We are not our own. We have been purchased with a dear price, even the sufferings and death of the Son of God. If we could understand this, and fully realise it, we would feel a great responsibility resting upon us to keep ourselves in the very best condition of health, that we might render to God perfect service. But when we take any course which expends our vitality, decreases our strength, or beclouds the intellect we sin against God. In pursuing this course we are not glorifying Him in our bodies and spirits which are His, but are committing a great wrong in His sight.
Has Jesus given Himself for us? Has a dear price been paid to redeem us? And is it so, that we are not our own? Is it true that all the powers of our being, our bodies, our spirits, all that we have, and all we are, belong to God? It certainly is. And when we realise this, what obligation does it lay us under to God to preserve ourselves in that condition that we may honour Him upon the earth in our bodies and in our spirits which are His.
We believe without a doubt that Christ is soon coming. This is not a fable to us; it is a reality. We have no doubt, neither have we had a doubt for years, that the doctrines we hold today are present truth, and that we are nearing the judgement. We are preparing to meet Him who, escorted by a retinue of holy angels, is to appear in the clouds of heaven to give the faithful and the just the finishing touch of immortality. When He comes He is not to cleanse us of our sins, to remove from us the defects in our characters, or to cure us of the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. If wrought for us at all, this work will all be accomplished before that time. When the Lord comes, those who are holy will be holy still. Those who have preserved their bodies and spirits in holiness, in sanctification and honour, will then receive the finishing touch of immortality. But those who are unjust, unsanctified, and filthy will remain so forever. No work will then be done for them to remove their defects and give them holy characters. The Refiner does not then sit to pursue His refining process and remove their sins and their corruption. This is all to be done in these hours of probation. It is now that this work is to be accomplished for us.
We embrace the truth of God with our different faculties, and as we come under the influence of that truth, it will accomplish the work for us which is necessary to give us a moral fitness for the kingdom of glory and for the society of the heavenly angels. We are now in God's workshop. Many of us are rough stones from the quarry. But as we lay hold upon the truth of God, its influence affects us. It elevates us and removes from us every imperfection and sin, of what ever nature. Thus we are prepared to see the King in His beauty and finally to unite with the pure and heavenly angels in the kingdom of glory. It is here that this work is to
be accomplished for us, here that our bodies and spirits are to be fitted for immortality.
We are in a world that is opposed to righteousness and purity of character, and to a growth in grace. Wherever we look we see corruption and defilement, deformity and sin. And what is the work that we are to undertake here just previous to receiving immortality? It is to preserve our bodies holy, our spirits pure, that we may stand forth unstained amid the corruptions teeming around us in these last days. And if this work is accomplished we need to engage in it at once, heartily and understandingly. Selfishness should not come in here to influence us. The Spirit of God should have perfect control of us, influencing us in all our actions. If we have a right hold on Heaven, a right hold of the power that is from above, we shall feel the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of God upon our hearts.
When we have tried to present the health reform to our brethren and sisters, and have spoken to them of the importance of eating and drinking and doing all that they do to the glory of God, many by their actions have said: "It is nobody's business whether I eat this or that. Whatever we do we are to bear the consequences ourselves." Dear friends, you are greatly mistaken. You are not the only sufferers from a wrong course. The society you are in bears the consequences of your wrongs, in a great degree, as well as yourselves. If you suffer from your intemperance in eating or drinking, we that are around you or associated with you are also affected by your infirmities. We have to suffer on account of your wrong course. If it has an influence to lessen your powers of mind or body, we feel it when in your society, and are affected by it. If, instead of having a buoyancy of spirit, you are gloomy, you cast a shadow upon the spirits of all around you. If we are sad and depressed, and in trouble, you could, if in a right condition of health, have a clear brain to
show us the way out and speak a comforting word to us. But if your brain is so benumbed by your wrong course of living that you cannot give us the right counsel, do we not meet with a loss? Does not your influence seriously affect us? We may have a good degree of confidence in our own judgement, yet we want to have counsellors; for "in the multitude of counsellors there is safety." We desire that our course should look consistent to those we love, and we wish to seek their counsel and have them able to give it with a clear brain. But what care we for your judgement, if your brain nerve power has been taxed to the utmost, and the vitality withdrawn from the brain to take care of the improper food placed in your stomachs, or of an enormous quantity of even healthful food? What care we for the judgement of such persons? They see through a mass of undigested food. Therefore your course of living affects us. It is impossible for you to pursue any wrong course without causing others to suffer.
