Adam and Eve in Eden were noble in stature, and perfect in symmetry and beauty. They were sinless, and in perfect health. What a contrast to the human race now! Beauty is gone. Perfect health is not known. Every where we look we see disease, deformity and imbecility. I inquired the cause of this wonderful degeneracy, and was pointed back to Eden. The beautiful Eve was beguiled by the serpent to eat of the fruit of the only tree of which God had forbidden them to eat, or even touch it lest they die.
Eve had everything to make her happy. She was surrounded by fruit of every variety. Yet the fruit of the forbidden tree appeared more desirable to her than the fruit of all the other trees in the garden of which she could freely eat. She was intemperate in her desires. She ate, and through her influence, her husband ate also, and a curse rested upon them both. The earth also was cursed because of their sin. And since the fall, intemperance in almost every form has existed. The appetite has controlled reason. The human family have followed in a course of disobedience, and, like Eve, have been beguiled by Satan: to disregard the prohibitions God has made, flattering themselves that the consequence would not be as fearful as had been apprehended. The human family have violated the laws of health, and have run to excess in almost everything. Disease has been steadily increasing. The cause has been followed by the effect.
God gave our first parents the food he designed that the race should eat. It was contrary to his plan to have the life of any creature taken. There was to be no death in Eden. The fruit of the trees in the garden, was the food man’s wants required. God gave man no permission to eat animal food until after the flood. Every thing had been destroyed upon which man could subsist, and therefore the Lord in their necessity gave Noah permission to eat of the clean animals which he had taken with him into the ark. But animal food was not the most healthy article of food for man.
The people who lived before the flood ate animal food, and gratified their lusts until their cup of iniquity was full, and God cleansed the earth of its moral pollution by a flood. Then the third dreadful curse rested upon the earth. The first curse was pronounced upon the posterity of Adam and upon the earth, because of disobedience. The second curse came upon the ground after Cain slew his brother Abel. The third most dreadful curse from God, came upon the earth at the flood.
After the flood the people ate largely of animal food. God saw that the ways of man were corrupt, and that he was disposed to exalt himself proudly against his Creator, and to follow the inclinations of his own heart. And he permitted that long-lived race to eat animal food to shorten their sinful lives. Soon after the flood the race began to rapidly decrease in size, and in length of years. There were a class of very large animals which perished at the flood. God knew that the strength of man would decrease, and these mammoth animals could not be controlled by feeble man.
Sin has prevailed since the fall. While a few have remained faithful to God, the great majority have corrupted their ways before him. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was on account of their great wickedness. They gave loose rein to their intemperate appetites, then to their corrupt passions, until they were so debased, and their sins were so abominable, that their cup of iniquity was full, and they were consumed with fire from heaven.
When the Lord brought his people from Egyptian bondage, he led them through the wilderness to prove them, and try them. He promised to be their God, and to take them to himself as his peculiar treasure. He did not prohibit their eating meat, but withheld it from them in a great measure. He gave them food which he designed that they should have, which was healthy, and of which they could eat freely. He rained their bread from Heaven, and gave them purest water out of the flinty rock. He made a covenant with them, that if they would obey him in all things, he would put no disease upon them. But the Israelites were not satisfied with the food which God gave them. They murmured against Moses and against God, and wished themselves back in Egypt, where they could sit by the flesh pots. God in his anger gave them flesh to gratify their lustful appetite, and great numbers of them died in the act of eating the meat for which they had lusted. While it was yet between their teeth the curse of God came upon them. God here teaches his people that he is displeased with their permitting their appetite to control them. The Israelites at times would prefer slavery, and even death, rather than to be deprived of meat.
The curse did not come all at once. It was first felt at Adam’s fall, and increased at the murder of Abel, and greatly increased at the flood. Since the flood, as the human family have forgotten God, and have followed in a course of disobedience, and have transgressed his commandments, the curse has rested heavier and heavier upon men and upon the beasts. The trees and all vegetation also have felt the effects of the curse. All through the inspired history are exalted blessings promised upon the people of God on conditions of obedience, and curses threatened for disobedience.
“And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth. The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. The Lord shall establish thee a holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways. And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee. The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give thee rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand. And thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.”
God pronounced upon his people a curse if they would not hearken unto his voice to observe to do all his commandments. “Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.”
God would have his people clearly understand that they will be visited according to their obedience or transgression. Wickedness and disease have increased with every successive generation. The land has labored under the curse which man has brought upon it because of continued disobedience. “The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate.” Many marvel that the human race have so degenerated, physically, mentally, and morally. They do not understand that it is the violation of God’s constitution and laws, and the violation of the laws of health, that has produced this sad degeneracy. The transgression of God’s commandments has caused his prospering hand to be removed.
Intemperance in eating and in drinking, and the indulgence of base passions have benumbed the fine sensibilities, so that sacred things have been placed upon a level with common things. Nadab and Abihu drank too freely of wine, and the result was, they used common fire instead of sacred, and were destroyed for thus dishonoring God. When appetite is left to control reason, sacred things are not discerned. God expressly commanded the children of Israel not to eat swine’s flesh. The heathen used this meat as an article of food. God prohibited the Hebrews the use of swine’s flesh because it was hurtful. It would fill the system with humors, and in that warm climate often produced leprosy. Its influence upon the system in that climate was far more injurious than in a colder climate. But God never designed the swine to be eaten under any circumstances. Swine were useful. In a fruitful country, where there was much to decay upon the ground, which would poison the atmosphere, herds of swine were permitted to run free, and devoured the decaying substances, which was a means of preserving health. Other animals were forbidden to be eaten by the Israelites, because they were not the best articles of food.
If the Israelites had manifested a spirit of submission to God’s wise prohibitions, he would have removed from them everything injurious to their health, and would have suffered no sickness to be among them. But he gave them what they lusted for, because they would not submit to him.
