Manuscript Releases, vol. 18 [Nos. 1301-1359]


MR No. 1348—Mistakes Made at Health Institution; No One is Without Failings; Christians are to Help One Another

(Written March 1, 1888, from St. Helena, California, to Brother and Sister Butcher.)

We have had a long, rather hard time getting home. We left Brother Daniells at 9 o'clock. He gave us the directions how to go, but we were lost. As we advanced, the road was impassable, so we decided to take the directions given us to go through Pope Valley, which brought us on Mountain ascent. It took us till night to cross the mountains, bringing us into Pope Valley after dark. The moon was shrouded in clouds, and we were apparently lost on the mountains, for there was not one signboard anywhere to show us our way. A man, Major Selwell, holding the office of postmaster in Monticello, appeared, going the same way as ourselves to Pope Valley. He took Sister Lockwood into his carriage, and we drove on. In many places it was very dangerous. This man seemed to us as an angel of God. He guided us and found a place for us to stay overnight at a farmhouse. 18MR 321.1

We were glad to shelter with Mr. Sweitzer, who kindly entertained us. We paid him $1.50 for our lodgings and feed for the horses. We found that both these persons knew Dr. Burke, and they did not express much confidence in his large boasting of doing such wonderful things. He reported that he had taken off half of a man's kidney, and that the man recovered. This is simply false, for no such thing could be done, and all who know anything of the human organism know this to be the case. These wonderfully exaggerated statements are really working to his own injury, and skepticism is taking possession of minds in regard to the truthfulness of these marvelous cures reported. 18MR 321.2

We did not, of, course say anything of the existing state of things between the Health Retreat and Dr. Burke. We chose to keep still. I have less and less faith in the Christianity and honesty of the man. I believe him to be a fraud by applying the test that our Saviour has given, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” We cannot see how any can have discernment and not see and sense the true spirit of the man. Well, we think Mr. Sweitzer will come to the Health Retreat, and see for himself. 18MR 322.1

We find the Health Retreat is quite well filled up with patients. There are also patients in the house of Sister Tolhurst. I remained so short a time at the Health Retreat, being delayed nearly an entire day on the journey, that I am not well informed as to its conveniences. If you feel like having Alice go there, I think they will do their utmost for her. I find no place where she could have two rooms and cook for themselves. There are so many who have children that they dread to have an additional child in the family. Brother and Sister Harris were not retained at the Health Retreat. I have no doubt [that] if you were willing to take the means, you would expend it wisely in sending Alice to Battle Creek. She might be placed in the institution or in a cottage, and have all things convenient and favorable. She could take treatment, and would be helped and made quite comfortable, and we hope quite well. But if you do not do this, send her as soon as possible to St. Helena. 18MR 322.2

I know that some things have transpired at the Health Retreat and there will be, in all probability, things of an unpleasant character that she will have to meet wherever she goes, at whatever institution she may be. But unless we make up our minds to endure some things, not exactly to our mind, we will find constant difficulty. 18MR 322.3

We have had to labor just as hard to set things in order at the sanitarium at Battle Creek, as we have had to labor here. Where persons of different stamp of character associate together, there must be some things transpire of an unpleasant character; but if all are striving to be a help and a blessing to each other, these apparently objectionable features will be overcome. This earth is not heaven. We are not associating with angels but with failing human beings. There are all kinds of characters and temperaments to be dealt with in the invalids that come to our health institutions. 18MR 323.1

Those who are discerning must and will see the trying position many of those in responsible places are occupying. They are obliged to deal with all kinds of persons, diseased in both body and mind, and those who are Christlike will sympathize with and give them their support. 18MR 323.2

We know that great wrongs have existed, which has been displeasing to God, and those who have in the name of Christ borne the burden of patiently and kindly investigating these errors and mistakes have been trying to correct them. They deserve at least the help of all those of like precious faith. From a Bible standpoint they have a right to expect the support of all those who are light bearers in the cause of God. They have a right to expect of all the true believers solid help in their efforts to set things in order. All who are laborers together with God should be of one mind, of one judgment. 18MR 323.3

We should not rest easy and be content to be carried by this institution while others of the brethren are lifting the heaviest load, planning and praying and working and counseling to make a success of the work which God has said should be done for the good of His people. While Satan works to demoralize, by taking the control of minds, leading them to make mistakes in their plans, in their management, in their deportment, and trying to take advantage of every opportunity to reproach Jesus and cause the enemies of our faith by their unwise course to blaspheme, shall Christians stand back as spectators, acting only as critics, and be found on the side of Satan as accusers and yet make no truly interested efforts to bring in a better state of affairs? Shall Satan have everything as he pleases, because he has obtained some advantage over those who should have been proof to his temptations, resisting the first approach to wrong? 18MR 323.4

