« السابقةمتابعة »
But if men would first be just, it would not be so hard to bring them to do justly; saith Plautus,
Justa autem ab injustis petere insipientia est :
Direct. iv. Make the cause of the innocent, as it were your own; and suffer it not to miscarry through your slothfulness and neglect. He is a lover of money more than justice, that will sweat in the cause of the rich that pay him well, and will slubber over and starve the cause of the poor, because he getteth little by them. Whatever your place obligeth you to do, let it be done diligently and with your might; both in your getting abilities, and in using them. Scævola was wont to say, (ut lib. Pandect. 42. tit. refer.) "Jus civile vigilantibus scriptum est, non dormientibus.” Saith Austin, "Ignorantia judicis plerumque est calamitas innocentis." And as you look every labourer that you hire should be laborious in your work, and your physician should be diligent in his employment for your health; so is it as just that you be diligent for them whose cause you undertake, and where God who is the lover of justice doth require it.
Direct. v. Be acquainted with the temptations which most endanger you in your place, and go continually armed against them with the true remedies, and with Christian faith, and watchfulness, and resolution.' You will keep your innocency, and consequently your God, if you see to it that you love nothing better than that which you should keep. No man will chaffer away his commodity for any thing which he judgeth to be worse and less useful to him. Know well how little friends or wealth will do for you in comparison of God, and you will not hear them when they speak against God. When one of his friends was importunate with P. Rutilius to do him an unjust courtesy, and angrily said, "What use have I of thy friendship, if thou wilt not grant my request?" He answered him, "And what use have I of thy friendship, if for thy sake I must be urged to do unjustly?" It is a grave saying of Plutarch, "Pulchrum
f Vix potest negligere, qui novit æquitatem nec facile erroris vitio fordescit, quem doctrina purgaverit. Cassiodor.
g Luke xiv. 26. 27. 33.
quidem est justitia regnum adipisci : pulchrum etiam regno justitiam anteponere: nam virtus alterum ita illustrem reddidit, ut regno dignus judicaretur; alterum ita magnum ut id contemneret." Plut. in Lycurg. et Numa. But especially remember who hath said, What shall it profit a man to win all the world, and lose his soul?" And that temptations surprise you not, be deliberate and take time, and be not too hasty in owning or opposing a cause or person, till you are well informed; as Seneca saith of anger, so say I here, Dandum semper est tempus veritatem enim dies aperit. Potest pœna dilata exigi; cum non potest exacta revocari." It is more than a shame to say, I was mistaken, when you have done another man wrong by your temerity".
The Duty of Physicians.
NEITHER is it my purpose to give any occasion to the learned men of this honourable profession, to say that I intermeddle in the mysteries or matters of their art. I shall only tell them, and that very briefly, what God and conscience will expect from them.
Direct. 1. Be sure that the saving of men's lives and health, be first and chiefly in your intention, before any gain or honour of your own.' I know you may lawfully have respect both to your maintenance and honour; but in a second place only, as a far less good than the lives of men. If money be your ultimate end, you debase your profession, which as exercised by you, can be no more to your honour or comfort than your own intention carrieth it. It is more the end than the means that ennobleth or debaseth men; if gain be the thing which you chiefly seek, the matter is not
b Chilo in Diog. Laert. lib. i. sect. 71. p. 44. (mihi) saith, Sibi non esse conscium in tota vita ingratitudinis*: una tamen re se modice moveri, quod cum semel inter amicos illi judicandum esset, neque contra jus agere aliquid vellet, persuaserit amico judicium a se provocaret, ut sic nimirum utrumque et legem et amicum servaret. This was his injustice of which he repented.
• Laertius has ὡς οὐδὲν συνειδείη ἄγνωμον εαυτῷ ἐν τῷ βίῳ. Sibi non essi conscium in tota vita præter rationem quidquam egisse. (T. C.)
very great (to you), whether you seek it by medicining men or beasts, or by lower means than either of them. To others indeed it may be a very great benefit, whose lives you have been a means to save; but to yourselves it will be no greater than your intention maketh it. If the honouring and pleasing God, and the public good, and the saving of men's lives, be really first and highest in your desires, then it is God that you serve in your profession; otherwise you do but serve yourselves. And take heed lest you here deceive yourselves, by thinking that the good of others is your end, and dearer to you than your gain, because your reason telleth you it is better and ought to be preferred: for God and the public good are not every man's end, that can speak highly of them, and say they should be so. If most of the world do practically prefer their carnal prosperity even before their souls, while they speak of the world as disgracefully as others, and call it vanity; how much more easily may you deceive yourselves, in preferring your gain before men's lives, while your tongue can speak contemptuously of gain?
