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HEALTH. AN ESSAY ON ITS NATURE, VALUE, UNCER­TAINTY, PRESERVATION AND BEST IMPROVEMENT.

By B. GROSVENOR, D. D.

The THIRD EDITION.

BOSTON: Printed by D. and J. KNEELAND, opposite to the Prison in Queen-Street, for J. WINTER, in Union-Street. MDCCLXI.

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TO Dr. Joseph Eaton, OF THE College of PHYSICIANS LONDON.

SIR,

MY Aim in this Address to You, is, to discharge some part of that Obli­gation I am under, to Your tender Care, & most friendly Assistance, to me & my Family; to let the World know how much You have been my Friend, and [Page] the Pleasure I take in owning my­self to be Yours.

SO often as we have put the Conduct of our Health into Your Hands, and so often as you have been blessed and succeeded; after paying our Vows to God, the next thing ought to be Gratitude to the Instrument of Providence in so great a Blessing.

BY this Means I have found out a way of fastning an Acknowledg­ment upon You, without leaving it in Your Power to refuse me. For that Reason I have broke in upon You thus, without asking Permission; if there be any Fault in that, it is owing to the utter Impatience I am under, of being always obliged.

[Page] THIS Present I make You is something agreeable to Your Pro­fession. Your Province is to re­store and maintain Health, my Undertaking is to improve it. May I be as successful in the one, as Your Care and Skill, Your Tenderness, Integrity and Dili­gence, have been in the other; and may all the agreeable Quali­ties, that made one of Your Pro­fession of old be called The Be­loved Physician, abound in You. These are Wishes becoming

Your most obliged, and most humble Servant, B. GROSVENOR.
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THE PREFACE.

THE pestilential Diseases that have of late Years walked their Rounds in Germany, Poland, Prussia, Pomerania, Hungary, Ham­burgh, and some Parts of France, made us all very apprehensive for the public Health of our own Country. Proclamations were in­deed issued out for a strict Performance of the Quarantains, but the Impatience of Restraint, so natural to [...]he English, the Carelesness of Officers, and the Avarice of those who usually oversee the Execution of such Orders, render those Precautions less effectual among us; less to be depended on, and consequently the distin­guishing Providence of God the more conspi­cuous.

We were alarmed afresh, by the Mortality among our Cattle, a Judgment that had gone over all Europe, and for which there did not [Page] seem to be any human Remedy. We feared it was the Prelude to some greater and more ter­rible Devastation; but the Lord at length said to the destroying Angel, it is enough, stay now thine Hand.a

I was excited by these Providences, to re­view and put in order some Thoughts I had laid together upon the Importance of Health, its Precariousness, and its best Improvement.

The World agrees in the Valuation of this Blessing, and have a general Sense of its brittle Nature; and therefore I pretend not to make Discoveries, but to make Impressions, if I can, and to recommend that Use and Im­provement of Health, without which it is indeed a Reproach upon any one to pretend to know that it is a Blessing so important and so vanishing.

There is a great deal writ about the Pre­servation of Health. It is for the Service of Health, that Men have travelled, studied, spent their Time, laid out their Money, their Strength, and even Health itself, in the Pur­suit of Health: and yet after all, the Im­provement of this Health, is of greater Im­portance than the thing itself. Health, though a very great Blessing, is not for its own sake, but for some farther and nobler End. It is [Page] to be regretted, that the most delectable, most diffusive, and most esteemed Blessing in Nature, should be the least improved, or not directed to its most excellent Purposes.

The Missionary tells us, that when all the Books in China were ordered to be burnt by the Emperor Chiohamti, those in Physic were preserved by a peculiar Exception. b As if the Whole Duty of Man was only curare cuti­cuiam, to keep the Body in good Case, and to study nothing but how to be well.

Pindar has a bold Stroke, speaking in the Praise of Health: A Man (says he) that is in good Health, rich in Honour, and en­joys it all to a good Old Age, need not trouble himself about being a God.c I wish this were nothing but Poetry, Fiction, and Invention all, without any Example of any Character formed, or Lives led upon the same Sentiments. I wish the Profaneness of the Turn were to be found no where but in the Poet, or that the Men of Riches, Health, and Honour, were so mended since his Days, as that those three things were not indeed to them instead of all that was divine. But, oh Pin­dar! will Health do instead of Immortality and eternal Life? Is there any Receipt for Immortality but this, that my Subject commu­nicates [Page] to the World? viz. the best Improve­ment of this best of Blessings? Having mentioned Health, Wealth, and Honour, dost thou leave us there? Will it do any Harm to go farther, and to the charming Ideas of Health, Wealth, and Honour, join the Epithet of eternal? I can no more be satisfied with any thing that I know must come to an End, than I can be easy in thinking that my own Being would do so. Why not aspire to be Divine, though not to be a God? Why dost thou stop short of that Health, those durable Riches and Honours, for the sake of which only, it was worth our while to have been born, and for the actual Enjoyment of which, it is at any time worth our while to die?

After all that is or can be said of Health, its highest Elogium is, that it is the greatest temporal Blessing, and enters as the chief In­gredient into [...]he Happiness of this Life. If you will carry it any farther, you must render it serviceable to the Purposes of an eternal Life.

This is what I endeavoured to do in this Treatise, in a manner that I know no Body has done before, among a great many Things writ­ten on the Subject of Health in general, or with particular Intentions. Treatises have been writ with a particular View to the Pre­servation [Page] of the Health of Princes, d Scholars, e Soldiers, f Sailors, g Travellers, h and lately of the Diseases incident to several sorts of Arti­ficers.i But I know of no Body that has con­sidered this Subject in this View and Intention, neither Divine nor Physician, nor handled in this Way the moral Improvement of it. k

Though it is certain Health, with all its Advantages, is not more important to the Body, than the Improvement of it is to the whole Man.

Why should one Part only be studied for? When any new Discoveries toward the Preser­vation of Health, are so welcomed into the World, Why should not an Essay towards the best Improvement of it, be kindly received?

