Dear Brother and Sister I: The Lord has shown some things in regard to you which I feel it a duty to write. You
were among the number who were presented before me as backward in health reform. Light has shone upon the pathway in which the people of God are traveling, yet all do not walk in the light and follow as fast as the providence of God marks out and opens the way before them. Until they do this, they will be in darkness. If God has spoken to His people, He designs that they shall hear and obey His voice. Last Sabbath, as I was speaking, your pale faces rose distinctly before me as I had been shown them. I saw your condition of health and the ailments you have suffered under so long. I was shown that you have not lived healthfully. Your appetites have been unhealthy, and you have gratified the taste at the expense of the stomach. You have taken into your stomachs articles which it is impossible to convert into good blood. This has laid a heavy tax on the liver, for the reason that the digestive organs are deranged. You both have diseased livers. The health reform would be a great benefit to you both if you would strictly carry it out. This you have failed to do. Your appetites are morbid, and because you do not relish a plain, simple diet, composed of unbolted wheat flour, vegetables and fruits prepared without spices or grease, you are continually transgressing the laws which God has established in your system. While you do this you must suffer the penalty, for to every transgression is affixed a penalty. Yet you wonder at your continued poor health.
Be assured that God will not work a miracle to save you from the result of your own course of action. You have not had a liberal supply of air. Brother I has labored in his store, closely applying himself to his business and allowing himself but a limited amount of air and exercise. His circulation is depressed. He breathes only from the top of his lungs. It is seldom that he exercises the abdominal muscles in the act of breathing. Stomach, liver, lungs, and brain are suffering for
the want of deep, full inspirations of air, which would electrify the blood and impart to it a bright, lively color, and which alone can keep it pure and give tone and vigor to every part of the living machinery.
You, my dear brother and sister, can have a much better condition of health than you now enjoy, and can avoid very many ill turns, if you will simply exercise temperance in all things--temperance in labor, temperance in eating and drinking. Hot drinks are debilitating to the stomach. Cheese should never be introduced into the stomach. Fine-flour bread cannot impart to the system the nourishment that you will find in the unbolted wheat bread. The common use of bolted wheat bread cannot keep the system in a healthy condition. You both have inactive livers. The use of fine flour aggravates the difficulties under which you are laboring.
There is no treatment which can relieve you of your present difficulties while you eat and drink as you do. You can do that for yourselves which the most experienced physician can never do. Regulate your diet. In order to gratify the taste, you frequently place a severe tax upon your digestive organs by receiving into the stomach food which is not the most healthful, and at times in immoderate quantities. This wearies the stomach and unfits it for the reception of even the most healthful food. You keep your stomachs constantly debilitated because of your wrong habits of eating. Your food is made too rich. It is not prepared in a simple, natural manner, but is totally unfitted for the stomach when you have prepared it to suit your taste. Nature is burdened, and endeavors to resist your efforts to cripple her. Chills and fevers are the result of those attempts to rid herself of the burden you lay upon her. You have to suffer the penalty of nature's violated laws. God has established laws in your system which you cannot violate without suffering the punishment.
You have consulted taste without reference to health. You have made some changes, but have merely taken the first steps in reform diet. God requires of us temperance in all things. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
Of all the families I am acquainted with, none need the benefit of the health reform more than yours. You groan under pains and prostrations which you cannot account for, and you try to submit with as good a grace as you can, thinking affliction is your lot and Providence has thus ordained it. If you could have your eyes opened and could see the steps taken in your lifetime to walk right into your present condition of poor health you would be astonished at your blindness in not seeing the real state of the case before. You have created unnatural appetites, and do not derive half that enjoyment from your food which you would if you had not used your appetites wrongfully. You have perverted nature, and have been suffering the consequences, and painful has it been.
Nature bears abuse as long as she can without resisting, then she arouses and makes a mighty effort to rid herself of the encumbrances and evil treatment she has suffered. Then come headache, chills, fevers, nervousness, paralysis, and other evils too numerous to mention. A wrong course of eating or drinking destroys health, and with it the sweetness of life. Oh, how many times have you purchased what you called a good meal at the expense of a fevered system, loss of appetite, and loss of sleep! Inability to enjoy food, a sleepless night, hours of suffering--all for a meal in which taste was gratified! Thousands have indulged their perverted appetites, have eaten a good meal, as they called it, and as the result, have brought on a fever, or some other acute disease, and certain death. That was enjoyment purchased at immense cost. Yet many have done this, and these self-murderers have been
eulogized by their friends and the minister, and carried directly to heaven at their death. What a thought! Gluttons in heaven! No, no; such will never enter the pearly gates of the golden city of God. Such will never be exalted to the right hand of Jesus the precious Saviour, the suffering Man of Calvary, whose life was one of constant self-denial and sacrifice. There is a place appointed for all such among the unworthy, who can have no part in the better life, the immortal inheritance.
