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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899) - Contents
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    Ms 169, 1899

    Dangers and Duties of the Physician and the Medical Missionary


    December 22, 1899 [typed]

    This manuscript is published in entirety in KC 53-61.

    The fourth chapter of the epistle to the Ephesians contains lessons given us by God. In this chapter one speaks under the inspiration of God, one to whom in holy vision God had given instruction. He describes the distribution of God’s gifts to His workers, saying:14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 1

    “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Verses 11-13. Here we are shown that God gives to every man his work, and in doing this work man is fulfilling his part of God’s great plan.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 2

    This lesson should be carefully considered by our physicians and medical missionaries. God establishes His instrumentalities among a people who recognize the laws of the divine government. The sick are to be healed through the combined effort of the human and the divine. Every gift, every power, that Christ promised His disciples, He bestows upon those who will serve Him faithfully. And He who gives mental capabilities, and who entrusts his talents to the men and women who are His by creation and by redemption, expects that these talents and these capabilities shall be increased by use. Every talent must be employed in blessing others, and thus bringing honor to God. But physicians have been led to suppose that their capabilities were their own individual property; the powers given them for God’s work they have used in branching out into lines of work to which God has not appointed them.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 3

    Satan works every moment to find an opportunity for stealing in. He tells the physician that his talents are too valuable to be bound up among Seventh-day Adventists, that if he were free, he could do a very large work. The physician is tempted to feel that he has methods which he can carry independent of the people for whom God has wrought that He might place them above every other people on the face of the earth. But let not the physician feel that his influence would increase if he should separate himself from this work. Should he attempt to carry out his plans, he would not meet with success.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 4

    Selfishness introduced in any degree into ministerial or medical work is an infraction of the law of God. When men glory in their capabilities, and cause the praise of men to flow to finite beings, they dishonor God, and He will remove that in which they glory. The physicians connected with our sanitariums and medical missionary work have by God’s providence been bound to this people, whom He has commanded to be a light in the world. Their work is to give all that the Lord has given them—to give, not as one influence among many, but as the influence through God to make effective the truth for this time.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 5

    God has committed to us a special work, a work that no other people can do. He has promised us the aid of His Holy Spirit. The heavenly current is flowing earthward for the accomplishment of the very work appointed us; but this heavenly current is turned aside by our many diversions from the straightforward path marked out by Christ. Man’s disregard of the Lord’s instruction robs us of the strength He longs to impart.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 6

    Physicians are not to suppose that they can compass the world by their plans and efforts. God has not set them to embrace so much with their own labors merely. The man who invests his powers in many lines of work cannot take in hand the management of a sanitarium and do it justice.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 7

    If the Lord’s workers take up lines of work which crowd out that which should be done by them in communicating light to the world, God does not receive through their labors the glory that should accrue to His holy name. When God calls a man to do a certain work in His cause, He does not also lay upon him burdens that other men can and should bear. The Lord does not want the minds of His responsible men strained to the utmost point of endurance by taking up many lines of work. All these lines may be essential; but God apportions to every man his duty according to his own wisdom. If the worker does not take up his appointed work, that which the Lord sees is the very thing he is fitted to do, he is neglecting duties which, if properly executed, would result in the promulgation of the truth, and would prepare men for the great crisis before us.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 8

    God cannot give in greatest measure either physical or mental power to those who gather to themselves burdens which He has not appointed. When men take upon themselves such responsibilities, however good the work may be, their physical strength is overtaxed, their minds become confused, and they cannot attain the highest success.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 9

    Physicians in our institutions should not engage in numerous enterprises, and thus allow the work, which should stand upon right principles and exert a worldwide influence, to flag. God has not set His co-laborers to embrace so many things, to make such large plans, that they fail in their allotted place of accomplishing the great good He expects them to do in diffusing light to the world, in drawing men and women to where He is leading by His supreme wisdom.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 10

    The enemy has determined to counterwork the designs of God to benefit humanity in revealing to them what constitutes true medical missionary work. So many interests have been brought in that the workers cannot do all things according to the pattern shown in the mount. I have been instructed that the work appointed to physicians is enough for them to do, and what the Lord required of them was to link up closely with the gospel missionaries and do their work with faithfulness. He has not asked our physicians to embrace so large and varied a work as some have undertaken. He has not made it the special work of our physicians to go into the worst dens of iniquity in our large cities. The Lord does not require impossibilities of men.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 11

