Talmage in his Articles on Faith tells the story of a scientist who “proved to his own satisfaction, by chemical and microscopical tests, that the water supply was infected” with cholera then, in a momentary lapse, drank the infected water and died. The moral of the story is that the unsophisticated masses believed and were spared death by cholera, while the intellectual scientist did not have faith sufficient to protect himself. It’s not quite clear to whom he was alluding historically. The most natural suspects are John Snow, parent of modern epidemiology, who famously associated cholera with contaminated water, or Robert Koch, parent of modern microbiology, who isolated the cholera bacillus. Snow died of a stroke, while Koch died of a heart attack.
Does anyone know the source of this Talmage story? Was he merging a broader morality tale with the history of Snow or Koch?
The story is pp 101-2 of the original edition.