[Page] I am sensible the Order of some Parts of this Essay might have been better disposed, and how much it might have been enriched and improved by Persons of greater Acquaintance with that sort of Learning that borders up­on the Subject. Nay, I am ready to think, that I could have made it more compleat myself, since the improvements I have recei­ved, and the Addition made to the little Knowledge I had before of the Human Structure, from the entertaining Lectures of the most obliging Mr. Cheselden; in whom I know not which to admire most, the Exquisiteness of his Skill, or the easy, frank, and generous Manner of his commu­nicating of it to the Curious. But my other Affairs would not permit me to write that Part over again, and so I let it go with such Amendments as I could conveniently insert. The Learned that way do not need, and others won't miss it. What I have produced, I judge sufficient to illustrate that Chapter which contains this Proposition, that Health for a considerable Time is a wonderful thing; that it is not to be depended upon.

This would lead me to that part of a Pre­face which I have always thought might best of all be spared: that is, a mighty Solicitude about the Reception of a Piece into the World. But I shall spare myself and Reader any far­ther [Page] Trouble than only to say, that when a Man has endeavoured to oblige a few Friends, and do a little Good in his own Manner and Way, and committed all to the Blessing of God, he ought to be content with Neighbour's Fare, and must submit to the Way of the World.

I cannot conclude without congratulating my native Country upon the Health and Vigour that now fills the Throne, and stands round about it. Our Sovereign and the Royal Fa­mily, are so much the greater Blessings to these Kingdoms, as they are formed for Government, by the Capacity and Princely Virtues of their Minds, and bring the Force of Constitutions not enervated by Luxury and Sloth, to the steady Administration of Affairs. Now for a Conduct that shall raise Great-Britain to the Figure it ought to make in the World! Long may the Helm of this State, and the Balance of Europe, be in such an Hand. We shall feel ourselves well in the Health of our Princes, and that same Steddy, which has so long been wanting to our Counsels, shall re­trieve the Honour and Glory of the Happiest People in the World.

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A TREATISE OF HEALTH.

CHAP. I. Of the Nature of Health.

IT is observ'd in the Nature of Light, that tho' it be the most familiar to us of any Thing in the World, and That by which we see every Thing else, yet it is so un­known to us in itself, and hardly to be defin'd. So it is in the Matter of Health, which is the Light and Order of the little World: We better know when we are well, than we know properly what it is to be so. I believe it is for this Reason that the [Page 2] Sons of Art, who are the Tutelar Guardi­ans of our Health, are so sparing in their Definitions of what it is their Profession to restore and maintain.

Pythagoras calls it Harmony, a but does not descend into the Particulars of which it consists. 'Tis observ'd of him, that he gives the same Name to Virtue, which is indeed the Health of the Soul, as Health is the Harmony of the Body. Harmony was with him one of the Names of the Deity; so that this Word Harmony, seems to have been a darling Word with him, which he gave to several good Things. But by Harmony in this Case, he seems to intend, a right Proportion, Quantity, and Temperature of all the Fluids; Soundness and Strength in all the Solids, to perform their Functions; and to render it complete, a Mind fit to direct all the Motions that obey the Will; which is, in a Word, the Universal Rectitude of the Animal OEconomy.

All Things are now in their natural Or­der: The just Measures of the unerring Pulse, the circulating Humours, and the moving Airs or Spirits, are all undisturbed.

This is that E [...]kr [...]asia, that good Tem­perature, and fitting Conformation, of all the Parts to their several Uses. This is [Page 3] Plato's Symmetry of Constitution, wherein he makes Health to consist; to which he adds, That Sickness arises from the breaking of that just Proportion of the Humours and Qualities in the Constitution; which is the same Thing, I suppose, with what others mean by the proper Mixture of Moist and Dry, Hot and Cold.b

There are so many Things go to make up Health, the want of any one of which would destroy it, that a Description of Health may be very long, and yet very de­fective. Philosophers and Physicians both run mightily upon the Notion of a Balance of Humours, the due Temperament of all the Qualities, a Sort of Geometry in our Composition, which is destroyed by a Re­dundancy or Defect in any of the particu­lar Parts.c

Hippocrates's Account of it is, when the Humours, Spirits, and Solids, of the Body are in their Natural State, while they ba­lance one another in Quality, Quantity, and due Mixture. On the contrary, Sickness is, when the Quantity of either of these is less or more than it should be, or when any [Page 4] of these Humours are discharged from their proper Place, upon any particular Part of the Body,d which amounts to the same.

As our Knowledge in the Animal OEconomy has improv'd, so have the Ac­counts of this Matter been more accurate; and now we are told, ‘That Life it self, so far as it respects the Body, is, in one Word, the Circulation of the Blood, that is, its Motion in conical distractile Vessels, from the Heart to the extreme Parts of the Body, and its Return to the Heart again, by the same Canals inverted: And it is upon this that all Animal Functions, all Sense and Motion, voluntary and in­voluntary, do depend; so that the Re­gularity of this Course is the Measure of Health, or most perfect Life; as its vari­ous Irregularities are the Occasions of Sicknesses and Diseases, or a Beginning of Death.e

Tho' here it must be observ'd, that Life does not consist in the Circulation of the Blood only; for there is no Part but will lose its Motion and Sense, as certainly, by obstructing the Nerve that leads to it, as it will by Obstructions in the Blood Vessels: So that Life and Health seem to depend [Page 5] upon both. Stop the Nerves to the Heart, and it would as soon lose its Motion, as the Brain would, if its Blood Vessels were stopp'd.* So that here is such a perfect Dependence upon the Motions of each other, that neither could begin first, but must necessarily be set a going, and kept in Motion, by a superior Agent, viz. that Power, in whom we live, and move, and have our Being.

The Degree of this Health is always in Proportion to the Regularity of this Motion: A Man may be in Health that is not Ath­letic, which is the most perfect and highest Degree of it.

