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DELIVERED AT THE INSTANCE OF THE EDINBURGH
MEDICAL MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
EDINBURGH: SUTHERLAND AND KNOX.
LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, AND CO.,
By William P. Alison, M.D., F.R.S.E., Professor
of the Practice of Physic in the University of
The old accusation of incredulity or indifference on the subject of Religion, so often brought against medical men, ought not to be regarded with indifference, either by them or by the public. If it were true that so large a body of intelligent men, whose education and habits of thought ought to have made them better acquainted than most men with the laws of Nature, and with the method of inquiring into natural truth, have either neglected to inquire into this subject, or are generally dissatisfied with the evidence on which the religious belief of most men rests, the fact would justly demand serious consideration.
Without attempting entirely to absolve the profession from this charge, we may assert, that in so far as it has a foundation, the sceptical tendency of medical men has resulted chiefly from two causes, both of which, we may hope, have diminished, and are likely to diminish farther, with the extension of knowledge and civilisation among mankind. First, The religious profession of a considerable part of mankind has been associated with superstitions, from