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In the following little work, an endeavour has been made to investigate and illustrate the nature of some of the diseases mentioned in the HOLY SCRIPTURES:-the inquiry was first undertaken as a matter of private amusement; in the course of pursuing it, however, so much more gratification was derived than had been anticipated, that I am induced to suppose others might participate in the feeling.
I would distinctly disclaim any pretensions to style; I have aimed solely at clearness of expression; but yet have to regret that the nature of the investigation has occasionally entailed the necessity of introducing languages with which it can
scarcely be expected every general reader is acquainted.
Perhaps some may say, that whilst there exists a work under the same title as this small production of mine, with the important prefix of Dr. Mead's highly and justly esteemed name, another was superfluous: sufficient apology, however, on this score may be offered; for independently of my dissent from many of the views of Dr. Mead on the diseases under discussion, it must be borne in mind, that the Medica Sacra of this learned physician was published in Latin, and that its preface contains the following anathema against those sufficiently bold to translate it.
Beẞyλois autem hæc non scripsi; sed iis tantum, qui aut sacris theologicis, aut medicis, initiati sint et eruditi. Eâque de causâ Latino potissimum sermone in lucem edere placuit; quem per multa jam sæcula docti homines ad ea inter se communicanda, quæ aut nova, aut præter vulgarem opinionem dicta viderentur, ubique fere adhibue
runt. Si quis igitur libri hujusce Anglicam versionem suscipiat, non tantum, me invito, id se facturum sciat; sed etiam contra jus illud æquabile, quo de re sua, prout libeat, statuere unicuique conceditur."
Whether from these investigations conclusive proof results to the overthrow of that somewhat prevailing notion, that the diseases mentioned in the Sacred Writings are in themselves miracular, is rather a subject of inquiry for the ministers of our SACRED RELIGION, than for the Medical Annotator; though at the same time they must be admitted as evidence, that GoD has vouchsafed by these means to make a demonstration of His will. By the term miracle, I understand some visible, or otherwise sensible effect, which is contrary to the common laws of nature; therefore, if the truth of these commentaries be admitted, it must equally so, that the Sacred diseases (I must be excused for the use of this term) are not contrary to the laws of nature, as they are, to the present day,
characterised by the same symptoms, and evince the same relations as heretofore.
I cannot conclude this preface without offering my grateful thanks for the kind assistance rendered me by the Rev. Canon Rogers, whose talents and acquirements are so well known, and whose authority, where the Hebrew language is concerned, is so justly admitted.
Nor must I omit to express my best acknowledgments to my townsman, Mr. Ezekiel, for the kind use he has permitted of his valuable library.
Exeter, Feb. 28, 1834.