Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

May 27, 1902

A Reform Needed

Mrs. E. G. White

If Seventh-day Adventists practiced what they profess to believe, if they were sincere health reformers, they would indeed be a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. And they would show a far greater zeal for the salvation of those who are ignorant of the truth.

Greater reforms should be seen among the people who claim to be looking for the soon appearing of Christ. Health reform is to do among our people a work which it has not yet done. There are those who ought to be awake to the danger of meat eating, who are still eating the flesh of animals, thus endangering the physical, mental, and spiritual health. Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat eating will go from God's people, to walk no more with them.

In all our work we must obey the laws which God has given, that the physical and spiritual energies may work in harmony. Men may have a form of godliness, they may even preach the gospel, and yet be unpurified and unsanctified. Ministers should be strictly temperate in their eating and drinking, lest they make crooked paths for their feet, turning the lame—those weak in the faith—out of the way. If while proclaiming the most solemn and important message God has ever given, men war against the truth by indulging wrong habits of eating and drinking, they take all the force from the message they bear.

Those who indulge in meat eating, tea drinking, and gluttony are sowing seeds for a harvest of pain and death. The unhealthful food placed in the stomach strengthens the appetites that war against the soul, developing the lower propensities. A diet of flesh meat tends to develop animalism. A development of animalism lessens spirituality, rendering the mind incapable of understanding truth.

The Word of God plainly warns us that unless we abstain from fleshly lusts, the physical nature will be brought into conflict with the spiritual nature. Lustful eating wars against health and peace. Thus a warfare is instituted between the higher and the lower attributes of the man. The lower propensities, strong and active, oppress the soul. The highest interests of the being are imperiled by the indulgence of appetites unsanctioned by Heaven.

Great care should be taken to form right habits of eating and drinking. The food eaten should be that which will make the best blood. The delicate organs of digestion should be respected. God requires us, by being temperate in all things, to act our part, toward keeping ourselves in health. He cannot enlighten the mind of a man who makes a cesspool of his stomach. He does not hear the prayers of those who are walking in the light of the sparks of their own kindling.

Common Errors in Diet

Intemperance is seen in the quantity as well as in the quality of food eaten. The Lord has instructed me that as a general rule we place too much food in the stomach. Many make themselves uncomfortable by overeating, and sickness is often the result. The Lord did not bring this punishment on them. They brought it on themselves, and God desires them to realize that pain is the result of transgression.

Daily abused, the digestive organs cannot do their work well. A poor quality of blood is made, and thus, through improper eating, the whole machinery is crippled. Give the stomach less to do. It will recover if proper care is shown in regard to the quality and quantity of food eaten.

Many eat too rapidly. Others eat at one meal varieties of food that do not agree. If men and women would only remember how greatly they afflict the soul when they afflict the stomach, and how deeply Christ is dishonored when the stomach is abused, they would deny the appetite, and thus give the stomach opportunity to recover its healthy action. While sitting at the table, we may do medical missionary work by eating and drinking to the glory of God.

To eat on the Sabbath the same amount of food eaten on a working day, is entirely out of place. The Sabbath is the day set apart for the worship of God, and on it we are to be specially careful in regard to our diet. A clogged stomach means a clogged brain. Too often so large an amount of food is eaten on the Sabbath that the mind is rendered dull and stupid, incapable of appreciating spiritual things. The habits of eating have much to do with the many dull religious exercises of the Sabbath. The diet for the Sabbath should be selected with reference to the duties of the day on which the purest, holiest service is to be offered to God.

Eating has much to do with religion. The spiritual experience is greatly affected by the way in which the stomach is treated. Eating and drinking in accordance with the laws of health promote virtuous actions. But if the stomach is abused by habits that have no foundation in nature, Satan takes advantage of the wrong that has been done, and uses the stomach as an enemy of righteousness, creating a disturbance which affects the entire being. Sacred things are not appreciated. Spiritual zeal diminishes. Peace of mind is lost. There is dissension, strife, and discord. Impatient words are spoken, and unkind deeds are done; dishonest practices are followed, and anger is manifested,—and all because the nerves of the brain are disturbed by the abuse heaped on the stomach.

