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206 § 189. Note 1. LEPRosy cALLED Bohak.
only by transmission from the parents to the children, and not only by sexual cohabitation, but also by much intercouse with the leprous person in any way whatever. Whence Moses acted the part of a wise legislator in making those laws, which have come down to us, concerning the inspection and separation of leprous persons. The object of these laws will appear peculiarly worthy, when it is considered, that they were designed, not wantonly to fix the charge of being a leper upon an innocent person, and thus to impose upon him those restraints and inconveniences, which the truth of such a charge naturally implies; but to ascertain in the fairest and most satisfactory manner, and to separate those, and those only, who were truly and really leprous. As this was the prominent object of his laws, that have come down to us on this subject, viz. to secure a fair and impartial decision on a question of this kind, he has not mentioned those signs of leprosy, which admitted of no doubt, but those only, which might be the subject of contention; and left it to the priests, who also fulfilled the office of physicians, to distinguish between the really leprous, and those who had only the appearance of being such. In the opinion of Hensler, expressed in his Geschichte der abendlandischen Aussatzes, p. 273. Moses, in the laws to which we have alluded, -discovers a great knowledge of the disease. Every species of leprosy is not equally malignant; the most virulent species defies the skill and power of physicians. That which is less so, if taken at its commencement, can be healed. But in the latter case also, if the disease has been of long continuance, there is no remedy.
* Note I. ON BoHAk As DistiNCT FROM INFECTIOUs LEPRosY.
[We find mention, in the rules laid down by Moses for the purpose of ascertaining the true tokens of leprosy, of a cutaneous disorder, which is denominated by him bohak, pro, and of which there is a slight mention in the above section. It was thought by the translator, that it might be interesting to the reader to have some further account of this disorder, and he has accordingly introduced here the answer of Niebuhr, found at page 185 of his Description of Arabia, to the inquiry of Michaelis on this subject. The words of Moses, which may be found in Leviticus 13: 38, 39, are as follows; “If a man or woman have white spots on the skin, and the priest see, that the colour of these spots is faint and pale; it is
§ 189. Note II. on the Leprosy of GUADAloupe. 207
in this case, the Bohak, that has broken out on the skin, and they are clean.” A person, accordingly, who was attacked with this disease, the Bohak, was not declared unclean, and the reason of it was, that it is not only harmless in itself, but is free from that infectious and hereditary character, which belongs to the true leprosy.
Says Mr Niebuhr ; “The Bohak is neither infectious nor dangerous. A black boy at Mocha, who was attacked with this sort of leprosy, had white spots here and there on his body. It was said, that the use of sulphur had been for some time of service to this boy, but had not altogether removed the disease.” He then adds the following extract from the papers of a Dr Foster, “May 15th, 1763, I myself saw a case of the Bohak in a Jew at Mocha. The spots in this disease are of unequal size. They have no shining appearance, nor are they perceptibly elevated above the skin; and they do not change the colour of the hair. Their colour is an obscure white or somewhat reddish. The rest of the skin of this patient was blacker than that of the people of the country in general, but the spots were not so white, as the skin of an European when not sunburnt. The spots, in this species of leprosy, do not appear on the hands, nor about the navel, but on the neck and face ; not however on that part of the head, where the hair grows very thick. They gradually spread, and continue sometimes only about two months; but in some cases, indeed, as long as two years, and then disappear, by degrees, of themselves. This disorder, is neither infectious nor hereditary, nor does it occasion any inconvenience.” “That all this,” remarks Michaelis, “should still be found exactly to hold at the distance of three thousand five hundred years from the time of Moses, ought certainly to gain some credit to his laws even with those, who will not allow them to be of divine authority,” see Commentaries on the Laws of Moses, Smith's Translation, Vol. III. p.283. art. 210.]
Note II. ON THE LEPRosy of GUADALoupe.
[Michaelis, in discussing the subject of leprosies, expresses his gratitude to God, that the Lepra Arabum, as it is termed by the learned, is known to the physicians of Germany, only from books, and by name. But this disease, although it is very unfrequent in 208 $ 189. Note II. ON THE LEPRosy of GUADAloupe.
