Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 110, 1898

The Importance of Understanding Health Principles


September 8, 1898

Previously unpublished.

Why is it a great advantage for the servants of Christ, to whom has been committed the living oracles of God, to understand physiology, not merely from the study of books, but in practice, as medical missionaries? Should not they understand how to meet and combat disease, not by drug medication, but from nature’s own laboratory? Let the knowledge of the human structure, the house we live in, be taught as a science in all our educational institutions. This should be made one of the scientific studies. Those who understand the physiology of health will in their ministerial labor, find it a means whereby they may enlighten others in regard to a proper and intelligent treatment of their physical, mental, and moral powers. Every human being should understand that it is not God who is creating the sufferings of men, but that men, through their ignorance, have brought them upon themselves. The Lord will bless those who will make every effort to keep themselves from all idolatry. 13LtMs, Ms 110, 1898, par. 1

There are few, very few, ministers to respond to the call: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Where are the voices to say, “Here am I; send me.” [Isaiah 6:8.] There is a dearth of ministers. The education of men for medical missionary work should not lessen the numbers of those who open the Scriptures in the many destitute fields. The light that God has given upon the lines of health reform, and how to treat disease, should better quality men and women to proclaim the message of mercy and restoration to be given to the world. 13LtMs, Ms 110, 1898, par. 2

We have no time to lose. We need men, we need women, to take hold of the work in this country. The ambassadors of Christ can be doubly useful if they know how to restore the diseased to health. This was the work of Christ. But as in prayer we present these suffering ones to the Lord for His healing power to come to them, the people themselves must be instructed to do those things which will assist nature, not in drug medication, but in the use of the agencies the Lord has prepared—sunlight, pure air, pure water, healthful exercise. These things possess a power which millions in our world know nothing of. These restoring agencies must be used intelligently, and as we do all that it is in our power to do, we must mingle with our work our earnest prayers. 13LtMs, Ms 110, 1898, par. 3

This is where many make a mistake. They suppose that when they have called upon the elders of the church to pray for them, following the direction of the apostle James, anything done to help themselves to recover manifests unbelief. This is not so. God and man must co-operate. 13LtMs, Ms 110, 1898, par. 4

When prayer is offered for the sick, and they are healed, they are not to suppose that because they are healed, they can eat meat, use spices which are injurious to the digestive organs, go back to their use of tea and coffee, and eat anything and everything at one meal. Be assured the result of this knowledge will soon make itself apparent. If men have had the light which it is their privilege to have, and still walk contrary to the laws of the laws of health, the Lord will not work a miracle to counteract their sinful abuse of the house they live in. 13LtMs, Ms 110, 1898, par. 5

Individually we are laborers together with God. Says the apostle, “Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] We are to guard strictly the Lord’s garden of the soul and body. We are laborers together with God to pull down the strongholds of selfish indulgence which interfere with nature’s laws. We must be faithful guardians of soul, body, and spirit if we would preserve health. 13LtMs, Ms 110, 1898, par. 6

There is a great work to be done to alarm and arouse the thousands who by sinful habits are destroying themselves. It has required much earnest labor to counteract the habit of living on the flesh of dead animals. The progress of many in this respect has been in a wrong direction, but many have been enlightened and have come to a sensible, simple, healthful diet. We thank our heavenly Father for this. Others have taken the position that the Lord has healed them, and therefore they may indulge appetite as they please. But all such reasoning is entirely wrong. 13LtMs, Ms 110, 1898, par. 7

Your indulgence of appetite will bring the body into the same condition of suffering as before you claimed to be healed. It is time we retraced our steps and began anew the indispensable work of using the facilities God has furnished. Gluttony is the great sin of this age, not only in the use of injurious food, but in overeating even wholesome food. In so doing too great a tax is put upon the digestive organs. We should bear in mind that in an intemperate use of any kind of food we place a severe tax upon the human machinery. 13LtMs, Ms 110, 1898, par. 8

What do we need as believers in Christ? Faith and prayer. “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.” [Philippians 4:6, 7.] 13LtMs, Ms 110, 1898, par. 9

The worldly-wise man, who meditates and plans and devises, and whose business is ever in his mind, should seek to become wise in matters of eternal interest. If this were the only world we were to have, this intense desire for worldly gain on the part of the professed Christian would not be so inconsistent. If men would put forth a tenth part of their capabilities and energies to secure the heavenly treasure, and that life that measures with the life of God, what good they could do in working in Christ’s lines! Thoughts, efforts, talents, would be put into exercise to prepare their souls to graduate to the school above and hear from the lips of the One who, having overcome all temptations in our behalf, understands the perils of the way. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne.” [Revelation 3:21.] 13LtMs, Ms 110, 1898, par. 10

And the work of cleansing and purifying our own souls, our intense earnestness to make our own calling and election sure, will inspire us with love for the souls that are ready to perish. Take that energy and careful thought which you bring onto your worldly matters and put it into the service of Him to whom you owe everything, and you will not be an unfaithful steward. Do as Christ did. Seize every opportunity to work for the uplifting of the souls of those who without help would perish in their degradation. They need something to uplift them, some human hand reached down for them to grasp. 13LtMs, Ms 110, 1898, par. 11

The work is a wide, broad work, and God is displeased that those who, professing to have a knowledge of the truth, expect constant labor of the ministers in order to hold them up. They should catch the zeal of Christ and themselves work for the poor outcasts. As stewards of the grace of God, every church member should feel an individual responsibility to have life and root in himself. God does not want His people to hang their weight upon the ministers. He would have them feel the burden of souls, and go out into the highways and hedges with the invitation, “Come, for all things are now ready.” [Luke 14:17.] The Lord expects every believer to take hold of the work, to be self-denying as was the Master, to engage soul, body, and spirit in the work of saving souls. 13LtMs, Ms 110, 1898, par. 12

Christ is your example. God has been very gracious in giving you probationary time and large opportunities. His own Word is your counsellor, your guide; and His Holy Spirit is His free gift. What are you doing with the talents God has entrusted to your keeping? The unfaithful steward did not enrich himself with his Master’s goods, he merely wasted them. He let idleness take the place of sincere, wholehearted labor. He was unfaithful in his appropriation of his Lord’s goods. Unfaithful steward, do you not see that you will lose your soul if you do not co-operate with God and make the most of it for the Master, as Christ intended you should do? 13LtMs, Ms 110, 1898, par. 13

Your mind, given that you might understand how to work, is a talent. Your eyes were given you that you might be keen to discern your God-given opportunities and do no shiftless work. You must watch for opportunities for labor. You are to act a part in the work, investing in it your talent of means. Your ears are to listen for the commands of God. Your knees are to bow three times a day for heartfelt prayer. Your feet are to run in the way of God’s commandments. In doing this work, receiving of God and rendering back to Him that which He has in confidence lent you to dispose of for His name’s glory, His blessing will rest upon you. 13LtMs, Ms 110, 1898, par. 14

How many will you work for, that they may reach the haven of rest and share the commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant?” [Matthew 25:23.] How many will you help to crown with glory and honor and eternal life? The Lord Jesus Christ wants workers. Will you volunteer? Thousands upon thousands would today be enlightened and stand as God’s commandment-keeping people if His workers had sought to enlighten others. Go to the poorest, and reject not the richer objects of God’s mercy. Blessing and service are linked together. Then let the poor, the discouraged, the sin-sick souls, know that “in keeping of his commandments there is great reward.” [Psalm 19:7-11.] 13LtMs, Ms 110, 1898, par. 15