And this is the work we also are to do in the world. In sympathy and compassion we are to minister to those in need, seeking with unselfish earnestness to lighten the woes of suffering humanity.
In the path which the poor, the neglected, the suffering, and the sorrowing must tread, the Saviour walked while on this earth. We shall find His footsteps by the sick-bed, by the side of the suffering, in the hovels of the poverty-stricken and distressed. We may walk in these footsteps, comforting the sorrowful and speaking words of hope and courage to the despondent.
As we engage in this work, we are to remember that man has a body as well as a soul to save. Both are to be restored to health by God's simple but efficacious methods. In this, as in all else, Christ is our example. When people applied to Him for help, He relieved the suffering body before He attempted to minister to the darkened mind. The physical sickness of the suppliant removed, his mind could better be directed into the channel of truth.
Our Lord devoted more time and labour to healing the sick than to preaching. When He sent forth the seventy, He commanded them to heal the sick, and then to preach that the kingdom of God had come nigh unto them. The physical health was first to be cared for, that the way might be prepared for the reception of the truth which the apostles were to proclaim.
In giving His last commission to the disciples, Christ said: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. . . . These signs shall follow them that believe: In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." When the Saviour comes again, He will commend those who have visited the afflicted and relieved their necessities. He will say: "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. . . . Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me."
The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another one for whom He gave His beloved Son. The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy. His heart of love is touched by our sorrows, and even by our utterance of them. Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read, no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He does not take an immediate interest.
The greatest of all gifts, all talents, is true, Christlike love. It is not position or profession that makes a man of value in God's sight. It is being good and doing good. Paul declares: "If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, . . . but have not love, I am nothing." "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal." "Now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love."
The doing of true Christian help work brings rich blessings. It is a practical carrying out of the Saviour's commission, and it demonstrates the power of the gospel. It calls for laborious effort, but it pays; for by it souls are brought to the cross of Christ.
Our happiness will be proportionate to our unselfish works, prompted by divine love; for in the plan of salvation God has appointed the law of action and reaction, making the work of beneficence twice blessed.
Printed in Pacific Health Journal, December, 1901.