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Here we see, they whispered, and pronounced the sentence of death upon him ; imagining, that he neither observed nor heard them; though in reality he did both. But the same thing is yet more clearly and incontestably set forth in Pfalm xxxviii. ver. 12.
They also that sought after my life, laid Snares for me : and they that went about to do me evil, talked of wickedness, and imagined deceit, all the day long. :
13. As for me, I was like a deaf man, and beard not ; and as one that is dumb, who doth not open his mouth. ...
14. I became even as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.
FROM all these symptoms and circumItances now recounted, all which unite and combine in the small-pox, and in no other distemper, that we know of, I think we may fairly conclude, that this was the evil distemper under which David laboured, when a dangerous domestic conspiracy was formed against him *. What that confpiracy was,
* I am well aware of a strong objection, that lies against this account ; viz. That the small-pox was not known in the world till about eleven hundred years ago.
(for we hear only of one) and how it was carried on, will be seen in the next chapter,
I answer, That neither was the other infection, charged upon him, known in the world till much later ; and therefore, if this objection be strong against the smallpox, it is much stronger against the other.
I shall only add, That the history of this distemper, in the accounts left us of Yob and David, might have been a very proper trial of faith, in those ages, where no such distemper was known; as it is now a just confirmation of our faith, and a rational ground for believing the truth of these histories, which relate events, now ordinary and indisputable ; which yet, for many ages, were credible only to that faith, which is the evidence of things not seen, because altogether extraordinary and inexplicable. But it is objected, that David's distemper is characterized by many symptoms and circumstances, which cannot be referred to the small-pox; particularly, pains in the bones, and ulcers in the loins. I answer, That distempers are often complicated, perhaps beyond any thing that can well be computed, either from the principles of phyfic, or the observations of physicians, David had undergone great hardships in his youth ; had lain long and often in camps and caves; and it is no uncommon thing, with men of that character, to feel pains and aches in their bones, in their advanced years ; and it is possible, that these pains and aches might have been attended with ulcers in his kidneys. The same effects might possibly arise from many other causes, which I cannot pretend to determine or pronounce
But it is objected, That David fpeaks of his fickness in the present tense, as if he wrote his Psalms when he was actually under it; which was impossible to be done in the small-pex,
When I had proceeded thus far, I judged it proper to submit this dissertation to the perufal of a very learned and judicious phyfician ; whose candour I relied upon, to be informed, whether any objection lay against this account of yob's and David's distemper, besides those mentioned in the last notes, His answer was, That he apprehended, if Fob's distemper was not altogether supernatural, that it might be the elephantiasis ; and referred me, for further information, to Areteus's account of that distemper ; which accordingly I have considered with all the care I could ; and find, there are many symptoms in which these diseases agree ; and yet they are, upon the whole, very different.
The elephantiasis, and fmall-pox, are both infectious distempers ; and men often fly from their nearest friends, when infected
I anfwer, That no licence is more familiar to poets, than speaking of things past, in the present tense ; especially when the description is enlivened, as it very often is, by so doing. And I think, there is a particular beauty in describing distempers in that manner; because it makes the diftrefs present to the reader ---- Besides that several passages in the thirty-eighth Pfalm plainly refer to a time past ; particularly the 11th, 12th, and 13th verses
by them : the body is swelled, and the skin is broken, in both, and the breath tainted ; and both are attended, at certain periods, with intense itchings ; and both are vexed with disturbed and frightful dreams (as all feverish disorders are) : and the small-pox is sometimes attended with a difficulty of breathing, as the elephantiasis always is with a kind of strangling: so far they agree. But here they differ : the elephantiasis never breaks out thro' all the skin at once, as the small-pox does; it begins with a burning in the bowels, and next appears in the face, which it swells, burnishes, and brightens; and from the moment it appears there, it is absolutely mortal ; nor did any human creature ever survive it. In the elephantiasis, the eyes are cloudy, and become of a brassy colour ; and the brows swelled, and let down over the çyes, like those of an angry lion. In the small-pox, the eye-lids are closed and conglutinated, and the eyes not clouded, byt absolutely darkened, as Job's were,
In the elephantiass, the soles of the feet are cracked, but no boils, either there or on the crown of the head, as yob had, and as iş common in the small-pox. In the ele
phantiasis, the patients are slothful and sleepy, from the beginning to the end : Job's distemper was sleepless and restless, as the small-pox often is.
Job's distemper was attended with vomiting, with pains in his back, with loathing of food, and loss of skin : all these are attendants upon the small-pox, bút unknown to the elephantiasis.
Job indeed complains of wrinkles, and it is certain, that the elephantiass wrinkles the fkin ; but he complains, in the same breath, of being lean and withered * ; whereas, in the elephantiass, there is an universal swelling: and therefore it is reasonable to conclude, that this leanness, and these wrinkles of yob's were the effects of his forrows, antecedent to that fickness, with which Satan smote him.
It were easy to add more proofs to the fame purpose ; but, I hope, those I have already urged, will be thought sufficient to evince, that yob's distemper was not the elephantiass.
* Job xvi. 8.