Theoretically, the homeopath recognizes that hereditary tendencies and the clinical history of the patient modify the course of the disease; practically these facts are used only to explain his failures ; they are not available for two reasons, one is his inability to see in what manner the disease is modified, another is his ignorance of the treatment required by the disease under these conditions.
What is heredity, this ghost of past generations ? Is it a germ, or a spirit, which gives us in one hand, life, in the other, death, in one, strength, in the other, weakness?
We cannot analyse it by any method known to science, yet we know its power and feel its influence in many ways. We can define it only as an endowment of vitality, by which we receive a different measure of endurance in our various bodily functions; one part is strong and resistant, others are weaker, others again are feeble and yield to every assault, the strong remain strong to the last, the weak are frequently deranged.
Experience seems to prove that when sickness comes to its victim, it disturbs first the organs and tissues of the weakest function; and each successive illness, that is not a repetition, will involve another feeble part; thus each experience, from infancy to old age, forms a link in a pathological chain, which, together, constitute the clinical history of that patient, and is a material expression of his hereditary weaknesses.
Show me a child that had eczema or other skin affections, zymotic fevers, etc., in youth, with little else, and I will show you a patient in whom the skin is the weakest member, and each new disease which occurs in after life, except the infections, will begin with some variety of cutaneous symptoms.
Show me a child that had frequent attacks of infantile dyspepsia or diarrhoea, and I will show you one in whom a new disease, developing in aftfer life, will be inaugurated and attended by symptoms of the digestive organs. That this is the manner in which heredity shows itself in constitutional
disorders, to the exclusion of many foims of disease, and a strong predisposition to others.