The Health Reformer


October 1, 1877

Mrs. White's Address


We are happy to have the privilege of meeting our friends by the lake side in this beautiful grove. Our merciful Heavenly Father has brought us once more in safety across the plains from the Pacific coast, and in return we would render him the tribute of our grateful hearts. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 1

Our Saviour often preferred the fields, the groves, and the lake-sides for his temples. People flocked to these places in great crowds to listen to the words of truth which fell from his divine lips. He had special reasons for choosing these natural sanctuaries; the familiar objects of nature were thus presented to the eyes of his hearers, and he used those objects to simplify his teachings, binding his truths firmly upon the minds of the people by the lessons drawn from nature to illustrate his meaning. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 2

Upon one occasion, early in the morning, the disciples, who were fishing, discerned their Master walking upon the beach. They immediately pulled for the shore where they could converse with him from their boats. But Jesus could not long remain hidden from the multitude who sought him unceasingly. His fame as the wonderful Healer of disease had spread far and near; and as he stood upon the beach, the people hurried thither, bringing their sick friends to lay before him, and implore him to heal them. His great heart of love was filled with divine pity for the objects of distress appealing to him for help. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 3

Whatever way he might turn, there lay the suffering and dying, supplicating his mercy, and pleading for the blessing of peace and health which they believed he could give them. Some of the sufferers feared they would be overlooked among the many who were urging their cases before the great Physician. Though they despaired of gaining his personal attention, yet they would not leave his presence, believing that if they could even approach near enough to touch him, that touch would bring healing to them. Eagerly the wasted hands of the sick were stretched out amid the crowd to touch the dress or person of Christ, and as many as reached him received in their suffering bodies an answer to the touch of faith. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 4

The dreary and disconsolate, whose minds had been imprisoned in the sepulcher of despair, were attracted to the presence of Jesus. Those who were mourning over the disappointed hopes of the present, and trembling in contemplation of a starless future, came to Christ, the Light of the world, as their only hope. With tender compassion he bent over the forms of the suffering, the despondent, and the dying. His lips pronounced the glad words, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven thee.” Hope took the place of gloom and despair in the hearts of those whom Jesus blessed; health and joy animated their countenances; the lips that had but lately uttered only words of grief and doubt, now shouted the praise of God. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 5

Disease fled from the touch of the Deliverer, and perfect health and soundness took the place of suffering and decay. Every applicant to Christ was relieved; not one mourner was left in pain; every desponding soul was tranquilized by his words of hope and forgiving love. Then the great Teacher commenced his lessons of instruction to the awe-struck, wondering crowd. But he was so jostled by the multitude, who were all eager to get within hearing of his voice, that he was finally crowded down to the brink of the lake, and had no place to set his feet. He therefore turned and beckoned to Peter, who was in his boat near the land. The disciple drew near, and the Saviour stepped into the open boat, and bade Peter thrust out a little from the shore. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 6

The Majesty of Heaven took his position, not upon David's throne, but on the seat of a fisherman's swaying boat. And here the great Teacher taught his precious truths to the multitude, binding up those sacred lessons with illustrations drawn from the occupations of men, and the familiar objects of nature around them. This gave the stamp of reality to his instruction. The illustrations there presented to the listening multitude were to be repeated through all the ages. The truths thus represented were to be immortalized, and imprinted on the hearts of millions who were to come. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 7

It was in the clear light of morning, and the illustrations employed by the great Teacher were impressive, though simple. He made use of the lofty trees, the cultivated soil, the barren rocks, the flowers of beauty struggling through the clefts, the everlasting hills, the glowing flowers of the valley, the birds, caroling their songs in the leafy branches, the spotless lily, resting in purity upon the bosom of the water. All these objects, that made up the living scene around them, were made the medium by which his lessons were impressed upon the minds of his hearers. They were thus brought home to the hearts of all, meeting the capacity of all who heard, and leading them gently up from the contemplation of the Creator's works in nature to nature's God. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 8

The buds and blooming flowers of this bouquet which I hold, God has touched with varied delicate tints, most beautiful to the eye. The artistic skill of earth can produce nothing that will compare with the natural beauties given us by the great Master-Artist. As we look upon the lofty trees waving with fresh, green foliage, and the earth covered with its green velvet carpet, and the flowers and shrubs springing from the earth, we should remember that all these beauties of nature have been used by Christ in teaching his grand lessons of truth. As we look upon the fields of waving grain, and listen to the merry songsters in their leafy homes, and view the boats upon the water of the lake, we should remember the words of Christ upon the lakeside, in the groves, and on the mountains; and the lessons there taught by him should be repeated to us by the similar objects of nature which surrounds us. Such scenes should be sacredly regarded by us, and should bring joy and gladness to our hearts. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 9

