Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

A.D. 200.

CONTRARIA CONTRARIIS CURANTUR.

89

These are compound remedies :

"The trochisk from Egyptian thorn, that of Philip, that from hartshorn, that from

[ocr errors]

and the trigonis."

The pills from Macer are excellent remedies. ing is an admirable one :—

The follow

"Of opium, of saffron, of Indian lycum, of acacia, of shumach, of frankincense, of galls, of hypocystis, of pomegranate-rind, of myrrh, of aloes, equal parts, give in water to the amount of three oboli." I

So we enter the region of polypharmacy, which, although begun by Galen, did not reach its full extravagance till a later age.

1 Paulus Egineta. Vol. I. p. 526.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Church Miracles-Charms and Amulets-Monks and Medicine-The HospitalRoman Influence-The Decline of the Empire-Julian the Apostate-Saracen Conquests-Rhazes taken at his word-Michael Scott-Joseph Wolff-Modern Persian Physicians-Selling Price of Lawyers and Physicians-Clovis, his Idea of Christian Duty-Punishment Physicians were liable to-Theriacum-Orthodox Medicine.

THE History of the Art of Medicine has hitherto flowed along a single channel. We have traced it from its source in cloud-capped Olympus, the habitation of the gods of Greece; we have watched it loitering in primitive purity about the temples of Esculapius, till it found its westward way to Rome; where, polluted by the filth of that vicious metropolis, we have seen it converted into a stagnant pool. Here it loses its simple character; like the rest of human history, it becomes broken up; it is no longer a continuity, but a succession of complications-for it enters the revolution of a thousand years' duration, a millennium of troubles and sorrows such as the world never before endured. The whole period was one of gestation, with premature efforts at production; until, after incredible throes

and pangs, it ended in the birth of modern Europe-the Hercules of these days, or rather the Vulcan, who, with his incessant steam-hammer, goes on his irresistible path of conquest, subduing the whole earth and binding it in iron fetters.

Of the multitude of complex forces which resulted in modern art and science, there were four which especially affected medicine:

1st. The Church.

2nd. The prolongation of the Roman Empire.

3rd. The Arabian or Mahommedan conquests.

4th. The rise and growth of the great northern Powers. I. By the word Church, we understand not only a new form of thought and emotion, but a political organization of enormous power. It presents itself to us in several aspects, in some of which it aided, while in others it impeded, the legitimate and healthy development of medicine. We have already adverted, in the preceding chapter, to the inconveniences which a physician must have experienced when living and practising in an age of miracles. So far from abating after the times of the original apostles, this evil increased with the diffusion of Christianity to an enormous extent. We cannot see that it is such an easy thing as some would make it, to decide, at this distance, between true and false miracles. For example, what shall we make of the following? "About this time two great miracles were wrought at Hippo, in the presence of St. Augustin, in the persons of a brother and sister, named Paula and Pallida, natives of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, who were afflicted with excessive trembling in all their limbs. After long wanderings, which had spread the report of their misery in various places, they came at last to Hippo, about fifteen days before Easter, and as is supposed in the year 425. They daily visited the church, and in the place where St. Stephen's relics (some blood and bones) had been deposited, which had been brought there about a year

before. These two unhappy creatures drew the eyes of all upon them wherever they went; and those who had seen them in other places, and knew the cause of their tremors (a mother's curse), related it to others. On the morning of Easter Sunday, a considerable number of people being already assembled in the church, Paula was praying before the place where the relics had been deposited, and holding the rails which surrounded it; when, on a sudden, he lay down on the ground, and so remained as if asleep, but without trembling, as he had been used to do even in his sleep. The spectators were astonished; some were seized with fear, others with sorrow (thinking him dead), some wished to raise him, but others prevented them, and said they ought rather to stay and see the event. Paula rose

up, returned the gaze of those who were looking at him, no longer trembling, and perfectly healed; upon which the whole congregation began to praise God, and filled the church with shouts of joy."

What are we to make of this? Here was a cure of shaking palsy effected in the presence of a number of persons, and authenticated by an eye-witness, St. Augustin, who delivered a sermon on the occasion,

which is still extant, and who was

one of the most

There is nothing

learned and influential men of his day. incredible to us in a nervous trembling being cured by a powerful influence on the mind of the sufferer. Certainly, at the time, with the established facts of miracles recently preached as a part of Christianity, it would have been the height of presumption for any Christian physician to have treated such a statement as a popular superstition. In that age it would have been simply impossible for him to have done so. This is a fair sample of the kind of competition to which the successors of Hippocrates and Galen were exposed.

1 Fleury's Ecclesiast. History, Vol. XXIV. Book iv.

« ForrigeFortsæt »