by T. De Witt Talmage

T. DeWitt Talmage
Matt. 11:5

"Doctor," I said to a distinguished surgeon, "do you
not get worn out with constantly seeing so many wounds
and broken bones and distortions of the human body?"
"Oh, no;" he answered, "all that is overcome by my joy
in curing them." A sublimer or more merciful art never
came down from heaven than that of surgery.
Catastrophe and disease entered the earth so early
that one of the first wants of the world was a doctor.
Our crippled and agonized human race called for
surgeon and family physician for many years before
they came. The first surgeons who answered this call
were ministers of religion, namely, the Egyptian
priests. And what a grand thing if all clergymen were
also doctors, all DDs were MDs, for there are so many
cases where body and soul need treatment at the same
time, consolation and medicine, theology and
therapeutics. As the first surgeons of the world were
also ministers of religion, may these two professions
always be in full sympathy! But under what
disadvantages the early surgeons worked, from the fact
that the dissection of the human body was forbidden,
first by the pagans and then by the early Christians!
Apes, being the brutes most like the human race, were
dissected, but no human body might be unfolded for
physiological and anatomical exploration, and the
surgeons had to guess what was inside the temple by
looking at the outside of it. If they failed in any
surgical operation they were persecuted and driven out
of the city, as was Archagathus because of his bold
but unsuccessful attempt to save a patient.

But the world from the very beginning kept calling for
surgeons, and their first skill is spoken of in
Genesis, where they employed their art for the
incisions of a sacred rite, God making surgery the
predecessor of baptism; and we see it again in II
Kings, where Ahaziah, the monarch, stepped on some
cracked latticewor ...

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