Healthful Living


Chapter 39—The Missionary Physician

1093. The duties of the physician are arduous. Few realize the mental and physical strain to which he is subjected. Every energy and capability must be enlisted with the most intense anxiety in the battle with disease and death. Often he knows that one unskilful movement of the hand, even but a hair's breadth, in the wrong direction may send a soul unprepared into eternity.—Testimonies for the Church 5:446. HL 261.1

1094. The physician who endeavors to enlighten his patients as to the nature and causes of their maladies, and to teach them how to avoid disease, may have up-hill work.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 121. HL 261.2

1095. Why should the Christian physician, who is believing, expecting, looking, waiting, and longing for the coming and kingdom of Christ, when sickness and death will no longer have power over the saints, expect more pay for his services than the Christian editor or the Christian minister? He may say that his work is more wearing. That is yet to be proved. Let him work as he can endure it, and not violate the laws of life which he teaches to his patients. There are no good reasons why he should overwork and receive large pay for it, more than the minister or the editor. Let all who act a part in the institute and receive pay for their services, act on the same liberal principle.—Testimonies for the Church 1:640. HL 261.3

1096. The physicians should keep well. They must not get sick by overlabor, or by any imprudence on their part.... The privilege of getting away from the Health Institute should occasionally be accorded to all the physicians, especially to those who bear burdens of responsibilities. If there is such a scarcity of help that this cannot be done, more help should be secured. To have physicians overworked, and thus disqualified to perform the duties of their profession, is a thing to be dreaded.—Testimonies for the Church 3:182. HL 262.1

Christian Physicians

1097. Satan is the originator of disease; and the physician is warring against his work and power.—Testimonies for the Church 5:443. HL 262.2

1098. Every energy and capability must be enlisted with the most intense anxiety in the battle with disease and death.—Ibid., 202. HL 262.3

1099. He will be firm as a rock as to principle, yet kind and courteous to all. He will feel the responsibility of his position, and his practise will show that he is actuated by pure, unselfish motives, and a desire to adorn the doctrine of Christ in all things.—Ibid., 195. HL 262.4

1100. The physician should know how to pray.— Ibid., 199. HL 262.5

1101. Both the health of the body and the salvation of the soul are in a degree dependent upon the course of the physicians. It is of the utmost consequence that they be right, that they have not only scientific knowledge, but the knowledge of God's will and ways.—Testimonies for the Church 4:566. HL 262.6

1102. The young physician has access to the God of Daniel. Through divine grace and power, he may become as efficient in his calling as Daniel was in his exalted position. But it is a mistake to make a scientific preparation the all-important thing, while religious principles that lie at the very foundation of a successful practise are neglected. Many are lauded as skilful men in their profession, who scorn the thought that they need to rely upon Jesus for wisdom in their work. But if these men who trust in their knowledge of science were illuminated by the light of heaven, to how much greater excellence might they attain! How much stronger would be their powers, with how much greater confidence could they undertake difficult cases! The man who is closely connected with the great Physician of soul and body, has the resources of heaven and earth at his command, and he can work with a wisdom, an unerring precision, that the godless man cannot possess.—Testimonies for the Church 5:448. HL 263.1

1103. The physician needs more than human wisdom and power that he may know how to minister to the many perplexing cases of disease of the mind and heart with which he is called to deal. If he is ignorant of the power of divine grace, he cannot help the afflicted one, but may aggravate the difficulty; but if he has a firm hold upon God, he will be able to help the diseased, distracted mind.—Ibid., 200. HL 263.2

1104. If he takes counsel of God, he will have the great Healer to work with his efforts, and he will move with the greatest caution, lest by his mismanagement he injure one of God's creatures.—Ibid., 195. HL 264.1

Scientific Attainments of Physicians

1105. Many have entered upon the duties of this profession every way unprepared. They have not the requisite knowledge; neither have they the skill and tact, the carefulness and intelligence, necessary to insure success.—Testimonies for the Church 5:446. HL 264.2

