Ellen G. White Writings

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Messenger of the Lord, Page 310

Chapter 27—Health Principles-Part 4: Principles and Policies

“Let it ever be kept before the mind that the great object of hygienic reform is to secure the highest possible development of mind and soul and body. All the laws of nature—which are the laws of God—are designed for our good. Obedience to them will promote our happiness in this life, and will aid us in a preparation for the life to come.” 1Counsels on Diet and Foods, 23. See also pp. 273, 274, 310.

Ellen White set forth certain guidelines that would help everyone to make positive and progressive decisions, especially in health reform. The first principle, which applies to all areas of Christian responsibilities, is that everyone knows for himself what “known duty” is. “Known duty” at any given moment may not be the same for any two people. Yet, to balk at “known duty,” little or much, reveals the heart of a rebel—a deeper problem than a matter of diet. 2Selected Messages 1:396. See also Selected Messages 1:274, 295, 310.

In 1893 Ellen White wrote: “No one can believe with the heart unto righteousness, and obtain justification by faith, while continuing the practice of those things which the Word of God forbids, or while neglecting any known duty.” 3Ibid.

Neglecting “known duty” will cause “weakness and darkness, and subject us to fierce temptation.” 4Selected Messages 2:58. See also Patriarchs and Prophets, 256. In other words, to hear instruction that God validated through Ellen White but not to incorporate it into one’s life, opens the door to other temptations and spiritual darkness.

The second principle is that we should do the best we can under all circumstances. For example, in the days when nutritional supplements were not available, or when various vegetables and fruit were not easily obtainable, Ellen White suggested that grape juice in the best form available was appropriate as a food supplement for medicinal purposes. 5Testimonies for the Church 2:384, 386. In the nineteenth century, no method had been devised to keep grape juice from fermenting, excepting with ice (which was not a practical alternative). When the Whites used the term “domestic wine,” they referred to grape juice as free from fermentation as possible. In reference to communion services, James White counseled in 1867: “This objecting to a few drops of domestic wine with which to only wet the lips at the Lord’s supper, is carrying total abstinence principles to great length.... Know what you use. Let the deacons obtain the cultivated grape, see the wine made, and secured from the air to keep it from fermenting as much as possible.” The Review and Herald, April 16, 1867. See p. 153 for Dr. Kress’s experience. Obviously she was not suggesting that wine be used as a recreational beverage or as a feature of one’s regular diet.

When she advised “domestic wine” for medicinal purposes, she knew that the sick person needed the nutritional properties of the grape, nutrients that could be assimilated quickly by the body. Under the circumstances, if the domestic wine contained a little alcohol, it still would have provided more benefit than not taking it. In 1868, in one of his question/ answer articles, James White wrote: “During the past year, Mrs. W. has, at three or four times, had feelings of great debility and faintness in the morning.... To prevent distressing faintness at these times, she, immediately after rising, had taken an egg in a little pure, domestic, grape wine, perhaps a spoonful at a time, and never thought that this had to do with drugs, as she uses the term in her writings, more than with the man in the moon. During the past year, she may have used one pint of wine. It is only in extreme cases that the use of wine is justifiable, and then let it be a ‘little wine,’ to gently stimulate those in a sinking condition.” 6The Review and Herald, March 17, 1868.

In Australia during the 1890s, finding a quality diet was difficult and meat was the cheapest food available. On one occasion when sickness was in a neighbor’s

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