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Full text of ""Therapeutics and divinity" : a paper contributed to "Man, a popular jounal of public and individual health, and mental and physical culture", Ottawa, 1886"

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" MAN, A Popular Journal of Public and Individual 
Health, and Mental and Physical Culture." 

OTTAWA, 1886. 






It is surely not without significance that in the materials supplied to the Christian 
teacher for his use in the exercise of his office among his fellow-men, so many 
illustrations and confirmations should be drawn from considerations connected 
with human health and the art of healing. The expectation evidently was, that 
the subject matter of his teaching should be better understood by means of some 
study given to therapeutics ; that truths of a high transcendental but yet, as we 
say, vitally important character were to be more clearly realized, and more readily 
welcomed, by virtue of an analogy perceived to exist between them and familiai; 
commonplace facts coming within the personal experience of every one. 

Were it fitting to do so here, the places might be enumerated in detail, wherein 
phraseology derived from considerations connected with human health is used by 
the authorities of the last resort among Christian teachers. It hardly needs to be 
said that the expression hygiene, expressive of something relating to wholeness or 
soundness, now become a household word amongst us, is almost pure Greek, the 
language in which the earliest and most reverenced of the Christian documents 
have been handed down to us. In those documents it might be shown that at least 
twenty-five passages occur which involve the employment of the root part of the 
word hygiene. Thirty-two at least might be pointed out, wherein we have the 
root or stem-part of the ordinary Greek word for physician — the word used in the 
memorable proverb "Physician! ( latre ! ) (vocative oi iatros) heal thyself" — 
although it has happened that the stem of that particular term has scarcely found 
a lodgement in our English speech. (We have it however, in one or two seldom 
used expressions — as for example, in iatrical — relating to medicine or physicians, 
iatro chemist — a chemist physician; and iatroleptie, "that cures by anointing," 
in Worcester; and elsewhere (Bailey vol. 2), in iatromathematician, "who con- 
siders diseases and their cause, mathematically, and prescribes according to mathe- 
matical proportions "). Over fifty places might be cited wherein the root part of 


the first word at the head of this paper is employed in the same documents ; oftert 
indeed only in the sense of useful service rendered in a general way, but often also 
in the restricted sense of f/iedical help or service which alone attaches to "thera- 
peutics" with us now. Again, there is a large group of Greek terms applied to 
didactic use in Christian teaching (one might count nearly two hundred of them), 
which also convey along with a general idea of soundness or wholeness, a special 
one nevertheless of soundness of health or restoration to soundness of health ; 
from which group likewise no root element has found its way into our language. 
(Readers of history however, it may be presumed, are sufficiently familiar with the 
name of Ptolemy Soter, and perhaps also with that of the old Christian historian 
Sozomen, both of which contain the stem referred to, as also do such proper names 
as So-crates, Sos-thenes, etc. The short Greek sentence which supplies the place 
of a refrain to the third stanza of Longfellow's Blind Bartimceus will also supply 
many English readers with another instance, while no observer of modern advertise- 
ments can have failed to take note of Soz-odont, the wonderful specific for 
preserving soundness in the teeth). 

The adoption of hygienic or medical terms by the earliest Christian writers 
without doubt arose from their familiarity with the Hebrew books or rather with 
Greek versions of the Hebrew books, in the hands of most of the learned at the 
opening of the Christian era. From these we learn — as we abundantly leam also 
from the English versions of the same books made straight from the original 
language — that hygienic expressions were therein often used to convey moral 
ideas. Who does not remember that the Divine rule, destined as the Hebrew 
people believed, one day to be universal was spoken of, in Hebrew phrase, 
as "God's saving health among all nations"; and that the appearance of the 
generally expected Deliverer was to be as the appearance of a Sun rising 
with healing in his wings or beams " ? So completely indeed did the idea, viz. : 
that of saving, preserving or restoring to wholeness, contained in the second 
constituent of the compound proper name Jah-Hoshea predominate, that it seems 
to have thrown the preceding constituent into the shade. (Out of the proper name 
thus written at large, it was, that the Greek writers formed, as we know, the 
familiar proper Vizsw^ Jesus, for which the sufficient interpretation was held by St. 
Augustine also to be Salvator ; thus he says: " Christus Jesus, hoc est Chrislus 