"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." Those who engaged in running the race to obtain that laurel which was considered a special honour were temperate in all things so that their muscles, their brains, and every part of them might be in the very best condition to run. If they were not temperate in all things they would not have that elasticity that they would have if they were. If temperate, they could run that race more successfully; they were more sure of receiving the crown.
But notwithstanding all their temperance,--all their efforts to subject themselves to a careful diet in order to be in the best condition,--those who ran the earthly race only ran at a venture. They might do the very best they could, and yet after all not receive the token of honour; for another might be a little in advance of them, and take the prize. Only one received the prize. But in the heavenly race we can all run and all receive the prize. There is no uncertainty, no risk, in the matter. We must put on the heavenly graces, and, with the eye directed upward to the crown of immortality, keep the Pattern ever before us. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. The humble, self-denying life of our divine Lord we are to keep constantly in view. And then as we seek to imitate Him, keeping our eye upon the mark of the prize, we can run this race with certainty, knowing that if we do the very best we can, we shall certainly secure the prize.
Men would subject themselves to self-denial and discipline in order to run and obtain a corruptible crown, one that would perish in a day, and which was only a token of honour from mortals here. But we are to run the race, at the end of which is a crown of immortality and everlasting life. Yes, a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory will be awarded to us as the prize when the race is run. "We," says the apostle, "an incorruptible." And if those who engaged in this race here upon the earth for a temporal crown could be temperate in all things, cannot we, who have in view an incorruptible crown, an eternal weight of glory, and a life which measures with the life of God? When we have this great inducement before us, cannot we "run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith"? He has pointed out the way for us, and marked it all along by His own footsteps. It is the
path that He travelled, and we may, with Him, experience the self-denial and the suffering, and walk in this pathway imprinted by His own blood.
"I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection." There is work here for every man, woman, and child to do. Satan is constantly seeking to gain control of your bodies and spirits. But Christ has bought you, and you are His property. And now it is for you to work in union with Christ, in union with the holy angels that minister unto you. It is for you to keep the body under and bring it into subjection. Unless you do this you will certainly lose everlasting life and the crown of immortality. And yet some will say: "What business is it to anybody what I eat or what I drink?" I have shown you what relation your course has to others. You have seen that it has much to do with the influence you exert in your families. It has much to do with moulding the characters of your children.
As I said before, we live in a corrupt age. It is a time when Satan seems to have almost perfect control over minds that are not fully consecrated to God. Therefore there is a very great responsibility resting upon parents and guardians who have children to bring up. Parents have taken the responsibility of bringing these children into existence; and now what is their duty? Is it to let them come up just as they may, and just as they will? Let me tell you, a weighty responsibility rests upon these parents. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." Do you do this when you prepare food for your tables and call your family to partake of it? Are you placing before your children only the food that you know will make the very best blood? Is it that food that will preserve their systems in the least feverish condition? Is it that which will place them in the
very best relation to life and health? Is this the food that you are studying to place before your children? Or do you, regardless of their future good, provide for them unhealthful, stimulating, irritating food?
Let me tell you that children are born to evil. Satan seems to have control of them. He takes possession of their young minds, and they are corrupted. Why do fathers and mothers act as though a lethargy were upon them? They do not mistrust that Satan is sowing evil seed in their families. They are as blind and careless and reckless in regard to these things as it is possible for them to be. Why do they not awake, and read and study upon these subjects? Says the apostle: "Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience," etc. Here is a work which rests upon every one who professes to follow Christ; it is to live upon the plan of addition.
