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large; chiefly, beyond the limits of civilization :-regions, to a great extent, unknown to the Roman and the Greek.
To take an instance suited to our present purpose (by way of illustrating the contrast)—the state of the healing art. The Apostles, and a limited number of the converts, possessed miraculous gifts of healing; the exercise of which they seem not to have confined to the members of the church, but to have bestowed freely, as power was given them, upon all who applied. Where, however, this miraculous power of healing was not possessed, the Missionaries would, in the Grecian provinces, and in Italy, discover their own inferiority to the inhabitants in a knowledge of the science of healing. We know little about the state of medicine in Judæa at the period referred to—if any knowledge of the kind existed there worthy the name of science. What we gather from the narrative of the Evangelists, and in the Acts, warrants the inference that in this particular the Jews were not more advanced than the people of Eastern Asia are at the present day. Everywhere (just as to the European physician in China and Hindustan) crowds of the sick and impotent flocked to the Saviour ; accumulated masses of helpless invalids, the same as are to be found, of necessity, in every populous country, where no science exists equal to their relief or cure.
In proof of the difference here remarked between the rude knowledge of medicine among the Jews, and the advanced state of the science in the central provinces of the Empire, we may refer to the writings of a Roman medical author, a contemporary of the Apostles – Cornelius Celsus,* whose treatise On Medicine' affords a luminous account of the medical science of his own age-drawn chiefly from the Greek writers--but enriched, there can be no question, from the results of his own experience as a physician. One who has not examined the immortal work of Celsus can with difficulty imagine the progress of the science, as presented by him in perhaps too advantageous a light, when compared with the skill and knowledge of his contemporaries. The absence in the Treatise of every trace of superstition is complete, and the same may be said of
pretension to mystery ;' and it would not be easy to cull out a single sample of ridiculous remedies, or practices such as we meet with in the works of our own older medical authors. Throughout are the evidences of practical sense-of a vigorous, disciplined understanding-alive to the uncertainty of medicine,
According to Dr. Milligan, Celsus died A.D. 60, aged sixty years. The Treatise on Medicine he supposes to have been given to the public, A.D. 35, De Celsi vita, prefixed to his edition of the text of Celsus, page 25.
and the difficulties with which the study of it is so beset-as well as of an acquaintance, in a most surprising degree, for his time, with the true path to further improvement. To these acquired and natural endowments may be added exemplary modesty, and a humanity of disposition which few Christians have surpassed. To mention an instance—he refers, with strong disapprobation, to the practice of certain physicians, who, with a view to obtain ocular knowledge of the vital organs, procured criminals-by royal permission—in order that, by dissecting them alive, they might, while the sufferers were yet breathing, contemplate the inward parts—justifying this by the plea, that the tortures of a few guilty persons are as nothing in the search after remedies for the whole innocent race of mankind in all ages. Let us remember that, only a century ago, by like royal permission, and in this Christian England of ours, a criminal, named Ray, was appropriated to the use of the celebrated Cheselden for certain experimental operations on the internal ear.* From a subsequent notice, it would seem that this barbarity was not perpetrated; but that the purpose was entertained and published without eliciting a single symptom of public indignation may well excite our astonishment.
But it was in the department of surgery, perhaps, that the Greek mind displayed the greatest activity. This, observes Celsus, does not discard remedies, and a proper regimen; but yet the principal part is accomplished by the hand, and the effect of this kind of assistance is the most manifest of all the parts of medicine.
The following passage, as it preserves the names, and commemorates the labours of certain worthies, the friends of our common humanity, in that remote and (in a religious sense) benighted age of the world, we are tempted to extract entire:
Now this branch, (surgery,) though it be the most ancient, yet has been more cultivated by Hippocrates, the father of all medicine, than by his predecessors. Afterwards, being separated from the other parts, it began to have its peculiar professors, and received considerable improvements in Egypt, as well as elsewhere, principally from Philoxenus, who has treated of this part fully, and with great accuracy, in several volumes. Gorgias, also, and Sostratus, the two Herons, and the two Apollonii, and Ammonius Alexandrinus, and many other celebrated men, have each of them made some discoveries. And at Rome, too, professors of no small note, and particularly of late, Tryphon, the father, and Euelpistus, the son of Phleges, and Meges, the most learned of them all, as appears from his writings, by altering some things for the better, have made considerable additions to this art.'-Celsus, Book vii. Preface.
* Gentleman's Magazine, 1731, vol. i. page 10.
It would be out of place here to enumerate the ancient operations of surgery, or to enter upon a critical comparison of them with those of our own day. However, it may be safely affirmed that the extent of relief, even then within the reach of the afflicted, from surgery, surpassed what could have been obtained in England before the era of Chiselden and Pott, about the beginning of the eighteenth century.
Such, then, were the minds that had been zealously given to the cultivation of the healing art in those provinces of the Roman Empire which were traversed by the Apostles and Evangelists. And it remains to contrast with the circumstances of the inspired teachers those of the many devoted men of our own age, who have gone with the same object into the Pagan regions of the modern world.