Appetite has been indulged to the injury of health. Stimulating drinks have been used freely, which have confused the brain and brought down man to the level of the brute creation. While intoxicated, every degree of crime has been committed, and yet the perpetrators have been excused in many instances, because they knew not what they were doing. This does not lessen the guilt of the criminal. If by his own hand he puts the glass to his lips, and deliberately takes that which he knows will destroy his reasoning faculties, he becomes responsible for all the injury he does while intoxicated, at the very moment he lets his appetite control him, and he barters away his reasoning faculties for intoxicating drinks. It was his own act which brought him even below the brutes, and crimes committed when he is in a state of intoxication should be punished as severely as though the person had all the power of his reasoning faculties.
Nadab and Abihu, by drinking wine, beclouded their reasoning faculties, and so lost their sense of sacred things, that they thought they could as well offer common fire as sacred. God did not excuse them because the brain was confused. Fire from his presence destroyed them in their sin. Some look with horror upon men who have been overcome with liquor, and are seen reeling and staggering in the street, while at the same time they are gratifying their appetite for things differing in their nature from spirituous liquor, but which injure the health, affect the brain, and destroy their high sense of spiritual things. The liquor-drinker has an appetite for strong drink which he gratifies, while another has no appetite for intoxicating drinks to restrain, but he desires some other hurtful indulgence, and does not practice self-denial any more than the drunkard.
Those who do not control their appetites in eating are guilty of intemperance. In those cases where men lose all sense of their obligation to God, their families, and to community, it is a slow process. They are not changed from the kind husband and father at once. It takes time to degrade them to beasts, where they become mere wrecks of humanity. With many, their first error is in making a God of their appetite, subsisting mostly on highly-seasoned animal food which produces a feverish state of the system, especially if pork is used freely. The blood becomes impure. The circulation is not equalized. Chills and fever follow. The appetite fails. They think something must be done, and perhaps send for ale, which stimulates for the time, but as soon as the influence of the ale is gone they sink as much lower, and a continual use of the ale keeps them stimulated and over-excited. They think that the ale was of so much benefit to them, they must continue its use. After a while it loses its influence, then they use a stronger beverage, until they give themselves up to every excess, and man formed in the image of his Maker degrades himself lower than the beasts. It required time to benumb the sensibilities of the mind. It was done gradually, but surely.
Tobacco, in whatever form it is used, tells upon the constitution. It is a slow poison. It affects the brain and benumbs the sensibilities, so that the mind cannot clearly discern spiritual things, especially those truths which would have a tendency to correct this filthy indulgence. Those who use tobacco in any form are not clear before God. In such a filthy practice it is impossible for them to glorify God in their bodies and spirits, which are his. And while they are using slow and sure poisons, which are ruining their health, and debasing the faculties of the mind, God cannot approbate them. He may be merciful to them while, they indulge in this pernicious habit in ignorance of the injury it is doing them, but when the matter is set before them in its true light, then they are guilty before God if they continue to indulge this gross appetite.
God required the children of Israel to observe habits of strict cleanliness. In any case of the least impurity they were to remain out of the camp until evening, then to wash themselves and come into the camp. There was not a tobacco-user in that vast army. If there had been, he would have been required to choose to remain out of the camp, or cease the use of the filthy weed. And after cleansing his mouth from the least of its filthy remains, he might have been permitted to mingle with the congregation of Israel.
The priests, who ministered in sacred things, were commanded to wash their feet and their hands before entering the tabernacle in the presence of God to importune for Israel, that they might not desecrate the sanctuary. If the priests had entered the sanctuary with their mouths polluted with tobacco, they would have shared the fate of Nadab and Abihu. And yet professed Christians bow before God in their families to pray with their mouths defiled with the filth of tobacco. They go to the house which they have dedicated to God, professing to worship him, with a stupefying quid of tobacco in their mouths, and the high-colored saliva staining their lips and chin, and their foul breath polluting the atmosphere. They leave their poisonous filth either upon the floor, or in receptacles prepared for the purpose. This is the offering they present to God. Instead of the cloud of fragrant incense filling the house as in the case of the ancient tabernacle, it is filled with the sickening, polluted odor of ejected tobacco spittle and quids, and the air breathed by the congregation is poisoned.
Men who have been set apart by the laying on of hands, to minister in sacred things, often stand in the desk with their mouths polluted, their lips stained, and their breath tainted with the defilements of tobacco. They speak to the people in Christ’s stead. How can such service be acceptable to a holy God, who required the priests of Israel to make such special preparations before coming into his presence, lest his sacred holiness should consume them for dishonoring him, as in the case of Nadab and Abihu? These may be assured that the mighty God of Israel is still a God of cleanliness. They profess to be serving God while they are committing idolatry, by making a God of their appetite. Tobacco is their cherished idol. To it every high and sacred consideration must bow. They profess to be worshipping God, while at the same time they are violating the first commandment. They have other gods before the Lord. “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.”
God requires purity of heart, and personal cleanliness, now, as when he gave the special directions to the children of Israel. If God was so particular to enjoin cleanliness upon those journeying in the wilderness who were in the open air nearly all the time, he requires no less of us who live in ceiled houses, where impurities are more observable, and have a more unhealthful influence. Tobacco is a poison of the most deceitful and malignant kind, having an exciting, then a paralyzing influence upon the nerves of the body. It is all the more dangerous because it effects upon the system are so slow, and at first scarcely perceivable. Multitudes have fallen victims to its poisonous influence. They have surely murdered themselves by this slow poison. And we ask, What will be their waking in the resurrection morning?
