Lt 213, 1902


Lt 213, 1902

Brethren at the St. Helena Sanitarium

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

November 3, 1902

Portions of this letter are published in CD 282-283; MM 283-284; Ev 149, 537, 539; 1MR 290-291.

To those in positions of responsibility in the St. Helena Sanitarium,—

Last night I was instructed that changes will have to be made in the Sanitarium at St. Helena. Those connected with this institution are to remember that God wants them to meet the patients where they are. We are to be the helping hand of God in presenting the great problems of the truth for this time; and we must not attempt to interfere unnecessarily with the habits and customs of those who are in the Sanitarium as patients or guests. Many of these people come to this retired place to remain a few weeks only. To compel them, for so short a time, to change their hours for meals, is to subject them to great inconvenience. If you do this, you will find, after test and trial, that you have made a mistake. Learn what you can in regard to the habits of the patients, and do not require them to change these habits when by the change nothing special is gained. Lt213-1902.1

The atmosphere of the institution should be cheerful and homelike, and as social as possible. Those who come for treatment should be made to feel at home. Abrupt changes in regard to meals will keep them in an unsettled state of mind. Feelings of discomfort will be the result of the interruption of their habits. Their minds will be disturbed, and this will bring about unnatural conditions, by which they will be robbed of the blessings that they might otherwise obtain. When it is necessary to change their habits, do this so carefully and so pleasantly that they will look upon the change as a blessing rather than a discomfort. The patients are to be provided with an abundance of wholesome, palatable food, prepared and served in so appetizing a way that they will have no temptation to desire flesh-meat. The meals may be made the means of an education in health reform. Care is to be shown in regard to the combinations of foods given to the patients. Knowledge in regard to proper food combinations is of great worth and is to be received as wisdom from God. Lt213-1902.2

The hours for meals should be so arranged that the patients will feel that those in charge of the institution are working for their comfort and health. Then, when they leave the institution, they will not carry away with them the leaven of prejudice. In no case is a course to be followed that will give the patients the impression that the time of meals has been fixed by unalterable laws. Lt213-1902.3

If, after dispensing with the third meal in the Sanitarium, you see by the results that this is keeping people away from the institution, your duty is plain. We must remember that while there are some who are better for eating only two meals, there are others who eat lightly at each meal, and who feel that they need something in the evening. Food enough is to be eaten to give strength to sinew and muscle. And we are to remember that it is from the food eaten that the mind gains strength. Part of the medical missionary work that our Sanitarium workers are to do is to show the value of wholesome food. Lt213-1902.4

It is right that no tea, coffee, or flesh meat be served in our sanitariums. To many, this is a great change and a severe deprivation. To enforce other changes, such as a change in the number of meals a day, is likely, in the cases of some, to do more harm than good. Lt213-1902.5

There are many to whom the supper hour has been the most cheerful hour of the day. Then it is that all the family, the day’s work done, have gathered round the table for social intercourse. Lt213-1902.6

It is plain that two meals a day are better than three. I believe and practice this, but I have no “Thus saith the Lord” that it is wrong for some to eat the third meal. We are not to be as the Pharisees, bound about by set rules and regulations. God’s word has not specified any set hours when food should be eaten. We are to be careful not to make laws like the laws of the Pharisees or to teach for doctrine the commandments of men. Lt213-1902.7

Let your regulations be so consistent that they will appeal to the reason of those even who have not been educated to see all things clearly. As you strive to introduce the renovating, transforming principles of truth into the life-practice of those who come to the Sanitarium to gain improvement in health, let them see that no arbitrary exactions are laid on them. Give them no reason to feel that they are compelled to follow a course that they do not choose. Lt213-1902.8

The Prince of teachers sought access to the people by the pathway of their most familiar associations. He presented the truth in such a way that ever after it was to His hearers intertwined with their most hallowed recollections and sympathies. He taught in a way that made them feel the completeness of His identification with their interests and happiness. His instruction was so simple, His illustrations so appropriate, His words so sympathetic and so cheerful, that His hearers were charmed. He sought to avoid giving them a shock of disagreeable surprise. Lt213-1902.9

Christ drew many of His illustrations and lessons from the great treasure-house of nature. He plucked a lily and pointed His hearers to its simplicity and marvelous beauty. He pointed to the grass of the field, saying, “If God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you.” [Matthew 6:30.] He desires us to see that the things of nature are an expression of the love of God, and that, though marred by sin, they still speak to us of the Eden-home in which Adam and Eve were placed. He desires us to be reminded by them of the time when this home shall be restored, and the earth shall be filled with the praise of the Lord. Lt213-1902.10

