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    Backsliding in Health Reform

    Sanitarium, Cal.,

    March 29, 1908.

    Elder A. G. Daniells, Takoma Park Station, Washington, D. C.:

    Dear Brother,

    I received your letter from Chicago, stating the need of a meeting-house in Takoma Park. It seems strange that the believers in Takoma Park have no suitable house of worship. I agree with you that provision should have been made for a good meeting-house in view of the large number of our people who are living there.SpM 426.5

    There is a decided work to be done in Washington. But some of the brethren there, who should be far advanced in the understanding of spiritual things, are not working out the plan of God, but are following their own inventions. The converting power of God needs to take hold of the workers in the school, in the publishing house, and in the churches. The leaders in the work need to understand the deep, earnest work that must be done before heavenly agencies can make the impressions upon the minds of the youth that will lead them to come to the Lord with their human wills broken, and seek him in true repentance.SpM 427.1

    The responsible workers in our schools in Washington and other places need to bear in mind that there are thousands upon thousands in the cities who need help in many ways. Let the workers bring to mind the words of Christ, “Ye are the light of the world; a city that is set on a hill can not be hid.” “Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted?” The Lord Jesus is a miracle-working God; we must let him be our dependence.SpM 427.2

    After Christ was received up into heaven and set at the right hand of his Father, his disciples went forth and preached the Word, and the record states that the Lord worked with them, confirming the word with signs following. Today the Lord is qualifying his servants to take up medical missionary work. He calls for men and women who are peaceable in spirit, who learn of Jesus, and are willing to follow his instruction, who day by day wait upon the Lord to know his will, prepared to go where he bids them go, and to take up the work which he requires.SpM 427.3

    I am instructed to bear a message to all our people on the subject of health reform, for many have backslidden from their former loyalty to health reform principles. The light God has given is being disregarded.SpM 427.4

    A true reformation needs to take place among the believers in Washington in the matter of healthful living. If the believers there will give themselves unreservedly to God, he will accept them. If they will adopt in the matter of eating and drinking the principles of temperance that the light of health reform has brought to us, they will be richly blessed. Those who have received instruction regarding the evils of the use of flesh meats, tea and coffee, and rich and unhealthful food preparations, and who are determined to make a covenant with God by sacrifice, will not continue to indulge their appetites for foods which they know to be unhealthful. God demands that the appetites be cleansed, and self-denial be practiced in regard to those things which are not good. This is a work that will have to be done before his people can stand before him a perfected people.SpM 427.5

    The Lord has given clear light regarding the nature of the food that is to compose our diet; he has instructed us concerning the effect of unhealthful food upon the disposition and character. Shall we respond to the counsels and cautions given? Who among our brethren will sign a pledge to dispense with flesh meats, tea, and coffee, and all injurious foods, and become health reformers in the fullest sense of the term?SpM 427.6

    If we could be benefitted by indulging the desire for flesh meats, I would not make this appeal to you; but I know we can not. They are injurious to the physical well-being, and we should learn to do without them.SpM 428.1

    In this experience of backsliding from the principles of health reform, our people have been repeating the history of the Children of Israel in the wilderness during their forty years of travel. Those who continue to follow their own course in this respect, eating and drinking as they please, will gradually grow careless of the instructions of the Lord regarding other phases of the present truth; they will surely reap as they have sown.SpM 428.2

    I have been instructed that the students in our schools are not to be served with flesh foods or with food preparations that will cause disturbance of the stomach. Nothing that will serve to encourage a desire for stimulants should be placed on the table.SpM 428.3

    I appeal to young and old and to middle-aged. Deny your appetite of those things that are doing you injury. Serve the Lord by sacrifice. Let the good work begin at Washington, and go forth from there to other places. I know whereof I am writing. If a temperance pledge providing for the abstinence from flesh foods, tea, and coffee, and some other foods that are known to be injurious, were circulated through our ranks, a great and good work would be accomplished. I ask you at this time, will you not circulate such a pledge? The means saved by such a sacrifice, if used for the furtherance of the cause of God, would be blessed to the salvation of many souls.SpM 428.4

    Let the children have a part in this work. We are all members of the Lord's family; and the Lord would have his children, young and old, pledge themselves to deny appetite and save the means for the building of meetinghouses and the support of missionaries.SpM 428.5

    I am instructed to say to parents, Place yourselves soul and spirit, on the Lord's side of this question. We need ever to bear in mind that in these days of probation we are on trial before the Lord of the universe. Will you not give up indulgences that are doing you an injury? Words of profession are cheap; let your acts of self-denial testify that you will be obedient to the demands God makes of his peculiar people. Then put into the treasury a portion of the means you save by your acts of self-denial, and there will be that with which to carry on the work of God.SpM 428.6

    There are many who feel that they can not get along without flesh meats; but if these would place themselves on the Lord's side, resolved to obey his requirements in this matter, they would receive strength and wisdom as did Daniel and his fellows. They would find that the Lord would give them sound judgment, and they would be surprised to see how much could be saved for the cause of God by acts of self-denial. And the small sums gained by deed of sacrifice will do more for the upbuilding of the cause than larger gifts will accomplish that have not called for denial of self.SpM 428.7

    I am sure if you will begin in Washington to do this work of reform—in the school, in the printing office, and among all our working forces,—the Lord will help you to present a pledge that will help our people to return from their backsliding on the question of health reform. And as you seek to carry out the will of the Lord in this particular, he will give you clearer understanding of what health reform will do for you.SpM 429.1

    I have heard from several as I travel that Sister White has changed her view in regard to the reform diet. I would have all understand that Sister White has the same testimony to bear on this subject that she has ever borne.SpM 429.2

    There are those among us who occupy important positions of trust, and who should have stood on a high platform in the matter of health reform, who have refused to follow the light, and their course has been displeasing to God. Let these now turn to the Lord, that their example may no longer be a temptation to others.SpM 429.3

    Because of the example set by influential men in the indulgence of appetite, the truth has not made the impression on hearts that it might have done. I appeal to you now to set an example of self-denial. Cut off every needless indulgence, that God may bless you with his approval and acceptance.SpM 429.4

    “If any man will come after me,” said Jesus, “Let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Let us follow the Saviour in his simplicity and self-denial. Let us lift up the man of Calvary by word and by holy living. The Saviour comes very near to those who consecrate themselves to God. If ever there was a time when we needed the working of the Spirit of God upon our hearts and lives, it is now. Christ is speaking to us individually, saying, “I am he that holdeth thy right hand. I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forever more.”SpM 429.5

    There is a decided message to be borne to our people upon the question of health reform. Let us come into line that our prayers be not hindered. God can not be glorified in the lives of ministers who give up these principles of reform; but he will reveal himself to every soul who will be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. We need now to arouse, and in all our schools follow closely the light that God has given on this question. Let the teachers in our schools return from their backsliding and educate themselves in a knowledge of the principles of healthful living. Let the students be taught to live these principles.SpM 429.6

    Cooking schools are to be established at many of our gatherings. Meetings are to be held where the children can be taught principles of temperance and the value of self-denial. In the year 1908 we are to do all in our power to advance the work of God in every line.SpM 429.7

    Ellen G. White.

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