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Letters from an Ancient Mind

My dear young friend,

Your question reminds me of a child in the market place. All things are lovely; many are sweet – and when asked which he would have, the answer is, “all.” So I am with the achievements of your time.

But of all the wonders you have described to me, the greatest temptation is anesthetics. The thought that one might live without pain is indeed a temptress like no woman who ever lived. I wonder if you have considered what this must do to your people in your time.

We are quite capable of being without pain – enough wine will achieve the same effect. But one cannot go about one’s daily tasks while drunk. That one could do the work and not feel the pain – what a marvel!

Is it wise, I wonder, that you use such things? With naught but wine we have drunkards in abundance. Is it not the case that you have many more whose lives now center upon these remedies? The drunkard abuses God’s gift of wine; you have so much more to abuse, I fear the abuse must be much greater.

This is of great peril to the Christian. Pain is the Christian’s friend, like it or not. Did not our Lord himself suffer greatly? How then should we begin to deny pain to ourselves? The servant is not greater than the Master.

Indeed, is it not so that pain is the alarm of the body? When pain strikes, do you not go immediately to the physician? Now if this is so with your body, how much more with your spirit? When your spirit is in pain, should you not go immediately to our Lord for healing?

If you remedy your bodily pain with these anesthetics, you postpone the cure. So it is with the spiritual pain as well. If these wonders do all that you say, then there must be many who postpone the cure of their spiritual ills as well. Death happens to all. If a man takes no thought for his spiritual ills because of your anesthetics, he may postpone the cure beyond hope.

I called your anesthetics a temptress. The smile of a maid may lead to honorable marriage or sin. So it is with this as well.

In wonderment,

Isaac the Alchemist

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