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Counsels on Diet and Foods

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    Part 2—How to Present the Principles of Health Reform

    Keep in View the Great Object of Reform

    789. There is great need of instruction in regard to dietetic reform. Wrong habits of eating and the use of unhealthful food are in no small degree responsible for the intemperance and crime and wretchedness that curse the world.CD 457.3

    In teaching health principles, keep before the mind the great object of reform,—that its purpose is to secure the highest development of body and mind and soul. Show that the laws of nature, being the laws of God, are designed for our good; that obedience to them promotes happiness in this life, and aids in the preparation for the life to come.CD 457.4

    Lead the people to study the manifestation of God's love and wisdom in the works of nature. Lead them to study that marvelous organism, the human system, and the laws by which it is governed. Those who perceive the evidences of God's love, who understand something of the wisdom and beneficence of His laws, and the results of obedience, will come to regard their duties and obligations from an altogether different point of view. Instead of looking upon an observance of the laws of health as a matter of sacrifice or self-denial, they will regard it, as it really is, as an inestimable blessing.CD 457.5

    Every gospel worker should feel that the giving of instruction in the principles of healthful living, is a part of his appointed work. Of this work there is great need, and the world is open for it.—The Ministry of Healing, 146, 147, 1905CD 458.1

    790. The requirements of God must be brought home to the conscience. Men and women must be awakened to the duty of self-mastery, the need of purity, freedom from every depraving appetite and defiling habit. They need to be impressed with the fact that all their powers of mind and body are the gift of God, and are to be preserved in the best possible condition for His service.—The Ministry of Healing, 130, 1905CD 458.2

    Follow the Saviour's Methods

    791. Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.”CD 458.3

    There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice. Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit.CD 458.4

    We should ever remember that the object of the medical missionary work is to point sin-sick men and women to the Man of Calvary, who taketh away the sin of the world. By beholding Him, they will be changed into His likeness. We are to encourage the sick and suffering to look to Jesus and live. Let the workers keep Christ, the Great Physician, constantly before those to whom disease of the body and soul has brought discouragement. Point them to the One who can heal both physical and spiritual disease. Tell them of the One who is touched with the feeling of their infirmities. Encourage them to place themselves in the care of Him who gave His life to make it possible for them to have life eternal. Talk of His love; tell of His power to save.—The Ministry of Healing, 143, 144, 1905CD 458.5

    Use Tact and Courtesy

    792. In all your work remember that you are bound up with Christ, a part of the great plan of redemption. The love of Christ, in a healing, life-giving current, is to flow through your life. As you seek to draw others within the circle of His love, let the purity of your language, the unselfishness of your service, the joyfulness of your demeanor, bear witness to the power of His grace. Give to the world so pure and righteous a representation of Him, that men shall behold Him in His beauty.CD 459.1

    It is of little use to try to reform others by attacking what we may regard as wrong habits. Such effort often results in more harm than good. In His talk with the Samaritan woman, instead of disparaging Jacob's well, Christ presented something better. “If thou knewest the gift of God.” He said, “and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.” He turned the conversation to the treasure He had to bestow, offering the woman something better than she possessed, even living water, the joy and hope of the gospel.CD 459.2

    This is an illustration of the way in which we are to work. We must offer men something better than that which they possess, even the peace of Christ, which passeth all understanding. We must tell them of God's holy law the transcript of His character, and an expression of that which He wishes them to become....CD 459.3

    Of all the people in the world, reformers should be the most unselfish, the most kind, the most courteous. In their lives should be seen the true goodness of unselfish deeds. The worker who manifests a lack of courtesy, who shows impatience at the ignorance or waywardness of others, who speaks hastily or acts thoughtlessly, may close the door to hearts so that he can never reach them.—The Ministry of Healing, 156, 157, 1905CD 460.1

    Diet Reform to Be Progressive

    793. From the beginning of the health reform work, we have found it necessary to educate, educate, educate. God desires us to continue this work of educating the people....CD 460.2

    In teaching health reform, as in all other gospel work, we are to meet the people where they are. Until we can teach them how to prepare health reform foods that are palatable, nourishing, and yet inexpensive, we are not at liberty to present the most advanced propositions regarding health reform diet.CD 460.3

    Let the diet reform be progressive. Let the people be taught how to prepare food without the use of milk or butter. Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that curse our earth.CD 460.4