After the Greeks, the Latins likewise in their own tongue fashioned hygienic 
terms for use in Christian instruction ; and it is from the Latin forms chiefly that 
we have obtained the terms of this kind that we use in English. Thus sanus, 
salus, salvus, Salvator have given us sane, i.e., sound, sanative, sanatary, sanitary, 
salutary, salvable, salvation, salvage, save, safe, Saviour ; all containing a notion 
more or less of wholeness or recovery of wholeness, even, it may be, from the very 
verge of dissolution. The Latin impotentes, again, gave us the quaint expression 
"impotent folk," now modernized' into the more intelligible and more correct 


tendering of "those that were sick." As to salus in its secondary but high moral 
Christian sense, — Anno Salittis, the year of health or human salvation, is almost 
as common as Anno Domini, in the dating of early Dooks and documents. 

In our ordinary English speech at the present day we adopt the phraseology 
which has received tincture from the Latin ; but our Saxon forefathers had plenty 
of words of their own of a hygienic cast, for use in Christian instruction. Most of 
them are familiar enough to us still ; such as whole, wholeness, and wholesome ; 
heal, hale, health, with which is instructively connected the general term "holi- 
ness" itself. Throughout an ancient Saxon poem of the early part of the ninth 
century, the word used for Jesus is Heliand, "One who heals"; which word 
furnishes a title to the poem, the old writer translating the proper name just as 
St. Augustine had done, by an epithet supposed to be its equivalent. 

The hygienic phraseology employed in the early Christian teaching is quite in 
harmony with the appeal made to supernatural healings, for evidential and 
didactic purposes, at the first inauguration of Christianity. See St. Matthew's 
Gospel, chap, viii, 1-18, and chap, xv, 29-31. 

The following extract fsom Carlyle's address to the students of the University 
of Edinburgh in 1 866, may be added as a supplement to the foregoing paper : 

" I have no doubt you will have among you people ardently bent to consider 
life cheap, for the purpose of getting forward in what they are aiming at of high ; 
and you are to consider throughout, much more than is done at present, that health 
is a thing to be attended to continually — that you are to regard that as the very 
highest of all temporal things for you. There is no kind of achievement you could 
make in the world that is equal to perfect health. What are nuggets and millions ? 
The French financier said, 'Alas ! why is there no sleep to be sold?' Sleep was 
not in the market at any quotation. 

"It is a curious thing that I remarked long ago, and have often turned in my 
head, that the old word for ' holy ' in the German language — lieilig means also 
'healthy.' K-oA. %o heilbrow7i xi\t.z.x\% 'holy-well,' or ' healthy well.' We have in 
the Scotch ' hale ' ; and I suppose our English word ' whole ' — with a ' w ' — of 
one piece without any hole in it — is the same word. I find that you could not get 

6 Therapeutics and divinity. 

any better definition of what ' holy ' really is than ' healthy — completely healthy. 
Mens Sana in corpore sano. 

" A man with his intellect a clear, plain, geometric mirror, brilliantly sensitive 
of all objects and impressions around it, and imagining all things in their correct 
proportions — not twisted uj) into convex or concave, and distorting everything, so 
that he cannot see the truth of the matter without endless groping and manipula- 
tion — healthy, clear and free, and all round about him. We never can attain that 
at all. In fact the operations we have got into are destructive of it. You cannot, 
if you are going to do any decisive intellectual operation — if you are going to write 
a book — at least I never could, without getting decidedly made ill by it, and really 
you must if it is your business — and you must follow out what you are at — and 
it sometimes is at the expense of health. Only remember at all times to get back 
as fast as possible into health, and regard the real equilibrium as the centre of 
things. You should always look at the heilig, which means holy, and holy means 

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