What a pity it is that often, when the greatest self-denial should be exercised, the stomach is crowded with a mass of unhealthful food, which lies there to decompose. The affliction of the stomach afflicts the brain. The imprudent eater does not realize that he is disqualifying himself for giving wise counsel, disqualifying himself for laying plans for the best advancement of the work of God. But this is so. He cannot discern spiritual things, and in council meetings when he should say Yea, he says Nay. He makes propositions that are wide of the mark, because the food he has eaten has benumbed his brain power.

Relation of Health Principles to Spirituality

The failure to follow sound principles has marred the history of God's people. There has been a continual backsliding in health reform, and as a result God is dishonored by a great lack of spirituality. Barriers have been erected which would never have been seen had God's people walked in the light.

Shall we who have had such great opportunities allow the people of the world to go in advance of us in health reform? Shall we cheapen our minds and abuse our talents by wrong eating? Shall we transgress God's holy law by following selfish practices? Shall our inconsistency become a byword? Shall we live such unchristianlike lives that the Saviour will be ashamed to call us brethren?

Shall we not rather do that medical missionary work which is the gospel in practice, living in such a way that the peace of God can rule in our hearts? Shall we not remove every stumblingblock from the feet of unbelievers, ever remembering what is due to a profession of Christianity? Far better give up the name of Christian than make a profession and at the same time indulge appetites which strengthen unholy passions.

God calls upon every church member to dedicate his life unreservedly to the Lord's service. He calls for decided reformation. All creation is groaning under the curse. God's people should place themselves where they will grow in grace, being sanctified, body, soul, and spirit, by the truth. When they break away from all health-destroying indulgences, they will have a clearer perception of what constitutes true godliness. A wonderful change will be seen in the religious experience.

The apostle plainly states that those who reach a high standard of righteousness must be temperate in all things. The Lord sends this message to his people: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly: so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

“It is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”

May 27, 1902

An Appeal for the Southern Work

To Our Churches in America:

There is a heavy burden on my soul in regard to the Southern work. Something has already been done in the South; but the work must advance much more rapidly than it has been advancing. A publishing house has recently been established in Nashville to print reading matter suitable for the different classes of people in that field. The needs of this new institution have been presented before our Northern churches, and, in response to the calls of our brethren, many gifts, large and small, have been made. We thank the Lord that he has aroused some of the brethren to establish and sustain the publishing house in Nashville. The establishment of this institution is an advance movement, and will accomplish much good. This institution will still need to be sustained by gifts and offerings, just as the publishing houses in Battle Creek and Oakland were sustained when they were first established.

Sanitarium work has also been begun in Nashville. This must be given support. Medical missionary work is indeed the helping hand of the gospel ministry. It opens the way for the entrance of truth.

These newly established interests should receive help from our people. Those living in places where the truth has been long established should remember the needs of the preparatory work to be done in Nashville. This place has been selected as a center because of the large educational institutions situated in and near it. In these institutions there are those who are doing a noble work for the people of the South. They must be given opportunity to hear the message that is to prepare a people to stand in the day of the Lord.

Words have come to me from the One highest in authority. My Instructor asked, “In establishing the work in the Southern field, will you do less than you have done in more favorable places,—less than you have done in Michigan and on the Pacific Coast?” I responded, “No, Lord.” Then the word came: “You have no time to lose in establishing the work in the Southern field. Many are saying in their hearts, ‘My Lord delayeth his coming.’ But the Word of the Lord declares:

“‘There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.

“‘And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.’”

It is high time that we awake out of sleep. In the Lord's vineyard there should be one hundred workers where now there is but one. If we move forward in faith, the Lord will care for us. He declares:

“Seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

“But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

The time has come for those who have a large amount of means invested in houses and lands, to begin to dispose of their possessions. “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

My brethren and sisters in the faith of Christ's soon coming, I ask you how it will be with you when you stand before the great white throne, to answer to God for the talents he has intrusted to you? If you hoard your money, if you invest it in houses and costly furniture, how can you meet your Lord in peace? Your heart will be where your treasure is.

If in the providence of God you have been given means, do not settle down with the thought that you need not engage in useful labor, that you have enough, and can eat, and drink, and be merry. Do not stand idle while others are struggling to obtain means for the cause. If you do less than your duty in giving help to the perishing, remember that your indolence is incurring guilt. Before it is forever too late, begin to reform. Invest less in worldly enterprises, and use your means in creating increased facilities for giving the third angel's message to the world. The time will soon come when no man can buy or sell, save he who has the mark of the beast. We have no time to lose. The end is near. But opportunity is still offered for your talent of means now buried in worldly possessions, to be transferred to the Lord's work.

