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August 15, 1891

THE BENEFICENCE OF DISEASE.Read in the Section of State Medicine, at the Forty-second Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association, Washington, D. C., May 5, 1891.

JAMA. 1891;XVII(7):250-254. doi:10.1001/jama.1891.02410850014001c

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Abstract

The first thought which this title suggests to the unreflective mind is, that it is in conflict with the almost universally popular belief that disease is an independent, active principle or entity, the result of sin—a penalty for the transgression of some physiological or sanitary law—which is identified with the punishment of our first parents for partaking of the forbidden fruit; a belief which, logically considered, without any conception of organic structure, would imply that man, as originally constituted, was intended to occupy this world forever.

That disease was unknown in the world before the fall of Adam, is only equally true with the statement that so was all knowledge of the concerns of mankind unknown.

It is not my purpose to analyze the sacred record with regard to such special manifestations and miracles as appear to have been adapted by the Creator to the comprehension of man in his

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