Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Ms 25, 1892

Address to Physicians


July 18, 1892 [typed]

Portions of the manuscript are published in CH 340-343.

A physician should be a Christian, and notwithstanding the pressing calls upon his time, like Daniel the noble statesman, he should have his seasons of meditation and prayer. This duty is neglected by some to their souls injury. The time that is devoted to self-examination, and to drawing nigh to God, is of the highest value, for humble prayer brings heavenly messengers to the side of the suppliant, to shed light into the mind, by imparting heavenly wisdom. He who trusts in the counsel of the Great Physician will know that there is One who bears the yoke with him. If any man needs personal religion, a knowledge of God and His ways, a realization that there is a Saviour at his right hand to inspire with pure and holy imaginings, true faith, pure love, hope, and courage, it is the physician, for without it he can do but insufficient work. It is not safe for one moment to become careless concerning God’s requirements. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 1

Neglect of prayer causes the Christian to become weak, to lose self-control, [and] give loose reign to impure thoughts and impulse. But in learning of Christ, in looking to Jesus, in depending upon His strength, the physician will be brought into sympathy with Christ. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 2

In treating the sick he will seek God for wisdom. Then, instead of placing his dependence upon drugs, and expecting that medicine will bring health to his patients, he will use nature’s restoratives, and employ natural means whereby the sick may be aided to recovery. The Lord will hear and answer the prayer of the Christian physician, and he may reach an elevated standard if he but lays hold of the hand of Christ, and determines that he will not let Him go. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 3

Golden opportunities are before the Christian physician; for he may exert a precious influence upon those with whom he is brought in contact. He may guide and mold and fashion the lives of his patients by holding up before them heavenly principles. If physicians abide in Christ their moral taste will not be perverted, and they will not lead the mind away from purity, away from Christ, and confirm souls in a course of evil whereby many are imperiled. It is the duty of the Christian physician to present a high standard in a pure, holy, uncorrupted life. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 4

The physician should let men see that he does not regard his work as of a cheap order but looks upon it as high, noble, elevated work, even that for which is attached the sacred accountability of dealing with the souls and the bodies of those for whom Christ has paid the infinite price of His most precious blood. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 5

If the physician has the mind of Christ, he will be cheerful, hopeful, happy; but not trifling. He will realize that the heavenly angels accompany him to the sick room, and [he] will find words to speak readily, truthfully to his patients that will cheer and bless them. His faith will be full of simplicity, of child-like confidence in the Lord. He will be able to repeat to the repenting soul, the gracious promises of God, and thus place the trembling hand of the afflicted ones in the hand of Christ, that they may find repose in God. Thus, through the grace imparted to him, the physician will fulfil his heavenly Father’s claims upon him. In delicate and perilous operations, he may know that Jesus is by his side to counsel, to strengthen, to nerve him to work with precision and skill in the efforts to save human life. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 6

If the presence of God is not in the sick room Satan will be there to suggest perilous experiments, and will seek to unbalance the nerves that life may be destroyed rather than saved. Many physicians who claim to be Christians pursue a wrong course of actions. By careful thorough examination of their patients they ought to know their real condition, but many deceive their patients. When a patient has been dying with consumption, physicians assured them that there was nothing the matter with their lungs. These afflicted ones regarded as truth the assurance of the physician, although they were in positive danger, and suffering from a fatal malady, and their span of life was but short, a few weeks or months at best. The physician who did this was either a man who could not be trusted, or else he was incompetent, and unworthy of the position he held. In either case he will be called upon to give an account of his stewardship; for he spoke smooth things, when he should have spoken the truth in wisdom, giving the soul on the brink of the grave, warning of his danger that he might repent of his sins; and instead of deceiving him [he] should have pointed the sufferer to Jesus who taketh away the sins of the world. God writes such neglect in His books as deception. The practice of saying smooth things to those who are in danger should not be tolerated in our institutions. The holy duties of a Christian physician forbid deception in dealing with patients. The physician should in every thing be a man of mortal rectitude. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 7