    The work which He gave to our physicians was to symbolize to the world the ministry of the gospel in medical missionary work. The Lord does not lay upon His people all the burden of laboring for a class so hardened by sin that many of them will neither be benefited themselves nor benefit others. If there are men who can take up the work of laboring for the most degraded, if God lays upon them a burden to labor for the masses in various ways, let these go forth and gather from the world the means required for doing this work. Let them not depend on the means which God intends shall sustain the work of the third angel’s message.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 12

    Our sanitariums need the power of brain and heart of which they are being robbed by another line of work. Everything that Satan can do he will do to multiply the responsibilities of our physicians, for he knows that this means weakness instead of strength to the institutions with which they are connected.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 13

    Great consideration must be exercised in the work which we undertake. We are not to take large burdens in the care of infant children. This work is being done by others. We have a special work in caring for and educating the children more advanced in years. Let families who can do so, adopt the little ones, and they will receive a blessing in so doing. But there is a higher and more important work to engage the attention of our physicians in educating those who have grown up with deformed characters. The principles of health reform must be brought before parents. They must be converted, that they may work as missionaries in their own homes. This work our physicians have done and can still do if they will not sacrifice themselves by carrying such large responsibilities.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 14

    The head physician in any institution holds a difficult position, and he should keep himself free from minor responsibilities, for these will give him no time for rest. He should have sufficient reliable help, for he has trying work to perform. He must bow in prayer with the suffering ones, and lead his patients to the great Physician. If as a humble suppliant he seeks God for wisdom to deal with each case, his strength and influence will be greatly increased.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 15

    Of himself, what can man accomplish in the great work set forth by the infinite God? Christ says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5. He came to our world to show men how to do the work given them by God, and He says to us, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. Why is Christ’s yoke easy and His burden light? Because He bore the weight of it upon the cross of Calvary.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 16

    Personal religion is essential for every physician if he would be successful in his work for the sick. He needs a power greater than his own intuition and skill. God desires physicians to link up with Him, and know that every soul is precious in His sight. He who depends upon God, realizing that He alone who made man knows how to direct, will not fail in his appointed work as a healer of bodily infirmities, or as a physician of the souls for whom Christ has given His life.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 17

    One who bears the heavy responsibilities of the physician needs the prayers of the gospel minister, and he should be linked, soul, mind, and body with the truth of God. Then he can speak a word in season to the afflicted. He can watch for souls as one who must give an account. He can present Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Scriptures come clearly to his mind, and he speaks as one who knows the value of the souls with whom he is dealing.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 18

    Conforming to the World

    The Lord Jesus has said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23. Christ’s words made an impression on the minds of His hearers. Many of them, though not clearly comprehending His instruction, were moved by deep conviction to say decidedly, “Never man spake like this man.” John 7:46. The disciples did not always understand the lessons Christ wished to convey by parables, and when the multitude had gone away, they would ask Him to explain His words. He was ever ready to lead them to a perfect understanding of His word and His will; for from them, in clear, distinct lines, truth was to go forth to the world.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 19

    At times Christ’s reproached His disciples with the slowness of their comprehension. He placed in their possession truths for which they little suspected the value. He had been with them a long time, giving them lessons in clear lines, but their previous religious education, the erroneous interpretations which they had heard the Jewish teachers place on the Scriptures, kept their minds clouded. Christ promised them that He would send them His Spirit, who would recall His words to their minds as forgotten truths. “He shall teach you all things,” Christ said, “and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 20

    The way in which the Jewish teachers explained the Scriptures, their endless repetition of maxims and fiction, called forth from Christ the words, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” [Matthew 15:8.] They performed in the temple courts their round of service. They offered sacrifices typifying the great Sacrifice, saying by their ceremonies, “Come, my Saviour,” yet Christ, the One whom all these ceremonies represented, was among them, and they would not recognize or receive Him. The Saviour declared, “In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:9.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 21