All Heaven is interested in the happiness of man. God is represented as a present help in our necessities. Christ identified himself with man; he understands his every infirmity and weakness. He is a sympathizing friend in all our afflictions, and will be our refuge when we are assailed by fierce temptation. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 10

Love of Christ cannot exist in the heart without a corresponding love for our fellowmen. Love to God and to our neighbor are the ruling principles of the true Christian's life. The redeeming love of Christ should awaken all the affection and self-sacrificing devotion of the human heart. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 11

Let the thought encourage us that Christ pities the erring, and desires to comfort the despondent, and encourage the weak. He is fully acquainted with the peculiar trials of every life. He never misjudges our motives, nor places a wrong estimate upon our character. Men may do us injustice, we may suffer by calumny and suspicion, but the Saviour knows our inmost thought, and cannot judge our actions wrongly. We may tell him all our griefs and perplexities, and he will never abuse our confidence, nor turn a deaf ear to our complaints. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 12

In one of his most impressive lessons, Christ says, “Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?” The great Teacher is here leading out minds to understand the parental care and love which God has for his children. He directs them to observe the birds flitting from tree to tree, or skimming upon the bosom of the lake, without a flutter of distrust or fear. God's eye is upon these little creatures; he provides them food; he answers all their simple wants. Jesus inquires, “Are ye not much better than they?” Then why despond, or look into the future with sadness and foreboding? HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 13

It is not the thought and anxiety of man that provides for his wants, and that causes him to grow in youth and to develop strength; but God is silently doing his work for man, adding to his stature as he progresses to maturity, and opening his mind to knowledge. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 14

Again he says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 15

If God cares for and preserves the little birds, will he not have far greater love and care for the creatures formed in his image? HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 16

“And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” The courtly robes of the greatest king that ever sat upon an earthly throne, could not compare, in their artificial splendor, with the spotless beauty of the lilies fashioned by the divine hand. This is an example of the estimate which the Creator of all that is beautiful, places upon the artificial in comparison with the natural. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 17

God has given us these things of beauty as an expression of his love, that we may obtain correct views of his character. We are not to worship the things of nature, but in them we are to read the love of God. Nature is an open book, from the study of which we may gain a knowledge of the Creator, and be attracted to him by the things of use and beauty which he has provided with such a lavish hand to make us happy. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 18

Much unnecessary care and anxiety is felt in regard to our future, concerning what we shall eat and drink, and wherewithal we shall be clothed. The labor and worry of needless display in apparel causes much fatigue and unhappiness, and shortens our lives. Our Saviour would not only have us discern the love of God displayed in the beautiful flowers about us, but he would have us learn from them lessons of simplicity, and of perfect faith and confidence in our Heavenly Father. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 19

If God cares to make these inanimate things so beautiful, that will be cut down and perish in a day, how much more careful will he be to supply the needs of his obedient children, whose lives may be as enduring as eternity. How readily will he give them the adornment of his grace, the strength of wisdom, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. The love of God to man is incomprehensible, broad as the world, high as heaven, and as enduring as eternity. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 20

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.” Notwithstanding that the love of God speaks to us through the lofty trees, the lovely flowers, the babbling brooks, and all the innumerable objects in nature, and in manifold blessings that brighten our lives, many turn from these expressions of God's love, which should make them cheerful and trusting, and brood over scenes of darkness, permitting their minds to dwell upon the idea that God is a stern judge of terrible exactitude. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 21

The truth is that our Heavenly Father pities and loves his children. The repentant erring ones are warmly welcomed to his favor. Peter apostatized from Christ, although he had been greatly favored by being brought in close connection with him. He had witnessed his transfiguration, and had frequently seen his divine power flashing through the disguise of humanity. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 22

The story of Peter's apostasy and its results illustrates the manner of God's dealing with men. Peter himself leaves the fullest record of his own apostasy. This was for the warning of others, that they might avoid falling into a like sin. He knew many who should come after him would feel secure in their own strength, and the honesty of their good intentions and resolves; yet the hour of temptation would find them unarmed by watchfulness and prayer, and they would fall as he had done, because they had not made God their strength. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 23

But notwithstanding the degradation of their Godlike manhood to assimilate with the heartless and debased, notwithstanding they may have fallen a prey to appetite and passion, led by despicable persons whom in their secret hearts they despise; yet the disciple would teach that if they arouse to a sense of their condition, face about and leave their evil habits, calling upon God to help them to resist temptation, he will never turn from them nor reject their petition, but will comfort and sustain them by his forgiving love. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 24

