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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902) - Contents
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    Ms 26, 1902

    The Location and Management of New Sanitariums

    Des Moines, Iowa

    May, 1901

    Portions of this manuscript are published in MM 34-35; 151-152. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    This morning I am writing before any one else is astir. I am receiving letters from persons inquiring whether I have any light in regard to the establishment of new sanitariums. For what purpose are our sanitariums established? How shall we relate ourselves to them?17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 1

    Years ago light was given me in regard to the establishment of sanitariums. It is not after the Lord’s mind to have sanitariums multiplied too rapidly. It is not His plan for an institution to be in too close proximity to another one doing the same kind of work; for an institution, wherever it may be, must have good facilities and experienced helpers. With it should be connected capable, God-fearing managers—men who are sound in the faith, who will exert an influence for good, and who are able to carry the heavy responsibilities entrusted to them without running behind and involving the institution in debt.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 2

    He who begins to build a tower must first sit down and count the cost, to find out whether, after beginning to build, he will be able to finish. All who propose to establish a sanitarium should understand that it is a great undertaking. If they have not sufficient skill and adaptability successfully to build up a new sanitarium, let them connect with sanitariums already established, making the interest of these institutions their own.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 3

    It is not in accordance with the Lord’s manner of working for men to undertake to build a sanitarium without first counting the cost. Yet this has been done. Men have supposed that if they could not finish that which they undertook, the Medical Missionary Association would take over and complete the unfinished work. This has come to be a perplexing question to those at the head of the medical missionary work, and unsatisfactory to those who have brought themselves into strait places.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 4

    Independent Sanitariums

    There are dangers in working independently. Some persons undertake sanitarium work in a shiftless manner. Others launch out recklessly, involving themselves in debt. Then they appeal to the officers of the Medical Missionary Association to help them out of their difficulties. In return for this help they promise to sign certain agreements and to pledge themselves to submit to certain restrictions in their business transactions.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 5

    The brethren in charge of the medical work should not take the financial burden of these independent institutions that have thus become involved in debt. But it has been a divinely appointed duty of the Medical Association to see that a sanitarium is established and placed in running order in New South Wales.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 6

    All have a work to do. But let our brethren view matters from every side. Let them not receive the idea that God has appointed to any man the work of personally building up a sanitarium, even in a new field, without counseling with his brethren. And if the brethren carefully study this question, they will not encourage the establishment of a sanitarium in a section of country where one is already in operation; for one is all that can be properly sustained. Two institutions cannot work in the same territory and prosper. It is neither according to principles of justice nor good policy to have several sanitariums established in one locality; for, in order to meet expenses, one sanitarium, even if well managed, requires all the patronage possible. A second institution stands directly in the way of the one already established.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 7

    Persons who feel at liberty to act from selfish impulse, and to establish an independent sanitarium for personal profit, have not considered the influence that such a course of action has on the world. Those who patronize an independent institution do so because they think that it is a branch of the Battle Creek Sanitarium. They receive the impression that the institution is managed under the supervision of the greatest Christian sanitarium in the world, and conducted on principles in harmony with the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, when in reality it is not a religious institution. And when it is established near another institution, it appears to be a rival institution. A wrong impression is left on the minds of the patrons. God is not glorified.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 8

    In times past, Seventh-day Adventists have started out in this line with the selfish desire to acquire something that would benefit themselves. They have not been at all particular to take into consideration the effect their actions would have on the work of a similar institution established in the order of God. If by misrepresentation of the institutions already in operation such men can divert means to themselves for personal profit, they will be constantly tempted to do injustice to these institutions.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 9

    Such men will make a desperate effort to gain the supremacy. A spirit will come in that Christ cannot endorse—a spirit that leads men to attempt to embezzle the reputation of the institution in Battle Creek, which has already made its record. Such men are not loyal and true. Those who think that it is their right to use the reputation of the Battle Creek Sanitarium for selfish gain are making a great mistake.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 10

    God will not bless those who work without take counsel with their brethren. Any Seventh-day Adventist who supposes that in himself he is a complete whole, and that he can at all times safely follow his own mind and judgment, is not to be trusted; for he is not walking in the light as Christ is in the light. There will be many who have not a correct sense of what they are doing. Men need clear ideas, deep spirituality. In His service God desires every man to move sensibly, weighing the motives prompting his movements.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 11

    Among us will be irresponsible men who have no proper conception of the important work the Lord designs to have done in our institutions—the work of caring for the sick and of disseminating the precious, essential principles of health reform. Those who have failed of conforming their life practices to this important reform need to be thoroughly converted.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 12

