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As to the different uses to which wax is applied, in combination with other substances in medicine, we could no more make an enumeration of them than we could of all the other ingredients which form part of our medicinal compositions. These preparations, as we have already1 observed, are the results of human invention. Cerates, poultices,2 plasters, eyesalves, antidotes,—none of these have been formed by Nature, that parent and divine framer of the universe; they are merely the inventions of the laboratory, or rather, to say the truth, of human avarice.3 The works of Nature are brought into existence complete and perfect in every respect, her ingredients being but few in number, selected as they are from a due appreciation of cause and effect, and not from mere guesswork; thus, for instance, if a dry substance is wanted to assume a liquefied form, a liquid, of course, must be employed as a vehicle, while liquids, on the other hand, must be united with a dry substance to render them consistent. But as for man, when he pretends, with balance in4 hand, to unite and combine the various elementary substances, he employs himself not merely upon guesswork, but proves himself guilty of downright impudence.

It is not my intention to touch upon the medicaments afforded by the drugs of India, or Arabia and other foreign climates: I have no liking for drugs that come from so great a distance;5 they are not produced for us, no, nor yet for the natives of those countries, or else they would not be so ready to sell them to us. Let people buy them if they please, as ingredients in perfumes, unguents, and other appliances of luxury; let them buy them as adjuncts to their superstitions even, if incense and costus we must have to propitiate the gods; but as to health, we can enjoy that blessing without their assistance, as we can easily prove—the greater reason then has luxury to blush at its excesses.

1 In c. 49 of this Book.

2 "Malagmata."

3 Fée, at some length, and with considerable justice, combats this assertion; though at the same time he remarks that Pliny is right in calling the attention of the medical world to the use of simple substances.

4 "Scripulatim"—"By scruples."

5 He forgets that many of them could only be produced by the agency of an Eastern sun.

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