The things of nature are God's blessings, provided to give health to body, mind, and soul. They are given to the well to keep them well and to the sick to make them well. Connected with water treatment, they are more effective in restoring health than all the drug medication in the world.
In the country the sick find many things to call their attention away from themselves and their sufferings. Everywhere they can look upon and enjoy the beautiful things of nature--the flowers, the fields, the fruit trees laden with their rich treasure, the forest trees casting their grateful shade, and the hills and valleys with their varied verdure and many forms of life.
And not only are they entertained by these surroundings, but at the same time they learn most precious spiritual lessons. Surrounded by the wonderful works of God, their minds are lifted from the things that are seen to the things that are unseen. The beauty of nature leads them to think of the matchless charms of the earth made new, where there will be nothing to mar the loveliness, nothing to taint or destroy, nothing to cause disease or death.
Nature is God's physician. The pure air, the glad sunshine, the beautiful flowers and trees, the orchards and vineyards, and outdoor exercise amid these surroundings,
are health-giving--the elixir of life. Outdoor life is the only medicine that many invalids need. Its influence is powerful to heal sickness caused by fashionable life, a life that weakens and destroys the physical, mental, and spiritual powers.
How grateful to weary invalids accustomed to city life, the glare of many lights, and the noise of the streets are the quiet and freedom of the country! How eagerly do they turn to the scenes of nature! How glad would they be for the advantages of a sanitarium in the country, where they could sit in the open air, rejoice in the sunshine, and breathe the fragrance of tree and flower! There are life-giving properties in the balsam of the pine, in the fragrance of the cedar and the fir. And there are other trees that are health-promoting. Let no such trees be ruthlessly cut down. Cherish them where they are abundant, and plant more where there are but few.
For the chronic invalid nothing so tends to restore health and happiness as living amid attractive country surroundings. Here the most helpless ones can be left sitting or lying in the sunshine or in the shade of the trees. They have only to lift their eyes and they see above them the beautiful foliage. They wonder that they have never before noticed how gracefully the boughs bend, forming a living canopy over them, giving them just the shade they need. A sweet sense of restfulness and refreshing comes over them as they listen to the murmuring breezes. The drooping spirits revive. The waning strength is recruited. Unconsciously the mind becomes peaceful, the fevered pulse more calm and regular. As the sick grow stronger, they will venture to take a few steps to gather some of the lovely flowers--precious messengers of God's love to His afflicted family here below.
Encourage the patients to be much in the open air. Devise plans to keep them out of doors, where, through nature, they can commune with God. Locate sanitariums on extensive tracts of land, where, in the cultivation of the soil, patients can have opportunity for healthful, outdoor exercise. Such exercise, combined with hygienic treatment, will work miracles in restoring and invigorating the diseased body and refreshing the worn and weary mind. Amid conditions so favourable the patients will not require so much care as if confined in a sanitarium in the city. Nor will they in the country be so much inclined to discontentment and repining. They will be ready to learn lessons in regard to the love of God, ready to acknowledge that He who cares so wonderfully for the birds and the flowers will care for the creatures formed in His own image. Thus opportunity is given physicians and helpers to reach souls, uplifting the God of nature before those who are seeking restoration to health.
In the night season I was given a view of a sanitarium in the country. The institution was not large, but it was complete. It was surrounded by beautiful trees and shrubbery, beyond which were orchards and groves. Connected with the place were gardens, in which the lady patients, when they chose, could cultivate flowers of every description, each patient selecting a special plot for which to care. Outdoor exercise in these gardens was prescribed as a part of the regular treatment.
Scene after scene passed before me. In one scene a number of suffering patients had just come to one of our country sanitariums. In another I saw the same company; but, oh, how transformed their appearance! Disease had gone, the skin was clear, the countenance
joyful; body and mind seemed animated with new life.
I was also instructed that as those who have been sick are restored to health in our country sanitariums and return to their homes, they will be living object lessons, and many others will be favourably impressed by the transformation that has taken place in them. Many of the sick and suffering will turn from the cities to the country, refusing to conform to the habits, customs, and fashions of city life; they will seek to regain health in some one of our country sanitariums. Thus, though we are removed from the cities twenty or thirty miles, we shall be able to reach the people, and those who desire health will have opportunity to regain it under conditions most favourable.
God will work wonders for us if we will in faith cooperate with Him. Let us, then, pursue a sensible course, that our efforts may be blessed of heaven and crowned with success.
Why should not the young men and the young women who are seeking to obtain a knowledge of how to care for the sick have most liberally the advantage of nature's wonderful resources? Why should they not be most diligently taught to value and to use these resources?
In the location of sanitariums our physicians have missed the mark. They have not used the provisions of nature as they may. God desires that the places chosen for sanitarium work be beautiful, that the patients be surrounded with everything that delights the senses. May God help us to do our utmost to utilise the life-giving power of sunshine and fresh air. When we as a people closely follow the Lord's plan in our sanitarium work, nature's resources will be appreciated.