Selections from the Testimonies for Students and Workers of our Sanitariums

Selections from the Testimonies for Students and Workers of our Sanitariums

To the managers of the Health Retreat Healdsburg, Cal., April, 1888:

When the Lord revealed to me that we should establish our first health institution in Battle Creek, I was told that it was to be a school, a branch of the missionary work; that this would give character and influence to the truth we held, which was then set before minds in a distorted light. I was shown that the managers and helpers in this institution, if they were sincere Christians, could remove many false ideas, and by precept and example could recommend the truth; and on the other hand, they could, by unconsecrated lives, misrepresent the truth, and lead souls away from righteousness. SpTB16 1.2

God demands more of us than we are willing to give Him. None are to be forward and obtrusive, but we are to quietly live our religion with an eye single to the glory of God. Then we shall shine as lights in the world, without noise or friction. None need to fail, for One is with them who is wise in counsel, excellent in working, and mighty to accomplish His own designs. He works through His agents, seen and unseen, human and divine. This work is a grand work, and will be carried forward to the glory of God if all who are connected with it will make their work correspond to their profession of faith. SpTB16 1.3

Jesus is honored or dishonored by the words and deportment of His professed followers. The heart must be kept pure and holy, for out of it are the issues of life. If the heart is purified through obedience to the truth, there will be no selfish preferences, no corrupt motives. There will be no partiality, no hypocrisy; love-sick sentimentalism, whose blighting influence has been felt in all our institutions, will not be developed. Strict guard must be kept, that this curse shall not poison or corrupt our health institutions. SpTB16 1.4

There will be temptations on every side, and plausible excuses to have favorites... In the present state of society, with the lax morals of not only the youth but those of age and experience, there is great danger of becoming careless and giving special attention to favorites, thus creating envy, jealousy, and evil surmisings... But few realize that they grieve away the Spirit of God by their thoughts and feelings, their nonsense; trifling conversation, and when admonished they say, “O, I mean no harm.” What do these frivolous ones mean? Do they forget that that which they sow they shall also reap? This silly, nonsensical conversation reveals a weak character and is an offense to God. If the grace of Christ were planted in their hearts, and striking roots down deep into good soil, they would bear fruit of an altogether different kind. They would be acquiring moral stamina—that strength of purpose and solidity of character which is essential for the great and good work that ought to be done in this institution. Others would feel their influence, and would take knowledge of them that they were led and taught by Jesus. SpTB16 2.1

Many of these trifling, frivolous ones make a profession of religion, and this hollow form of godliness has been so long tolerated that it has pervaded our institution and extended even to our churches. The standard of piety is lowered to the dust. The new life from Christ must be implanted in the heart. God calls for the highest development of the principles of godliness, righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Rich clusters of fruit will be borne by the branches that are grafted into Christ the parent stem. Whenever this fruit is manifested the truth will possess power; its progress and growth will be extended.... SpTB16 2.2

Young girls who have not been properly educated at home, and who are wanting in reserve, modesty, and decorum, come to the institution to receive treatment... They have practiced evasion and deception and will continue the same course at the institute if they can do so without being discovered. They are ready to flirt with young men; and some who are bearing responsibilities, who should have set them a better example, because of their long Christian experience, engage in the same folly. Some of the young ladies belonging to the health institute accept the attentions of strangers who are of as little worth as themselves—men who are corrupted. This familiarity will be carried on, if allowed, until the influence of the institution is injured. Even if the parties go from the place a secret correspondence is often kept up between them, while the parents of the girl are in ignorance of the matter. The guardians of the institution must maintain a high standard, and watch carefully the young entrusted to them by their parents, whether as patients, as helpers in the various departments, or as learners. When young men and women work together, a sympathy is created among them which frequently grows into sentimentalism. If the guardians are indifferent to these matters, lasting injury will be done to these souls, and the high moral tone of the institution will be compromised. If any, patients or helpers, continue their deception after having judicious instruction, they should not be retained in the institution, for their influence will affect those who are innocent and unsuspecting; young girls will lose their maiden modesty, and will be led to act deceptively because their affections have become entangled.... SpTB16 2.3

The converting power of God alone is sufficient to establish pure principles in the heart, so that the wicked one may find nothing to assail. In these institutions careful attention should be given to the moral standing and influence of every one employed. You are to deal with those who are diseased in body and mind, and you should be prepared to help them just where they need help. The first appearance of irregularity in conduct should be repressed, and the young should be taught to be frank, yet modest and dignified in all their associations. They should be taught to respect just rules of authority. If they refuse to do this, let them be dismissed, whatever position they occupy, or they will demoralize others. SpTB16 3.1