Shall we stand back and make no efforts to expel the enemy, to resist him steadfast in the faith? Some are doing this work, seeking to correct the evils that have existed and that still exist. Then, I inquire, why not come to the help of those who are laboring very hard in the fear of God to point out the mistakes, the errors, and the sins which, if left unreproved, will taint and corrupt many souls, and bring the institution under divine displeasure? 18MR 324.1

The erring ones who have their sins laid open before them—many of them, not all, thank God—will feel that they are misjudged. They will vindicate their own course, justifying themselves, and will become alienated from those who, in the fear of God, tried to do the very work the Lord had given them to do; namely, to reprove, to rebuke, to exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. The reproved ones, who do not humble their hearts before God, will not confess their sins, which are not all specified, but will cover them up and make light of their errors and grievous transgressions, which have been a stumbling block to saints and sinners, and have corrupted souls. 18MR 324.2

They will place the matter in a false light before their friends and relatives. The very thing that gained for Satan the sympathy of one-third of the angels in heaven, was this spirit of self-justification. The angels were deceived by Satan's misrepresentations and by his artful power of accusing those who would not unite with him. Satan has kept up this work ever since his fall, and he has large numbers of men and women who follow in the very steps he has taken, until they fall from the truth, give up their steadfastness, and stand on Satan's side, as accusers, criticizing others, while they seem to think their own ways are hid from the Lord, that God doth not know, that He doth not take knowledge of their ways or their crooked works. 18MR 324.3

Now, this very work has been going on at the Health Retreat, and shall a few carry the heavy load and all else be spectators? Shall there be none who will feel an interest in every part of God's plans and His instrumentalities, because there have been men and women who by their want of devotion and piety have imperiled the cause and work of God—men and women who have been so circumstanced that they have developed character and revealed that all was not gold but dross and tin? Shall not this be the time when all who are in connection with God shall come to the front and show their colors? Shall it be seen that men and women step back and show no interest, no zeal, no earnest effort, when help is needed? When the car drags heavily, then is the time for everyone to push, put shoulders to the wheels, and not stand back giving orders, or accusing the ones who are trying to push the load, or criticizing everything they do, because it is not done in their way and after their ideas. 18MR 325.1

One thinks things should be done after his way; another shouts out his orders to do things after his way; and there is not concerted action. Let everyone do his level best to move the load with might and strength. It is the duty of all to do this. If the Lord should treat us as some that claim to be Christians treat one another, we should have a sore, hard time. If he should look upon the selfish, the erring, or crooked ones as they look upon one another and deal with one another, what would become of us? But I am glad the Lord is not man. He bears with our crooked ways, our selfishness, our separation from Him, our defects of character, and seeks to inform us, sending message after message of mercy, encouragement, warning, reproof, and correction, to bring us into a right position before Him, that we may have His love, His care, His blessing, abiding upon us. But if we choose our own selfish, perverse ways, then the Lord, after every means is exhausted, says, “Let them alone; they are joined to their idols.” 18MR 325.2

Each of us has a work to do for the Master. Will we do this work? Will we labor with unselfish, self-sacrificing interest to build up His cause, to advance His work? I am determined to do the will of God, to make straight paths for my feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. There are halting, lame ones enough to be stumbled by the unchristian doings of many who name the name of Christ. But God forbid that any of those who have had a knowledge of and an experience in the workings of God and His ways, should themselves be halting and need to be carried. Let them come up to help; let them become spiritually strong by doing the will of our heavenly Father; and then they can help the halting, lame ones. 18MR 326.1

But I want to impress upon you that you should hurt not the oil and the wine because some have proved to be more dross (than) gold. I will not give them up; I will cling to them; and because these are unfaithful to large responsibilities, shall we be a dead weight, a drag on those instrumentalities ordained of God? Those reproved will, some of them, be corrected. Some will not, but will have a spirit of revenge. They will try to injure the work and the workers because their unfaithfulness has been discovered and faithfully reproved. 18MR 326.2

There will be those who will accept their misrepresentations, who will drink in of their spirit, who will not only imperil the souls of those to whom God has in mercy sent messages of warning, but by representing them as innocent, abused, mistreated, they will make naught of the counsels of God, giving unsanctifying sympathy to those who were wholly undeserving of it, all because they put confidence in erring mortals more than in God and the working of His Spirit through His appointed agencies who correct wrongs and errors in His people. They put out their own eyes, and cannot discern the workings of the enemy any more than they could discern the workings of the Spirit of God to set things in order. They make impressions upon other minds that have not a knowledge of the real workings of evil or the positive workings of the Spirit of God. Therefore, they call good evil, and evil good. 18MR 327.1

