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INTRODUCTION AND ARRANGEMENT.
Hoc illud est præcipue in cognitione rerum salubre ac frugiferum, omnis te exempli documenta in illustri posita monumento intueri."
THE study of the history of medicine and the medical profession unquestionably offers even to the layman, from certain points of view, many features of interest. In the first place, as an extensive and important branch of the general history of culture, it is indispensable to the historian of civilization, though singularly enough, up to the present time it has not, in this point of view, been duly estimated. It shows itself requisite too for the statesman and jurist, since manifestly they can permanently and properly adjust the estimation and the position of physicians in the state, only by a thorough cognizance of the historical development of their professional relations. It likewise permits the philosopher to see the influence of his science upon medicine, and conversely the influence of medicine upon philosophy-a reciprocal influence which, from the beginning of time down to the present day, has been strongly manifested. Even for the theologian also the study of the history of medicine possesses a scientific value, because it shows that medicine and theology, now it would seem irreconcilably at variance, were in their early periods of development most intimately united, like twin sisters in the womb, whom we are unable for a long period to recognize as distinct beings, and of whom even after birth we cannot say which is the elder, since both were born at the same time. To the naturalist it teaches how the branches of his science, which lift their heads so proudly to-day, were originally mere offshoots of medicine, and have been only recently planted as independent growths upon a soil of their own. Finally it gives to the man of genuine education the best opportunity for judging medical ability and medical activity. An acquaintance with the history of his science is, however, especially indispensable to the practical physician, if he would thoroughly comprehend and penetrate the secrets of his profession. To him, indeed, it is the bright and polar star, since undoubtedly it alone can teach him the principles of a medical practice independent of the currents, the faith and the superstition of the present. Moreover, it offers him as scientific gain, through the knowledge of the past, the measure for a just and well-founded criticism of the doings of his own time, places in his hand the thread by which he unites past conditions and efforts with those of the present, and sets before him the mirror in which he may observe and compare the past and present, in order to draw therefrom well-grounded conclusions for the future.
An acquaintance with the views and the knowledge of epochs already submerged in the shoreless ocean of time, frees the mind from the fetters and currents of the day, with its often oppressive restraint, widens the horizon for a glance into the past, and an insight into the present of human activity, deepens the view for a comprehension of the ideas which guided the earlier and the more recent physicians, and gives, on the other hand, to our daily professional labor a higher consecration, by inserting it as a most useful and necessary link in the chain of development of past and future humanity. The significance of the work of the individual, and his true value and true position with regard to all humanity, are first revealed to us clearly in and through history.
When, however, we have reviewed the labors of thousands of years, and have seen how in their course our science has been advanced, albeit in unexpectedly tedious ways; when too we have found how little service, on the whole, has been rendered to the main object of medicine—the cure of disease-and above all in internal medicine, which enjoys the most extensive field of activity, we are at first sadly disappointed. For in spite of all therapeutics, the word of the Psalmist preserves its internal truth: "As for man his days are as grass: as a flower of the field so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone." But on a closer study of the subject, this knowledge awakens another feeling.
For as no other department of the medical sciences is so well adapted to educate the physician in conscious modesty, so on the other hand, none is so fitted to fill his consciousness with just pride in his often contested and self-sacrificing labors. As the history of medicine shows him the inadequacy of medical knowledge and, in the majority of cases, the absolute nullity of medical skill in the struggle with the laws of an all-powerful nature, so it places before his eyes the unwearied struggles of the physicians of all ages-struggles to investigate those laws, and to appropriate to the healing and blessing of suffering humanity the knowledge already acquired, or to be acquired, thereby. Hence we prize infinitely less the fact that history, among almost all people, presents to our eyes the immortal gods as the authors of medical art, than that it teaches us how mortal men have struggled continually after god-like aims-the prevention, the cure, or at east the alleviation lof the woe and suffering imposed as an unavoidable heritage, and in a thousand different forms, upon us created beings-even though to-day, as in the past, these aims have been only imperfectly attained. The history of medicine also teaches us to honor, indeed to admire, humanity, particularly physicians and their past and present struggles, while our daily practice and the daily actions of individuals might perhaps readily lead us to an opposite feeling. It shows us how many a noble man has served medical science, and art, and humanity, devoting his self-denying strength and life to the sick, the feeble, the persecuted, the poor, and the insane, and performing deeds which have not, indeed, dazzled and carried away the multitude by their brilliant results, but