Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14

330/488

Ms 53, 1899

Words of Instruction to Those Connected with the Sanitarium

NP

April 3, 1899

Portions of this manuscript are published in TDG 102; Ev 539, 542-543; VSS 52. +Note

There are dangers ahead [for] the sanitarium. Could I explain these so that they would be understood, could I arouse those in responsible positions to connect with God in their labor and in all their plans, the God of wisdom would stand at the head of the work. His Spirit would control, and the sanitarium would prosper because the Ruler of the heavens and earth stood at the helm, guiding, guarding, and protecting. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 1

The general tone and character of the sanitarium will be determined to a great extent by the deportment, the words and actions, of the physicians and their helpers. If general order, thoroughness, and neatness prevail, this will have a great influence in its favor. Those caring for the sick should never manifest a sharp, rasping, irritable spirit in any part of the work. Men of hasty spirit must feel it their duty to control their words and actions. It will be a tax upon those with nervous, irritable temperaments to be brought in contact with sick, unreasonable persons who have not practiced self-control, but the feelings must not be allowed to control the judgment. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 2

The sick have peculiar fancies, and because of a diseased imagination, see things in a false light. To them these things are real, and those caring for them need to manifest constant kindness and unwearied care. Physicians should make a study of this phase of disease, and should bear long with those suffering from it. And their helpers should daily, with sincerity and earnestness, seek strength and grace from above, that they may be enabled to keep the soul with all patience, to be kind and sunshiny, to speak no words of condemnation. They must expect sick people to be unreasonable, especially those who have no faith that they will receive help from above to bear their sufferings. The changeable state of their feelings should not be charged upon them. The adversary, who is using them to make those connected with them unhappy, should not be gratified by seeing his object accomplished. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 3

Those in responsible positions cannot expect to be shown respect if they are nervous and excitable, easily irritated by the complaints and changeable feelings of the patients. Those who retort with sharp speeches to the patients do themselves harm and injure the institution. The way to gain the confidence of these irritable ones is by showing them, by word and action, that you will not be irritated or fretted by their whims. Let them see that you have an abundance of the milk of human kindness. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 4

Let them see that their fretful whims and pettish complaints cannot provoke you into impatience and retaliation. This is where some have failed. They have been misunderstood. They have much more tenderness and sympathy than they reveal, but they are harsh and severe where they should be kind, forbearing, and gentle. Physicians and nurses have much to try their patience, but if they watch and pray, they will find their work a good school in which to gain self-control. Those who have anything to do with the sick should preserve strict discipline over themselves, overcoming the disposition that is easily provoked. Superintendent, matron, and helpers cannot cultivate too large a stock of patience. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 5

Sick people, suffering with bodily pain, and diseased in mind, imagine many things that are false in regard to themselves and others. It will be of no use to tell them the truth, for they are not always prepared to have their true condition presented to them. Their ideas concerning themselves are so false that they would feel that you were imposing on them were you to tell them all the facts in the case. You may see and understand their true condition, but you are not obliged to say all you think. Christ said to His disciples, “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” [John 16:12.] Plain and decided facts are not always to be presented to the sick. This might make such an impression on some minds that they would become prejudiced, while others would be made hopeless. Sanctified wisdom is greatly needed in this matter. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 6

There are among the helpers some who have no thought beyond their own selfish interests. They have no real anxiety in regard to the prosperity of the institution. They do not realize their responsibility to work faithfully, doing with thoroughness what they can do. They slight and neglect wherever they can. All their life long they have moved from impulse. Right principles have not had a controlling power over them. These entirely fail of meeting the purposes of God. They gather no light from the throne of God to scatter in the pathway of others. Instead they bring with them evil angels. They are self-confident, too wise to be taught anything. They feel as if they needed no cautions. They are ever making mistakes, but when admonished they become impatient. They refuse to be controlled, and are glad when the hour comes which brings them their liberty. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 7

They put on airs of importance, and by their actions say, The judgment of no one is as good as mine. “Pride compasseth them about as with a garment.” [See Psalm 73:6.] They think they are creating a sensation, and they are, but it is very different from what they hoped to create. No one loves to see pomposity and self-inflation in others, especially in the inexperienced youth. Reticence and modesty ever command respect from sensible people. Let those who think themselves capable of managing themselves take their own way, and they will follow the path to ruin. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 8