Chapter after chapter has been opened to me. I can select family after family of children in this house, every one of whom is as corrupt as hell itself. Some of them profess to be followers of Christ, and you, their parents, are as indifferent as though you had had a shock of paralysis.
I have said that some of you are selfish. You have not understood what I have meant. You have studied what food would taste best. Taste and pleasure, instead of the glory of God, and a desire to advance in the divine life, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God, have ruled. You have consulted your own pleasure, your own appetite; and while you have been doing this, Satan has been gaining a march upon you and, as is generally the case, has frustrated your efforts every time.
Some of you fathers have taken your children to the physician to see what was the matter with them. I could have told you in two minutes what was the trouble. Your children
are corrupt. Satan has obtained control of them. He has come right in past you, while you, who are as God to them, to guard them, were at ease, stupefied, and asleep. God has commanded you to bring them up in the fear and nurture of the Lord. But Satan has passed right in before you and has woven strong bands around them. And yet you sleep on. May Heaven pity you and your children, for every one of you needs His pity.
Had you taken your position upon the health reform; had you added to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, things might have been different. But you have been only partially aroused by the iniquity and corruption that is in your houses. You have opened your eyes a little and then composed yourself to sleep again. Do you think angels can come into your dwellings? Do you think your children are susceptible of holy influences with these things among you? I can count family after family that are almost entirely under the control of Satan. I know these things are true, and I want the people to arouse before it shall be eternally too late, and the blood of souls, even the blood of the souls of their own children, be found upon their garments.
The minds of some of these children are so weakened that they have but one half or one third of the brilliancy of intellect that they might have had had they been virtuous and pure. They have thrown it away in self-abuse. Right here in this church, corruption is teeming on every hand. Now and then there is a sing, or some gathering for pleasure. Every time I hear of these, I feel like clothing myself in sackcloth. "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears!" "Spare Thy people, O Lord." I feel distressed. I have an agony of soul that is beyond anything that I can describe to you. You are asleep. Would the lightning and thunder
of Sinai arouse this church? Would they arouse you, fathers and mothers, to commence the work of reformation in your own houses? You should be teaching your children. You should be instructing them how to shun the vices and corruptions of this age. Instead of this, many are studying how to get something good to eat. You place upon your tables butter, eggs, and meat, and your children partake of them. They are fed with the very things that will excite their animal passions, and then you come to meeting and ask God to bless and save your children. How high do your prayers go? You have a work to do first. When you have done all for your children which God has left for you to do then you can with confidence claim the special help that God has promised to give you.
You should study temperance in all things. You must study it in what you eat and in what you drink. And yet you say: "It is nobody's business what I eat, or what I drink, or what I place upon my table." It is somebody's business, unless you take your children and shut them up, or go into the wilderness where you will not be a burden upon others, and where your unruly, vicious children will not corrupt the society in which they mingle.
Many who have adopted the health reform have left off everything hurtful, but does it follow that because they have left off these things they can eat just as much as they please? They sit down to the table, and instead of considering how much they should eat, they give themselves up to appetite and eat to great excess. And the stomach has all it can do, or all it should do, the rest of that day, to worry away with the burden imposed upon it. All the food that is put into the stomach, from which the system cannot derive benefit, is a burden to nature in her work. It hinders the living machine. The system is clogged and cannot successfully carry on its
work. The vital organs are unnecessarily taxed, and the brain nerve power is called to the stomach to help the digestive organs carry on their work of disposing of an amount of food which does the system no good.