When a lively Vigour possesses every Part, and actuates the Whole; when the Juices, Humours, and Spirits, without Obstruction, flowing in their proper Chan­nels; and the other Parts of the Body of a firm and lasting Tone, and in their na­tural State perform their several Functions, agreeably to the whole animal OEconomy, with Ease and Pleasure; this is Health in Perfection, or highest Degree. A Man may be said to be in Health without be­ing so happy as this comes to. There are [Page 6] Measures (as I said) of Health, which may be thrown into the following Scale of De­grees, and compose a Sort of Hygiometer:

  • ATHLETIC;
  • Moderate Health;
  • Declining;
  • Nearer Health than Sickness;
  • Nearer Sickness than Health;
  • SICKNESS;
  • Mending, or Convalescence;
  • Nearer Sickness than Health;
  • Nearer Health than Sickness;
  • Moderate Health;
  • ATHLETIC.
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CHAP. II. Of the great Value and Blessing of Health.

‘SOME Writers in casting up the most desirable good Things of Life, have given them this Rank, Health, Beauty and Riches; of the first, (says Sir William Temple) I find no Dispute, but of the two others, much may be said. For Beauty is a Good that makes others happy rather than ones self; and how Riches should claim so high a Rank, I cannot tell, when so great, so wise, so good a Part of Mankind, have in all Ages shewn, that they could be happy without them, and made it part of their Wisdom and Happiness that they knew how to be so. But Health is so necessary to what we call temporal Happiness, that the greatest and wisest of Men have al­ways been ready to own it to be, not only an Ingredient, but the very Foun­dation of it.f

[Page 8] Were I to deliver the Scale of the Blessings of this Life, according to the Place they hold in my Mind, it should be in this Order; a peaceful Conscience, my Time, Health, Learning and Knowledge, Liberty, Temper, or Self-government, Friendship, and Riches. First, a good and peaceful Conscience; to have every Thing within, serene and calm; and tho' I grant this does also belong to the List of spiritual Blessings, yet it is so necessary to our tem­poral Enjoyment of Life, that without it, every Thing else must needs be embitter'd and spoil'd. Next to that I must value my Time: because nothing can be enjoy'd without Time to enjoy it in; and because of what depends upon the Improvement of it, for both Worlds; besides, when 'tis gone, it is an irrecoverable Thing, and e­very Thing in this World vanishes with it. The next Blessing in Value and Excellence is Health. This is necessary to the perfect Enjoyment of a Man's self, and of every Thing about him, you can name after it. Knowledge and Learning ought to be men­tioned next: Health and Learning make the Philosophers happy Men. Thales gave this for Answer to the Question, Who was the happy Man? He (says he) that has a healthful Body, and a learned Mind. g And [Page 9] now it is Time to mention Liberty. Health and Liberty are Blessings pretty much of a Size. Without Health we could not enjoy Liberty, nor without Liberty, Health. The publick Vows of the Roman People joined them together, as appears by the Inscrip­tions. One would think that a Man with a good Conscience, and healthful Body and a learned Mind, might, even without fair Liberty, make a Shift not to be miserable. On the other Hand, there are, to whom Liberty appears a greater Blessing than Life it self. The Decision here will very much depend upon the Degrees of Restraint taken into the Case. The next in my Order should be what we call Temper; that Equanimity that preserves our inward Tran­quility from lying at the Mercy of every cross Accident or Disappointment. By this a Man is said to possess himself; has a Se­cret within himself for a calm Serenity in the foulest Weather, and for his Soul to dwell at Ease in the Midst of Trouble. By this Temper we farther mean that Benevo­lence or Benignity of Disposition which is the Principle of all that Delight, which the Generous conceive in doing Good to Man­kind, and making those about them pleased and easy; and is the secret Charm or At­tractive of that Good-will from others, with which it seldom fails to be rewarded. The [Page 10] next Rank in the Ingredients of temporal Happiness I would assign to Friendship: Nothing does so much improve and mul­tiply a Blessing to one's own Enjoyment, as the having some Body to impart it to, and communicate Indearments with. Ho­race reckons Friendship next to Health;

Nil ego praetulerim jucundo sanus amico.

And then in the last Place Riches: Not meaning thereby the over-grown, the un­wieldy, the cumbersome Wealth, wherein Man's Life does not consist; but by Riches, I mean such a Competency of the good Things of Life as a Man has always been accustomed to, and may answer reasonable Desires, and furnish out for the Enjoyment of the Blessings already mentioned. And whether Riches in this Sense must have a Place in the Account of temporal Blessings, is a Question that must be very odly stated indeed, to be answered in the Negative.

Health stands in this Account at the Head of all merely temporal Blessings: And I shall vindicate that Place to it from the absolute Necessity of it, both to the Services and Enjoyments of Life; and shall farther illustrate the Value of Health from its Serviceableness to the Purposes of Reli­gion, and from the Miseries of the contrary State of Sickness, and the general Consent of the World.

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SECT. I. The Value of Health from the Necessity of it to the Services of Life.

IF we were all Body, there could be no greater Blessing than this. The Enter­prize, the Pursuit, the Finishings, of the great and useful Affairs of Life, are owing to this. Stately Buildings, flourishing Arts and Sciences, learned Researches and Com­posures; the Hurry of thronged Streets, the Business of the Exchange; victorious Arms, assiduous Counsels and Negotiations of Princes, the Spoils of War, or of Navi­gation; they all grow out of Health. What a Stagnation does the want of it bring upon all the Operations both of the Body Poli­tick and Natural? With the languid Mo­tion of the Blood, with fainting Spirits, fee­ble Limbs, heavy Pulse, and a sinking Con­stitution, every Thing else sinks and lan­guishes.

Not only particular Persons are disabled by want of Health in their private Affairs; and Families, where the chief Manager has been valetudinary, have dwindled in their Substance and Estate, the Vigour of the Mind decaying with that of the Body; and not only Humour and Invention, but even Judgment and Resolution, so far as con­cerns [Page 12] the active Life, change and languish with the ill Constitution of Body & Health: But Kingdoms themselves are very often affected by the Health or Sickness of those that rule them; and the publick Health and Constitution is very much felt in the Prince's Pulse. Charles IX. King of France, 'twas very much to his weak and sickly Constitution that he owed the Mortification of seeing a sickly and convulsed Kingdom. The Indisposition of Rheuta, the seventh King of Scotland, gave his Nephew such an Opportunity of practising for the Crown, that he was obliged at length to resign.

