The Health Reformer


September 1, 1871

Words to Christian Mothers


On the Subject of Life, Health, and Happiness—No. 1

I am sorry to say that there is a strange absence of principle which characterizes the professing Christians of this generation in regard to their health. Christians, above all others, should be awake to this important subject, and should become intelligent in regard to their own organism. Says the psalmist, “I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” If we would be able to comprehend the truths of God's word, and the object and purpose of our living, we must know ourselves, and understand how to relate ourselves rightly to life and to health. HR September 1, 1871, Art. A, par. 1

A diseased body causes a disordered brain, and hinders the work of sanctifying grace upon the mind and heart. The apostle says, “With the mind I myself serve the law of God.” If then we pursue a course of wrong which weakens or beclouds our mental powers, so that our perceptions are not clear to discern the value of truth, we are warring against our eternal interest. Pride, vanity, and idolatry enslave the thoughts and affections, and blunt the finer feelings of the soul. These resist the sanctifying grace of God. Many do not realize their accountability as parents. A sense of their moral responsibility is not felt in the existence and education of their children who are the dearest objects of their affections. HR September 1, 1871, Art. A, par. 2

Children are often made objects of pride, rather than sanctified affection. Parents are not excusable if they do not seek knowledge in regard to the origin of human life, and understand what influence their living and dressing will have on their posterity. It is a crime for parents to pursue a course of life which will lessen physical and mental strength, and perpetuate their miseries for their children. If we do the work God would have us perform in this life, we must have sound minds in sound bodies. When wrong habits wage warfare against nature, we are warring against our souls. The Spirit of God cannot come to our help, and assist us in perfecting Christian characters, while we are indulging our appetites to the injury of health, and while the pride of life controls. HR September 1, 1871, Art. A, par. 3

Because it is the fashion, many females place over their breasts paddings, to give the form the appearance of well-developed breasts. These appendages attract the blood to the chest, and produce a dry, irritating heat. The veins, because of unnatural heat, become contracted, and the natural circulation is obstructed. These appendages, in connection with other bad habits of dressing and eating, result in obstructing the process of nature, making a healthy development of the breasts impossible. And if these become mothers, there cannot be a natural secretion of the fluids, to have a sufficient supply of nourishment for their offspring. HR September 1, 1871, Art. A, par. 4

Nature has provided means for the mother to perform this delicate and highly important office for her children. But in order to keep pace with fashion, nature has been abused, instead of being consulted. Mothers sometimes depend upon an hireling, or a nursing bottle must be substituted, for the maternal breast. And one of the most delicate and gratifying duties a mother can perform for her dependent offspring, which blends her life with its own, and which awakens the most holy feelings in the hearts of women, is sacrificed to fashion's murderous folly. HR September 1, 1871, Art. A, par. 5

There are mothers who will sacrifice their maternal duties in nursing their children simply because it is too much trouble to be confined to their offspring, which is the fruit of their own body. The ball room, and the exciting scenes of pleasure, have had the influence to benumb the fine sensibilities of the soul. These have been more attractive to the fashionable mother than maternal duties to her children. May be, she puts her children out to a hireling, to do those duties for them which should belong to herself exclusively. Her false habits make the necessary duties, which it should be her joy to perform, disagreeable to her, because the care of her children will interfere with the claims of fashionable life. A stranger performs the duties of the mother, and gives from her breast the food to sustain life. HR September 1, 1871, Art. A, par. 6

Nor is this all. She also imparts her temper and her temperament to the nursing child. The child's life is linked to hers. If the hireling is a coarse type of woman, passionate, and unreasonable; if she is not careful in her morals, the nursling will be, in all probability, of the same, or a similar type. The same coarse quality of blood, coursing in the veins of the hireling nurse, is in that of the child. Mothers who will thus turn their children from their arms, and refuse the maternal duties, because they are a burden which they cannot well sustain, while devoting their lives to fashion, are unworthy the name of mother. They degrade the noble instincts and holy attributes of women, and choose to be butterflies of fashionable pleasure, having less sense of their responsibility to their posterity than the dumb brutes. Many mothers substitute the bottle for the breast. This is necessary because they have not nourishment for their children. But in nine cases out of ten their wrong habits of dressing, and of eating from their youth, have brought upon them inability to perform the duties nature designed they should. HR September 1, 1871, Art. A, par. 7