A physician occupies a more important position, because of dealing with morbid souls, deceased minds, and afflicted bodies than does the minister of the gospel. The physician can present an elevated standard of Christian character, if he will be instant in season and out of season. He who is thus a missionary for the Lord, doing the Master’s work with fidelity, will receive a rich reward by and by. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 8

Let the Christian physician keep his counsel, and divulge no secret to unbelievers. Let him communicate no secret that will disparage God’s people. Guard your thoughts, close the door to temptation. Do your work as in the sight of the divine Watcher. Work patiently, expecting through the grace of Christ, you will make a success in your profession. Keep up the barriers which the Lord has erected for your safety. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life or of death. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 9

A physician should attend strictly to his professional work. He should not allow anything to come in to divert his mind from his business, or take his attention from those who are looking to him for relief from suffering. An assuring and hopeful word spoken in season to the sufferer will often relieve the mind of the patients and win for the physician a place in their confidence. Those who come to our institutions for help should not be left for long hours without consultation and examination. If there is hope of recovery in their case, they should be assured of this. To leave the patient to wait for hours, some times for days, before [he is] advised by the physicians, is painful to the afflicted one, and aggravates the mind and works injury to the body. It works evil to our institutions, and some times causes the loss of patients from the Sanitariums and Health Retreat, who might have been benefited, and, in turn, have been a benefit to others and to the cause. How many lessons we yet need to unlearn, that we may learn in the school of Christ that which He would have us to learn. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 10

A Christian physician should be noble in every purpose, and pure in conduct and conversation. His influence should be a blessing, his sympathy should not be after the order of sentimentalism, for this would be detrimental to him, and those whom he favors. Institutions for health should have consecrated, pure, noble, godly physicians who will not be bribed to leave their station of duty, but who will give character to the institution for which they labor. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 11

Some physicians among us have not revealed true, godlike principles in their services to our institutions. Selfishness has overcome them, and when higher wages were offered, they were tempted by the bribe, and left their position of trust. Men often become the agents of Satan in alluring the servants of God from their trust, and become his mediums as surely as did the serpent in Eden. Moved wholly by selfish considerations, men have left their God-given position of duty. The tempter and the tempted are both under the displeasure of the Lord. And the reception of high wages for ordinary services is registered in the books of heaven as robbery. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 12

Our institutions should be a refuge for the weary and suffering, a place where they may find peace and rest of soul. It should be an educational school for the youth. Those who have been battling with temptations, surrounded with influences that taunt and corrupt the soul, should find within its walls a sacred influence, peaceful rest. All who are connected with the institutions for health, physicians, superintendent, nursers, and helpers, should feel that they are in the very best missionary work in the world. They should keep their souls in the love of God, walking in the light, that they may lead others in paths of peace and purity. Workers of this character will have a telling influence through time, and their work will be as lasting as eternity. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 13

But, O, how abhorrent to God is he who dares to occupy a position of trust, and yet cherishes an impure, immortal character. One may sow seeds of immorality that will corrupt the souls of many, and through the influence of those corrupted, many others will be led to sin and destruction. Kindness and courteousness should be manifested; but the common, cheap talk, which is so customary even among some who claim to be Christians, should not be heard in our institutions. To be a Christian is to be Christlike—pure and holy in all manner of conversation. The only way for us to become truly courteous, without affection, without undue familiarity, is to drink in of the Spirit of Christ, to heed the injunction, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” [1 Peter 1:16.] If we act upon the principles plainly laid down in the Word of God, we shall have no inclination to indulge in undue familiarity. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 14

The great Teacher gave lessons which reveal that the whole purpose of the work of redemption is to purify, refine, and ennoble men. Its purpose is to soften whatever is harsh in temper and refine what is coarse in deportment. The workers in our institutions should be living examples of what they desire those to be who are patients and guests in the institutions. A right spirit and a holy life is a constant instructor to others. The hollow-hearted courtesy of the fashionable is of no value in the sight of Him by whom actions are weighed. The truth will have a transforming power upon the character of all who are controlled by its principles. Then they will blend unselfish, Christlike love with firmness and decision. There will be no partiality and no hypocrisy. They will build up those who are associated with them into firm, decided characters through their sanctified influence. They will bring gladness and peace and joy into the life of others. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 15