The Constitution languishes, where the Laws and their Administration are not in­spir'd with Vigour from him that sits at the Helm. Officers of State are the Nerves and Sinews of the publick Body: Where they are not quicken'd by a brisk Spirit that flows down into them from the Head, they are not so likely to exert themselves with that Sureness, Pleasure, & Ease. The publick Felicity so much depends upon this, that all Religions agree in injoining the Duty of praying for Governors; and Christianity, whose Dictates, were they but observed, would promote the Welfare of all Ranks and Orders of Men, both in this Life, and that to come, has in a particular Manner recommended this to every one of [Page 13] its Professors, that they pray for Kings, and for all in Authority. This is never done with so much sincere Vehemency, as when it is for such good Princes as are Ministers of God for Good to their People, a Praise to them that do well, and a Terror only to Evil-doers.

Within these 15 Years past (says Sir William Temple) I have known a great Fleet disabled for two Months, and there­by lose great Occasions, by an Indispo­sition of the Admiral, while he was nei­ther well enough to exercise, nor ill e­nough to leave the Command. I have known two Towns of the greatest Con­sequence lost, contrary to all Forms, by the Governors falling ill in the Time of the Sieges. I have observed the Fate of Campania determine contrary to all Ap­pearances, by the Caution and Conduct of a General, which were attributed by those that knew him to his Age and In­firmities, rather than his own true Qua­lities, acknowledged otherwise to have been as great as most Men of the Age. I have seen the Counsels of a noble Coun­try grow bold, or timorous, according to the Fits of his good or ill Health that managed them, and the Pulse of the Go­vernment beat high or low with that of the Governor; and this unequal Conduct [Page 14] makes Way for great Accidents in the World: Nay, I have often reflected upon the Counsels and Fortunes of the greatest Monarchies, rising and decaying sensibly with the Ages and Healths of the Princes and chief Officers that govern'd them. And I remember one great Minister that confest to me, when he fell into one of his usual Fits of the Gout, he was no longer able to bend his Mind or Tho'ts to any publick Business, nor give Audi­ences beyond two or three of his own Domesticks, though it were to save a Kingdom; and that this proceeded not from any Violence of Pain, but from a general Languishing and Faintness of Spirits, which made him in those Fits think nothing worth the Trouble of one careful and sollicitous Thought: For the Approaches or Lurking of the Gout, the Spleen, or the Scurvy, nay, the very Fumes of Indigestion, may indispose Men to Thought and to Care, as well as Dis­eases of Danger and Pain.

Thus Accidents of Health grow to be Accidents of State; and the publick Constitutions come to depend in a great Measure upon those of particular Men: Which makes it perhaps seem necessary in the Choice of Persons for great Im­ployments (at least such as require con­stant [Page 15] Application and Pains) to consider their Bodies at well as their Minds, and Ages & Health as well as their Abilities.h

Plato, in his Commonwealth, brings in Socrates quoting the Authority of AEscu­lapius, That a Valetudinary was not to be admitted to the Administration of publick Affairs, for the same Reasons already laid down; for (as Sir William Temple farther observes) great Generals and Ministers of State in the Times and Scenes of great Action, have upon them the Care of the State or of an Army; a Care that ought to be as constant as the Chymick Fire, to make any great Production; and if it goes out for an Hour, perhaps the whole Ope­ration fails. Now a Person whose Nature and Constitution is sickly, is not capable of such constant Application of Thought. Besides, none that feel sensibly the Decays of Age, or Sickness, and his Life wearing off, can figure to himself those imaginary Charms in Riches or Praise, that Men are apt to do in the Warmth of their Blood; and those are the usual Incentives toward the Attempt of great Dangers, & Support of great Trouble and Pains.i

[Page 16] Upon this Account I suppose it was, that among the other Qualities of that great Minister of State, De Wit, the great Care he had of his Health, and the little Regard he had to his Life, were not the least con­siderable.

Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, was one of the greatest Soldiers of his Time, an enter­prizing Prince, meditating vast Designs; as some Passages in his Life, that are very well known, give a pleasant Account of. He knew to how little Purpose the best Talents that could meet in a Commander were like to be without Health; and there­fore upon the Days of the most solemn Sa­crifices and Prayers, the Blessings that he came into the Temple to implore of the Gods, was [Hygiainein] Health. As the Riches, Honours, and Pleasures of a King­dom would not do without Health, so with it he thought himself capable of procuring all the rest to himself. He built a Tem­ple to Health, and declar'd he would wor­ship no other God nor Goddess; and car­ried the Matter so far, as to insinuate, that if the Gods would but give him Health, he could give himself every Thing else.

The Graecians made it a Goddess: The Sicaonians worshipped the Image of Health, and the Women offer'd their Hair to it; that is, they sacrificed their Ornaments to [Page 17] their Health. And as barbarous as this may seem to be, they that sacrifice their Health to their Ornaments, worship the meaner Idol of the two.

This sort of Idolatry, of making a God­dess of Health, is not to be found only a­mong the Heathen: There is something like it among some that would take it ill not to be called Christians. Pyrrhus built a Temple to Health; so have the Veneti­ans, and instituted an annual Festival to the Publick Health. The Church Della Salute, is a noble Church at Venice, one of those that was the Effect of a Vow, which the State made when they were infected with the Plague.k 'Tis a wise Institution of that Republick, their appointing Magistrates Della Sanita, whose Business it is to take Care of the publick Health, to enjoin Qua­rantains or Purgations upon Ships and Peo­ple coming from Places suspected of the Distemper, who will not so much as per­mit a Letter to be open'd that comes from a suspected Quarter, till it be perform'd. At Pavia they have an Officer called Pub­licae Sanitatis Commissarius & Praeses. These are proper Methods to preserve the publick Health, of which no Government can be too careful; but when we pursue it with [Page 18] superstitious Regards, when we pay it Ho­nours that are due only to the God of Life and Health, when we sacrifice to its Pre­servation our Time, Usefulness, and our very Souls, we provoke God to shew us the Vanity of all our Precautions.

