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yet to be taught but to prove one's self.*
In this letter I have confined myself to some general topicks. In my next I shall make you acquainted with our principal churches, the ministers most eminent for their zeal and spirit, and the laymen, who are chiefly desirous to co-operate with you. On the correctness of my statements you may depend, and I shall endeavour to make them with Christian reserve and prudence. I have the honour to be, etc.
ON THE EFFICACY OF THE "FAITH
(Concluded from Vol. VI. p. 554.)
That great luminary of medical science, Dr. Rush, enumerates "piety towards God, a respect for religion, and a regular attendance upon publick worship, among the duties of a physician." And he advises them, when "setting out in business, to acquire such habits of punctuality in visiting their patients, as shall not interfere with acts of publick homage to the Supreme Being." He also recommends the "reading of the Scrip
We confess ourselves at a loss what to understand by the "free self probation" mentioned in this paragraph, and how the Roman Catholicks turn this Protestant dogma against its authors, unless the objectionable position be to this ef. fect—that true religion consists in every man adopting a faith and practice that fully satisfies himself-This certainly the apostle Paul did before his conversion. EDITOR.
tures, as the best means of fortifying the mind against the fear of death."
6. Dr. Bard of New York, was a practical as well as a professing Christian. All the Christian methods for enlightening and renewing mankind, found in him an able patron and a successful advocate. Of him it may truly be said, "he adorned the doctrine of God his Saviour in all things." He showed his faith by his works. The following extract from a memoir of him, by Dr. Ducahet, will make known his character." He was one of those very few physicians who consider it a duty, to advise and admonish their patients in their spiritual affairs. It was his constant practice to procure, or to administer, religious instruction to the ignorant, and spiritual consolation to the distressed. And however indiscreet and officious communications of this kind may be considered by some, he has left upon record his testimony to their usefulness, and to the general good will with which they are received. In not one of the many manuscripts (in my possession) of his annual addresses to the graduates of medicine, does he omit to recommend this practice; and to enforce it by the assurance that, during thirty years of professional life, he had made it an uniform duty; and that he had very seldom regretted his conduct, having found such communications to be generally acceptable, and never productive of injury to the sick. It is very much to be regretted that the example of this
is not more frequently imitated, truly eminent' and good physician and that medical men are so apt to disregard the eternal concerns of their patients, and to imagine that it is even necessary to divert their thoughts from death and eternity. Such conduct is a criminal neglect of a solemn duty, and betrays an insensibility, as cruel as it is dan-.
gerous, to the best interests of those committed to their care. It was too Dr. Bard's practice to call the early attention of his patients to this important subject. Religious admonition, he properly thought, should not be deferred until all hope of recovery is gone. This is not the best chosen period for religious instruction, or the one most favourable to its due effect upon the mind. It is not in the last moments of life, when the body is racked with pain, and the mind agitated and alarmed by the apprehensions of death; when a deadly stupor clouds the faculties, or the imagination flits, in wild delirium, from object. to object, and from thought to thought, that the mind can be brought to prepare itself for the awful transition which it is to undergo. Sickness is a season of reflection with most men, and naturally induces a docility of temper, highly favourable to the reception of wholesome admonition. It is now that religious instruction and advice are most productive of effect. If delayed till the last hours of life, they may serve indeed to awaken the alarms of the sick man, and to plunge him into despair, but they can seldom benefit his soul." The conduct of Dr. Bard, in this particular, must commend itself to the approbation of every rational and feeling man; and entitle him to be placed with those worthies who have united to exalted talent, extensive erudition, and distinguished rank, the graces and virtues of the Christian character.
7. Dr. Rush, after having narrated his happy recovery from an attack of the Bilious Yellow Fever of 1793, and from a chronick disease consequent thereon, acknowledges his obligations and gratitude to God, in these words: "But wherewith shall I come before the great Father and Redeemer of men; and what shall I render unto him for the issue of my life from the grave?
-"Here all language fails;Come then expressive silence, muse his praise."*
I shall conclude my address by some extracts from the essay of the last mentioned eminent physician, entitled, "The Influence of Physical Causes upon the Moral Faculty," since it appears very applicable to the present discussion; which may be called "An Essay on the Influence of Moral Causes on the Physical Faculties."