Those who labor at the institute are there for the purpose of promoting the intellectual welfare of those under their care. They must make their work a matter of earnest prayer and study, that they may know how to accomplish the object before them. Their first work is to carefully scrutinize their own habits, as they must meet the Bible standard of Christianity. Then when they are compelled to deal with those who are nearly ruined, either because of their own vicious habits or because of the intemperance or lasciviousness of men, they will know what words to speak to them, what attitude to assume toward them. They must be chaste and so free from the trait of defilement that they can correct these evils and bring the poor souls up to the Bible standard of purity. The only safety for men and women, married or unmarried, is to shun love-sick sentimentalism, and all undue familiarity. These things have produced great evil in the world. SpTB16 4.1

Those who believe unpopular truth have much prejudice to meet everywhere, and if those employed in our health institutions desire that Bible religion shall live in the institution, they must exemplify it in their own lives. If they wish that the physical, intellectual, and moral standing of the institution shall be of the highest order, their own deportment must give evidence of this fact. They must plan and work constantly, and seek in the strength of Jesus so to elevate the character of the institution that it may receive the approbation of heaven. SpTB16 4.2

Every Christian home should have rules, and parents should, in their words and deportment toward each other, give to the children a precious, living example of what they desire them to be. Purity in speech and true Christian courtesy should be constantly practiced. Teach the children and youth to respect themselves, to be true to God, true to principle; teach them to respect and obey the law of God. These principles will control their lives, and will be carried out in their associations with others. They will create a pure atmosphere— one that will have an influence that will encourage weak souls in the upward path that leads to holiness and heaven. Let every lesson be of an elevating and ennobling character, and the records made in the books of heaven will be such as you will not be ashamed to meet in the judgment. SpTB16 4.3

Children who receive this kind of instruction will not be a burden, a cause of solicitude in our institutions; but they will be a strength, a support to physicians and nurses. They will be prepared to fill places of responsibility, and by precept and example will be constantly aiding others to do right. Those whose moral sensibilities have not been blunted will appreciate right principles; they will put a just estimate upon their natural endowments, and will make the best use of their physical, mental, and moral powers. Such souls are strongly fortified against temptation; they are surrounded by a wall not easily broken down. All such characters are, with the blessing of God, light-bearers. Their influence tends to educate others for a practical Christian life. The mind may be so elevated that divine thoughts and contemplations come to be as natural as breath. All the faculties of the soul are to be trained. We must do God's work intelligently. We must know the truth; and to know the truth is to know God. SpTB16 5.1

The evils of fashionable society have a tendency to corrupt innocence and virtue; but every follower of Christ, every one who has this hope in him will purify himself even as He is pure, so that not a taint of defilement will be found in his thoughts or upon his lips, in his heart or on his character. There must be a coming up to a higher, holier standard. A decided warfare should be waged, not only against the evils that are in the world, but also among those who profess to believe the truth for this time. These evils if not put away, will result in spiritual death..... SpTB16 5.2

Let the leaders in our institutions labor to show that their work is wrought of God, that they are workmen that need not be ashamed, that their words and works are untainted with earthliness and sensualism. They should feel the solemn responsibility resting upon them of giving the youth a worthy example—one corresponding to their positions of trust and holy professions of faith. They are sowing seeds which will blossom and bear fruit. All coarseness and trifling should be put away; it is the fruit borne upon a corrupt tree. Brethren, you are educators. The lessons you give to believers and unbelievers, in words and actions, will be a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. SpTB16 5.3

Our probation is short, at best. We have no time to spend in indulging corrupt impulses. The familiarity of married men with married women and young girls is disgusting in the sight of God and holy angels. The forwardness of young girls, in placing themselves in the company of young men, hanging around where they are at work, entering into conversation with them, talking common, idle talk, is belittling to womanhood. It lowers them, even in the estimation of those who themselves do such things. SpTB16 6.1

