Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903)


Ms 76, 1903

The Burning of the Sanitarium

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

February 20, 1902

Portions of this manuscript are published in SpTB #6 5-10; 6BC 1074; 7BC 904; HP 10; 3MR 358.

Today we received the sad news of the burning of the Battle Creek Sanitarium. For many weeks I have had a heartache that has made my nights very restless. I would at this time speak words of wisdom, but what can I say? We are afflicted with those whose life interests are bound up in this institution. Let us pray that this calamity shall work together for good to those who must feel it very deeply. We can indeed weep with those who weep. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 1

Our heavenly Father does not willing afflict or grieve the children of men. He has His purpose in the whirlwind and the storm, in the fire and in the flood. The Lord permits calamities to come to His people to save them from greater dangers. He desires every one to examine his own heart closely and carefully and then draw near to God, that God may draw near to him. Our life is in the hands of God. He sees dangers threatening us that we cannot see. He is the Giver of all our blessings; the Provider of all our mercies; the Orderer of all our experiences. He sees the perils that we cannot see. He may permit to come upon His people that which fills their hearts with sadness, because He sees that they need to make straight paths for their feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. He knows our frame and remembers that we are dust. Even the very hairs of our head are numbered. He works through natural causes to lead His people to remember that He has not forgotten them, but that He desires them to forsake the way which, if they were permitted to follow unchecked and unreproved, would lead them into great peril. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 2

Trials come to us all to lead us to investigate our hearts, to see if they are purified from all that defiles. Constantly the Lord is working for our present and eternal good. Things occur which seem inexplainable; but if we trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him, humbling our hearts before Him, He will not permit the enemy to triumph. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 3

The Lord will save His people in His own way, by such means and instrumentalities that the glory will be returned to Him. To Him alone belongs the praise. Let us beware how we give to human beings the credit for their success. It is the abundant grace of Christ that makes the feeble among His disciples strong and the strong mighty. It is from Him that we receive the endowments that enable us to offer Him acceptable service. If we are fully consecrated to Him, we shall return to God all the glory. We shall make Him our entire dependence. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 4

Every soul that is saved must be a partaker with Christ of His sufferings, that he may be a partaker with Him of His glory. How few understand why God subjects them to trial. It is by the trial of our faith that we gain spiritual strength. The Lord seeks to educate His people to lean wholly upon Him. He desires them, through the lessons that He teaches them, to become more and more spiritualized. If His Word is not followed in all humility and meekness, He brings to them experiences which, if rightly received, will help to prepare them for the work to be done in His name. God desires to reveal His power in a marked manner through the lives of His people. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 5

I am instructed to say, Let no one attempt to give a reason for the burning of the institution that we have so highly appreciated. Let no one attempt to say why this calamity was permitted to come. Let every one examine his own course of action. Let every one ask himself whether he is meeting the standard that God has placed before him. Can we say from the heart, “I lay aside my own will. I delight to do Thy will, O my God; yea Thy law is within my heart”? [See Psalm 40:8.] Do we ask daily, “Lord what is Thy will concerning me?” 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 6

Let no one try to explain this mysterious providence. Let us thank God that there was not a great loss of life. In this we see God’s merciful hand. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 7

Have We Valued the Sanitarium as We Should?

If we have not valued the great blessing that the Lord has given us in sending us the light on health reform, if we have not felt honored by having the Battle Creek Sanitarium among us for thirty-five years, if we have not diligently garnered up the benefits and advantages to be gained from such an institution, shall we be surprised when something comes to arouse us? 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 8

The Sanitarium has been a blessing, the influence of which has been extended to all parts of the world. Through it many have received the light of truth. Eternity alone will reveal how many have been relieved of physical suffering by the skill of the physicians. The great Physician, mighty to save to the uttermost, will hear the earnest prayers that are offered for suffering humanity. His presence and His skill have just as surely stayed the hand of the destroyer in the Battle Creek Sanitarium as when He was on this earth in human form. In that institution angels of God have worked with human beings to save life. God gave skill and understanding to the workers at the time of the fire, enabling them to get the sick and suffering out of the reach of the quickly spreading flames. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 9

We know something of the great good that such an institution has been to us as a people. We know how many times the Lord has spoken of this institution as His helping hand. He has declared that in it men and women were to be trained to be competent physicians and nurses, some to act as educators in the home field, and others to go to far-off fields. Have we valued this institution as we should? 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 10