Thus the power of the brain is lessened by drawing so heavily upon it to help the stomach get along with its heavy burden. And after it has accomplished the task, what are the sensations experienced as the result of this unnecessary expenditure of vital force? A feeling of goneness, a faintness, as though you must eat more. Perhaps this feeling comes just before mealtime. What is the cause of this? Nature has worried along with her work and is so thoroughly exhausted in consequence that you have this sensation of goneness. And you think that the stomach says, "More food," when, in its faintness, it is distinctly saying, "Give me rest."
The stomach needs rest to gather up its exhausted energies for another work. But, instead of allowing it any period of rest, you think it needs more food, and so heap another load upon nature, and refuse it the needed rest. It is like a man labouring in the field all through the early part of the day until he is weary. He comes in at noon and says that he is weary and exhausted, but you tell him to go to work again and he will obtain relief. This is the way you treat the stomach. It is thoroughly exhausted. But instead of letting it rest, you give it more food, and then call the vitality from other parts of the system to the stomach to assist in the work of digestion.
Many of you have at times felt a numbness around the brain. You have felt disinclined to take hold of any labour which required either mental or physical exertion, until you have rested from the sense of this burden imposed upon your system. Then, again, there is this sense of goneness. But you say it is more food that is wanted, and place a double load
upon the stomach for it to care for. Even if you are strict in the quality of your food, do you glorify God in your bodies and spirits, which are His, by partaking of such a quantity of food? Those who place so much food upon the stomach, and thus load down nature, could not appreciate the truth should they hear it dwelt upon. They could not arouse the benumbed sensibilities of the brain to realise the value of the atonement and the great sacrifice that has been made for fallen man. It is impossible for such to appreciate the great, the precious, and the exceedingly rich reward that is in reserve for the faithful overcomers. The animal part of our nature should never be left to govern the moral and intellectual.
And what influence does overeating have upon the stomach? It becomes debilitated, the digestive organs are weakened, and disease, with all its train of evils, is brought on as the result. If persons were diseased before, they thus increase the difficulties upon them and lessen their vitality every day they live. They call their vital powers into unnecessary action to take care of the food that they place in their stomachs. What a terrible condition is this to be in! We know something of dyspepsia by experience. We have had it in our family, and we feel that it is a disease much to be dreaded. When a person becomes a thorough dyspeptic, he is a great sufferer, mentally and physically; and his friends must also suffer, unless they are as unfeeling as brutes. And yet will you say: "It is none of your business what I eat or what course I pursue"? Does anybody around dyspeptics suffer? Just take a course that will irritate them in any way. How natural to be fretful! They feel bad, and it appears to them that their children are very bad. They cannot speak calmly to them, nor, without especial grace, act calmly in their families. All around them are affected by the disease upon them; all have to suffer the consequences of their infirmity. They cast
a dark shadow. Then, do not your habits of eating and drinking affect others? They certainly do. And you should be very careful to preserve yourself in the best condition of health that you may render to God perfect service and do your duty in society and to your family.
But even health reformers can err in the quantity of food. They can eat immoderately of a healthy quality of food. Some in this house err in the quality. They have never taken their position upon health reform. They have chosen to eat and drink what they pleased and when they pleased. They are injuring their systems in this way. Not only this, but they are injuring their families by placing upon their tables a feverish diet which will increase the animal passions of their children and lead them to care but little for heavenly things. The parents are thus strengthening the animal, and lessening the spiritual, powers of their children. What a heavy penalty will they have to pay in the end! And then they wonder that their children are so weak morally!
Parents have not given their children the right education. Frequently they manifest the same imperfections which are seen in the children. They eat improperly, and this calls their nervous energies to the stomach, and they have no vitality to expend in other directions. They cannot properly control their children because of their own impatience, neither can they teach them the right way. Perhaps they take hold of them roughly and give them an impatient blow. I have said that to shake a child would shake two evil spirits in, while it would shake one out. If a child is wrong, to shake it only makes it worse. It will not subdue it. When the system is not in a right condition, when the circulation is broken up, and the nervous power has all that it can do to take care of a bad quality of food, or too great a quantity even of that which is good, parents have not self-command. They cannot
reason from cause to effect. Here is the reason why--in every move they make in their families they create more trouble than they cure. They do not seem to understand and reason from cause to effect, and they go to work like blind men. They seem to act as though it would especially glorify God for them to move like wild men, and if anything wrong should occur in their families, to put it down with roughness and violence.