"Let it not," says Dr. Rush, "be suspected, from any thing that I have delivered, that I suppose the influence of physical causes upon the moral faculty renders the agency of divine influence unnecessary to our moral happiness. I only maintain, that the operations of the divine government are carried on in the moral, as in the natural world, by the instrumentality of second causes. I have only trodden in the footsteps of the inspired writers. Nebuchadnezzar was cured of his pride, by means of solitude and a vegetable diet; Saul was cured of his evil spirit by means of David's harp; and St. Paul expressly says, I keep my body under, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away."" He also believes" that in those extraordinary cases where bad men are suddenly reformed, without the instrumentality of moral, or rational causes, that the organization of those parts of the body in which the faculties of the mind are seated, undergoes a physical change; and hence the expression of a new creature,' which is made use of in the Scriptures to denote this change, is proper, in a literal, as well as a figurative sense." And he adduces, in proof of this, the assertion of Paul, that he "bears in his body the marks of our Lord Jesus." "It is probably the begin
Rush's Werks, vol. iii. p. 353.
ning of that perfect renovation of the human body, which is predicted by St. Paul in the following words: For our conversation is in heaven, from whence we look for the Saviour, who shall change our vile bodies, that they may be fashioned according to his own glorious body.' I shall not," continues he, "pause to defend myself from the charge of enthusiasm in this place; for the age is at length arrived, so devoutly wished for by Dr. Cheyne, in which men will not be deterred in their researches after truth, by the terror of odious or unpopular names."
We can by no means adopt the explanation of some facts, and the exposition of certain passages, of sacred scripture, which appear at the close of this address. We would also observe, that the title of the Address attributes to one of the Christian graces, Faith, effects which immediately flow from some of the other graces, such as Hope, Patience, &c. Faith is indeed the foundation grace, and is ever accompanied by all the rest. Yet, perhaps the title of the paper might more properly have been-The Influence of Genuine Christian Piety, in the Prevention and Cure of Diseases. But although we thus advert to what we deem inaccuracies, we do not consider them as at all affecting the general merit of the essay. We intimated, when we first introduced Dr. Church's address to the notice of our readers, that we had "long wished for a good oppor-. tunity to combat, the absurd, cruel and wicked opinion, entertained by many physicians, and embraced by many of their patients, that a clergyman must be kept out of a sick room, at least till the patient is past all hopes of recovery." And we promised some remarks of our own, and some facts witnessed by ourselves, in confirmation of our
remarks." When this was written, we had not so particularly examined, as we have since been called to do, every part of the address now before our readers. Had this been the case, we might perhaps have forborne the pledge we gave; since the ample testimony of medical men themselves, especially of medical men of the first eminence for skill and reputation, is likely to be of far more avail than any remarks of our own. We shall, notwithstanding, add a few thoughts, in the hope that they will be more regarded, when it is seen that the most competent judges are with us, in the opinions we deliver.
1. The worth of the soul is such, that if it were granted that the use of those means which are calculated to promote its salvation did interfere with the speedy removal, or even the final removal of disease, those who duly estimate the concerns of eternity, in comparison with those of time, would see and say, let no regard to the body endanger the eternal felicity of the immortal spirit. On this consideration, all who have any serious belief in an endless state of future happiness or misery should resolve, that, so far as they have influence, the sick shall not be suffered to pass into the eternal world, without the use of the best means which they can command, to aid them in preparation for this great and decisive crisis of their existence.
2. Ministers of the gospel, and those who are preparing for the sacred office, ought to make it a subject of particular attention and earnest inquiry, how they may treat the sick, in a manner most likely, under the divine blessing, to be attended with saving benefit. It is believed that this is a subject too little regarded by many ministers of the gospel, and by a large proportion of theological students. There is no part of the ministerial office more delicate in its nature, than the proper method of treating per
sons in sickness; and it is to be feared, that a part of the prejudice against ministerial visits to the chambers of the sick, may have arisen from some instances of indiscretion, or want of fitness, in those who have been called to the performance of this duty. This is not the place to enter into any lengthened or particular statement, of what is believed to be the best manner of dealing with those who are suffering from disease-It is a subject on which a small volume might profitably be written. We shall, however, not forbear to remark, that the duty we contemplate requires, and may be considered as consisting in, tenderness and fidelity. Great tenderness should undoubtedly be used, in all the cases contemplated. The spiritual physician should manifest deep sympathy; and that he may manifest it, he must feel it. He should endea vour to put his own soul in the soul's place of the suffering patient, and carefully consider, also, the bodily weakness of the party to be addressed. This will give a character to all that he says and does -to all his words and actions, and to the very tones of his voicewhich will be likely to have the most happy effect. But no part of this tenderness is to consist in the want of fidelity, or in endeavours to comfort the afflicted on other than gospel grounds. Not only does the minister of religion incur an awful responsibility for himself, if he endeavours to sooth the sick by unwarranted considerations, but, by so doing, he will sometimes en tirely miss his object. A wellinstructed individual, or one whose eyes have been opened on his lost and miserable state as a sinner, will see that his spiritual guide is "a physician of no value," if he directs to other ground of hope and comfort than the riches of divine grace -the full redemption of Christ, and the way that is opened by him for the extension of mercy to the chief of
penitent and believing sinners. We have known a clergyman-who sought to allay anxiety and fear, by reminding the sick of a good moral life, and a regular attendance on the ordinances of the church-told that no repetition of his visits was desired. A man of another spirit was sent for, and heard with the greatest interest.
