Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

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Lt 103, 1900

Robinson, Dores

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

July 13, 1900 [typed]

This letter is published in entirety in 20MR 341-345.

Dear Brother:

You asked me at one time what I thought in regard to your becoming a physician. I would say that the most useful lessons for you to learn will not now be found in taking a medical course of study. Your mind needs to penetrate deeper and take a more practical turn than it has yet done. If you had entered one of our health institutions to begin at the beginning or taking a nurses’ course, doing good, hard, sensible work in caring for the sick, it would have been the very best education you could have received. You would thus have become better acquainted with the duties of a physician. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 1

Young men who do not think deeply enough to take in the situation, who are not keen reasoners from cause to effect, will never succeed as physicians. The love of ease, and I may say of physical laziness, will unfit a man to become a physician or a minister. Ministers and physicians should understand their own building, the body. They should learn how to use and develop their own capabilities. They should see the need of learning to use every part of the human machinery, how to give solidity to the muscles by employing them in taxing, useful labor. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 2

Had you engaged in practical work as well as in study, you could by diligence have earned for yourself means to partially or wholly meet the expense of your course of study, and you would have gained great advantage by the experience. Brain, bone, and muscle need training to do hard labor, and then you can do hard thinking. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 3

Action gives power. Entire harmony pervades the universe of God. The physical formation of the world and all the creatures God has made must come into your study, and in this study you will find that all nature forbids inaction. You need to understand the human organism, the Lord’s wonderful machinery. All parts of this machinery must be exercised harmoniously, proportionate with the exercise of the brain nerve power. All parts of the human machinery must have action. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 4

Healthy young men and young women have no need of gymnasium exercises; nor do they need croquet, cricket, ball-playing, or any kind of amusement just for the gratification of self, to pass away time. There are useful things to be done by every one of God’s created intelligences. Some one needs from you something that will help him. Not one in the Lord’s great domain of creation was made to be a drone. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 5

Study the Lord’s plan in regard to Adam, who was created pure, holy, and healthy. Adam was given something to do. He was to use the organs God had given him. He could not have been idle. His brain must work, but not in a mechanical way like a mere machine. At all times the machinery of the body continues its work; the heart throbs, doing its regular, appointed task, like a steam engine forcing its crimson current unceasingly to all parts of the body. Action, action is seen pervading the whole living machinery. Each organ must do its appointed work. If physical inaction is continued, there will be less and less activity of the brain. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 6

No man is prepared to enter upon a medical course of study until he has learned to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. When he can do this, he becomes self-reliant. Parents mistake their duty when they freely hand out money to any youth who has physical strength to enter on a course of study to become a minister or a physician before he has had an experience in useful, taxing labor. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 7

For a healthy young man, stern, severe exercise is strengthening to brain, bone, and muscle. And it is an essential preparation for the difficult work of a physician. Without such exercise the mind cannot be in working order. It cannot put for the sharp, quick action that will give scope to its powers. It becomes inactive. Such a youth will never, never become what God designed he should be. He has established so many resting places that he becomes like a stagnant pool. The atmosphere surrounding him is charged with moral miasma. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 8

All the heavenly beings are in constant activity, and the Lord Jesus, in His practical lifework, has given an example for every man. God has established in the heavens the law of obedient action. Silent but ceaseless, the objects of His creation do their appointed work. The ocean is in constant motion. The springing grass, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, does its errand, clothing the fields with beauty. The leaves are stirred by the wind, and yet no hand is seen to touch them. The sun, moon, and stars are useful and glorious in fulfilling their appointed mission. And man, his mind and body created in God’s own similitude, must be active in order to fill his appointed place. Man is not to be idle. Idleness is sin. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 9

In the life-policy plan given us in the first chapter of Second Peter a work of addition is presented. As in our character building we add grace to grace, the great Giver will work for us on the plan of multiplication. Grace and peace will be multiplied to us. The young man who is seeking a preparation for usefulness needs to lay the foundation himself by acquiring through hard, diligent labor the means to prosecute his designs. If young men around him have allowed their parents to carry the burden of their education, let the young man who is looking on say, I will never do that. I will use my own brain and my physical powers combined to make of myself all that is possible. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 10

Let the youth set up well-defined land-marks by which they may be guided in emergencies. When a crisis comes that demands active, well-developed physical powers, and a clear, strong, practical, working minds; when difficult work is to be done where every stroke must tell, and perplexities can be not only through seeking wisdom from God, then the youth who have learned to overcome difficulties by earnest labor can respond to the call for workers, “Here am I, send me.” [Isaiah 6:8.] Let the hearts of young men and young women be as clear as crystal. Let not their thoughts be trivial, but sanctified by virtue and holiness. They need not be otherwise. With purity of thought through sanctification of the Spirit, their lives may be refined, elevated, ennobled. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 11

I repeat: It should be the fixed principle of every child and every youth to aim high in all the plans for their lifework. Let the standard which God’s Word presents be adopted for their government in all things. All this is the Christian’s positive duty, and it should be also his positive pleasure. Cultivate respect for yourself because you are Christ’s purchased possession. Constantly cherish respect for your own personal influence. Attainments in useful personal experience, success in the formation of right habits, advancement in all that is noble and just and firm and solid, will give you an influence that all will appreciate and value. This is the very salt that is a savor of life unto life. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 12