Who are our children? They are only our younger brothers and sisters in the family that God acknowledges as His. We are dealing with the members of the Lord's family. And while the care of them is committed to us, how careful should we be that we bring them up for the Lord, so that when the Master comes we can say: "Here, Lord, are we, and the children that Thou hast given us." Shall we then be able to say: We have tried to do our work, and we have tried to do it well"?
I have seen mothers of large families, who could not see the work that lay right in their pathway, just before them in their own families. They wanted to be missionaries and do some great work. They were looking out for themselves some high position, but neglecting to take care of the very work at home which the Lord had left for them to do. How important that the brain be clear! How important that the body be as free as possible from disease, in order that we may do the work which Heaven has left for us to do, and perform it in such a manner that the Master can say: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." My sisters, do not despise the few things which the Lord has left for you to do. Let each day's actions be such that in the day of final settlement of accounts you will not be ashamed to meet the record made by the recording angel.
But what about an impoverished diet? I have spoken of the importance of the quantity and quality of food being in strict accordance with the laws of health. But we would not recommend an impoverished diet. I have been shown that many take a wrong view of the health reform and adopt too poor a diet. They subsist upon a cheap, poor quality of food, prepared without care or reference to the nourishment of the system. It is important that the food should be prepared with care, that the appetite, when not perverted, can relish it. Because we from principle discard the use of meat, butter, mince pies, spices, lard, and that which irritates the stomach and destroys health, the idea should never be given that it is of but little consequence what we eat.
There are some who go to extremes. They must eat just such an amount and just such a quality, and confine themselves to two or three things. They allow only a few things to be placed before them or their families to eat. In eating a small amount of food, and that not of the best quality, they do not take into the stomach that which will suitably nourish the system. Poor food cannot be converted into good blood. An impoverished diet will impoverish the blood. I will mention the case of Sister A. That case was presented to me to show an extreme. Two classes were presented before me: First, those who were not living up to the light which God had given them. They started in the reform because somebody else did. They did not understand the system for themselves. There are many of you who profess the truth, who have received it because somebody else did, and for your life you could not give the reason. This is why you are as weak as water. Instead of weighing your motives in the light of eternity, instead of having a practical knowledge of the principles underlying all your actions, instead of having dug down to the bottom and built upon a right foundation for yourself, you are walking in the
sparks kindled by somebody else. And you will fail in this, as you have failed in the health reform. Now, if you had moved from principle you would not have done this.
Some cannot be impressed with the necessity of eating and drinking to the glory of God. The indulgence of appetite affects them in all the relations of life. It is seen in their family, in their church, in the prayer meeting, and in the conduct of their children. It has been the curse of their lives. You cannot make them understand the truths for these last days. God has bountifully provided for the sustenance and happiness of all His creatures; and if His laws were never violated, and all acted in harmony with the divine will, health, peace, and happiness, instead of misery and continual evil, would be experienced.
Another class who have taken hold of the health reform are very severe. They take a position, and stand stubbornly in that position, and carry nearly everything over the mark. Sister A was one of these. She was not sympathizing, loving, and affectionate like our divine Lord. Justice was nearly all she could see. She carried matters further than Dr. Trall. Her patients had to even leave her because they could not get enough to eat. Her impoverished diet gave her impoverished blood.