To close this Consideration of the Ne­cessity of Health to the Business and Affairs of Life: When once a Man has taken his Chamber, and begins to reckon it the greatest Happiness in the World if he does but hit upon an easy Posture, or could but relish a little Meat, how willingly, how easi­ly, will he resign, to any that can catch it, the Game of the World that he was in full Chace of before? The Refinements and Intrigues of a Court, the Business of the Exchange, the Operations of the Campaign, and all the other Scenes of Action, or Pros­pects of Preferment? Which, however they had his whole Soul before, he now lifts up his pale Hand, and in a trembling Tone, can say, Lord! how can Men set their Hearts on such Things? Or, as that Lord, Sir Wil­liam Temple speaks of, when languishing and fainting, could think nothing in this World worth a careful and solicitous Thought, nor could apply his Thoughts to Business, though it were to save a Kingdom.

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SECT. II.

WE are next to consider the Value of Health from the absolute Necessity of it to the Enjoyments of Life.

Here it has a great Stroke: It gives a Relish to, and is the Foundation of all the Comforts of Life. If I am sick my self, the World withers, and is blasted to me, as every Thing is spoiled that is poured into tainted Vessel. What is a well-spead Table to a nauseating Sto­mach, or a lost Appetite? Who will re­lish the Pleasures of Drinks must have his Mouth in Taste. Nay, to find any Felicity, or take any Pleasure, in the grea­test Advantages of Honour or Fortune, a Man must be in Health. The World agrees so universally in this, that the first Concern we discover for each other is about our Health: The first Question is, How do you do? This is the first Salutation when we meet; this is the Wish we send to our absent Friends; this begins our Epistles, [Salutem] and this closes them, [Vale;] and has done so, for ought I know, as long as Writing has been in the World. We send Messages and In­quiries with the same Question. 'Tis for this that Men travel into distant Countries, clamber the Alps for Herbs and Plants, hang upon the Out-side of Rocks and Pre­cipices, [Page 20] dive to the Bottom of the Sea, dig into the Bowels of the Earth, exhaust their Spirits in Study, labour at Furnaces; and happy is the Man that can make any Discovery towards the preserving of Health and long Life. He is in a fairer Way of being an Alderman (as one says) than he that can shew the sure Way to Heaven. 'Tis the Value of Health that gives Splen­dor and Riches to some Professions, and finds Business for so many others. 'Twas this that made AEsculapius a God, and the poor Woman in the Gospel a Beggar; for what will a Person think too much to recover Ease, return to the Business, and to enjoy the Pleasure Life.

In a State of Health a Coxcomb may indeed despise Physicians, as a Free-thinker laughs at Religion when he thinks him­self at a good Distance from experimenting the (Grand Peut-êstre, l the Grand May-be of a future State: But when they fall sick, the one has a Respect for the Art, and the other dreads Religion. So when the proud Spaniard is boasting of his Parentage, Wealth, and Accomplishments, another shall answer Proverbially, You will part [Page 21] with it for a Physician, if he can but untwist your Guts when you can't have the Benefit of Nature. m

‘If Riches could always purchase Ease, or if Honours could make Distempers keep their Distance, and force the Gout or Stone to pay Respect to Quality, who would not be covetous, and with Reason? Who would not be ambitious, if Health were at the Command of Power, or could be restored by Honour? But alas! a white Staff will not help gouty Feet to walk better than a com­mon Cane; nor a blue Riband bind up a Wound, so well as a common Fillet: The Glitter of Gold and of Diamonds will but hurt sore Eyes instead of curing them; and an aking Head will be no more eased by wearing a Crown, than a common Night-capn. Croesus him­self when he was sick was a poor Crea­ture. Health is the Soul that animates all the Pleasures of Life, and without it, a Man starves at the best and grea­test Tables, makes Faces at the noblest and most delicate Wines, is poor and wretched in the midst of the greatest Treasures and Fortunes. Without [Page 22] Health Youth loses all its Vigour, Beau­ty all its Charms; the softest Musick, grates in our Ears; Conversation is disagreable; Palaces are Prisons, or of equal Confinement; Riches are useless (as to Enjoyments) Honour and Atten­dance are cumbersome, and Crowns themselves a Burden.’ What Enjoy­ments are there in lower Life, that can subsist in Pain and Sickness? I said, in lower Life, but if Diseases are painful and vio­lent, they equal all Conditions of Life, make no difference between a Prince and a Beggar. ‘A Fit of the Stone or Cho­lick, puts a King to the Rack, and makes him as Miserable as he can do the meanest, the worst and most crimi­nal of his Subjects.’

Princes have been so sensible of this, as to give their Physicians sometimes an Opportunity of making themselves very necessary to them. Dread of Sickness and Pain, well managed, by one who has Skill enough to increase this Distemper, and remove others; will secure the Place not only of a Physician but of a Favorite. Thus Alexander had his Philip Acarnius, and Augustus his Antonius Musa; whose Statue he caused to be set up next to that of AEsculapius. What can be too much for one that is held capable of restoring or [Page 23] preserving of that Health, upon which the Enjoyment of all depends?

Pulchra Valetudo Regno regalior omni.

