Ellen G. White Writings

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Australasian Union Conference Record

July 21, 1899

Our Sanitarium and Its Work

(Mrs. E. G. White.)

My husband and I took an interest in the Sanitarium in Battle Creek from the time it was first started. It was very hard work to get right ideas fixed in the minds of the workers in regard to what the Sanitarium should be. We had to go over the ground again and again and again, teaching them line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. We had to draw back in some lines, and encourage advance in others. We had to work against every objection that could be raised, in order to get the institution established.

The work of the Sanitarium was started in New South Wales in a dwelling house. We did not know how the rent for this was to be paid. I took one room, and Brother Baker took two, and with this help the rent was paid. The work has been continued in this house ever since. Those in charge of the Sanitarium have done the very best they could under the circumstances. We have been hoping and praying that help would come. We have been trying in every way to get out of the premises now occupied, and get a piece of land away from the noise and confusion of the city. The smoke from the chimneys makes it impossible for the atmosphere in a city to be pure.

From the light I have received, I know that if ever there was a country where a Sanitarium was needed it is New South Wales, and I may say also, Victoria. There is indeed a great necessity for such an institution. The people say, “But we have our hospitals.” Some may go to the hospitals and get benefit from the treatment, but it would mean death for others to go there. We should have a Sanitarium under our own regulations, that the truth of God on health reform may be given to the world. Those connected with such an institution, who are being educated as nurses, should be trained to go forth from the institution as solid as a rock upon the principles of health reform and other points of the truth.

Why should we have a Sanitarium?—Because a class of patients will come to it who know nothing of the principles we teach. They may, perhaps, have heard something, and as they become acquainted with the workers, if these workers are what they should be, they will carry an influence with them when they leave that will have a right impression on the minds of those with whom they come in contact. This should be our aim. Each worker in the Sanitarium can exert a favorable or unfavorable influence upon the patients. If, by their deportment and conversation, their patience and kindness, they exert a right influence, the patients will see that they practice the truth they profess. These patients will carry a good impression away with them. Thus the truth can be given to a class which it would be impossible to reach in any other way.

The Lord God of Israel would not have given directions to have everything according to the pattern shown in the mount if He had not meant us to work according to those directions. That is, in whatever institutions we establish, in whatever we do, our work should be a fitting representation of the most elevated ennobling principles that have ever been given to man.

The Lord has instructed me that we can have a Sanitarium here if everyone will do as I was reading this morning in the eighth and ninth chapters of Second Corinthians. “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” What was their trial?—After the death of Stephen, the Christians were driven from Jerusalem and scattered to different places, and some of them came to Macedonia. How many of us have been brought into such straits? They had to flee from their homes. It had been prophesied that there would be a famine in Jerusalem. This famine had come, and now the ones who had been driven from Jerusalem must have help. “Their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality; for to their power I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves.” Some who had no money gave part of their wearing apparel. Some divided the store of food they had, living poorly, that those who were suffering in Jerusalem might be fed. “Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift.” Because of their poverty the apostle tried to restrain them, but they prayed him to receive the gift. They did not know how to get their gift to Jerusalem, but Paul and Barnabas were going there, and they rejoiced to think they could send their gift by them.

“And this they did, not as we hoped.” They gave beyond the expectation of the apostles, who had looked for only a small amount. They brought so much that the apostles had to be entreated to receive the gift. They did not weigh the matter, wondering whether there would be anything left for them.

“This they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” How did they do this?—When the wants of those in Jerusalem were made known in the church, they went down on their knees and told the Lord that they would consecrate themselves to Him, and asked Him to make them willing to do all they could. Those in Jerusalem had nothing; they had something, and they would divide.

“And unto us by the will of God.” How did they know it was the will of God?—Because they had first made the surrender. They had made the sacrifice of themselves. They were willing to make any sacrifice to relieve the afflicted ones. “Insomuch,”—the apostle addresses the church at Corinth, “that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. Therefore, as ye abound in everything, in faith, in utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.”

I speak this to you who are here before me. Let us see what we can do. We need to consecrate ourselves to God. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich?—Rich in what?—In possessing the eternal riches, a life which measures with the life of God. What suffering, what anguish, Christ endured to gain this for us! Who can describe it!

We need to feel the influence of the willing Spirit of God. We are to give ourselves to the Lord. We belong to Him because we have been bought with a price. Those connected with institutions which have been established, should feel it their privilege and duty to help the institutions God would have established where there is nothing to give character to the work. There can be an imparting which will bring blessing.

The pattern given in the mount was a perfect pattern, and God says to us, “Whatever ye do for Me let it be perfect.” But this does not mean that our buildings must be embellished.

“And herein I give my advice,” Paul continues, “for this is expedient for you who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.” How many years have we occupied that dwelling-house as a Sanitarium?—About three years. It was engaged for two years, and we hoped that by the time the two years were over we would have a building of our own. But meeting-houses had to be built and we do not regret building one that has been built.

