Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Lt 20, 1902

Sanderson, Brother and Sister [A. J.]


February 16, 1902 [typed]

Portions of this letter are published in 2MCP 715-716; OHC 108; MM 31-32, 189. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister Sanderson,—

We should all have been pleased to see the reformation so essential take place while you were in the Sanitarium. Why did you leave? We knew that the time had come for decided changes to be made. We felt deeply over this matter. How I longed to see you both unite in the work of making straight paths for your feet while you were in the Sanitarium, that the lame might not be turned out of the way! 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 1

Your course in leaving the Sanitarium makes me very, very sad. But perhaps it is the best thing, because you were unable to understand the work that must be accomplished. You have been asleep, asleep. Sanitariums are places in which men must work with skill and quickened, vital energy. In these institutions are souls who, properly labored for, would be saved. But in the St. Helena Sanitarium the evening after the Sabbath has often been devoted to an entertainment or some gathering for pleasure that counteracted all the favorable influences made during the day. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 2

I have a message from God for both of you. He calls upon you to humble your hearts before Him. Brother Sanderson, so long as you take the position that you are a complete whole, that in mind and in talent you are fully competent to carry forward the medical missionary work by yourself independently of others, and that you have sufficient judgment and wisdom to stand alone at the head of an institution, just so long you show that you are deceived, and that you are placing upon yourself a false estimate. Few men in the world have so much confidence in self as you have. If cherished, your self-confidence will ever cripple your usefulness. Unless you crucify self, you will never become complete in Christ, and deficiency will ever be apparent in your work. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 3

My brother, you are not to feel that you should occupy the highest position of responsibility. Concerning the gifts of the Spirit, Paul writes: “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry (the physician’s work is in the highest sense a work of ministry), for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” [Ephesians 4:11-13.] 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 4

Brother Sanderson, it is because you have false, erratic notions, unsanctioned by God’s Word, that you think you cannot work by the side of another physician. You still have much to learn concerning what is comprehended in the science of true Christianity. It is not because of talent or high position that God values you. You are valued in His sight only when, although you are unworthy, Christ covers you with the robe of His righteousness. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 5

The Lord has revealed to me that with you should long ago have been connected a helper whom you would have respected, one whom you would have regarded as being fully your equal in talent, one who had gifts differing from your special gifts and who could have made up for your deficiencies. Your special tact and your skill in practical work is of great value. But your talent of communication is defective. And you have so little talent for educating students that you cannot properly do the work which should be done to keep the standard elevated. This is one of the reasons presented to me as making it advisable for you to be associated with other experienced physicians. You need to be awakened out of sleep, and placed where you can be gaining new thoughts, new methods. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 6

Sister Sanderson, you have reason for the greatest thankfulness that the Lord has presented before you and your husband your dangers. My sister, you have already lost many years during which you should have been gaining an experience in the Christian life. We have but a few more years in which to give proof whether we will choose the Man Christ Jesus for our King; or Barabbas, a robber and a murderer. You are making your choice. Shall Barabbas be your king? or will you choose Christ? You have power of will. Whether you will sanctify your will-power to God or not, is a question that you have not yet decided. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 7

Christ invites you, my sister, to come to Him. If you choose to accept His invitation, He will receive you. I beseech you to yield without delay. It is not too late for Him to pardon you. But your soul has become hardened. Like Pharaoh, every invitation you refuse to accept hardens your heart and causes you to resist further invitations. God loves your soul, but He does not commend your spirit, your unsanctified mind, your faulty character. Oh, He expects of you something better than this! 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 8

My sister, I am studying how to reach you. No longer refuse the cross of Christ. Create not by your own perverse course an atmosphere about you that will hinder you in making spiritual progress, and will result in eternal loss. Procrastinate no longer. You have long been familiar with the truth, and yet you have not obeyed it or received the commendation that comes to all who obey. If you and your husband had listened to the lessons of the Great Teacher, given in His Word, how different your case would be in His sight today! Bear in mind that your irreligious life will not only confuse the understanding and lessen the faith and courage of your husband, but unless your character undergoes a re-formation, your course of action will have a destructive influence on many more, leading them into false paths. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 9

Brother and sister Sanderson, in the name of the Lord I ask you to remember that unless your sentiments regarding the science of mind-cure are changed, unless you both understand that you are in decided need of having your own minds converted and transformed, you will be stumbling blocks—pitiful spectacles to angels and to men. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 10

The truth has had but little influence over you. It is dangerous for any one, no matter how good a man he is, to endeavor to influence another human mind to come under the control of his mind. Let me tell you that the mind-cure is a satanic science. Already you have gone far enough in it to endanger seriously your future experience. From its very first entrance into your mind until the present time, it has been a most injurious growth. Unless you can see that Satan is the master-mind who has devised this science, it will not be so easy a matter as you suppose to separate from it, root and branch. The whole philosophy of this science is a masterpiece of satanic deception. For your souls’ sakes, cut loose from everything of this order. Every time you put into the mind of another person ideas concerning this science, that you may gain control of his mind, you are on Satan’s ground, decidedly co-operating with him. For your souls’ sakes, break loose from this snare of the enemy. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 11