What Our Sanitarium Workers Should Be

God desires the workers in the Sanitarium—physicians, managers, and nurses—to examine themselves closely to see if they have adhered closely to right principles. It was for the proclamation of these principles that our sanitariums were established. The workers are to stand firmly on the platform of eternal truth. Have those connected with the Sanitarium realized that the Lord designed that our medical institutions should stand in this world as memorials for Him, to reveal the gracious purposes of Him who is the physician of the body as well as of the soul? 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 11

Our sanitariums are not to conform, in any respect, to worldly policy or worldly practice. They are to stand forth as memorials for God, free from any tarnish of worldliness or evil working. The workers in these institutions are to be the Lord’s peculiar people, daily seeking for that perfection of character that will give them a fitness to enter the heavenly city. Constantly they are to reach higher and still higher, as workers together with God. They are to reach a high spiritual standard. Let them study Christ’s lessons in the New Testament, that they may better understand His lessons in the Old Testament. The New Testament is the key that unlocks the Old Testament. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 12

A Solemn Caution

A solemn responsibility rests upon those who have had charge of the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Will they build up in Battle Creek a mammoth institution, or will they carry out the purpose of God by making plants in many places? I pray God that a work may be done that will be for the best interests of the work and cause of God. I know that the plea will be made, Should the Sanitarium be established in some other place, it would not receive the patronage that it would receive were it rebuilt in Battle Creek. But the question has been asked by one of authority, What has been accomplished by this large patronage to win souls to the truth? 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 13

Light has been given me that a great reformation must take place in the lives of the managers of the Sanitarium before the institution can be conducted wholly as God desires it to be. For some time it has been deteriorating. Little burden is felt by many to make it a medical missionary center, a place where the truth shall be clearly and distinctly proclaimed. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 14

The half-hearted service offered to Christ by so many is not accepted by Him. We need to be more in earnest. The Lord uses only vessels that are cleansed from defilement. Christ cannot put His Spirit into impure, unsanctified hearts. He calls upon us to put away the unchristlike traits of character that we have cherished. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 15

Wake up, my brethren and sisters. We have no time to spend in wringing our hands and in mourning that the Sanitarium has been destroyed. A wider outlook has been given us. Let us inquire of the Lord His mind and will. Will not the managers of the institution make thorough self-examination? Attempt after attempt has been made to burn the Sanitarium. Do not these things speak to the managers, telling them to look back at the way in which they have carried out their plans? Again and again reproof has come to them from God, but these messages have not led them to take heed. Message after message has been sent that plants should be made in many places. A most solemn review should now be made. God has been speaking, sometimes by unacknowledged mercies, oftentimes by threatened judgments. By blessings bestowed and blessings removed, He has sought to bring about the needed change of action. Well may He say, “What could have been done more in My vineyard, that I have not done in it?” [Isaiah 5:4.] Shall the word be spoken, “Ye would none of My counsel, ye despised all My reproofs,” “Ye would not come unto Me that ye might have life”? [See Proverbs 1:30; John 5:40.] 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 16

“Made Like Unto His Brethren”

The men most learned in science cannot interpret or explain the ways and works of God. Those only who have been entirely divested of self and selfishness, and have been made partakers of the divine nature, can understand, by the aid of their spiritual faculties, the ways and workings of God. To those who know Him not, His ways are past finding out. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 17

When we want a deep problem to study, let us fix our minds on the most marvelous thing that ever took place in earth or heaven—the incarnation of the Son of God. God gave His Son to die for sinful human beings a death of ignominy and shame. He who was Commander in the heavenly courts laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, and clothing His divinity with humanity, came to this world to stand at the head of the human race as the pattern-man. He humbled Himself to suffer with the race, to be afflicted in all their afflictions. The whole world was His, but so completely did He empty Himself that during His ministry He declared, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.” [Luke 9:58.] 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 18

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.” [Hebrews 2:14-18.] 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 19

Our Heavenly Father

Those who know not God cannot by their learning or science find out God. Christ does not try to prove the great mystery, but reveals a love that is beyond all measurement. He does not make God’s power and greatness the chief theme of His discourses. He speaks of Him oftenest as our Father and of Himself as our Elder Brother. He desires our minds, weakened by sin, to be encouraged to grasp the idea that God is love. He desires to inspire us with confidence and to lead us to heed the word, “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me, and he shall make peace with Me.” [Isaiah 27:5.] 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 20