Some mothers may be diseased so that they dare not nurse their children. All such females should not take upon themselves the responsibility of becoming mothers. It is criminal in the sight of Heaven for parents who are suffering themselves with disease, to risk the consequences of having children. Such should feel that they are excused from perpetuating their race. If reason and conscience controlled this matter, the world would not now be groaning under its weight of physical suffering, deformity, and imbecility. The world is no better for such additions. But this class do their part to hasten the degeneracy in the sinking standard of humanity. They are deficient in physical, mental, and moral worth, and are aiding in the depreciation of the race. HR September 1, 1871, Art. A, par. 8

It ever has appeared to me to be cold, heartless business, for mothers who can nurse their children, to turn them from the maternal breast to the bottle. In that case the greatest care is necessary to have the milk from a healthy cow, and to have the bottle, as well as the milk, perfectly sweet. This is frequently neglected, and as the result, the infant is made to suffer needlessly. Disturbances of the stomach and bowels are liable to occur, and the much-to-be-pitied infant becomes diseased, if it were healthy when born. HR September 1, 1871, Art. A, par. 9

Fashionable women, who live for dress and display, for visitors to admire their dress made after the latest style of fashion, and whose chief happiness is in attending parties, theaters, and balls, will have an account to render to their Maker for the responsibilities they assumed in becoming mothers, and then so lightly throw them off to be controlled by the tyrant fashion. HR September 1, 1871, Art. A, par. 10

Health, strength, and happiness, depend upon immutable laws; but these laws cannot be obeyed where there is no anxiety to become acquainted with them. The Creator has given us natural life, and physical laws, which relate to the preservation of the life he has given; and we are under most sacred obligations to become intelligent in regard to the laws of our being, lest we be found unwittingly transgressors, and be obliged to pay the penalty of our lawless course by disease and suffering. HR September 1, 1871, Art. A, par. 11

All who transgress physical law must sooner or later suffer the penalty of physical suffering. God has not changed, neither does he propose to change, our physical organism, in order that we may violate a single law, without feeling the effects of its violation. HR September 1, 1871, Art. A, par. 12

But many willingly close their eyes to the light. They do not wish to become intelligent on the subject of life and health, because they know that if they do become informed, and put that knowledge to a practical use, they have a great work to do. By indulging their inclinations and appetites, they violate the laws of life and health; and if they obey conscience, they must be controlled by principle in their eating and dressing, rather than be led by inclination, fashion, and appetite. Men and women cannot be practical Christians, and close their eyes to the light. HR September 1, 1871, Art. A, par. 13

Christians are required to love God with all their heart, with all their mind, with all their soul, and with all their strength, and their neighbors as themselves. The powers of the entire being God claims, to be devoted to his service. In how much higher degree we can render service to God in the vigor of health, than when palsied by disease. HR September 1, 1871, Art. A, par. 14

It is not only the privilege, but the sacred duty, of all to understand the laws God has established in their being, and to be so governed by these laws as to bring their habits into harmony with them. And as they more fully understand the human body, the wonderful work of God's hand, formed in the image of the Divine, they will seek to bring their bodies into subjection to the noble powers of the mind. The body will be regarded by them as a wonderful structure, formed by the Infinite Designer, and given in their charge to keep this harp of a thousand strings in harmonious action. By intelligence they may be able to preserve the human machinery as perfect as possible, that they “may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ.” Here is the secret of true happiness. HR September 1, 1871, Art. A, par. 15