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Gouty persons, by reason of a fixed dyscrasy of the blood, are not obnoxious to fevers; as they live free from the dreadful pains of the head-ach, so, likewise, from the scorching heat of fevers. Every one knows, that a fever is a disorderly motion, or over- boiling of the blood, which seldom, or never, happens to gouty persons; because the malignant recrements of the blood and nervous juice, which occasion fevers, are continually deposited in the joints of gouty persons, are there imprisoned, watered, and consumed by the purging, healing, cleansing, sanative fire of the burning gout. There is a natural motion and heat in the blood, depending, partly, on its proper crasis and constitution (for, being composed of spirit, salt, and sulphur, principles vigorous and active, it spontaneously grows turgid and tumultuous, like generous wine in narrow vessel pent;) and, partly, to the ferment implanted in the heart, which rarefies the liquor passing through its channels, and forces it to rise with effervescence frothy. The preternatural ebullition of the blood is raised, either by some extraneous, heterogeneous mixture, or from the immoderate exaltation of its own natural spirit or sulphur; which, when it happens, presently a high and quick pulse follows; the blood, like a sulphurous liquor, taking fire, diffuses its burning heat all over
The vast Sicilian chasms, which vomit flaming heaps of matter sulphurous and combustible, what are they, but nature's emblems of a burning, fiery fever? and, when the poets fable, that haughty Typhæus, big Eryx, and bald Enceladus, deep buried in the earth by angry Jupiter, belch out those fires, which waste the country, and frigbt the inhabitants, what meaned they to denote, but the restlessness of strenuous heroes (for want of the gout to withdraw the feverish fewel) frying in flames merciless and destructive?
Methinks, I pity the young and healthy, whose blood flows temperately, and never knew disorder; I pity them, I say, not for their present ease, but because of their imminent danger. For, when a royal sun of France blazes, and perishes in flames painted by a brave Russel's masterly hand; when a vanquished admiral shifts off in boat inglorious, a king of equal valour, from a safe station, all the while beholding the monsieur's prudent care to preserve a great commander; when a haughty Mareschal is beat out of the strongest bulwark, that fenced his master's treacherous rapine; and, to induce that master of his for once to keep the cartel, can, in spight of all his blustering, part with his sword: When rebel invaders are disappointed, and execrable assassines punished; on such tempting occasions as these, who can forbear a rightful, lawful, and brimful glass? yet, on so solemn a festival, if the healthy gives nature but a filip, it may, percbance, throw him into a fever, and that fever, perchance, cost him bis life; whereas the man, that is obnoxious to the gout, chearfully ventures the duty of the day, well knowing, that, when the worst comes to the worst, it is but roaring in purgatory some forty days, or so; and, by that time the gout has wasted and cleansed off the tartarous recrements of undigested falern, who knows, but good news may come, to make another holyday?
Purgatory, which cleanses the souls of the departed from their filth, which sets them out of the danger of the lake, and renders them (like burnt tobacco-pipes) clean and pure, and fit for paradise, is a true picture of the fire of the gout, which spends the morbifick matter, that might otherwise throw the body into a bellish fever. Indeed, infidels and hereticks may object, and say, that, perhaps, purgatory is but a false story ; but no matter for that; 'for grave authors teach, that a false story may be a true picture, and serve to illustrate as necessary a doctrine as that of purgatory. But in this I am positive, that neither a false story, nor a true one, can illustrate a more infallible maxim than this, that the purging fires of the gout witbdraw the fewel from the destructive fires of burning fevers.