1106. Many physicians are not as thorough and intelligent as they ought to be in the practise of their profession. They resort to drugs, when greater skill and knowledge would teach them a more excellent way.—Unpublished Testimonies, 1888. HL 264.3

1107. When physicians understand physiology in its truest sense, their use of drugs will be very much less, and finally they will cease to use them at all. The physician who depends upon drug medication in his practise shows that he does not understand the delicate machinery of the human organism.—Unpublished Testimonies, October 12, 1896. HL 264.4

1108. A skilful physician must understand the nature of various diseases, and must have a thorough knowledge of the human structure. He must be prompt in attending to the patients. He knows that delays are dangerous. When his experienced hand is laid upon the pulse of the sufferer, and he carefully notes the peculiar indications of the malady, his previous knowledge enables him to determine concerning the nature of the disease and the treatment necessary to arrest its progress.—Testimonies for the Church 4:267. HL 264.5

1109. If he is an intelligent physician, he will be able to trace disease to its cause.—Testimonies for the Church 5:439. HL 265.1

1110. If he will be observing and honest, he cannot help acknowledging that sin and disease bear to each other the relationship of cause and effect. The physician should be quick to see this, and to act accordingly.— Ibid., 200. HL 265.2

1111. There are constant temptations for physicians to exalt science above the God who is the ruler of the universe. There is danger that physicians will, little by little, leave the simplicity of Bible faith in the power of God.—Unpublished Testimonies, April 15, 1892. HL 265.3

1112. All who engage in the acquisition of knowledge should aim to reach the highest round of progress. Let them advance as fast and as far as they can; let their field of study be as broad as their powers can compass, making God their wisdom; clinging to him who is infinite in knowledge, who can reveal the secrets hidden for ages, who can solve the most difficult problems for minds that believe in him who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light that no man can approach unto.... The same principles run through the spiritual and the natural worlds.—Special Testimonies On Education, 216. HL 265.4

The Physician's Relation to the Laws of Health

1113. It is wilful sin in them to be ignorant of the laws of health or indifferent to them; for they are looked up to as wise above other men.—Testimonies for the Church 5:441. HL 265.5

1114. If they do not put to a practical use the knowledge they have of the laws that govern their own being, if they prefer present gratification to soundness of mind and body, they are not fit to be intrusted with the lives of others.—Ibid., 198. HL 265.6

1115. He [the physician] is expected to indulge in no habit that will weaken the life forces.—Ibid., 197. HL 266.1

1116. The physicians in our institutions must be imbued with the living principles of health reform. Men will never be truly temperate until the grace of Christ is an abiding principle in the heart.—Unpublished Testimonies, October 12, 1896. HL 266.2

1117. Men are wanted at the Institute who will have the fear of God before them, who can minister to sick minds, and keep prominent the health reform from a religious standpoint.—Testimonies for the Church 3:168. HL 266.3

1118. If a man who assumes so grave a responsibility as that of a physician, sins against himself in not conforming to nature's laws, he will reap the consequences of his own doings, and abide her righteous decision, from which there can be no appeal.... His capabilities for doing good are lessened. He will lead others in the path his own feet are traveling. Hundreds will follow the example of one intemperate physician, feeling that they are safe in doing what the doctor does. And in the day of God he will meet the record of his own course, and be called to give an account for all the good he might have done, but did not do, because by his own voluntary act he weakened his physical and mental powers by selfish indulgence.—Testimonies for the Church 5:442. HL 266.4

The Physician's Relation to His Patients

1119. He will not look upon his patient as a mere piece of human mechanism, but as a soul to be saved or lost.—Testimonies for the Church 5:445. HL 266.5

1120. Unless the physicians can obtain the confidence of their patients, they can never help them.—Testimonies for the Church 3:79. HL 267.1

1121. Never should a physician neglect his patients.—Unpublished Testimonies. HL 267.2

1122. The work of the Christian physician does not end with healing the maladies of the body; his efforts should extend to the diseases of the mind, to the saving of the soul. It may not be his duty, unless asked, to present any theoretical points of truth, but he may point his patients to Christ. The lessons of the divine Teacher are ever appropriate. He should call the attention of the repining to the ever fresh tokens of the love and care of God, to his wisdom and goodness as manifested in his created works. The mind can then be led through nature up to nature's God, and centered on the heaven which he has prepared for those who love him.—Testimonies for the Church 5:443. HL 267.3

