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I will detain you no longer. You are not ignorant, that medicine once was, and in many unevangelized parts of the world is still, esteemed a thing horribly magical. Celsus relates, as a part of the Egyptian philosophy current in his time, that the body of man was divided into thirty-six parts, each of which was the peculiar allotment and possession of a demon; and this demon was invoked by the Magi to cure diseases of the part that belonged to him. Even in Galen's time we find Egyptian Legerdemain practised: he himself writes of it. From Egypt other countries became acquainted with this art: hence medicine were called pharmaca. The Oriental nations had their Teraphim for the cure of diseases: hence the same Greek word signifies both to worship and to cure; and the “ cure of diseases”? is reckoned by Eusebius one main article of the Pagan theology. God used all proper means to prevent his people from having to do with such sort of men or of means. He recommended to them the study of nature, and of natural remedies. Thus, after the example of Solomon, they studied botany, and had their apothecaries, who were to furnish them with materials for medicines. The princes of Judea had, as Pliny informs us, their medicinal gardens. Probably Naboth’s vineyard might have such a one in it; which might be the reason why Ahab so coveted it. Joram, the son of Ahab, repaired thither to be cured of his wounds. An excellent physician, in a late composition with which he has favoured the public, supposes that the sin of Asa, when he “sought not unto the Lord, but unto the physi
cians," was both occasioned and aggravated by this, that there were at that time none but magical physicians. But others have thought that some of Asa's ancestors had been medically disposed, and were students in the art of healing. From hence might come the name of Asa, which in Chaldee, means physician. On this account, perhaps, this king might have the greater esteem for those who were skilled in medicine, and might put such a confidence in them as to neglect the glorious God, the only author and giver of health. What I aim at in this paragraph is, shortly to encourage a conduct the reverse of all this; that my honourable Asa, (such the son of Sirach has taught me to call him) would himself continually go to God our Saviour, and as far as possible, bring all his patients to him also.
Finally.--An industrious and ingenious gentleman of your profession, has a passage in a preface to his Pharmacopæia Buteana, which I will here insert, because very many of you can speak the same language; and by inserting it, I intend to increase the number:
“I know no poor creature that ever came to me, in the whole of my practice, that once went from me without my desired help, gratis. And I have accounted the restoration of such a poor and wretched creature, a greater blessing to me, than if I had obtained the wealth of both the Indies. I cannot so well express myself concerning this matter, as I can conceive it, but I am sure I should have been more pleased, and had a greater satisfaction in seeing such a helpless creature restored to his desired health,
than if I had found a very valuable treasure. As I can never repent of the good which I have done in this way, I resolve to continue it, for I certainly know that I have had the signal blessing of God attending my endeavours.”
Ladies and men of wealth have the means of doing
“ I will get me unto the RICH MEN, and will speak unto them,” for they will know the ways to “ do good,” and will think what they shall be able to say when they come into the judgment of their God. An English person of quality, quoting that passage, “ The desire of a man is his kindness,” invited me so to read it, “ The only desirable thing in a man is his goodness.” How happy would the world be, if every person of quality were to become of this persuasion! It is an article in my commission, “ Charge them that are rich in this world, that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate." In pursuance thereof, I will remind rich men of the opportunities to“ do good,” with which God, who gives power to get wealth, has favoured and enriched them.
It is a very good account that has been sometimes given of a good man: “He knew no good in the wealth of this world, but the doing of good with it.” Yea,
those men who have had very little goodness in them, yet in describing “the manners of the age,” in which perhaps they themselves have had too deep a share, have seen cause to subscribe and publish this prime dictate of reason: 66 We are none the better for any thing, barely for the propriety's sake; but it is the application of it that gives every thing its value. Whoever buries his talents betrays a sacred trust, and defrauds those who stand in need of it.” Sirs, you cannot but acknowledge that it is the sovereign God, who has bestowed upon you the riches which distinguish you.
A devil himself, when he saw a rich man, could not but make this acknowledgment to the God of heaven: 6 Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.” It is also to be hoped, that you are not forgetful that the riches in your possession are some of the talents of which you must give an account to the glorious Lord who has intrusted you with them: and that you will give your account with grief, and not with joy, if it should be found that all your estates have been laid out to gratify the appetites of the flesh, and little or nothing of them consecrated to the service of God, and of his kingdom in the world. It was said to the priests of old, when the servants were assigned them; “ Unto you they are given as a gift for the Lord.”
The same may be said of all our estates; what God gives us, is not given us for ourselves, but for the Lord.” “When gifts are multiplied on our head, the reasons for gifts from our hand are also multiplied.” Indeed there is hardly any professor of Christianity so vicious
that he will not confess that all bis property is to be used for honest purposes, and part of it for pious
If any plead their poverty to excuse and exempt them from doing any thing this way,—thou poor widow with thy two mites, eternized in the history of the Gospel, thou shalt “rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it;" and let them also know, that they take a course to condemn and confine themselves to eternal poverty.
But the main question is, what proportion of a man's income is to be devoted to pious uses ? And now, let it not seem a “hard saying,"—if I tell
you that a tenth part is the least that you can bring under a more solemn dedication to the Lord; for whom indeed, in one sense, we are to lay out our all. A farthing less would make an enlightened and considerate Christian suspicious of his incurring the danger of sacrilege. By the pious uses for which your tenths are thus challenged, I do not intend only the maintenance of the evangelical ministry, but also the relief of the miserable, whom our merciful Saviour has made the receivers of his rents; together with all that is to be more directly done for the preserving and promoting of piety in the world. Since there is a part of every man's revenues due to the glorious Lord, and to pious uses, it is not fit that the determination of what part it must be, should be left to such hearts as ours. My friend, thou hast, it may be, too high an opinion of thy own wisdom and goodness, if nothing but thy own carnal heart is to determine how and what proportion of thy revenues are to be laid out