Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6

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Lt 35, 1890

Wessels, Brother

Battle Creek, Michigan

February 16, 1890

This letter is published in entirety in PC 28-29.

Dear Brother Wessels,

I shall have to apologize for delaying to answer your letter. It seemed to be my duty to attend the ministerial institute and to speak to the brethren assembled there. Then I am under the necessity of keeping four workers busy on different kinds of books. This, with my much letter writing, seems to keep me employed from three o’clock A.M. till seven o’clock P.M. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1890, par. 1

I deeply sympathize with you, my brother, in your perplexities and trials. As to praying for the sick, it is too important a matter to be handled carelessly. I believe we should take everything to the Lord, and make known to God all our weaknesses, and specify all our perplexities. When in sorrow, when uncertain as to what course to pursue, two or three who are accustomed to pray should unite together in asking the Lord to let His light shine upon them and to impart His special grace; and He will respect their petitions, He will answer their prayers. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1890, par. 2

If we are under infirmities of body it is certainly consistent to trust in the Lord, making supplications to our God in our own case, and if we feel inclined to ask others in whom we have confidence to unite with us in prayer to Jesus who is the mighty Healer, help will surely come if we ask in faith. I think we are altogether too faithless, too cold and lukewarm. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1890, par. 3

I understand the text in James is to be carried out when a person is sick upon his bed; if he calls for the elders of the church, and they carry out the directions in James, anointing the sick with oil in the name of the Lord, praying over him the prayer of faith. We read, “The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” [James 5:14, 15.] 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1890, par. 4

It cannot be our duty to call for the elders of the church for every little ailment we have, for this would be putting a task upon the elders. If all should do this their time would be fully employed, they could do nothing else; but the Lord gives us the privilege of seeking Him individually in earnest prayer, of unburdening our souls to Him, keeping nothing from Him who has invited us, “Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1890, par. 5

O, how grateful we should be that Jesus is willing and able to bear all our infirmities and strengthen and heal all our diseases if it will be for our good and for His glory. Some died in the days of Christ and in the days of the apostles because the Lord knew just what was best for them. I would not speak one word to lessen your faith and perplex and worry you. There is never danger of our being too much in earnest and having too much confidence and trust in God. Be of good courage; look to Jesus constantly. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1890, par. 6

Now, in regard to that which we can do for ourselves, there is a point that requires careful, thoughtful consideration. I must become acquainted with myself; I must be a learner, always, as to how to take care of this building, the body God has given me, that I may preserve it in the very best condition of health. I must eat those things which will be for my very best good physically, and I must take special care to have my clothing such as will conduce to a healthful circulation of the blood. I must not deprive myself of exercise and air. I must get all the sunlight that it is possible for me to obtain. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1890, par. 7

I must have wisdom to be a faithful guardian of my body. I should do a very unwise thing to enter a cool room when in a perspiration; I should show myself an unwise steward to allow myself to sit in a draught, and thus expose myself so as to take cold. I should be unwise to sit with cold feet and limbs and thus drive back the blood from the extremities to the brain or internal organs. I should always protect my feet in damp weather. I should eat regularly of the most healthful food which will make the best quality of blood, and I should not work intemperately if it is in my power to avoid doing so. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1890, par. 8

And when I violate the laws God has established in my being, I am to repent and reform and place myself in the most favorable condition under the doctors God has provided—pure air, pure water, and the healing, precious sunlight. Water can be used in many ways to relieve suffering. Draughts of clear, hot water taken before eating (half a quart, more or less), will never do any harm, but will rather be productive of good. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1890, par. 9

A cup of tea made from catnip herb will quiet the nerves. Hop tea will induce sleep. Hop poultices over the stomach will relieve pain. If the eyes are weak, if there is pain in the eyes, or inflammation, soft flannel cloths wet in hot water and salt will bring relief quickly. When the head is congested, if the feet and limbs are put in a bath with a little mustard, relief will be obtained. There are many more simple remedies which will do much to restore healthful action to the body. All these simple preparations the Lord expects us to use for ourselves, but man’s extremities are God’s opportunities. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1890, par. 10

If we neglect to do that which is within the reach of nearly every family, and ask the Lord to relieve pain when we are too indolent to make use of these remedies within our power, it is simply presumption. The Lord expects us to work in order that we [may] obtain food. He does not propose that we shall gather the harvest unless we break the sod, till the soil, and cultivate the produce. Then God sends the rain and the sunshine and the clouds to cause vegetation to flourish. God works and man cooperates with God. Then there is seed time and harvest. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1890, par. 11

God has caused to grow out of the ground, herbs for the use of man and if we understand the nature of those roots and herbs, and make a right use of them, there would not be a necessity of running for the doctor, so frequently, and people would be in much better health than they are today. I believe in calling upon the Great Physician when we have used the remedies I have mentioned. In regard to manner of labor, we certainly need to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. We might be very zealous, but it might be an unwise zeal, and serve to hedge up our way. Then there is danger of being so circumscribed in our work as to do very little good. 6LtMs, Lt 35, 1890, par. 12