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mind, to confirm the courage, to clarify the wits, to corroborate the memory, and the like: but the scruples and superstitions of diet, and other regiment of the body, in the sect of the Pythagoreans, in the heresy of the Manicheans, and in the law of Mahomet, do exceed: So likewise the ordinances in the ceremonial law, interdicting the eating of the blood and the fat, distinguishing between beasts clean and unclean for meat, are many and strict. Nay, the faith itself, being clear and serene from all clouds of ceremony, yet retaineth the use of fastings, abstinences, and other macerations and humiliations of the body, as things real and not figurative. The root and life of all which prescripts is, besides the ceremony, the consideration of that dependency which the affections of the mind are submitted unto upon the state and disposition of the body. And if any man of weak judgment do conceive, that this suffering of the mind from the body, doth either question the immortality, or derogate from the sovereignty of the soul, he may be taught in easy instances, that the infant in the mother's womb is compatible with the mother, and yet separable: and the most absolute monarch is sometimes led by his servants, and yet without subjection. As for the reciprocal knowledge, which is the operation of the conceits and passions of the mind upon the body; we see all wise physicians, in the prescriptions of their regiments to their patients, do ever consider accidentia animi, as of great force to further or hinder remedies, or recoveries; and more especially it is an inquiry of great depth and worth concerning imagination, how, and how far it altereth the body proper of the imaginant. For although it hath a manifest power to hurt, it followeth not it hath the same degree of power to help; no more than a man can conclude, that because there be pestilent airs, able suddenly to kill a man in health, therefore there should be sovereign airs, able suddenly to cure a man in sickness. But the inquisition of this part is of great use, though it needeth, as Socrates said, "a Delian diver," being difficult and profound. But unto all
this knowledge de communi vinculo, of the concordances between the mind and the body, that part of inquiry is most necessary, which considereth of the seats and domiciles, which the several faculties of the mind do take and occupate in the organs of the body; which knowledge hath been attempted, and is controverted, and deserveth to be much better inquired. For the opinion of Plato, who placed the understanding in the brain, animosity (which he did unfitly call anger, having a greater mixture with pride) in the heart, and concupiscence or sensuality in the liver, deserveth not to be despised, but much less to be allowed. So then we have constituted, as in our own wish and advice, the inquiry touching human nature entire, as a just portion of knowledge to be handled apart.
The knowledge that concerneth man's body, is divided as the good of man's body is divided, unto which it referreth. The good of man's body is of four kinds, health, beauty, strength, and pleasure: So the knowledges are medicine, or art of cure; art of decoration, which is called cosmetic; art of activity, which is called athletic; and art voluptuary, which Tacitus truly calleth eruditus lurus. This subject of man's body is of all other things in nature most susceptible of remedy; but then that remedy is most susceptible of error. For the same subtility of the subject doth cause large possibility, and easy failing; and therefore the inquiry ought to be the more
To speak therefore of medicine, and to resume that we have said, ascending a little higher; the ancient opinion that man was microcosmus, an ab, stract or model of the world, hath been fantastically strained by Paracelsus and the alchemists, as if there were to be found in man's body certain correspondences and parallels, which should have respect to all varieties of things, as stars, planets, minerals, which are extant in the great world. But thus much is evidently true, that of all substances which nature hath produced, man's body is the most extremely
compounded: For we see herbs and plants are nourished by earth and water; beasts for the most part by herbs and fruits; man by the flesh of beasts, birds, fishes, herbs, grains, fruits, water, and the manifold alterations, dressings, and preparations of these several bodies, before they come to be his food and aliment. Add hereunto, that beasts have a more simple order of life, and less change of affections to work upon their bodies; whereas man, in his mansion, sleep, exercise, passions, hath infinite variations; and it cannot be denied, but that the body of man of all other things is of the most compounded mass. The soul on the other side is the simplest of substances, as is well expressed:
Ethereum sensum, atque auraï simplicis ignem. So that it is no marvel though the soul so placed enjoy no rest, if that principle be true, that Motus rerum est rapidus extra locum, placidus in loco. But to the purpose: this variable composition of man's body hath made it as an instrument easy to distemper, and therefore the poets did well to conjoin music and medicine in Apollo, because the office of medicine is but to tune this curious harp of man's body, and to reduce it to harmony. So then the subject being so variable, hath made the art by consequence more conjectural; and the art being conjectural, hath made so much the more place to be left for imposture. For almost all other arts and sciences are judged by acts or master-pieces, as I may term them, and not by the successes and events. The lawyer is judged by the virtue of his pleading, and not by the issue of the cause. The master of the ship is judged by the directing his course aright, and not by the fortune of the voyage. But the physician, and perhaps the politician, hath no particular acts demonstrative of his ability, but is judged most by the event; which is ever but as it is taken: for who can tell, if a patient die or recover, or if a state be preserved or ruined, whether it be art or accident? And therefore many times the impostor is prized, and the man of virtue
taxed. Nay, we see the weakness and credulity of men is such, as they will often prefer a mountebank or witch before a learned physician. And therefore the poets were clear-sighted in discerning this extreme folly, when they made Esculapius and Circe brother and sister, both children of the sun, as in the verses; Æn. vii. 772.