Direct. 11. Be ready to help the poor as well as the rich.' Differencing them no further than the public good requireth you to do. Let not the health or lives of men be neglected because they have no money to give you many poor people perish for want of means, because they are discouraged from going to physicians, through the emptiness of their purses: in such a case you must not only help them gratis, but also appoint the cheapest medicines for them.
Direct. 111. Adventure not unnecessarily on things beyond your skill, but in difficult cases persuade your patients to use the help of abler physicians, if there be any to be had, though it be against your own commodity.' So far should you be from envying the greater esteem and practice of abler men, and from all unworthy aspersions and detraction, that you should do your best to persuade all your patients to seek their counsels, whenever the danger of their lives or health requireth it. For their lives are of greater value than your gain. So abstruse and conjectural is the business of your profession, that it requireth very high accomplishments to be a physician indeed. If there concur not, 1. A natural strength of reason and sagacity. 2. And
a great deal of study, reading, and acquaintance with the way of excellent men. 3. And considerable experience of your own, to ripen all this; you have cause to be very fearful and cautelous in your practice, lest you sacrifice men's lives to your ignorance and temerity. And one man that hath all these accomplishments in a high degree, may do more good than a hundred smatterers: and when you are conscious of a defect in any of these, should not reason and conscience command you, to persuade the sick to seek out to those that are abler than yourselves? Should men's lives be hazarded, that you may get by it a little sordid gain? It is so great a doubt whether the ignorant, unexperienced sort of physicians, do cure or hurt more, that it hath brought the vulgar in many countries into a contempt of physicians a.
eases; unless God shall open it to you, and give you
Direct. IV. Depend on God for your direction and success. Earnestly crave his help and blessing in all your undertakings.' Without this all your labour is in vain. How easy is it for you, to overlook some one thing, among a multitude that must be seen, about the causes and cure of disa clear discerning, and an universal observation? And when twenty considerable things are noted, a man's life may be lost, for want of your discerning one point more. What need have you of the help of God, to bring the fittest remedies to your memory? And much more to bless them when they are administered? as the experience of your daily practice may inform you (where atheism hath not made men fools).
Direct. v. Let your continual observation of the fragility of the flesh, and of man's mortality, make you more spiritual than other men, and more industrious in preparing for the life to come, and greater contemners of the vanities of this world.' He that is so frequently among the sick, and a spectator of the dead and dying, is utterly inexcusable if he be himself unprepared, for his sickness or for death. If the heart be not made better, when you almost dwell in the house of mourning, it is a bad and deplorable heart indeed.
a As overvaluing men's own understandings in religion, is the ruin of souls and churches; so overvaluing men's raw, unexperienced apprehensions in physic costeth multitudes their lives. I know not whether a few able, judicious, experienced physicians cure more or the rest kill more.
It is strange that physicians should be so much suspected of atheism as commonly they are; and 'religio medici' should be a word that signifieth irreligiousness; sure this conceit was taken up in some more irreligious age or country; for I have oft been very thankful to God, in observing the contrary, even how many excellent, pious physicians there have been in most countries where the purity of religion hath appeared, and how much they promoted the work of Reformation, (such as Crato, Platerus, Erastus, and abundance more that I might name;) and in this learned age, I must needs bear witness, that I have known as many physicians religious proportionably as of any one profession, except the preachers of the Gospel. But as no men are more desperately wicked, than those that are wicked after pious education, and under the most powerful means of their reformation; so it is very like that those physicians that are not truly good are very bad; because they are bad against so much light, and so many warnings; and from some of these it is like this censorious proverb came. And indeed man's nature is so apt to be affected with things that are unusual, and to lose all sense of things that are grown common, that no men have more need to watch their hearts, and be afraid of being hardened, than those that are continually under the most quickening helps and warnings. For it is very easy to grow customary and senseless under them; and then the danger is, that there are no better means remaining, to quicken such a stupid, hardened heart. Whereas those that enjoy such helps but seldom, are not so apt to lose the sense and benefit of them. The sight of a sick or dying man, doth usually much awaken those that have such sights but seldom; but who are more hardened than soldiers and seamen, that live continually as among the dead? When they have twice or thrice seen the fields covered with men's carcases, they usually grow more obdurate than any others. And this is it that physicians are in danger of, and should most carefully avoid. But certainly an atheistical or ungodly physician, is inexcusably blind. To say, as some do, that they study nature so much, that they are carried away from God; is as if you should say, 'They study the work so much, that they forget the workman;' or, "They look so much on the book, that they overlook the sense;' or that,