3. We confidently assert, that if ministerial visits to the sick are managed with discretion and tenderness, as well as fidelity, there is seldom, if ever, any reason to be apprehended that they will interfere with the recovery of the patientand that in many cases they will essentially promote it. This position is abundantly supported by the numerous facts which are stated in the preceding essay, as well as by the opinions there adduced, of some of the most distinguished physicians of our own and other countries. We will add two or three striking instances, witnessed by ourselves. The first was of a lady in a declining state, from pulmonary affection. She had requested spiritual instruction and aid, but had been refused it, under the notion that she was only low spirited, and what is called nervous. But although asafoetida and opium were fully tried, neither could quiet sleep be obtained, nor incessant agitation and anxiety, when awake, be prevented. length, to gratify her, and as a matter of experiment, a clergyman was sent for to visit her. Her case was found to be one of a very rational concern, in regard to the state of her soul-accompanied by a manifest want of suitable instruction, direction, and encouragement. These were afforded; and from the very first visit, through the whole of her protracted illness, no more anodynes or antispasmodicks were needed, either to procure sleep, or to prevent agitation. She was calm, patient, quiet, and resigned-not only more comfortable in her own feelings, but unspeakably less trou
demonstrate that it may be afforded, not merely without injury, but often with evident advantage to the aim of the physician? and when, if sequence, it is infinitely outweighsome bodily suffering were the coned by the hopes of benefiting a soul, destined to happiness or misery inconceivable and interminable!
STRICTURES ON MODERN GEOLOGY.
tention then announced. But we wish, previously, to make a few observations of our own, on the general subject.
blesome to her attendants than she had been before; and thus she remained till her death. The second instance mentioned (for we could mention many) shall be of acute disease. An athletick man, in a dangerous fever tending to putridity, was found in a state of great anxiety about his immortal part. He was neither ignorant of religious truth in general, nor of the exigency of his own case in particular; but the distress of his mind absorbed all regard to the sufferings of the body. Counsel In our last November number we was given him; and in the midst of intimated our intention to transfer the prayer that followed, light, and to our pages, as soon as we should peace, and even joy, broke in, as find a good opportunity, some rehe affirmed, on his mind. There marks from the Christian Observer was manifestly an entire change in on the subject of Modern Geology his aspect, as well as in his conver--We propose now to fulfil the insation; and a speedy recovery succeeded. A third case has been witnessed by us, since we began to write this article-the case of a female in dangerous illness, whose mind was so affected as to prevent bodily rest, till after spiritual assistance and prayer; since which she has slept comfortably, and hopes are entertained of her recovery. But instances of a similar kind, as already hinted, might be multiplied indefinitely. The writer can affirm with truth, that in the pastoral charge of one of the largest congregations in the United States, for more than the fourth part of a century, he never knew an instance in which his ministerial visitations of the sick were even apprehended, so far as he has known, to have been injurious. In a few instances he has known them forbidden by friends and physicians, and the sick kept in ignorance of their situation, till they were surprised into eternity. The responsibility of such friends and physicians, the writer would not incur for the universe-He hopes that every reader of this article will avoid it. What excuse can be given for depriving the sick of religious aid, when facts innumerable VOL. VII.-Ch. Adv.
1. We are of the opinion that the cause of true religion will never be promoted, but greatly injured, by refusing to listen to the statement of any facts in natural history or science, under an apprehension that they militate with divine revelation. If the things recorded in the Bible have been revealed by the God of truth-the Creator of the world and all things therein-they never can be inconsistent with well ascertained facts in his works, as they are now exposed to our observation and scrutiny. We all see and admit the folly of Pope Urban VIII., in endeavouring to oppose the Copernican theory of the planetary revolutions, by his edicts and denunciations. It is such an immediate dictate of common sense, that one truth can never contradict another; that he who refuses to admit a plain matter of fact, because he apprehends it will contradict something in the Bible, will always give the enemies of the Bible the opportunity of claiming a triumph, which they will not fail to improve. Facts, when ascertained to be such, must