The physicians should be ready for every good work. If his life is hid with Christ in God, he will be a missionary in the highest sense. When they are together, Christian physicians will conduct themselves as sons of God. They will realize that they are engaged in work in the same vineyard, and every selfish barrier will be broken down. They will know that they are brethren in the household of faith. They will feel for each other a deep interest, untainted with selfishness. They are not contending in their associations who is, or who shall be greatest; but, believing in Christ, they realize that they are branches of the same vine stock. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 16

Christ says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] And as every one is wholly dependent for growth, development and success upon Jesus, the Source of all efficiency, of what has any one to boast? “For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” [1 Corinthians 4:7.] 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 17

He who is himself a reformer, can accomplish good in seeking to reform others. By precept and example he can be a savor of life unto life eternal. Would that the curtain could be rolled back, and we could see how interestedly the angels of God are looking upon the institutions for the treatment of the sick. The work in which the physician is engaged, standing between the living and the dead, is of special importance. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 18

The intelligent physician sees with faith the connection between sin and disease. He may refuse to be influenced by his convictions, he may so fill up his time with the business of his calling that he will not consider subjects demanding serious thought; but the fact is unquestionable that there is a relation between sin and disease. Nature’s law cannot be transgressed and the consequence not follow. What a pity it is that, through sin, men will bruise their souls, and make their character wholly unlike Christ’s. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 19

By sending His only beloved Son into the world, God has made it possible to bring moral power to combine with human effort so that man may make a success of life. He may rise from skepticism to a life of faith and confidence. He may come boldly to [the] throne of grace, presenting the righteousness of His substitute and surety, believing that he receives according to his needs. The condition of our success is that God is our strength, for through the grace of Christ, we can do all things. The temptations of Satan may be resisted. We may perfectly love God because He is lovely, and loving God, we have no love for sin. Through love to God, the moral taste is changed. We rise above all natural weakness; for by living faith we have taken hold of Omnipotence, and infinite wisdom is brought into our counsels. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 20

We must ally ourselves with Christ, and as we recognize the atonement made in our behalf, the more powerful and acceptable will be our prayers, and the more earnestly will we strive to do the will of God, to be rich in good works. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 21

Some physicians who claim to believe the truth for this time have not honored their profession or their faith. They have acted upon very objectionable principles. They have been blind to the claims of justice and equity and honesty, and the claims of that true, Christian principle, which every child of God should cherish. Some flatter themselves, thinking because they have a measure of success they have an evidence that they are all right. But Satan may arrange matters so that those who pursue a course of stubborn independence may be prospered financially. But their prosperity and popularity does not prove that they are not in Satan’s snare, for no one is crowned unless he strives lawfully. Physicians will be sorely tried in many ways, but if they will walk in the counsel of the Most High, they will be honored of God, and will be instrumental in saving many souls. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 22

We should remember that the God of heaven, the Creator of the earth is absolute in authority, and His power is irresistible. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” [Psalm 111:10.] When men lose the fear of the Lord, they become lawless and reckless. From the actions of some of the medical fraternity, we would think that they had forgotten God for their influence is demoralizing among those who claim to believe the truth. The faithful Calebs who follow the Lord fully are few. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 23

A reformation must take place among our physicians, that they may come to see matters in an entirely different light and stand approved of God. Some may feel that they are not amenable to any human power or authority; but though they do not acknowledge earthly authority, they must know that they are amenable to God. Those who would be laborers together with God, should come into harmony with the working agencies the Lord employs. They should undertake no work without prayerfully considering what will be its bearing in the cause of God, for each part is to be in harmony with some other part, and all are to be in accord with the great whole. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 24