Neither one of you should study the science in which you have been interested. To study this science is to pluck the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God forbids you or any other mortal to learn or to teach such a science. The fact that you have had anything to do with this science, ought alone to be sufficient to show you, brother Sanderson, the inconsistency of your being the leading physician in the Sanitarium. You and your wife should now begin to learn the first lessons of meekness and lowliness of heart. If you do this, your characters will be transformed, and you will be Christians whose light will shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Then you will be taking part with Jesus Christ in medical missionary work, and will reach a higher and still higher standard. He does not desire us to stop short of attaining perfection. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 12

The prayer that Christ has given us, that the will of God shall be done in earth as it is in heaven, is to be answered. Wonderful is this prayer, which we are to offer to God, and then fulfil in the daily life! The science of holiness, the ethics that the gospel inculcates, acknowledges no standard but the perfection of God’s mind, God’s will. It is the character and mind of Christ which, by conversion and transformation, men are to receive. Through His Son, God has revealed the excellency to which man is capable of attaining. And before the world God is developing us as living witnesses of what man may become through the grace of Christ. Oh, why do so many grieve the heart of Infinite Love? 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 13

In dealing with the science of mind-cure, you have been eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which God has forbidden you to touch. It is now high time for you to begin to look to Jesus, and by beholding His character become changed into the divine likeness. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 14

Cut away from yourselves everything that savors of hypnotism—the science by which satanic agencies work. I do desire to see you plunge by faith into the fountain prepared for every repentant sinner, that you may be cleansed and made white. I beseech of you, my brother, my sister, for whom Christ has died, that you accept His character. Do not lose this opportunity. I want you to come into the closest fellowship with God’s servants. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 15

I urge you, my brother, to make diligent work for the salvation of your soul. If I had not been so faint on account of the impure air, I should have spoken these words to you at the Board meeting in San Francisco. I had much to say and an intense longing of soul to see you come to the tree of life, the Word of God, and eat of its leaves, which are for the healing of the nations. Make haste! Make a break! Quickly, decidedly step off Satan’s ground. Renew your covenant with God by sacrifice. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 16

Just now you have an opportunity to turn square about. Do not wait one moment for your wife. Her only hope is to break away from the power of satanic agencies, and to yield her will and way to God’s will and way. Jesus invites her to become a child of God, and an heir of the heavenly kingdom; but if she wills to do so, she can choose to stand in her own garments of self-righteousness, as did the man who came in his own garments to the wedding feast. If she wills to do so, she can choose to be covered with the garment of Christ’s righteousness. But her will so often stands in the way. She wills to remain on Satan’s side of the question. I am so sorry. Day after day I carry the burden of her case to God. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 17

God permits every person to exercise his individuality. No human mind should be submerged in another human mind. But the invitation has been given, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 2:5.] Each person is to stand before God with an individual faith, an individual experience, knowing for himself that Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. For us to imitate the example of any man—even a person who in our human judgment we might regard as nearly perfect in character—would be to put our trust in an imperfect, defective human being, who is unable to impart one jot or tittle of perfection to any other human being. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 18

As our pattern we have One who is all and in all, the Chiefest among ten thousand, One whose excellency is beyond comparison. What saith the Divine Teacher? “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” [Matthew 5:48.] Would Christ tantalize us by requiring of us an impossibility? Never, never! What an honor He confers upon us, in urging us to be holy in our sphere, as the Father is holy in His sphere! And through His power we are able to do this; for He declares, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” [Matthew 28:18.] This unlimited power it is your privilege and mine to claim. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 19

Remember that Satan has come down with great power to take possession of minds and to hold them captive under his sway. Neither of you can do anything acceptably to God, unless you follow the Saviour, who says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Matthew 16:24.] In all things Christ is our example. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 20

We are to have a continual realization of Christ’s presence. In our life we may exemplify His life. He graciously adapted His life so that it could be of universal imitation. United in Christ were wealth and poverty; majesty and abasement; unlimited power, and the meekness and lowliness which characterized His every action and which all should strive to imitate. In Him the wisdom of the greatest Teacher the world has ever known was united with the human mind. Men who desire to be transformed into the divine image are not to look to men for wisdom, but to God. What honor Christ confers upon us! By yoking up with Him, and learning of Him, we become like Him in aspirations, in fragrance of character, in meekness and lowliness of heart, and are permitted to take part with Him in ascribing praise and honor and glory to God as supreme. True believers will join the heavenly musicians in sweet accord in singing songs of praise to God and to the Lamb. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 21

