The Health Reformer

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March 1, 1872

Sentimentalism

EGW

“Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” HR March 1, 1872, par. 1

Those who follow the path of wisdom and holiness will not be troubled with vain regrets over misspent hours, neither will they be troubled with gloom or horror of mind, as some are, unless engaged in vain, trifling amusements. HR March 1, 1872, par. 2

Many cherish the impression that spirituality and devotion to God are detrimental to health. There are many professing Christians with diseased imagination who do not correctly represent the religion of the Bible. They are ever walking under a cloud. They seem to think it a virtue to complain of depression of spirits, great trials, and severe conflicts. The Saviour of men has said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” It is the duty of all to cherish the light, to walk in the light, and to encourage habitual cheerfulness of mind, that they may reflect light rather than shadows of gloom and darkness. HR March 1, 1872, par. 3

We take the position understandingly that godliness and righteousness do not conflict with the laws of health; but are in harmony with them. Some may teach that vain amusements and cheap nonsense are needful to cheerfulness, and to keep above despondency. This may divert the mind for the time being; but after the excitement is over, and the mind reflects, conscience arouses, and makes her voice heard, that this is not the best way to obtain health, or true happiness. HR March 1, 1872, par. 4

Amusements excite the mind; but depression is sure to follow. Useful labor and physical exercise will have a more healthful influence upon the mind, and will strengthen the muscles, improve the circulation, and will prove a powerful agent in the recovery of health. HR March 1, 1872, par. 5

“What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile; depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” HR March 1, 1872, par. 6

The consciousness of right-doing is the best medicine for diseased bodies and minds. The special blessing of God resting upon the receiver, is health and strength. A person whose mind is quiet and satisfied in God is in the pathway to health. To have a consciousness that the eyes of the Lord are upon us, and his ears open to hear our prayers, is a satisfaction indeed. To know that we have a never-failing Friend in whom we can confide all the secrets of the soul, is a privilege which words can never express. Those whose moral faculties are beclouded by disease are not the ones to rightly represent the Christian life, or the beauties of holiness. They are too often in the fire of fanaticism, or the water of cold indifference, or stolid gloom. HR March 1, 1872, par. 7

There are those who do not feel that it is a religious duty to discipline the mind to dwell upon cheerful subjects, that they may reflect light rather than darkness and gloom. This class of minds will either be engaged in seeking their own pleasure, in frivolous conversation, laughing and joking, and the mind continually elated with a round of amusements; or they will be depressed, having great trials and mental conflicts, which they think but few have ever experienced or can understand. These persons may profess Christianity, but they deceive their own souls. They have not the genuine article. The religion of Jesus Christ is first pure, then peaceable, full of righteousness and good fruits. Many have fallen into the sad error which is so prevalent in this degenerate age, especially with females. They are too fond of the other sex. They love their society. Their attentions are to them flattering, and they encourage, or permit, a familiarity which does not always accord with the exhortation of the apostle, to “abstain from all appearance of evil.” HR March 1, 1872, par. 8

Some mingle with their religion a romantic, love-sick sentimentalism, which does not elevate, but only lowers. It is not their mind alone that is affected, but others are injured by their example and influence. HR March 1, 1872, par. 9

Some are naturally devotional. If they would train their mind to dwell upon elevated themes which have nothing to do with self, but are of a heavenly nature, they could yet be of use. But much of their life has been wasted in dreaming of doing some great work in the future, while present duties, though small, are neglected. They have been unfaithful. The Lord will not commit to their trust any larger work until the work now before them has been seen and performed with a ready, cheerful will. HR March 1, 1872, par. 10

Unless the heart is put into the work, it will drag heavily, whatever that work may be. The Lord tests our ability by giving us small duties to perform first. If we turn from these with dissatisfaction and murmuring, no more will be intrusted to us until we cheerfully take hold of these small duties, and do them well; then higher and greater responsibilities will be committed to us. HR March 1, 1872, par. 11

We have been intrusted with talents, not to be squandered, but to be put out to the exchangers, that, at the Master's coming, he may receive his own with usury. God has not distributed these talents indiscriminately. He has dispensed these sacred trusts according to the known powers and capacities of his servants: “To every man his work.” HR March 1, 1872, par. 12

He gives impartially, and he expects corresponding returns. If all do their duty according to the measure of their responsibility, the amount intrusted to them will be doubled, be it large or small. Their fidelity is tested and proved, and their faithfulness is positive evidence of their wise stewardship, and they can be intrusted with the true riches, even the gift of everlasting life. HR March 1, 1872, par. 13

Many have a self-complacent feeling, flattering themselves that if they had an opportunity, or were circumstanced more favorably, they could and would do some great work. These do not view things from a correct standpoint. Their imagination is diseased, and they have permitted their minds to soar above the common duties of life. Day-dreaming and romantic castle-building have unfitted them for usefulness. They have lived in an imaginary world, and have been imaginary martyrs, and are imaginary Christians. There is nothing real and substantial in their character. This class sometimes imagine that they have an exquisite delicacy of character, and sympathetic nature, which must be recognized and responded to by others. They put on an appearance of languor and indolent ease, and frequently think that they are not appreciated. Their sick fancy is not helping themselves or others. Appropriate labor, and healthy exercise of all their powers, would withdraw their thoughts from themselves. HR March 1, 1872, par. 14

Despondent feelings are frequently the result of too much leisure. The hands and mind should be occupied in useful labor, lightening the burdens of others; and in doing this, they will benefit themselves. Idleness gives time to brood over imaginary sorrows. If they do not in reality have hardships and trials, they will be sure to borrow them from the future. God, by his prophet Ezekiel, addresses Jerusalem thus: “Behold this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness, was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” HR March 1, 1872, par. 15

Invalids should not allow themselves to drop down into an inactive state. This is detrimental to health. The power of the will should be brought into action. And, even if some dread exercise, which involves responsibility, they should train their minds to it. Exertion is what they most need to recover health. They can never obtain health unless they overcome this listless, dreamy condition of mind, and arouse themselves to action. HR March 1, 1872, par. 16

There is much deception carried on under the cover of religion. Passion controls the minds of many who have become depraved through perversion of thought and feeling. These deceived souls flatter themselves that they are spiritually minded, and especially consecrated, when their religious experience is composed of a lovesick sentimentalism, rather than of purity, true goodness, and humiliation of self. The mind should be drawn away from self, and exercised in blessing others, and being elevated by good works. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” True religion ennobles the mind, refines the taste, sanctifies the judgment, and makes its possessor partaker of the purity, and the influence of Heaven, brings angels near, and separates more and more from the spirit and influence of the world. HR March 1, 1872, par. 17

E. G. W.