Lawful Cures, first from God.

Lawful Cures, first from God.

     Being so clearly evinced, as it is, all unlawful cures are to be refused, it remains to treat of such as are to be admitted, and those are commonly such which God hath appointed, by virtue of stones, herbs, plants, meats, and the like, which are prepared and applied to our use, by art and industry of physicians, who are the dispensers of such treasures for our good, and to be "honoured for necessities' sake," God's intermediate ministers, to whom in our infirmities we are to seek for help. Yet not so that we rely too much, or wholly upon them: a Jove principium, we must first begin with prayer, and then use physic; not one without the other, but both together. To pray alone, and reject ordinary means, is to do like him in Aesop, that when his cart was stalled, lay flat on his back, and cried aloud help Hercules, but that was to little purpose, except as his friend advised him, rotis tute ipse annitaris, he whipped his horses withal, and put his shoulder to the wheel. God works by means, as Christ cured the blind man with clay and spittle: Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano. As we must pray for health of body and mind, so we must use our utmost endeavours to preserve and continue it. Some kind of devils are not cast out but by fasting and prayer, and both necessarily required, not one without the other. For all the physic we can use, art, excellent industry, is to no purpose without calling upon God, nil juvat immensos Cratero promittere montes: it is in vain to seek for help, run, ride, except God bless us.

------"non Siculi dapes
Dulcem elaborabunt saporem.
Non animum cytheræve cantus."

"Non domus et fundus, non æris acervus et auri
Ægroto possunt domino deducere febres."

"With house, with land, with money, and with gold,
The master's fever will not be controll'd."

     We must use our prayer and physic both together: and so no doubt but our prayers will be available, and our physic take effect. 'Tis that Hezekiah practised, 2 King. xx. Luke the Evangelist: and which we are enjoined, Coloss. iv. not the patient only, but the physician himself. Hippocrates, a heathen, required this in a good practitioner, and so did Galen, lib. de Plat. et Hipp. dog. lib. 9. cap. 15. and in that tract of his, an mores sequantur temp. cor. ca. 11.. 'tis a rule which he doth inculcate, and many others. Hyperius in his first book de sacr. script. lect. speaking of that happiness and good success which all physicians desire and hope for in their cures, "tells them that it is not to be expected, except with a true faith they call upon God, and teach their patients to do the like." The council of Lateran, Canon 22. decreed they should do so: the fathers of the church have still advised as much: whatsoever thou takest in hand (saith Gregory) "let God be of thy counsel, consult with him; that healeth those that are broken in heart, (Psal. cxlvii. 3.) and bindeth up their sores." Otherwise as the prophet Jeremiah, cap. xlvi. 11. denounced to Egypt, In vain shalt thou use many medicines, for thou shalt have no health. It is the same counsel which Comineus that politic historiographer gives to all Christian princes, upon occasion of that unhappy overthrow of Charles Duke of Burgundy, by means of which he was extremely melancholy, and sick to death: insomuch that neither physic nor persuasion could do him any good, perceiving his preposterous error belike, adviseth all great men in such cases, "to pray first to God with all submission and penitency, to confess their sins, and then to use physic." The very same fault it was, which the prophet reprehends in Asa king of Judah, that he relied more on physic than on God, and by all means would have him to amend it. And 'tis a fit caution to be observed of all other sorts of men. The prophet David was so observant of this precept, that in his greatest misery and vexation of mind, he put this rule first in practice. Psal. lxxvii. 3. "When I am in heaviness, I will think on God." Psal. lxxxvi. 4. "Comfort the soul of thy servant, for unto thee I lift up my soul:" and verse 7. "In the day of trouble will I call upon thee, for thou hearest me." Psal. liv. 1. "Save me, O God, by thy name," &c. Psal. lxxxii. Psal. xx. And 'tis the common practice of all good men, Psal. cvii. 13. "when their heart was humbled with heaviness, they cried to the Lord in their troubles, and he delivered them from their distress." And they have found good success in so doing, as David confesseth, Psal. xxx. 12. "Thou hast turned my mourning into joy, thou hast loosed my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness." Therefore he adviseth all others to do the like, Psal. xxxi. 24. "All ye that trust in the Lord, be strong, and he shall establish your heart." It is reported by Suidas, speaking of Hezekiah, that there was a great book of old, of King Solomon's writing, which contained medicines for all manner of diseases, and lay open still as they came into the temple: but Hezekiah king of Jerusalem, caused it to be taken away, because it made the people secure, to neglect their duty in calling and relying upon God, out of a confidence on those remedies. Minutius that worthy consul of Rome in an oration he made to his soldiers, was much offended with them, and taxed their ignorance, that in their misery called more on him than upon God. A general fault it is all over the world, and Minutius's speech concerns us all, we rely more on physic, and seek oftener to physicians, than to God himself. As much faulty are they that prescribe, as they that ask, respecting wholly their gain, and trusting more to their ordinary receipts and medicines many times, than to him that made them. I would wish all patients in this behalf, in the midst of their melancholy, to remember that of Siracides, Ecc. i. 11. and 12. "The fear of the Lord is glory and gladness, and rejoicing. The fear of the Lord maketh a merry heart, and giveth gladness, and joy, and long life:" and all such as prescribe physic, to begin in nomine Dei, as Mesue did, to imitate Laelius a Fonte Eugubinus, that in all his consultations, still concludes with a prayer for the good success of his business; and to remember that of Creto one of their predecessors, fuge avaritiam, et sine oratione et invocations Dei nihil facias avoid covetousness, and do nothing without invocation upon God.

 

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