Now, this is a condition of things we have had to meet from time to time all through our experience of the last forty years. And it requires faith and patience to meet all the wily workings of the enemy in all His windings and turnings. But very few can appreciate the difficulties under which a health institute has to labor, especially where there is but little capital. Everyone connected with such an institution needs the preciousness of pure and undefiled religion; and the solemn truth of God sanctifying the heart, the life, and the character of the followers of Christ will make men and women discreet, level headed to take in the situation of the instrumentalities of God, and they will do their level best to sustain these institutions. 18MR 327.2

There is so little sympathy even among our people, so little true backbone, to lift when God would have them lift. If all had personal religion, a living faith in Jesus for themselves, then we would see solid, unselfish work done under a pressure of difficulties. My heart is often almost broken with sadness and grief as I see the little real harmony cultivated among believers. We have a solemn work before us. Ye are laborers together with God, and may we work intelligently, heartily, with decision and positiveness, that we may be blessed and may bless others. 18MR 327.3

The greatest service we can render to the cause of God, and which will reflect steady beams of light upon the pathway of others, is to be patient, kind, steadfast as a rock to principle, God-fearing. This will constitute us the salt of the earth, the light of the world. We shall be often disappointed, for we shall not find perfection in those who are connected with us, and they will not see perfection in us. It is only by agonizing effort on our part that we shall become unselfish, humble, childlike, teachable, meek and lowly of heart, like our divine Lord. We must bring our hearts and minds up to a high point of education on spiritual and heavenly things. 18MR 328.1

This world is not heaven, but it is the workshop of God for the fitting up of His people for a pure and holy paradise. And while each one of us is to feel that he is a part of the great web of humanity, he must not expect that others in that web will be without a flaw any more than himself. 18MR 328.2

Mistakes will be made, and if the erring are willing to be corrected, a valuable experience is gained, so that their defeat is turned to victory. You should consider that while many of our own errors are not brought to light, [we should] be careful not to make the mistakes and imperfections of others appear in their worst light either to yourself or to others. No man is perfect, and unjust criticism indulged towards others is not wise or Christlike. All of us must learn, and then in a Christlike manner impart that knowledge to those who really need it. 18MR 328.3

We have a serious, solemn work to do for ourselves to cleanse our own souls from spot and stain if we will stand before the Son of man when He shall appear, acquitted of Him. We must be educators as well as reformers. To cut loose from everyone who errs and does not follow our own ideas is not doing as Christ is doing for us. We are all fallible, and need pity, forbearance, kindly consideration, and sympathetic love for those with whom we are connected. We are all unworthy of the love and confidence of God. If one errs, then after doing our whole duty to him or her in a Christlike manner, we are not to keep the disagreeable and objectionable things before our mind's eye, but to see what there is good and praiseworthy in them that we can think of and ponder over and speak of. 18MR 329.1

Let me tell you that there is no work that will tend to the upbuilding of the kingdom of Christ in this world that will not receive the deadly assaults of the enemy. There will be a continual wrestling. Walls of difficulty will arise, and objectionable things will appear to discourage those who can be discouraged, so that they will not fight on the side of truth, but unite their forces on the enemy's side, to question, to find fault, and to let unbelief come in, and then they will be of no help to push when every help is needed, at the very time when discouragement is likely to take the place of faith. 18MR 329.2

To rejoice in success when everything seems to be flourishing is an easy thing; but to act as did the builders of the walls of Jerusalem, building with one hand and fighting with the other to preserve their lives and ward off the enemies of truth, is a more difficult matter. You will have to obtain just such an experience in the work of God. We are laborers together with God, and if we sit down with the suffering Man of Calvary upon His throne, we must be partakers of His sufferings in this life. 18MR 329.3

Did Jesus meet with no discouragement? Was He never disappointed in men? Oh yes, again and again and again! He kept steadfastly to the work of saving humanity. We must do as Christ did, with confidence and love for those for whom He died. All coldness and indifference in regard to the souls of our fellow men is a condemning sin. We must connect with Jesus Christ, and be like Him in character, unselfish, pure, holy, undefiled. We must be wide-awake to the interest and advancement of Christ's work. 18MR 330.1

I write these things to you because I cannot rest. I feel that you are in danger of losing eternal life through the many perplexities and cares that overwhelm you in this life. Arise and shine, I beseech you, before your light shall go out in darkness. I shall meet these warnings given to you in the day of God, and you also will meet them again.—Letter 30, 1888. 18MR 330.2

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

January 22, 1988.

Entire Letter.