    If men become so confused and unprincipled as to engage in sanitarium work for <selfish> personal profit, they will not be prospered in their spiritual life, and will be unable properly to influence others spiritually. Let those who have a great desire to distinguish themselves in some way take up a work that does not involve the cause of God so much as does the establishment of a new sanitarium. Many more laborers are needed to canvass for our publications. Why not enter upon this line of work, which is suffering from neglect? The inexperienced should strive to qualify themselves for service.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 13

    The Iowa Sanitarium

    Our smaller sanitariums are usually established in harmony with the recommendations of the Medical Missionary Association in Battle Creek, under whose oversight they work. Such a sanitarium is now in operation in Des Moines, Iowa. I am told that this institution is working under the supervision of the Association.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 14

    Some discouragements, however, have arisen. Near Des Moines has been established another sanitarium, which claims to stand for the principles of health reform. This institution is sailing under false colors; for it has not the slightest connection with the Battle Creek Sanitarium and the Medical Missionary Association. It is not right for Seventh-day Adventists to carry on a sanitarium to advance private interests. If cherished, the spirit actuating such a movement would soon permeate the entire church, resulting in loss of money and in financial ruin.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 15

    In Iowa there is now in operation one well-organized medical institution, loyal to the methods and practices of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, and recognized as one of the branch sanitariums. This is enough. Those who have attempted to establish and conduct in Iowa a similar institution for personal profit should receive no encouragement. Through misrepresentation they seek to secure advantages for themselves. Such a work cannot be done properly or safely, and does not glorify God. From the light God gave me last Sunday in the night season, when in a limited degree this matter was opened before me, I must say that the establishment of such independent institutions is not in accordance with principles of strict integrity.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 16

    It is disloyalty to God and to His work to work independently in sanitarium lines, unless, upon consideration, the existing circumstances indicate that it is expedient to do so. In some places the Lord may have moved on minds to establish an institution. In such cases He gives light to aid in its establishment, and the patrons become acquainted with the principles of healthful living and the proper care of the body—principles without regard to which no institution can be truly successful. Our sanitariums are established to enlighten minds. God has ordained them to be a means of bringing present truth to the attention of a large class of people.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 17

    Seventh-day Adventists who engage in these important enterprises should do so by sanction of the Medical Missionary Association, and in full, harmonious co-operation with the Sanitarium that has been in existence for many years. In every way they should co-operate with the older institution. A deep, spiritual influence is to be maintained. When the spirit of unity that should exist among Seventh-day Adventists comes in, there will be perfect harmony in all the work of God’s people. The world will be given a correct representation of the truth.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 18

    Management of Sanitariums

    Sanitariums are to be most carefully managed. It takes long years of experience to learn to conduct a sanitarium after God’s order. Even in the institutions that have been long established, improvements are still necessary. Those who manage sanitariums should not conduct the affairs of the institution in such a way that it becomes involved in debt.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 19

    It is not in the order of the Lord for an inexperienced person to think himself capable of managing a sanitarium. Many do not possess the qualifications essential for the proper management of such an institution. Often before men and women are fitted to occupy a leading position in a sanitarium, a work of grace must be done for them.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 20

    The Spiritual Influence

    God has ordained the medical missionary work as His efficient instrumentality through which He can impart light to unbelievers. This branch of work has accomplished great good. It has brought to many sick, suffering ones a knowledge of the Great Physician, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is able to give them physical and spiritual relief.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 21

    Medical missionary work is of greatest consequence; for often through the saving of the body is effected the saving of the soul. This is the help needed by those who come to our institutions. How carefully the patients should be approached on Bible subjects! Yet if this is not done, the sanitariums are not doing medical missionary work—the work that the Lord desires them to do.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 22

    In our institutions there is to be continual dependence on the Lord. A spirit of kindness and courtesy pervading an institution has a strong influence for good. When all the helpers are closely connected with God, the patients feel that the Lord is blessing them because the physicians and the nurses are praying with and for them. And when the patients see consistency in the deportment of all, they lose their prejudice and are in a condition to be helped by the skill of physicians and by the patience and sympathy of nurses.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 23

    The Lord is to be the efficiency of every physician. If in the operating room the physician feels that he is working only as the Lord’s visible helping hand, the Great Physician is present to hold with His invisible hand the hand of the human agent and to guide in the movements made. The Lord knows with what trembling and terror many patients come to the point of undergoing an operation as the only chance for saving life. He knows that they are in greater peril than they ever have been before. They feel as if their life were in the hands of one whom they believe to be a skilful physician. But when they see their physician on his knees, asking God to make the critical operations a success, the prayer inspires them, as well as the physician with strong hope and confidence. This confidence, even in the most critical cases, is a means of making operations successful. Impressions are made upon minds that God designed should be made. The patients are convinced that the whole institution is in existence for the purpose of restoring to health, through God’s blessing, the suffering and the afflicted.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 24

