Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Lt 44, 1890

Brethren and Sisters in California

Battle Creek, Michigan

July 2, 1890

Previously unpublished.

To Our Brethren and Sisters in California,

The Health Retreat at St. Helena is in need of ampler accommodations. The main building is full; the rented cottages also are full. We cannot accommodate the patients who are ready to come if rooms could be provided for them. There is urgent necessity for the immediate erection of a new main building—a plain, commodious, substantial edifice. 6LtMs, Lt 44, 1890, par. 1

At a recent meeting of the Board it was voted that such a building should be erected as soon as sufficient means could be received by donations and by loans without interest, or at a low rate of interest. Others who have been on the ground, who are interested in the prosperity of the institution concur in this decision. Now what is to be done? Shall we allow the usefulness of the Retreat to be hindered for want of means? Is there not urgent need of the work which this institution is doing? There is altogether too little interest felt in health reform. This subject must be brought to the attention not only of worldlings but of our own people. A greater interest in it needs to be awakened in every church in California. God calls upon us to make an advance, not call a halt, and even beat a retreat as some have done. 6LtMs, Lt 44, 1890, par. 2

Our health institutions are to aid in carrying forward an important branch of the Lord’s work; and He would have us build them up, and see that they are supplied with qualified workers who can instruct others. Temperance in all things must be taught and practiced. The people need to learn how to treat their bodies in order to secure health. They must become intelligent on this subject in order to heed the injunction of the apostle, “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. 6LtMs, Lt 44, 1890, par. 3

Now if through bodily infirmities we are unable to do the work which God has committed to us, there is great loss to the church, and the light is shut away from the world—a light that ought to shine in good works, in patience, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, brotherly-kindness, love, and godliness. In order to heed the words of Christ through His servant Paul, the people of God must be enlightened. 6LtMs, Lt 44, 1890, par. 4

As a general thing they are asleep as to the importance of this subject. They do not take time to think, to become intelligent in regard to this subject. Our people need light. Shall they have it, and impart it to others? 6LtMs, Lt 44, 1890, par. 5

Unhealthful habits of eating and dressing and the unnatural use of narcotics and stimulants prevail almost everywhere, and are exerting a pernicious influence upon the character of men, women, and children. And as the result, the momentous truths which God has set before us in His Word are lightly regarded. 6LtMs, Lt 44, 1890, par. 6

It is plainly taught us in the Scriptures, as well as by experience, that in this fallen state the physical nature is often at war with the spiritual nature; and this warfare will increase in just the degree in which we transgress the laws that God has established in our physical constitution. The Lord admonishes us to “abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul.” [1 Peter 2:11.] 6LtMs, Lt 44, 1890, par. 7

Every unnatural physical indulgence strengthens a warring lust, and the soul as well as the body is degraded in consequence. He who would make high attainments in godliness must be temperate in all things—he must not only discard everything that can intoxicate, but must observe temperance in eating, in drinking, in dressing, and in labor. We must lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets us that we may be able to run the Christian race and obtain the prize—the crown of eternal life. 6LtMs, Lt 44, 1890, par. 8

Many who have had light on this subject and who adopted the principles of health reform have backslidden, and as the result they are weak in body, and some have lost their lives. Now, brethren, is it not time for an advance move? Will you give your support to the institution which is devoted to teaching the principles of hygiene? Shall we allow the Health Retreat to be crippled, to languish and die? No, decidedly no. I ask you, my brethren, to act conscientiously in this matter. 6LtMs, Lt 44, 1890, par. 9

The Retreat is in a healthful location. The atmosphere is pure and mild. There is plenty of pure, soft water, and the scenery is such as cannot but delight the lover of nature. There are few places that offer greater advantages for the recovery of health than are offered here. The institution is also a missionary field in the highest sense of the term. The Lord has signified that it is His instrumentality to do a special work for the saving of the bodies and the souls of men. 6LtMs, Lt 44, 1890, par. 10

Dr. Burke has taken hold of the work at the Health Retreat with an earnest purpose to do all in his power for the up-building of the institution. Shall we not stand shoulder to shoulder with him in lifting the burden? 6LtMs, Lt 44, 1890, par. 11

The Retreat has been struggling under many difficulties and discouragements, and instead of lending their influence to help it, there have been many of our own people who have said many things to create prejudice against the institution. I tell you plainly that these persons are not walking in harmony with the light which God has been pleased to give me. They have been working on the enemy’s side of the question. Now I ask my brethren in California to make a decided effort to change this order of things. Some of you have been sowing suspicion and distrust. You should now turn about, and labor in the opposite direction. More than this, have you not a duty to make restitution? Will you not bring the Lord a trespass offering? 6LtMs, Lt 44, 1890, par. 12

Who will give tangible evidence of their interest in this important branch of the work? If those to whom the Lord has intrusted His goods feel their responsibility, if they are faithful stewards of God, they will come up at this time, and by a generous effort to stand by the institution will, so far as possible, redeem the failures of the past. 6LtMs, Lt 44, 1890, par. 13

Will not those who have received benefit at the Retreat make a thank offering, according to their ability? Who will aid the institution now in the time of its great need? Let all who can do so make their freewill offerings. And if there are any who have money to loan without interest, or at a low rate of interest, let them make it known at once, for there is no time to lose. Shall we let this year pass, and nothing be done to prepare a building for the sick and afflicted, and next year be no further advanced than now? If the brethren in California will take hold and do what they can, we shall see a commodious building erected upon the Health Retreat grounds—a building that you will look upon with pleasure because you have an interest in it. 6LtMs, Lt 44, 1890, par. 14