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let us not draw hasty inferences. Further research will undoubtedly still further modify many of the heretofore accepted dogmas of science; and deeper study will undoubtedly bring us to a truer understanding of some of the contested parts of the Word of God; and thus the seeming discrepancies between these two revelations of God to men may be largely diminished, if not altogether destroyed.
Have we not much ground for this hope from what has already taken place? Many of the doctrines which were considered established beyond doubt by the scientific men of a previous generation, are rejected by their successors of to-day. A larger generalization has led to a different conclusion. In such circumstances dogmatism is, to say the least, premature. The progress of knowledge has already reduced the alleged discrepancies between the Word of God and Science. Is it not, therefore, fair to hope that further progress will bring the two into a still closer harmony? If we look at the prehistoric facts revealed in certain parts of the Old Testament, we find them to be not far from the best-supported doctrines of modern science. For example, the Bible distinctly intimates that the many languages of men have had a common origin, and that there was a time when all the inhabitants of the earth spake one tongue. science of Comparative Philology has divided the various languages of men into separate families, each family including those which showed marks of direct relationship. Further investigation has reduced these families to two, in one or other of which it is possible to find a place for all known varieties of speech; but the gulf between the two has been considered so wide as to preclude the possibility of a common origin. This has for some years been accepted as the ultimate result of philological research, and the narrative of the Tower of
Babel has been put on one side as an interesting but untrustworthy story. Yet now, earnest philologists are beginning to see points of resemblance between the languages of these two groups; and so numerous, under the pressure of study, are these becoming, that, as is confidently asserted, they point to an older language still-the common origin of both Indo-European and Semitic tongues. On this point the progress of knowledge is in favour of revelation; and many similar illustrations we might find.
The anonymous author of this book
takes us to revelation for our first lessons in Sanitary Science. Here the work of comparing the laws of God's Word with the doctrines of modern science is a pleasant one; for, instead of apparent discrepancy, we find the most complete harmony. Sanitary Science is one of the latest additions to the circle of the sciences. It is only within the last thirty years that it has received anything like adequate attention. Medicine has been studied from time immemorial; but Hygiene, or the prevention of disease as distinguished from its cure, has only of late attained to the rank of a science. The health-precepts of the Bible all relate to the department of prevention. About the cure of disease very little is said. In both Testaments we have miracles of healing, showing us that disease is curable; but of definite prescriptions we find none, unless we except the remedy applied to Hezekiah's boil, whilst the directions given for the prevention of disease and the preservation of health are most minute and
numerous. The medical precepts of the Bible are all based on the principle: 'Prevention is better than cure,' and the new science, Hygiene, adopts the same motto. We are only just now beginning to apply to the treatment of disease the principles which Moses revealed to mankind more than
three thousand years ago. The nu
merous books expounding the laws of health, and giving wise directions for its preservation, are all anticipated by this Hebrew sage-nay, in certain departments of Sanitary Science, especially in preventing the spread of infectious diseases, the hygienic laws of the Book of Leviticus are more perfect than those adopted by any country at the present day. The latest of the sciences has yet much to learn from the most ancient of histories; and the nearer we bring our sanitary regulations to those delivered by God to the children of Israel, the more perfectly will the national health be preserved. The author of this book truly says: It cannot be denied that neither as a science nor an art has sanitation yet attained the perfection it had reached in the days of Moses.'
But here, again, we must remember that the Bible is not primarily a health-guide; though, for obvious reasons, we should expect to find in it more teaching on this than on any other secular science. It merely says what is absolutely necessary, and does not always enter into minute details; while many matters of altogether secondary importance are not even alluded to. Still, all the essentials and great landmarks for healthmaintenance and restoration are there; while the rules regarding public hygiene-that is, the most important branch of the subject-are especially full and minute.' Of course we must bear in mind that these regulations were given to a migratory people, in a hot country, and in some of their details may not be applicable to our different circumstances. To a people living either in the open air or in tents, it was manifestly unnecessary to lay down any precise laws on the subject of ventilation. So with regard to one or two other sanitary questions of pressing importance to us; for obvious reasons, we find little said about them in the Pentateuch. But on the great subjects
involved in public and private Hygiene, the laws of Moses have not yet been surpassed. The Word of God is the most concise and complete, as it is the most ancient, health-guide in existence.' Considering how definite and particular the teaching of the Bible is on this subject, how are we to account for the very slight attention which it has hitherto received from men? With this code readymade to his hands, and supported by the authority of Divine inspiration, is it not strange that for ages man continued to live in direct defiance of its laws? One or two considerations may perhaps explain this, and it is worth while to notice them; for the neglect of the sanitary teaching of the Bible is by no means a thing of the past. The medieval idea that religion has little or nothing to do with the physical welfare of man, and that laws having reference only to the maintenance of health are beneath the dignity of Divine revelation, no doubt contributed much to this neglect. Emaciation of body was considered a sign of spiritualmindedness. Saintliness was inconsistent with robust health. Those who, by voluntary exposure to hunger and cold, showed least care for the body, were exalted into an order of superior sanctity. So long as these ideas prevailed and we are not quite free from them yet-it is no wonder that the sanitary teaching of the Bible was ignored.