Youth come to the sanitarium amiable in disposition and pure in morals. But through association with those who have no fear of God before their degenerate eyes, they become ringleaders in wrong. They were first tempted, and in their turn they become tempters. We are often surprised at such downfalls, but could we see the reasons, we should find it due to improper associates. If those who act a prominent part in the sanitarium were today what they should be, an influence would go forth from this institution which would reflect the life-giving beams of Christianity. The light reflected from this institution will be proportionate to the purity and piety of those connected with it. If the sanitarium is to be a place where the Spirit of God can dwell, it will be a success. If a power goes from it, through the influence of those connected with it, which is unto righteousness, God will give His blessing to the institution. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 9

The triumph of the truth is dependent on the influence of those who believe it. By personal labor, by a well-ordered life, by piety, faith, and tender compassion, we are to advance the truth. We have a heaven to win. The highest rewards are presented to the overcomer. Yes; an eternal weight of glory is held out before us, to induce us to so run that we may obtain the crown of life that fadeth not away. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 10

He who determines to overcome has a warfare before him from which there is no release. Manfully he is to fight the good fight of faith. Lawfully he is to strive, day by day seeking for purity and moral excellency. This God requires him to do that he may represent Christ. He is to believe the promises of God, and trust in Christ, showing those around him that he has an inexhaustible treasure from which to draw. His words are to be right words, his spirit the right spirit. His hands are never to grow weak in doing the work God has given him to do. He will meet with trials, but he must always be brave and cheerful. He is to treat all as the purchase of the blood of Christ, without partiality and without hypocrisy. The Holy Spirit is his helper. Through Christ, who strengthens him, he is enabled to bear all things. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 11

Those connected with the sanitarium will meet with all classes of people, refined and coarse, intellectual and dull, liberal and selfish, jealous and unsuspecting, those who find fault and those who are cheerful and gladsome, those who are pure and those who are corrupt. Only by being closely connected with God can the doctors and their helpers learn how to deal with these different elements. If they ask wisdom from Him who giveth to all men, and upbraideth not, wisdom will be given them that will enable them to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 12

Never should those connected with the sanitarium be intimidated by wealth or position. Never should they shrink into cringing time-servers. As children of God, sons and daughters of the King of heaven, they should preserve their dignity at all times and under all circumstances. But never should they be cold and unsympathetic, especially when dealing with the poorer classes. Courtesy, tender solicitude, genuine sympathy, loving compassion, should be shown to all, rich and poor alike. Ever remember that God values men and women according to their beauty of character and the purity of their motives, not according to their financial standing, to the amount of wealth they possess. Goodness alone is true greatness. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 13

The partiality that has been shown to the wealthy has brought upon nearly every large medical institution the displeasure of God. Jesus has been slighted in the person of His poor saints, and God will judge for these things. A great difference has been made between the attention bestowed on those who are wealthy and those who are poor. But God acknowledges no rank or position. In His sight men are simply men, either good or bad. In the day of final reckoning, position, rank, or wealth will not alter the case of any man one hair’s breadth. By the All-seeing God men will be judged for what they are worth in purity, in integrity, in nobility of character, in love for Christ. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 14

The talents God has entrusted will call for proportionate returns. God accepts according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not. He does not expect from the man who has only one talent that which he expects from him who has five. If the wealthy choose to gratify every selfish desire, to enjoy the good things of this life, they will be judged accordingly. They refuse to honor Christ by humble obedience, to lift his cross. They live to please and gratify self, and thus dishonor God; and He declares “Them that honor me, I will honor.” [1 Samuel 2:30.] 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 15

Seeking after eternal riches is a work requiring close, conscientious thought. Many are seeking to do a great work, to exalt themselves, hoping thereby to have their praises sounded abroad, to be called great by the world. To this end they aspire to do great things, flattering themselves that they are rendering humanity a great service. But their work is as a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. Only those who trade faithfully upon their talents, with a solemn sense of their responsibility, do a great work, because of their steadfast faithfulness. Those who have talents, and yet do not answer to the claims of God, who expend everything upon themselves, are not the ones God would have us honor. Only those who glorify Him by wisely improving the gifts lent them by aiding the cause of God, are great in His sight. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 16

Let the managers of the sanitarium be pure-minded, whole-souled men, in whose mouths there is no guile. The manners and tones of the voice should be guarded, that no wrong impression shall be made upon the minds of the patients, to be borne away to work against the institution. God requires all, from those in the highest position to those in the most lowly, to conduct themselves with the strictest propriety. In no case appear affected and put on a false show in order to gain favor, neither condescend to be common or familiar. A becoming dignity should ever be preserved. This will impress visitors and patients favorably, and will increase their confidence in the institution. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 17

