The Classical Journal, Vol. 18: For September and December, 1818 (Classic Reprint)

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The Classical Journal, Vol. 18: For September and December, 1818 (Classic Reprint) Details

Excerpt from The Classical Journal, Vol. 18: For September and December, 1818

That the ancients should have attributed the causes and cures of maladies to their Gods, can scarcely excite our surprise and we ought at least to do justice to the piety, which inspired this belief. We cannot however but admire the simplicity of some Of the Greeks, who have literally repeated as they seem to have literally believed, the traditions of the Egyptians, concerning the origin of the medical science. Diodorus relates with all possible gravity, that the sick, who received the advice Of Isis, received it in their dreams. Neither perhaps can we hear without wonder from the polished Xenophon, and, what is yet more extraordinary, from Cyrillus, a father of the Church, that the medical instructors Of iesculapius were no Doctors of Sidon or Memphis, but Chiron the centaur, and Apis the sacred ox.

Let us then consent upon this subject, at least, to admit that the ancient orientalists Often spoke allegorically. If they attributed the causes and the cures Of maladies to their Gods, they did not hold those Gods to be merely deified mortals. The popular religion Of the Egyptians was Tsabaism, characterised by shine national pecu liarities, and degraded by many absurd and vulgar superstitions, but not differing in its principles from that worship Of the host Of heaven, and of the personified powers of nature, which was the common practice Of all the East. Thus it may have happened that the Egyptians did not wander very far from the truth, while they generally ascribed the loss or recovery of health, to the inter ference of their Gods, or, in other words, to the agency of natural causes.

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