“Now, therefore, perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want, that there may be equality. As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over, and he that had gathered little had no lack.” Why? Because the Lord made the little go as far as the great. By the blessing of God the smallest offering may become a most precious gift. The Lord blesses our gifts in accordance with the self-denial, the self-sacrifice manifested. And when we deny ourselves for the benefit of others, we shall find that others will deny themselves to help us.

I will not stop to read the rest of these chapters, but I want you to read them for yourselves. I want you to see the blessing that comes to those who do the very work at the very time and in the very crisis that God would have done.

When our people are imbued with the spirit of liberality that prompted the church in Macedonia, they will be led to say,—We will arise and build, because we are losing time. We have been losing time ever since we went into the dwelling house in Summer Hill. Not losing time in one sense. In one sense the best that could be done has been done. But we have been losing time because we have not been able to do what we might have done if our brethren living where institutions have been established had said, “We have made a beginning. We will now bind about our wants and help those who have nothing.”

This might have been done, but it has not been, and the burden now falls upon us in this country. Two things now demand our means and attention—the Sanitarium and the meeting house at Newcastle. Which, you say, shall receive the first attention? I hardly want to say. The necessity for both buildings is great.

I wish to say, as I wrote to the brethren in America, God will bless you as you take hold of this work and help to the best of your ability. We can deny ourselves. But we must take hold of one thing at a time, and make it a success. Then we shall be prepared to take hold of the next thing. Every health reform institution that is established is to be conducted in accordance with its name. It is to be a health reform institution, not a health deform institution.

I give Dr. Caro a word of praise and commendation, because he has not become discouraged at not being able to carry out what he wanted, and what those connected with him wanted. He saw so many lines to which the means must be given, and he kept thinking, “Our time will come.” And has it not come? There are then a few months before the lease is up. Shall we not do something before that time?

I desire that everyone of us shall feel that this is the very work we are to have an interest in. Let everyone do something, when, if it is necessary to put up a building in some other locality, we shall work to the very best of our ability to help. But one thing must be done at a time. If the Sanitarium is established, let everything in it be appropriate to the name. God will help us; then let us have it so.

No extravagance must be seen in our institutions. We cannot locate in a place where land is expensive, where we would have to put up an extensive building to correspond with the place. We must put up a building which will answer our purpose. Time is short, and in the name of the Lord I say that we should take these things to heart. Everyone of us should feel that he must do something, and to do it without delay. God will help us if we will come up to His help.

Do you not want to have a place where, if you are sick, you can have good treatment, where you can be under the care of physicians who are attended by the angels of God? I know that God has put a burden upon Dr. Caro, and if he is allowed to carry a great many more burdens with it, he will break down. We want him to carry a burden which none of you can carry. We want him to be free and happy, able to welcome the patients, rich or poor; not because of the extravagant display in the building, but because of its neatness and order, and because of the presence of facilities which are essential in any Sanitarium.

God has just as surely put His Spirit upon Dr. Caro as He has upon Dr. Kellogg. He is with him as he takes up the cases of his patients. Our doctors have burdens to bear. Their responsibilities are terrible. I have seen Dr. Kellogg fall on his knees in an agony of distress when an operation was to be performed which meant life or death. One false movement of the instrument would cost the patient's life. Once, in a critical operation, I saw a hand laid upon his hand. That hand moved his hand, and the patient's life was saved.

The Lord will preside in our institutions here, but the living principles of truth must be kept pure, uncontaminated by anything that would mar their lustre.

The medical work has been represented as the right hand of the body of truth. This hand is to be constantly active, constantly at work; and God will strengthen it. But it is to remain a hand; it is not to be made the body. I desire that this point shall be understood. The living truth of God is to be made known in our medical institutions. This does not mean that the doctor or any of the workers are to introduce the truth to everyone. That is not the way to do. The truth can be presented without doing this. The nurses and workers are not to go to the patients saying, We believe in the Third Angel's Message. That is not their work, unless the patients desire to hear; unless their objections have been removed, and their hearts softened. Act so that the patients will see that Seventh-day Adventists are a people who have common sense. Act so that they will feel that the institution is a restful place. Bible truth is to be presented, but special points of the truth are not to be brought out before all the patients. If they ask you questions, give them the reasons of your faith. In this way light will shine forth.

Patients may be asked to attend our meeting, and there they will hear the truth, knowing at the same time that it is not pressed upon them. Then when they leave the Sanitarium, and hear people saying, I do not want to go there to be made a Seventh day Adventist, they will tell them that the workers at the Sanitarium press the truth upon no one.

We need a Sanitarium. We desire that every soul here shall be interested in this work, because God is interested in it, and we should be interested in what God is interested in. We want to see this institution as God sees it. He sees a class reached by its work who can be reached in no other way. Thus many will gain a knowledge they never had before. This is the work the Lord desires to have done. Then let it be hindered no longer. God help us to take hold of it. No one man is to do the whole work. Let us all help to the best of our ability.

Everything is to be done according to right principles. May the Lord inspire us with His Spirit, and help us to give ourselves to Him. Nothing that we have is our own. All is the Lord's, and we are to do His work. God will put His Spirit upon those who will do something, and do it now.

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