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 24

In the day of judgment Christ says to those on His right hand, “I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. ... Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” “Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” [Matthew 25:35, 36, 40, 34.] 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 25

I have been shown that provision should be made for the sick among us who are too poor to pay for care and treatment. Each church should have a fund for the relief of such ones; and when necessary, the sick should be sent to one of our institutions for treatment. In the cases of such ones the sanitariums should charge no more than one-half the usual sum for board and treatment, and the church to which the sick ones belong should settle the bill. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 26

Those thus helped are to remember that obligations are mutual. Never are they to fret or complain because they think they are not receiving all the attention they think they ought to have. They are not to think that all the time of the physician is at their command. They are only a few of the many who are to be cared for. They are to be patient and cheerful, talking hope and courage. Thus they will be a blessing to the institution. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 27

Our God wants His people to cherish loving-kindness and tender sympathy. There is not among us half the practical godliness that there should be. Fine discernment is needed. We need to learn the meaning of the words, “Of some have compassion, making a difference.” [Jude 22.] A true Christian is the poor man’s friend. He deals with his perplexed and unfortunate brother as one would deal with a delicate, tender, sensitive plant. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 28

God wants His workers to move among the sick and suffering as messengers of His love and mercy. He is looking upon us, to see how we are treating one another, whether we are Christlike in our dealing with all, high or low, rich or poor, free or bond. Some with whom you have dealings may be rough and uncultured, but because of this do not be less courteous yourself. When you meet those who are careworn and oppressed, who know not which way to turn to find relief, put your hearts into the work of helping them. It is not God’s purpose that His children shall shut themselves up to themselves, taking no interest in the welfare of those less fortunate than themselves. Remember that for them as well as for you Christ has died. Conciliation and kindness will open the way for you to help them, to win their confidence, to inspire them with hope and courage. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 29

This matter may not at first appear to you as it is, but look closely into the matter. The great Physician was a loving, compassionate healer. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 30

If those whom God in His providence has placed in responsible positions in His institutions are sharp, exacting, dictatorial, overbearing, the institutions with which they are connected will suffer great loss. The effect of their course will react on them, robbing them of peace and rest. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 31

A strong will is a blessing if sanctified to God. Put your will on the side of God’s will. Let your life be controlled by the wide, generous principles of the Bible, the principles of good will, kindness, and courtesy. Place less confidence in self. Remember that in a multitude of counselors there is safety. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 32

No one in an institution, not even the superintendent, should take the position that he is free to follow his own judgment in all things. Let no one think that he knows so much that he no longer needs to learn. Unless we are constantly learning of Christ, and unless we are willing to take counsel and advice from our brethren, we shall fail in our work, for we shall become self-sufficient; and with those who are self-sufficient God can not work. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 33

Brother Rice, you are slow to comprehend the situation, slow to see what must be done in a critical time, when matters need to be set right without delay. Go to the Lord in prayer, pleading with Him for strength, so that the enemy shall not obtain the victory over you and use you as his agent in introducing the leaven of evil into God’s institution. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 34

The man who occupies the position of superintendent must be brave and true, ready to stand fearlessly for what he knows to be right. He must be a man who is quick to discern and discriminate, a man who can make wrong right with as little friction as possible. A lack of discernment, a failure to reason from cause to effect, often brings about in our institutions a condition of things that is very displeasing to God. God’s Spirit has been dishonored and almost grieved away from the Retreat by unwise management. Lack of tact and discernment has made an impression that a long time will be needed to efface. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 35

Had the matron of the Retreat had the benefit of experience, she could better have borne the responsibility of such a position. But she was inexperienced, and in following her own plans and the plans of Brother Rice, she has at times acted very unwisely. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 36

The one who occupies the position of matron in an institution should be a woman of experience, who in an emergency knows what needs to be done. She should be a woman of executive ability, a woman who is willing to bear burdens, and who daily goes to God for wisdom. She should be a woman who knows what the rules of propriety are, and who observe them. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 37

In the night season I saw you in the company of the matron of the institution. As far as your attentions to each other were concerned, you might have been man and wife. Your conduct toward each other was wrong in the sight of God, and my heart was grieved by the condition of things. I asked, “Who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?” [Galatians 3:1.] God is displeased. You have grieved His Holy Spirit. Sister Heald will never again be what she once was. Both of you are guilty before God. Your course has thrown your influence on the side of wrong. It is as the leaven of evil. If these indiscretions on your part and on the part of others had not been, the condition of things at the Retreat would have been altogether different. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 38

You are without excuse. The warnings given to others have been given to you. But in your self-righteousness you have screened yourself behind the esteem in which you have been held by others. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 39

I have been shown that in some things the regulations of the Health Retreat are not strict enough, while in others, they are harsh and oppressive. There has been laxness and looseness in the association of the sexes. Many things have been done that are a disgrace to the doers. These actions have had a constant tendency to break down the barriers of restraint erected by God to preserve the sanctity of individuals and of families. The spirit of laxness has had a harmful influence on Dr. Burke, causing him to lose respect for Dr. Gibbs and Brother Rice. His course has been marked with selfishness and underhand dealing. It has had a tendency to lesson the confidence of the patients in Dr. Gibbs. But Dr. Gibbs is not the only one who has injured the institution. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 40

Those who are connected with the Retreat are to put away all lightness and frivolity. Their lives are to be in harmony with the truth they have received. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 41

There are some, both men and women, who gossip more than they pray. They have not clear spiritual discernment. They are far from God. When they talk with the patients, their attitude seems to say, Report, and we will report it. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 42

Helpers who follow this course are to be labored with and reproved. And if they refuse to change their course, let them be dismissed. If they are allowed to continue in the institution, they will bring about a condition of things that will separate the Lord from the institution. It is far better to send away the rebel workers than to shut the Lord out of the institution. Let the helpers, in whatever department they work, be discreet. If they repeat all they hear and talk of all they see, they will be a curse to the institution. There are those who find delight in telling things to create a sensation. This is demoralizing to an institution and should not receive the least countenance. 5LtMs, Lt 30, 1887, par. 43