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"In the name of God, Who has made us of one blood and in Whose image we are created; in the name of the Messiah Who came to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, I demand the immediate emancipation of those who are pining."
-William Lloyd Garrison.
"Ask God to give thee skill
In comfort's art,
That thou may'st consecrated be
And set apart
Unto a life of sympathy.
For heavy is the weight of ill
In every heart,
And comforters are needed much
Of Christ-like touch."
-A. E. Hamilton.
"For the heart grows rich in giving: all its wealth is living grain.
"The possession of a great ideal does not mean, as so many fondly imagine, work accomplished: it means work revealed-work revealed so vast, often so impossible, that faith and hope die down, and the enthusiast of yesterday becomes the cynic of to-morrow."
-George Adam Smith.
MALPRACTICE IN HEATHEN LANDS
It is stated that whenever Captain Cook touched new soil in his travels he sowed seeds of British plants. Later colonists found to their surprise plants of their home land growing in their newly adopted countries. As we voyage in thought along the shores of history we see that wherever Christianity has gone there grows more or less luxuriantly the flower of brotherly love-a veritable sensitive plant to rough and careless handling. It is a great thing for our lands to-day that the body politic is so exquisitely alive toward customs which involve pain or cruelty to either the lower animals or to fellow men. Sometimes this public conscience may seem to be callous for a while; sometimes it becomes morbid or hysterical; yet, as a whole, in every Christian nation, it is to be profoundly trusted to eventually deliver a right judgment. Cock-fighting, bull-baiting, pugilism, cruelty to helpless children, or to the blind or insane, are all doomed in every nation which seeks to follow even afar off in the steps of the Great Altruist.
The Christian world is a great nervous system which feels the shock and thrill of pain from its most distal extremities. Atrocities in Armenia, famines in India, floods in China, persecutions in Russia and misgovernment of degraded or oppressed peoples, all bring their message and make impact upon thought, memory, prayerand at last, though, alas, slowly, stir the heart to help, rescue and redeem.
"He's true to God who's true to man wherever wrong is done To the humblest and the weakest 'neath the all-beholding sun. That wrong is also done to us, and they are slaves most base Whose love of right is for themselves, and not for all their race."
Yet there seems to be a strange anesthesia which has
settled upon the Church of Christ in reference to the bodily pangs and pains which are being so agonizingly felt by thousands for whom the temporal as well as spiritual blessings of Christianity were intended. Is it that she has received these messages of pain so infrequently that a path has hardly been established toward her perception centres, or has she merely been slow to discern from whence they came and to what duty they called her?
Whatever be the true reason, the fact is patent that the followers of Christ have allowed this suffering to continue unmitigated by loving help, and are only now beginning to realize and rescue.
The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."
Cruelty. Ignorance in the treatment of the sick were bad enough; superstition is degrading and paralyzing in its effects; but cruelty blasts the dim light of conscience which is in every man's secret heart and hardens the unhappy victim into desperation and despair.
"In Arabia, an ingenious expedient for relieving a patient is burning holes in the body to let the disease out, branding sick children with red hot bars, chopping_off wounded limbs and sealing them with boiling tar." Cutting with knives and scarification are frequently resorted to. Sometimes, of course, this violent counter-irritation is of some benefit, at least temporarily, though the resultant wounds often suppurate for years after the operation. A Chinese doctor has great faith in moxa, which is a powder made of various medicaments including saltpetre, and which is ignited on the skin of the patient.
Dr. Rosetta S. Hall gives an account of the visit of a Korean doctor to a sick child: "The first thing he did was to make a little pyramid of brownish looking powder upon each breast of the child, and then to set it on fire until it burned the tender skin. This was followed by the use of a large darning needle, which was first thrust through each little foot, then the palms of the hands, the thumb joints, and through the lips into the jaw, just beneath the nose." Imagine, if you can, the agonizing screams of the child while this barbarous and useless cruelty was being practiced!
Think of the treatment in this land of mothers in the
throes of childbirth and compare it with the customs in heathen lands. Here, all is made subservient to the mother's comfort. If she is poor, our splendid maternity hospitals are open for her reception. The room is prepared, the footfall becomes more quiet as it approaches her door, the merry shouting of the children is hushed, friends are near, and the trained skill of nurse and physician are at her command. "All Hindu women," wrote the veteran missionary, Mrs. Weitbrecht, some few years since," whether rich or poor, are utterly neglected in time of sickness." The native nurses are all the majority of sick women in India have for doctors. They are ignorant, immoral and excessively meddlesome. Countless mothers and infants fall a prey to horrible barbarities inflicted in the name of service, during their hour of peril. In India a tardy labor is assisted by a bamboo pole, or a plank of wood laid across the woman's abdomen, with a heavy assistant seated on each end. In Siam the mother is made to expose herself for many days to a fire built up of wood about eighteen inches from her body, with the result that serious burns occur, causing weeks or months of suffering, and at length healing with extensive cicatrices and the usual diseases consequent upon prolonged suppuration. Supposed to be possessed by some evil spirit, they are objects to be shunned, and every possible cruelty may be resorted to that the demon may be expelled. In some places the mother is banished in a winter cold, many degrees below zero, to a hut of bark for ten days, and is frequently quite alone and often half starved.
A lady missionary relates a visit she paid to the home of a Muhammedan teacher, where both wife and children are loved by husband and father. On the bed is a little child of three years in convulsions. "As we enter, a barber has just finished shaving the hair from the head just over. the place where the brain can be seen to pulsate in an infant's head and is called by the natives of India 'the door to the brain.' A Muhammedan doctor lifts a red hot piece of iron from the fire and presses it to the exposed part, destroying the tissues to the skull, and to my cry of horror and dismay the father, in an agony of sorrow, answers, 'Oh, Miss Sahib, for
many days that door was open and an evil spirit entered there and must be destroyed, or our child will die.
A dislocated ankle is reduced by strapping two boards to the sole of the foot and driving a stout wedge between them, much on the same principle as the infamous "boot" used during the Inquisition.
Fractures are sometimes placed in splints of rough unpadded bark and are tied up with coarse string so tightly that severe wounds or mortification frequently occurs.
In China, it is customary to "let out " pain in the head by piercing the eyeball or drum of the ear, often producing thereby blindness and deafness.
Some time ago a conversation was heard between some natives of one of these lands on the advantage of having doctors, and one man related how his wife had been treated for a headache. Several old women took her in hand. They bound a towel about her forehead, placed a brass pot on her head, filled the pot with boiling water, and for about two hours kept up the temperature by ladling out the cooling water and adding boiling water in its place. At the end of the two hours the patient had lost her pain. She was dead.*
Dr. Mackenzie wrote from Tientsin: “I was called to attend a woman in one of the yamens, who was suffering from spasmodic asthma, and found a slave girl beating the back of the chest with a large stick like a rolling-pin, with the idea of giving relief." Necrosis and ulcer from the terrible custom of foot-binding in China is very common. The British Medical Journal of Jan. 28, 1899 (p. 231), says: "It not infrequently happens that the flesh becomes putrescent during the process of binding and portions slough off from the sole. Sometimes a toe drops off. Elegance is secured at the cost of months of suffering.' The hakims of some nations treat rheumatism by sticking long pins into the patient having tow dipped in oil around the heads of the pins. This is lighted and into the wounds thus caused are inserted "medical nails," composed of corrosive sublimate, arsenic and salt. The profuse discharge saps the strength and sometimes destroys the lives of the patients. Another * Mercy and Truth, p. 75, Vol. I., 1897.