Flesh meats will depreciate the blood. Cook meat with spices, and eat it with rich cakes and pies, and you have a bad quality of blood. The system is too heavily taxed in disposing of this kind of food. The mince pies and the pickles, which should never find a place in any human stomach, will give a miserable quality of blood. And a poor quality of food, cooked in an improper manner, and insufficient in quantity, cannot make good blood. Flesh meats and rich food, and an impoverished diet, will produce the same results.
Now in regard to milk and sugar: I know of persons who have become frightened at the health reform, and said they
would have nothing to do with it, because it has spoken against a free use of these things. Changes should be made with great care, and we should move cautiously and wisely. We want to take that course which will recommend itself to the intelligent men and women of the land. Large quantities of milk and sugar eaten together are injurious. They impart impurities to the system. Animals from which milk is obtained are not always healthy. They may be diseased. A cow may be apparently well in the morning, and die before night. Then she was diseased in the morning, and her milk was diseased; but you did not know it. The animal creation is diseased. Flesh meats are diseased. Could we know that animals were in perfect health, I would recommend that people eat flesh meats sooner than large quantities of milk and sugar. It would not do the injury that milk and sugar do. Sugar clogs the system. It hinders the working of the living machine.
There was one case in Montcalm County, Michigan, to which I will refer. The individual was a noble man. He stood six feet and was of fine appearance. I was called to visit him in his sickness. I had previously conversed with him in regard to his manner of living. "I do not like the looks of your eyes," said I. He was eating large quantities of sugar. I asked him why he did this. He said that he had left off meat, and did not know what would supply its place as well as sugar. His food did not satisfy him, simply because his wife did not know how to cook. Some of you send your daughters, who have nearly grown to womanhood, to school to learn the sciences before they know how to cook, when this should be made of the first importance. Here was a woman who did not know how to cook; she had not learned how to prepare healthful food. The wife and mother was deficient in this important branch of education; and as the result, poorly cooked food not being sufficient to sustain the demands of the system, sugar was eaten
immoderately, which brought on a diseased condition of the entire system. This man's life was sacrificed unnecessarily to bad cooking. When I went to see the sick man I tried to tell them as well as I could how to manage, and soon he began slowly to improve. But he imprudently exercised his strength when not able, ate a small amount not of the right quality, and was taken down again. This time there was no help for him. His system appeared to be a living mass of corruption. He died a victim to poor cooking. He tried to make sugar supply the place of good cooking, and it only made matters worse.
I frequently sit down to the tables of the brethren and sisters, and see that they use a great amount of milk and sugar. These clog the system, irritate the digestive organs, and affect the brain. Anything that hinders the active motion of the living machinery affects the brain very directly. And from the light given me, sugar, when largely used, is more injurious than meat. These changes should be made cautiously, and the subject should be treated in a manner not calculated to disgust and prejudice those whom we would teach and help.
Our sisters often do not know how to cook. To such I would say: I would go to the very best cook that could be found in the country, and remain there if necessary for weeks, until I had become mistress of the art, an intelligent, skilful cook. I would pursue this course if I were forty years old. It is your duty to know how to cook, and it is your duty to teach your daughters to cook. When you are teaching them the art of cookery you are building around them a barrier that will preserve them from the folly and vice which they may otherwise be tempted to engage in. I prize my seamstress, I value my copyist; but my cook, who knows well how to prepare the food to sustain life and nourish brain, bone, and muscle, fills the most important place among the helpers in my family.
Mothers, there is nothing that leads to such evils as to lift the burdens from your daughters, and give them nothing special to do, and let them choose their own employment, perhaps a little crochet or some other fancywork to busy themselves. Let them have exercise of the limbs and muscles. If it wearies them, what then? Are you not wearied in your work? Will weariness hurt your children, unless overworked, more than it hurts you? No, indeed. They can recover from their weariness in a good night's rest and be prepared to engage in labour the next day. It is a sin to let them grow up in idleness. The sin and ruin of Sodom was abundance of bread and idleness.