The father of the prodigal son is the type that Christ chooses as a representation of God. This father longs to see and receive once more the son who has left him. He waits and watches for him, yearning to see him, hoping that he will come. When he sees a stranger approaching, poor and clothed in rags, he goes out to meet him, if perchance it may be his son. And he feeds and clothes him as if he were indeed his son. By and by he has his reward; for his son comes home, on his lips the beseeching confession, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” And the father says to the servants, “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry.” [Luke 15:21-23.] 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 21

There is no taunting, no casting up to the prodigal of his evil course. The son feels that the past is forgiven and forgotten, blotted out forever. And so God says to the sinner, “I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins.” [Isaiah 44:22.] “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” [Jeremiah 31:34.] “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God; for He will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:7.] “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 22

Our Work

The work outlined in these words is the work that is to be done in our sanitariums today. Heaven is waiting and yearning for the return of the prodigals who have wandered far from the fold. Many of those who have strayed away may be brought back by the loving service of God’s children. In this work those connected with our sanitariums have an important part. Let those who have allowed opportunities for the saving of the lost to go by unimproved seek now to redeem the time. Let them plead with sinners to lay their burden of guilt upon Him who takes away the sin of the world. All power has been placed in His hands. He can save to the uttermost all who come to Him. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 23

The working members of Christ’s church are the objects of His constant love and favor. They are joined in holy love to Christ and to one another. When the union between Christ and His followers is broken, their love for one another decreases. Discord, suspicion, and lack of confidence enter, and Satan obtains standing room to annoy, and tempt, and destroy. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 24

God’s Wonderful Love

When man’s redemption was to be worked out, God gave the commandment that the sword should awake against His only begotten Son, who had been one with Him from eternity. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.” [Isaiah 53:5.] Think of the Father subjecting Himself to sorrow, sparing not His own Son, but freely delivering Him up for us all. God had to do a strange work; for He says, Fury is not in Me. O that we had a better understanding of His love! 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 25

A Contrast

Adam became a law to himself, and discord and unhappiness came into his life. A separation was made between him and his God. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 26

Christ’s life was one of perfect obedience. Constantly He followed the pathway of obedience, that He might set an example that all could follow. He says, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” [Matthew 16:24.] 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 27

“Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned; ... even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” [Romans 5:12, 18, 19.] 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 28

The apostle contrasts the disobedience of Adam and the full, entire obedience of Christ. Think of what Christ’s obedience means to us! It means that in His strength we too may obey. Christ was a human being. He served His heavenly Father with all the strength of His human nature. He has a twofold nature, at once human and divine. He is both God and man. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 29

Christ came to this world to show us what God can to and what we can do in co-operation with God. In human flesh He went into the wilderness to be tempted by the enemy. He knows what it is to hunger and thirst. He knows the weakness and the infirmities of the flesh. He was tempted in all points like as we are tempted. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 30

Ransomed From Sin

Our ransom has been paid by our Saviour. No one need be enslaved by Satan. Christ stands before us as our divine example, our all-powerful Helper. We have been bought with a price that it is impossible to compute. Who can measure the goodness and mercy of redeeming love? 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 31

“He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name. ... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, ... full of grace and truth. ... And of His fulness have we all received, and grace for grace.” [John 1:11, 12, 14, 16.] 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 32

Those who are indeed adopted into the family of God are transformed by His Spirit. Self-indulgence and supreme love for self is changed for self-denial and supreme love for God. No man inherits holiness of character by nature, nor can he, by any methods that man can devise, become loyal and true to God. “Without Me,” Christ says, “ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] Human righteousness is as “filthy rags.” [Isaiah 64:6.] But with God all things are possible. In the strength of the Redeemer, weak, erring man can be made more than conqueror over the evil that besets him. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 33

The Principles of True Christianity

God regards us with the love of a heavenly Father, and He desires us to treat those who receive Christ as our brethren and sisters—courteously and tenderly giving grace for grace. God will bless those who in the daily life reveal the love of the Redeemer. We are told in the Word of God that we are to love one another as Christ has loved us. 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 34

Both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament the principles of true Christianity are plainly outlined. Paul writes, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please our neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not Himself; but, as it is written, the reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on Me.” [Romans 15:1-3.] 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 35

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. ... Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, and especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” [Galatians 6:1-4, 7-10.] 18LtMs, Ms 76, 1903, par. 36