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tempt of religion. What he fays on this head we cannot help inferting, being perfuaded that it will give every fenfible reader a very high opinion not only of the goodness of his heart, but likewife of the ftrength and foundness of his judgment.

"I think the charge, fays he, abfolutely false, and will venture to affert, that the most eminent of our faculty have been diftinguished for their regard to religion. I fhall only mention, as examples, Harvey, Sydenham, Arbuthnot, Boerhaave, Stahl, and Hoffman.-It is eafy, however, to fee whence this calumny has arisen. Men whofe minds have been enlarged by extenfive knowledge, who have been accustomed to think and reafon upon all fubjects with a liberal and generous freedom, are not apt to become bigots to any fect or fyftem whatever. They can be fleady to their own principles, without thinking ill of those who differ from them; but they are particularly impatient of the authority and controul of men who pretend to lord it over their confciences, and to dictate to them what they are to believe in every article where religion is concerned. This freedom of fpirit, this moderation and charity for those of different fentiments, have frequently been afcribed, by narrow-minded people, to fecret infidelity, fcepticifm, or, at least, lukewarmness in religion; while, at the fame time, fome men, who were fincere and devout Chriftians, exafperated by fuch reproaches, have expreffed themfelves fometimes in an unguarded manner, and thus given their enemies an apparent ground of clamour against them. This, imagine, has been the real fource of that charge of infidelity fo often and fo unjustly brought againft phyficians. In a neighbouring nation, where few people have been used to think or reafon with freedom on religion, and where, till of late, no man durft exprefs himself with freedom on the fubject, fome ingenious and fpirited writers have, within these few years fhone forth, who, impatient to fhew their newly-acquired liberty, have attempted to fhake the foundations of all religion, natural as well as revealed. Lately emancipated from fuperftition, by a tranfition not unufual, they have plunged at once into atheifm. J is happy for mankind, that thefe people have carried matters this length; becaufe the evil muft very quickly cure itself. Mankind may have their religious opinions diverfified by various fuperftitions; but religion is natural to the human mind, and every attempt to era dicate it, is equally wicked and impotent. But fuppofing that atheism came univerfally to prevail, together with the disbelief of a future ftate of existence, of the immortality of the foul, and what has generally been thought intimately connected with it, of its immateriality, the duration of fuch fentiments would neceffarily be very fhort; be caufe they would at once unhinge all the bonds of fociety, and produce a fcene of univerfal anarchy, wickednefs, and defpair. Yet forry I am to fay, that at prefent they are making a very alarming progrefs. Divefed of that uncouth, metaphyfical drefs, under which they long lay concealed, the gloomy entertainment of a few reclufe men, void of fenfibility, and abftracted from the bufinefs of human life, they are now produced to the world, adorned by all the arts of eloquence, wit, and humour, and perfectly adapted to the capacities of petit-maitres and chamber-maids. So far as they contain any ar

gument,

gument, their futility has been demonftrated a thousand times over ; but indirect hints, infinuations and ribaldry, are unanswerable. The anethod taken by the prefent patrons of infidelity to propagate their opinions is extremely dangerous. With a matchlefs effrontery, they infinuate, that all who avow their belief in natural or revealed religion, are either hypocrites or fools. This is attacking youth upon a very weak fide. A young man, of a high and liberal fpirit, difdains the idea of hypocrify; and, from an ill-judged pride, is afraid of whatever may fubject him to fo mean an imputation. Vanity, again, is the most univerfally ruling paffion among mankind, especially among young people, who commonly dread contempt above every thing, and refent any reflection on the weakness and narrowness of their understandings, much more than any imputation on their principles or morals. But I will venture to affirm, that men of the most enlarged, clear, and folid understandings, who have acted in life with the greateft fpirit, dignity, and propriety, and who have been regarded as the most useful and amiable members of society, have never been the men who have openly infulted, or infidioufly attempted to ridicule the principles of religion; but, on the contrary, have been its beft and warmest friends.-Medicine, of all profeffions, thould be the leaft fufpected of leading to impiety. An intimate acquaintance with the works of nature elevates the mind to the most fublime conceptions of the Supreme Being, and at the fame time dilates the heart with the most pleading profpects of Providence. The difficulties that must neceffarily attend all deep enquiries, into a fubject fo difproportionate to the human faculties, fhould not be fufpected to furprize a phyfician, who, in his daily practice, is involved in perplexity and darkness, even in fubjects exposed to the examination of his fenfes. Yet fuch is the inconfiftency fometimes found in characters, that we find examples of men difputing the evidence of the most interesting principles of religion, who, in the bufinefs of common life, betray a childish credulity; and who embrace, with the most enthusiastic attachment, fuch theories, as are the mere sportings and vagaries of a lively imagination.-But there are fome peculiar circumftances in the profeffion of a phyfician, which fhould naturally difpofe him to look beyond the prefent fcene of things, and engage his heart on the fide of religion. He has many opportunities of feeing people, once the gay and the happy, funk in deep retired diftrefs; fometimes devoted to a certain, but painful and lingering death; fometimes ftruggling with bodily anguish, or the ftill fiercer tortures of a distracted mind. Such afflictive fcenes, one fhould fuppofe, might foften any heart, not dead to every feeling of humanity, and make it reverence that religion which alone can fupport the foul in the most complicated diftreffes; that religion, which teaches to enjoy life with chearfulness, and to refign it with dignity. A phyfician, who has the misfortune to be cut off from the happy profpects of futurity, if he has common good nature, will conceal his fentiments from thofe under his charge, with as much care as he would preferve them from the infection of a mortal disease. Fortified with infenfibility, or ardent in the pursuits of business or pleasure, he may not feel in how forlorn and melancholy a fituation he himself is placed; but it is barbarous to deprive expiring nature of its laft fupport, and to blast the only furviving

