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The Medical Missionary, vol. 14

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    July 1905

    “Baccalaureate Sermon” The Medical Missionary, 14, 7, pp. 194-198.


    [Delivered by Elder Alonzo T. Jones in the Tabernacle, June 17, 1905.

    THE Medical Missionary Class of 1905 is about to finish its college course and to pass on to its work in the great field of the world.MEDM July 1905, page 194.1

    Strictly and literally a missionary is any one who is sent on any kind of a mission. But since Christ came to the world on his great mission, for the salvation of man, and since he sent his disciples upon the same great mission as that upon which he himself was sent, the word “missionary” is now everywhere recognized as applied pre-eminently to those who are thus sent by Christ, and who go in his name.MEDM July 1905, page 194.2

    This is the thought of the word “missionary” in its connection with the services held this day as a part of the commencement exercises of the Medical Missionary Class of 1905. The members of this class are to go forth into the world as missionaries. To this end they have studied through all the years of the course which they are now finishing. This object has been held before them constantly during these same years. With this purpose they entered the school, knowing that the school exists for this great purpose. And having entered this school for this purpose, having this object constantly before them, and studying to this end, throughout their whole course, now that the time has come for the actual entering upon the work for which they have thus prepared themselves, now in the commencement exercises, and as they are to enter upon the real work for which they have prepared, it is not for a moment to be supposed that this thought should be eliminated, this object forgotten, or this purpose abandoned. For though these are medical students, and have finished the medical course, and have earned and presently shall hold the medical degree; yet, that they are and are to be missionaries is still the predominant thought, and this the predominant purpose. They are medical missionaries. They have taken the medical course, and have become efficient medical scholars only that they may the more effectually be missionaries.MEDM July 1905, page 194.3

    Christ is the only true, the great, the model missionary. He is the one who has to be constantly looked to as the guide and ever to be followed as the great exemplar in all missionary work. And to every one of his he speaks the word, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” And as the Father who sent him was ever with him, so he gives to us the same word, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”MEDM July 1905, page 195.1

    As Christ was sent to reveal the Father, so we are sent to reveal Christ, and in him the Father. In order that he should truly reveal the Father, “He emptied himself, and took upon himself the form of a servant;” and to us who are to reveal Christ, and in him the Father, the word is spoken, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who ... emptied himself, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.”MEDM July 1905, page 195.2

    He was made in the likeness of men, that he might the more fully and certainly enter into the hearts’ experiences of men, meet them where they are, appreciate their difficulties, and be the true helper and Saviour. So fully is this true that it is written, “In all points it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren.” And being in all points like us, he was in all points tempted like as we are. And though he was in all points tempted like as we are, yet he conquered all temptations, and triumphed over it all, and so has made sure to every one who trusts in Him the triumph over every temptation. And all this he did “that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God;” and that he might “have compassion on the ignorant and on them that are out of the way;” to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. “For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.”MEDM July 1905, page 195.3

    This is the model missionary, who forgets, indeed, who utterly abandons, self, and who enters with a true sympathy into the hearts’ experiences and the life’s troubles of those whom he would reach and help and save. This is in turn the view held by the greatest of all under-missionaries,—Paul,—who declares that he made himself all things to all men that by all means he might save some.MEDM July 1905, page 195.4

    Now of all missionaries, who is so well qualified, to whom is the door so wide open, to know, and to enter into, the hearts’ experiences and the life’s troubles of the children of men as it the medical missionary?MEDM July 1905, page 195.5

    And was not Jesus equally the medical missionary? Did they not bring their sick to him in crowds? Indeed, the knowledge of him as the great medical missionary was so widespread, that even “the whole multitude sought to touch him,” because “there went virtue out of him and healed them all.” And did he not use this great field of medical opportunity in all its great fulness to accomplish his great and transcendent missionary purpose?MEDM July 1905, page 195.6

    In this connection it is important to note how largely the word of God entered into Christ’s curing of diseases and healing the sicknesses of the people. Yet, in truth, this was nothing new. It was new only to the people then. And it was new to them only because they had so far forgotten and wandered from the word of God. For this truth of the large place of the word of God in the healing of disease has ever been a vital element of that word. Christ in this world was but the Word made flesh. That word was in the world before he came in the flesh; but it had never been given its intended place in the flesh. He came that the word of God might have its true place in human flesh. In him was fulfilled the original intention concerning the word of God: that it should be truly manifest in the flesh. Thus he was the Word made flesh. And this fact only illustrates that which was always the truth, that to the word of God there had always of right belonged this large place in the healing of disease.MEDM July 1905, page 195.7

    God had no sooner delivered his people from the bondage and darkness of Egypt than he revealed to them this great truth. The very first subject upon which he made for them a “statute and an ordinance,” after the deliverance from Egypt, was this one: “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord that health thee.”MEDM July 1905, page 196.1

    This truth was continually kept before the people through the ages following. It is forcibly expressed in the words of Solomon: “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health [Heb. medicine] to all their flesh.” After the time of Solomon this truth is still continued to the people in the writings of the prophets. In Isaiah it is revealed that iniquity is the great cause of sickness, and that the forgiveness of iniquity is a vital element in the recovery from sickness.MEDM July 1905, page 196.2