In nearly every respect the circumstances of the modern and of the primitive missionaries are seen to be different. The former, it is true, have the same Gospel to announce, and they announce it to persons equally needing it, but here the parallel ends; for in a knowledge of the sciences which minister to human improvement in general, enlargement of mind, in the arts of life, and in social comfort and enjoyment, modern missionaries are, or ought to be, immeasurably superior to all the communities of men of the present day, to which they are sent. Unlike the Apostles and Evangelists, they necessarily carry with them, besides the Gospel, scientific and social benefits, to confer on even the most cultivated of the unconverted nations — to say nothing of the unlettered barbarians and savages. And again, instead of a single field of labour, as in the New Testament times, there is, as we have already said, a diversity of fields—from that supplied by the Esquimaux and the Hottentots, destitute of the simplest elements of civilization, up through various gradations of the social condition to the polished Hindoo, Chinese, and Persian, each requiring in a Missionary, along with the ordinary aptitude to preach the Gospel, special qualifications for the particular sphere; but every one of these fields demanding of Missionaries—if the beneficent example of our Lord in his ministry is to be copied -the benefits of European medical science, of which they, all alike, are nearly destitute ; especially of those branches that come under the head of surgery.
The destitution of medical knowledge and skill in countries without the bounds of Christian civilization is greater than is commonly supposed, especially in populous Asia, where all the causes of disease existing at home, and many more, are found in operation, without the alleviation of scientific medicine, and of that which is its inseparable and invaluable attendant-well-directed nursing. But it is not the absence of science, properly so called, that is the only, or, perhaps, the worst evil. Infinite mischiefs arise from false science and the use of thousands of absurd or destructive nostrums, with which the sick are plied on needful and on needless occasions. It is an error to imagine that the natural restorative powers of the body are trusted to in the absence of correct science. The contrary is the fact. The number and variety of remedies are everywhere great, in proportion to the ignorance of true science. As real science advances, we confide the more to nature, and cease interference with those among her operations to the com pletion of which experience has proved her to be adequate. We afford help, it is true, when needed, but so as to aid without encumbering-to strengthen nature when too weak, and to regulate her processes when they may chance to be uncertain or wayward. But we never disregard her powers until their impotence is become manifest.
It has been often affirmed, for example, on slender authority, that childbirth among barbarians and in the more civilized regions of the east, is always safe and easy. The assertion is entirely erroneous—a remnant, we may call it, of those too hastily formed opinions concerning the influence of simple habits and of a warm climate on the human frame, to which the Baron Montesquieu about a century ago gave such general currency. That a warm climate, and the manner of living which it seems almost to necessitate, exercise a modifying effect on the mind and body of the inhabitants, there can be no doubt, but still not of the nature here supposed. The numberless allusions in scripture to the hour of sorrow' peculiar to woman, and that in reference to the natives of so warm a climate as Palestine, might almost have sufficed to dissipate an idea so totally baseless.
The mortality of native women, in connexion with this period, in Calcutta, is shown from recent official documents, to be so enormous as almost to exceed belief. On scarcely any other authority than that of a government inquiry, and witnesses beyond suspicion of exaggerating the evils they depict, would it be possible to credit the statements given concerning the absurd and mischievous treatment of the unhappy women, and the consequent mortality.* This is a subject on which, of course, we cannot be expected to enlarge, though all the circumstances referred to deserve to be known, that, if possible, an adequate remedy may be applied. The deaths in childbirth are reported as not fewer than four, and sometimes five, in every twenty instances: a rate tenfold greater than has ever been known even in the Lying-in Hospitals of Europe. This estimate of mortality, resting at first on the authority of the Baboo Moodusoodun Gupta, a Hindu physician, though eminent for his learning and thorough acquaintance with European science, appears to have tasked the credulity of the Committee of Inquiry, and led them to seek further evidence. In consequence, Mr. Martin, a surgeon long conversant with native practice, was examined as to his opinion of the Baboo's estimate, who, in reply, states that the treatment altogether of the native women in those circumstances is pernicious—that he is surprised the mortality is not even greater. 'Few European women,' says he would survive it.'+
It may be true, and, from inquiry, we believe it is, that this abuse of common sense in the management of such patients is less flagrant in the rest of India than it is in the capital. But from hints in Lieut.-Colonel Sykes' report on the Government Charitable Dispensaries in India, there is reason to infer that the evil is by no means limited to Calcutta. Indeed, in Dr. Wise's Commentary on Hindu Medicine, we have proof that the destructive customs among the Hindus alluded to have prevailed from ancient times. I
Affection and judgment in the management and nursing of children do not always go together even in England; but the Hindu physician before mentioned states that, in Hindustan, children from the time of their birth are subjected to great danger from the circumstances to which they are exposed, in common with their mothers, except that they are not drugged with spices: and the consequences are fatal fevers and tetanus. He emphatically says, 'I do not see in the town of Calcutta any
* The report whose title stands at the beginning of this article is, with the numerous appendices, a voluminous mass of the most curious and interesting information concerning the sanitary condition of Calcutta and environs, furnished by a great variety of persons, Hindu and European-judges, coroners, engineers, police magistrates, physicians, surgeons, &c. Scarce a topic that concerns the health and well-being of a great city but is here amply discussed and illustrated. No such full report, so far as we know, has ever been made in reference to the state of public health of any of the capital cities of Europe.
+ Appendix D, page 96. A further corroboration is found in the evidence of Dr. Duncan Stewart in the same appendix, D, page 156. Also in this gentleman's paper in the report of the Medical College of Bengal for the year 1846-7.
| Wise. Book v. chap 1.