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PREACHING TO DOCTORS
The Rev. Dr. Gatty recently preached at Sheffield, England, to the members of the British Medical Association, during the annual meeting. We give the following suggestive extract from his discourse upon the appropriate text: “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.”
“Some of the smaller philosophers of our own time regard the Bible as the sacred book common to all forms of religion, and so far to be respected, but only to be trusted when it does not clash with their own deductions. That man should have come perfectly formed, by an act of creation, from the hand of his Maker, is to them less credible than that he should be the slow result of a process of evolution, no satisfactory traces of which can be shown, while all palpable experience contradicts the doctrine. I do not know where science gives a more reliable history of the generation of man than is to be found in the 139th Psalm.
So far as the records of the bygone world extend, they exhibit man, both intellectually and physically, as quite equal to his descendants at the present day. Moses was at least as great a law-giver as the first Napoleon. The biography of Joseph and his family, written more than three thousand years ago, has literary merit, surpassing in its own style of simplicity and pathos any authorship of any other age or country. David has shown us in his Psalms that he knew human thoughts and feelings quite as profoundly as Shakespeare himself; and if the sermon on the mount and the parables of Christ are not unique and supreme in sublimity of expression as well as doctrine, I want to know why all the religious teachers of the world have failed to produce what we can listen to with the same life-long attention? Is there, nevertheless, a fossil still deeply hidden, but not beyond the final reach of discovery, which will prove that grapes once grew on thorns, and figs on thistles; or, in other words, that man, by some internal effort, protracted through ages, released himself from the form and nature of a lower brute, and has since advanced to the position of being able to tell the history of their own origin? There is, however, one degrading vice peculiar to man, and at the present time a national disgrace, which is certainly no inheritance from any lower animal. The drunkard is only to be found in the ranks of humanity, and this terrible moral stain brings to the candid mind an assurance that what revelation tells us must be true—that God made men upright, but they sought out many inventions, by which the noblest handiwork of the Creator has become damaged and debased.”
— December, 1883 —