There is a positive necessity for reform in all our institutions. All frivolity, all undue attention of men and women, must be condemned and discontinued. Some, even married men, who have indulged in this trifling familiarity, have endeavored to excuse themselves, and escape censure by claiming that they have done no moral wrong. Was it no moral wrong to jest, joke, and pay flattering attentions to young women? Are you not starting in their minds a train of thought which it is impossible for you to change? Do you not by your levity and coquetry, sanction such conduct? You who hold positions of trust, and claim to be Christians, do you not give countenance to a familiarity which leads to sin? What record is made in the books of heaven by the divine Watcher? Was there no moral wrong done to the souls of those with whom you were so familiar? Indeed there was. Impressions were made that will be enduring. These girls are confirmed in coquetry and flirting. Every such indulgence tends to make them coarse and bold. They become more and more infatuated with the society of men and women who are trifling and frivolous, whose conversation is anything but holy, pure, and ennobling. SpTB16 6.2

“No moral wrong.” This has been the excuse made by every one reproved for similar conduct. What is moral wrong? Have your spiritual senses become so blinded that you can not discern the truth? Do you not know that grapevines will not bear thorns, nor a bramble bush grapes? If the truth is brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul, it will create a pure moral taste. Then all these objectionable, demoralizing practices will be seen to be a positive denial of Christ, a sin which will pollute the soul.... All trifling, jesting, joking, and flattery spoken to young girls or women, boys or men, are thorn berries, and that which produces them is a thorn bush, for the tree is known by its fruits. SpTB16 7.1

Let not those who profess the religion of Christ descend to trifling conversation, to unbecoming familiarity with women of any class, married or single. They should keep their proper places with all dignity. At the same time they may be sociable, kind, and courteous to all. SpTB16 7.2

Young ladies should be reserved and modest. When they walk out, if in health, they do not need the supporting arm of any man. They should give no occasion for their good to be evil spoken of. SpTB16 7.3

Men should be chosen to stand at the head of our institutions, who have not only good sound judgment, but who have a high moral tone, who will be circumspect in their deportment, pure in speech, remembering their high and holy calling, and that there is a watcher, a true witness to every word and act. If men in our institutions exhibit a low grade of thought, if their conversation tends to corrupt rather than elevate, let them be removed at once from any connection with the institution; for they will surely demoralize others. The well-being of the entire institution is to be maintained. Ever bear in mind that each of our health institutions is a missionary field. God's eye is upon it day and night. No one should feel at liberty to allow even the appearance of evil. Let all be circumspect in their association with nurses, patients, or helpers, for the Lord will certainly judge you for any wrong influence exerted in any one of his instrumentalities. SpTB16 7.4

If you have not been renewed in the spirit of your mind, for your soul's sake, make no delay to have your life hid with Christ in God. This is the first business of your life. When Christ is abiding in the heart, you will not be light, chaffy, and immodest, but circumspect and reliable in every place, sending forth pure words like streams from a pure fountain, refreshing all with whom you come in contact. If you decide to continue your idle talk and frivolous conduct, go to some other place where your influence will not be so widely felt in contaminating souls. What you all need is such a sense of the purity and holiness of Christ as will lead you to despise this pretense of religion, which blesses no one, gives no peace of conscience, no repose of faith. SpTB16 8.1

Let all connected with these instrumentalities that God has ordained for the saving of souls, seek divine wisdom, heavenly grace, that they may have an elevating influence upon others. Unless they are constantly receiving strength from Jesus, looking to Him, trusting in Him, by faith drawing from Him divine grace, they will become an easy prey to temptation. SpTB16 8.2

There are so many forward misses, and bold, forward women, who have a faculty of insinuating themselves into notice, putting themselves into the company of men, courting their attentions, inviting flirtations from married or unmarried men, that unless your face is set Christward, firm as steel, you will be drawn into Satan's net. It is time that we as Christians reach a higher standard. God forbid that any institution He has planted should become a means of decoying souls, a place where iniquity is taught. Let all learn in the school of Christ, meekness, purity, lowliness of heart; let them hang their helpless souls on Jesus. Live in the light shining from the oracles of God. Educate your minds and hearts to pure, elevated, noble thoughts. “Be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” Whatever influence you have, let it be directed to exalting Jesus. Unless you do this you are a false guide-board, leading souls away from the Truth, Life, the Light of the world; and the more pleasing and attractive your manners, the greater the injury you do to souls. SpTB16 8.3

I tell you that every soul needs a genuine conversion. All your faculties need to be consecrated to God, that you may not encourage the prevailing sins in society, but may counteract them. SpTB16 9.1

