According to the testimony of all ages, no occupation is more unanimously declared to be a conjectural art than medicine; consequently none has less right to refuse a searching enquiry as to whether it is well founded than it, on which man’s health, his most precious possession on earth, depends.
I consider that it redounds to my honour that I am the only one in recent times who has subjected it to a serious honest investigation, and has communicated to the world the results of his convictions in writings published, some with, some without my name.
In this investigation I found the way to the truth, but I had to tread it alone, very far from the common highway of medical routine. The farther I advanced from truth to truth, the more my conclusions (none of which I accepted unless confirmed by experience) led me away from the old edifice, which, being built up of opinions, was only maintained by opinions.
The results of my convictions are set forth in this book.
It remains to be seen whether physicians, who mean to act honestly by their conscience and by their fellow-creatures, will continue to stick to the pernicious tissue of conjectures and caprice, or can open their eyes to the salutary truth.
I must warn the reader that indolence, love of ease and obstinacy preclude effertive service at the altar of truth, and only freedom from prejudice and untiring zeal qualify for the most sacred of all human occupations, the practice of the true system of medicine. The physician who enters on his work in this spirit becomes directly assimilated to the Divine Creator of the world, whose human creatures he helps to preserve, and whose approval renders him thrice blessed.