    Although such a prayer may be offered before unbelievers and even infidels, yet it sweeps away the shadow by which Satan has darkened the mind; and when the sufferer is brought through the crisis, truth takes the place of doubt and unbelief. The mist of skepticism that beclouded the mind is dispelled. And the relatives and friends of the restored, too, are led to look upon the sanitarium as an institution doing a work that God endorses.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 25

    Relation of Church Members to Medical Missionary Workers

    By baptismal vows, church members have covenanted to remain under the control of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Afterward, under temptation, some withdraw from the influence of the Spirit of God and serve the enemy. They become vain talkers, mischief makers. Instead of healing and restoring, they hurt and destroy.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 26

    How careful every person who claims to love and fear God should be in regard to the reputation of the institutions that God has Himself established according to His word! How careful should every professing Christian be of the reputation of those whose work it is to relieve suffering human beings! The physician needs calm nerves. Cannot men and women be made to understand that when they are constantly endeavoring to injure and tear down the reputation of the Lord’s appointed physicians, to whom a special work has been given, these servants of God feel keenly the wounds made by unsanctified tongues? Their hearts are bruised and made sore by the criticizing spirit, the disparaging remarks, the unchristian habits and practices of those who should support the men acting as God’s helping hand.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 27

    Many professing Christians have become Satan’s agents. Satan uses them to criticize and to discourage nigh unto death those whom God has appointed to do a most important work. Many words opposed to principles of truth and justice, many words creating suspicion and distrust, have been spoken. Cannot the poor souls who have been long in the Way see that by their course of action they are ignorantly serving the enemy of all unrighteousness? Can they not see that they are driving the most successful physician [onto] Satan’s battleground to become the sport of temptation? When will they cease this merciless warfare?17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 28

    Those in Battle Creek who have expressed confidence in physicians not of our faith—physicians who continue to act according to the impulses of their hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong—are dishonoring God. Were their eyes opened to see the harvest to be repeated from such seed sowing, they would see confusion and many other evil results for which they shall have to answer in that great day when every soul stands in review before God. They are estranged from God, and therefore they have not by word and action held up the hands of the men of God’s appointment. This has made an unfavorable showing to the world.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 29

    Some will point out and take exception to things that our physicians say and do. Mistakes have been made. But let all who claim to see these mistakes turn their attention to the record they themselves have been making for the last fifteen or twenty years. What has been heard from your lips? and what has been seen in your house? Words of chaff have been heard, words of joking and jesting. Selfish indulgences have been seen. The tables have been spread with flesh meat and unhealthful concoctions. The course that has been followed by the ones who have criticized others reveals that they themselves are in a most unspiritual condition. They are on the enemy’s side. And angels have recorded every foolish word, every wrong practice. Does it become such persons to try to pick out a mote from their brother’s eye when they have a beam in their own eye? Whatever their profession may be, they have stood on the enemy’s side, encouraging selfishness and lustful appetite. Sooner or later they will suffer the consequences of disregarding the light that God in love and mercy has sent them in regard to health reform.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 30

    Ministers of the gospel have united with scoffers in talking lightly concerning the use of flesh meat. When the exalted platform upon which Seventh-day Adventists should stand is left a lower platform permitting selfish indulgence, those who teach the principles of health reform find it most difficult to bring the people into harmony with the medical missionary work.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 31

    Many of these reckless talkers do not know what they are doing. They cannot see that their words discourage the ones whom God has appointed to represent Jesus Christ and His truth for this time. In relieving suffering humanity, consecrated physicians are doing the work of the great Restorer who has said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” [Matthew 25:40.]17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 32

    Men and women who criticize and condemn are not controlled by the mind and will of God. Desiring to follow their own way, they are saying, We care not for Thy way, O Lord. And the Lord permits them to walk in the light of the sparks of their own kindling. They are bodies of darkness in the church and should be dealt with plainly and decidedly. They are not to be allowed to work against the ones whom God is using to build up His work. The church should not fellowship unruly, vain talkers, but should deal with them as enemies who are sowing tares instead of good seed. Unless they repent and humble themselves before God, let them be separated from the church; for if allowed to remain, they will do much harm.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 33

    Let those whose lips are unsanctified realize that for their own soul’s interest they should now be converted in order that their words may be a savor of life unto life and not of death unto death. It is time that the vain talkers reform. Let each one begin to reform and build over against his own house. Let every church member lighten the burdens and encourage the hearts of his brethren by holding up their hands and strengthening them to do God’s will.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 34