Tea and coffee are stimulating. Their effects are similar to those of tobacco; but they affect in a less degree. Those who use these slow poisons, like the tobacco-user, think they cannot live without them, because they feel so very badly when they do not have these idols. Why they suffer when they discontinue the use of these stimulants, is because they have been breaking down nature in her work of preserving the entire system in harmony and in health. They will be troubled with dizziness, headache, numbness, nervousness, and irritability. They feel as though they should go all to pieces, and some have not courage to persevere in abstaining from them till abused nature recovers, but again resort to the use of the same hurtful things. They do not give nature time to recover the injury they have done her, but for present relief return to these hurtful indulgences. Nature is continually growing weaker, and less capable of recovering. But if they will be determined in their efforts to persevere and overcome, abused nature will soon again rally, and perform her work wisely and well without these stimulants. The whole system under the influence of these stimulants often becomes intoxicated. And to just that degree that the nervous system is excited by false stimulants, will be the prostration which will follow after the influence of the exciting cause has abated. This prostration may in time be overcome by abstaining from the use of those things which created such a condition in the system. Those who indulge a perverted appetite, do it to the injury of health and intellect. They cannot appreciate the value of spiritual things. Their sensibilities are blunted, and sin does not appear very sinful, and truth is not regarded of greater value than earthly treasure.
There is a class who profess to believe the truth, who do not use tobacco, snuff, tea, or coffee, yet they are guilty of gratifying the appetite in a different manner. They crave highly-seasoned meats, with rich gravies, and their appetite has become so perverted that they cannot be satisfied with even meat, unless prepared in a manner most injurious. The stomach is fevered, the digestive organs are taxed, and yet the stomach labors hard to dispose of the load forced upon it. After the stomach has performed its task it becomes exhausted, which causes faintness. Here many are deceived, and think that it is the want of food which produces such feelings, and without giving the stomach time to rest, they take more food, which for the time removes the faintness. And the more the appetite is indulged, the more will be its clamors for gratification. This faintness is generally the result of meat-eating, and eating frequently, and too much. The stomach becomes weary by being kept constantly at work, disposing of food not the most healthful. Having no time for rest, the digestive organs become enfeebled, hence the sense of “goneness,” and desire for frequent eating. The remedy such require is to eat less frequently and less liberally, and be satisfied with plain, simple food, eating twice, or at most, three times a day. The stomach must have its regular periods for labor and rest, hence eating irregularly between meals is a most pernicious violation of the laws of health. With regular habits, and proper food, the stomach will gradually recover.
Because it is the fashion, in harmony with morbid appetite, rich cake, pies, and puddings, and every hurtful thing, are crowded into the stomach. The table must be loaded down with a variety, or the depraved appetite cannot be satisfied. In the morning, these slaves to appetite often have impure breath, and a furred tongue. They do not enjoy health, and wonder why they suffer with pains, headaches, and various ills. Many eat three times a day, and again just before going to bed. In a short time the digestive organs are worn out, for they have had no time to rest. These become miserable dyspeptics, and wonder what has made them so. The cause has brought the sure result. A second meal should never be eaten until the stomach has had time to rest from the labor of digesting the preceding meal. If a third meal be eaten at all, it should be light, and several hours before going to bed.
Many are so devoted to intemperance that they will not change their course of indulging in gluttony under any considerations. They would sooner sacrifice health, and die prematurely, than to restrain their intemperate appetite. And there are many who are ignorant of the relation their eating and drinking has to health. Could such be enlightened, they might have moral courage to deny the appetite, and eat more sparingly, and of that food alone which was healthful, and by their own course of action save themselves a great amount of suffering.
Persons who have indulged their appetite to eat freely of meat, highly-seasoned gravies, and various kinds of rich cakes and preserves, cannot immediately relish a plain, wholesome, and nutritious diet. Their taste is so perverted they have no appetite for a wholesome diet of fruits, plain bread and vegetables. They need not expect to relish at first food so different from that which they have been indulging themselves to eat. If they cannot at first enjoy plain food, they should fast until they can. That fast will prove to them of greater benefit than medicine, for the abused stomach will find that rest which it has long needed, and real hunger can be satisfied with a plain diet. It will take time for the taste to recover from the abuses which it has received, and to gain its natural tone. But perseverance in a self-denying course of eating and drinking will soon make plain, wholesome food palatable, and it will soon be eaten with greater satisfaction than the epicure enjoys over his rich dainties.
The stomach is not fevered with meat, and overtaxed, but is in a healthy condition, and can readily perform its task. There should be no delay in reform. Efforts should be made to preserve carefully the remaining strength of the vital forces, by lifting off every over-tasking burden. The stomach may never fully recover health, but a proper course of diet will save further debility, and many will recover more or less, unless they have gone very far in gluttonous self-murder.
Those who permit themselves to become slaves to a gluttonous appetite, often go still further, and debase themselves by indulging their corrupt passions, which have become excited by intemperance in eating and in drinking. They give loose rein to their debasing passions, until health and intellect greatly suffer. The reasoning faculties are, in a great measure, destroyed by evil habits.
The present corrupt state of the world was presented before me. The sight was terrible. I have wondered that the inhabitants of the earth were not destroyed, like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. I have seen reason enough for the present state of degeneracy and mortality in the world. Blind passion controls reason, and every high consideration with many is sacrificed to lust.
The first great evil was intemperance in eating and drinking. Men and women have made themselves slaves to appetite. They are intemperate in labor. A great amount of hard labor is performed to obtain food for their tables which greatly injure the already overtaxed system. Women spend a great share of their time over a heated cook-stove, preparing food, highly seasoned with spices to gratify the taste. As a consequence, the children are neglected, and do not receive moral and religious instruction. The over-worked mother neglects to cultivate a sweetness of temper, which is the sunshine of the dwelling. Eternal considerations become secondary. All the time has to be employed in preparing these things for the appetite which ruin health, sour the temper, and becloud the reasoning faculties.
