Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 177, 1899

The Medical Missionary Work


May 10, 1899

Portions of this manuscript are published in WM 253-254; Ev 523; 4MR 412; 9MR 129; MR311 47. +Note

The people of God are to act a prominent part in connection with angelic agencies who flood the earth with their glory. In establishing His church in the world, God designed that this agency, united with the heavenly, should accomplish the work He would have done. But the people did not keep up with the advanced light. They were not awake to their opportunities and privileges. He gave them light in medical missionary lines. This branch of the work was to be to the ministry of the Word what the right hand is to the body. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 1

But the right hand became the whole body and could no longer rightly represent the gospel ministry. Then there came a warning, cautioning men not to make this line of work an all-absorbing power, not to bind up the Lord’s means in sanitariums and school buildings, so that foreign fields could not have the message which God designed should go to them. The message He sent was to be proclaimed to the world, not cut off from it by creating large interesting and exacting costly buildings in one portion of the field. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 2

My soul is troubled, exceedingly troubled. I must continue to write on that which impresses my mind. A deep sadness hangs over me. I see trouble, perplexity, and threatened bankruptcy before the work in America. And why? Because of the unfaithful stewardship of past years. God has sent warning after warning in regard to not adding building to building. He has given instruction that plants should be made in different fields, that the standard should be planted in towns and cities which have not heard the truth. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 3

I have light from the Lord that Dr. Kellogg needs to be guarded. He is leaving a wrong impression on minds. He has made a mistake in supposing that the medical missionary work has an importance above every other work. Medical missionary work has its place; but it has been made disproportionately important. Had Dr. Kellogg’s brethren stood with him in the first of his experience in connection with health reform, the present condition of things would not now exist. Dr. Kellogg has carried a very heavy burden in addition to his legitimate work. I now appeal to him to unload. While this class of work is magnified as it is now being magnified, and glowing descriptions which are not true are given of it, the counsel given to restrain it will be regarded as a resistance of the Spirit of God. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 4

In the night season I seemed to be in a meeting, where precise lines of work, which all were to follow, were being laid down. One stood among us and spoke words of solemn import. He said, In thus making a definite program, you are making a mistake. There is no need of all these preliminaries. What is needed is the Spirit of God. Let this Spirit have free course and be glorified. Do not try to work the Holy Spirit. The time spent in arranging a definite program might better be used in seeking the Lord with humility and contrition. It is God’s way we should follow, not our own. Give the chance for the Lord to work upon whom He will. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 5

Precautions must be taken in this last work that mortals shall undertake. There is danger of so working upon the imagery of the mind that persons who are wholly unfitted to engage in the sacred work of God will consider themselves appointed by heaven to work for the outcast and fallen. If all the experiences, pleasant and unpleasant, were depicted, there would not be so many drawn to this class of work. Many enter the work because they love that which is sensational and exciting. But unless they throw all their energies into this grand, soul-saving work, they reveal that they have not the true missionary spirit. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 6

The medical missionary work is an eventual work, and to those who engage in it many doors of temptation are opened. The worker knows that it will please the doctor to hear of great things being done, and in relating his experiences, he will often bring in a large stock of the marvelous. Some items of truth he may have with which to frame his statements, and on these he enlarges until his story grows to fabulous dimensions. A few young men and women will endure the trying of their faith in this respect, but in many cases this temptation will break down every barrier. I give the note of warning. Let every soul understand himself, and before he begins to labor be assured that he has been called by God to this work. The Lord will give His grace to those who keep the faith once delivered to the saints, who will not exchange the truth for erroneous theories, or presumptuously venture on the enemy’s ground when God has not called them there. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 7

The worker who rushes on in self-confidence, scorning all warnings and that which he terms cowardly precaution, will never become a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. He may not intend to lose his virtue, or succumb to intemperance or any other evil habit, but he is in peril because he feels that he can walk securely through every scene of temptation unaided from above. Men and women placed under the best of influences have to struggle continually against evil, and yet this self-confident one, who is daily exposed to the iniquity found in the lowest dens of vice, feels secure in his own strength. He will not receive the warnings sent, but rushes heedlessly along the edge of the precipice, where one false step might plunge him into an abyss of woe. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 8

