CHAP. V. Of the Regimen of Diet proper for nervousDiftempers
Jicians to determine the Kind and Quantity o f their Food, but referve to themfelves the Times of taking i t ; or who think they aft very generoufly if they fubmit to his Regula tions in every thing befides the Kinds or Qua lities of it: and ends with alluring them of the extreme Hurtfulnefs of any Error, either in the Quality, the Quantity, or the Times of taking their Nouriihment. It were endlefs to produce Authorities for a Thing that makes a great Part of the Works of all the flandard Writers in Phyfick, I mention thefe only, becaufe they are acknowledg’d the great Mafters in this Science, and whofc Evidences mufl of Confequence, include the Suffrages of all their Approvers and Admirers; and as they will be fufficient to give the Reader, who is not converfant in thefe Matters, a juft Notion o f the Confequence of' Diet in the Cure o f Pifeafes. For I do not pretend to add (by what I have here faid) any thing to the Know
ledge of thofe whofe Study or Profefllon has led them to fearch into thefe Affairs, ilnce they will not want Conviction. But here one will naturally inquire how fo necefiary and effential a Part of Phyfick comes to be in fuch Difgrace, and fo little regarded, as it is at prefent, fince it was fo much recommended, and made up fo great a Part of the Practice o f the moft admired Phyficians. The Origi nal of this Evil feems to be owing to fome over-zealous Abettors of Chymiftry. The A lchymijis, or more conceited and whimfical fort of Chymifls, were the great Men, that, depending folely upon Medicines, endeavour’d to difcredit Diet in the Cure of Difeafes, bragging and ranting in Honour o f their Panacaas, Elixirs of Life, and other wonderful Secrets, which, if you will believe the In ventors and Admirers of them, were fufllcient, without any other Means, even a Re gimen of Diet, or whatever* all Phyficians be fore had thought moft indifpenfible, to work infallible Cures in the moft defperate Difeafes. It was this, and nothing elfe, they pretended to. When once fuch an ill Practice is fet on foot, the Patients themfelves, as CelJ'us obferv’d in his Time, are fo averfe to being confin’d by difagreeable Reftraints,that they are prepar’d to believe every Impoftor, that will take upon him to difpenfe with the moft neceflary Condition of Cure, and entertain a Prejudice againft thofe who will honeftly in-=
lift upon the Neceffity of what they diilikc, being m-ore willing to believe luch Phyiicians are not fufficiently acquainted with the Vir tues and Powers o f Medicines, than that Me dicines have no fuch Virtues as they would fo fain find them poflefs’d o f : And they arc generally lb fond of being prefcrib’d to rather in the moft agreeable than in the moft effec tual Manner, that not only few of them will fubmit to any Reftraints in Diet, btit by their Squeamiflinefsand intemperate Delicacy, bring foine o f the moft powerful Medicincs into Difgrace, and lefs and lefs common Ufe; fo that we may fear, not only the Bark (the Avcrfion of every nice Palate) but Mercury, Steel, and fcveral other of the beft Medi cines, which on the firft Difcovcry were look’d upon as great Gifts of God for the Re lief o f human Miferics, will ini time be quite difus’d, and perhaps forgot. However, lince we who are Phyjicians are bound by a mojl J'olemn Oath '* (contriv’d by Hippocrates, for ought we know, at leaft it is handed down to us among his other Works, and is the Subftance, I believe, of the Obligation and Vow that Candidates take in all the Univerfities in Europe, when they receive their Degrees of Phyjick) to order a Regimen of Diet proper and peculiar to cach Diftemper we undertake
the Cure of, as well as proper Medicines, I ihall proceed to inform the Reader of what I have found moft beneficial or fuccefsful on this Head towards the Cure of the Difoiders I am now treating of,
§. II. I t is highly probable, that the infi nitely wife Author of our Nature has provi ded proper Remedies and Reliefs in every Cli mate, for all the Diftempers and Difeafes in cident to their refpettive Inhabitants, if in •his Providence he has neceflarily placed them there: And ccrtainly the Food and Phyfick proper and peculiar to the middling Sort o f each Country and Climate, is the beft of any poiiible for the Support of the Creatures he has unavoidably placed there, provided only that they follow the Simplicity o f Nature, the Diftates of Reafon and Experience, and do not luft after foreign Delicacies: as we fee by the Health and Chearfulnefs o f the mid dling Sort of almoft all Nations. And who ever is acquainted with the Hijlory o f the Origin of Nations, and the Manner in which they liv’d, preferv’d themfelves in Health, and got rid o f their Difeafes, while they liv’d in their Simplicity, and had not yet grown luxurious, rich and wanton, or had frequent Commerce with other Nations, and com municated with them in their Luxury and Arts, will be pretty well fatisfy’d of this Truth. But where the Luxury and Difeafes
§. III. T h e r e is alfo another infinitely wife Contrivance in Nature, that Loathing and In appetency, or at leaft a Difficulty in Digeftion, always attends, in fome Degree or other, all Diforders whatioever. Were every one that is a little ill, capable of the fame Riot and Excefs during their Diftemper-that they were when in perfedt Health, when they laid in the Materials o f their Diforders, they would infallibly and quickly ruin themfelves, and perifh without Refource: Whereas by this wife Neceffity, they are not only hinder’d from adding Oil to the Flame, but find a new Jncreafc of their Pains and Punifliments, up on the fmallcft Excefs, which puts them un der the Neceffity of forbearing: if the Pleafure of gratifying their Scnfuality is not greater than the Scnfe of the Pain. And in fome
Cafes, where there has been a great Dilpoiition towards Luxury in the Patient, and where the Cure depended only or chiefly ^)on Abjlinence, I have with Plealure ad mired the Art and Ingenuity o f a Pbyjician, who, to keep up his Patient's Spirits during the tedious Cure, and gain the Advantages o f Temperance and Abftinence as much as he was able, has prefcrib’d a Courfe o f in nocent, tho’ neither palatable nor appetizing Medicines, for a long time, without teazing his Patient with the difpiriting. and mortify ing Doitrine of Self-Denial, which either he had defpiled, or not receiv’d in its proper Degree and Manner, and thus effected the Cure, which otherwife had been impoffible.