    Christ is saying to His servants today as He said to His disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” [Luke 9:23.] But men are as slow now to learn the lesson as in Christ’s day. God has given His people warning after warning, but the customs, habits, and practices of the world have had so great power on the minds of His professed people that His warnings have been disregarded.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 22

    Those who act a part in God’s great cause are not to follow the example of worldlings. The voice of God is to be heeded. He who depends on men for strength and influence leans on a broken reed.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 23

    Depending on men has been the great weakness of the church. Men have dishonored God by failing to appreciate His sufficiency, by coveting the influence of men. Thus Israel became weak. The people wanted to be like the other nations of the world, and they asked for a king. They desired to be guided by human power which they could see, rather than by the divine, invisible Power that till then had led and guided them, and had given them victory in battle. They made their own choice, and the result was seen in the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the nation.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 24

    We cannot put confidence in any man, however learned, however elevated he may be, unless he holds the beginning of his confidence in God firm unto the end. What must have been the power of the enemy upon Solomon, a man whom Inspiration has thrice called the beloved of God, and to whom was committed the great work of building the temple! In that very work Solomon made an alliance with idolatrous nations. And through his marriages he bound himself up with heathen women. Through their influence he, in his later years, forsook the temple of God to prepare groves for their idols.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 25

    So now, men set God aside as not sufficient for them. They resort to worldly men for recognition, and think that by means of the influence gained from the world they can do some great thing. But they mistake. By leaning on the arm of the world instead of the arm of God, they turn aside the work which God desires to accomplish through His chosen people.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 26

    When brought in contact with the higher classes of society, let not the physician feel that he must conceal the peculiar characteristics which sanctification through the truth gives him. The physicians who unite with the work of God are to cooperate with God as His appointed instrumentalities. They are to give all their power and efficiency to magnifying the work of God’s commandment-keeping people. Those who in their human wisdom try to conceal the peculiar characteristics that distinguish God’s people from the world will lose their spiritual life, and will no longer be upheld by His power.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 27

    Never let the idea be entertained that it is essential to make an appearance of being wealthy. There will be a strong temptation to do this, with the thought that it will give influence. But I am instructed to say that it will have just the opposite effect.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 28

    All who seek to uplift themselves by conforming to the world set an example that is misleading. God recognizes as His those only who practice the self-denial and sacrifice which He has enjoined. Physicians are to understand that their power lies in their meekness and lowliness of heart. God will honor those who make Him their dependence.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 29

    The style of a physician’s dress, his equipage, his furniture, weigh not one jot with God. He cannot work by His Holy Spirit with those who try to compete with the world in dress and display. He who follows Christ must deny himself and take up the cross.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 30

    The physician who loves and fears God will not need to make any outward display in order to distinguish himself; for the Sun of Righteousness is shining in his heart and is revealed in his life, and this distinguishes him. When men work in Christ’s lines, they will be living epistles, known and read of all men. Through their example and influence men of wealth and talent will be turned from the cheapness of material things to lay hold on eternal realities. The greatest respect will ever be shown to the physician who reveals that he receives his directions from God. Nothing will work so powerfully for the advancement of God’s instrumentality as for those connected with it to stand steadfast as His faithful servants.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 31

    It is God’s plan that even worldly people who come to our sanitariums shall have a sense of security while there, because they are in a place where prayer is offered up to God. They are to see that there is in the world a people who possess talent and knowledge, yet who are not vain and self-exalted.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 32

    The physician will find that it is for his present and eternal good to follow the Lord’s way of working for suffering humanity. The mind that God has made He can mold without the power of man, but He honors men by asking them to cooperate with Him in this great work.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 33

    Many regard their own wisdom as sufficient, and they arrange things according to their judgment, thinking to bring about wonderful results. But if they would depend on God and not on themselves, they would receive heavenly wisdom. Those who are so engrossed with their work that they cannot find time to press their way to the throne of grace and obtain counsel from God will surely turn the work into wrong channels. Our strength lies in our union with God through His only begotten Son and in our union with one another.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 34

