We feel that the following excerpt from a letter written by Dr. Herbert Liu, of China, will be of interest to our medical group at this critical time.
"We all understand that the medical relief work in Chungking is of a temporary nature; all plans are laid with that in mind, Nevertheless it is felt that although the work is temporary, the impression made on the people should be lasting, and that whatever we do should properly represent the message we proclaim.
"The main relief hospital opened its doors on March 22 with two patients. From that small beginning the patronage has gradually grown until at present there are seventy-four patients in the hospital. The outpatient clinic has grown to sixty patients a day. There was a time when we had one hundred patients in the hospital; but that was too many to care for properly in our limited space. Many are waiting for opportunity to come in.
"The overcrowded conditions in the city, the frequent air raids, with destruction and burning of houses, have multiplied manyfold. This institution was certainly established at the right time.
"The income of the hospital is also gradually improving. During the month of March we took in about $i,000. During the present month, June, we have collected a little over $10,000. There are at present thirty-seven persons in our employ.
"We thank God for His blessing on the institution. He has protected us in many dangerous situations. Many times our nurses have gone out in the midst of air raids to do emergency work, and lives have been saved through their efforts. We are grateful for this opportunity to relieve human suffering and thus to serve the Master. We constantly pray that patients who come to us for physical help may receive also spiritual blessing. Remember us in your prayers."—China Division Reporter, Aug. I, 1939.
Evangelize and Medicalize
"Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people." Matt. 4:23.
"Christ's servants are to follow His example. As He went from place to place, He comforted the suffering and healed the sick. Then He placed before them the great truths in regard to His kingdom. This is the work of His followers. As you relieve the, sufferings of the body, you will find ways of ministering to the wants of the soul. You can point to the uplifted Saviour, and tell of the love of the great Physician, who alone has power to restore." --"Christ's Object Lessons," pp. 233, 234.
The results of genuine medical missionary endeavors in the field are highly gratifying. The methods employed by Christ give success, and when conducted after His example, medical missionary work has proved to be all that it has ever been said to be; namely, the "great entering wedge," "the pioneer work of the gospel," "the right hand of the gospel," "the gospel practiced, the compassion of Christ revealed." Specific counsel for medical workers, pointing out the scope of their work, is found in the book "Ministry of Healing:"
"In the ministry of healing, the physician is to be a coworker with Christ. The Saviour ministered to both the soul and the body. The gospel which He taught was a message of spiritual life and of physical restoration. Deliverance from sin and the healing of disease were linked together. The same ministry is committed to the Christian physician. He is to unite with Christ in relieving both the physical and spiritual needs of his fellow men. He is to be to the sick a messenger of mercy, bringing to them a remedy for the diseased body and for the sin-sick soul."—Page 111.
"Into the medical missionary work should be brought a deep yearning for souls. To the physician equally with the gospel minister is committed the highest trust ever committed to man. Whether he realizes it or not, every physician is entrusted with the cure of souls."—Id., p. 119.
It must be clearly evident, therefore, that more is expected of the Christian physician than merely professional service per se. All of which is to say that from the example of Christ and from the counsels to the church which relate to medical work, we see that it is highly important that all our sanitarium, hospital, dispensary, and other medical endeavors be made distinctly evangelical in character.
Physicians and nurses, if following the pattern given for our work, will be performing a twofold service, for "the Redeemer expects our physicians to make the saving of souls their first work."---"Medical Ministry," p. 37. Often the most important service which the physician or the nurse renders to the patient has nothing to do with professional care or technique of nursing, but has to do with the influence of a strong, godly life upon a weak, ungodly one.
Referring now to ministerial work, we find just as direct and specific counsel for the gospel worker relative to the inclusion of the gospel of health as an integral part of the message.
"There 'are precious blessings and a rich experience to be gained if ministers will combine the presentation of the health question with all their labors in the churches."—"Testimonies," Vol. VI, p. 376.
"To make plain natural law, and urge the obedience of it, is the work that accompanies the third angel s message, to prepare a people for the coming of the Lord."—Id., Vol. III, p. 161.
"Health reform is to stand out more prominently in the proclamation of the third angel's message. The principles of health reform are found in the word of God. The gospel of health is to be firmly linked with the ministry of the word. It is the Lord's design that the restoring influence of health reform shall be a part of the last great effort to proclaim the gospel message."—"Counsels on Diet and Foods," p. 75.
It must be clearly evident that the principles of healthful living are a part of the gospel message. From this counsel, it is certain that until the health program is presented, the gospel message has not been given in its fullness.
Another brief quotation is included to emphasize the relation of the health message to a preparation for the life to come.
"He who cherishes the light which God has given him upon health reform, has an important aid in the work of becoming sanctified through the truth, and fitted for immortality."—"Counsels on Health," p. 22.
In these pointed counsels there is much of value for both the medical worker and the gospel minister. All our medical services should partake of a definitely spiritual tone. Likewise our evangelism and our labors for spiritual uplift should include the relationship that right physical living and observance of the laws of health bear to the upbuilding of character. The giving of the health message is to be firmly linked with the message that is to fit a people in body and soul for the second coming of our blessed Lord and Saviour.
H. M. W.