God requires all men to render their bodies to Him a living sacrifice, not a dead or a dying sacrifice, a sacrifice which their own course of action is debilitating, filling with impurities and disease. God calls for a living sacrifice. The body, He tells us, is the temple of the Holy Ghost, the habitation of His Spirit, and He requires all who bear His image to take care of their bodies for the purpose of His service and His glory. "Ye are not your own," says the inspired apostle, "ye are bought with a price;" wherefore "glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." In order to do this, add to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience. It is a duty to know how to preserve the body in the very best condition of health, and it is a sacred duty to live up to the light which God has graciously given. If we close our eyes to the light for fear we shall see our wrongs, which we are unwilling to forsake, our sins are not lessened but increased. If light is turned from in one case, it will be disregarded in another. It is just as much sin to violate the laws of our being as to break one of the Ten Commandments, for we cannot do either without breaking God's law. We cannot love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength while we are loving our appetites, our tastes, a great deal better than we love the Lord. We are daily lessening our strength to glorify God, when He requires all our strength, all our mind. By our wrong habits we are lessening our hold
on life, and yet professing to be Christ's followers, preparing for the finishing touch of immortality.
My brother and sister, you have a work to do which no one can do for you. Awake from your lethargy, and Christ shall give you life. Change your course of living, your eating, your drinking, and your working. While you pursue the course you have been following for years, you cannot clearly discern sacred and eternal things. Your sensibilities are blunted and your intellect beclouded. You have not been growing in grace and in the knowledge of the truth as was your privilege. You have not been increasing in spirituality, but growing more and more darkened. You have made too much haste to acquire property, and have been in danger of overreaching, looking out for your own interest and not regarding the interest of others as you would like to have them regard yours. You have encouraged selfishness in yourselves, which must be overcome. Closely examine your own hearts, and in your lives imitate the unerring Pattern, and all will be well with you. Preserve a clear conscience before God. In all you do glorify His name. Divest yourselves of selfishness and selfish love.
"Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." The customs and practices of men are not to be your criterion. However trying may be your circumstances, never allow yourselves to overreach. Satan is at hand to tempt you to do this, and he will not let you rest in this matter. It is possible for a merchant to be a Christian and preserve his integrity before God. But in order to do this, constant watchfulness is necessary and earnest supplication before God to be kept from the evil tendency of this degenerate age to advantage self at others' disadvantage. You are in a hard place to advance in the divine life. You have
a principle, but you do not hang all your weight upon God. You trust too much in your own feeble strength. You have great need of divine aid, of a power not to be found in yourself. There is One to whom you can go for counsel, whose wisdom is infinite. He has invited you to come to Him, for He will supply your need. If by faith you cast all your care upon Him who marks the falling of a sparrow, you will not trust in vain. If you will rest upon His sure promises, and maintain your integrity, angels of God will be round about you. Maintain good works in faith before God; then will your steps be ordered by the Lord, and His prospering hand will not be removed from you.
If you should be left to mark out your own course, you would make poor work of the matter, and would speedily make shipwreck of faith. Take all your cares and burdens to the Burden Bearer. But suffer not a blot to tarnish your Christian character. Never, never for the sake of gain stamp your life record in heaven, which is viewed by all the angelic host, and by your self-denying Redeemer, with avarice, penuriousness, selfishness, or false dealing. Such a course might bring you profit so far as this world views the matter; but, viewed in the light of heaven, it would prove an immense, an irreparable loss. "The Lord seeth not as man seeth." In trusting in God continually there is safety, there will not be a constant fear of future evil. This borrowed care and anxiety will cease. We have a heavenly Father who careth for His children, and will and does make His grace sufficient in every time of need. When we take into our own hands the management of things that concern us, and depend upon our own wisdom for success, we may well have anxiety and anticipate danger and loss, for it will most certainly come upon us.
Full and entire consecration to God is required of us. While the Redeemer of sinful mortals was laboring and suffering for us, He denied Himself, and His whole life was one
continued scene of toil and privation. Had He chosen to do so, He could have passed His days on earth in ease and plenty, and appropriated to Himself all the pleasures and enjoyments of this life. But He did not; He considered not His own convenience. He lived not to gratify Himself, but to do good and to save others from suffering, to help those who most needed help. He endured to the end. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and He hath borne the iniquity of us all. The bitter cup was apportioned to us to drink. Our sins mingled it. But our dear Saviour took the cup from our lips and drank it Himself, and in its stead He presents to us a cup of mercy, blessing, and salvation. Oh, what an immense sacrifice was this for the fallen race! What love, what wondrous and matchless love! After all this manifestation of suffering to show His love, shall we shrink from the small trials we have to bear? Can we love Christ, and refuse to lift the cross? Can we love to be with Him in glory, and not follow Him even from the judgment hall to Calvary? If Christ be in us the hope of glory, we shall walk even as He walked; we shall imitate His life of sacrifice to bless others; we shall drink of the cup, and be baptized with the baptism; we shall welcome a life of devotion, trial, and self-denial, for Christ's sake. Heaven will be cheap enough whatever sacrifice we may make to obtain it.