Dr. Daniel Hook: Writing His Own Treatment

Dr. Daniel Hook: Writing His Own Treatment

Dr. Daniel Hook (1795-1870) was instrumental in spreading the gospel in Georgia in the mid-nineteenth century. Though he is not as well-known to us today as men like Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone, he helped direct people back to the “ancient order” as “one of the first persons to proclaim the Restoration plea in the Deep South.”

In addition to proclaiming the gospel, he also practiced medicine. The excerpt below describes what he did during the yellow fever epidemic in 1839 in helping others and in dealing with the illness personally.

“In the summer of 1839 a yellow fever epidemic scourged Augusta. Dr. Hook discovered it and remained in town with the stricken. After successfully treating more than 200 patients, and losing only two, he became ill. When he found the fever coming on himself, he sat down on the steps he was ascending to see a patient, and wrote out his own treatment, and directed his driver when he returned to his carriage, to give it to Dr. Johnson (who had adopted his treatment) and tell him to pursue it strictly. He was ill for several weeks, but finally recovered.” (Biographical Sketch on the Life of Dr. Daniel Hook)

After successfully treating so many patients, Dr. Hook knew the treatment that would be most effective in fighting this illness. Knowing that he would be affected by the disease in the same way as everyone else, he understood that he needed the same treatment. Without dealing with the ailment, it is very likely he would have perished from it as others had.

We can make a spiritual application from this. All of us have sinned (Romans 3:23); therefore, we are all headed toward death (Romans 6:23). The remedy for sin – forgiveness through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7) – is found in Him (John 8:24; Romans 6:4-7). Even as Christians, after obeying the gospel, there are still times when we sin and need to seek the Lord’s forgiveness (1 John 1:8-9).

Yet it is often easy to see the sin in other’s lives and ignore our own sin. This was the problem for David after his sin with Bathsheba. When the prophet Nathan confronted him, he told a story of a rich man who stole from a poor man (2 Samuel 12:1-4). David immediately recognized the rich man’s sin and said he was worthy of death (2 Samuel 12:5). Yet this story was meant to illustrate what David had done. So Nathan said, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7). Finally, David saw his sin and recognized his need for God’s forgiveness (2 Samuel 12:13; cf. Psalm 51:1-4); but until then, he was willfully blind to it.

When Dr. Hook became afflicted with yellow fever, he knew he needed the same treatment as all of his patients. When we sin, we need the same “treatment” as everyone else. We need to repent of our sins and seek God’s forgiveness. For the Christian, this will be done through prayer (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9). For the non-Christian, this will include baptism in order to wash his/her sins away (Acts 22:16).

The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Let us not ignore this “disease” in our own lives. As we can see the need for others to deal with their sins, let us recognize the same need in ourselves.

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  1. Wayne D. Teel says

    Good example to use for illustrating our sin. Thanks, Andy.