A reform in eating would be a saving of expense and labor. The wants of a family can be easily supplied that is satisfied with plain, wholesome diet. Rich food breaks down the healthy organs of body and mind. And how many labor so very hard to accomplish this.
Children who eat improperly are often feeble, pale and dwarfed, and are nervous, excitable and irritable. Everything noble is sacrificed to the appetite, and the animal passions predominate. The lives of many children from five to ten and fifteen years of age seem marked with depravity. They possess knowledge of almost every vice. The parents are, in a great degree, at fault in this matter, and to them will be accredited the sins of their children which their improper course has indirectly led them to commit. They tempt their children to indulge their appetite by placing upon their tables flesh meats and other food prepared with spices, which have a tendency to excite the animal passions. By their example they learn their children intemperance in eating. They have been indulged to eat almost any hour of the day, which keeps the digestive organs constantly taxed. Mothers have had but little time to instruct their children. Their precious time was devoted to cooking various kinds of unwholesome food to place upon their tables.
Many parents have permitted their children to be ruined while they were trying to regulate their lives to fashion. If visitors are to come, they wish to have them sit down to as good a table as they would find among any of their circle of acquaintances. Much time and expense are devoted to this object. For the sake of appearance, rich food is prepared to suit the appetite, and even professed Christians make so much parade that they call around them a class whose principal object in visiting them is for the dainties they get to eat. Christians should reform in this respect. While they should courteously entertain their visitors, they should not be such slaves to fashion and appetite.
I was shown that more deaths have been caused by drug-taking than from all other causes combined. If there was in the land one physician in the place of thousands, a vast amount of premature mortality would be prevented. Multitudes of physicians, and multitudes of drugs, have cursed the inhabitants of the earth, and have carried thousands and tens of thousands to untimely graves.
Indulging in eating too frequently, and in too large quantities, over-taxes the digestive organs, and produces a feverish state of the system. The blood becomes impure, and then diseases of various kinds occur. A physician is sent for, who prescribes some drug which gives present relief, but which does not cure the disease. It may change the form of disease, but the real evil is increased ten fold. Nature was doing her best to rid the system of an accumulation of impurities, and could she have been left to herself, aided by the common blessings of Heaven, such as pure air and pure water, a speedy and safe cure would have been effected.
The sufferers in such cases can do for themselves that which others cannot do as well for them. They should commence to relieve nature of the load they have forced upon her. They should remove the cause. Fast a short time, and give the stomach chance for rest. Reduce the feverish state of the system by a careful and understanding application of water. These efforts will help nature in her struggles to free the system of impurities. But generally the persons who suffer pain become impatient. They are not willing to use self-denial, and suffer a little from hunger. Neither are they willing to wait the slow process of nature to build up the overtaxed energies of the system. But they are determined to obtain relief at once, and take powerful drugs, prescribed by physicians. Nature was doing her work well, and would have triumphed, but while accomplishing her task, a foreign substance of a poisonous nature was introduced. What a mistake! Abused nature has now two evils to war against instead of one. She leaves the work in which she was engaged, and resolutely takes hold to expel the intruder newly introduced into the system. Nature feels this double draft upon her resources, and she becomes enfeebled.
Drugs never cure disease. They only change the form and location. Nature alone is the effectual restorer, and how much better could she perform her task if left to herself. But this privilege is seldom allowed her. If crippled nature bears up under the load, and finally accomplishes in a great measure her double task, and the patient lives, the credit is given to the physician. But if nature fails in her effort to expel the poison from the system, and the patient dies, it is called a wonderful dispensation of Providence. If the patient had taken a course to relieve overburdened nature in season, and understandingly used pure soft water, this dispensation of drug mortality might have been wholly averted. The use of water can accomplish but little, if the patient does not feel the necessity of also strictly attending to his diet.
Many are living in violation of the laws of health, and are ignorant of the relation their habits of eating, drinking, and working sustain to their health. They will not arouse to their true condition until nature protests against the abuses she is suffering, by aches and pains in the system. If, even then, the sufferers would only commence the work right, and would resort to the simple means they have neglected—the use of water and proper diet, nature would have just the help she requires, and which she ought to have had long before. If this course is pursued, the patient will generally recover, without being debilitated.
When drugs are introduced into the system, for a time they may seem to have a beneficial effect. A change may take place, but the disease is not cured. It will manifest itself in some other form. In nature’s efforts to expel the drug from the system, intense suffering is sometimes caused the patient. And the disease, which the drug was given to cure, may disappear, but only to re-appear in a new form, such as skin diseases, ulcers, painful diseased joints, and sometimes in a more dangerous and deadly form. The liver, heart and brain are frequently affected by drugs, and often all these organs are burdened with disease, and the unfortunate subjects, if they live, are invalids for life, wearily dragging out a miserable existence. Oh, how much that poisonous drug cost! If it did not cost the life, it cost quite too much. Nature has been crippled in all her efforts. The whole machinery is out of order, and at a future period in life, when these fine works which have been injured, are to be relied upon to act a more important part in union with all the fine works of nature’s machinery, they cannot readily and strongly perform their labor, and the whole system feels the lack. These organs, which should be in a healthy condition, are enfeebled, the blood becomes impure. Nature keeps struggling, and the patient suffers with different ailments, until there is a sudden breaking down in her efforts, and death follows. There are more who die from the use of drugs, than all who could have died of disease had nature been left to do her own work.