But a change comes. Gradually he loses his modesty, and in its place an unholy boldness comes to him. His self-control, self-restraint, and discernment become like threads of silk, on which he can place no dependence. He is adrift, and what power can be brought to bear upon him to save him? With bitter, unavailing remorse he remembers how he has disregarded God’s appointed agencies. Over and over again his experience is repeated. Repenting of his wrongs, he seeks in his own strength to reform, only to sink to still lower depths of degradation. Then he loses confidence in God’s instrumentalities, and comes to regard them as deceptive as his own course of action. He judges those who have never been guilty of the sins he has committed as putting on a cloak of piety. What power can save such a man? He can have no true elevation of character or morals until in the strength of Christ he refuses to yield to temptation, and makes God his dependence. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 9

In every effort to keep the soul with all diligence, man needs the keeping power of God. There is danger, constant danger of contamination in the work among the fallen and degraded. Why, then, do men and women place themselves in contact with this danger who are unprepared to resist temptation, and who have not sufficient strength of character for the work? 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 10

Upon the mind of many a young man engaged in the so-called medical missionary work an altogether different effect is produced than the doctor or any of his associates imagine. He is not careful to watch the designs of Satan toward him in his new and exposed career, and gradually he separates from the homelife and healthful influences. Before every such youth the danger signal needs to be uplifted. In every place where men and women are working for the degraded, some one must bear grave responsibilities or the workers will become cheap in their attitude, their words, and their principles. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 11

Many will unite in this work, thinking that by so doing they will be helped from their life of sin, and when occasion arises, these will think it right to prevaricate, to be dishonest, or to commit any of the sins of which they have been guilty in the past. Beholding this, the workers who are not living in close connection with God will be changed, not from good to a greater good, but from defective to a still more defective character. They will take up with the ways and manners of the open sinner. They will join the evildoers in magnifying every evil report, and in time will lose all love of refinement of speech or manners. Their fear of God and love of righteousness becomes mingled with a kind of religious fever, which is not acceptable in the sight of God. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 12

The youth need to take heed to themselves, or the wrong ideas with which they come in contact will be engrafted in their minds, and it will be difficult for them to form pure, noble characters. Those who engage in this work even for a short time need to be young men and young women of prayer, wise with the wisdom which God alone can give. They need to have characters which have a measure of precaution. And as they arm themselves for the battle, they need to pledge themselves before God to resist every temptation to evil, and to keep their morals pure. The insidious approaches of the enemy who would lead them to disregard their solemn vows must be steadfastly resisted. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 13

We have all a right to know all that it is possible for us to know regarding the relation of the so-called medical missionary work to the gospel ministry. Is it something to discourage and take the place of the proclamation of the truth for these last days? No; its only solidity is in being the right hand of the ministry. Good cannot result from it unless it is bound up with the work of the gospel. God has instructed me that the work of caring for the outcast is not to take the place of the ministry of the Word. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 14

Medical missionary work is not to take the place of the ministry of the Word. It is not to absorb the means which should be used to sustain the Lord’s work in foreign fields. From wheresoever the money in the treasury shall come, it is the Lord’s, and it is not to be used so largely in erecting buildings in America. The donations of the people are not to be sunk in lines of work which show little results. The truth is to be proclaimed, that the way of the Lord may be prepared. The trumpet must give no uncertain sound. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 15

Jesus was the Sent of God. Through all the cities and towns of Palestine He went preaching the gospel of the kingdom. Before He left His disciples to return to His heavenly home, He commissioned His disciples to go forth and preach repentance and remission of sins among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. “All power is given unto me, in heaven and in earth,” He said. [Matthew 28:18.] “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.” “And these signs shall follow them that believe. In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” [Mark 16:15-18.] 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 16

From the light which the Lord has been pleased to give me, I know that the work in America is not being carried forward in a way that will bring the greatest honor to God or give the best experience to the workers. There is to be no disparaging of the sacred work of the ministry, which calls for separation from the world. Let no one speak lightly or slightingly of those whom God has called to open the sacred oracles to the people. The world will speak lightly of God’s people, because the truth they advance does not suit their ideas. Let not those who claim to believe the truth do this work, for in so doing they disparage Christ in the person of His saints. Slights enough will be offered to the servants of God without being offered by those in our ranks. Those who love Jesus will respect the ministry of His Word. Those who truly cast in their lot with Him will strive to bring all they can into the kingdom of Christ. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 17

Medical missionary work must leave room for the ministry of the Word. Contempt is never to be expressed in regard to the promulgation of God’s Word. The third angel’s message must not be smothered to death. Do not encourage those who have fallen so low in degradation, and who have been rescued, to exalt themselves. Let them understand that the Lord has not given them the work of disparaging the ministers, whom He has used and will continue to use. The Lord will not long sustain those who criticize and slight His servants. Let God reprove the erring. Let not human voice be heard criticizing and accusing. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 18