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comfort

comfort of thofe who have taken a laft farewel of every fublunary pleasure and connection. If motives of humanity, and a regard to the peace and happiness of fociety, cannot refrain a physician from exprefling fentiments deftructive of religion or morals, it is vain to plead the obligations of politenefs, and the decency of his profeffion. The most favourable conftruction we can put on fuch conduct, is to fuppofe, that it proceeds from an uncontroulable levity of mind, or an unbounded vanity, that forgets all the ties of morals, decency, and good manners.

I fhall make no apology for feeming to go out of my way in treating of fo ferious a fubject; because I think I ftand in no need of one. In an enquiry into the office and duties of a physician, I thought it neceffary to wipe off a reflection, which appeared to me derogatory to our profeffion; and, at the fame time, to caution you against that thoughtless levity, or ridiculous vanity, in converfation, which may give ground to imputations of a diffoluteness of principle, equally dangerous to fociety, and to your own trueft intereft and honour.'

In the fecond lecture, our Author lays down certain general principles, which require our attention in the investigation of nature, and applies them more particularly to the fcience of medecine; he likewife endeavours to explain fome of the principal causes that have obftructed the progrefs of fcience in general, and, where it is necflary, applies his obfervations particularly to phyfic. Part of what he fays in regard to the obftacles which have prevented the establishment of genuine philofophy upon its true foundation is as follows:

There is a certain intoxication, fays he, that ufually attends the fuppofed discovery of general principles in fcience, or ufeful inventions in arts, which renders men of warm and lively imaginations altogether blind to every difficulty that lies in their way, and often makes them artfully fupprefs them. The fuppreffion of facts, that appear to contradict a favourite hypothefis, is not always owing to want of candour in the author. Sometimes he does not fee them, fometimes he defpifes them, and fometimes he conceals them, from the fear of giving people an unreasonable prejudice againft what he thinks an important difcovery. Every true philofopher, however, will be particularly jealous of himself in this refpect; and whenever he gets a view of a theory, will immediately fet his invention at work, to contrive every poflible experiment and mean of proof, that can bring a direct and conclufive evidence, either of its truth or falfehood; and till fuch time as he can find fuch evidence, he confiders his theory in no higher point of view than a probable conjecture.

This philofophical diffidence is fo far from difcouraging the inves tigation of caufes and general laws, that, on the contrary, it greatly promotes it. A ftate of fufpenfe is always a difagreeable one, and the uneafinefs it gives, becomes a powerful incitement to fuch further enquiries as may remove it. A zealous attachment to theories, may not only lead into very dangerous mistakes, but by betraying men into a falfe fecurity, cuts off every motive to farther enquiry; reprefenting it as an unneceffary piece of trouble. It is not philofophical fcepticiím, nor a humble opinion of our prefent knowledge, which checks

the

the fpirit of enquiry into the laws of nature; it is a mean opinion of the human powers, which effectually chills the ardor of genius, and blafts all grand and extenfive views of improvement. In works addreffed to the heart, that coldness and fevere precifion, fo neceffary in the investigation of truth, have no place; fancy there is in her proper element, and the loofeft and wildest analogies may often be properly admitted. A philofopher may read a fairy tale with great delight, without the least reflection upon his taste or understanding; but it reflects feverely upon both, if he reads with the fame pleasure a philofophical investigation, not founded in obfervations and experiments, but in the vagaries of a lively imagination, unless he is fenfible of its being a romance, and only allows himself to be charmed with the spirit or elegance of the compofition.

