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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/751

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PHYSICAL EDUCATION.

very cogent a priori reasons. If the testimony of our senses helps us to select our proper food, and warns us against injurious substances, have we any reason to suppose that such salutary intuitions forsake us at the time of the greatest need—in the hour of our struggle with a life-endangering disease? Shall we believe that at such times our sense of taste warns us against salubrious substances? And does it not urgently warn us against ninety-nine out of a hundred "medicines"? Shall the sick believe that an all-wise Creator has staked the chances of their recovery upon the accident of their acquaintance with Dr. Quack's Quinine Bitters or Puff & Co.'s Purgative Pills? Yet, is it possible to mistake the analogy between the remedial theories of our nostrum-mongers and the alleged moral "plan of salvation"? Is not the key-note of the Semitic dogma mistrust of our natural instincts and reliance upon abnormal remedies—mummeries, mysteries, and miracles?

Poison-mongers, physical or spiritual, will cease to be in request whenever their customers begin to suspect that this world of ours is governed by laws, and not by special acts of intervention; that sickness can be cured only by conformity to those laws, and not by drugs and prayers—i. e., anti natural and supernatural remedies. To the children of Nature all good things are attractive, all evil repulsive: the laws of God proclaim and avenge themselves; the Author of this logically-ordered universe can never have intended that our salvation should depend upon the accident of our acquaintance with the dogmas of an isolated act of revelation; and, as surely as the germ of the hidden seed-corn finds its way through night to light, the unaided instincts of the lowliest islander would guide him safely on the path of moral and physical welfare.

These words would be truisms if Truth had not been a contraband for the last eighteen hundred years: To nine tenths of our Christian contemporaries God's most authentic revelation is still a sealed book; and, before any reformer can hope to turn this chaos of vice, superstition, and quackery, into anything like a cosmos, he must convince his fellow-men that the study of Nature has to supersede the worship of miracles, even though that conviction should imply that the fundamental dogmas of our priest-religion are perniciously false.

    to establish the fact that disease is a restorative operation, or renovating process, and that medicine has deceived us. The evidence is full and complete. It does not consist merely of a few isolated cases, whose recovery might be attributed to fortuitous circumstances, but it is a chain of testimony fortified by every possible circumstance. . . . All kinds and grades of disease have passed under the ordeal, and all classes and characters of persons have been concerned in the experiment as patients or witnesses; . . . while the process of infinitesimally attenuating the drugs used was carried to such a ridiculous extent that no one will, on sober reflection, attribute any portion of the cure to the medicine. I claim, then, that homœopathy may be regarded as a providential scaling of the fate of old medical views and practice" (Isaac Jennings, M. D., "Medical Reform," p. 247.)