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Manuscript Releases, vol. 13 [Nos. 1000-1080]

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    MR No. 1026—Physicians to Meet Both the Spiritual and Physical Needs of Patients; to Counsel with One Another and Work in Harmony

    I have waited with interest, hoping that you would have something to say in reference to your course in leaving the Health Retreat. It was your connection with Elder Rice that led you to leave when you did. You took sides with him, and his influence over you was deceptive. Elder Rice hurt us all he could. You did not then see all things in the true light, and acted under wrong impressions. I had very clear evidence that it was your duty to connect with the Health Retreat, and I have never felt that your leaving was in the order of God. It was the work of the enemy. This movement, from first to last, cost me much labor. In all the time that Elder Rice was working against the Retreat, he was working against the purposes of God. Light was constantly coming to me in relation to this matter. I strenuously opposed the establishment of a rival institution in Fresno. You were working in one direction, and I [was working] in an opposite direction, under the direction of God, to counteract your work.13MR 174.1

    Our health institutions are in the highest sense becoming missionary fields. There is not a place in the world where it is more essential for religion to become a ruling principle than in our institutions for the suffering sick. Solemn responsibilities rest upon the physicians, and they should have an abiding sense of the reality of eternal things. To give due attention and prominence to the soul's interests requires great wisdom. The physician needs to maintain a close and constant connection with God in order to realize the value of the soul for whom Christ has died. He needs personal religion; the truth should be an abiding principle in the soul. Then he will have large opportunities for doing good.13MR 174.2

    None but a Christian physician can discharge to God's acceptance the duties of his profession. In a work so sacred, no place should be given to selfish plans and interests. Every ambition, every motive, should be subordinate to the interest of that life which measures with the life of God. In all your business, let the claim of Jesus, the world's Redeemer, be recognized; let His example be copied. What the physician attempts to do, Christ can accomplish. They strive to prolong life; He is the Life-giver. Jesus, the Mighty Healer, is Physician-in-chief. All physicians are under one Master, and blessed indeed is every physician who has learned from his Lord to watch for souls while with all his professional skill he works to heal the bodies of the suffering sick.13MR 175.1

    To fear God and to walk with Him is the privilege and duty of every physician. I have been shown that Satan presses in his temptations with greater force upon physicians who are among our people than upon those outside of our faith. It is Satan's work to excite pride and ambition, selfishness, and love for supremacy, that he may prevent that strong, brotherly union which should exist among our physicians who are of like precious faith, which would give vigor to their purposes and would go far to ensure success in all their undertakings. In all our institutions the physicians who believe the truth should strive for harmony.13MR 175.2

    There should be no rivalry. Variance and rivalry are even more offensive to God when manifest among physicians than among those who claim to be called to the ministry; for the godly physician is Christ's ambassador to hold forth the word of life to suffering ones who are letting go their hold of this life. If he has wisdom to speak a word in season, leading the sufferer to rely upon Jesus, he may be the instrument in the hands of God of the saving of the soul. How firmly garrisoned should be the soul of the physician, that impure, sensual thoughts may not find a lodgment there.13MR 175.3

    I have been shown that much is lost when the physicians of our faith draw apart because of their different methods of practice. Physicians’ meetings should be held, where all might counsel together, exchanging ideas and laying plans whereby they could work unitedly. The Lord formed man for companionship, and He designs that we shall be imbued with the kind, loving nature of Christ, and shall, through association, be bound together in close relationship as children of God, doing work for time and for eternity.13MR 176.1

    Christ had on one occasion sought to prepare the minds of His disciples for the scenes of suffering that were before Him. He told them that He should be betrayed into the hands of His enemies, and be put to death, and should rise again. They did not comprehend what He was trying to teach them, but a shadow, as of some great sorrow, fell upon them. Yet even in this time of sadness the spirit of unholy rivalry found a place in their hearts. Jesus read their thoughts. They loitered behind, and He was in advance of them as they came to Capernaum. He called the disciples, and inquired in regard to their disputes by the way. And He took a little child and setting him in the midst of them, He said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” [Matthew 18:3, 4]. This lesson is for us.13MR 176.2

    In the love and fear of God, let the physicians have meetings for counsel, and talk up the best ways and means of serving the Lord in their important branch of His great work. Let them bring together all their intelligence and skill, that they may be a help to one another. I know that there are ways by which they can come into harmony, so that no one shall follow his own independent judgment.13MR 177.1

    In their practice, the physicians should seek more and more to lessen the use of drugs instead of increasing it. When Dr. A came to the Health Retreat, she laid aside her knowledge and practice of hygiene, and administered the little homeopathic doses for almost every ailment. This was against the light God had given. Thus our people, who had been taught to avoid drugs in almost every form, were receiving a different education. I was obliged to tell her that this practice of depending upon medicine, whether in large or small doses, was not in accordance with the principles of health reform. [To understand the context in which Ellen White commented on the use of medicines and drugs, see the pamphlet entitled, “The Use of Drugs,” issued by the General Conference; also three articles on Ellen White and modern medicine, in the Adventist Review, June 30, July 7, and July 14, 1983.] The Lord had in His providence given light in regard to the establishment of sanitariums where the sick should be treated upon hygienic principles. The people must be taught to depend on the Lord's remedies, pure air, pure water, simple, healthful foods.13MR 177.2

    Every effort made for the physical and moral health of the people should be based on moral principles. The advocates of reform who are laboring with the glory of God in view will plant their feet firmly upon the principles of hygiene; they will adopt a correct practice. The people need true knowledge. By their wrong habits of life, men and women of this generation are bringing upon themselves untold suffering. Physicians have a work to do to bring about reform by educating the people, that they may understand the laws which govern their physical life. They should know how to eat properly, to work intelligently, to dress healthfully, and should be taught to bring all their habits into harmony with the laws of life and health, and to discard drugs. There is a great work to be done. If the principles of health reform are carried out, the work will indeed be as closely allied to that of the third angel's message as the hand is to the body.13MR 177.3

    Why is there so much dissension? Why so much independent action, so much selfish ambition in this great missionary field? God is dishonored. There should be concentrated, united action. This is as necessary in the physician's work as in any other branch of the work of preparation for the great day of God.13MR 178.1

    If they move in God's way, physicians of the same faith will be linked together in a strong brotherhood, aiding one another to reach the highest standard, and devising means to enlighten the people, not encouraging the use of drugs, but leading away from drug medication. Teach the people how to prevent disease. Tell them to cease rebelling against nature's laws, and by removing every obstruction give her a chance to put forth her very best efforts to set things right. Nature must have a fair chance to employ her healing agencies. We must make earnest efforts to reach a higher platform in regard to the methods of treating the sick. If the light which God has given prevails, if truth overcomes error, advanced steps will be taken in health reform. This must be.—Letter 26a, 1889. (Written March 2, 1889, from Battle Creek, Michigan, to Brother and Sister Maxson.)13MR 178.2

    White Estate

    Washington, D. C.,

    November 4, 1983.

    Entire Letter Released.