Very many lives have been sacrificed by physicians’ administering drugs for unknown diseases. They have no real knowledge of the exact disease which afflicts the patient. But physicians are expected to know in a moment what to do, and unless they act at once, as though they understood the disease perfectly, they are considered by impatient friends, and by the sick, as incompetent physicians. Therefore to gratify erroneous opinions of the sick and their friends, medicine must be administered, experiments and tests tried to cure the patient of the disease of which they have no real knowledge. Nature is loaded with poisonous drugs which she cannot expel from the system. The physicians themselves are often convinced that they have used powerful medicines for a disease which did not exist, and death was the consequence.
Physicians are censurable, but they are not the only ones at fault. The sick themselves, if they would be patient, diet and suffer a little, and give nature time to rally, would recover much sooner without the use of any medicine. Nature alone possesses curative powers. Medicines have no power to cure, but will most generally hinder nature in her efforts. She after all must do the work of restoring. The sick are in a hurry to get well, and the friends of the sick are impatient. They will have medicine, and if they do not feel that powerful influence upon their systems, their erroneous views lead them to think they should feel, they impatiently change for another physician. The change often increases the evil. They go through a course of medicine equally as dangerous as the first, and more fatal, because the two treatments do not agree, and the system is poisoned beyond remedy.
But many have never experienced the beneficial effects of water, and are afraid to use one of Heaven’s greatest blessings. Water has been refused persons suffering with burning fevers, through fear that it would injure them. If, in their fevered state, water had been given them to drink freely, and applications had also been made externally, long days and nights of suffering would have been saved, and many precious lives spared. But thousands have died with raging fevers consuming them, until the fuel which fed the fever was burnt up, the vitals consumed, and have died in the greatest agony, without being permitted to have water to allay their burning thirst. Water, which is allowed a senseless building, to put out the raging elements, is not allowed human beings to put out the fire which is consuming the vitals.
Multitudes remain in inexcusable ignorance in regard to the laws of their being. They are wondering why our race is so feeble, and why so many die prematurely. Is there not a cause? Physicians who profess to understand the human organism, prescribe for their patients, and even for their own dear children, and their companions, slow poisons to break up disease, or to cure slight indisposition. Surely, they cannot realize the evil of these things as they were presented before me, or they could not do thus. The effects of the poison may not be immediately perceived, but it is doing its work surely in the system, undermining the constitution, and crippling nature in her efforts. They are seeking to correct an evil, but produce a far greater one, which is often incurable. Those who are thus dealt with are constantly sick, and constantly dosing. And yet, if you listen to their conversation, you will often hear them praising the drugs they have been using, and recommending their use to others, because they have been benefited by their use. It would seem that to such as can reason from cause to effect, the sallow countenance, the continual complaints of ailments and general prostration of those who claim to be benefited, would be sufficient proofs of the health-destroying influence of drugs. And yet many are so blinded they do not see that all the drugs they have taken have not cured them, but made them worse. The drug invalid numbers one in the world, but is generally peevish, irritable, always sick, lingering out a miserable existence, and seems to live only to call into constant exercise the patience of others. Poisonous drugs have not killed them outright, for nature is loth to give up her hold on life. She is unwilling to cease her struggles. Yet these drug-takers are never well. They are always taking cold, which causes extreme suffering, because of the poison all through their system.
A branch was presented before me bearing large flat seeds. Upon it was written, Nux vomica, strychnine. Beneath was written, No antidote. I was shown persons under the influence of this poison. It produced heat, and seemed to act particularly on the spinal column, but affected the whole system. When this is taken in the smallest quantities, it has its influence, which nothing can counteract. If taken immoderately, convulsions, paralysis, insanity, and death, are often the results. Many use this deadly evil in small quantities. But if they realized its influence, not one grain of it would be introduced into the system.
When first taken, its influence may seem to be beneficial. It excites the nerves connected with the spinal column, but when the excitement passes away, it is followed by a sense of prostration and of chilliness the whole length of the spinal column, especially upon the head and back of the neck. The patients generally cannot endure the least draught of air. They are inclined to close every crevice, and for want of the free, invigorating air of heaven, the blood becomes impure, the vital organs are weakened, and general debility is the result. By unduly exciting the sensitive nerves connected with the spinal column, by this poisonous drug, they lose their tone and vitality, and weakness of the back and limbs follows. The sight and hearing are often affected, and in many cases the patient becomes helpless.
I was shown that the innocent, modest-looking, white poppy yields a dangerous drug. Opium is a slow poison, when taken in small quantities. In large doses it produces lethargy and death. Its effects upon the nervous system are ruinous. When patients use this drug until it becomes habit, it is almost impossible to discontinue it, because they feel so prostrated and nervous without it. They are in a worse condition when deprived of it than the rum-drinker without his rum, or the tobacco-user deprived of his tobacco. The opium slave is in a pitiful condition. Unless his nervous system is continually intoxicated with the poisonous drug, he is miserable. It benumbs the sensibilities, stupefies the brain, and unfits the mind for the service of God. True Christians cannot persist in the use of this slow poison, when they know its influence upon them.
Those who use opium cannot render to God any more acceptable service than can the drunkard, or the tobacco-user. Those who break off the use of this nerve and brain-destroying practice will have to possess fortitude, and suffer, as will the drunkard, and the tobacco slave, when deprived of their body and mind-destroying indulgences. God is displeased that his followers should become slaves to habits which ruin body and mind. Nux vomica, or strychnine, and opium have killed their millions, and have left thousands upon the earth to linger out a wretched, suffering existence, a burden to themselves, and those around them.
Mercury, calomel, and quinine have brought their amount of wretchedness, which the day of God alone will fully reveal. Preparations of mercury and calomel taken into the system ever retain their poisonous strength as long as there is a particle of it left in the system. These poisonous preparations have destroyed their millions, and left sufferers upon the earth to linger out a miserable existence. All are better off without these dangerous mixtures. Miserable sufferers, with disease in almost every form, mis-shapen by suffering, with dreadful ulcers, and pains in the bones, loss of teeth, loss of memory, and impaired sight, are to be seen almost every where. They are victims of poisonous preparations, which have been, in many cases, administered to cure some slight indisposition, which after a day or two of fasting would have disappeared without medicine. But poisonous mixtures, administered by physicians, have proved their ruin.
