The Signs of the Times


October 23, 1884

Health and Religion


The wise man says that wisdom's “ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Many cherish the impression that devotion to God is detrimental to health and to cheerful happiness in the social relations of life. But those who walk in the path of wisdom and holiness find that “godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” They are alive to the enjoyment of life's real pleasures, while they are not troubled with vain regrets over misspent hours, nor with gloom or horror of mind, as the worldling too often is when not diverted by some exciting amusement. ST October 23, 1884, par. 1

It is true that there are many professing Christians who have diseased imaginations, and 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. This course is not in accordance with the words of the Saviour, “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 walk in the light, and to cultivate habitual cheerfulness of mind, that they may reflect light rather than gloom and darkness. ST October 23, 1884, par. 2

Godliness does not conflict with the laws of health, but is in harmony with them. Had men ever been obedient to the law of ten commandments, had they carried out in their lives the principles of these ten precepts, the curse of disease that now floods the world would not be. Men may teach that trifling amusements are necessary to keep the mind above despondency. The mind may indeed be thus diverted for the time being; but after the excitement is over, calm reflection comes. Conscience arouses, and makes her voice heard, saying, “This is not the way to obtain health or true happiness.” ST October 23, 1884, par. 3

There are many amusements that excite the mind, but depression is sure to follow. Other modes of recreation are innocent and healthful; but useful labor that affords physical exercise will often have a more beneficial influence upon the mind, while at the same time it will strengthen the muscles, improve the circulation, and prove a powerful agent in the recovery of health. ST October 23, 1884, par. 4

“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 to 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.” ST October 23, 1884, par. 5

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. One whose mind is quiet and satisfied in God is on the highway to health. To have the consciousness that the eye of the Lord is upon us, and that his ear is open to our prayers, is a satisfaction indeed. To know that we have a never-failing Friend to whom we can confide all the secrets of the soul, is a happiness which words can never express. Those whose moral faculties are clouded 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. ST October 23, 1884, par. 6

Those who do not feel that it is a religious duty to discipline the mind to dwell upon cheerful subjects, will usually be found at one of two extremes: they will be elated by a continual round of exciting amusements, indulging in frivolous conversation, laughing, and joking, 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. ST October 23, 1884, par. 7

Many have a self-complacent feeling. They flatter themselves that if they had an opportunity, or were more favorably situated, they could and would do some great work. These persons do not view things from a correct standpoint. Their imagination is diseased. Day-dreaming, castle-building, has unfitted them for usefulness. They have lived in an imaginary world, have been imaginary martyrs, and are imaginary Christians. There is nothing real and substantial in their character. Persons of this class sometimes think that they have an exquisite delicacy of organization, a refined 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 sickly fancies do not help themselves or others. Appropriate labor, the healthy exercise of all their powers, would withdraw their thoughts from themselves. ST October 23, 1884, par. 8

Some are naturally devotional; but much of their life has been wasted in dreaming of doing some great work in the future, while present duties, though they may be small, are neglected. They have been unfaithful. If they would train their minds to dwell upon themes which have nothing to do with self, they might yet be useful; but the Lord will not commit to their trust any greater work until the duty nearest them has been seen and performed with a ready, cheerful will. Unless the heart is put into the work, it will drag heavily. The Lord tests our ability and faithfulness by giving us small duties first. If we turn from these with dissatisfaction and murmuring, no more will be given us; but when we cheerfully take up the small duties that lie in our pathway, and do them well, higher and greater responsibilities will be intrusted to us. ST October 23, 1884, par. 9

God gives liberally, and he expects corresponding returns. The talents intrusted to our keeping are not to be squandered, but to be used to good purpose, that, at his coming, the Master may receive his own with usury. These talents are not distributed indiscriminately. God dispenses his sacred trusts according to the powers and capacities of his servants, and thus has given to “every man his work.” When their fidelity has been proved, their wise stewardship is evidence that they can be intrusted with the true riches, even the gift of everlasting life. ST October 23, 1884, par. 10

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 those who are thus employed will benefit themselves also. Idleness gives time to brood over imaginary sorrows; and frequently those who do not have real hardships and trials, will borrow them from the future. ST October 23, 1884, par. 11

There is much deception carried on under the cover of religion. Passion controls the minds of many who have become depraved in thought and feeling in consequence of “pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness.” These deceived souls flatter themselves that they are spiritually minded and especially consecrated, when their religious experience consists in a sickly sentimentalism rather than in purity, true goodness, and humiliation of self. The mind should be drawn away from self; its powers should be exercised in devising means to make others happier and better. “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.” ST October 23, 1884, par. 12

True religion ennobles the mind, refines the taste, sanctifies the judgment, and makes its possessor a partaker of the purity and the holiness of Heaven. It brings angels near, and separates us more and more from the spirit and influence of the world. It enters into all the acts and relations of life, and gives us the “spirit of a sound mind,” and the result is happiness and peace. ST October 23, 1884, par. 13

Said the apostle Paul to his Philippian brethren, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Adopt this as the rule of life. “Be careful for nothing; but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ST October 23, 1884, par. 14