    The whole story is excellently told in a single passage in the book of Job. And in this connection it is well to remember that the experiences related in the book of Job occurred long before even the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. In this place to which I refer, it is written of the sick man that “he is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain: so that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty and his soul dainty meat. His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out. Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show unto man his uprightness: then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth: he shall pray unto God, and he will be favorable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness. He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; he will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.”MEDM July 1905, page 196.3

    You will note that the essential thing in this connection is that to the sick man there shall be a messenger, “an interpreter.” Now the office of an interpreter is to make plain to a person that which is spoken to him in language which he does not understand. In the sickness God is speaking to the man. The man does not understand that language. Not one in a million understands the language of sickness. God is calling for messengers, whom he can send to the multitude of the sick to be interpreters to them of this language in which, as the consequence of their transgressions, he is speaking to them. And of all people, who is so well qualified to be such an interpreter as is the medical missionary? Has he not studied every bone, every muscle, every nerve, almost every fiber of the human system? Has he not studied sicknesses and diseases to the number of hundreds? Has he not studied the relationship between health and the human system, and between sickness and the human system? Has he not sought out the causes as well as the effects of disease? Has he not thus become as thoroughly acquainted with disease and the language of it, and with the human system, as is possible in such a length of time? Have not these also in these same years studied the Bible that they may know the word of God? And now being acquainted with the word of God, which he is speaking to the souls of men; being acquainted with the human body in its fearful and wonderful workmanship from the hand of God; and being acquainted with disease and its language, are not these, of all people in the world, best qualified to be the messengers and interpreters, the ones of thousands, whom God will send to the sick in this world, to enlighten them with the light of the living?MEDM July 1905, page 196.4

    Please do not fall into, nor fall in with, that mistake that is too often made in connection with the thought of being a missionary: the mistake of thinking, that to be a missionary a person must get as far away as possible from where he is, and from the country where he was born.MEDM July 1905, page 197.1

    Please note this: We have found that Christ is the great model missionary, and the great model medical missionary, and yet in this world he never went more than one hundred miles from the place where he was born. And yet, again, he did in this world a missionary work that will continue until the end of the world, and throughout eternity. Within a hundred miles from where he was born in this world, he did a missionary work that has reached the ends of the earth, that holds the world under its power still, and that will so hold it until the world ends.MEDM July 1905, page 197.2

    That simply tells to us that he who would be a missionary must be a missionary just where he is. Wherever he may find himself, there he is to be a missionary, if he is to be a missionary at all. This is not to say that no one is ever to go more than a hundred miles from the place where he was born. If God calls him to go far away, he can be a missionary there. Yet he must be a missionary before he does, or he will not be a missionary when he gets there: for when he gets there that will be where he is, and the only place where any one can ever be a missionary is just where at the time he is. And this truth needs to be emphasized, because it has been so largely forgotten.MEDM July 1905, page 197.3

    Now, in this world, how far does any one need to go, any day of the week, from where he happens to find himself when he awakes in the morning, without finding a world full of opportunities to be the medical missionary? And to you, brethren and sisters, to this class of 1905, to all who are yet in this medical school, and to all others who are connected with this work, I say this: If there is one thing that we, with heart and soul, should everlastingly thank God for, it is that there is established in this world a medical college that makes it [sic.] chief aim so to instruct people that they shall be God’s messengers and interpreters to the sick and the afflicted. There are not many such schools in the world; indeed, I am not sure that there is another one; but there is this one, and we can thank God for that, for the work that it has done, for the work that it is doing, and for the work which, thank the Lord, under God, it is yet to do.MEDM July 1905, page 197.4

    Then let us all, with true hearts and sincere spirits, join our hearts and our hands with this noble enterprise, that it may do still more effectively and still more largely, that blessed work of educating the messengers and the interpreters for whom God is calling, that he may send to the sick and the diseased, to bring back their souls from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.MEDM July 1905, page 197.5

    Since, then, it is true that no medical missionary ever needs to go three steps from where he awakes in the morning anywhere on this earth, to find a large and abundant field for his medical missionary operations; and these being graduates of the medical missionary college, we can safely trust that true medical missionaries is what they will be wherever they shall find themselves in this world full of opportunities to be medical missionaries.MEDM July 1905, page 197.6

    When, then, does this say that the members of this class of 1905 will do? In brief, it says that they will be always, heart and soul, enlisted in every work, and in every movement, carried on in this world for the help, the blessing, and the benefit of mankind. It says that they will be fellow-workers, true heart-and-hand-helpers, everywhere in all the interests of temperance, of right living, of health, and of holiness, for health and holiness are inseparable.MEDM July 1905, page 197.7

    I will close by simply adding the words, in which I am sure you will all join, wishing for each one of this class of 1905 only the richest blessing of God, the fulness of his Spirit, and the precious presence of Christ, to go with him in his work day by day, to make him everywhere and always the true medical missionary; that when the day shall come that Christ shall appear and call us to receive the reward that is prepared for all who follow him, these shall be gathered, and shall come saying, even as he has given us to say, “Behold I and the children whom thou hast given me.” And not may “the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do is will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever;” and “the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost;” that the world, to which he calls you, the world to which you go, shall receive by your presence and by your work, only blessings, upbuilding, and salvation now and in the day when He shall come.MEDM July 1905, page 198.1

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