My heart aches as I consider how the St. Helena Sanitarium has been managed. It is not the great number who patronize a sanitarium, that gives evidence of its prosperity. There would be very little need for sanitariums, if the work done in them reached no higher standard than the standard reached by the work which you and your associates have done in this institution. In your parlor lectures and in your helpers’ meetings, have you had a burden to bring before patients and helpers the precious truths of health reform? During your administration you have had many opportunities for doing this. Very few persons, however, have been converted. The spiritual atmosphere in the Sanitarium has not been such as to bring heaven and heavenly things before the minds of the patients, who so much need a knowledge of spiritual things. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 22

I cannot express the grief that fills my soul as I think of the opportunities that have been neglected by those who have borne responsibilities in this institution. Tender words of sympathy go a long way toward the recovery of patients. You should have presented to them the leaves of the tree of life, which are for the healing of the wounds that sin has made. You should have pointed them to Christ’s words, which He declares are spirit and life. When proper methods of labor are followed, much prejudice is removed. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 23

Dr. Sanderson, if you and your wife had realized the responsibility resting on you, you would have done a work that would have caused the heavenly angels to rejoice. “In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.” [Zephaniah 3:16, 17.] All heaven is interested in the great work that ought to be done in our sanitariums, but which sometimes is not done. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 24

We do not ask you to connect again with the St. Helena Sanitarium until you are both thoroughly converted. Otherwise, it would be in vain for you to connect with this institution. In your present state of mind neither of you is prepared to deal with the souls as well as the bodies of suffering humanity. If you had chosen to do so, you could have heeded the light given you and walked in the way of the Lord, and His blessing would have rested upon you because you consented to do His will. The Lord does not expect impossibilities of either of you. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 25


Every medical practitioner, whether he acknowledges it or not, is responsible for the souls as well as the bodies of his patients. The Lord expects of us much more than we often do for Him. Every physician should be a devoted, intelligent, gospel medical missionary, familiar with heaven’s remedy for the sin-sick soul as well as with the science of healing bodily disease. Coming, as he does, in daily contact with disease and death, his mind should be filled with a knowledge of the Scriptures, that from this treasure-house he may draw words of consolation and hope, and drop them as good seed into hearts ready to receive them. He should encourage the dying to trust in Christ as the sin-pardoning Saviour and should prepare them to meet their Lord in peace. Physicians need a double portion of religion. Of men in any calling, physicians are most in need of clearness of mind, purity of spirit, and that faith which works by love and purifies the soul, that they may make the right impression upon all who come within the sphere of their influence. The physician should not only give as much physical relief as possible to those who are soon to lie in the grave, but he should also relieve their burdened souls. Present before them the uplifted Saviour. Let them behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 26

The physician who proves himself worthy of being placed as leading physician in a sanitarium will do a grand work. But his work in religious lines should ever be of such a nature that the divine Antidote for the relief of sin-burdened souls will be presented before the patients. All physicians should understand that such work should be done with tenderness and wisdom. In our institutions where mental patients are brought for treatment, the comforting words of truth spoken to the afflicted one will often be the means of soothing the mind and restoring peace to the soul. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 27

When the leading physician passes by the spiritual part of the work, he is remiss in his duty and gives a wrong example to the younger helpers who are learning to do the work of a Christian physician. These students neglect a part of the work that is most essential. This, I greatly fear, will result in a loss that can never be remedied. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 28

Those who understand the science of Christianity have a personal religious experience. He who acts as a guardian of the health of the body should have tact to work for the salvation of the soul. Until the Saviour is indeed the saviour of his own soul, the physician will not know how to respond to the question, “What shall I do to be saved?” Oh, what a field for missionary work our sanitariums are! These opportunities for saving both body and soul must be improved. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 29

Medical missionary work is supposed to be done in every one of our institutions established for the treatment of disease. Is it neglected? Do you who claim to be physicians, care for the salvation of suffering humanity? Have you forgotten your responsibility before God? The gospel ministry is to blend with the medical missionary work. Persons relieved of physical suffering are prepared for the presentation of the religion of Jesus Christ. The Great Physician is ready to receive all who come to Him. In order to awaken souls to eternal realities, we should strive to give them spiritual health as well as relief from physical suffering. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 30

What an opportunity the consecrated physician has to show a Christlike interest in the patients under his care! It is his privilege to speak encouragingly to them and bow at their bedside to offer a few words of prayer. To stand by the sick-bed and have nothing to say is a sad mistake. Let the physician make his mind a store-house full of fresh thoughts. Let him learn to repeat the comforting words that Christ spoke during His earthly ministry when giving His lessons and healing the sick. Let him speak words of hope and confidence in God. A genuine interest will be manifested. The precious words of Scripture that the Holy Spirit fixes in the memory will win hearts to Jesus, their Saviour. 17LtMs, Lt 20, 1902, par. 31