Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 8, 1888

Gibbs, Dr.



Portions of this letter are published in TSB 158-163; 8MR 431-433; 9MR 370.

Dear Brother:

I have some things to bring before you at this time. We are very desirous that you should make a success as a physician at our Rural Health Retreat. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 1

Your mind has not been healthfully exercised at all times since you came to the Health Retreat. Your ideas in regard to the marriage relation have been erroneous. Nothing but the violation of the marriage bed can either break or annul the marriage vow. We are living in perilous times when there is no assurance in anything, save in firm, unwavering faith in Jesus Christ. There is no heart that may not be estranged from God through the devices of Satan if one does not watch unto prayer. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 2

Your health would have been in a far better condition had your mind been at peace and rest, but it became confused and unbalanced, and you reasoned incorrectly in regard to the matter of divorce. Your views cannot be sustained on the ground from which you reason. Men are not at liberty to make a standard of law for themselves to avoid God’s law and please their own inclination. They must come to God’s great moral standard of righteousness. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 3

If the wife is an unbeliever and an opposer, the husband cannot, in view of the law of God, put her away on this ground alone. In order to be in harmony with the law of Jehovah, he must abide with her unless she chooses of herself to depart. He may suffer opposition and be oppressed and annoyed in many ways; he will find his comfort and his strength and support from God, who is able to give grace for every emergency. He should be a man of pure mind, of truly decided, firm principles, and God will give him wisdom in regard to the course which he should pursue. Impulse will not control his reason, but reason will hold the lines of control in her firm hand, that lust shall be held under bit and bridle. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 4

Men who are placed in important positions, as those at the Health Retreat, are made the special objects of Satan’s attacks. They are brought necessarily into the society of men and women. Some of these have a coarse, passionate, sensual nature, who when under temptation would do anything regardless of God, regardless of consequences. They would break down the barriers of the marriage relation, that they may form new connections. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 5

God gave only one cause why a wife should leave her husband or the husband leave his wife, which was adultery. Let this ground be prayerfully considered. Marriage was from the creation, constituted by God a divine ordinance. The marriage institution was made in Eden. The Sabbath of the fourth commandment was instituted in Eden when the foundations of the world were laid, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy. Then let this, God’s institution of marriage, stand before you as firm as the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 6

We inquire, What can be said or done to stop the moral declension that has been taking root in the Health Retreat? May God forgive those who have had the experience of years in connection with the cause and work of God, and yet will by practice bring in a state of things that will endanger virtue and modesty and self-respect of girls and women. I must urge upon you that which I know from the light which God has been pleased to give me. I have been shown that men and women enjoying the religion of Jesus Christ will not be uneasy, restless, discontented, changeable; the peace of Christ in the heart will give solidity to character. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 7

I was in the night season in my dreams brought in connection with the Health Retreat. I felt grieved to see you unhappy and much discouraged. I thought all this depression was in consequence of the treacherous course pursued by Dr. Burke and the very unwise course of those who sympathized with him. There were two parties at the Health Retreat. The wrong was not by any means all on the side of Dr. Burke, but those who are not living in the light of truth and walking in the way of God’s commandments helped on the matter of difficulties. Through their much talking, through their strong, unsanctified feelings, they made as wide a breach. In the place of humbling their hearts before God and feeling afflicted and burdened over the condition of things that were existing, they were deepening the work of the enemy by making division, by showing their marked preferences. Their much talk and wrought-up feelings made the Health Retreat a place of contention and strife. But while I was distressed over this revelation to me, there was One speaking with you, Dr. Gibbs. His words reproved you, but were mingled with tender compassion. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 8

I cannot write the exact words as He spoke them. I will try my best to give you the import of them. He said: “You are nourishing despondency, but in this you are not wise; you will become weak and inefficient. This will give the enemy advantage over you. God would have you grow nearer and closer to Himself, to resemble the image and character of Christ. Your heart is the seat of many tumultuous feelings, which you do not strive vigorously to overcome. You do not put your full heart and will into the work of cleansing the soul temple. Your mind is unwisely exercised on the subject of divorce from your wife. God is not leading you in this. You are not keeping this matter bound within your own mind. You are telling your ideas and plans to others, and in thus doing, you are preparing the way for Satan to affect the minds of others [by] your suggestions. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 9

“The matter of the marriage covenant does not stand sacred and elevated in your mind as it should, and you will certainly be in danger of pursuing a wrong course yourself and endangering other souls by your suggestions. Your mind, while stirred up on this subject, cannot be prepared to do the best work, and you cannot be an earnest seeker for the blessing of the Lord unless you shall come up on higher ground. You have done positive injury to the hearts and minds of others. Close quickly the door of your heart that has been open to the enemy. Open wide the door of your heart and invite Jesus to come in. You will then have a balance wheel to your somewhat erratic nature, that you can put your whole being into your work, realizing its importance. Improve every opportunity to work your way upward, exerting a firm and healthful influence. Lose no time in this matter. If you would be a free and happy man, you must resist the enemy.” 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 10

