An essay on regimen: Together with five discourses, medical, moral, and philosophical: serving to illustrate the principles and theory of philosophical medicin, ... By Geo. Cheyne, ...
Cheyne, George, 1673-1743.

§. 5. UPON the Foot of natural Religion only, and from the strict Rules of natural Justice and Equity, how any one can justify the taking away the Life of a Fellow-Crea|ture, out of Wantonness, Luxury and Riot, and not from Necessity and Self-defence, so long as there may be found sufficient Store of vegetable Food to carry on the Expences of Living, and the more agreeable Performance of the animal Functions; to give a living Creature the greatest Pain it can possibly re|ceive, and take from it the only Happiness it is capable of, viz. its Life, (which none can restore or recompense) merely to scratch cal|lous Organs more sensibly; how, I say, to account for this barbarous and savage Wanton|ness on the foot of mere natural Religion and natural Equity only, without Revelation, I can by no means conceive. That the infi|nitely wise Author and Lawgiver of Nature, who sees through the whole System of Intel|ligences at once, and perfectly knows for what Ends and Purposes he has made them, and sent them here, and is the sole Proprie|tor of Life and Happiness, may dispose of them how he pleases, knows when they have finish'd their probatory and expiatory Course, and is Page  65 able to recompense the Loss of a lower Life, by the Gift of a higher; for it is not impossible, the Animals may have been a lower Order of rational Intelligences, who, lapsing less, are sooner, and with less Suffering, recover'd; and since they suffer with us, they may be restor'd with us; the Apostle says, the whole Creation travelleth together; that is, probably, the whole System of Saturn, the Goal of God's Creation: For Him, I say, to give up the Lives of a lower Rank of Beings, for the Expiation, Instruction, or Admonition, or other Benefit of a higher, may be an Act of great Justice, Wisdom and Goodness. And, if it might be allow'd us to conjec|ture, one wise End and Purpose in this Per|mission of animal Food, might be to punish, admonish and correct us, by bodily Distem|pers, so as to bring us to reflect, repent and amend; or even, to shorten the Time of our Sufferings here, and by the Violence of our Diseases, and a nearer Prospect of Death, and a future Reckoning, to reclaim us sooner and more effectually; and at the same Time to ad|vance these Victims to a higher State of Being and Happiness. Probably for these menti|on'd (but to be sure for wise and good) Ends and Purposes, has God by Revelation given us a Permission, or Patent, for the Use of animal Food: But for fermented Liquors, He has given us none, that I know of; neither are they na|tural, or proper; nor were they ever approv'd Page  66 or recommended for common Use, or as pro|per and ordinary Drink; but only as Physick, or a Cordial, on Festivals, or at Sacrifices, on Sickness, or in Extremities. In the early and innocent Ages of golden Simplicity, no Hint supposes them commonly known or tried. And if fermented and spirituous Liquors were used only as bitter Draughts, Cordials and chalybeat Medicines, to brace and wind up the Stomach, and alimentary Tubes and Solids transiently, for a short Time; on Sickness, Lowness, Fainting, Fatigue, and inclement Sea|sons, as they seem to be intended by the Author of Nature; they might be Blessings, and great temporary and transient Reliefs; but as they are now used constantly at Meals, as common Beverage to dilute solid Food, and to make Persons easy under a Load of high rich ani|mal Food, they become the efficient Causes of most Diseases; and upon the most seri|ous Enquiry, I could never find an adequate natural Cause, for the Frequency of nervous and atrocious chronical Distempers now, from what they were formerly, nor of the Stuntedness, Punyness and Feebleness, so conspicuous among the better Sort, from what they were before the Conquest, and in our Gallic Wars; but the free and frequent Use of strong and spirituous Liquors, and rich and high Foods, with foreign Cookery, at that Time introduced first; and living in great Towns, and using only Coaches and Chairs, Page  67 and sedentary Employments and Diversions. And drinking Water only, and living low, is the only adequate Antidote and Remedy for these Distempers thus produced; for no Axiom is so certain in Physick, as that Diseases must be cured by their Contraries.