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.

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