    God will give His people ability and tact to prepare wholesome food without these things. Let our people discard all unwholesome recipes. Let them learn how to live healthfully, teaching to others what they have learned. Let them impart this knowledge as they would Bible instruction. Let them teach the people to preserve the health and increase the strength by avoiding the large amount of cooking that has filled the world with chronic invalids. By precept and example make it plain that the food which God gave Adam in his sinless state is the best for man's use as he seeks to regain that sinless state.CD 460.5

    Those who teach the principles of health reform should be intelligent in regard to disease and its causes, understanding that every action of the human agent should be in perfect harmony with the laws of life. The light God has given on health reform is for our salvation and the salvation of the world. Men and women should be informed in regard to the human habitation, fitted up by our Creator as His dwelling place and over which He desires us to be faithful stewards. “For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16.CD 461.1

    Hold up the principles of health reform, and let the Lord lead the honest in heart. Present the principles of temperance in their most attractive form. Circulate the books that give instruction in regard to healthful living.—Testimonies for the Church 7:132-136, 1902CD 461.2

    The Influence of Our Health Publications

    The people are in sad need of the light shining from the pages of our health books and journals. God desires to use these books and journals as mediums through which flashes of light shall arrest the attention of the people, and cause them to heed the warning of the message of the third angel. Our health journals are instrumentalities in the field to do a special work in disseminating the light that the inhabitants of the world must have in this day of God's preparation. They wield an untold influence in the interests of health and temperance and social-purity reform, and will accomplish great good in presenting these subjects in a proper manner and in their true light to the people.CD 461.3

    Tracts on Health Reform

    794. There should be more earnest efforts made to enlighten the people upon the great subject of health reform. Tracts of four, eight, twelve, sixteen, and more pages, containing pointed, well-written articles on this great question, should be scattered like the leaves of autumn.—The Review and Herald, November 4, 1875CD 461.4

    [Sanitarium Patients to Be Taught in Parlor Lectures—426]

    [Sanitarium Patients to Be Taught Correct Diet by Properly Furnished Table—442, 443]

    [Sanitarium Patients to Be Taught Temperance—474]

    Handle the Flesh Meat Question Wisely

    795. In this country [Australia] there is an organized vegetarian society, but its numbers are comparatively few. Among the people in general, meat is largely used by all classes. It is the cheapest article of food; and even where poverty abounds, meat is usually found upon the table. Therefore there is the more need of handling wisely the question of meat eating. In regard to this matter there should be no rash movements. We should consider the situation of the people, and the power of lifelong habits and practices, and should be careful not to urge our ideas upon others, as if this question were a test, and those who eat largely of meat were the greatest sinners.CD 462.1

    All should have the light on this question, but let it be carefully presented. Habits that have been thought right for a lifetime are not to be changed by harsh or hasty measures. We should educate the people at our camp meetings and other large gatherings. While the principles of health reform should be presented, let the teaching be backed by example. Let no meat be found at our restaurants or dining tents, but let its place be supplied with fruits, grains, and vegetables. We must practice what we teach. When sitting at a table where meat is provided, we are not to make a raid upon those who use it, but we should let it alone ourselves, and when asked our reasons for doing this, we should in a kindly manner explain why we do not use it.—Letter 102, 1896CD 462.2

    A Time to Keep Silent

    796. I have never felt that it was my duty to say that no one should taste of meat under any circumstances. To say this when the people have been educated to live on flesh to so great an extent, would be carrying matters to extremes. I have never felt that it was my duty to make sweeping assertions. What I have said I have said under a sense of duty, but I have been guarded in my statements, because I did not want to give occasion for any one to be conscience for another....CD 462.3

    I have been passing through an experience in this country that is similar to the experience I had in new fields in America. I have seen families whose circumstances would not permit them to furnish their table with healthful food. Unbelieving neighbors have sent them in portions of meat from animals recently killed. They have made soup of the meat, and supplied their large families of children with meals of bread and soup. It was not my duty, nor did I think it was the duty of any one else, to lecture them upon the evils of meat eating. I feel sincere pity for families who have newly come to the faith, and who are so pressed with poverty that they know not from whence their next meal is coming. It is not my duty to discourse to them on healthful eating. There is a time to speak, and a time to keep silent. The opportunity furnished by circumstances of this order is an opportunity to speak words that will encourage and bless, rather than condemn and reprove. Those who have lived upon a meat diet all their life do not see the evil of continuing the practice, and they must be treated tenderly.—Letter 76, 1895CD 463.1

