Sanitarium Contacts and Influences

How are we to regard our sanitarium work?

By W. M. ANDRESS, Chaplain, New England Sanitarium

Many of our people, and especially our medical folk, are familiar with such state­ments as the following. Sometimes it seems that we are so familiar with them that "famili­arity breeds contempt," or perhaps we should say, indifference.

"Our sanitariums are to be established for one object,—the proclamation of the truth for this time."—"Testimonies," Vol. VIII, p. 200.

"If the spiritual work is left undone, there is no necessity of calling upon our people to build these in­stitutions. Those who have no burning desire to save souls are not the ones who should connect with our sanitariums."—"Medical Ministry," p. 191.

If every worker connected in any capacity with our sanitariums were thoroughly aroused to his responsibilities in such a connection, what might be accomplished ! Thousands of men and women are seeking out these medical institutions who might be helped not only physically, but also spiritually.

A chain of helpful influences should be set into motion as soon as the patient sets foot in our sanitariums. The cheery, helpful assistance of the call boys; the congenial contact at the desk; the sympathetic, kindly attention of the nurses ; the warm, yet professional, air of the physician—these should all lead the patient to feel that he has come among real Christian friends. He should be inspired with confidence to believe that no mistake has been made in the choice of his hospital, and that here he will dwell for a time on the very threshold of heaven.

Though we look to all our sanitarium workers to co-operate fully in the spiritual interests of the institution, yet upon the chaplain devolves the heaviest responsibility along these lines. He must be a good student of human nature as well as of the Bible. He must be quick to discern the unspoken cry of the soul for spiritual help.

An influential businessman recently came into the chaplain's office and poured out his soul in an earnest plea for spiritual help and guidance.

Economic changes threatening the conduct of his wholesale business, coupled with domestic difficulties, made life seem very unsatisfactory.

He longed to lay hold on something that offered abiding peace and satisfaction. After a season of counsel and prayer, this man arose from his knees, dried his tear-stained cheeks, and left with new hope and courage filling his heart.

A woman actively engaged in social life and church activities, yet devoid of that peace which brings satisfaction to the soul, came as a patient. Her physical and mental resources had been greatly taxed by unnatural living. After doctors and nurses had brought help to her physi­cally and mentally, she turned to the chaplain for spiritual encouragement and help. It was a pleasure to study with her the precious word, and to see her place her feet firmly in the path of God's commandments.

A Catholic woman found just the help she needed within the covers of "The Great Con­troversy." A Jewish patient, through the un­tiring ministry of a Bible instructor, found Christ to be the true Messiah.

Many come within the realm of influence of our sanitariums whose reactions will be known only as the books of heaven are opened. These, like Nicodemus of old, or Joseph of Arimathea, will in time take their stand with God's people. Doubtless much will be done in the closing work of our message by those whose interest was first aroused while they were patients in our sani­tariums. We would urge every worker, every nurse, and every physician connected with these medical institutions to watch for souls as those who must give an account.

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By W. M. ANDRESS, Chaplain, New England Sanitarium

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