« AnteriorContinuar »
With such a low and spiritual voice,
No clime, however lovely, wakes the soul
The windings of Mochassack following far,
The wedded princess graced the royal barge
The waves of Narragansett drank the light
ETHER AND CHLOROFORM.
1. Etherization : with Surgical Remarks. By John C. WARREN, M.D.
Boston: William D. TICKNOR & Co. 1848. 2. Remurks on the Superinduction of Anesthesia in Natural and Morbid
Parturition : with Cases illustrative of the Uses and Effects of Chloroform in Obstetric Practice. By J. Y. SIMPSON, M.D., F.R.S.E., Professor of Midwifery in the University of Edinburgh, and Physicianaccoucheur to her Majesty in Scotland. With an Appendix. Boston: William B. Litle & Co., Chemists and Druggists. 1848.
THERE was an old faith of the Scythians, that a man got the strength of every enemy he killed. This was an allegory, representing the inward result of victory in the emblems of Scythian life. Human experience generalizes this faith, and finds it deep enough to measure the mystery of inward personal power, in the emblems of the daily life and habits of all ages. The allegory figures the universal spiritual truth abiding in all forms of life. A man's character is the result of what he has overcome; his power is to be measured by what he has met and conquered; the strength of all slain enemies, outward and inward, has passed into his being as personal vital power. He is the representative of wbat encounters he has come victor from, running through all grades of contest, upward from the lowest form of physical battle, to the strife of the soul with its bodiless temptations. He stands upon the top of the structure of his militant life ; its architecture is his history, and he the sculptured hero, looking down upon his work. This is the actual of his strength ; the possible is not come yet; that is yet to be by prayer and victory to the end. Is he here a conspicuous figure to men ? If yea, this is because he has built up under him a triumphal arch of victories, out of the quarry of life and time, each stone a victory. So striving a man is exalted; so is he a compact of strength; so does he enter into the monumental sculptures of human history.
All we call enemies come to us thus as ministers of strength. This is the final cause of enemies, the reason in God's nature why they are. They were sent to give us opportunity for necessary strength. But to compel the blessing from them, they must be wrestled with, through the darkness of night, even to the break of day, though ever after we halt upon the thigh, where the enemy's hand has touched, as Jacob did. What enemies we have so met and wrestled with, in night and darkness, have left us always in the light of the morning, with the blessing. What enemies we have dodged have given us no strength, no blessing.
We have nothing but weakness from all such escapes, and a growing lack of wisdom. And the enemy remains still, some day to be met again. Forty years may we be called to wander in the desert of a barren and unfruitful life; sand, which leaves no foot-print; and may die there, the promised land unpossessed, if we meet not at once the giants that lie in our way. Met they must be, or the promised land is not for us. Here we find another form of this universal experience of the human soul, written out in the emblems of Hebrew life and history.
And Paul renders this universal truth of the warfare of life, into the form of Christian experience. “ Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” He counsels the Romans to seek the divine strength which passes into us from enemies conquered by the heroism of goodness.
The accepted theory of the cure of disease by the administration of medicine is a ministration of weakness, and deterioration of the vital power. It proposes to meet no enemy: it proposes to dodge all enemies. It is science, it is art, attempting by intellectual tampering to avoid moral retributions. It is a scheme of scientific dodging, of artful dodging the moral and physical law. It is the science and the art of the unpossible in nature.
Disease is retributive in the moral and physical world, and demonstrative in the intellectual. It is retribution and it is instruction. Disease has to say to man, beware, you have sinned, you have transgressed, you have made a mistake, you have been disorderly, I am sent out to meet you, to contend with you, to warn you. I am your enemy, stationed on the borders of the kingdom of health, to drive
drive you back again from trespassing in forbidden ground. The condition of your return back again to health now is that you wrestle with me, and overcome me in the might of clean nature within and without, medicined for the contest only by the vital fluids of air and water, and the indications of pure instincts. And we must so meet disease ; we must wrestle with it; we must bear the pain; we must overcome by the might of the life of this frame of soul and body, in the medium of clean elements; fed by a simple diet, confirmed by vigorous exercise, renovated by courageous
resolution. We must compel the conquered enemy to tell us the secret cause for which he was sent. So shall we become strong and wise: no other way. And we must straight go back: we must go no more to the frontiers of disease: that way was wrong: evil abides there: we were not made to go there: having gone there, we cannot get back without contest and suffering. We were disorderly, therefore we became diseased. Our restoration is to believe this, to bear, to fight, knowing that through contest comes victory, and thereupon to live.
There is no other theory of disease than this, possible to be true, in the Creator's universe of intelligent spirits, vested in organized bodies. We may find occasion for cavil at this theory, if we be wilful; occasion for distinctions and modifications, if we be careful in the details of its application to individual cases; but no occasion for substantial doubt, if we be sincere with ourselves. To believe that disease comes upon us in the true natural order of creation, and not in the subversive order
of the human will, seems impious. The Creator made us to be well. Disease is in the domain of man's free will. Man himself opened the door for it to come into the order of his life, and he can shut the door.
