Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

"Religion has ever been the saving force in human history. How otherwise can we explain the moral helplessness and social decay of humanity, as a universal rule, up to the present hour, wherever the spiritual inspiration and the ethical force of religion have been absent? Left to itself, society seems to be self-destructive and to have no remedy within its own resources. ""

-James S. Dennis, D.D.

"Sacrifice is the language of love. Those who do not sacrifice are like men living on the top of gold mines, or sailing across beds of pearl oysters, unconscious of the riches within their very rea h. It is no sacrifice to give a cup of cold water when a cup of something better is within reach."

"I thought these men will carry hence
Promptings their former life above,
And something of a finer reverence
For beauty, truth and love."

-War Cry.

-James Russell Lowell.

"In effecting any radical changes of this kind, doubtless there would be great inconvenience and loss incurred by a the originators of the movement. That which can be done with perfect convenience and without loss is not always the thing that most needs to be done, or which we are imperatively required to do."

-John Ruskin.

IV

INFLUENCE OF MEDICAL MISSIONS

Results Abide in

Gratitude.

The work of medical missionaries not only touches the tenderest side of man, Memory and Win but they impress his memory and abide in his thoughts more persistently than words which he hears. The kindly forethought and patient attention of some friend to us when we were ill cannot be effaced from the pages of remembrance even when all his words have been forgotten.

Sickness is a Valley of Humiliation; there is little sublimity in the sick-room; it is suggestive of helplessness. Men feel when prostrated by illness much like Napoleon returning baffled from Moscow-"God Almighty has been too much for me." The stronger and more active the life has been in the past in succoring others, the more keenly does it feel the humiliation of being served. Much of this feeling is a healthy manifestation of dislike for all that is frail and maimed and decrepit. In nature we see this strong bias acting beneficially in the evolution of the race, by placing an embargo upon all that is weak and unfitted for life's strain and struggle. One of the wonders of Christianity has been the transformation of this weakness into might of character; this humiliation of body into spiritual triumph.

The sickly sentimentality of a generation ago, which made it appear that beauty of soul was only attained through weakness of body, and that made all good children die young after protracted illnesses, was but a parasite and parody foisted upon the true parable of pain. Character, robust, resourceful and ready for active service, is still formed in the rough battleground of life, where strength meets strength and grapples for the victory. But the service Christianity has rendered is to show that there are other schools of character, and that the product of

such teaching as pain and sickness may be no less noble and forceful in uplifting power than that produced in the roar of the busy mart or amid the rattle of shot and shell.

The Christian faith, therefore, has a message of courage and hope to bring to the sick-bed and the very nature of illness makes the sufferer especially ready to receive it. Life wears a busy aspect to the poor of these countries where so little is earned by such great labor. Many feel that they have not time to look into the matter of this foreigner's religion; they are not specially interested in it. To others of official class or high birth, the thought of social degradation is enough to keep them from close inquiry. Even if they listen in a bazar or a preaching hall, enough is not gleaned to enable them to fully understand the purport of the message. But overtaken by accident or sickness, either class may be ready then to surrender prejudices for the sake of the physical benefits which they know the foreign doctor can bestow. Lying week after week in hospital, knowledge of the doctrine deepens and gratitude awakes. This gratitude is often most touching and is exhibited years after the patient has left hospital.

Dr. Douthwaite, of Chefoo, relates that when leaving the city the general in command, with his officers, came with a regiment of soldiers and lined up before the hospital. On going out to them they dropped on their knees and stayed there while one of their number addressed the doctor, thanking him for his services. The Emperor of China showed his appreciation of the medical missionaries' work during the recent war by conferring on several of them the Order of the Double Dragon.

"The father, whose only child, a beautiful daughter, had a tumor of seven pounds weight removed from her back, after she was discharged well, returned with a scroll bearing a poetical inscription to the physician to this effect: A grievous disease had entwined itself around my little daughter; I had gone in various directions, seeking for physicians of distinction, and had expended much money upon them in vain. When I heard of the foreign physician in the provincial city, I took my little daughter by the hand, and repaired to his residence with the speed of a courser. He received and treated my daughter, re

moving the flaw from the gem, and now she is a perfect pearl again."

Often a patient returns in gratitude to thank the mission surgeon and has to be restrained from falling down and worshipping him. Some of these expressions of thanks, mingled as they are with heathenish ideas, are strong evidences of the influence of missionary medicine.

[ocr errors]

A woman had come to a mission hospital for cataract. Not long after the operation had been performed, she was seen kneeling with bare knees upon a number of date stones on a brick bed. Does it not pain you?" she was asked. "Yes," was the reply, "and that is why I am doing it. Since I came to this hospital you have tried to open my eyes, but you have also opened my heart. I have learned of Jesus' love for me. I am poor and aged and can do nothing for Him. Because He has suffered such infinite pain for my sake, I thought to myself I would suffer a little for Him." It was the idea of one just emerging from heathenism, but had insight into the demands made upon her by so great love.

66

"On one of my recent boat journeys," writes a missionary, I put in about dusk at the market town of Hwang-sz-Kang, and I had no sooner finished preaching on shore than a man rushed after me on to the boat, with hands full of peaches, which he pressed me to accept. I told him I was not aware that I had done anything to warrant my taking them, but he would hear of no refusal. 'You are from Hankow, are you not?' 'Yes,' I replied. 'Well, you will probably not remember me, but a few years ago I went up to your hospital there, very ill indeed, and had it not been for Dr. Mackenzie I certainly should not have lived. And not only so, but when all my money was exhausted, he supported me for a whole month and both he and the native assistants treated me with so much kindness that, when I saw you here, knowing as I did that you must be connected with the mission, I thought the least that I could do was to give you some slight acknowledgment of the kindness shown me at Hankow.

but a poor man, a huckster, and in a very small way, but I shall be only too glad if you will accept these peaches.' And feeling hardly satisfied with this expression of grati

tude, though a very poor man, he brought later in the evening a further present of peaches and sweetmeats, to show how grateful he was for the kindness he had received." We think that the perfume of that fruit must have been exceeding fragrant and the taste very sweet to the missionary. When some heaven-born artist

“Shall draw the thing as he sees it

For the God of Things As They Are.”

this will be one of the delicate miniatures of loving life to hang beside the picture of the woman with the alabaster box. That canvas, like the other, will hold high place in the gallery of the House Beautiful.

The Chinese used to say of Dr. Fred. Roberts that they never saw any one so like the Lord Jesus. “If we want," said Dr. Arthur Lankester, " to write the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ in very big letters so that those who cannot read theology and do not understand science or philosophy can read it very easily, the best way of doing it, whether it be for an individual, a village, a town, a district, or a nation, is to start medical aid for the poor."

We may take the Bible to a heathen and he may burn it or throw it aside. Civilization and education may only turn him from heathenism into an infidel or materialist. It may be hard to convince him that you are not preaching for the sake of a salary. But let that man come to you in bodily distress and be relieved and cured, and he will learn to love you and be grateful and that is often but the first step to loving the Saviour Who commissioned you in this work.

The return of the one leper must have rejoiced the Master's heart, when, depressed by the heedless ingratitude of the other nine who left Him unthanked for the work He had wrought. Similar gratitude was recently expressed by some like afflicted ones in the following touching words :* "To Our Most Honorable Friends and Supporters: We, the men and women of the Leper Asylum at Purulia, send you a thousand thanks. We are well in body so far as may be expected, though some of us suffer great bodily pains, which have been mitigated, how

*The Double Cross and Medical Missionary Record. April, 1896. p. 77.

« ForrigeFortsæt »