Manuscript Releases, vol. 20 [Nos. 1420-1500]


MR No. 1447—St. Helena Rural Health Retreat Not To Be Closed; Divine Counsel To Be Sought and Followed

(Written January 8, 1892, from North Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria, to “Dear Brother and Sister Maxson.”)

Letters have come to me on the late steamer stating that a council has been held in regard to your taking hold and helping them in the St. Helena Rural Health Retreat, and that you made statements that you would go only on one condition, namely, that as soon as possible the Retreat be closed and an institution be started near Oakland. Did the Lord counsel you in this decision? Never! And you stated that you had a talk with me and I favored such a plan. You must have received a wrong impression, for I had no thoughts in my mind of the advisability of such a plan, and whatever impressions you received to favor the closing up of the Health Retreat were not from any words of mine, but because you wanted it so. 20MR 119.1

I asked questions; you answered them. I presented the objections as insurmountable in my mind, and you tried to remove them, saying that Dr. Burke would buy the Health Retreat, as though you understood that this subject had been agitated by him and you. Now, I do not think the Health Retreat is for sale. The Lord has signified His will decidedly in this matter again and again. 20MR 119.2

In our conversation I did not feel like making any special statements to you on this subject. You were so sanguine, as in the letter you wrote to M. J. Church in regard to the starting of a sanitarium in Fresno, I did not suppose it was necessary for me to bring forth any positive reasons in regard to this position you made. I was exceedingly weary, and thought that I would collect together all that I had written to you in reference to the Health Retreat, and we would assemble a few [of the statements] and talk over the matter. I would then read to you what the Lord had revealed to me from time to time, and you could act on the light given, or act away from it, as you have already done. But there was no opportunity to do this, so the matter remains in the shape it is. I could but repeat to myself this morning these words: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” 20MR 119.3

I do not think it is best to urge you to take hold at the Health Retreat, for you feel no burden. Therefore I think you would do positive harm, and then this would confirm your faithless utterances. If you have no burden of the matter, then we do not want you. The Lord has shown me in a distinct manner that you were not influenced by the right spirit in leaving the institution when you did. Thus it stands registered in the books of heaven, and I was shown that you were not of the right mind and judgment. You are inclined to fanatical sentiments on some things, and you regard your strong feelings as presentiments from the Lord, when He has nothing to do with it. Now, please stop walking in this unsanctified independence and self-confidence, for it will prove your ruin unless you see the evil and repent of it and submit to follow the way of the Lord. 20MR 119.4

There are those in Oakland who would favor an institution near them, because they need its benefits, and who would see through their eyes and not discover any flaw in your judgment in this matter. But with the light given me of the Lord I shall not encourage you or anyone else to walk in the sparks of your own kindling. You might have been a blessing in the cause and work of God if you [had] unitedly followed the instruction the Lord has given you, but if you choose to make your own plans and go independently you will not have the Lord to go with you. You need qualities brought into the institution which you do not possess. 20MR 120.1

I say in regard to the Health Retreat that it has had a hard time. The curse of God is not on the Crystal Springs institution, but the Lord is displeased with those who have followed their own course of action and not the ways of the Lord, and then have uttered their denouncement of the institution. If Crystal Springs is to be the furnace to try the character to detect the dross and worthless metal, as it has done, and to reveal the gold, let it live, for this is an essential work, to test the metal of men to see how self has been mingled with their plans and course of action. 20MR 120.2

Yet you flattered yourself, and talked to others of your great desire to help the cause of God and to do a great and good work. You will help the cause of God if you can do it and follow out your own plans and after your own order, to please yourself, but you see no light in following any other plan than that which you desire. You have the matter plainly stated in what I have written to you from time to time. Please read these testimonies. You cannot be clear before God until you make these things right by going over the ground at the Health Retreat and making a different showing and manifesting a different spirit than when you were there before. 20MR 120.3