Those learned and worthy authors, that write of devils and spirits, and know the natures and orders of them as perfectly as heart can wish, tell us, that there be two sorts of them, white and black, good and bad. So is it certainly with diseases. The gout, if it be lawful to call it a disease, is a good and useful disease, a white devil ; the fever, a bad, hurtful disease, a black devil, the devil of a disease, or a disease that is the devil; whom if ever the physician casts out, I will swear, it is by compact: whereas the gout is an honest febrifuge, the operations thereof natural and intelligible; something painful indeed, but there is no magick in them. By the way, if the physician cures, or casts out black diseases, or devils, by compact with black devils, may it not be said to be a double wickedness for I took it to be the Roman priests ungodly office, with rumbling exorcisms, to eject them; but this is the fault also of other dealers; there is nothing more common, among them, than to incroach on one another's trade. Could tyrants inflict fevers, they would never make use of rack or gibbet, ax, or unrighteous judge, unless the object of their fate were an honest gouty fellow; for the gout would soften the feverish infliction, as the popish printer did his father confessor's penance, when be boiled the pease, which he was required to put in his shoes, before he took his walk. There is not, certainly, a severer torment than a burning fever, nor a more sovereign antidote than the medicinal gout; so that it is a truth clear as the sun, if more people had the gout, fewer would die of a fever. Having placed these things in so clear a light, I am strongly persuaded, that not your worship
only, but the generality of the age will set their prejudices aside, and yield to the happy force of the many useful truths, which, by the bright illumination of a violent gout-paroxysm, I have here discovered; so that, hereafter, instead of the old parting compliments, —Save you, sir; God keep you in good health, I question not but we shall say,- -The gout defend you, sir; God give you the gout; for we ought not to hope for a blessing without the means. To wish a man the gout is to wish him that, which withdraws fewel from diseases, and
preserves life at so cheap a rate; it costs a man not a penny more than patience.
It has been the opinion of some writers, that none can be saved, who die of the plague ; but, in judging of the future state of others, I think it best to venture being mistaken on the charitable side; and
therefore, I would sooner believe, that none can be damned, who have the gout; and, I must tell your worship, that I have known a less probable sign of salvation given by a dissenting Rabbi, to his bearers.
When Mercury, by the mighty power of a verse, borrowed from that great architect Homer, heaved up the aspiring mountain Pelion, and piled it intire on heaven-shouldering Ossa, and then helped Charon, up to the top; the poor old ferry-man complained, that the distance from the earth was so great that he could not see what was done there. I am much afraid, sir, that this uppermost step of ascent, on which I am going to seat your worship, that a full view of the amazing excellence of the medicinal, useful, health-restoring, soul-enlivening gout, will place you at such a vast distance above terrene things and notions, that you will not be able to discern the true proportion of that benefit, which crowns the honour of the gout; at least, not so plainly as I could wish.
you may have
6. To crown the honour of the gout, it is not to be cured. The gout defies all your gross galenical methods, and all your exalted chymical preparations; for the conjunct causes thereof (as the learned Willis confesses) lie in parts so very remote, that the vertues of no medicines can reach them; and, lieaven be praised for it, for why, sir, would you cure (as you call it) the gout which gives you pain without danger, a better taste of health, by an acquaintance with pain, a knowledge of future things, freedom from the headach, and from fevers?
Bless us! that any man should wish to be rid of the gout, for want of which he may become obnoxious to fevers, and head-ach, be blinded in his understanding, lose the taste of his health, and the security of his life. I hope you and I, dear sir, shall be better advised, and to shew that we are so, and at the same time, to set the world a good example, I hope we shall neither of us ever tamper with the doctor for the cure of the gout, which really and truly is incurable, unless the patient be to be killed; which is what the doctor's medicines aim at, perhaps not what he directly aims at himself. For his heart is chiefly upon his fee; his prayers, that his patient may neither die, nor recover; at least not die, while he is worth a penny; but, when his last penny is spent, then the miserable creature is forsaken, like the poor woman in the gospel, and may perish for all him, unless heaven has a miracle in store for a poor sinner, that has been tormented by a nasty D, before his time, But, lest I should be thought, in vindication of the honour of the gout, too severe against the pretenders to cure it, I shall argue against them, from their own confessions : we may say of every medicaster, whether a college, or a stage-doctor, habemus confitentem reum; the whole clan of them are homicides, by their own confession. Other wicked people put on the guise of honesty, for the better perpetrating their crimes ; but physicians own the roguery of their art; indeed, to save themselves from publick infamy, they give this softening turn to their scandalous cause. The principles
of their art, they say, are difficult to be understood, and, uncertain to be relied on; and, then, also the temperament of the Body, on which they practise, can be but guessed at; so that the success of the most learned practitioner can be but casual. Now, that, after this, these men should be entertained, and so general admittance given to their practice, does evidently prove, that the generality of men, when they lose their health, lose their wits together with it. I will allow, that it were resonable for a sick man liberally to part with his guineas for his health, if the doctors, that have their money in hand, were sure of restoring health, or upon failure would refund; but, to pay down ready money for a lottery chance, where it is great odds, but the adventurer increases his malady, and hastens his death! I, for my part, declare against it, and am persuaded, that no one, who considers rightly, but would keep his money, and bear his burthen. A spare and easy diet shall be always my physick, and I will leave it to nature, to do her own work. But let us come to some more particular acknowledgments of these deadly enemies of mankind.
