Health, Philanthropic, and Medical Missionary Work


The Responsibilities of the Physician

Neglect of prayer causes the Christian to become weak, to lose self-control, to give rein to impure thoughts and impulses. But in learning of Christ, in looking to Jesus, in depending upon his strength, the physician will be brought into sympathy with Christ; and 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 will but lay hold upon the hand of Christ, and determine that he will not let go. Golden opportunities are open to 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 before them heavenly principles. 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 to which is attached the sacred accountability of dealing with both the souls and the bodies of those for whom Christ has paid the infinite price of his most precious blood. If the physician has the mind of Christ, he will be cheerful, hopeful, and happy, but not trifling. He will realize that heavenly angels accompany him to the sick-room, and will find words to speak readily, truthfully, to his patients, that will cheer and bless them. His faith will be full of simplicity, of childlike 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 fulfill 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 act with precision and skill in his efforts to save human life. 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, so that life will be destroyed rather than saved. PH066 36.1

A physician occupies a more important position because of dealing with morbid souls, diseased 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 is thus a missionary for the Lord, doing the Master's work with fidelity, and will receive a reward by and by. Let the Christian keep his own 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 that, 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. PH066 37.1

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 to 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 his mind and win for the physician a place in his confidence. Kindness and courtesy 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. The only way for us to become truly courteous, without affectation, without undue familiarity, is to drink in the spirit of Christ, to heed the injunction, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” If we act upon the principles laid down in the word of God, we shall have no inclination to indulge in undue familiarity. PH066 38.1

The workers in our institutions should be living examples of what they desire those to be who are patients in the institutions. A right spirit and a holy life are a constant instruction to others. The hollow-hearted courtesy of the fashionable world is of no value in the sight of Him by whom actions are weighed. There should be no partiality and no hypocrisy. The physician 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 to work in the same vineyard, and selfish barriers will be broken down. For each other they will feel a deep interest, untainted with selfishness. 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. 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. PH066 38.2

God has given a great work into the hands of physicians. The afflicted children of men are in a degree at their mercy. How the patient watches him who cares for his physical welfare! The actions and words, the very expressions of the physician's countenance, are matters of study. What gratitude springs up in the heart of the suffering one when his pain is relieved through the efforts of his faithful physician! The patient feels that his life is in the hands of him who thus ministers to him, and the physician or the nurse can then easily approach him on religious subjects. If the sufferer is under the control of divine influences, how gently can the Christian physician or nurse drop the precious seeds of truth into the garden of the heart. He can bring the promise of God before the soul of the helpless one. If the physician has religion, he can impart the fragrance of heavenly grace to the softened and subdued heart of the suffering one. He can direct the thoughts of his patient to the Great Physician. He can present Jesus to the sin-sick soul. PH066 39.1

How often the physician is made a confidant, and griefs and trials are laid open before him by the sick. At such a time what precious opportunities are afforded to speak words of comfort and consolation in the fear and love of God, and to impart Christian counsel. Deep love for souls for whom Christ died should imbue the physician. In the fear of God I tell you that none but a Christian physician can rightly discharge the duties of this sacred profession, and there must be a decided transformation of character in the physicians employed at the Sanitarium. PH066 40.1

About 1891.


This health institution has not been brought into favor simply because of the talent, skill, or wisdom of one man. It is because God has had faithful instrumentalities that have consented to be led by the Holy Spirit, and many influences have combined to bring about the prosperity of the Sanitarium. The time that has been spent in communing with God, in seeking his help before undertaking to relieve those who were in a critical condition, has brought angels to the side of the doctor and his assistants. You have succeeded according as you have trusted in God. He has been by your side just as verily as Christ was by the side of those who were suffering when he walked among them on earth. PH066 40.2



Physicians should be ambassadors for Christ in their specific work, and instead of giving prominence to a 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 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 were the only one worthy of respect. Those who vindicate one school of medicine and bitterly condemn another are actuated by a zeal that is not according to knowledge. With what pharisaic pride some men look down upon others who have not received a diploma from the so-called standard school. All this proves that they can not see afar off, and have not been purged from their old sins. They need to humble themselves at the cross of Calvary. This spirit will never be acknowledged in heaven, nor will men who cherish it hear the “Well done.” Some have been as zealous in exalting what their particular school advocated as though the Lord had specified that that method was the only one to be allowed. 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 practise along the lines of the principles of hygiene, using nature's remedies, far greater success would attend their efforts. PH066 40.3

The duties and qualifications of a physician are not small. The students need daily to lift responsibilities, that they may become burden-bearers. They may be inclined to undertake the duties of medical practitioners when they know nothing of their inability as far as experience is concerned. There is only one power that can make these students what they ought to be, and keep them steadfast. It is the grace of God and the power of the truth, exerting a saving influence upon the life and upon the character. The students, who intend to deal with suffering humanity, will find no graduating place this side of heaven. PH066 41.1