Many have been cultivating habits which lead directly to earthly, sensual actions; and unless the power of God breaks the snare, souls will be lost in consequence. God has claims upon you that you do not realize; for you have not brought Christ into your life, and great decision of character will now be necessary on your part to change this order of things. No weak efforts will accomplish this work. You can not do it yourselves; you must have the grace of Christ or you can never overcome. All your plans will prove a failure unless you are actuated by higher motives, and upheld by greater strength than you can have of yourselves. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” There will be no taste for trifling conversation on the part of those who are looking to Jesus for strength, depending upon His righteousness for salvation. By faith they accept Jesus as their personal Saviour, and become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. While men and women in an institution for health should be kind and courteous, while they are required to be affable and congenial to all, they should shun even the appearance of undue familiarity. And not only should they themselves observe the strictest propriety of conduct, but by precept and example they should educate others to be modest and shun looseness, jesting, flattery, and nonsensical speeches. Everything savoring of unbecoming familiarity should be discarded by physicians, superintendent, and helpers. There should be no giving of special favors or special attentions to a few, no preferring of one above another. This has been done and is displeasing to God. There are worthy persons who are afflicted and suffering but do not complain, who are in need of special attention. These men and women are often passed by with indifference and with a hardness of heart that is more like Satan's character than like Christ's, while, young forward misses, who in no way need or deserve favors, receive special attention. All this neglect is written in the books of heaven. All these things are developing character.... SpTB16 9.2

When you pass by one who is in need of sympathy, of your kindly acts, and you give him none, but turn to the forward ones, and bestow upon them, remember that Jesus is insulted in the persons of His afflicted ones.... SpTB16 10.1

Angels of God are watching the development of character. Angels of God are weighing moral worth. If you bestow your attentions upon those who have no need, you are doing the recipients harm, and you will receive condemnation rather than reward. Remember that when by your trifling conversation you descend to the level of frivolous characters, you are encouraging them in the path that leads to perdition. Your unwise attentions may prove the ruin of their souls. You degrade their conceptions of what constitutes Christian life and character. You confuse their ideas, and make impressions that can never be effaced. The harm thus done to souls that need to be strengthened, refined, ennobled, is often a sin unto death. They can not associate these men with the sacred position they occupy. The ministers, the officers of the church, are all regarded as no better than themselves. Then where is their example? SpTB16 10.2

God calls upon all who claim to be Christians to elevate the standard of righteousness, and to purify themselves even as Christ is pure.... SpTB16 10.3

The question is, shall we be Bible Christians? Will we disregard the plainest instruction given us in the Word of Life, and erect a false standard whereby to measure our character? Is this a safe thing for us to do? When you yield to the temptations of the enemy, and do the very opposite of that which God has instructed you to do, and then excuse yourselves, saying that you meant no harm, that you have done no moral wrong, what can be your standard of piety and holiness? SpTB16 10.4

Christ has given us the signs whereby we may distinguish the genuine Christian; no one need be deceived by the pretentious claims of the hypocrite. SpTB16 11.1

There is no excuse for indulging a love-sick sentimentalism. No excuse for this trifling, flirting of married men with young girls, or married men with widows. Let men professing Godliness heed the Apostle's admonition, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles, that whereas they speak evil against you as evil doers, they may by your good works which they behold, glorify God in the day of their visitation.” Will you, then, disregard the plainest directions given in the Word of God in regard to your words, your deportment, and your character? Will you excuse levity, and even licentious acts, as though you had done no moral wrong? Will you pass all this off, by saying it was thoughtlessness on your part? Is it not the duty of Christians to think soberly? If Jesus is enthroned in the heart, will the thoughts be running riot? ... SpTB16 11.2

We have the history of the Antediluvians, and of the cities of the plains, whose course of conduct degenerated from lightness and frivolity to debasing sins which called forth the wrath of God in a most dreadful destruction, in order to rid the earth of the curse of their contaminating influence. Inclination and passion bore sway over reason. Self was their god, and the knowledge of the Most High was nearly obliterated through a selfish indulgence of corrupt passions. SpTB16 11.3

The words of Christ should ever be borne in mind: “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man.” SpTB16 11.4

They married wives, they were given in marriage until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. We see the same infatuation in regard to marriage. Youth, and even men and women, who ought to be wise and discerning, act as if bewitched upon this question. Satanic power seems to take possession of them. Courtship and marriage is the all-absorbing theme. The most indiscreet marriages are formed. God is not consulted. Human feelings, desire and passions, bear down every thing before them, until the die is cast. Untold misery is the result of this state of things, and God is dishonored. The marriage bed is not sanctified or holy. Shall there not be a decided change in reference to this important matter? SpTB16 11.5

Ellen G. White