    797. While working against gluttony and intemperance, we must recognize the condition to which the human family is subjected. God has made provision for those who live in the different countries of the world. Those who desire to be co-workers with God must consider carefully before they specify just what foods should and should not be eaten. We are to be brought into connection with the masses. Should health reform in its most extreme form be taught to those whose circumstances forbid its adoption, more harm than good would be done. As I preach the gospel to the poor, I am instructed to tell them to eat that food which is most nourishing. I cannot say to them: “You must not eat eggs, or milk or cream. You must use no butter in the preparation of food.” The gospel must be preached to the poor, but the time has not yet come to prescribe the strictest diet.—Testimonies for the Church 9:163, 1909CD 463.2

    A Wrong Method of Working

    798. Do not catch hold of isolated ideas and make them a test, criticizing others whose practice may not agree with your opinion; but study the subject broadly and deeply, and seek to bring your own ideas and practices into perfect harmony with the principles of true Christian temperance.CD 464.1

    There are many who try to correct the lives of others by attacking what they regard as wrong habits. They go to those whom they think in error, and point out their defects, but do not seek to direct the mind to true principles. Such a course often comes far short of securing the desired results. When we make it evident that we are trying to correct others, we too often arouse their combativeness, and do more harm than good. And there is the danger to the reprover also. He who takes it upon himself to correct others, is likely to cultivate a habit of faultfinding, and soon his whole interest will be in picking flaws and finding defects. Do not watch others, to pick at their faults, or expose their errors. Educate them to better habits by the power of your own example.CD 464.2

    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.CD 464.3

    There is something better to talk about than the faults and weaknesses of others. Talk of God and His wonderful works. Study into the manifestations of His love and wisdom in all the works of nature.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 119, 120, 1890CD 464.4

    Teach by Example

    799. In your association with unbelievers, do not allow yourselves to be swerved from right principles. If you sit at their table, eat temperately, and only of food that will not confuse the mind. Keep clear of intemperance. You cannot afford to weaken your mental or physical powers, lest you become unable to discern spiritual things. Keep your mind in such a condition that God can impress it with the precious truths of His word.... Do not watch others in order to point out their faults or errors. Teach by example. Let your self-denial and your victory over appetite be an illustration of obedience to right principles. Let your life bear witness to the sanctifying, ennobling influence of truth.—Testimonies for the Church 6:336, 1900CD 464.5

    Present Temperance in Its Most Attractive Form

    800. The Lord desires every minister, every physician, every church member, to be careful not to urge those who are ignorant of our faith to make sudden changes in diet, thus bringing them to a premature test. Hold up the principles of health reform, and let the Lord lead the honest in heart. They will hear and believe. The Lord does not require His messengers to present the beautiful truths of health reform in a way that will prejudice the minds of others. Let no one place stumbling blocks before those who are walking in the dark paths of ignorance. Even in praising a good thing, it is well not to be too enthusiastic, lest you turn out of the way those who come to hear. Present the principles of temperance in their most attractive form.CD 465.1

    We must not move presumptuously. The laborers who enter new territory to raise up churches must not create difficulties by attempting to make prominent the question of diet. They should be careful not to draw the lines too closely. Impediments would thus be thrown on the pathway of others. Do not drive the people. Lead them. Preach the word as it is in Christ Jesus.... Workers must put forth resolute, persevering effort, remembering that everything cannot be learned at once. They must have a fixed determination patiently to teach the people.—Letter 135, 1902CD 465.2

    801. Do you not remember that we have an individual accountability? We do not make articles of diet a test question, but we do try to educate the intellect, and to arouse the moral sensibility to take hold of health reform in an intelligent manner, as Paul presents it in Romans 13:8-14; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 1 Timothy 3:8-12.—Manuscript 1a, 1890CD 466.1

    Meet the People Where They Are

    802. On one occasion Sara [McEnterfer] was called to a family at Dora Creek, where every member of the household was sick. The father belonged to a highly respectable family, but he had taken to drink, and his wife and children were in great want. At this time of sickness there was nothing in the house suitable to eat. And they refused to eat anything that we took them. They had been accustomed to having meat. We felt that something must be done. I said to Sara, Take chickens from my place, and prepare them some broth. So Sara treated them for their illness, and fed them with this broth. They soon recovered.CD 466.2