Men and women of means are thoroughly acquainted with the world’s standard. They see the deference paid to wealth and the neglect of the poorer classes. They see the superficial attention paid to the high of this earth, and they read the motives which prompt to action. They cannot help but respect men and women who are governed by high and holy motives, who move in the fear of God, who will not depart from principle for the sake of money, who carry the principles of the gospel of Christ into the daily life. This is a light that is reflected on them, showing the marked contrast between such a course of action and their own selfishness. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 18

They see that an unseen power prompts to action, and some, even of the world’s most wealthy, are refreshed by this manifestation of pure motives and high principles and they are made better. Others are reproved and annoyed by it, for it is in marked contrast to their own course. The influence exerted is similar to the influence Christ’s character had upon the Pharisees. Hatred to Christ was in accordance to their unsanctified hearts, because his pure life rebuked their sinfulness. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 19

In regard to making known our faith, no decided effort should be made to conceal it, and no unwise efforts put forth to make it prominent. Persons will come to the sanitarium who are in a favorable condition to be impressed by the truth. If they ask questions in regard to our faith, it would be proper to state what we believe, in a clear, simple manner. Indwelling godliness imparts a power to the conduct of the true believer that gives him an influence for the right. But in this matter we should act with discretion. There are conscientious persons who think it their duty to talk freely upon points of faith on which there is a difference of opinion, in a manner which arouses the combativeness of those with whom they converse. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 20

One such premature, injudicious effort may close the ears of one who otherwise would have heard patiently, but who will now influence others unfavorably. Thus spring up the roots of bitterness, whereby many are defiled. Through the indiscretion of one, the ears and hearts of many may be closed to the truth. It is a fact that is known to all that the zealous religionists of the different sects have cultivated and manifested very little candor in their estimation of those who differ with them on religious subjects. Those of this class expect to meet the same unreasonable spirit among Seventh-day Adventists, and they put on their armor, prepared to resist anything that will reflect on their peculiar views. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 21

In times past, some in the sanitarium have felt it their duty to introduce the Sabbath question in all places. They have urged it upon the patients with earnestness and persistency. To such the angels of God would say, Not words, but deeds. The daily life tells much more than any number of words. A uniform cheerfulness, tender kindness, Christian benevolence, patience and love, will melt away prejudice, and open the heart to the reception of the truth. Few understand the power of these precious influences. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 22

The sanitarium parlor, where are gathered a promiscuous crowd of patients, is not the place to talk upon doctrinal subjects. Let our consistent lives win confidence and awaken a desire to know why we believe as we do. Then invite those who inquire to attend the Sabbath meetings. If our brethren and sisters in Battle Creek were what they might be and what God would have them, angels would be present when they assemble in worship. These heavenly messengers would impress the hearts of the unprejudiced seeker after truth. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 23

We have seen the light of truth, and to us it is exceedingly precious. We should all strive to show how valuable it is by making the truth attractive to those who do not believe. Remember that what is light to us is darkness to others. We should not fail to consider the feelings of those who differ from us, though they may cherish great errors, which we wonder they do not see as plainly as we do. Those who have a real burden for souls are those who exhibit the fruits of righteousness in good works, who are willing to deny self and make sacrifices for the good of others. Thus they follow the example of the one great Pattern, who lived only to bless others. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 24

Influence and example, when viewed in the light of the cross and in their true relation to eternity, assume infinite importance. A word fitly spoken at the right time may save a soul from death. Day by day the example we set and the influence we exert is registered in the records going beforehand to judgment. Will those who are connected with the sanitarium, an instrumentality of God, inquire critically, What has my example been while connected with the sanitarium? Have I let my light shine forth to others in works that give glory to God? Has my example told on the side of truth? 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 25

Judicious conversation and right actions exert an influence which is a power in the right direction. But generally those who talk most are those who do the least deep, earnest thinking, the least work for the Master. They think that by talking they can make up for their deficiencies. But it is doers of the Word that are justified before God. Those who have little to make life happy are often neglected by those who are enthusiastic in laying out the duties which ought to be done for the orphans or the unfortunate. They talk, but their moral sensibilities are not directed by the Spirit of God; therefore they cannot follow the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment. God requires us to put ourselves into His hands without reserve, to obey His directions implicitly. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 26

When we take the Lord as our Counsellor, when we follow Him, not only by doing the few things which please us, but by placing body, soul, and spirit under His control, we can work as Christ worked. Those who make Christ their personal Saviour seek Him most earnestly in prayer, not only believing, but practicing the truth, and by His grace they are enabled to be true, noble, and beneficent. They minister in a way which heaven approves. By unselfish actions they reveal the character of Christ, pure, holy, and undefiled. They realize that they cannot afford to lose sight of Christ, to do an unchristlike action, because by thus doing they would give unbelievers an occasion to cast a reproach upon the sacred truth they profess. By precept and example they represent their Leader. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 27