There are those, both men and women, who gossip more than they pray. They have not discerned, their souls are not sanctified through the truth, [and] they have not honored the institution. They have had a spirit that is saying, “Report, and we will report it.” [Jeremiah 20:10.] 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 11

I was deeply impressed and was urging you at the Health Retreat that there should be regulations, firm and strict, in regard to all who are working in the institution, to be guarded in their words and deportment, giving no occasion for that institute to be falsified. The helpers are not to express preference for one physician above another to any of the patients or the helpers. If this should occur, they should be labored with and reproved. If they repeat the same thing after being kindly and faithfully labored with, whatever their influence or position, unless they give thorough evidence of reform, discharge them. They will bring about a condition of things that will divorce the Lord from the institution. It would be far better to discharge the evil workers, the mischief-makers, than to have the Lord’s Spirit removed from the institution. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 12

Workers in every department should be discreet, keeping their own counsel. They are not at liberty to tell everything they may see and hear. They will be a living curse to the institution, unless they learn to bridle their tongues. If they pray more and talk less, they will have far greater strength to resist the temptations of the enemy and to stand in freedom and faith, keeping their minds stayed upon God. If men are found manifesting marked preferences to the helpers or to the patients and making love to them, the same spirit will pervade the institution. All this is to be stopped before it buds and blossoms and bears fruit. God’s Spirit will be grieved away from that institution, unless everything of this order is discouraged. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 13

Mismanagement, want of tact and discernment, has led to many mistakes. Impressions have been made that were to the detriment of the institution, that will take [a] long time to efface. There is much cheap talk, foolish jesting and joking, all contrary to a Christlike spirit. The two Sisters Crawford are not right with God. They are not developing characters of experienced Christians; they were exhibiting variance of opinions, contending with themselves, which is detrimental to themselves and to the whole institution. This is not of Christ, but is the devil’s work. It would be far better if both closed their labor in the institution. They have not physical strength, they have not moral power, and they have not Christlike patience. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 14

Dr. Gibbs, your mind is not in a healthful state. You center your mind upon things that do not bring to you physical or mental soundness. You must have a change of heart; then your thoughts will flow into a higher, purer channel. You enjoy the society of women and girls. This becomes to you a snare. In such an institution the physician’s mind should be constantly uplifted to God for strength and wisdom. There is constant danger of the thoughts’ taking a low level. Unless that the Lord is the center of attraction, unless He is a special defense against the temptations of the enemy, he [Satan] will gain power over your mind and separate you from God. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 15

In a dream on another occasion you were presented before me. Your head was bowed down upon a table. You were almost unconscious. Words were spoken to you with a firm, decided emphasis: “Put that out of your hand! You need not take that; your life is not your own; your medicine is not needed to bring you peace and rest. What you need is heart religion, a heart purified, refined, elevated from common things, taking hold upon the divine. Be a man. Call your wife to your side, become better acquainted with the truth, be molded by the Spirit of God, and you will have peace. If you take the right course, if you are unwavering in the truth, if you keep your own soul in the love of God, you will be in the hands of the Lord the means of saving your wife, and in her turn, if she accepts the truth of heavenly origin, if she is a meek and humble follower of Christ, she will be the means in the hands of God of being a great blessing to you.” 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 16

It is well that you connected yourself with this institution for health. It was giving you a favorable chance to save your own soul. Had you kept your thoughts in a healthful channel, you would have greatly improved physically and morally; you would have been far in advance of what you now are; you would have grown in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. You are to have a firm reliance upon God. He will keep you; He will strengthen you to resist Satan’s temptation. Satan tempts you to do desperate things, and the watchcare of angels has preserved you from yourself. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 17

Now, Dr. Gibbs, stand up in your God-given manhood! Lift the cross of Christ daily; uplift your thoughts into a higher, purer channel. Respect your marriage vows, and be God’s own servant for the uplifting of the human race. If you are an overcomer, you will be among those who will have possession of all things, the eternal weight of glory will be yours. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 18

There is an animal that strikes the arm with feebleness the moment it touches it. The muscles become as if paralyzed. In a similar way will it be with you spiritually, if your thoughts are allowed to run in a certain channel and you give attention and preferences to young girls or married women. All this familiarity is death to spirituality. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 19

Let your affections and your sympathies entwine about God, else your impulses will become impure, your character will be defective, your heart estranged from God. Whoever touched or handled that which pollutes and yet continued pure? The soul cannot remain pure breathing the atmosphere of that which taints and corrupts. These things steal the heart away from God. The soul withers and becomes deformed because the tent is pitched too near Sodom to breathe the pure atmosphere of heaven. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 20

The violation of one of God’s precepts does violence to your moral nature. For Christ’s sake, I implore you to reach a higher standard. Give yourself unreservedly to the Lord. You have lessons to learn that your only safety is to meet the requirements of God, to present your body a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Then the Word of God will be found a pleasant and profitable guide, a light to your feet, and a lamp to your path. Then you can bear perplexities, and they will not overcome you, for you know that your soul is riveted to the eternal Rock because you abide by the simple truth of God. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 21