    “Tell him his fault between thee and him alone.” [Matthew 18:15.]17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 35

    Some minds are so constituted that they delight and find in others a spot or stain that they can report. Is this the work that the Lord has appointed us to do?—No, never! He has told us how to deal with the erring. “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee,” He has said, “go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: ... if he shall not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” [Verses 15-17.]17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 36

    Men and woman have been so imprudent as to communicate to others utterly false charges concerning the motives of persons. Repeated over and over again, the scandal has created a feeling of suspicion and distrust. But time has often revealed that the evil is imaginary, never having existed. In nine cases out of ten it will be found that the report has originated from a mere atom which has increased in size as it has spread.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 37

    The report is handed from one to another as if it were a most precious commodity. The supposed evil is greatly magnified. Satan and his angels stand by, rejoicing to see a lie circulated with so much energy and to see it stirring up so much prejudice in the minds of others.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 38

    “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity,” when it begins to publish these suspicions of one another. [James 3:6.] Many must have their tongues treated with the hot coals of juniper before they will come to the conclusion that silence is eloquence. The reputation of God’s servants must not be imperiled to please scandal mongers and to give their minds something on which to feed.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 39

    If the one who speaks disparagingly of another would go to the person whom he has criticized and manifest a desire to heal and not to tear to pieces, the whole matter might be explained and it be shown that there is nothing from which such conclusions could be reached. Would it not be more Christlike to go to the one whom you suppose to be in error and “tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother”? [Matthew 18:15.] Thus you may hide a multitude of sins. To hide a fault does not mean to spread far and wide a hearsay report before going to the one under suspicion and asking him all about it.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 40

    In every church are professed believers who are watching eagerly for something they can see or hear by which they can create a sensation in the minds of others. Is it not time for you, my brethren and sisters, to consider the Saviour’s words, “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned”? [Matthew 12:37.] Would it not be best, for your soul’s sake, to restrain your hasty judgment? Would it not be best to have a friendly talk with the one whose motives you criticize? You may entirely misconstrue the motives, thus doing harm to a brother’s or a sister’s influence. Would it not be an act of kindness, and much more pleasing to God, to find out whether hearsay reports be true before repeating them?17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 41

    Let every church member sign a pledge, in the presence of God and his brethren, that he will strictly obey the rules that Christ has given. Let those who claim to be converted read the eighteenth of Matthew, and then consider what the Lord expects of them in manifesting practical obedience.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 42

    “And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” [Mark 12:28-31.]17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 43

    The Light of Health Reform

    Those who have manifested a spirit of opposition to the light of health reform have made a record that they will not care to meet in the judgment. They have closed their minds and hearts against the light and testimony that the Lord has given during the past thirty-five years.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 44

    At the time the first Review and Herald office building was erected in Battle Creek, some of the brethren proved the sum of health reform. And when the carpenters and masons and other laborers were working on the school building, they tested the matter to find out whether they could do hard work while on a hygienic diet, eating only two meals a day. A number of the most skilful workers did this and stood the test. The Lord was devising. Some of these men have never since returned to the practice of eating three meals a day.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 45

    “Why,” you may ask, “are some of these men now resting in the grave?” It is because they have overworked, not giving themselves opportunity to recover from the severe strain of wearing labor. Brother O. B. Jones worked in a building with his feet immersed in water. This brought upon him the suffering and illness that cost him his life. God desires His workmen to use their reason, and not sacrifice life by taking upon themselves burdens too heavy to be borne by one man.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 46

    “Ye are complete in Him.” [Colossians 2:10.]17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 47

    Will the church learn wisdom? We are individually making our history. Those who feel at liberty to work according to their own wisdom thus show that they are not trustworthy. Many have been converted and baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Coming into the church by the ordinance of baptism, every soul by this act pledges himself to remain dead to the world and no longer follow worldly methods and practices. God calls upon all who have named the name of Christ to come out from the world and be separate. “Touch not the unclean thing;” He says, “and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.]17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 48

    “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: in the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created Him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” [Colossians 3:1-17.]17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 49

    Let every believer in the church take heed to these practical truths.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 50

    “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power: in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” [Colossians 2:6-13.]17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 51

    The church needs to be purified. Let each one take himself in hand, and decide whether he is doing God’s work. Has every church member the faith that works by love and purifies the soul? When Christ’s words are eaten, when the practical life of every church member testifies that he is Christlike, there will be harmony in the church.17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 52

    “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” [Colossians 3:15-17.]17LtMs, Ms 26, 1902, par. 53

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