We want to work from the right standpoint. We want to act like men and women that are to be brought into judgement. And when we adopt the health reform we should adopt it from a sense of duty, not because somebody else has adopted it. I have not changed my course a particle since I adopted the health reform. I have not taken one step back since the light from heaven upon this subject first shone upon my pathway. I broke away from everything at once,--from meat and butter, and from three meals,--and that while engaged in exhaustive brain labour, writing from early morning till sundown. I came down to two meals a day without changing my labour. I have been a great sufferer from disease, having had five shocks of paralysis. I have been with my left arm bound to my side for months because the pain in my heart was so great. When making these changes in my diet, I refused to yield to taste and let that govern me. Shall that stand in the way of my securing greater strength, that I may therewith glorify my Lord? Shall that stand in my way for a moment? Never! I suffered keen hunger. I was a great meat eater. But when faint, I placed my arms across my stomach and said: "I will not taste a morsel. I will eat simple food, or I will not eat at all." Bread was
distasteful to me. I could seldom eat a piece as large as a dollar. Some things in the reform I could get along with very well, but when I came to the bread I was especially set against it. When I made these changes I had a special battle to fight. The first two or three meals, I could not eat. I said to my stomach: "You may wait until you can eat bread." In a little while I could eat bread, and graham bread, too. This I could not eat before; but now it tastes good, and I have had no loss of appetite.
When writing Spiritual Gifts, volumes three and four, I would become exhausted by excessive labour. I then saw that I must change my course of life, and by resting a few days I came out all right again. I left off these things from principle. I took my stand on health reform from principle. And since that time, brethren, you have not heard me advance an extreme view of health reform that I have had to take back. I have advanced nothing but what I stand to today. I recommend to you a healthful, nourishing diet.
I do not regard it a great privation to discontinue the use of those things which leave a bad smell in the breath and a bad taste in the mouth. Is it self-denial to leave these things and get into a condition where everything is as sweet as honey; where no bad taste is left in the mouth and no feeling of goneness in the stomach? These I used to have much of the time. I have fainted away with my child in my arms again and again. I have none of this now, and shall I call this a privation when I can stand before you as I do this day? There is not one woman in a hundred that could endure the amount of labour that I do. I moved out from principle, not from impulse. I moved because I believed Heaven would approve of the course I was taking to bring myself into the very best condition of health, that I might glorify God in my body and spirit, which are His.
We can have a variety of good, wholesome food, cooked in a healthful manner, so that it can be made palatable to all. And if you, my sisters, do not know how to cook, I advise you to learn. It is of vital importance to you to know how to cook. There are more souls lost from poor cooking than you have any idea of. It produces sickness, disease, and bad tempers; the system becomes deranged, and heavenly things cannot be discerned. There is more religion in a loaf of good bread than many of you think. There is more religion in good cooking than you have any idea of. We want you to learn what good religion is, and to carry it out in your families. When I have been from home sometimes, I have known that the bread upon the table, and the food generally, would hurt me; but I would be obliged to eat a little to sustain life. It is a sin in the sight of Heaven to have such food. I have suffered for want of proper food. For a dyspeptic stomach, you may place upon your tables fruits of different kinds, but not too many at one meal. In this way you may have a variety, and it will taste good, and after you have eaten your meals you will feel well.
I am astonished to learn that, after all the light that has been given in this place, many of you eat between meals! You should never let a morsel pass your lips between your regular meals. Eat what you ought, but eat it at one meal, and then wait until the next. I eat enough to satisfy the wants of nature; but when I get up from the table, my appetite is just as good as when I sat down. And when the next meal comes, I am ready to take my portion, and no more. Should I eat a double amount now and then, because it tastes good, how could I bow down and ask God to help me in my work of writing, when I could not get an idea on account of my gluttony? Could I ask God to take care of that unreasonable load upon my stomach? That would be dishonouring Him. That would be asking to consume upon my lust. Now I eat just
what I think is right, and then I can ask Him to give me strength to perform the work that He has given me to do. And I have known that Heaven has heard and answered my prayer when I have offered this petition.