By this Means, some of them have held Princes themselves in a sort of Subjection to them. Emperors have laid down their Arms at the Instigation of their Physician, whom they durst not offend, because they durst not be sick. The Kings of the Goths, af­ter they had been settled in Italy long enough to wear off their native Roughness, and were softned and polish'd by the Arts and Delights of that Place, they grew pro­portionably solicitous about their Health; and in the Instrument by which they crea­ted their chief Physicians they gave them such Powers, that sufficiently shew what a Value they had for Health, as the Founda­tion of all their Enjoyments. Some part of it was to this Purpose. Use our Pa­lace with all Freedom, to go in and out with full Trust and Liberty; a Privilege, that is sometimes purchas'd at great Rates by other Persons: for tho' others serve by Right of Subjection, your more noble Business is to take care of the Lord of the World. You have full Power to fatigue us with Fastings, to prefer your Judgment to our Inclination, and when it is for our good, to prescribe, altho' it [Page 24] be by Pain and Torture, what may restore us to the Joys of Health. In short, we give you such Power over us as we have over others. o

Lewis XI. King of France, had a most immoderate Passion for Life, and such a Dread of Death, that he forbid the Menti­on of it within his Court, as too harsh and ungrateful a Sound for the Ears of a Prince. He was Extravagant in his De­votion to those Saints, from whom he thought he might obtain long Life. The Legend had told him, that St. Servatius had lived three Ages. He laid out a great deal in adorning the Temple of this long-liv'd Saint; who, because he had lived so long himself, he thought he might be able to procure for him the same Benefit: He flat­ter'd, he pray'd, he would down upon his Knees before Francois de Paule, to prolong his Days; and yet, it is a Question whe­ther he regarded God or the Saints so much in this Matter as he did his Physician, James [Page 25] Cottier, to whom he was a perfect Slave, and entirely at Command, who had a per­fect Empire over him. The King gave him 6000 Crowns a Month, denied him nothing that he asked, he durst refuse him nothing, and was ready to promise any thing if he would but keep off Sickness and Death, at the very Name of which he would cover himself over Head and Ears: Bishop­ricks and Benefices in the Church, and Offi­ces in the State, were disposed of by the Direction of the Physician; for he had told the King, that he knew well enough some time or other, he should be dismissed from the Service as others had been: But I swear by—(says he) you shall not live eight Hours after I am gone.

I shall conclude this Section in the Com­pany of the Poets, who agree, that as to all the Enjoyments of Life a Man must be in Health to make any thing of them, Valeat Possessor oportet. p

Auspicious Health appear'd
Divinely bright,
More soft than Air, more gay than Morning Light.
[Page 26]Propitious Power,
Whose Blessing, Mortals, next to Life implore.
With so much Lustre your bright Looks endear,
That Cottages are Courts when those appear.
Mankind, as you vouchsafe to smile or frown,
Find Ease in Chains, or Anguish in a Crown. q

SECT. III. The Value of Health is farther considerable from its Serviceableness to the Purposes of Religion.

IN all Parts of Religion the Body is a Companion, in some, it must be an Agent; and in those Parts of Religion wherein the Body is employed, it will perform but sor­rily if it be not in Health. Such as read­ing, discoursing, publick Worship; and even Meditation it self, if it be with any degree of Application, or train of Thought, Sickness is indeed very friendly to the Seri­ousness and Spirituality of the Mind, but Health has the Advantage, in two Respects; in respect to the active Part of Religion, and upon account also of the greater Evi­dence [Page 27] there is of the Sincerity of that Re­ligion, which, with sound Health, is not so likely to be the Consequence only of fearful Impressions and Apprehensions of Death. Therefore it has been said, that tho' a sick­ly Body be the best Physician to the Soul, a sound Body was the best Servant to it; or, in my Lord Verulam's Comparison, an healthful Body is serviceable to our travel­ling to Heaven, as it was to the Israelites in the Wilderness, that their Cloths did not wax old upon them, nor their Shoes wax old upon their Feet in their Journey to the Promised Land,r which made them travel with more Safety, Ease, and Expedition.

SECT. IV. The Value of Health appears from the Mis­eries of the contrary State of Sickness.

COntraries do naturally set off and il­lustrate each other. 'Tis a Reproach to our Natures, that we seldom come to a due Knowledge or Value of our Blessings, but by the want of them, an Observation no where truer than in the Case before us: [Page 28] We never set such a Value upon our Health as when we have lost it: Health is never so welcome as when it comes with a Letter of Recommendation from Sickness. To look into an Hospital and see what People there undergo, to regain their Health; or to observe what passes at the Bed-side of a sick Friend; what disrelish to all the Com­forts and Pleasures of Life; nay, and some­times to Life itself? How are all the Senses, and Appetites flatten'd to all the Accommodations & Affairs of Life? What faintings of Spirits? What sickly Qualms of Stomach, and languishment of the whole Frame; the painful Methods of Cure in some Distempers, the restless Inquietude and Uneasiness, the nauseous Draughts, the utter Waste upon all bodily Perfections, making our Beauty consume as a Moth; the Confinement in which we are shut up, from Company, Business or Pleasure; the long Tryals of Patience in all this, besides the Apprehensions of Death and Judgment; the painful and dangerous Operations and Methods of Cure in some Distempers; and all this, and twice as much more, or any thing else, that can be done, for a little Health and Ease, which then is the most valuable Blessing of Life! When his Flesh upon him shall have Pain, and his Soul with­in him shall mourn; when we are made to possess Months of Vanity, and wearisome Nights [Page 29] are appointed to us, we lie down, and say, s when shall we arise and the Night be gone, and are full of Tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the Day t: when in the Evening we wish it were Morning, and in the Morn­ing that it were Evening, and are chastned from Morning to Evening; when we say, our Bed shall comfort us, and our Couch shall ease our Complaint, and yet lie down only to be convinced, that we can rest no where; then we would rise and sit up, but have not Strength to do it; then a little Ease, a little Health, Oh! of how vast a Size does such a Blessing appear? Oh! if God would but give me the most ordinary Degree of it! Time was indeed when nothing would do with me but Pleasure, but now I would be very thankful for a little Ease, a little Health: What can they complain of that are in Health? They that are mad upon Pleasure and Entertainment, and undone if they are not enjoying something, don't know what an Enjoyment I should take mere Health to be, by it self and alone. And yet it may be, this was the very Person who was so prodigal of his Health while he had it, that he flir [...]ed away a great deal of it in Frolick and Carelesness, or sacrificed it to the Gra­tification of Appetite & inordinate Passions.