1123. Physicians who would be successful in the treatment of disease should know how to minister to a diseased mind.—Testimonies for the Church 3:169. HL 267.4

1124. It should be the work of the God-fearing physician to guide the mind of patients to right principles. If patients are left to their own natural bias, they will indulge appetite, because it is a habit, at the expense of health and life.... True, their appetite craves unwholesome articles of food, and the disuse of these things will be felt strongly. But the only right course to be pursued in these cases is to educate the conscience, to lay before the patients the effect of these things upon the physical and mental powers to weaken the constitution and induce disease.—Unpublished Testimonies, February 1, 1888. HL 267.5

1125. Let your influence be persuasive, binding people to your heart because you love Jesus, and because these precious souls are his purchased possession. This is a great work. If, by your Christ-like words and actions, you make impressions that will kindle in their hearts a hungering and thirsting after righteousness and truth, you are a co-laborer with Christ.... Enlighten their minds by means of talks and lectures, in regard to the effects of tea, coffee, and flesh meats, and thus lead them to a voluntary correction of their habits.—Ibid. HL 268.1

1126. When he has gained the confidence of the afflicted by relieving their sufferings and bringing them back from the verge of the grave, he may teach them that disease is the result of sin; and that it is the fallen foe who seeks to allure them to health-and-soul-destroying practises. He may impress their minds with the necessity of denying self, and obeying the laws of life and health. In the minds of the young especially he may instil right principles.—Testimonies for the Church 5:444. HL 268.2

1127. It seldom does any good to talk in a censuring manner to patients who are diseased in body and mind. But few who have moved in the society of the world, and who view things from the worldling's standpoint, are prepared to have a statement of facts in regard to themselves presented before them. The truth even is not to be spoken at all times. There is a fit time and opportunity to speak, when words will not offend.—Testimonies for the Church 3:182. HL 268.3

1128. The physician should be a strictly temperate man.... He knows that much of the suffering he seeks to relieve is the result of intemperance and other forms of selfish indulgence. He is called to attend young men, and men in the prime of life and in mature age, who have brought disease upon themselves by the use of tobacco. If he is an intelligent physician, he will be able to trace disease to its cause; but unless he is free from the use of tobacco himself, he will hesitate to put his finger upon the plague-spot, and faithfully unfold to his patients the cause of their sickness. He will fail to urge upon the young the necessity of overcoming the habit before it becomes fixed.... If he uses the weed himself, how can he present to the inexperienced youth its injurious effects, not only upon themselves, but upon those around them?—Testimonies for the Church 5:439. HL 269.1

1129. How can he place the feet of others on the ladder of progress, while he himself is treading the downward way?—Ibid., 197. HL 269.2

1130. The practising physician will instruct those who do not understand how to preserve the strength and health they already have, and how to prevent disease by a wise use of heaven's remedies,—pure water, air, and diet.—Testimonies for the Church 1:490. HL 269.3

The Physician's Relation to Society

1131. If he does the work enjoined upon him by the Ruler of the universe, he will protest against iniquity in every form and in every degree; he will exert his authority and influence on the side of self-denial and strict, undeviating obedience to the just requirements of God.—Testimonies for the Church 5:441. HL 269.4

1132. Such a physician will possess a heaven-born dignity, and will be a powerful agent for good in the world. Although he may not be appreciated by those who have no connection with God, yet he will be honored of Heaven. In God's sight he will be more precious than gold, even the gold of Ophir.—Ibid. HL 270.1

1133. If you are a Christian and a competent physician, you are qualified to do tenfold more good as a missionary for God than if you were to go forth merely as a preacher of the word.—The Medical Missionary, 216. HL 270.2

1134. While brought in contact with the world, you should be on your guard that you do not seek too ardently for the applause of men, and live for their opinion.—Testimonies for the Church 4:568. HL 270.3