Unless our restaurants are conducted in this way, it will be necessary to warn our people against sending their children to them as workers. Many of those who patronise our restaurants do not bring with them the angels of God; they do not desire the companionship of these holy beings. They bring with them a worldly influence, and to withstand this influence the workers need to be closely connected with God. The managers of our restaurants must do more to save the young people in their employ. They must put forth greater efforts to keep them alive spiritually, so that their young minds will not be swayed by the worldly spirit with which they are constantly brought in contact. The girls and the young women in our restaurants need a shepherd. Every one of them needs to be sheltered by home influences.
There is danger that the youth, entering our institutions as believers, and desiring to help in the cause of God, will become weary and disheartened, losing their zeal and courage, and growing cold and indifferent. We cannot crowd these youth into small, dark rooms and deprive them of the privileges of home life and then expect them to have a wholesome religious experience.
It is important that wise plans be laid for the care of the helpers in all our institutions and especially for those employed in our restaurants. Good helpers should be secured, and every advantage should be provided that will aid them to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ. They are not to be left to the mercy of haphazard circumstances, with no regular time for prayer and no time at all for Bible study. When left thus, they become heedless and careless, indifferent to eternal realities.
With every restaurant there should be connected a man and his wife who can act as guardians of the helpers,
a man and woman who love the Saviour and the souls for whom He died, and who keep the way of the Lord.
The young women should be under the care of a wise, judicious matron, a woman who is thoroughly converted, who will carefully guard the workers, especially the younger ones.
The workers are to feel that they have a home. They are God's helping hand, and they are to be treated as carefully and tenderly as Christ declared that the little child whom He set in the midst of His disciples was to be treated. "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me," He said, "it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven." Matthew 18:6, 10. The care that should be given to these employees is one of the reasons in favour of having in a large city several small restaurants instead of one large one. But this is not the only reason why it will be best to establish several small restaurants in different parts of our large cities. The smaller restaurants will recommend the principles of health reform just as well as the larger establishment and will be much more easily managed. We are not commissioned to feed the world, but we are instructed to educate the people. In the smaller restaurants there will not be so much work to do, and the helpers will have more time to devote to the study of the word, more time to learn how to do their work well, and more time to answer the inquiries of the patrons who are desirous of learning about the principles of health reform.
If we fulfil the purpose of God in this work, the righteousness of Christ will go before us, and the glory of the Lord will be our rearward. But if there is no ingathering of souls, if the helpers themselves are not spiritually benefited, if they are not glorifying God in word and deed, why should we open and maintain such establishments? If we cannot conduct our restaurants to God's glory, if we cannot exert through them a strong religious influence, it would be better for us to close them up and use the talents of our youth in other lines of work. But our restaurants can be so conducted that they will be the means of saving souls. Let us seek the Lord earnestly for humility of heart, that He may teach us how to walk in the light of His counsel, how to understand His word, how to accept it, and how to put it into practise.
There is danger that our restaurants will be conducted in such a way that our helpers will work very hard day after day and week after week, and yet not be able to point to any good accomplished. This matter needs careful consideration. We have no right to bind our young people up in a work that yields no fruit to the glory of God.
There is danger that the restaurant work, though regarded as a wonderfully successful way of doing good, will be so conducted that it will promote merely the physical wellbeing of those whom it serves. A work may apparently bear the features of supreme excellence, but it is not good in God's sight unless it is performed with an earnest desire to do His will and fulfil His purpose. If God is not recognised as the author and end of our actions, they are weighed in the balances of the sanctuary and found wanting.
The question has been asked: "Should our restaurants be opened on the Sabbath?" My answer is: No, no! The observance of the Sabbath is our witness to God, the mark, or sign, between Him and us that we are His people. Never is this mark to be obliterated.
Were the workers in our restaurants to provide meals on the Sabbath the same as they do through the week for the mass of people who would come, where would be their day of rest? What opportunity would they have to recruit their physical and spiritual strength?
Not long since, special light was given me on this subject. I was shown that efforts would be made to break down our standard of Sabbath observance, that men would plead for the opening of our restaurants on the Sabbath; but that this must never be done.
A scene passed before me. I was in our restaurant in San Francisco. It was Friday. Several of the workers were busily engaged in putting up packages of such foods as could be easily carried by the people to their homes, and a number were waiting to receive these packages. I asked the meaning of this, and the workers told me that some among their patrons were troubled because, on account of the closing of the restaurant, they could not on the Sabbath obtain food of the same kind as that which they used during the week. Realising the value of the wholesome foods obtained at the restaurant, they protested against being denied them on the seventh day and pleaded with those in charge of the restaurant to keep it open every day in the week, pointing out what they would suffer if this were not done. "What you see today," said the workers, "is our answer to this demand for the health foods upon the Sabbath. These people take on Friday food that lasts over the Sabbath, and in this
way we avoid condemnation for refusing to open the restaurant on the Sabbath."
The line of demarcation between our people and the world must ever be kept unmistakably plain. Our platform is the law of God, in which we are enjoined to observe the Sabbath day; for, as is distinctly stated in the thirty-first chapter of Exodus, the observance of the Sabbath is a sign between God and His people. "Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep," He declares; "for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you. . . . It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed."
We are to heed a "Thus saith the Lord," even though by our obedience we cause great inconvenience to those who have no respect for the Sabbath. On one hand we have man's supposed necessities; on the other, God's commands. Which have the greatest weight with us?
In our sanitariums the family of patients, with the physicians, nurses, and helpers, must be fed upon the Sabbath, as any other family, with as little labour as possible. But our restaurants should not be opened on the Sabbath. Let the workers be assured that they will have this day for the worship of God. The closed doors on the Sabbath stamp the restaurant as a memorial for God, a memorial which declares that the seventh day is the Sabbath and that on it no unnecessary work is to be done.
I have been instructed that one of the principal reasons why hygienic restaurants and treatment rooms should
be established in the centres of large cities is that by this means the attention of leading men will be called to the third angel's message. Noticing that these restaurants are conducted in a way altogether different from the way in which ordinary restaurants are conducted, men of intelligence will begin to inquire into the reasons for the difference in business methods, and will investigate the principles that lead us to serve superior food. Thus they will be led to a knowledge of the message for this time.
When thinking men find that our restaurants are closed on the Sabbath, they will make inquiries in regard to the principles that lead us to close our doors on Saturday. In answering their questions, we shall have opportunity to acquaint them with the reasons for our faith. We can give them copies of our periodicals and tracts, so that they may be able to understand the difference between "him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not."
Not all our people are as particular as they should be in regard to Sabbath observance. May God help them to reform. It becomes the head of every family to plant his feet firmly on the platform of obedience.