Testimony for the Physicians and Helpers of the Sanitarium

Economy and Self-denial

Economy in the outlay of means is an excellent branch of Christian wisdom. This matter is not sufficiently considered by those who occupy responsible positions in our institutions. Money is an excellent gift of God. In the hands of his children, it is food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, and raiment for the naked; it is a defense for the oppressed, and a means of health to the sick. Means should not be needlessly or lavishly expended for the gratification of pride or ambition. PH100 52.1

A mistake was made in the large outlay in the erection of the Sanitarium building. The perfection of arrangement and finish involved great additional expense. Wisdom and good judgment would have led the managers first to consider carefully the cost, and to ask whether it would not be difficult to complete so extensive an enterprise. PH100 52.2

Thousands of dollars were lost in experimenting with various plans,—building up and tearing down. Wisdom seemed to have departed. Sabbaths were spent by some in looking over the premises and devising improvements. God's hand was not in all this. There were lofty ideas and extensive plans, but no capital and little experience. Without a close connection with Heaven and special wisdom from God, it is not strange that mistakes were made. But a greater wrong was done in throwing the blame on Bro. Jones. I saw that he did not understand how to make proper calculations for so large a building; but much has been charged upon him for which others were responsible; and some of his plans, which would have saved expense, were not accepted. I saw that Bro. Sisley took advantage of this state of things to raise himself on the downfall of Bro. Jones. PH100 52.3

A further lack of wisdom was manifested in furnishing the new building. Very much of the heavy debt might have been saved by prudent calculation. One-half the means used would have been amply sufficient for the purpose, and any surplus might have been far more profitably expended in providing additional facilities. PH100 53.1

It was thought necessary that the table should correspond with the general appointments of the house, and there has been a greater effort to make a display, and to provide for the indulgence of appetite, than to carry out hygienic principles. Thus the Sanitarium has been perverted from its original design, until it resembles a grand hotel rather than an institution for the treatment of the sick. PH100 53.2

A gradual, steady growth from a small beginning would have made a far more favorable impression upon visitors and patients, than expensive arrangements and furnishing and even increased facilities, on borrowed capital. This is poor policy. As the result of the extravagant outlay, the price of board and treatment must be placed at a high figure, and hence many are unable to avail themselves of the benefits of the institution. Again, the financial embarrassment has called into active exercise all of Dr. Kellogg's scheming and planning to gather means to lessen the heavy debt. This has caused him great care and labor, and has nearly cost his life. The efforts to gratify worldliness and pride will result in more disaster than is dreamed of; they will cost physical life, and will ruin souls. PH100 53.3

The unnecessary expense at the outset involves an increase of expense in conducting the institution, that everything may be kept up to the high standard already established. The repeated calls for means which have been made necessary have disheartened our brethren. “Money, money,” say they, “it is always money!” and then temptations come in, and backsliding commences. PH100 54.1

The great mistake is all this has been caused by a departure from the simplicity which God has ever been calling upon us to preserve. With the heavy debt now hanging over the institution,—a debt which should never have been incurred,—there is a continual temptation to deviate from principle,—to follow the customs of the world in the gratification of pride and of the appetite, in order to gain the favor of worldlings. PH100 54.2

The only safe course is to cut down expenses, to dispense with delicacies and great variety, and be content with simple food, simply prepared. We should make it a principle not to aim at the world's standard. The precious talent of means should not be squandered to gain the praise of men. We should be content with the honor which comes from above. God hates the pride, the lust, the ambition, which have a controlling power in the world today, and which are fast gaining control of the Sanitarium. PH100 55.1

Great efforts have been made to secure the patronage of the wealthy. The Sanitarium has not been a success, and will not prove such, unless those who are connected with it shall give it a different mold. If this institution shall be conducted as it has been, with so little of the influence of the Holy Spirit, it will not answer the purpose of God, and will be rejected by him. It was Satan's device to lead to a great expenditure of means in building and furnishing, when there were not sufficient funds to sustain such an outlay. Those who were responsible for this heavy debt, felt that extra effort must be made to secure patients; hence a conservative spirit has come in; little by little has the transforming been going on in the Sanitarium, until the object for which it was started has been almost lost. PH100 55.2

In order to meet the real wants of the people, the stern motives of religious principle must be a controlling power. But it is not thus. When Christians and worldlings are brought together, the Christian element is not to assimilate with the unsanctified. The contrast must be kept sharp and positive between the two. They are servants of two masters. One class strive to keep the humble path of obedience to God's requirements,—the path of simplicity, meekness, and humility,—imitating the Pattern, Christ Jesus. The other class are in every way the opposite of the first. They are servants of the world, eager and ambitious to follow its fashions in extravagant dress and in the gratification of appetite. This is the field in which Christ has given those connected with the Sanitarium their appointed work. We are not to lessen the distance between us and worldlings by coming to their standard, stepping down from the high path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. But the charms exhibited in the Christian's life,—the principles carried out in our daily work, in holding appetite under the control of reason, maintaining simplicity in dress, and engaging in holy conversation,—will be a continual light shining upon the pathway of those whose habits are false. PH100 55.3

There are weak and vain ones at the Sanitarium who have no depth of mind, or power of principle, who are foolish enough to be influenced and corrupted from the simplicity of the gospel by the devotees of fashion. If they see that physicians and managers, are, as far as their circumstances will admit, indulging the appetite, and dressing after the customs of the world, the slaves of self-indulgence will become confirmed in their perverse habits. They conclude that they are not so far out of the way, after all, and that no great change need to be made by them. PH100 56.1