    Now this is the course we pursued. We did not say to the people, You must not eat meat. Although we did not use flesh foods ourselves, when we thought it essential for that family in their time of sickness, we gave them what we felt they needed. There are occasions when we must meet the people where they are.CD 466.3

    The father of this family was an intelligent man. When the family was well again, we opened to them the Scriptures, and this man was converted, and accepted the truth. He threw away his pipe and gave up the use of drink, and from that time, as long as he lived, he neither smoked nor drank. As soon as it was possible, we took him on our farm, and gave him work on the land. While we were away attending meetings in Newcastle, this man died. Thorough treatment was given him by some of our workers, but the long-abused body could not respond to their efforts. But he died a Christian and a commandment keeper.—Letter 363, 1907CD 466.4

    Meeting Extreme Views—A Historical Statement

    [For a collateral statement by James White, see Appendix 2.]

    803. When we returned from Kansas in the autumn of 1870, Brother B was at home sick with fever.... His case was critical....CD 467.1

    There was no period of rest for us, however much we needed it. The Review, the Reformer, and the Instructor must be edited. [Their editors were all sick at this time.] ... My husband commenced his labor and I helped him what I could....CD 467.2

    The Reformer was about dead. Brother B had urged the extreme positions of Doctor Trall. This had influenced the doctor to come out in the Reformer stronger than he otherwise would have done, in discarding milk, sugar, and salt. The position to entirely discontinue the use of these things may be right in its order; but the time had not come to take a general stand upon these points. And those who do take their position, and advocate the entire disuse of milk, butter, and sugar, should have their own tables free from these things. Brother B, even while taking his stand in the Reformer with Doctor Trall in regard to the injurious effects of salt, milk, and sugar, did not practice the things he taught. Upon his own table these things were used daily.CD 467.3

    Many of our people had lost their interest in the Reformer, and letters were daily received with this discouraging request, “Please discontinue my Reformer.” ... We could not raise an interest anywhere in the West to obtain subscribers for the Health Reformer. We saw that the writers in the Reformer were going away from the people, and leaving them behind. If we take positions that conscientious Christians, who are indeed reformers, cannot adopt, how can we expect to benefit the class whom we can reach only from a health standpoint.—Testimonies for the Church 3:18-21, 1870CD 467.4

    Patience, Caution, and Consistency Necessary in Reform Movements

    We must go no faster than we can take those with us whose consciences and intellects are convinced of the truths we advocate. We must meet the people where they are. Some of us have been many years in arriving at our present position in health reform. It is slow work to obtain a reform in diet. We have powerful appetites to meet; for the world is given to gluttony. If we should allow the people as much time as we have required to come up to the present advanced state in reform, we would be very patient with them, and allow them to advance step by step, as we have done, until their feet are firmly established upon the health reform platform. But we should be very cautious not to advance too fast, lest we be obliged to retrace our steps. In reforms, we would better come one step short of the mark than to go one step beyond it. And if there is error at all, let it be on the side next to the people.CD 468.1

    Above all things, we should not with our pens advocate positions that we do not put to a practical test in our own families, upon our own tables. This is a dissimulation, a species of hypocrisy. In Michigan we can get along better without salt, sugar, and milk, than can many who are situated in the Far West or in the Far East, where there is a scarcity of fruit.... We know that a free use of these things is positively injurious to health, and in many cases we think that if they were not used at all, a much better state of health would be enjoyed.CD 468.2

    But at present our burden is not upon these things. The people are so far behind that we see it is all they can bear to have us draw the line upon their injurious indulgences and stimulating narcotics. We bear positive testimony against tobacco, spirituous liquors, snuff, tea, coffee, flesh meats, butter, spices, rich cakes, mince pies, a large amount of salt, and all exciting substances used as articles of food.CD 468.3

    If we come to persons who have not been enlightened in regard to health reform, and present our strongest positions at first, there is danger of their becoming discouraged as they see how much they have to give up, so that they will make no effort to reform. We must lead the people along patiently and gradually, remembering the hole of the pit whence we were digged.CD 468.4

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