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    Chapter 10—Ministry of Healing

    The book, Ministry of Healing, although not issued until the year 1905, has become one of the most highly prized of the Ellen G. White publications. While this popular work is perhaps the most well-known E. G. White book treating on health, yet it was not her first effort in presenting this most important subject for the public.HEWBW 27.2

    A few months after the memorable Health Reform Vision was given, June 6, 1863, an article entitled “Health” appeared in Spiritual Gifts, Volume IV, (published in 1864) which constitutes the first record of the instruction given at that time on the subject of disease and its causes as well as its treatment and cure by rational methods.HEWBW 27.3

    With the light and knowledge which was thus bestowed, the leaders in the developing work of the Sabbath and Advent Movement were faced with the duty of carrying on an extensive program in health reform education. To aid in this effort, “How to Live,” in six parts of about 64 pages each, was published in 1865 and 1866. In each of these six parts, Mrs. White had an article entitled, “Disease and Its Causes.” In these six articles, comprising 72 pages in all, she presented more fully, the great truths revealed to her regarding health and the duty of engaging in a Health Reform movement. The third of these articles, under the title of “Drugs and Their Effects,” was reprinted in the Review and Herald, in the issues from August 15 to September 12, 1899.HEWBW 28.1

    In later years Mother wrote still more fully the views given her in 1863, and in subsequent visions. Some of this was published in the Health Reformer.HEWBW 28.2

    From the year 1864 to 1914, a period of 50 years, she carried on her heart a burden of presenting to the Adventist people, and through them to the world, the great light that God had revealed to her regarding health, temperance, self-denial and holiness. In addition to the many articles upon these subjects in the Review and Herald, the Health Reformer, and the Youth’s Instructor, in 1890 she brought out the book, Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, the first half of which is made up of selections of articles from her pen, and the last half a compilation of articles written by James White.HEWBW 28.3

    She was never satisfied with this brief collection of articles, yet it was not until fifteen years later, in 1905, that she presented to the world the wonderful book, Ministry of Healing. With this brief background, let us now speak of the preparation of the material for this volume.HEWBW 28.4

    For years, Mrs. White and her helpers had been cutting out of the Review, Health Reformer, and other periodicals, her articles and parts of articles on Christian Temperance and saving them for future use. When the time came that she had a sufficient corps of helpers so that articles for the Review, Signs of the Times, Youth’s Instructor, Bible Echo and our health papers, could be supplied without absorbing the time and energy of Miss Davis, Mother directed that she should give first attention to the searching out and bringing together of articles to compose a book on health and temperance. Then it was found that there were many hundreds of pages of manuscripts from which she could draw valuable material.HEWBW 29.1

    The Lord had given Sister Marian Davis a wonderful memory, and this was of great service in her work of searching for and grouping together the choicest things that Mother had written regarding Christ in His ministry as a Healer; also as an Example to medical evangelists and medical missionaries; regarding disease and its true cause; and regarding health and how to maintain it.HEWBW 29.2

    The work was entered upon with excellent courage and with great determination that of the wonderful things which Sister White had written, there should be gathered together that which was most forceful, most enlightening, and most encouraging.HEWBW 29.3

    Mother eagerly undertook the work of planning the book. As Christ was the central theme of all her discourses and writings, His ministry as the great medical missionary must form the basis of this long-contemplated publication. That every class of invalids might find hope in Christ’s present-day ministry, it was planned that the first chapters should show forth Christ as the source of Life, Christ as the Great Healer, Christ as the very present Minister to the sick and the suffering. It must be shown that there is no sickness outside of the range of His love and His power.HEWBW 29.4

    While the principal aim of the book was to lead the reader to physical and spiritual life and health, it must also include counsel especially for the nurse and the physician, pointing out the privilege of their fellowship with the Life-Giver and an encouragement to follow His methods in their ministry. Helpful counsel for medical evangelists must also be included.HEWBW 30.1

    Time and again while the book was in preparation, Mother and those associated with her in selecting and arranging the manuscript would gather in her room and discuss the objects and best plans for the book:HEWBW 30.2

    1. Whom the book would serve.

    2. How much room should be given to each subject.

    3. What was the best relationship of the great subjects with which it would deal.

    When there had been gathered considerable matter thought to be suitable for certain chapters, the manuscripts would be grouped and read to Mother or placed in her hands to read. Oftentimes this revived her memory of wonderful scenes presented to her, and she entered enthusiastically into the work of rewriting many passages, giving them a fresh touch and greater vigor. At times she would find it necessary to adapt an article written with Seventh-day Adventists in mind, so that the presentations would be appropriate for those readers also who were not Seventh-day Adventists.HEWBW 30.3

    While the work of preparing Ministry of Healing was in full swing, Mother was called to Washington and Sister Davis was requested to go on selecting material to be considered by Sister White later. Mother’s absence greatly delayed the work.HEWBW 31.1

    The trip east in 1904 occupied more time than was expected, but immediately on her return to her “Elmshaven” home early in the fall, the work was resumed by her and the manuscript was quickly brought to completion. In writing to Mrs. Josephine Gotzian on April 11, 1905, she spoke of the work on this forthcoming book as follows:HEWBW 31.2

    Through my absence last summer, we lost much time on our book work, and for some time I have been very busy preparing matter for, and reading proofs of Ministry of Healing.Letter 113, 1905.

    In another letter written the same day, she declared, “I have just finished reading over the proofs of Ministry of Healing”—Letter 109, 1905HEWBW 31.3

    Early in the plans for this book, Mother was led to dedicate it to a very definite field of usefulness. Speaking of this in a letter to Mr. H. W. Kellogg on September 20, 1903, she says:HEWBW 31.4

    “My next book is to be on temperance and the medical missionary work. It is my purpose to give the manuscript of this book to our Sanitariums, to help them to raise the debts resting on them, as I gave Christ’s Object Lessons to raise the debts on our schools. I think that this is the best I can do, and that this will be a most appropriate book for this purpose. I am preparing other books as fast as possible, which I wish to bring before the people.”—Letter 209, 1903.

    It was found that the book was admirably planned to lend itself most readily to the use of the salesman. It was pushed energetically in the institutional relief campaigns, and this gift instituted by Mother, and supplemented by the untiring labors of those who joined in making the relief campaign a success brought great financial benefit to our medical institutions in America and Europe which were loaded down heavily with debt.HEWBW 31.5

    Speaking of the authorship of Ministry of Healing, two years after its appearance, Mother said in a letter to Elder Burden, “The Lord gave me His Holy Spirit to enable me to write the manuscript for this book” (Letter 276, 1907). In urging our people to join heartily in the sale of this volume as a means of institutional relief, in an article appearing in the Review of August 13, 1906, she spoke of the content of the book and her joy in its special use, as follows:HEWBW 32.1

    “This book contains the wisdom of the Great Physician. To me it has been a great privilege to donate my work on these books [Ministry of Healing and Christ’s Object Lessons] to the cause of God.”HEWBW 32.2

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