Disease is a retribution for the transgression of the Creator's lawtransgression arrived to flower and fruit--sin at harvest time—a palpable demonstration in the field of the flesh that there has been transgression. It may not have begun in the individual on whom comes the burden of the harvest; for we are the children of ancestors; our life is a growth from seed, representative in its fibre and development of generations before us; our dead fathers waver in our gait, wheeze in our lungs, confess their sins in our weak voices, look out upon the face of beautiful nature with our melancholy eyes. But this does not alter the doctrine. Disease, however far descended, was in its beginning sin, transgression, mistake, disorder. If we would medicine disease effectually, we must not believe in disease, but in health. We must find out the cause of disease, distant or near, personal or hereditary; we must walk straight back to origins in habits of wrong; and we must cure the cause, so far as in us lies. The rest will be done for us in the right order of God's laws, which all tend to health. The enemy sent out against us we must meet, in the hard encounter and strife of personal regeneration, and conquer him therein. Then, and only then, is he dead for us, and all who come after us, representative of us in lineage. We must bear the necessary pain, and fight till we get a reformation of life, and then will come a reformation of organization, when the evil is gone away out of us. To encounter symptoms, and apply a cure to them, is simply to do nothing. Symptoms are only the picketguards of disease, sent forward, giving us to know that the enemy is intrenched, and is to be met in the centre of his stronghold. The Materia Medica drives in or kills off the picket-guard of symptoms, and so proposes to have conquered the enemy disease. In vain.
In vain. He is still in his intrenchments, after the destruction or disappearance of all his picket-guard, to attack us again and again and again.
The remedies of the Materia Medica, applying themselves to the removal of symptoms, and not to the renovation of the vital power, are subversive of the organization. The Materia Medica makes sickness more sick, and when we need all our strength to wrestle with disease prostrates us with nauseous weakness. The Materia Medica adds its own retributions to swell the sum of our suffering. The secondary forms of disease, generated by medicine, are worse than the primary, which the medicine was taken to cure. What science shall fathom the laws of the subversive creation of false medical science in the kingdom of human disease, and cure the cures of medicine? Think of mercury!
And now come ether and chloroform to ad themselves to the fatal file of medicines, clothed in black, like Brunswick's army devoted to death, and fitly typified by the labels on the little bottles of Prussic acid in the apothecaries' shops, with the death's-head and cross-bones in white upon a black ground.
There is a claim of disputed authorship to be settled here. The world is in commotion to determine the great birthright, and know on
whom to lay the return of gratitude. The doctors disagree as to who invented ether. There is as much debate about it among the M. D.'s, as among the D. D.'s there is about the origin of original sin. In both cases the anxiety ought to be, not to know who invented the things, but how to get people to keep clear of them. One may venture an orthodox opinion here, and suggest the same parentage for both.
They are upon us, recognised in the regular practice, established in use—one more encouragement toward the false habits of life and generation, which produce pain by promising to remove their effects—one more attempt by science to dodge retribution, to unscrew consequence from cause, to unchain shadow from substance, to extract the bitter of mistake and make it sweet, to catch transgression and take away his sting, and let him fly about harmless-one more form of the serpent tempting the children of Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of death, and then trust to live by the wisdom which the fall brings with itone more ill-starred child born into the same family with alcohol and opium, and their joint offspring laudanum, to pass out of the dispensary, and become the agents and tempters of voluntary intoxication and suicide. One of the rival claimants of the invention of ether is in his grave, a suicide by the help of his own invention.
They were invented to facilitate the operations of dentistry, to make us forget the pain we suffer from our teeth, in the decay of the solidest part of the human organism, dead, while we seem to be alive. This purpose first brought them into common use. They will turn us away from seeking the causes of this decay in the false habits of our way of living, and medicining; and from renovating the conditions of our bodies, on which alone sound teeth are possible. They will make us heedless of the oracle of nature, which has set itself up in our mouths; advertising itself upon the gateway through which passes into us our bad diet and bad medicine, where hisses our hot drink, where welters our tobacco, where streams our cigar smoke; turning our teeth into criers eloquent with pain to proclaim to us reform in food, in drink, in medicine, in life. They will cheat us out of the healthy sorrow which comes to us when we first find that our bodies have become imperfect; they will stay the first healthy horror we have at the thought of carrying about dead and unseemly bones in our living jaws. They will help to reconcile us to the ghastly beauty and thick utterance of the mechanism the dentist puts into our mouths, to replace the divine beauty and distinct articulation of this fence of living pearls, growing to complete the structure of the head, the crowning sphere of man among the creatures. They will bring us to the point of overlooking the manifest profanation of our frames, when we have come to congratulate ourselves that we can eat and speak by a machine of gold and porcelain, as well as by divinely begotten organs; when the dentist is in our mouths counterfeiting Deity. The shameful comfort to us is, that hereafter this is all to be for us without pain-coward comfort. For this end, ether and chloroform were sought; like father, like child; deterioration begetting deterioration; downward necessitating downward. And where is the end to be?
They are to be used now, they are used now at birth and death. We are to be ushered from eternity into life and time by etherization : we