Many words of instruction were spoken in regard to the work of the Sanitarium. I cannot now give this instruction as fully as I will try to hereafter. There is one point, however, that I wish to make plain. The instruction given to the patients in our sanitariums is not to be presented in the form of laws that must be obeyed. The word was spoken: “Everything that can be done is to be done to bring the sick and afflicted to the way of truth and righteousness. Medical missionary work is one means of doing this. We do not know how much prejudice is removed as people are brought in contact with true medical missionary workers. As physicians and nurses strive to do for the suffering the work that Christ did when He was upon this earth, the truth for this time will find access to minds and hearts.” Lt213-1902.11

The conversion of souls is the one great object to be sought for in our medical institutions. It is for this that these institutions are established. The sick and the afflicted, coming to our sanitariums, are brought within reach of the gospel workers laboring there. O what precious opportunities are thus offered to sow the seeds of truth. How careful the workers should be to avoid doing anything that will cause the truth to be misunderstood, or misrepresented, or that will arouse prejudice against it. Where we can, let us make concessions. Never are we to swerve a hair’s breadth from the principles that God has laid down for our guidance. But we are to guard against framing human tests. When it is evident that certain methods are not favorable to the work of the Sanitarium, we are not to continue to follow these methods, especially if they are not enjoined by the word of God. We are to be careful in handling even the truth, lest it taste strongly of the dish. About the keeping of the law of the Lord, there is no question. It is an unchangeable command to us. Human laws are to be held subject to change. Lt213-1902.12

In order for the work of our Sanitarium to prove a success, it may be that we shall have to forgo some of our own ideas. Let us remember that in so doing, we may win from death to life, from disloyalty to loyalty, some of those coming to the institution for treatment. Lt213-1902.13

The evening season of worship at our sanitariums should be conducted in a way that will give opportunity for the asking of questions. Lt213-1902.14

Joseph and Mary, on their way from Jerusalem to Nazareth, found that Jesus was not with them. They searched through their company, but in vain. Returning to Jerusalem, they pursued the search. The next day, as they mingled with the worshipers in the temple, a familiar voice arrested their attention. They could not mistake it. No other voice was like His, so serious and earnest, yet so full of melody. Lt213-1902.15

Jesus was sitting in the school of the rabbis, questioning the learned doctors in regard to the prophecies and the events then taking place that foretold the Messiah’s coming. His questions were suggestions of deep truths which had long been obscured. God was seeking to give light to those leaders in Israel. And He used the only means by which they could be reached. In their pride they would have scorned to admit that they could receive instruction from any one. If Jesus had appeared to be trying to teach them, they would have disdained to listen. But they flattered themselves that they were teaching Him, or at least, testing His knowledge of the Scriptures. His youthful modesty and grace disarmed their prejudice. Unconsciously their minds were opened to the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit spoke to their hearts. Lt213-1902.16

I have mentioned this to show the important place that the asking of questions fills in teaching the truth. By His Holy Spirit the Lord can make us light-receivers and light-givers. The Lord desires unbelievers to be brought in contact with His people, that they may be blessed by the increased light shining from His Word. In our dealings with those who know not the truth, we should be very careful to do nothing that will leave on their minds an impression unfavorable to the truth. We are to seize every opportunity to point sinners to Jesus, the One who takes away the sin of the world. We are to hold forth every possible inducement to draw them to Christ. In our words and manner there is to be no harshness. We are never to swerve from Bible principles, but we are never to force our customs upon those who come to our sanitariums for treatment. In all that we do or say, the dignity of the truth is to be preserved. Lt213-1902.17

We are to be careful not to treat our own ideas as if they were the law of God. Let us look at this matter as it is. We are not to make rules with the idea that they are never to be changed or modified. In our sanitariums the seventh-day Sabbath is ever to be kept holy. No tea, coffee, or flesh meat is to be served, unless it is in some special case, where the patient particularly desires it, and then, these articles of food should be served to him in his room. No tests that the Bible does not require are to be brought in. Every effort should be made to win the confidence of the patients, that their hearts may be reached by the truth. The workers are to draw as near to them as they can, bringing them into the sunshine of Christ’s love. Lt213-1902.18

“The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits.” [James 3:17.] Lt213-1902.19


December 25

Let no sweeping changes be made in the Sanitarium till a meeting of the California Medical Board can be held. Until there is a full understanding of what changes should be made, let things move along as smoothly as possible. Let all that is done be done wisely. Lt213-1902.20

The third meal should be placed on the table for all who desire it. This meal should be simple and yet appetizing. Lt213-1902.21