"Procul, O Procul Este, Profani."
Selected writings of A. Jackson Howe.
Dr. Howe had many friends and admirers in the dominant school and was perhaps more tolerant of it than the other leaders of Eclecticism. This did not deter him from throwing an occasional dart at the exclusiveness and Pharisaical attitude of some of the old school leaders. The thinly veiled sarcasm of this brief selection is akin to ridicule, and ridicule is declared by Bishop Quayle to be the most effective weapon in bringing people to ways of righteousness. It is safe to say that conversion that "worketh righteousness" is not yet completed in the regular school of medicine.—Ed. Gleaner.
"PROCUL, O PROCUL ESTE, PROFANI."—On the door-plate of a certain church edifice I lately saw the Latin quotation placed at the head of this squib. The famous protocol constitutes the 257th line of Book VI of Virgil's Aenead, and may be rendered as follows:
"Stand aside, ye unsanctified." Literally the words mean, "Be off, O be gone, ye unitiated." Upon inquiry I found the church was a "close communion Baptist."—the application of the phrase being that the profane and unregenerate were not wanted inside, or until they became fit to be seated in the sanctuary.
An allopathic college has recently adopted the same motto for a heading to its diplomas. A recipient of one of these emblazoned sheepskins asked me in all seriousness what the quotation signified. I assured him that the figure-head was both classical and ornamental; that when Aeneus entered the Infernal Regions he, being by birth part celestial, could visit the realms of departed spirits, but his companions, being simply mortals, were ("este procul profani") commanded to stand aside. Now, as "regular physicians are lineal descendants of Aesculapius—an unquestioned semi-celestial—I do not see why the graduates of allopathic colleges should not warn the profane against entering their heathen temples. It is highly proper that they should place over the entrances to their mysterious abodes, Procul, O procul este, profani; and then, on the gateway leading out, have lettered the following: "Descensus Averni facile est." To enter sheol is easy, but to get out again is hellish hard. Every callow alumnus would be proud of the learning displayed.—HOWE, Eclectic Medical Journal, 1887.
The Biographies of King, Howe, and Scudder, 1912, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M. D.