The words of those who do not respect the work of the ministry are of no value, for God is not with them. I have heard words spoken against our ministers which God never prompted. In heaven these words are registered as spoken against Jesus Christ. There are many who in the day of judgment will not be able to vindicate or justify their actions. Some who have not a ray of light on the subject of self-denial and self-sacrifice have hurt the ministry by their unguarded words. They have acted in this matter the same as those belonging to other denominations. Never allow inexperienced men—in the past a blot on God’s fair creation—who have been rescued by medical missionary work, to make a tirade in their speeches against those who are ministering in word and doctrine. This has been done, and it will be done again, unless more solid, intelligent moves are made in the work. Let the men rescued from the depths of degradation understand that God says to them, “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 11:29, 30.] Every truly converted man will find Christ’s yoke easy, and His burden light. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 19

Those who claim to believe the truth, and yet spend their time in making political speeches, are changing leaders. They cannot claim the privilege of being subjects of the heavenly kingdom. May those who are so ready to speechify be led to take Christ’s yoke upon them, and learn His meekness and lowliness of heart. Only thus can they find rest. God requires His subjects to stand under the true colors. They are to behave as citizens of heaven, identifying themselves with Christ. Never are they to disgrace their divine citizenship. Never are they to fail to render to God the honor that is due to Him. When the blessing of the Lord comes upon His people, the work of fitting laborers for the various mission fields will be taken up. We all need the heavenly endowment. God’s ways are not the ways of men. Less speechifying and more humbling of the soul before God will bring His blessing. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 20

Truly converted men will respect the ministry of the Word. There are those who are ignorant of experimental godliness. They are not well-balanced. They carry too much sail. The Lord calls for men like those specified in the sixth chapter of Acts, “Men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and of wisdom.” [Verse 3.] The truth as it is in Jesus will reveal the line of demarcation between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of life, is sharper than any two-edged sword. In spirit and action we must separate from the world. This does not mean that we are to exclude ourselves from the world. Nor need we wear a badge to signify that we are set apart for sacred service. At all times and in all places we are to show that we are striving to make ourselves worthy of the blessings of heaven. With hearts imbued with heavenly love, we are to go forth to give food in due season to the flock of God. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 21

I have laid out the matter as it has been presented to me. The third angel’s message, in the place of swelling into a loud cry, is being smothered. Discouragements have come in. But the work is not to stop thus. It is to increase in the power of the Spirit of God. The time has come when the whole earth is to be lightened with the glory of the angel which came down from heaven. A decided work is to be done in presenting the truth for this time, the truth that will sanctify the soul, for we are in that age of the world’s history which Christ declared should be as the days of Noah were. Two great armies are engaged in warfare. Satan with his great army is in conflict with Christ and God and the heavenly host. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 22

Satan has come down with great power, for he knows that his time is short, and he is working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. Then let the people who believe present truth understand that there is a work to be done in our world. If we are laborers together with God, we have many fellow laborers with whom we should unite with heart and mind and strength. Our success depends upon our unity. Our efficiency and the power of our influence depends upon our wise and unreserved cooperation with one another and with God. We are to advance the work in new territories, sustaining pure principle at every step. We are to cooperate with the angel that is flying in the midst of heaven, who also is in harmony with the two former angels in forwarding the solemn event of the second appearing of Christ in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 23

In the sixth chapter of John the Saviour teaches us how important are the truths of His Word. “I am the living bread,” He says, “which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. ... Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh, and drink the blood of the Son of God, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” [Verses 51, 53-57.] Eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God, we become one with Him. Unity of purpose and harmony of action marks our work. This mutual love and confidence constitutes a moral force which is a convicting power to the world. When absolute homage is paid to the Word of God in matters of doctrine and principle, there will be no easy fellowship with the world. There will be no slip-shod religion. When the Bible and the Bible alone is the rule of our faith and practice, the influence of our lives will have a telling power on the world. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 24

It is time we kept in step with our Leader. Light is sown for the righteous, and truth for the upright in heart. Let ministers of God stand in their lot and place. They are His chosen men, and therefore let all respect and honor them. Let no words of bitterness be spoken against those who love and serve God. Unity must prevail in the work of God. “Love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” [1 Peter 3:8.] Heart must be bound with heart. Every one must let his light shine forth. It is not two or three only who are to be bound up in the work of the Lord. God will reckon with His servants individually. In the great, grand review the reward given to each will be proportionate to the use made of the talents. 14LtMs, Ms 177, 1899, par. 25