« PreviousContinue »
AN ADDRESS TO STUDENTS
INTRODUCTORY TO A
COURSE OF LECTURES ON THIS SUBJECT
UNDERTAKEN BY MEMBERS OF THE EDINBURGH
MEDICAL MISSIONARY SOCIETY,
JAMES MILLER, F.R.S.E. F.R.C.S.E.
SURGEON IN ORDINARY, FOR SCOTLAND, TO HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN, AND TO HIS R. H.
BENIOR SURGEON TO THE ROYAL INFIRMARY, ETC. ETC.
EDINBURGH: SUTHERLAND AND KNOX.
AND SAMUEL HIGH LEY.
Much occupied in various avocations, I might probably have stood reasonably excused, had I declined the responsible duty of commencing this Course of Lectures. And I might well have solicited exemption on the additional and more relevant ground, that a task, at once so onerous and so honourable, should have been laid upon one more worthy and more able to discharge it. But a moment's reflection convinced me that a call of this nature, deliberately made, was not to be lightly evaded ; that a man has no right to say “I have no time," or "I have no power," unless inextricably shut up to that conclusion, by having honestly and yet unsuccessfully made the attempt; and that he is bound, in simple faith, to undertake the fulfilment of all duty to his Supreme Master, as He shall be pleased to furnish both strength and opportunity. Accordingly, I at once proceed to meet the call, as best I may; trusting to God's good help, and claiming your kind indulgence.
And, at the outset, let me shortly state the object which it is proposed at least to aim at, in the delivery of these Lectures. It is to explain the nature of Medical Missions; to shew how we may profitably blend the healing of the sick with the teaching of the Gospel, the cure of the body with the care of the soul. It is to exhibit the advantages which a Medical man, by reason of his craft, possesses as a Missionary of Christ ;—to illustrate how the heathen lie peculiarly accessible to his influence, when, in such a twofold capacity, he offers to their acceptance twin gifts of goodliest price—for Time and for Eternity. It is to narrate what has been already done in this hopeful direction, and with what success God's liberal hand has crowned the labours of the workmen already in the field —at once so large
white unto the harvest.” It is to arouse the Christian compassion of our countrymen for the unhappy people of other lands, that sit in darkness and in the shadow of a double death, by directing attention to their every way perishing and lost estate ; and to point to the adoption of those remedial means, by which both soul and body may be
IMPORTANCE AND CLAIMS OF MISSIONS.
renovated and saved. It is to acquaint with these things the mind of our youth who dedicate themselves to the Medical profession; to quicken their hearts, as that of one man, to sympathy with the wretched, and to contribution in their cause ; and, by God's blessing, to awaken some generous and energetic spirits to devote themselves, with Christian chivalry, solemnly and for life, to this great and noble apostleship.
These and other cognate subjects will be discussed by the several gentlemen who are to succeed me here. To-night, suffer me to direct your attention briefly, and I fear imperfectly, to several matters of a general or introductory kind. And, first, as to the importance and the claims of Missions in general.
That Missionary enterprise, both at home and abroad, should constitute the chief vocation of the Church of Christ, is a proposition which, if not selfevident in its enunciation, becomes at least a truth too palpable to be denied, on an intelligent perusal of the Word of God and a right reading of His providences. It is not needful that I should dwell at any length upon the subject. It has been discussedso ably, that it has been well-nigh exhausted—by a notable leader of the Evangelistic host, whom this country is proud to call her own—whose praise is