Again, when we eat immoderately, we sin against our own bodies. Upon the Sabbath, in the house of God, gluttons will sit and sleep under the burning truths of God's word. They can neither keep their eyes open, nor comprehend the solemn discourses given. Do you think that such are glorifying God in their bodies and spirits, which are His? No; they dishonour Him. And the dyspeptic--what has made him dyspeptic is taking this course. Instead of observing regularity, he has let appetite control him, and has eaten between meals. Perhaps, if his habits are sedentary, he has not had the vitalizing air of heaven to help in the work of digestion; he may not have had sufficient exercise for his health.
Some of you feel as though you would like to have somebody tell you how much to eat. This is not the way it should be. We are to act from a moral and religious standpoint. We are to be temperate in all things, because an incorruptible crown, a heavenly treasure, is before us. And now I wish to say to my brethren and sisters, I would have moral courage to take my position and to govern myself. I would not want to put that on someone else. You eat too much, and then you are sorry, and so you keep thinking upon what you eat and drink. Just eat that which is for the best, and go right away, feeling clear in the sight of Heaven, and not having remorse of conscience. We do not believe in removing temptations entirely away from either children or grown persons. We all have a warfare before us and must stand in a position to resist the temptations of Satan, and we want to know that we possess the power in ourselves to do this.
And while we would caution you not to overeat, even of
the best quality of food, we would also caution those that are extremists not to raise a false standard and then endeavour to bring everybody to it. There are some who are starting out as health reformers who are not fit to engage in any other enterprise, and who have not sense enough to take care of their own families, or keep their proper place in the church. And what do they do? Why, they fall back as health reform physicians, as though they could make that a success. They assume the responsibilities of their practice, and take the lives of men and women into their hands, when they really know nothing about the business.
My voice shall be raised against novices undertaking to treat disease professedly according to the principles of health reform. God forbid that we should be the subjects for them to experiment upon! We are too few. It is altogether too inglorious a warfare for us to die in. God deliver us from such danger! We do not need such teachers and physicians. Let those try to treat disease who know something about the human system. The heavenly Physician was full of compassion. This spirit is needed by those who deal with the sick. Some who undertake to become physicians are bigoted, selfish, and mulish. You cannot teach them anything. It may be they have never done anything worth doing. They may not have made life a success. They know nothing really worth knowing, and yet they have started up to practice the health reform. We cannot afford to let such persons kill off this one and that one. No; we cannot afford it!
We want to be just right every time. We want to bring our people up to the right position on the health reform. "Let us," says the apostle, "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." We must be right in order to stand in the last days. We need clear brains and sound minds in sound bodies. We should
begin to work in earnest for our children, for every member of our families. Shall we take hold and work from the right standpoint? Jesus is coming; and if we pursue a course to blind ourselves to the soul-elevating truths of these last days, how can we be sanctified through the truth? How can we be prepared for immortality? May the Lord help us that we may commence to work here as never before.
We have spoken of having a series of meetings in this place, and of taking hold to labour for the people. But we dare not put our arms under to lift you. We want you to commence this work of reformation in your own houses. We want those that have been in the background to come up. You must begin to work. And when we see that you have commenced to labour for yourselves, we will come in and lift. We hope to reform your children, that they may be converted to Christ, and that the spirit of reformation may spread all through your midst. But when you appear twice dead, and ready to be plucked up by the roots, we dare not undertake the work. We would rather go to an unbelieving congregation where there are hearts to receive the truth. The burden of the truth is upon us. There are enough to hear the truth; and we long to be where we can speak it to them. Will you help us by going to work for yourselves?
May the Lord help you to feel as you never felt before. May He help you to
die to self, and get the spirit of reformation in your homes, that the angels of
God may come into your midst to minister unto you, and that you may be fitted
for translation to heaven.