Counsels on Health


Integrity Among Workers

[Special Testimonies To Physicians and Helpers, Pages 59-65 (1879).]

The helpers at the sanitarium should not feel at liberty to appropriate to their own use articles of food provided for the patients. The temptation is especially strong to indulge in things allowed to newcomers, who must be induced gradually to correct pernicious habits. Some of the workers, like the children of Israel, allow perverted appetite and old habits of indulgence to clamor for victory. They long, as did ancient Israel, for the leeks and onions of Egypt. All connected with this institution should strictly adhere to the laws of life and health, and thus give no countenance, by their example, to the wrong habits of others, which have made it necessary for them to come to the sanitarium for relief. CH 408.1

Employees have no right to help themselves to crackers, nuts, raisins, dates, sugar, oranges or fruit of any kind; for, in the first place, in eating these things between meals, as is generally done, they are injuring the digestive organs. No food should pass the lips between the regular meals. Again, those who partake of these things are taking that which is not theirs. Temptation is continually before them to taste the food which they are handling; and here is an excellent opportunity for them to gain control of the appetite. But food seems to be very abundant, and they forget that it all represents so much money value. One and another thoughtlessly indulge the habit of tasting and helping themselves, until they fancy that there is no real sin in the practice. CH 408.2

All should beware of cherishing this view of the matter, for conscience is thus losing its sensitiveness. One may reason, “The little I have taken does not amount to much;” but the question comes home, Did the smallness of the amount lessen the sin of the act? Again, the little which one person takes may not amount to much, but when five act on the same plan, five littles are taken. Then ten, twenty, or even more, may presume in the same way, until every day the workers may, to their own injury, appropriate many littles that they have no right to touch. Many littles make much in the end. But the greatest loss is sustained by the ones who digress, for they are violating the principles of right and learning to look upon transgression in small matters as no transgression at all. They forget the words of Christ. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” Luke 16:10. CH 408.3

When an effort is made to correct these practices, it is generally received as an evidence of stinginess on the part of the managers; and some will make no change, but go on hardening the conscience, until it becomes seared as with a hot iron. They rise up against any restriction and act and talk defiantly, as though their rights had been invaded. But God looks upon all these things as theft, and so the record is carried up to heaven. CH 409.1

All fraud and deceit is forbidden in the word of God. Direct theft and outright falsehood are not sins into which persons of respectability are in danger of falling. It is transgression in the little things that first leads the soul away from God. By their one sin in partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve opened the floodgates of woe upon the world. Some may regard that transgression as a very little thing; but we see that its consequences were anything but small. The angels in heaven have a wider and more elevated sphere of action than we; but right with them and right with us are one and the same thing. CH 409.2

The managers of the sanitarium are not actuated by a mean, penurious spirit in reproving the wrongs that have been mentioned, and requiring what is due to such an institution. It is no stepping down from proper dignity to guard the interests of the sanitarium in these matters. Officers who are faithful themselves, naturally look for faithfulness in others. Strict integrity should govern the dealings of the managers and should be enforced upon all who labor under their direction. CH 410.1

Men of principle need not the restriction of locks and keys; they do not need to be watched and guarded. They will deal truly and honorably at all times—alone, with no eye upon them, as well as in public. They will not bring a stain upon their souls for any amount of gain or selfish advantage. They scorn a mean act. Although no one else might know it, they would know it themselves, and this would destroy their self-respect. Those who are not conscientious and faithful in little things would not be reformed, were there laws and restrictions and penalties upon the point.... CH 410.2

Those who do not overcome in little things will have no moral power to withstand greater temptations. All who seek to make honesty the ruling principle in the daily business of life will need to be on their guard that they “covet no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.” While they are content with convenient food and clothing, it will be found an easy matter to keep the heart and hands from the defilement of covetousness and dishonesty.... CH 410.3

Those who are employed at our sanitarium have in many respects the best advantages for the formation of correct habits. None will be placed beyond the reach of temptation; for in every character there are weak points that are in danger when assailed.... All should feel the necessity of keeping the moral nature braced by constant watchfulness. Like faithful sentinels, they should guard the citadel of the soul, never feeling that they may relax their vigilance for a moment. In earnest prayer and living faith is their only safety. CH 410.4

Those who begin to be careless of their steps will find that before they are aware of it, their feet are entangled in a web from which it is impossible for them to extricate themselves. It should be a fixed principle with all to be truthful and honest. Whether they are rich or poor, whether they have friends or are left alone, come what will, they should resolve in the strength of God that no influence shall lead them to commit the least wrong act. One and all should realize that upon them, individually, depends in a measure the prosperity of the sanitarium. CH 411.1