Europe, indeed almost extinct, made its appearance about the year 1730 on the Western Continent, and spread its ravages among the sugar islands of the West Indies, particularly Guadaloupe. The inhabitants of this island, alarmed and terrified at the introduction of so pernicious a disorder among them, petitioned the Court of France to send to the island, persons qualified to institute an inspection of those who laboured under suspicions of being infected, in order that those, who were in fact lepers, might be removed into lazarettoes. M. Peyssonel, who was sent to Guadaloupe on this business, writes as follows on the third of February, 1757. “It is now about twenty five or thirty years, since a singular disease appeared on many of the inhabitants of this island. Its commencement is imperceptible. There appear only some few white spots on the skin, which, in the Whites, are of a blackish red colour, and in the Blacks, of a copper red. At first, they are attended neither with pain, nor any sort of inconvenience; but no means whatever will remove them. The disease imperceptibly increases, and continues for many years to manifest itself more and more. The spots become larger, and spread over the skin of the whole body indiscriminately; sometimes a little elevated, though flat. When the disease advances, the upper part of the nose swells, the nostrils become enlarged, and the nose itself soft. Tumours appear on the jaws; the eye-brows swell; the ears become thick; the points of the fingers, as also the feet and toes, swell ; the nails become scaly; the joints of the hands and feet separate, and drop off. On the palms of the hands, and on the soles of the feet, appear deep dry ulcers, which increase rapidly, and then disappear again. In short, in the last stage of the disease, the patient becomes a hideous spectacle, and falls in pieces. These symptoms supervene by very slow and successive steps, requiring often many years before they all occur. The patient suffers no violent pain, but feels a sort of numbness in his hands and feet. During the whole period of the disorder, those afflicted with it, experience no obstructions in what are called the Naturalia. They eat and drink as usual; and even when their fingers and toes mortify, the loss of the mortified part is the only consequence that ensues; for the wound heals of itself without any medical treatment or application. When, however, the unfortunate wretches come to the last § 190. on the pestilence. 209
period of the disease, they are hideously disfigured, and objects of the greatest compassion.” “It has been remarked, that this horrible disorder has, besides, some very lamentable properties; as, in the first place, that it is hereditary; and hence some families are more affected with it than others: secondly, that it is infectious, being propagated by coition, and even by long continued intercourse : and thirdly, that it is incurable, or at least no means of cure have hitherto been discovered. Mercurial medicines, and diaphoretics, and all the usual prescriptions and plans of regimen for venereal complaints, have been tried, from an idea that the infection might be venereal; but in vain: for instead of relieving, they only hastened the destruction of the patients. The medicines serviceable in the lues venerea had no other effect than to bring the disease to its acme ; inducing all its most formidable symptoms, and making those thus treated die some years sooner, than other victims to it.”]
§ 190. On the PEstilence, -87.
The PEstileNCE, in its effects, is equally terrible with the leprosy, and is much more rapid in its progress; for it terminates the existence of those, who are infected with it almost immediately, and at the farthest, within three or four days. The Gentiles were in the habit of referring back the pestilence to the agency and interference of that being, whatever it might be, whether idol or spirit, whom they regarded as the divinity. The Hebrews also every where attribute it to the agency either of God himself, or of that legate or angel, whom they denominate is:g. We are not, however, to suppose, that the Hebrews, in using these expressions, mean to attribute the pestilence to the immediate agency of God; nor would they permit us to understand by the messenger, who, they assure us, is the agent in business of so disastrous a nature, the true and appropriate angel or legate of Jehovah. It is true, they tell us, that God sends forth the pestilence, and that the angel goes with it and smites the people with its power, but let it not be forgotten, that every angel is the creature of God, and that, in a certain sense, God is the author of all things, and all events, whether prosperous or afflictive, whether good or bad. When they make God the author of the pesti
210 § 190, on the PEstilence.
fence, it is clear, they do not mean to say, he is the immediate cause in so fearful a calamity, from the fact, that, in other places, they represent God, as the author of moral evil, where they certainly do not mean to say, he is the immediate author of such evil. In a somewhat recent period of their history, it cannot be denied, that instead of making God the author of evil, they attribute it to a malignant spirit of high origin, viz. Satan; but still they were aware of the origin of this being, that he was the creature of God and acted beneath his superintendence. The difficulty then in regard to their representations arises from this source. God, in a certain sense, is the author of all things. This is true. But the ancient Hebrews do not appear to have distinguished with sufficient accuracy that liberty or permission, which is given us in the course of Divine Providence, to do or not to do, to do good or evil, from the direct and immediate agency of God himself, Deut. 4; 19. Josh. 11:20, 2 Sam. 16; 10. 24: 1. comp. 1 Chron. 21: 1. 2 K. 17: 14. Ps. 78; 49–51. In consequence of this disposition to identify the agency of God with the actions of his creatures, and to confound the original with second and subsidiary causes, we find, by consulting the Scriptures, that they sometimes represent men, and sometimes animals or inanimate existences, as boss?, the messengers, or the angels of God; and this not only in poetry, but likewise in prose, Ps. 34: 7. 104:4. Heb. 2: 2. Acts 7:53. 12: 23. Gal. 3:19, comp. Josephus, Antiq. XV. 5. 3. This mode of speech was so common, that the Sadducees of a more recent age, who, although they received the Scriptures with veneration, denied the existence of any spirits, interpreted all the passages, (where mention is made of angels,) of other existences, which were employed by God as instruments, and, as they supposed, were, from that circumstance merely, denominated the messengers, or angels of God. The Samaritans likewise, as has been shown by Reland de Samaritanis, 7–9.) gave the same perverted interpretation to the word, which is rendered angel. This mode of speaking found its way also among the Syrians, who were in the habit of calling diseases angels, i. e. messengers, that were sent to inflict punishment upon men; and were accustomed to denominate a sick man, one tempted, i-aise, or tried of God or of his angel, Assemani Bibl. Orient. T.I. p. 215. comp. 2 Cor. 12; 7. It is in this way, that the PEstilence, (the second