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16 Now Abstinence is of two kinds, in one of which the patient takes nothing at all, in the other only what he must. The beginnings of diseases require at first hunger and thirst, the actual diseases then moderation, so that nothing but what is expedient, and not too much of that, may be consumed; for it is not at all proper to have surfeit at once after a fast.[p. 185] But if this be not good even in healthy bodies, when some necessity has imposed fasting, how much worse it is in a sick body! To a sufferer nothing is more advantageous than a timely abstinence. Among us intemperate men with regard to their food themselves . . . the times are left to the doctors; again others make a present of the times to their medical men, but reserve to themselves as to quantity. They think that they are generous, when they leave them to decide as to all else, and keep free as to the kind of food; as if it were a question of what may be yielded to the doctor, not what may be good for the patient, who suffers grievous harm, as often as he transgresses in what he consumes, whether as to the time of the meal, its quantity or its quality.
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