You are not laying up treasures upon the earth, but imperishable treasures in the heavens. The way to the throne Christ has opened before you. He has bid you to pray always. This does not require that you should be always on your knees, but your heart may be ascending to God for wisdom and grace and in praise and gratitude for the great salvation brought within your reach. This is walking with God as did Enoch. When tempted as you will be, it is your privilege to obtain an experience how to retreat into the secret places of the Most High. His everlasting arms will be beneath you. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 22

Let these words encourage you, “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis, who have not defiled their garments.” [Revelation 3:4.] Have you held fast your integrity as a drowning man clings to the cable which is cast to him for to save him? “Hold fast that thou hast, let no man take your crown.” [Verse 11.] You want Christian manhood, your soul uplifting to God, strong in His strength. The Scriptures to you must be your supreme standard. You must have a life of continual dependency upon God. Personal holiness must be cultivated, and to this deep religious experience will surely be added ability of a superior order. In your profession you are expected to bring sagacity, soundness of faith, unbending integrity which Joseph had, which Daniel preserved in the courts of Babylon. You will have a well-balanced character, because Christ has formed within the heart the hope of glory. You will not be changeable, but will be raised up above the influence that would discourage, discompose, and disturb the mind. Only have your heart fixed, trusting in God, and you can evidence to others [how] to be a wise physician and yet an active Christian serving the Lord. Godliness is the only solid foundation for true dignity and completeness of character. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 23

I am deeply desirous that you will make a more decided effort to meet the expectations of Jesus Christ. In your work as a physician, the Spirit of God will solemnly impress your heart if you labor for this by fixing your thoughts upon God and praying to Him in faith. You must have faith for yourself. The faith that others exercise will not avail for you. The hope of others cannot give you courage. The repentance of others cannot have a saving influence on your life. We must individually have a personal religion. You can but have in your practice as a physician strikingly presented the connection between sin and disease. Let nothing of a trifling character weaken your faith. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 24

It is not profitable to you or to others to engage in long talks. They do no one any special good. The time thus spent should be devoted to a searching of the Scriptures, to meditation and earnest prayer, which will give vigor to the mind and stability to the character. If a man be in Christ, he is a new creature; he is prepared to use all his capabilities to minister to the soul as well as to the body, earnestly seeking the wisdom of God and guided by His Spirit. The work will be of a character to the saving of the body and also of the soul. Let this have an influence to humble your heart, that there is not one action of your life that is not open for the all-seeing eye of a holy God. The invitation from Christ is, “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] Have you accepted this invitation? Is your will as God’s will? Then you will have peace and rest. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 25

Oh, for physicians who are so imbued with the Spirit of God that their example, their earnest efforts, will roll back every reproach from them and reveal in life and character the sanctifying power of the truth of God! Countless are the opportunities which a wise and skillful Christian physician may have for winning souls to Christ, cheering the desponding and the despairing soul, relieving the pain of the tortured body. Oh, there are lessons every physician may learn! By their fruits ye shall know them. As the tree is known by its fruits, so is the heart known by the actions which it leads men to perform. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 26

Do not, my brother, be held away from your important duties as a physician. You love certain employments and are in danger of giving too much attention to these things. It is your duty in the fear of God to exercise wise judgment and reason in regard to the care that you should exercise in preserving the strength that God has given you. You are to walk in the light while you have the light. You are to obey the laws of God in your being. You have lost much because you have not disciplined yourself to regular hours of sleep, regular hours of taking your food, and your health has suffered in consequence. It is your duty to do all that you can to preserve yourself in the very best condition to bear the taxing labor that must come upon you at any time, which severely taxes the powers of your endurance. You must not be careless and inattentive to the means that God has ordained for the preservation of all your powers. God will help you in every effort in the right direction. Put yourself and all your powers in obedience to the laws God has established in the human organism. To trifle with these laws is to break the law of God. You must come into subjection to God’s law. Discipline yourself. Do not move impulsively. I beseech you to bring under control your impulses. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 27

Every power that God has endowed you with is to be employed in His service. To pervert any one of these precious qualities by any indiscretion is doing dishonor to your Maker. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” [Mark 12:30.] This takes the whole man. Now, if these powers are treated carelessly or abused through any recklessness of your own, they become enfeebled. Then there is not perfect service rendered to God, and there is robbery toward God through inefficiency brought upon yourself through disregard of the laws of life and health. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 28

I urge you, my brother, to take these matters into candid consideration. Discipline yourself, bring yourself into harmony with God’s will, break up your reckless habits in late hours, [and] break up the custom of long talks with any[one]. Preserve your energies to do good work for the Master, who has employed you as His servant, and the blessing of God will abide upon you. 5LtMs, Lt 8, 1888, par. 29