There is a fpecies of felf-deceit upon this fubject, which deferves particular notice. We often find thofe people inveighing bitterly against theories and hypothefes in philofophy, who are most notoriously addicted to them, though not confcious of it themselves. This is most remarkably the cafe with medical writers, who commonly abufe all reafoning and principles in phyfic which differ from their own equally idle theory; and frequently declaim against theory in fo vague a manner, as would feem to condemn all reasoning and inveftigation of caufes and principles, as ufelefs, and even pernicious. But it fhould be confidered, that we cannot advance a step in the purfuit of knowledge, without reafoning. In every useful experiment, and especially in conducting a train of experiments, we must employ our reafon; there must be fome point in view, fome anticipation of a principle to be established or rejected, and reafon must determine all the circumftances to be attended to in making every obfervation, or experiment, with a view to ascertain this. Without reafoning, or without trufting to certain principles, either fully established, or rendered highly probable, we could never be benefited by experience, because we could never transfer it from the cafe we have feen, to the cafe immediately before us. For instance, I have a patient in an intermitting fever, which I propose to cure by the Peruvian bark. [ fhall fuppofe I have cured five hundred patients by this medicine formerly; but yet I know I never cured one whofe circumftances, in refpect of age, temperament, and every other particular, exactly correfponded to the one before me. If therefore I give the bark, Í muft reafon, by tacitly adopting this principle, that the bark will univerfally cure agues, notwithstanding they differ in fome circumstances. But this is a principle of which I have no direct and conclufive experience, but a principle which I have adopted, by a probable reafoning from analogy: and, indeed, it is not univerfally true, though phyficians muft proceed upon it in their practice, till fuch time as future obfervation fhall afcertain the exceptions to it. Boerhaave, Hoffman, Stahl, and every fyftematic writer exclaim against theories, meaning one anothers theories; for each of them explain, though in different, and often oppofite, manners, the proximate caufe of every disease they give an account of, and the mode of operation of every remedy they prefcribe, upon principles entirely hypothetical. Even Sydenham, though reckoned a purely practical writer, is full of hypothetical reafoning, which, however, had not the ufual effect of

making

making him lefs attentive to obfervation; and, indeed, his hypo thefes feem to have fat fo loosely about him, that they either did not influence his practice at all, or he could very readily abandon them, and adopt new ones, whenever they would not bend to his experience.'

Our Author concludes his lecture with taking notice of fome peculiar difadvantages under which medicine has laboured, and which have greatly retarded its progrefs. Thefe difadvantages, he fays, have arifen from the manner in which it has been ufually taught, and from its having been confined to a set of men who lived by it as a profeffion.

In the firft place, fays he, the general method of conducting edu cation, in univerfities where medicine is taught, does not feem fo well calculated to advance science, as to diffuse it; not fo well fitted to promote particular arts, as to communicate general principles. Thofe who teach the fcience often lay varioas nets for the underftandings of their ftudents. Sometimes with the laudable view of en gaging and fixing their attention; fometimes with a defire to stamp a dignity on their own characters; by pretenfions to discoveries, by the triumph of confutation, the oftentation of learning, or the mafk of obfcurity. For the conveniency of teaching medicine, it has been ufual, in most univerfities, to lay down general doctrines and principles, relating to entire claffes of difeafes and remedies, and to mention particular facts, fo far only as they ferve to illuftrate thefe principles, or as they are clearly deducible from them. But the natural and genuine method of advancing a fcience is the reverse of the former, where we proceed from particular facts to establish general principles. Though, on a fuperficial view, it does not feem a matter of great confequence, in what particular way the knowledge of medicine is acquired; yet it will appear, on a nearer view, to have often an important influence on a phyfician's future character and ftudies, Medicine, as ufually taught in colleges, instead of being reprefented as an art, imperfect in its moft material parts; inftead of having its deficiencies pointed out, with a view to their being fupplied, is digefted into a regular and perfect fyftem. In this view it is beheld by the young fiudent, who embraces theories, with the fame facility and unfufpecting confidence as he would do facts; he thinks he under ftands the caufes of all difcafes, and the manner of operation of all remedies; his mind is at eafe, in having always fure and fixt principles to reft on. In the mean time, the art has little chance to acquire any improvement from him, as he fcarcely fuppofes it ftands in need of any. When a patient dies, he is quite fatisfied every thing was done for him that art could do. It is difficult and painful for men to give up favourite opinions, the children of their youth; to fink from a ftate of fecurity and confidence, into one of fufpence and fcepticifm. Accordingly, few phyficians change either the principles or practice they firft fet out with. We have fome ftriking examples of men of genius in phyfic, writing fyftems of practice, early in life, who have arrived at a very old age, greatly admired for their capacity, and poffeffed of the most extenfive practice; and though in the courfe of their lives, their fyftems had gone through many editions,

yet

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