[Page 30]

SECT. V.

I Shall add one Consideration more, from whence the Value and Worth of this Blessing will farther appear, and that is, from the Esteem the sacred Writings express of it, and the Price put upon it by those, who were above the Danger of over valuing any worldly Blessing, or of marking it down in a wrong Place with an inspired Pen.

And that not only by the Writings of the Old Testament, under which Dispen­sation, Health was a great Ingredient of that temporal Reward that was most plainly promis'd to their Obedience, but in the New Testament also.

How often has this employed the Om­nipotence of Jesus? How many Miracles have been wrought to restore it? How has the Son of God recommended his Person and Message, by scattering this Donative among the People; healing all manner of Diseases; and afterward lent his great Name to his Apostles, to perform the same: Upon this Ground, tha [...] as nothing could more evidence divine Power and Warrant, so you could not do a more obliging Thing to Mankind.

One would hardly expect to find the Ex­pressions of the Valuation of Health rise so high, as in that Wish of the Apostle John, [Page 31] to his beloved Gaius. Beloved, I wish a­bove all Things, that thou mayst prosper and be in HEALTH,u 3 John 2. Gaius was a Person of an excellent Character, and of a great Estate. His Charity to the Brethren, and Hospitality to Strangers. Ver. 5. His generous Assistance of those that went out preaching the Gospel, taking nothing of the Gentiles: Ver. 7. whom he brought forward on their Journey after a godly sort, and who bore Witness of his Charity before the Church; Ver. 6. These Things speak a noble Soul and an excellent Spirit, Thy Soul prospers. Warm Love to God and his Brethren, clear Light and active Graces, gave to his Soul an healthful and vigorous Constitution. He had escaped the common Infection of Riches, i. e. as they encreased he set not his Heart upon them: The Soul, very often, never prospers less than when the Body prospers most: But here the Christian was not lost in the rich Man; the flowing in of this World had not drown'd his Regards to another; it was not with him the Pros­perity of the Fool that destroys, but it was the Prosperity of the faithful & wise Steward, who was resolved to have his Accounts stand well and fair, when ever they should be called for: His Liberality is upon Record [Page 32] elsewhere, as one that kept an open House, not only for the Apostles themselves, but for the Christian Strangers, and the whole Church. Gaius mine Host, and of the whole Church, saluteth you, w and all this with the greatest Integrity, the Grace of all other Graces, and which distinguishes the real Gold of a true Christian from the glitter­ing Tinsel of a pretending Hypocrite, Ver. 5. Beloved, thou dost faithfully whatsoever thou dost to the Brethren and to Strangers, not to be seen of Men, nor to purchase Ap­plause, or serve some mean and low Design, but with sincere Conscience of Duty, and the generous Pleasure of doing Good.

This prosperous Soul, it seems, dwelt in a weak and sickly Body: (Ingenium Gaii male habitabat) therefore the Apostle wishes him Health, that thou mayst prosper and be in Health, even as thy Soul prospereth, as to all things spiritual, as thine Affairs flourish in the World, and thy Soul prospers to­ward Heaven, so may thy Body recover from that feeble and languid State, and may there be as much Health in the one as there is Grace in the other. [...] all Things else are so well with thee, that I have only this to wish, that thy State of Health may be such as may enable thee to [Page 33] exert a noble Soul, in an healthful Con­stitution.

No body must be perfectly happy in this Life, however great or good, (ante obitum nemo supremaque funera, &c.) either in Mind, Body or Affairs, there will be something always to put a good Man in Mind, that this is not his Resting-place; something that may prompt him to seek, and dispose him to go to the Blessedness of a perfect State.

Again, neither Love nor Hatred are to be known by the Things that are before us: He whom Christ loved was sick, and suffer'd to die too, it may be more than once; and here was one of the best of Men wanted one of the best of temporal Blessings. Be­ing so great a Man there was certainly no want of Means, and being so good a Man there was no want of Prayer. Doubtless he improved the Happiness of his Acquain­tance with such Men as the Apostles, and of his being so well beloved of them, so as to secure their Prayers, as well as he used his own. But the Apostles could not heal arbitrarily, and to please their own, meerly human, Affection. The Gifts of Healing we see were only subservient to the Propa­gation of their Doctrine, and exerted under proper Impulses; or else St. John could as easily have bestowed Health as wish'd it, to his beloved Gaius, whom God saw fit, [Page 34] for Ends above our Reach, to continue un­der such Indisposition. 'Tis not unlikely that his infirm Body might very much con­tribute to this prosperous State of his Soul; for while Men live as dying Creatures, and look upon themselves as at the Gate of E­ternity, this World has less Force upon us, which we are leaving, and the other more, to which we look upon our selves to be so near.

The Case of this excellent Man was very rare & admirable, that a Man's Soul should be in so prosperous a Condition, that one can't wish more, either to Affairs, or Body, than to have them prosper even as the Soul did. Generally 'tis quite otherwise, the Body prospers, but the Soul pines and lan­guishes; the Body thrives and is vigorous, the Soul withers and starves; and to wish their Body and Affairs in the same Con­dition with their Souls, would be the same thing as cursing both with Confusion and Decay. Few in Number are those happy Persons, whose Soul-Prosperity might be the Standard of our utmost Wishes for that which is Temporal. Beloved Gaius was such an one, and Religion has the Credit of a few others that are a like Ornament to it; but for the most part we fear the Case is so different, that it might well frighten us, if this Wish of the Apostles [Page 35] were to be the Measure of God's dealing with us and our Affairs; and he should say, Come, your bodily Health and Affairs in the World shall thrive under my Provi­dence, just as your Souls thrive under the means of Grace; I'll make the Complexion of your Soul visible in the outward Condi­tion of your Body and Affairs. What Work would this make? How would some Estates dwindle, and some Bodies consume and pine? The declining State of a Back­slider would be legible in his running to Ruin; the Breakings out of the Body would tell all the foul Spots and Pollutions that are within; the Flames of Lust would catch hold of the Body, and the burning Fever in the Pulse, proclaim the defiling Heats that are in the Mind: A swelling Dropsy would let every one know where dwelt the covetous Soul, that is unsatiable, and never knows when it has enough: How many would lose their Sight, or see but a little thrô the affected Ignorance that is in them? In short, we should see some Bodies break out all over, like Job's upon the Dunghil, and swarm with Vermin, whose Souls do actually swarm with what is worse than any Vermin in the World, viz. divers Lusts and Pleasures.