Live for something besides self. If your motives are pure, unselfish, if you are looking out to do work that somebody must do, to show kind attentions and to do courteous acts, you are unconsciously building your own monument. In the home life, in the church, and in the world you are representing Christ in character. This is the work the Lord calls upon all children and youth to do. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 13

Do good if you would be cherished in the memory of others. Live to be a blessing to all, wherever your lot may be cast. There are so many thousands who do no good in the world. None could point to them as the agency through [which] Jesus Christ,[worked] in the saving of their souls. Let children and youth wake up. By kindness and love, by self-denying, self-sacrificing deeds, write your names in the hearts of many. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 14

Let your aspirations and your motives be pure. In every business transaction be rigidly honest. However tempted, never deceive or prevaricate in the least matter. At times a natural impulse may bring temptation to diverge from the straightforward path of honesty, but do not vary one hair’s breadth. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 15

If in any matter you make a statement as to what you will do, and afterward find that you have favored others to your own loss, do not vary a hair’s breadth from principle. Carry out your agreement. By seeking to change your plans you would show that you could not be depended on. And should you draw back in little transactions, you would draw back in larger ones. Under such circumstances some are tempted to deceive, saying, I was not understood. My words have been taken to mean more than I intended. The fact is, they meant just what they said, but lost the good impulse, and then wanted to draw back from their agreement, lest it prove a loss to them. The Lord requires us to do justice, to love mercy, and truth, and righteousness. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 16

No man is excusable for being without financial ability. Of many a man it may be said, He is kind, amiable, generous, a good man, a Christian, but he is not qualified to manage his own business. As far as the outlay of means is concerned, he is a mere child. He has not been brought up by his parents to understand and to practice the principles of self-support. Such a man is not fitted to become a physician or a minister. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 17

The churches everywhere are suffering through the neglect of parents to train their children, not to self-indulge and laziness but to the bearing of stern, hard responsibilities. The wicked love to do nothing but use the mind [for pleaseure-seeking. A desire for self-indulgence] takes possession of the children, and frequently Satan takes control and makes the mind his workshop. The ability needed for service in the family and the church is lacking. Men and women are destitute of the stern virtues required to build up the church. They are not capable of devising methods and plans of a healthful, solid character. They are deficient in the very qualifications essential to the prosperity of the church. It is this kind of education that needs to be changed to an education that is sound and sensible, in harmony with Bible principles. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 18

I have much to say on the labor question, but cannot say all at this time. A large field is opened before me, but I wish now to speak particularly upon the necessity of labor. There is true dignity in labor. Among the believers in Christ there was not one apostle who was exalted as was Paul by the revelation of Christ in his conversion. And Paul labored with his hands as a tentmaker. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 19

In his zeal in persecuting the Christians, Paul had been arrested by a voice and a great light from heaven. During his ministerial labors he had several visions, of which he speaks little. He saw and heard many things not lawful for a man to utter. That which was given him as a special revelation from God, was not at all times dwelt upon when he spoke to the people. But the impression was ever with him, enabling him to give a correct representation of the Christian life and character. The impression made upon this former persecutor of the church was never to lose its force upon his mind. It influenced his estimation and deliniation of Christian character and of the obligation due from man to God. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 20

The history of the apostle Paul is a constant testimony that manual labor cannot be degrading, that it is not inconsistent with true greatness and elevation of human or Christian character. Those toilworn hands, he deemed, detracted nothing from the force of his pathetic appeals, sensible, intelligent, and eloquent beyond those of any other man who had acted a prominent part in the Christian ministry. Those toilworn hands, as he presented them before the people, bore testimony that he was not chargeable to any man for his support. He worked day and night to avoid being chargeable to his brethren, and at times he also supported his fellow workers, himself suffering from hunger in order to relieve the necessities of others. He shared his earnings with Luke, and helped Timothy obtain the necessary equipment for his journey. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 21

In (Acts 20:17-35) we see outlined the character of one Christian minister who faithfully performed his duty. He was an all-round minister. We do not consider that it is obligatory upon ministers to do in all respects as Paul did. Yet we say to all that Paul was a Christian gentleman of the highest type. His example shows that mechanical toil does not necessarily lessen the influence of any one, that working with the hands in any line of honorable labor should not make a man coarse and rough and uncourteous. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 22

It is a painful sight when artisans to whom the Lord has given ability for the most skillful work become exalted because of their skill and aptitude. In the Word of God we read that the Lord called men who had qualifications of character, and He gave them aptitude and skill in all manner of workmanship for the tabernacle. They were not left to their own human wisdom. God called them to accomplish a work which was to be a special representation of the exalted character of His service, and was also to represent the sacredness of the human temple. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 23

“Know ye not,” says Paul, “that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” “Whosoever defileth the temple of God, him will God destroy.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; 3:17.] Working men need not be lacking in refinement and true Christian courtesy. 15LtMs, Lt 103, 1900, par. 24