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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/453

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NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE.

treatment, and out of this mixture were evolved such prescriptions as the following:

"If an elf or a goblin come, smear his forehead with this salve, put it on his eyes, cense him with incense, and sign him frequently with the sign of the cross."

"For a fiend-sick man: When a devil possesses a man, or controls him from within with disease, a spew-drink of lupin, bishopswort, henbane, garlic. Pound these together, add ale and holy water."

And again: "A drink for a fiend-sick man, to be drunk out of a church-bell: Githrife, cynoglossum, yarrow, lupin, flower-de-luce, fennel, lichen, lovage. Work up to a drink with clear ale, sing seven masses over it, add garlic and holy water, and let the possessed sing the Beati Immaculati; then let him drink the dose out of a church-bell, and let the priest sing over him the Domine Sancte Pater Omnipotens."[1]

Had this been the worst treatment of lunatics developed in the theological atmosphere of the middle ages, the world would have been spared some of the most terrible chapters in its history; but, unfortunately, the idea of the Satanic possession of lunatics led to attempts to punish the indwelling demon. As this theological theory and practice became more fully developed, and ecclesiasticism more powerful to enforce it, all mildness began to change, or to be driven into remote corners of Christendom; the admonitions to gentle treatment by the great pagan and Moslem physicians were forgotten, and the treatment of lunatics tended more and more toward severity; more and more generally it was felt that cruelty to madmen was punishment of the devil residing within or acting upon them.

A few strong churchmen and laymen made efforts to resist this tendency. As far back as the fourth century, Nemesius, Bishop of Emesa, accepted the truth as developed by pagan physicians, and aided them in strengthening it. In the seventh century, a Lombard code embodied a similar effort. In the eighth century, one of Charlemagne's capitularies seems to have had a like purpose. In the ninth century, that great churchman and statesman, Agobard. Archbishop of Lyons, superior to his time in this as in so many other things, tried to make right reason prevail in this field; and, near the beginning of the tenth century, Regino, Abbot of Prüm, in the diocese of Treves, insisted on treating possession as disease. But all in vain; the current streaming most directly from sundry texts in the Christian sacred books, and swollen by theology, had become overwhelming,[2]

  1. See Cockayne, "Leechdoms, Wort-cunning, and Star-Craft of Early England" (in the Rolls Series), ii, 177; also 355, 356. For the great value of priestly saliva, see W. W. Story's interesting essays.
  2. For a very thorough and interesting statement on the general subject, see Kirchhof,