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the restoration of health or life. That this was the impression made upon his contemporaries, appears from the following letter, written by King Abgarus, of Arabia, and translated out of the Syriac language by Eusebius.'

Abgarus, prince of Edessa, sends, greeting, to Jesus the excellent Saviour, who has appeared in the borders of Jerusalem. I have heard the reports respecting thee and thy cures, as performed by thee without medicines, and without the use of herbs. For, as it is said, thou causest the blind to see again, the lame to walk, and thou cleansest the lepers, and thou castest out impure spirits and demons, and thou healest those that are tormented by long disease, and thou raisest the dead. And hearing all these things of thee, I concluded in my mind. one of two things,-either that thou art God, and, having descended from Heaven, doest these things; or else, doing them, thou art the Son of God. Therefore, now I have written and besought thee to visit me and to heal the disease with which I am afflicted. "This epistle," observes Eusebius, "he thus wrote whilst yet somewhat (i. e. partially) enlightened by the rays of divine truth." Although the genuineness of this letter is much questioned, yet the fact of its approval by Eusebius, shows his sentiments upon the subject of its contents.

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But the power of "healing all manner of diseases" was not restricted to the great Author of our Salvation; it was given by Him to his disciples, and their miracles in that direction were as wonderful as his own. Let us consider how this "gift" must have worked upon medicine as a human art and science. Take, for example, one of the greatest of the early converts, the Evangelist Luke. He, according to universal tradition, was a physician. If, after his conversion, he continued to exercise his calling for his support,

The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilius, translated from the

Greek by the Rev. C. F. Crusé, A.M.

p. 32.

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he must have been placed in a very embarrassing dilemma.

Suppose him sent for to see some great man, such as King Abgarus, who, being ill, called him in to cure him, how was he to act? If, as one possessing the gift of direct healing, would he be justified in taking a fee? If, on the other hand, he prescribed, as Hippocrates would have done, was he not therein doing despite to the miraculous endowment ?

In short, medicine, as an art based upon the natural and ordinary course of events, was superseded for a time by the extraordinary and preternatural power of certain men. Had this power continued in the Church, then the medical profession must have entirely disappeared; for who would have gone through the painful, uncertain, and expensive methods of treatment, then and since in vogue, if all that was required to be done was to send for a holy man to pronounce certain words, and so end the distress? It may be objected, that the cure required faith on the part of the patient. This was, certainly, not always the case; as, for example,—when a youth was cured of fever at the intercession of his father; for the distance and the probable delirium of the patient made any intelligent and mental effort impossible for him; and it is clearly inapplicable to the greatest of all cures the restoration of those already dead—by no means a very uncommon occurrence.1 When we consider the inextricable confusion at this period between the natural and supernatural cures, and how the fact of there being real miracles of healing must have engendered a swarm of impudent pretenders who, of course, would glory in their contempt of science, we cannot be surprised at the antagonism which existed in the first centuries between Christianity and Medicine; or that, while Galen, and the best heads of Greece and Rome," despised alike the doctrine and the teachers, confounding them with


1 Eusebius, p. 203.]

2 Sprengel, Vol. II. p. 147.

the Jews, the early fathers, on their part, were annoyed at the influence of philosophers. Thus, we find in Eusebius the following passage quoted from one of the Christian writers of that period:-"They abandon the Holy Scriptures for the study of geometry; as, being of the earth, they talk of the earth" [a play upon the Greek words from which geometry, or earth measurement, is derived], “and know not Him that cometh from above. Euclid, therefore, is industriously measured by them; Aristotle and Theophrastus are also admired; and as to Galen, he is even, perhaps, worshipped by some."1 The opposition of religion and science was, at that period, absolute and irreconcilable. The foundation of all science, the reliability of a material cause producing a material effect, and a material effect involving an antecedent material cause, was undermined by spiritual agencies, acting directly upon matter, and suspending what we call its laws. This subserviency of the material to the moral, of matter to spirit, was an exceptional mode of announcing an eternal fact. Should similar occurrences ever reappear, it would be as impossible to reconcile them with science as it was in the case of the miracles.

While medicine, as a practical human art and science, was paralysed in the East by the appearance of the Great Physician, and his wonder-working disciples; it was exposed in Rome, the metropolis of the world, to influences of a very destructive and wholly different character. It is not till the time of the Empire that medicine can be said to have existed in Rome at all; and the medical celebrities of this period in the history of the art, belong chiefly to the second and subsequent centuries. It is impossible to imagine a great city worse calculated for the honest and independent practice of the medical profession than Rome was under the emperors. It was then nearly as populous as London now is, containing, by the smallest Eusebius, p. 203.

A. D. 200.



computation, two millions and a quarter of inhabitants, apparently a promising field of practice. But when we analyse these numbers, we find that there were only 10,000 of what we should call gentry; there were 1,250,000 populace, and about a million of slaves. This populace, or Plebs, were always paupers in feeling; a large proportion of them actually received public alıns, all of them gratuities in the form of cheap bread and free admission into the theatres, where they witnessed combats between gladiators, and where they not unfrequently saw the noblest men and women torn to pieces and devoured by wild beasts. From a mob fed on unearned bread, and glutted with sights of horror, it would have been folly to expect one spark of genuine feeling, or a sentiment of independence. They were dragooned into outward order by a powerful gensdarmerie, chiefly foreigners, who patrolled the streets in great force, and arrested all they found there at night.'


The condition of the slaves was most deplorable. way in which the Greeks treated their slaves was far more humane than among the Romans. The general notion of the ancients respecting slaves was, that they were entirely the property of their masters, who might make any use they thought fit of them, according to their pleasure, and, if they chose, kill them. . . . Throughout the republic, and with few exceptions up to the time of the Antonines, the master held absolute control over the slaves. He could practise the most cruel barbarities on them, or even kill them with impunity. So that slaves were looked upon as pieces of goods, and tyrannical masters had serious doubts whether they should be considered as human beings at all." 2 There was no middle class in Rome.

1 Gallus; or, Roman Scenes of the Time of Augustus, by Prof. W. Becker, translated by the Rev. F. Metcalfe,

M.A. Parker, 1849.

2 Ibid.

The position of the physician must have been a degrading one. Galen found it intolerable, although he was probably caressed, and as much respected as any man not of the military or ruling cast could be. He only stayed in the city for three years at a time, and one of the reasons of his quitting it was the intense animosity of his profession out of spite at his splendid success and renown. It is clear there could have been no satisfaction in practising among a vulgar, brutal, greedy, licentious, pauper populace; and as for the slaves, they had no life to be saved; their bodies were their masters', and physicians were even required to perform the most horrible mutilations upon them; "since we are sometimes compelled, against our will, by persons of high rank, to perform this operation,"-writes Paulus Ægineta.' Among the upper ten thousand alone, and the strangers who congregated to the capitol, could anything like a satisfactory practice be sought.


But these upper ten thousand of Rome, although immensely rich, some highly cultivated and probably wellbred, must have been a most disagreeable class of patients for many reasons, of which two will suffice. They must have been domineering, and they were superstitiouscombination the most unfavourable possible for the success of a high-minded physician, and the best soil imaginable for the growth of quacks. The Roman magnates could not but be domineering to their physicians, many of whom were slaves. The great men were, or had been, or expected to be, governors of provinces, where, far from the emperor's control, they ruled, with absolute authority, barbarians whom they despised. Nothing reveals the sentiments with which a Roman of the best possible type regarded his subjects, better than the younger Pliny's letter to the Emperor Trajan. This Pliny belonged to one of the best families in Rome. Educated by his learned uncle, the

1 Paulus Egineta, Vol. II. p. 379.

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