The Review and Herald


February 10, 1910

A Lesson in Health Reform

[Address at the General Conference, May 26, 1909.]


“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure-house of his god. RH February 10, 1910, par. 1

“And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. RH February 10, 1910, par. 2

“Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego. RH February 10, 1910, par. 3

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. RH February 10, 1910, par. 4

“Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat; and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. RH February 10, 1910, par. 5

“As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” RH February 10, 1910, par. 6

This record contains much of importance on the subject of health reform. In the experience of the four Hebrew children a lesson is given regarding the need of abstaining from all spirituous liquors, and from indulgence of perverted appetite. The position taken by these Hebrew youth was vindicated, and at the end of ten days they were found fairer in flesh and better in knowledge than all the rest whom the king was proving. RH February 10, 1910, par. 7

In this our day, the Lord would be pleased to have those who are preparing for the future, immortal life follow the example of Daniel and his companions in seeking to maintain strength of body and clearness of mind. The more careful we learn to be in treating our bodies, the more readily shall we be able to escape the evils that are in the world through lust. RH February 10, 1910, par. 8

There are many who believe that in order to be fitted for acceptable service, they must go through a long course of study under learned teachers in some school of the world. This they must do, it is true, if they desire to secure what the world calls essential knowledge. But we do not say to our youth, You must study, study, keeping your mind all the time on books. Nor do we say to them, You must spend all the time in acquiring the so-called higher education. Let us ask, What is the object of true higher education? Is it not that we may stand in right relation to God? The test of all education should be, Is it fitting us to keep our minds fixed upon the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus? RH February 10, 1910, par. 9

What is needed by our youth is an education like that which Daniel and his three companions gained. These faithful Hebrews were in important positions. They were placed where they must be careful to observe every principle of righteousness in order to bring others to an understanding of the principles of righteousness. It would not do for them to be lax. They could not afford to indulge appetite. They were to stand where they could, by their example, give proof of the importance of strict adherence to the principles of right living. To do this they were willing to place themselves under test and trial. Ten days was sufficient to prove that the diet they chose was a wholesome one, and that in adopting it they had made no mistake. The evidence which this experience gave to the authorities led them to have a higher opinion of these youth than of all the other students under their care. RH February 10, 1910, par. 10

We are to learn how to equalize the labor done by brain, bone, and muscle. If you put to task the faculties of the mind, loading them with heavy burdens, while you leave the muscles unexercised, this course will tell its story just as surely as the wise course of the Hebrew youth told its story. Parents should follow a consistent course in the education of their children. Our youth should be taught from their very childhood how to exercise the body and the mind proportionately. It is not wise to send the children to schools where they are subject to long hours of confinement and where they will gain no knowledge of what healthful living means. Place them under the tuition of those who respect the body and treat it with consideration. Do not place your children in an unfavorable position, where they can not receive the training that will enable them to bear test and trial. RH February 10, 1910, par. 11

With all the precious light that has continually been given us in the health publications, we can not afford to live careless, heedless lives, eating and drinking as we please, and indulging in the use of stimulants, narcotics, and condiments. Let us take into consideration the fact that we have souls to save or to lose, and that it is of vital consequence how we relate ourselves to the question of temperance. It is of great importance that individually we act well our part, and have an intelligent understanding of what we should eat and drink, and how we should live to preserve health. All are being proved to see whether they will accept the principles of health reform or follow a course of self-indulgence. RH February 10, 1910, par. 12

Let no one think that he can do as he pleases in the matter of diet. But before all who sit at the table with you, let it appear that you follow principle in the matter of eating, as in all other matters, that the glory of God may be revealed. You can not afford to do otherwise; for you have a character to form for the future, immortal life. Great responsibilities rest upon every human soul. Let us comprehend these responsibilities, and bear them nobly in the name of the Lord. RH February 10, 1910, par. 13

To every one who is tempted to indulge appetite I would say, Yield not to temptation, but confine yourself to the use of wholesome foods. You can train yourself to enjoy a healthful diet. The Lord helps those who seek to help themselves; but when men will not take special pains to follow out the mind and will of God, how can he work with them? Let us act our part, working out our salvation with fear and trembling,—with fear and trembling lest we make mistakes in the treatment of our bodies, which, before God, we are under obligation to keep in the most healthy condition possible. RH February 10, 1910, par. 14

(To be concluded.)