God gave, in his Son, the best gift that he could bestow upon man. Christ, the Majesty of Heaven, consented to leave the heavenly courts, and lay aside his robes of royalty, to come to a world all stained and marred by the curse, to take man's nature, and to reach to the very depths of human misery and woe, that by his own example of perfect character he might elevate and ennoble fallen man. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 25

He brings his divine power to unite with man's human efforts, that in Christ's glorious name the creature of earth may be a victor on his own account. He takes the sins of man upon himself, and imputes his righteousness to all who will lay hold of his merits by faith. The Redeemer of the world encircles the fallen race with his strong human arm, while with his divine arm he grasps the throne of the Infinite. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 26

It is manifesting great ingratitude toward God to dwell upon the dark side of affairs, and let the shadows of despair shut from our souls the Sun of Righteousness. Sorrow comes and goes; it is the lot of man; we should not seek to magnify it, but rather dwell upon that which is bright and pleasant. When winter spreads its icy covering over the earth, we do not let our gladness freeze up with the flowers and brooks, and continually mourn because of the dismal days, and the chilling winds. On the other hand, we reach forward in imagination to the coming summer, with its warmth, and life, and beauty. Meanwhile we enjoy all the sunshine that comes to us, and find much comfort, in spite of the cold and snow, while we are waiting for nature to put on her fresh, bright garments of rejoicing. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 27

Just now a cloud has shut from our sight the bright rays of the sun, and we are left in the shadow. Should we fret and repine because of this, and forget everything else that is bright and lovely around us? No; we should forget the cloud, and remember that the sun is not blotted out, but has only veiled its face for a moment, to shine forth again in greater apparent brightness, and to be prized and enjoyed more highly than if it had never been hidden. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 28

It is God's will that we should be cheerful. He would have us open our hearts to the sunbeams of heaven; he would have our spirits mellowed by his love and goodness, apparent in our own lives, and in the things of nature surrounding us. Those who are brought in contact with us are affected for good or evil by our words and actions. We are unconsciously diffusing the fragrance of our character upon the moral atmosphere surrounding us, or we are poisoning that atmosphere by thoughts, words, and deeds which have a deleterious influence upon those with whom we associate. “No man liveth to himself.” HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 29

It is selfish to devote our precious time to mourning over disappointed hopes, indulging a useless grief that clouds the family circle. We should be cheerful, if only for the benefit of those who depend more or less upon us for happiness. We should be careful lest our unconscious influence unbalance others, and turn them from the work which God designed that they should do. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 30

It is our duty to make the best of everything, and to cultivate a habit of looking at the bright side of things. Let the cloud that shadows us pass over, while we wait patiently till the clear blue sky again appears, and the blessed sunshine is revealed. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 31

Many persons take a melancholy pleasure in feeling and talking as if the chief object of those with whom they are associated is to make them miserable. The sufferings of most such persons are self-created; they view everything from a false standpoint, and all things are perverted to their eyes. This is a terrible form of selfishness. Let us all forget self as much as possible, cultivate cheerfulness, seek to brighten the lives of others, and we shall then have less desire to complain of our own lot; we shall, in fact, lose sight of our selfish cares and gloom. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 32

Those who have borne the greatest sorrows are frequently the ones who carry the greatest comfort to others, bringing sunshine wherever they go. Such ones have been chastened and sweetened by their afflictions; they did not lose confidence in God when trouble assailed them, but clung closer to his protecting love. Such ones are a living proof of the tender care of God, who makes the darkness as well as the light, and chastens us for our good. Christ is the light of the world; in him is no darkness. Precious light! Let us live in that light! Bid adieu to sadness and repining. Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 33

The afflicted may take courage, the desponding may hope, for they have a sympathizing friend in Jesus. All our troubles and griefs we may pour into his sympathizing ears. When we associate together, let it not be to talk darkness and unbelief, to recount the gloomy chapters in our life experience. Let us talk of the love of God that has been manifested to us, that is seen in nature, in the firmament of the heavens, in all the wise arrangements of Providence. Let us search out the rays of sunshine that have brightened our pathway, and linger over their memory with grateful hearts. Let us dwell upon the matchless love of Christ; for in him we have a constant theme of rejoicing. In him is no darkness. He is the Light of life, the chief among ten thousand, and the one altogether lovely. HR October 1, 1877, Art. A, par. 34