There must be a change in that Sanitarium. I lift my voice in protest against the course pursued there in conforming to the habits and customs of the world. Those who are connected with that institution should be examples as reformers. When Dr. Kellogg took his stand against the dress reform, he made a wrong move; in no place was the dress advocated so appropriate and in every way proper and consistent as in an institution for the treatment of the sick. The dress is not in accordance with the fashions of the world, and this is why it is considered objectionable. Physicians and workers should firmly uphold the standard of right, and exert an influence to correct the wrong habits of those who have been worshiping at the shrine of fashion, and break the spell which Satan has had over these poor souls. Worldlings should see a marked contrast between their own extravagance and the simplicity of reformers who are followers of Christ. PH100 57.1

There is a lack of that care and economy which should exist in every department of this institution. Much is lost that might and should be saved. Many of these losses are caused by a neglect to look after the little matters. The workers have thought it their duty to attend to the larger responsibilities, but there are hundreds of leaks daily that are not thought of or cared for, and the loss in a year is by no means small. Here is one of the special defects that exist at the Sanitarium. Men and women are above attending to the minutiae. They consider it below their calling to give attention to the little things. PH100 57.2

My brethren and sisters at the Sanitarium, Bro. McCoy and Sr. Lamson in particular, you may depend upon what I say,—the secret of life's success is in a careful, conscientious attention to the little things. God makes the simple leaf, the tiny flower, the blade of grass, with as much care as he creates a world. The symmetrical structure of a strong, beautiful character is built up by individual acts of duty. You must learn to be faithful in the least as well as in the greatest duty. Your work cannot bear the inspection of God, unless it be found to include a faithful, diligent, economical care for the little things. At every point, losses are occurring which it is your duty to prevent. PH100 58.1

All should have a jealous care that nothing be wasted, even if the matter does not come under the very part of the work assigned them. Some of the workers see and condemn such losses, and yet do nothing to prevent them. If it were beyond their power to change the state of things, they would be free from responsibility in the matter; but this is not the case. Every one can do something toward economizing. All should perform their work, not to win the praise of men, but in such a manner that it may bear the scrutiny of God. PH100 58.2

Christ once gave his disciples a lesson upon economy which is worthy of careful attention. He wrought a miracle to feed the hungry thousands who had listened to his teachings; yet after all had eaten and were satisfied, he did not permit the fragments to be wasted. He who could, in their necessity, feed the vast multitude by his divine power, bade his disciples gather up the fragments, that nothing might be lost. This lesson was given as much for our benefit as for those living in Christ's day. The Son of God has a care for the necessities of temporal life. He did not neglect the broken fragments after the feast, although he could make such a feast whenever he chose. The workers at the Sanitarium would do well to heed this lesson: “Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost.” This is the duty of all; and those who occupy a leading position should set the example. PH100 58.3

Those whose hands are open to respond to the calls for means to sustain the cause of God, and to relieve the suffering and the needy, are not the ones who are found loose and lax and dilatory in their business management. They are always careful to keep their outgoes within their income. They are economical from principle; they feel it their duty to save, that they may have something to give. PH100 59.1

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 new-comers, who must be induced gradually to correct their pernicious habits. Some of the workers, like the children of Israel, allow perverted appetite and old habits of indulgence to clamor for the 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. PH100 59.2

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. 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.” PH100 60.1

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. 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 flood-gates 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. PH100 61.1

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. PH100 62.1

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. Such will become demoralized in an institution like the Sanitarium, and they will exert a demoralizing influence upon others. PH100 62.2

Few have moral stamina to resist temptation, especially of the appetite, and to practice self-denial. To some it is a temptation too strong to be resisted to see others eat the third meal; and they imagine they are hungry, when the feeling is not a call of the stomach for food, but a desire of the mind that has not been fortified with firm principle, and disciplined to self-denial. The walls of self-control and self-restriction should not in a single instance be weakened and broken down. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, says, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” PH100 62.3

In such an institution as the Sanitarium, where many are laboring together, they will do what they would not think it honest to do, were they separately employed. They would have more respect for their reputation than to be found faulty in any of the so-called little matters. A person employed in a private family would not dare to take such liberties with his employer's property as are taken at the Sanitarium. The helpers influence one another to do unlawful acts; and they do not realize that they are, through indulgence of self, wronging one of God's instrumentalities and crippling its powers. The fact that several are doing the same thing, does not lessen their guilt. It is the act itself that is wrong, whether performed by many or by few. PH100 63.1

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. PH100 63.2

The habits formed in childhood and youth have more influence than any natural endowment, in making men and women intellectually great, or dwarfed and crippled; for the very best talents may, through wrong habits, become warped and enfeebled. To a great extent, the character is determined in early years. Correct, virtuous habits, formed in youth, will generally mark the course of the individual through life. In most cases, those who reverence God and honor the right, will be found to have learned this lesson before the world could stamp its images of sin upon the soul. Men and women of mature age are generally as insensible to new impressions as the hardened rock; but youth is impressible, and a right character may then be easily formed. PH100 64.1

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. Those who profess the name of Christ should not, like the self-righteous Pharisee, find great pleasure in recounting their good deeds, but 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. PH100 64.2

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. PH100 65.1