The endless variety of medicines in the market, the numerous advertisements of new drugs and mixtures, all of which, as they say, do wonderful cures, kill hundreds where they benefit one. Those who are sick are not patient. They will take the various medicines, some of which are very powerful, although they know nothing of the nature of the mixtures. All the medicines they take only make their recovery more hopeless. Yet they keep dosing, and continue to grow weaker, until they die. Some will have medicine at all events. Then let them take these hurtful mixtures and the various deadly poisons upon their own responsibility. God’s servants should not administer medicines which they know will leave behind injurious effects upon the system, even if they do relieve present suffering.
Every poisonous preparation in the vegetable and mineral kingdoms, taken into the system, will leave its wretched influence, affecting the liver and lungs, and deranging the system generally. Nor does the evil end here. Diseased, feeble infants are brought into the world to share this misery, transmitted to them from their parents.
I have been shown that a great amount of suffering might be saved if all would labor to prevent disease, by strictly obeying the laws of health. Strict habits of cleanliness should be observed. Many, while well, will not take the trouble to keep in a healthy condition. They neglect personal cleanliness, and are not careful to keep their clothing pure. Impurities are constantly and imperceptibly passing from the body, through the pores of the skin, and if the surface of the skin is not kept in a healthy condition, the system is burdened with impure matter. If the clothing worn is not often washed, and frequently aired, it becomes filthy with impurities which are thrown off from the body by sensible and insensible perspiration. And if the garments worn are not frequently cleansed from these impurities, the pores of the skin absorb again the waste matter thrown off. The impurities of the body, if not allowed to escape, are taken back into the blood, and forced upon the internal organs. Nature, to relieve herself of poisonous impurities, makes an effort to free the system, which effort produces fevers, and what is termed disease. But even then, if those who are afflicted would assist nature in her efforts, by the use of pure, soft water, much suffering would be prevented. But many, instead of doing this, and seeking to remove the poisonous matter from the system, take a more deadly poison into the system, to remove a poison already there.
If every family realized the beneficial results of thorough cleanliness, they would make special efforts to remove every impurity from their persons, and from their houses, and would extend their efforts to their premises. Many suffer decayed vegetable matter to remain about their premises. They are not awake to the influence of these things. There is constantly arising from these decaying substances an effluvia that is poisoning the air. By inhaling the impure air, the blood is poisoned, the lungs become affected, and the whole system is diseased. Disease of almost every description will be caused by inhaling the atmosphere affected by these decaying substances.
Families have been afflicted with fevers, some have died, and the remaining portion of the family circle have almost murmured against their Maker because of their distressing bereavements, when the sole cause of all their sickness and death has been the result of their own carelessness. The impurities about their own premises have brought upon them contagious diseases, and the sad afflictions which they charge upon God. Every family that prizes health should cleanse their houses and their premises of all decaying substances.
God commanded that the children of Israel should in no case allow impurities of their persons, or of their clothing. Those who had any personal uncleanliness were shut out of the camp until evening, and then were required to cleanse themselves and their clothing before they could enter the camp. Also they were commanded of God to have no impurities upon the premises within a great distance of the encampment, lest the Lord should pass by and see their uncleanliness.
Many do not realize the necessity of light, and pure air in their houses in order to have health. Some build houses, and furnish them expensively, more to gratify pride, and to receive visitors, than for the comfort, convenience and health of their families. The best rooms are kept dark. The light and air are shut out, lest the light of heaven may injure the rich furniture, fade the carpets, or tarnish the picture frames. When visitors are permitted to be seated in these precious rooms, they are in danger of taking cold, because of the cellar-like atmosphere pervading them. Parlor chambers and bedrooms are kept closed in the same manner and for the same reasons. And whoever occupies these beds which have not been freely exposed to the light and air, do so at the expense of health, and often even of life itself.
Rooms that are not exposed to light and air become damp. Beds and bedding gather dampness, and the atmosphere in these rooms is poisonous, because it has not been purified by light and air. Various diseases have been brought on by sleeping in these fashionable health-destroying apartments. Every family who prizes health above the empty applause of fashionable visitors, will have a circulation of air, and an abundance of light through every apartment of their houses for several hours each day. But many will follow fashion so closely, they become slaves to it, and would suffer sickness, and even death, rather than be out of the fashion. They will reap that which they have sown. They will live fashionably, and suffer with diseases as the result, be doctored with fashionable poisons, and die fashionable deaths.
Sleeping rooms especially should be well ventilated, and the atmosphere made healthy by light and air. Blinds should be left open several hours each day, the curtains put aside, and the room thoroughly aired. Nothing should remain, even for a short time, which would destroy the purity of the atmosphere.
Many families suffer with sore throat, and lung diseases, and liver complaints, brought upon them by their own course of action. Their sleeping rooms are small, unfit to sleep in for one night, but they occupy the small unhealthy apartments for weeks and months, and years. They keep their windows and doors closed, fearing they should take cold if there was a crevice open to let in the air. They breathe the same air over and over, until it becomes impregnated with the poisonous impurities, and waste matter, thrown off from their bodies, through the lungs, and the pores of the skin. Such can test the matter, and be convinced of the unhealthy air in their close rooms, by entering them after they have remained awhile in the open air. Then they can have some idea of the impurities they have conveyed to their blood, through the inhalations of the lungs. Those who thus abuse their health, must suffer with disease. All should regard light and air as among Heaven’s most precious blessings. They should not shut out these blessings as though they were enemies.