Galen, that is still revered as a god by modern practitioners, acknowledges it impossible to find out a medicine that shall do any great good one way, and not do as much hurt another. The learned Dr. Hammond fatally experienced the truth of this acknowledgment; the medicine, which was prescribed him to cure the gout, moved the gravel from his kidnies, which, being too big to pass the ureters, choaked the channel, and deprived him of his life that way. Cornelius Agrippa tells us of one Rasis, a physician of note, who, considering the foolish credulity of patients, and the contentious ignorance of professors in physick, advised, that never above one doctor should be made use of at a time, giving this reason, because the mistake of a single man is less dangerous. And I would advise never to use any; for, as the mistake of one man is less dangerous than of a consult of them, so the having nothing to do with any one, is less dangerous than the mistake of one; for nature can commit no mistake, but if not loaded with luxury, nor disturbed with physick, will vigorously strive to throw off every noxious disease. Such the gout is not, for nature, throwing off morbifick matter to the remoter parts of the body, does designedly beget the gout, and make use of that admirable remedy, to cure diseases already gotten, and to prevent others. But it is not mere reason which I rely upon, when I advise men to trust nature alone for their recovery, and never go to a physician, I have the greatest authority to support my advice. 2 Chron. xvi, 12. Asa, in the 39th year of his reign, was diseased in the feet (as I am now, which hinders me from running to my commentators) but I remember the phrase of the septuagint is, εμαλακίσθη τες πόδας, his feet were soft and tender, (swelled with the gout, that must be the meaning) until his disease (gout) was exceeding great, yet in his disease (έν τη μαλακία αυτ8, in the extreme softness and tenderness of his gout) he sought not to the Lord, but to his physician. I do not
see how our doctors in physick can eva:le the force of this text, in defence of their profession; for it is a very weak and precarious reply, which they make, when they tell us, “That Asa is blamed, not directly for seeking to the physicians, but not for trusting in the Lord when he sought to them. Now, I will grant these gentlemen, that it is the duty of patients to trust in the Lord, when they seek to the physicians ; nay, it is their duty to trust in the Lord, then, above any other time; for then they run themselves into those hazards, that, if the Lord does not help them, 'tis odds but they miscarry. But I would have these physicians, who make but sorry interpreters of scripture, to consider, that the text sets seeking the Lord, and seeking the physician, in opposition to one another; plainly enough implying, that the former was his duty, the latter his fault. But our physicians, it seems, would have the sick seek to the Lord, and them both; as if the Lord could not do his own work without them. Odi profanum Genus.- -Hence, sir, it is plain to me, that they are an order of men, that care not much what they say, or do, to uphold their own honour, and keep their ungodly trade a-going. But therefore I would wish all unhealthy people, who have bought their misery of the professors; and all bonest gentlemen, who are preserved by the salutary gout in the land of the living, to prefer a bill in parliament against this destructive order of men; that, by a strong cathartic act, they may be purged out of his Majesty's dominions; I will engage, that there's never a family in the nation, but shall, by this means, besides their health, save their taxes, so that a vigorous war may be continued against France, till the Monsieur is not worth a livre, and no body with us ever the poorer. For such an useful decree, we are not without a precedent in history. The wise Romans, under Marcus Porcius Cato, banished physicians, not only from Rome, but also from Italy, which council, it may be reasonably thought, contributed not a little to the increase of their people; for, as where the most lawyers are, there are the most quarrels and contentions ; so, where the most physicians, there the most funerals'; and some say, where the most divines, there the most differences about religion; but that is not the fault of the divines; for, if the magistrate would let the strongest party alone, they would force all the rest to be of their opinion. But I am afraid I forget myself in too long a digression; what I ought chiefly to insist on, is, the superlative excellence of the gout, wbich is never to be removed. The fear of losing a blessing takes off from the pleasure of enjoying it. Thieves may plunder your house, age will ruin your beauty, envy may asperse your reputation, bribes corrupt your faith, but the gout is a sure inheritance; neither thieves, nor knaves: neither time, nor envy, nor any thing else, can despoil you of it. A man may, himself, if he has a mind to it, squander his estate, blemish bis comely form, injure his fame, and renounce his honesty ; but let him get rid of the gout if he can; that blessing he may take comfort in, being secure that it is for his life. They