SUBSECT. I.—Bad Diet a cause. Substance. Quality of Meats.
According to my proposed method, having opened hitherto these secondary causes, which are inbred with us, I must now proceed to the outward and adventitious, which happen unto us after we are born. And those are either evident, remote, or inward, antecedent, and the nearest: continent causes some call them. These outward, remote, precedent causes are subdivided again into necessary and not necessary. Necessary (because we cannot avoid them, but they will alter us, as they are used, or abused) are those six non-natural things, so much spoken of amongst physicians, which are principal causes of this disease. For almost in every consultation, whereas they shall come to speak of the causes, the fault is found, and this most part objected to the patient; Peccavit circa res sex non naturales: he hath still offended in one of those six. Montanus, consil. 22, consulted about a melancholy Jew, gives that sentence, so did Frisemelica in the same place; and in his 244 counsel, censuring a melancholy soldier, assigns that reason of his malady, "he offended in all those six non-natural things, which were the outward causes, from which came those inward obstructions;” and so in the rest.
These six non-natural things are diet, retention and evacuation, which are more material than the other because they make new matter, or else are conversant in keeping or expelling of it. The other four are air, exercise, sleeping, waking, and perturbations of the mind, which only alter the matter. The first of these is diet, which consists in meat and drink, and causeth melancholy, as it offends in substance, or accidents, that is, quantity, quality, or the like. And well it may be called a material cause, since that, as Fernelius holds, “it hath such a power in begetting of diseases, and yields the matter and sustenance of them; for neither air, nor perturbations, nor any of those other evident causes take place, or work this effect, except the constitution of body, and preparation of humours, do concur. That a man may say, this diet is the mother of diseases, let the father be what he will, and from this alone,