By many, again, the Mosaic legislation has been regarded simply as a curiosity-interesting, as it reveals to us the old-world ways of a particular people, but now altogether obsolete. The assertion that in the Bible we can find sanitary and medical teaching in advance of that practised in these highly-civilized days is met with the smile of incredulity. And, lastly, the habit of thinking that everything in the Word of God must have a purely spiritual signification has turned the
thoughts away from the obvious meaning of many of these ancient precepts. Leprosy has been treated by many popular expositors as merely the standing symbol of sin.
The law of the leper in the day of his cleansing' has, with much ingenuity, been made to apply in all its minute details to those who are seeking to be cleansed from the deeper leprosy of sin; but the natural meaning of this Divine legislation, and its value in showing us how to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, has been lost. Yet surely this was its original purpose, and is its main purpose still. The typical interpretation has blinded us to the common-sense physical value of many Old Testament precepts. Men seem to have taken it for granted that these laws, if naturally understood, have no application to the conditions of modern life; and so have resorted to a method of interpretation which, if applied to any other book, would be pronounced absurd. looking at the sanitary precepts of the Bible, let us follow the common-sense plan of believing that the obvious construction of God's Word is likely to bring us nearer to its true sense than far-fetched interpretations.
The first part of the above-named work deals with private and personal hygiene-that which regards man's individual existence; and here we find chapters presenting us with Biblical teaching on the important subjects of Food, Drink, Air, Exercise, Sleep, Cleanliness, and Clothing. The second part of the book is devoted to public or general hygiene, which deals with man in his corporate capacity; and here we find Bible hints regarding Dwellings, Sewage, Disinfection, and Disease Prevention. All the important questions connected with sanitary science find a place under one or other of the above headings; and the mass of Biblical teaching the author presents to us on each subject will be, to those who have never studied the Bible with
this end in view, truly astonishing. Perhaps, in his zeal, our author has sometimes strained the meaning of certain passages of Scripture to make them fit in to his purpose, but such in
stances are rare.
In order to show God's particular care for the physical welfare of His people, let us examine the Scripture teaching on the subject of Disinfection and Disease Prevention. I will briefly summarize the chapter in the book before us on this subject. The contagious disease most prevalent amongst the Israelites was leprosy ; and the laws given for stamping out that fearful scourge are equally applicable to many diseases with which we are too familiar. The first thing insisted on was the perfect separation of the patient. At the first suspicion of disease, the suspected person had to submit to a seven days' quarantine, that it might be seen whether the disease would assume a mild or a malignant form. If at the expiration of that period it was still doubtful, the seclusion was continued for seven days more. When once the disease had pronounced itself, the strictness with which the lepers were removed outside the camp and obliged to proclaim their own uncleanness, if any unwary passer-by was approaching them, is known to us all. No one was exempt from this law. Miriam and King Uzziah submitted to it. The object of all these apparently harsh regulations was to completely cut off the diseased from the healthy: this being rightly regarded as the surest way of preventing its spread throughout the camp. So far was this law carried, that a separate burialplace was provided for those who died of this disease. (2 Chron. xxvi. 23.)
The next law commands the thorough cleansing and disinfection of everything which had come into contact with the diseased person. All articles of clothing and bed-linen, in which the germs of disease might
easily be conveyed to others, were to be repeatedly cleansed, and if there were still any suspicion they were to be burned. Even those who entered the house of the leper for the purpose of cleansing it were obliged to keep themselves separate from their fellowcreatures for a specified time. These regulations are repeated again and again with almost wearisome detail. To these two plans-namely, the complete isolation of the sick, and the disinfection or destruction of everything that had come in contact with them; the former meant to let the matured disease die out, and the latter to kill the new germs before they could develop fresh mischief-the Israelites trusted for preventing the spread of leprosy amongst them. And will not every medical man tell us that the adoption of this Jewish legislation in all its strictness would materially reduce the death-rate from the various infectious diseases existing among ourselves?