Ipse repertorem medicinæ talis et artis
Dives inaccessos ubi Solis filia lucos, etc. Æn. vii. 11. For in all times, in the opinion of the multitude, witches, and old women, and impostors, have had a competition with physicians. And what followeth ? Even this; that physicians say to themselves, as Solomon expresseth it upon a higher occasion; If it befal to me, as befalleth to the fools, why should I labour to be more wise? And therefore I cannot much blame physicians, that they use commonly to intend some other art or practice, which they fancy more than their profession. For you shall have of them, antiquaries, poets, humanists, statesmen, merchants, divines, and in every of these better seen than in their profession; and no doubt, upon this ground, that they find that mediocrity and excellency in their art maketh no difference in profit or reputation towards their fortune; for the weakness of patients, and sweetness of life, and nature of hope, maketh men depend upon physicians with all their defects. But, nevertheless, these things, which we have spoken of, are courses begotten between a little occasion, and a great deal of sloth and default; for if we will excité and awake our observation, we shall see, in familiar instances, what a predominant faculty the subtilty of spirit hath over the variety of matter or form: nothing more variable than faces and countenances, yet men can bear in memory the infinite distinctions of them; nay, a painter with a few shells of colours, and the benefit of his eye, and habit of his imagination, can imitate them all that ever have been, are, or may be, if they were brought before him. Nothing more
variable than voices, yet men can likewise discern them personally; nay, you shall have a buffoon, or pantomimus, will express as many as he pleaseth. Nothing more variable than the differing sounds of words, yet men have found the way to reduce them to a few simple letters. So that it is not the insufficiency or incapacity of man's mind, but it is the remote standing or placing thereof, that breedeth these mazes and incomprehensions: for as the sense afar off is full of mistaking, but is exact at hand, so it is of the understanding; the remedy whereof is not to quicken or strengthen the organ, but to go nearer to the object; and therefore there is no doubt, but if the physicians will learn and use the true approaches and avenues of nature, they may assume as much as the poet saith:
Et quoniam variant morbi, variabimus artes ;
Which that they should do, the nobleness of their art doth deserve, well shadowed by the poets, in that they made Esculapius to be the son of the Sun, the one being the fountain of life, the other as the second stream; but infinitely more honoured by the example of our Saviour, who made the body of man the object of his miracles, as the soul was the object of his doctrine. For we read not that ever he vouchsafed to do any miracle about honour or money, except that one for giving tribute to Cæsar, but only about the preserving, sustaining, and healing the body of man.
Medicine is a science which hath been, as we have said, more professed than laboured, and yet more laboured than advanced; the labour having been, in my judgment, rather in circle than in progression. For I find much iteration, but small addition. It considereth the causes of diseases, with the occasions or impulsions; the diseases themselves, with the accidents; and the cures, with the preservations. The deficiencies which I think good to note, being a few of many, and those such as are of a more open and manifest nature, I will enumerate and not place.