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DISC. " evil; but he that is of a merry heart "hath a continual feast. A A merry heart "doth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones." To these pasfages may be fubjoined a very fine one from the book of Ecclefiafticus, written in the fpirit and ftyle of Solomon-" Give not "over thy mind to heaviness, and afflict not thyself in thine own counsel. The glad"nefs of the heart is the life of man, and "the joyfulness of a man prolongeth his days. Love thine own foul, and comfort "thine heart, remove forrow far from thee: " for forrow hath killed many, and there is "no profit therein. Envy and wrath fhort"en the life, and carefulness bringeth age "before the time ".'
It is evidently intended, in these sentences, to discountenance a gloomy, discontented cast of mind, and to recommend, in it's ftead, that habit of being pleased ourselves, and of pleasing others, which is beft expreffed, in English, by the word cheerfulness: I fay
a Ecclus. xxx. 21.
babit, because herein it ftands diftinguished DISC. from thofe tranfient flashes of merriment, which are often fucceeded by an answerable depreffion of spirits, and are therefore, by our author, in another place, compared to "the crackling of thorns under a pot;" they blaze for a moment, and expire for ever; whereas cheerfulness is even and constant; though it blaze lefs, it warms more, and has been very properly called the funfhine of life.
The obligations we lie under to cultivate this happy temper of mind, affect us, fome, as we are men; others, as we are Chriftians.
The first argument in favour of cheerfulness fhall be drawn from the eminent service it is capable of rendering to the body. What powers the foul will poffefs, or how she will exert them, in a feparaté state, we cannot tell. During her union with the body, she makes ufe of it as an inftrument, and is therefore much concerned to keep it in order, that her own operations may
DISC. not be impeded. To do this, she cannot take a more effectual way, than to establish and preserve in herself a cheerful difpofition. The influence which the mind hath upon the body is well known; infomuch that the writers upon health and long life never fail to take the paffions into confideration, of which, they tell us, that the more fudden and violent ones produce acute diseases, and the flow and lafting ones thofe which are ftyled chronical. Among thefe latter, it is certain, that no one is more prejudicial to the health of the body, than grief, when long indulged, and fettled into a habit, whatever may have been it's cause, great or little, real or imaginary. It contracts and enfeebles the animal fpirits, preys upon the ftrength, and eats out the vigour of the constitution; the radical moisture is confumed, and the unhappy subject of this paffion droops like a flower in the scorching heat of fummer. A broken fpirit," fays Solomon in the words following those of the text, "drieth the bones." And what is worst of all, it prevents the good effects of thofe
those medicines, which it renders neceffary. DISC. On the other hand, a cheerful difpofition of mind always feconds the endeavours of the physician for the fervice of the body, and will do half the work in the cure of a diftemper. It dilates and invigorates the animal spirits, quickens the fluids, repairs the folids, and maketh the bones fat. Such extenfive influence, in the little world of man, as well as in the larger one of creation, do the fuperior parts exert upon those which are inferior. Let "the heavens rejoice," and " the earth will be glad." He, therefore, who would enjoy health while he lives, and live long to enjoy it, must learn to be cheerful.
Nor, fecondly, does cheerfulness bear an afpect lefs friendly on the mind itself, which by melancholy is dejected and broken, and becomes unfit for the performance of it's functions. Under the dominion of fuch a temper, a man finds himself unable to bear up against the evils of life, or to taste it's bleffings, poured in ever so great a profufion G 3
DISC. around him. He cannot be a partaker of the light which shineth upon others, but walketh on ftill in darkness. "All his days are evil." The duties of his station are unperformed; he can neither be of fervice to his brethren, nor help himself. His judgment is perplexed and confounded; it is difficult for him to make a refolution, and
still more so to keep it. His imagination is