God desires his people to do far more for the establishment of his church, far more for the maintenance of the cause of truth. Keeping the glory of God in view will enable us to make a wise use of his goods. If God gives us much of this world's goods, it is not that we may selfishly hoard them, or that we may crave for more, but that we may freely impart to those not so richly blessed. Nothing so refreshes the spirit as giving gladly and willingly of the blessings God has so freely given us. The life of the soul is revived by the sight of the good thus accomplished, and by a sense that a conscientious use has been made of the Lord's goods.

All are being tested and tried. By the way in which we do the work Christ has given us to do in his absence, we decide our future destiny. Many neglect their God-given work. They refuse to be his helping hand. Let us fear to fall short of God's plan for us. His servants are to be ever on duty, working always for the uplifting of those for whom he gave his life.

Christ, the Master of the household, has gone to prepare for us mansions in the heavenly city. We are waiting for his return. Let us honor him in his absence by doing with faithfulness the work he has placed in our hands. Waiting, watching, working, we are to prepare for his return. If we are faithful, if we serve him with full purpose of heart, he will receive us with the gracious words, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” He will receive us with honor. To us will be given a crown of glory that fadeth not away, and a new name, “which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” Those who follow Christ here will one day “follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.”

I am instructed to say that slowly, but surely, the wheel of Providence is turning. We know not how soon our Lord will say, “It is done.” His coming is drawing nigh. “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”

Great and solemn events are soon to take place; and the Lord says, “I will scatter; and I will also gather together a people to serve me.” God's judgments are in the land. To the whole world the warning message is to be given.

I inquire of those upon whom for so long the light of truth has been shining, In this time of such solemn importance, what are you going to do to advance the work necessary to be done in saving perishing souls? There is much to be done for the Master. He calls upon all to watch, that when he comes, they may open to him immediately. He asks you to do his commandments, to bring forth much fruit because you are branches of the true Vine. As you bear much fruit, his joy will remain in you.

My brethren, what are you going to do in regard to the Southern field? With earnest effort, you are to strive to establish memorials for God throughout the Southern States. A great work is before us in the South. The brethren there need means to erect inexpensive buildings that are necessary for the carrying forward of work that must be done speedily. Churches should be raised up; houses of worship should be built; small schools and sanitariums should be established; and the publishing interests should be strengthened.

I am instructed to call upon my brethren in the different conferences of America to take a greater interest in the Southern work than you have taken. From the light that the Lord has been pleased to give me, there is resting upon you a duty to look upon this destitute field, and to do more for it than you have yet done. The Lord has blessed you with means to help carry forward his work, and he now calls upon you to be faithful to your stewardship by helping advance the work in this long-neglected portion of his vineyard. Let the churches arise as one, and work earnestly, as those who are walking in the full light of truth for these last days.

In the name of the Lord, I call upon my brethren to do something to strengthen the publishing interests and to help establish other lines of work in the South, and to do it now. Soon it will be too late to do anything. Soon our opportunities to work will have passed by forever. The plagues of God are already beginning to be poured out upon the earth. The evidences before us indicate that God's Spirit is being withdrawn from the earth. Only a little while longer shall we be permitted to labor, and then in heaven it will be said, “It is done.” “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”

Brethren and sisters, now is the time to make haste to do something. Will you now give of your means to advance the work in the South? If you have in your possession houses and lands that you do not need, will you sell them, and invest the means thus obtained in more firmly establishing the various lines of work that have been begun in the Southern field?

To rescue the fallen race from the thraldom of sin, Christ came to the world, and died on Calvary. He gave his all to us. What are we willing to give to him?

Those who at such a time as this defraud God, will suffer eternal loss. “Sell that ye have, and give alms.” Put your money in the bank of heaven. Thus invested, it will yield an infinitely higher rate of interest than if placed in the banks of this world.

Divine grace accompanies those who deny self for the sake of the work of the Redeemer. This grace is woven into all they do. The blessing of good works will follow them into the eternal world. They are wise stewards. By their right use of the Lord's goods, they are laying up treasure that will endure through the ceaseless ages of eternity.

Ellen G. White.

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