    The surgeon most truly successful is he who loves God, who sees God in His created work, and worships Him as he traces His wise arrangement in the human organism. The most successful physician is he who fears God from his youth as did Timothy, who feels that Christ is his constant companion, a friend with whom he can always commune. Such a physician would not change his position for the highest office the world could give. He is more anxious to honor God and secure His approval than to secure patronage and honor from the great men of the world.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 35


    Every sanitarium established among Seventh-day Adventists should be made a Bethel. All who are connected with this branch of the work should be consecrated to God. Those who minister to the sick, who perform delicate, grave operations should remember that one slip of the knife, one nervous tremor, and a soul may be launched into eternity. They should not be allowed to take so many responsibilities that they have no time for special seasons of prayer. By earnest prayer they should acknowledge their dependence upon God. Only through a sense of God’s pure truth in the mind and heart, only through the calmness and strength that He alone can impart, are they qualified to perform those critical operations which mean life or death to the afflicted ones.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 36

    The physician who is truly converted will not gather to himself responsibilities that interfere with his work for souls. Since without Christ, “ye can do nothing” (John 15:5), how can a physician or a medical missionary engage successfully in his important work without earnestly seeking the Lord in prayer? Prayer and a study of the Word bring life and health to the soul.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 37

    The Lord will do wondrous things for the truth’s sake, and that His name may be glorified. But He requires that the people who engage in His service shall keep their minds ever directed to Him. Every day they should have time for reading the Word of God and for prayer. Every officer and every soldier under the command of the God of Israel needs time in which to consult with God and seek His blessing. If the worker allows himself to be drawn away from this, he will lose his spiritual power. Individually we are to walk and talk with God; then the sacred influence of the gospel of Christ will appear in all its preciousness.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 38

    A work of reformation is to be carried on in our institutions. Physicians, workers, [and] nurses, are to realize that they are on probation, on trial for their present life, and for that life which measures with the life of God. We are to put to the stretch every faculty, every nerve and muscle, in order to bring saving truths to the attention of suffering human beings. This work must be carried on in connection with the work of saving the sick. Then the work will stand forth before the world in the strength which God designs it shall have. Through the influence of sanctified workers the truth will be magnified. It will go forth as a lamp that burneth.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 39

    Exorbitant Fees

    Honesty, integrity, justice, mercy, love, compassion, and sympathy are embraced in medical missionary work. In all this work the religion of the Bible is to be practiced. The Lord does not want any one to labor as His representative who follows the wrong customs and practices of worldly physicians in treating suffering humanity. Our physicians need to reform in the matter of making high charges for critical operations. And the reform should extend farther than this. Often an exorbitant sum is charged for even small services, because physicians are supposed to be governed in their charges by the practices of worldly physicians. There are those who follow worldly policy in order to accumulate means, as they say, for God’s service. But God does not accept such offerings. He says, “I hate robbery for burnt offering.” Isaiah 61:8. “Those who deal unjustly with their fellow men while professing to believe My Word, I will judge for thus misrepresenting Me.”14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 40

    As these things were presented before me, my Teacher said, The institutions that depend upon God and receive His cooperation must ever work according to the principles of the law of God. To charge a large sum for a few moment’s work is not just and right. Physicians who are under the discipline of the greatest Physician the world ever knew must let the principles of the gospel regulate every fee. Let mercy and the love of God be written on every dollar received.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 41

    When our sanitariums are conducted as they should be, a large medical missionary work will be done. Every worker will do his work in such a way and with such a spirit that he will shine as a light in the world.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 42

    God calls for the doing of practical, Christlike work. The patients who come to our sanitariums are to see carried out the principles laid down in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. Those who have accepted the truth are to practice it because it is the truth. In the work of God in our institutions the truth is to be preserved in all its sacred influence.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 43

    The medical practitioner should in all places keep his religious principles clear and untarnished. Truth should be paramount in his practice. He is to use his influence as a means of cleansing the soul by the healing beams of the Sun of Righteousness. When a time comes that physicians cannot do this, the Lord would have no more medical institutions established among Seventh-day Adventists.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 44