The daily influence of purity and devotion, an observance of the courtesies of life, unbending integrity and steadfastness, will be to all a constant recommendation of our faith. But if those who profess the truth are light and trifling, reckless in their conversation, and careless in their deportment, they deny Christ, and the world is made only worse by their profession. With less of such advocating the truth of God would stand higher. We may all deplore the want of earnestness in doing the will of our heavenly Father, the want of power to control the naturally irreligious, irreverent disposition, and to resist temptation. It is the duty [of] every Christian to show himself a true follower of Jesus who loves the truth for the truth’s sake, cherishing and practicing righteousness for his own good, hating every species of impurity, shunning all undue familiarity, willingly denying self for Christ’s sake. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 28

The poorest man in this world is rich so long as he preserves his integrity of character. The one who is victorious in life’s battle is he who gives himself earnestly and unreservedly to God. The daily life of such a one is a constant confession of Christ. He who refuses to please himself, who will not abate his efforts in the great work of living the truth, whatever difficulties he may meet, walks the earth as one of the Lord’s great men, a nobleman in his Maker’s sight. While this life lasts he is constantly doing and saying something to prepare himself and others for the future life. He has the mind of Christ, and in private and public life his light shines with clear, steady rays. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 29

In the sanitarium there are continual losses, resulting from a neglect to look after the little things. Men and women have thought it their duty to attend to large responsibilities, but there are hundreds of leaks that are not cared for or even thought of. The loss resulting from these is not small. This is one of the special defects at the sanitarium. The men and women in charge are above looking after the minutia. They regard small things as below their notice. But God declares, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” [Luke 16:10.] My brethren at the sanitarium, remember that minute, conscientious attention to what the world terms “little things” constitutes the great success of life. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 30

God’s work is perfect as a whole because it is perfect in every part. He makes the simple leaf, the tiny flower, the blade of grass, with just as much care as He makes a world. The symmetrical structure of a strong, beautiful character is built by individual acts of duty. Learn to be faithful in the least as well as in the greatest. Your work cannot bear God’s inspection unless you pay diligent attention to the little things. Losses are occurring in all our institutions in which it is the duty of those in responsible positions to prevent. God does not accept unwilling service. He calls upon those connected with the sanitarium to be faithful and economical, that nothing be lost. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 31

The sanitarium will have to give free treatment to many sufferers. Send none away without comfort or relief, if it is possible to give it. Those who are courteous and kind in the little things of life scatter bright sunshine in the pathway of others. This is reflected back on them in the richest blessings. Your work, your efforts, will not always be appreciated, but think of Christ’s efforts in a thankless world. His labors of love were not appreciated. And today His mercies and bounties are not half appreciated by you. But what if He should say because of this, I will cease to be merciful? Christ has done more for you than you can possibly do for others. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 32

But if you yield yourself to God’s will, looking only for appreciation and reward in the future life, you are following in Christ’s footsteps. He loved us in our sin and ingratitude. Though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. He clothes his divinity with humanity, that he might become acquainted with the frailties of humanity, and endure the temptations wherewith man is beset. He reached to the very depths of woe, that He might uplift erring mortals. He turned none away empty. There was no wearying of his patience, no lessening of His love and zeal. The waves of mercy, beaten back by proud and impenitent hearts, ever returned in a fresh and stronger tide of unresisting love. How feeble are our efforts to imitate Christ! How small any sacrifice we might make for others in comparison with the infinite sacrifice made for us! 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 33

Said Christ, “If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Matthew 16:24.] The cross of self-denial lies directly at the entrance of the narrow way. Self-sacrifice must be practiced if we would travel the path our Saviour trod. Superintendent, physicians, matron, and helpers should feel that they are witnesses for God, that they are engaged in an important work which requires much wisdom, much patience, much self-control. Yet they may feel joy in the belief that they are doing God’s work. They may often be tempted to think that caring for the sick is a thankless task, but they know not the result of their influence and example. 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 34

God calls upon those working in the sanitarium to reveal the Spirit of Christ. Let the golden beams of the Sun of Righteousness shine through you to those who need them. Let your characters be as fragrant incense ascending to God. The love of Jesus, like a sweet savor, will give sacredness and power to all in authority, for a divine presence will control the conscience. The influence of the spirit breathed forth will be inhaled by many more than you suppose. Jesus will make you workers together with God if you will do His will. He has bought you with His own blood. He has made you the depositaries of sacred trust, and though you are in a position of peculiar temptation, you may be individual Christians. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.] 14LtMs, Ms 53, 1899, par. 35