There is one very remarkable instruction for the cleansing of a house infected by the plague-anticipating some of the latest lessons of sanitary science. We know now how possible it is for the germs of disease to cling to the plaster and paper on the walls of our houses; and unless these be properly cleansed after any infectious disease, we are never safe against a fresh outbreak of it. Yet this danger, of which we have only lately become fully aware, is clearly pointed out in the latter part of the fourteenth chapter of Leviticus; and the proper means of dealing with it are also suggested. The plaster is to be scraped off the walls and fresh mortar put on, and the house is to be shut up for a certain time. If at the expiration of that time there is reason still to believe that it is sanitarily unclean, it is to be pulled down and the materials of it carried forth out of the city into an unclean place.' What a clearance the carrying out of this
law would make in London and in all our great cities! How much feverhaunted property would be condemned and destroyed! The great fire of London rendered an efficient sanitary service to that city. It practically carried into effect this ancient law by sweeping away whole streets of foul and polluted dwellings. Every large town in England needs a similar purification. Compare this ancient custom of cleansing a house in which there was any danger of infection with our modern practice of allowing ignorant workmen to plaster our walls with layer after layer of poisonous papers, thus preserving for us all the dust and filth which those papers have gathered in the course of years; and then ask yourself, Which understood sanitary science best, the old Jew or the modern Englishman?
This is just a sample of the Divine laws given by Moses to the children of Israel on the subject of Disinfection and Disease Prevention. On all questions connected with personal and public Hygiene we find in the Bible more or less information. The other chapters of this book are as interesting as the one, the contents of which I have summarized above, and all may be studied with profit. Of course in this book there are many health-hints besides those given in the Bible. As we read in the preface, the author's first object in writing it is to impart, in a popular, easily understood and condensed form, the elements of the all-important study of Hygiene, or the art of health preservation; doubtless destined to be the chief element in the medicine of the future.' As such a health-guide, easy to be understood, we heartily recommend it.
Another purpose our author had before him was to prove that the secondary trendings of modern philosophy run in a parallel direction with the primary light of the Bible, and to point out the indirect evidence thus
derived from an unexpected quarter -namely, those far-seeing sanitary maxims, and the medical science of the Scriptures generally, in proof of the inspiration and credibility of Holy Writ.'
We trust that this clear setting forth of the Scriptural authority for sanitary science, and the importance attached to it by God in legislating for His people, will do something to awaken an interest in it, at any rate, amongst Christian people. No believer in the inspiration of the Bible can surely, after reading this book, neglect its sanitary teaching. Our ignorance of the laws of health and our general estimate of the small importance of the physical condition of mankind, have arisen from a culpable closing of our eyes to a large part of the Divine revelation. When shall we learn that the sanitary laws of the Bible are as Divinely given as its moral laws, that sanitary sins are as sure to find us out as moral sins?
Disease is in many cases the direct consequence of sin; and, on the other hand, immorality is frequently occasioned by unwholesome physical surroundings. Every effort made by philanthropists to procure for men better houses and purer air, to preserve in the neighbourhood of our large towns open spaces where the poor may escape for recreation from the narrow and overcrowded streets in which they are forced to live, is truly Christian work. It is plainly implied in the Bible, if not distinctly asserted, that in a healthy body, mind and soul will be in better condition for right development. Sanitary Science is thus the handmaid of mental culture, morality and religion. When Christ sent forth His disciples, not only to preach the Gospel, but also to heal the sick, He gave to the hygienic precautions of the Old Testament the sanction of the New. On very high grounds, therefore, we are able to claim the interest of Chris
tian men and women in this important subject. Whilst we are seeking to save the souls of men and women, let us bear in mind also the fact that they have bodies. The Gospel committed to us has regard for both.
The interest which has been aroused on the important question of Public Health is already producing very beneficial results, but still it falls far short of what it ought to be. we consider what a blessing good health is, and how necessary to the wellbeing of a nation, we may perhaps be excused for saying a few words more on a subject upon which so much has been already said. I need not pause to sing the praises of good health. The pleasures of intellectual pursuits are sadly diminished by a weak constitution. Good health is the working man's capital-the one earthly thing he should desire most earnestly and preserve most carefully. Surely none are altogether indifferent to a question that touches us so closely, though of our health we are often more prodigal than of anything else. The conditions of modern life—the rate at which most of us are forced to live, the wearing anxieties of business, and the aggregating in our large towns of masses of human beings on a small space of ground-render a strict attention to the laws of health more necessary than ever. Most of the progress made during the last thirty years in connection with this subject has been in the direction indicated by the proverb at the head of this paper. The sacredness which we have always
associated with the office and work of the healer ought to belong equally to the sanitary reformer; for he is really rendering a more important service to humanity, though one that cannot be so easily calculated. We can tell how many people died during the last year. We could, with a little trouble, find out the number of those