History of Church Missionary Society Medical Missions

Henry T. Hodgkin [1877-1933], The Way of the Good Physician, to Which is Added the Story of C.M.S. Medical Missions

This is a very helpful little book that explains the necessity of medical missions as well a providing a history of the Church Missionary Society’s work in this field. My thanks to The Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide for providing a copy of this public domain title for digitisation.

Henry T. Hodgkin [1877-1933], The Way of the Good Physician, to Which is Added the Story of C.M.S. Medical Missions. London: Church Missionary Society, 1919. Pbk. pp.168. [Click here for the download page]


  • Preface
  1. A High Calling
  2. The Real Task
  3. Ways of Approach
  4. The Variety of Work
  5. Working for the Future
  6. What God Hath Wrought
  7. Opportunities and Problems
  8. Our Part
  • Appendix
  • Index
  • The Story of C.M.S. Medical Missions

Chapter 1. A High Calling

This book has been planned and written at a time when hundreds of thousands of men are offering their lives in willing devotion on the field of battle. Very many of these have seen a vision of personal duty and of national honour which has quickened them to heroic action. When we think of all that this sacrifice means both to those who go and to those who stay, we are constrained to say, “Greater love bath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

In these pages must be told the story of a service no less heroic, for an end no less worthy. It ill becomes us to think that the battle-field is the only place where great heroism can be displayed. If it were possible for us to see and to make clear to others the glory and grandeur of the medical missionary’s calling, we should be doing something to supply that moral equivalent for war which is so sorely needed if the world is ever to turn into the paths of peace. In studying this great subject may we not recall to our minds the challenge to Christian civilization flung down by that brilliant author M. Romain Rolland? “Is there,” he says, “no better employment for the devotion of one people than the devastation of another? Can we not sacrifice ourselves without sacrificing our neighbours as well?”

To that question there comes back an answer from the heroes of the mission field. They have found the way. We follow David Livingstone, spending long years in lonely journeys through the heart of Africa. For the sake of the ignorant and degraded heathen, for the sake of the women and children, as well as the grown men, who were being sold into slavery, we see him wearing out his life, and giving his very best, until at last he kneels down in solitude to offer up his soul to God. We see Dr Richard Williams leaving his lucrative practice in Burslem to embark upon the mission to the wild savages in Tierra del Fuego, where, under the leadership of Captain Allen Gardiner, he endured untold privations. Engaged upon an apparently hopeless quest, the six members of that little party laid down their lives in joy and hope. As he lay dying, Williams wrote “Asleep or awake I am happy beyond the poor compass of language to tell.” Or we may think of Pennell of the Afghan frontier, carrying all before him in his brilliant career as a medical student, and then deliberately turning from the success so richly deserved and so hardly won to the far outpost of civilization, where by patient labour he was to win the devotion of wild tribesmen and cultured Brahmins. When he died “Hindus, Mohammedans, rugged warriors from over the borders, women, children, schoolboys, beggars, patients, the lame, the halt, the blind, old and young, foe and friend, all were united by the common sorrow that bowed all heads alike.” We remember Arthur Jackson, devoting himself with all the eager enthusiasm of his early manhood to stemming the awful tide of plague in Manchuria, spending himself to the uttermost in unsparing service for obscure Chinese coolies. Thinking nothing of his own danger, he stood to his post, showing constant consideration to the poorest and meanest, until the plague struck him down too. At the age of twenty-six he gave his life without a murmur in the service of his fellow-men….

Pages 1-3.

Robben Island. Thirty-Four Years of Ministry Amongst the Lepers of South Africa

Cover: James Wescott Fish [1852-1937], Robben Island. An Account of Thirty-Four Years' Gospel Work Amongst Lepers of South Africa.

Robben Island, located in Table Bay, South Africa, was used from the 17th Century on as a prison, an animal quarantine station and, from 1845, a Leper Colony. In this book James Wescott Fish records his lifetime of service amongst the lepers there.

My thanks to Redcliffe College for making a copy fo this public domain title available for digitisation.

James Wescott Fish [1852-1937], Robben Island. An Account of Thirty-Four Years’ Gospel Work Amongst Lepers of South Africa. Kilmarnock: John Ritchie, 1924. Hbk. pp.210. [Click to visit the download page for this title]


  • Introduction
  1. Foreword
  2. The Early History of Robben Island (by G.F. Gresley)
  3. The History of Leprosy
  4. Thirty-Four Years’ Work Amongst the Lepers (by James W. Fish)
  5. A Never-to-be-Forgotten Day
  6. Gospel Tent Work in South Africa
  7. Our First Visit to Robben Island
  8. Eight Days with the Lepers
  9. The Love of Christ Constraineth
  10. Gospel Work among the Soldiers During the Boer War
  11. A Visit to Pondoland
  12. Back to Robben Island
  13. Trophies of Grace among the Lepers
  14. “Lonely Hearts to Cherish”
  15. A Terrible Scourge
  16. Visits to the Transvaal
  17. Visitors to the Island
  18. “Faith Healers” at Robben Island
  19. “One Soweth, Another Reapeth”
  20. Home Again to England

Chapter 2. The Early History of Robben Island

Probably but few of the residents on the sea coast of Cape Colony, give more than an occasional passing thought to the little barren-looking patch of land, situated at the month of Table Bay, known as Robben Island, or the Isle of Seals. It is, however, an object of much interest to those who arrive for the first time in South Africa by the mail steamers. For who can be unmoved on first hearing of the inhabitants who are inmates of its various institutions – the Law-breakers, the Lunatics, and the Lepers.

Few places probably, so small and insignificant-looking, can boast of having played so important a part in the history of a vast multitude of people, as can this little island in the rise, progress, and present welfare of the Cape Colony. I make no apology, therefore, in calling the attention of the readers of my narrative to the Island’s early history. And I claim for it more than a momentary passing attention. I ask for a respectful and reverential regard. And I assert that it has a right to such, for the pages of South African history tell of strange events here in the far-off past, and the existence of ancient ruins on the island, recently brought to light, speak of busy scenes, and many hands at work, in days long gone by.

Pages 10-11.