    The Tithe

    The men connected with the institutions of God’s appointment are to be careful to acknowledge God in all their ways. They are to show that to Him they owe their intellect and all their capabilities. As did Abraham, they are to pay tithe of all they possess and all they receive. A faithful tithe is the Lord’s portion. To withhold it is to rob God. Every man should freely, willingly, and gladly bring tithes and offerings into the storehouse of the Lord. In so doing he will receive a blessing. There is no safety in withholding from God His own portion.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 45

    The Lord says, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed; for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:8-12.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 46

    Observance of the Sabbath

    Let no man, because he is a physician, feel at liberty to do those things which God has forbidden. He should not, because he is a physician, travel on the Sabbath unless this is a necessity in order to relieve suffering. He should plan his work so as to obey God’s requirements. The Lord says, “Verily, my Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations.” Exodus 31:13. When there is real suffering to be alleviated, it is not a desecration of the Sabbath for physicians to travel upon it; but unimportant cases should be deferred. God sanctified and blessed the seventh day, and it is to be kept as His sacred memorial.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 47

    God created the world in six days, and rested upon the seventh “Wherefore,” He declares, “the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” Exodus 31:16. Those who keep God’s commandments may claim the promises contained in Isaiah 58:11-14.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 48

    The instruction given in this chapter is full and decided. Those who refrain from labor on the Sabbath may claim divine comfort and consolation. Shall we not believe God? Shall we not call holy the day which He calls holy? Man should not be ashamed to acknowledge as sacred that which God calls sacred. He should not be ashamed to acknowledge as sacred that which God calls sacred. He should not be ashamed to do that which God has commanded. Obedience will bring him a knowledge of what constitutes true sanctification.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 49

    Let there be no robbery of God in tithes and offerings, no desecration of God’s holy time. Man is not to do his own pleasure on God’s day. He has six days in which to work at secular business, and God claims the seventh as His own. “In it,” He says, “thou shalt not do any work.” Exodus 20:10. The servant of God will call sacred that which the Lord calls sacred. Thus he will show that he has chosen the Lord as his Leader. The Sabbath was made in Eden, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. God has placed it in our charge. Let us keep it pure and holy.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 50

    The Important of Obedience

    Subtle, dangerous temptations will come to the physician who believes the truth for these last days. That which would be condemned in a worker of another class is supposed to be admissible in a physician. Thus a multitude of sins are covered up, sins which are registered in the books of heaven as a departure from Bible principles. These temptations the physician may resist if he understands his peril and stands fast by his Saviour. If true to the Word of God, we are on the side of Christ, on the side of the loyal, holy angels; we stand under the shield of Omnipotence. Of whom, then should we be afraid?14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 51

    There are those who cannot appreciate the gospel of Christ sufficiently to practice it in every line of their work. These will criticize. Those who are superficial and selfish do not know God or Jesus Christ by an experimental knowledge, and they are always faithless. In their eyes small obstructions appear as mountains. There is always a lion in the way.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 52

    The Lord requires truth in the inward parts. He will give the Holy Spirit to all who ask Him in faith. He calls for men to act as gospel ministers, to act as physicians, whom no flattery can cause to swerve from the truth. Ministers and doctors are to be under the rule of God. He in whose heart the Spirit of God bears rule will follow the example of Christ. The life, the character, will be so Christlike that it will roll back the unjust reproach from the pure truth of Christ.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 53

    There must be no failure in God’s work. Every thought, every plan, must be in harmony with God’s expressed will. He is our Creator, our Redeemer, our Counsellor. He is to be the first, the last, and best in everything.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 54

    In obedience to the commandments of God the soul will receive the best of everything. Every blessing may be enjoyed with the favor of God when heart, mind, and life are consecrated to His service. If men would accept Christ, and see the binding claims of the law of God, they would not take a neutral position, but would stand out in full confidence, and say, The Lord is my helper. He is the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent is the supreme and everlasting Good. Thus they would secure for themselves the grand promise of God.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 55

    This is an individual work. Every worker in God’s cause should strive to become more and more efficient. There must be no careless disregard of God’s expressed will. The laborer together with God must live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Let us individually draw nigh to the mount, that we may understand what the Lord commands, and then obey.14LtMs, Ms 169, 1899, par. 56

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