Sleeping apartments should be large, and so arranged as to have a circulation of air through them, day and night. Those who have excluded the air from their sleeping rooms, should commence to change their course immediately. They should let in air by degrees, and increase the circulation until they can bear it day and night, winter and summer, with no danger of taking cold. The lungs, in order to be healthy, must have pure air.
Those who have not had a free circulation of air in their rooms through the night, generally awake feeling exhausted, feverish, and know not the cause. It was air, vital air, that the whole system required, but which it could not obtain. Upon rising in the morning, most persons would be benefited by taking a sponge-bath, or, if more agreeable, a hand-bath, with merely a wash-bowl of water. This will remove impurities from the skin. Then the clothing should be removed piece by piece from the bed, and exposed to the air. The windows should be opened, and the blinds fastened back, and the air left to circulate freely for several hours, if not all day, through the sleeping apartments. In this manner the bed and clothing will become thoroughly aired, and the impurities will be removed from the room.
Shade trees and shrubbery too close and dense around a house are unhealthy; for they prevent a free circulation of air, and prevent the rays of the sun from shining sufficiently through. In consequence of this, a dampness gathers in the house. Especially in wet seasons the sleeping rooms become damp, and those who sleep in the beds are troubled with rheumatism, neuralgia, and lung complaints, which generally end in consumption. Numerous shade trees cast off many leaves, which, if not immediately removed, decay, and poison the atmosphere. A yard beautified with scattering trees, and some shrubbery, at a proper distance from the house, has a happy, cheerful influence upon the family, and, if well taken care of, will prove no injury to health. Dwellings, if possible, should be built upon high and dry ground. If a house be built where water settles around it, remaining for a time, and then drying away, a poisonous miasma arises, and fever and ague, sore throat, lung diseases, and fevers, will be the result.
Many have expected that God would keep them from sickness merely because they have asked him to do so. But God did not regard their prayers, because their faith was not made perfect by works. God will not work a miracle to keep those from sickness who have no care for themselves, but are continually violating the laws of health, and make no efforts to prevent disease. When we do all we can on our part to have health, then may we expect that the blessed results will follow, and we can ask God in faith to bless our efforts for the preservation of health. He will then answer our prayer, if his name can be glorified thereby. But let all understand that they have a work to do. God will not work in a miraculous manner to preserve the health of persons who are taking a sure course to make themselves sick, by their careless inattention to the laws of health.
Those who will gratify their appetite, and then suffer because of their intemperance, and take drugs to relieve them, may be assured that God will not interpose to save health and life which is so recklessly periled. The cause has produced the effect. Many, as their last resort, follow the directions in the word of God, and request the prayers of the elders of the church for their restoration to health. God does not see fit to answer prayers offered in behalf of such, for he knows that if they should be restored to health, they would again sacrifice it upon the altar of unhealthy appetite.
There is a class of invalids who have no real located disease. But as they believe they are dangerously diseased, they are in reality invalids. The mind is diseased, and many die who might recover of disease, which exists alone in the imagination. If such could have their minds diverted from themselves, from noticing every poor feeling, they would soon improve. Inactivity will cause disease. And to this the indulgence of unhealthy appetite, and drug-taking, and those who had no real located disease will become invalids in very deed. They make themselves so. If such would engage in cheerful, healthy labor, they would rise above poor feelings. Even if they should become very weary at times it would not hurt them. As they would accustom themselves to healthy, active labor, the mind would be occupied, and not find time to dwell upon every ache and pain.
If invalids would dispense with medicines of every description, and improve their habits of eating, and exercise as much as possible in the open air, their names would soon be dropped from the invalid list. The power of the will is a mighty soother of the nerves, and can resist much disease, simply by not yielding to ailments, and settling down into a state of inactivity. Those who have but little force, and natural energy, need to constantly guard themselves, lest their minds become diseased, and they give up to supposed disease, when none really exists. It is slow murder for persons to confine themselves days, weeks and months in doors, with but little out-door exercise.
Others are too active in body and mind. The mind of such must rest as well as the body, and without it, will be overworked, and the constitution must break down. Satan exults to see the human family plunging themselves deeper, and deeper, into suffering and misery. He knows that persons who have wrong habits, and unsound bodies, cannot serve God so earnestly, perseveringly and purely as though sound. A diseased body affects the brain. With the mind we serve the Lord. The head is the capitol of the body. If the finger is pricked, the nerves, like the telegraphic wires, bear the intelligence immediately to the brain. Satan triumphs in the ruinous work he causes by leading the human family to indulge in habits which destroy themselves, and one another; for by this means he is robbing God of the service due him.
In order to preserve health, temperance in all things is necessary. Temperance in labor, temperance in eating and drinking. Because of intemperance a great amount of misery has been brought upon the human family. The eating of pork has produced scrofula, leprosy and cancerous humors. Pork-eating is still causing the most intense suffering to the human race. Depraved appetites crave those things which are the most injurious to health. The curse, which has rested heavily upon the earth, and has been felt by the whole race of mankind, has also been felt by the animals. The beasts have degenerated [in] size, and length of years. They have been made to suffer more than they otherwise would by the wrong habits of man.
There are but a few animals that are free from disease. They have been made to suffer greatly for the want of light, pure air, and wholesome food. When they are fattened, they are often confined in close stables, and are not permitted to exercise, and to have free circulation of air. Many poor animals are left to breathe the poison of filth which is left in barns and stables. Their lungs will not long remain healthy while inhaling such impurities. Disease is conveyed to the liver, and the entire system of the animal is diseased. They are killed, and prepared for the market, and people eat freely of this poisonous animal food. Much disease is caused in this manner. But people cannot be made to believe that it is the meat they have eaten, which has poisoned their blood, and caused their sufferings.