The physicians need to be learners as well as instructors. They are in a world where every form of vice and sin is fashionable. All who believe in Jesus should join in the work of reform, yoke up with Christ, and put an end to sin. Christ’s work was “to make an end to sins” and “to bring in everlasting righteousness.” [Daniel 9:24.] No human science or philosophy can establish a people in the way of virtue. This is a work demanding divine agency, even that “wisdom that is from above,” which “is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” [James 3:17, 18.] 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 25

But while the Spirit of the Lord must impart to us wisdom, yet we cannot lightly regard education. It is highly essential in doing work in any line in the cause that the faculties of the mind should be trained properly, and the medical profession is one in which thoroughly trained men of the sternest integrity, purest principles, most holy aspirations, are called for. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 26

Beside being well trained, physicians should be Christians, and be able to bring eternal realities before the suffering and the dying. They should have an experience in the Christian life so that they can point sinners to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. [They] should be connected with the Great Physician in order that they may be able to communicate to the sick and suffering the knowledge of the preciousness of pure and undefiled religion. The physician should be a medical missionary, a spiritual guide imbued with [the] Spirit of God. In all his work he should give reality and prominence to things of eternal interest. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 27

Those who are engaged in so sacred a work together should esteem and love one another and be able to help each other to obtain clearer views in regard to their high calling in Christ Jesus. If they have a realizing sense of their work, their hearts will not be filled with envy and jealousy. Every one in the Medical profession should manifest true courtesy, kindness of heart, [and] warm, brotherly tenderness toward his fellow workers. But this is not manifest now nor has it been. Envy, selfishness, jealousy, evil surmising, [and] evil speaking has cursed the work. Great injury has resulted to the medical men themselves, and injury to others, and the noblest conceptions concerning the work, have been retarded in their execution because of the work of unconsecrated practitioners. Men whom God has chosen to sow the seed of truth preparatory to a harvest of souls have been disheartened in their efforts by the selfishness of their co-laborers. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 28

When men place the value upon their brethren that Christ has placed upon them, when they identify their interest with humanity as He has done, they will realize that they belong to a sacred brotherhood, and they will treat each other with consideration and love. They will not connive at evil; for the law of God will be their standard, and the love of God will actuate them. Streams of holy influence and usefulness will flow from those whose hearts are cleansed, whose characters are ennobled by right conceptions of God and their relations to humanity. In their association with their fellowmen, those who have put on Christ will so conduct themselves that it will be manifest that angels guard them, for heavenly angels surround them. Their associates will be impressed with the conviction that they have found Christian physicians whom they can trust. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 29

O that the physicians among us would realize the force of these words: “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” [2 Corinthians 5:10.] If every medical practitioner would take these words home to himself, and shape his actions in accordance with the ways of God, his life would impress men generally with the fact that he is a doer of the words of Christ, that he has been with Jesus and learned of Him. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 30

What a power for good would such a physician be. He would carry with him the healthful influences of righteousness and truth. Not for a moment would he entertain the thought that because he is a physician he may be bribed with larger wages to desert his post of duty, and so do a dishonorable act. He would not for any amount of money be found a traitor to the cause of God, and at the very time when, if true to God, he might be an efficient helper, or if untrue, a great hinderer and destroyer, think he might be justified in betraying sacred trusts. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 31

What disclosure will the judgment reveal when the books are opened and every man is judged according to the deeds done in the body! What an awakening will then come! How vividly will come back the memory of deeds that have now been forgotten! What intense, searching inspection will be made of all the life’s actions. Hidden things will all be revealed. The sinful secrets of life and heart which have not been confessed and washed away in the blood of the Lamb will be made manifest. The unfaithfulness of those who have taken upon them sacred responsibilities and have failed to fulfill them will stand revealed. Those whose consciences have become seared until sin was not sin to them, through whose influence others will be led to lightly regard sin will see things in their true light. Their great ambition to be first, to be highly honored of men, will stand forth in all its unhallowed aspects. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 32