But this decided statement is passed over, and you gather up my words and interpret them to favor the closing of the Health Retreat. Now, my words were all opposed to this. I had the statement of your plans, and I say these plans will not carry. You presented to yourself formidable objections to the Retreat's being where it is now located. You talked of the heavy indebtedness upon the institution, and I could but call to mind the report brought by the unfaithful spies. You need the mold of Christ, then good material will be brought into your character building. 20MR 120.4

The Lord bears long with men, and when they manifest a determination to follow their own judgments, the Lord allows them to do so. I have been made to see the weakness and ignorance of fallen man, even in his best estate. As man goes deeper and deeper in his studies, improving in learning the will and ways of the Lord, he sees more of his own ignorance, thus revealing that he has made decided progress from the beginning. 20MR 121.1

The nearer the Christian lives to God, the more he advances in divine illumination of mind. He has more distinct sense of his own littleness, discerns his defects of character, and sees his duty in the light in which God presents it. The more closely he draws to Jesus, the more he has a near and clear sense of his own defects which had before escaped his notice, and he sees the necessity of humbling himself under the mighty hand of God. If lifted up it will not be because he lifts and exalts himself, but because the Lord exalts him. Having his eyes fixed upon the purity and perfection of Christ Jesus, and acknowledging and obeying God in all his ways, he is not blinded to his own failures and imperfections. When his deportment in the eyes of men is unblamable and irreprovable, God reads the intents and purposes of the heart. 20MR 121.2

Christian humility is a wonderful grace—the very antidote to the apostasy of Satan, which has unholy ambition and every delusion that he can frame. The grace of humility through Christ Jesus will make an imperfect man discern his imperfections and make him meet for the inheritance of the saints, where God is all and in all. 20MR 121.3

I know from the light given me of God that there should be no closing up of the Health Retreat. Should the perplexities in which the Retreat is now involved result in its closing up, Satan would triumph. If those who have hurt the institution by their unwise movements, by their blindness of perception, by their own spirit and narrow action, would come to the right position and all work to remove the stigma they have brought upon it by their own plans, the institution would live and prosper. But when Satan makes a determined effort to assault this instrumentality of God, there are those who ought to know better who unite with the powers of darkness to weaken and discourage and uproot it. But God has said, “Let it live,” and it will live if the people of the Lord will do their duty. 20MR 121.4

Has not the Lord reproved your course, Dr. M.? Why do you maintain your own way nevertheless? Never, never be guilty of yielding to a deceitful, false tongue. Both of you have entrusted capabilities that may be improved greatly and be made efficacious under the discipline of God. Then His righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rereward. “Without Me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” If you set at naught His counsel, then you are in danger. You may both be a blessing to the Health Retreat if you bring to it a right spirit and take hold of it as God's work, and not to receive the adulation of man and turn the attention of the people to yourselves to bind them to you, but fasten them to Jesus. 20MR 121.5

Lead them away from drug medication, [See Selected Messages 2:276-285.] educating them and training them that drugs kill more than they cure. This matter is presented to me so frequently that I cannot hold my peace upon this subject. The use of poisonous drugs is coming more and more into practice among our people. The light which the Lord has given me is that institutions should be established to do away with drugs, and use God's agencies; that instruction should be given daily upon this subject. But God's ways and instruction have not been heeded, therefore not one-twentieth part of the good has been accomplished which might have been if Christian physicians had heeded the admonitions and the counsel of the Most High. 20MR 122.1

“He which converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” The people need to be enlightened at every point how to take care of themselves. This work you both could do for the Master if you were willing and obedient. [Then] you will not walk in the sparks of your own kindling, but in obedience to God's holy law. You will walk in humility and will seek to uplift those who are weak and trembling. You will not aim to see how much means you can acquire, but will manifest the same spirit of which Christ has given us an example in His life. 20MR 122.2

I would be pleased to write you more, but I have not time. I would be glad to have you read the matter I here present before you—letters of warning, of caution, of interest. What more can be said than has been said? I have all the letters I have written to you, therefore I am not ignorant of the mind and will of God. I beg of you, do not go into the Health Retreat with your miscalculations and preconceived notions. You cannot help them there. Self must first be crucified.—Letter 21c, 1892. 20MR 122.3

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

April 13, 1989.

Entire Letter.