Many die of disease caused wholly by meat-eating, yet the world does not seem to be the wiser. Animals are frequently killed that have been driven quite a distance for the slaughter. Their blood has become heated. They are full of flesh, and have been deprived of healthy exercise, and when they have to travel far, they become surfeited, and exhausted, and in that condition are killed for market. Their blood is highly inflamed, and those who eat of their meat, eat poison. Some are not immediately affected, while others are attacked with severe pain, and die from fever, cholera, or some unknown disease. Very many animals are sold for the city market known to be diseased by those who have sold them, and those who buy them are not always ignorant of the matter. Especially in larger cities this is practiced to a great extent, and meat-eaters know not that they are eating diseased animals.
Some animals that are brought to the slaughter seem to realize by instinct what is to take place, and they become furious, and literally mad. They are killed while in that state, and their flesh prepared for market. Their meat is poison, and has produced, in those who have eaten it, cramp, convulsions, apoplexy, and sudden death. Yet the cause of all this suffering is not attributed to the meat. Some animals are inhumanly treated while being brought to the slaughter. They are literally tortured, and after they have endured many hours of extreme suffering, are butchered. Swine have been prepared for market even while the plague was upon them, and their poisonous flesh has spread contagious diseases, and great mortality has followed.
The body, which God calls his temple, should be preserved in as healthy a condition as possible. Many act as though they had a right to treat their own bodies as they please. They do not realize that God has claims upon them. They are required to glorify him in their bodies and spirits, which are his. While they give themselves up to the gratification of unhealthy appetites, and thus bring disease upon themselves, they cannot render to God acceptable service. None should remain in ignorance of God’s claims. All his promises are on conditions of obedience. All should work for themselves. They should do that which God requires them to do, and not leave God to do for them that which he has left for them to do. It is a sacred duty which God has enjoined upon reasonable beings, formed in his image, to keep that image in as perfect a state as possible. Those who bring disease upon themselves, by self-gratification, have not healthy bodies and minds. They cannot weigh the evidences of truth, and comprehend the requirements of God. Our Saviour will not reach his arm low enough to raise such from their degraded state, while they persist in pursuing a course to sink themselves still lower.
All are required to do what they can to preserve healthy bodies, and sound minds. If they will gratify a gross appetite, and by so doing blunt their sensibilities, and becloud their perceptive faculties so that they cannot appreciate the exalted character of God, or delight in the study of his Word, they may be assured that God will not accept their unworthy offering any sooner than that of Cain. God requires them to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. After man has done all in his power to insure health, by the denying of appetite and gross passions, that he may possess a healthy mind, and a sanctified imagination, that he may render to God an offering in righteousness, then he is saved alone by a miracle of God’s mercy, as was the ark upon the stormy billows. Noah had done all that God required of him in making the ark secure, then God performed that which man could not do, and preserved the ark by his miraculous power.
Our Redeemer, laying aside his glory and majesty, to take human nature, and to die man’s sacrifice, was a miracle of God. It was God’s wise arrangement to save fallen man. God requires his people to be laborers together with him. He requires them to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul, and present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is the only service he will accept from reasonable mortals. Jesus has stooped very low in order to reach man in his low estate. And God requires of man to make earnest efforts, and deny self, that he may preserve his vigor of mind, and elevate himself, and imitate the example of him in whom was no guile. Then will he be benefited with the atonement of Christ. As the Lord bade faithful Noah before the flood, Come thou, and all thy house, into the ark, he will, previous to the time of trouble, say to his faithful saints, who have been preparing for translation, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee. Hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. The earth, also, shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”
Christ took not on him the nature of angels, but the nature of man, that he might acquaint himself with the temptations with which he was beset, and help man in his fallen state, and by his own humiliation and death elevate men to become heirs with him to his Father’s kingdom. Christ endured the strongest temptations of Satan, that he might experience in himself the severest conflict which the children of men would have with the fallen foe, and that he might sustain those who should come to him for strength in their temptations.
Satan caused the fall of the first Adam, and he boasted to the angels that he should succeed with the second Adam, Jesus Christ, by approaching him through the appetite. Before Christ entered upon his ministry, Satan commenced his series of temptations. He knew that he could lead astray through the appetite sooner than in any other way. Eve fell in consequence of appetite when she had every kind of fruit good to satisfy her wants. Christ suffered a long fast of forty days, and endured the keenest hunger. Satan came to him with his series of temptations while thus weak and suffering, tempting him to do a miracle for his own sake, to appease his hunger, and by so doing give him evidence that he was the Son of God. “And when the tempter came to him, he said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Christ answered him with Scripture. “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Christ refers to his Father’s law. The words of God spoken from Sinai are the conditions of life. These words obeyed will give man again free access to the tree of life, that our first parents forfeited all right to by disobedience. Their transgression made it needful for Christ to come to reconcile fallen man to God by his own death.
The scene of Christ’s temptation was to be a lesson for all his followers. When the enemies of Christ, by the instigation of Satan, request them to show some miracle, they should answer them as meekly as the Son of God answered Satan, “It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” If they will not be convinced by inspired testimony, a manifestation of God’s power would not benefit them. God’s wondrous works are not manifested to gratify the curiosity of any. Christ, the Son of God, refused to give Satan any proof of his power. He made no effort to remove Satan’s “if,” by showing a miracle. The disciples of Christ will be brought into similar positions. Unbelievers will require them to do some miracle, if they believe God’s special power is in the church, and that they are the chosen people of God. Unbelievers, who are afflicted with infirmities, will require them to work a miracle upon them, if God is with them. Christ’s followers should imitate the example of their Lord. Jesus, with his divine power, did not do any mighty works for Satan’s diversion. Neither can the servants of Christ. They should refer the unbelieving to the written, inspired testimony for evidence of their being the loyal people of God, and heirs of salvation.