Nothing that defileth will enter into the kingdom of heaven. No one who trifles with human virtue, no duelist with blood-stained hands, no liar, no profligate, no defiler of woman’s innocence, no destroyer of domestic peace, will breathe the holy atmosphere of heaven. Probationary time has been granted to men by a merciful God, in which they may prepare themselves for the home above. If this favor is not appreciated; if in the time of probation men do not regulate their thought and action in accordance with the directions given in the Word of God, they will not be transformed in character or fitted for the realms of eternal bliss. God cannot trust them in a holy heaven; only those who are without spot or wrinkle or any such thing will be able to see the King in His beauty. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 33

Those who are called to come up higher, are those who have endured the test, who have proven themselves true to God, and worthy to be chosen as citizens of heaven. It is not those who merely advocate, but those who practice, the truth of God, who love God supremely and their neighbors as themselves that will be found acceptable for the courts of glory. But amid infidels, amid betrayers of sacred trust, amid those who are lured by the bribes of Satan, there will be those who are chosen of God, because they stand true to Him under the test and trial. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 34

They not only know and teach the commandments of God, but practice their precepts. They esteem others better than themselves; they are not triflers; they live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present evil world. They neither defraud or deceive, or cover iniquity. They live in reference to a better country, even an heavenly. A high and holy atmosphere surrounds them at home or abroad. They lay hold of Christ’s strength, subjecting their thoughts and their passions to Christ, that through His grace their affections may be purified, their love sanctified. This representation does not exaggerate what the character of a physician should be, for he should love God supremely and his fellow man as himself. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 35

When physicians consider the importance of their work, and its burden of results, they will know that they cannot trust to their reason, or depend on science or philosophy. Their dependence will be in the Word of God. When it is there, there will be a different spirit revealed in the medical profession. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 36

If those who take a self-sufficient, independent course in dealing with those entrusted to their care could see that a heavenly witness is at their side, in all their councils, in all their practice, they would leave many a word unuttered, many a deed undone. If they could behold the record made of their life work, they would not look upon it with joy, but with grief. Physicians should be ambassadors for Christ in their specific work, and instead of giving prominence to the special theory of medicine which they advocate, by a godly life and conversation they should make prominent the fact that they are Christians. Not one of the schools of medicine so highly lauded in the world is approved in the courts above, nor do they bear the heavenly superscription and endorsement. You are not justified in advocating one school above the others, as though it was the only one worthy of respect. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 37

Those who vindicate one school of medicine, and bitterly condemn another, are actuated by a zeal that is not according to knowledge. With Pharisaic pride, some men look down upon others who have not received a diploma from the so-called standard school. All this proves that there are men that cannot see afar off, and have forgotten that they were purged from their old sins. They need to humble themselves before the cross of Calvary. This spirit of pride will never be acknowledged in heaven, nor will men who cherish it, receive the heavenly benediction, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: ... enter into the joy of thy Lord.” [Matthew 25:21.] 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 38

I have spoken plainly in regard to your feelings concerning the methods of practice. Some of you have been as zealous in exalting the method that your school advocated as though the Lord had specified that that very method was the only one to be followed. The use of drugs has resulted in far more harm than good, and should our physicians who claim to believe the truth, almost entirely dispense with medicine and faithfully practice along the lines of the principles of hygiene, using natures remedies, far greater success would attend their efforts. There is no need whatever to exalting the methods whereby drugs are administered. I know whereof I write. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 39

Brethren in the medical profession, I entreat you to think candidly and wisely, and to put away childish things. The Lord is not pleased with your attitude toward those who have graduated in what you consider inferior schools. He does not approve of the spirit that actuates you. God will judge us by the standard of what we ought to have done had we been obedient children. Physicians will be held responsible for their omissions and their mistakes, even though they cannot see them, or estimate their results. 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 40

In this life who can boast, for who can understand the magnitude of his errors? Every man is responsible to God for the consecration of every talent to the service of Christ during his whole lifetime. He is accountable for his influence, for all that he might have been had he advance in knowledge and spirituality according to this opportunity. He is accountable for the souls that might have been saved had he labored as they that must give an account. How solemn is the day of our probation. From every one of us let this prayer go up to God, “Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” [Psalm 19:12.] 7LtMs, Ms 25, 1892, par. 41