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seek to receive countenance and profit, so ought they of duty to endeavour themselves, by way of amends, to be a help and ornament thereunto.'
Though the general practitioner can never meet with that wealth of material which comes to the specialist at the infirmary and privately, yet he is constantly seeing cases of great interest. Though it may seldom be of importance to record a single case, yet if the practitioner has taken notes of each case as it came under his care, he may be able in course of time to collect such a number as to be able to generalise from them and so make a valuable contribution.
He has, moreover, the advantage over the hospital physician, in that he is able to follow each case up to its termination and can note the manifestations of the disease as it recedes or progresses.
Politics.—If one were to take particular interest in politics, then one might waste hours in reading the speeches of one's favourite politician to the detriment of one's work.
I am strongly of opinion that the medical practitioner should not take an active part in politics. His work brings him in contact with people of all sorts of beliefs as regards form of government, and it is wise for him not to enter into any sort of controversy with them on such matters of opinion. If, for example, the doctor is known to be a Unionist, he will hardly be a persona grata to a Radical or Socialist; while if, on the other hand, he is a person of pronounced socialistic opinions, he will hardly find a welcome from those of the opposite persuasion. One may well doubt as to whether it would be for the benefit of an Irish patient's health that the doctor should argue energetically against Home Rule or that he should enter into an acrimonious discussion with an invalid Free Trader regarding the benefits of Protection.
While holding his own opinions on politics as firmly as any one, he should keep these to himself and not parade them before his patients. If he does he is bound to annoy and aggravate some, and this will not conduce to the harmonious working of his practice.
Religion.-It is a curious fact that a large proportion of medical students begin to treat their early religious beliefs somewhat lightly during their first or second years of medical study. It seems to have little effect on them, whether they have been carefully brought up at home and instructed in the truths of Scripture or not.
This change in their mental outlook is very largely due to their superficial study of biology, and to the idea that the wonderful and progressive rise in plants and animals from simple structure and function to those of complicated construction and function is in conflict with Biblical truth. They imagine that this so-called evolution upsets revealed religion and that the materialistic attitude is the only logical form of thought.
Later on, however, in their curriculum, when they are brought intimately and constantly into contact with disease and death, this phase of agnosticism passes off to a large extent, and a more sane and healthy state of mind is reached by the young practitioner.
We may take it as true that medical men on the whole are a religious body of men. Their profession leads them to take an earnest view of “life, death and the great hereafter." You do not find many Atheists amongst those who are brought frequently into contact with persons at the crises of their lives. Materialists are found amongst those who evolve systems of social amelioration in the privacy of their studies and then proclaim them on the platforms of the Free-thinkers. They may have been impressed by the social inequalities of their fellow-workmen and by the apparent inadequacy of the rewards, but they are seldom conversant with the prime factors which bring man close to God-birth, death and disease. He who in the quiet of the country “ looks through Nature up to Nature's God” sees His work in everything and feels His presence everywhere, as do also those whose life-work is passed in cities amidst the sorrows and sufferings of their fellow creatures. These observers see His works, but none can tell what is the ultimate object of all the toil, sorrow, and cruelty which is the lot common to man, animals and plants.
It is the duty of the medical man to act up to his religious belief and to respect the beliefs of his patients if they are opposed to his own. The doctor who treats the spiritual aspirations of his patients in a frivolous and flippant manner will certainly not increase his own tranquillity of mind, and deserves to lose his patients. He ought to remember
"The unseen power whose eye Hath looked on no religion scornfully That man did ever find.”
In most villages the clergyman and the doctor are looked up to as the leading men. Strive, therefore to fulfil this expectation. Associate yourself with the clergyman in every good and useful work ; he will be only too thankful for your help. Let your attendance in God's house be as frequent as possible. The habit of abstention from the services of the church is easily acquired, therefore do not put yourself in the way of attaining it. The great majority of practitioners could attend at least one service on Sunday if they really had the desire. If you have so much work to do on Sundays as well as on weekdays as to prevent your attending church, then your practice is too large, and you require either to assume a partner or engage an assistant, else your physical health will decline as will have already happened to your spiritual development. No man should be so foolish as to starve his soul in order to fill his pocket. Socrates put the question long ago, Are you not ashamed of being careful for riches, glory and honour, but are careless and thoughtless as regards wisdom and truth, and for your soul, how it may be made more perfect?”
Apart from the pleasure of attending our holy services, we Christians believe it to be a religious duty. No man was ever the worse for attending church, and beware of the man who says that he is as good as any church-goer, though he never enters a church door. He may undoubtedly be so, but the odds are all against him, and in practice it is seldom that we can say, " Thy actions to thy words accord.”
Then as to bringing up your children. Even if you
have no religious convictions yourself, never on any account allow the want of them to influence your conduct towards your offspring. Do not deny them every advantage of religious training and precept.
Should your children at maturer age follow your example, you will at least have less on your conscience, in that you did not prevent them from knowing about God. What if you were wrong and that Christianity were true ! What would your feelings be then to have defrauded your children of what should be common to all-happiness in this life and assurance for the next.
We constantly hear it said that ours is a noble profession. If this, indeed, be true, it must lie in the splendid opportunities which it affords us of bringing into the lives of the poor and suffering the brightness of our Christian faith. It is not in the very least necessary that we enter their homes in the rôle of the preacher, but surely the kindly word of comfort or direction, of counsel or of sympathy will do more to uplift the unfortunate and the suffering than the doles of charity or the shibboleths of creed.
Never assume the robe of the sanctimonious. The oft-quoted text of scripture and the suave humility form too often the cloak of the hypocrite. As a medical attendant you are brought into more close relationship with your patients than is the clergyman; your patients stand less in awe of you than they do of him, and just in so far will your infl
influence be greater perhaps than his, as will also be your responsibility. By your kindly and inspiring words you will often be able to encourage the weary, to