We may observe farther, that Prosperity to our outward Affairs may be desired and [Page 36] prayed for by the most spiritual and hea­venly Persons, without the Imputation of a worldly Mind. St. John was an excel­lent Person, who made this Prayer;x and so was Gaius, for whom 'twas made. They knew that Religion in its greatest Spiritu­ality did not oblige us to exclude the World entirely from our Prayers and Wishes, and give it no Place; but to make it know and keep its proper Place, which is, to give Way to Religion in the Competition, and to give Assistance to it upon Demand. The Apostle must have a great Opinion of this Man, to think he would be never the worse for the Prosperity and Health he wished him. Health was the chief Article of that Prosperity he had wished him before, and the most excellent Species of all the Blessings to which Prosperity is the general Deno­mination. The Apostle speaks of it in very high Terms, I wish above all Things; and, as we have render'd them, such Terms as must be understood with some Qualifica­tion; for no truly good Man can value or wish for Prosperity and Health, above all Things else, absolutely. 'Tis the Property of true Goodness to seek first the Kingdom of God, from whence it derives, and its Language is, There is nothing upon Earth [Page 37] we desire in Comparison of that. The Mean­ing thereof must be, Above all Temporal Blessings, or, In all other Things, or, As to all other Things.y I wish you prosperous Affairs, & an healthful Body, as additional Blessings to a gracious Soul: Mens sana in Corpore sano.

Thus far have I represented the Value of Health, from the Necessity of it to the Business and Affairs of Life, and to the Relish of any of its Pleasures; from the Use of it to the Purposes of Religion; from the Misery of Sickness; and from the high Rank the Scripture has set it in, and the Valuation put upon it by the best of Men.

Before I go any farther, I shall make here two Remarks, that are very proper to be thought on, while the Evidence of the Va­lue of this Blessing is fresh upon the Mind.

The one is upon the Folly of throwing away so great a Blessing for some mean De­lights, some present Pleasure and Gratification. 'Tis a Sin against God to unfit our selves for the Services of Religion, and of Life, in Greediness of some single Sensations: And 'tis Nonsense for the Sake of one De­light to lose a Thousand, nay, to destroy [Page 38] the very Foundation of All. Plutarch says very well, That Diseases do not so much rob us of Business, and Journeys, and Exer­cise, as of Pleasure: So that if a Man would continue his Pleasure, he must take Care to preserve his Health, without which there is none, (i. e.) he must omit some small and short, for the Sake of great & lasting Plea­sure. Pleasure is of that Nature, that it cannot be born alive in the Midst of Dis­tempers. Health is to Pleasure what fair Weather is to the Halcyon Bird, that gives it a peaceful Birth, and a commodious Nestz

But all this while we are speaking these Things of bodily Pleasures, that do so much depend upon bodily Health, we do at the same Time demonstrate in the next Place the Excellence of True Religion, that gives Pleasures which do not lie at the Mercy of any Diseases, that do not depend upon Health, and consequently are not lost with it; gives Pleasures that are Supports under the Loss of Health; nay, are sometimes noble Equivalents for it, provided our Rea­son be undisturb'd, and the Christian has a clear Evidence of his good Condition. 'Tis agreed that bodily Health is the Founda­tion of all worldly Pleasures; consequently, [Page 39] when that fails, they must do so too: But even then do religious Pleasures not only subsist, but improve, enlarge, grow, and distinguish themselves; and are like the Soul, which is the Seat and Subject of them, spiritual, immortal, and out of the Reach of Distemper and Accident. A good Con­science, clear Evidences for Heaven, Sense of divine Favour, Prospect of the Recom­pence of Reward, are Pleasures that depend not on bodily Health, Pleasures that give noble Airs to the good Soul, shining il­lustriously through the Cracks of a dissolv­ing Body; Pleasures that make Religion look like it self, glorious, heavenly, im­mortal. Certainly true Religion must be a pleasant Thing, whose Delights cannot only subsist, but are sometimes exalted, when the very Foundation of all other Pleasures is utterly destroyed. ‘O Blessed God! grant that I may make sure of that which will give me Pleasure of its own, when all others are gone, and do me some Service when nothing else can.’

[Page 40]

CHAP. III. Of the Temptations of Health, and the Sins that are apt to rise out of it.

BIshop Hall in one of his Meditations says, I will more fear the spiritual Hurt that may follow upon Health, than the bodily Pain that accompanies Sickness. What that spiritual Hurt is to which we are so liable in Health, I proceed next to enquire. And the first Thing I shall mention is:

SECT. I. We are generally too little sensible of the Value of it while it is enjoyed.

I Have already taken Notice that such is the Folly of Mankind, that we un­derstand and value our Blessings more by the Want of them, than by their Enjoy­ment. What earnest Wishes and Prayers do we send up? What will we not take in or abstain from, suffer or do, to recover that Health which a little before was spor­ted with, lavishly expos'd to all Hazards as a very Trifle? How seldom do we so­lemnly give God Thanks for it, and make a short Stop in the Carreer of our Time and Business to take Notice to our selves of this Blessing, That we are well?

[Page 41] Methinks a small Pause now & then with my self, to this Purpose, is very becoming: As thus, I have no Qualms of Stomach, no Pains in Limbs; I have escaped all the Dis­eases and Casualties of this Weekly Bill, and a thousand more than can be named: What shall I return to the Lord for all his Benefits? Of which, this is the chief in this World, I am well: 'Tis a pleasing Thing to feel and find that I am in Health: Every Part of me bears witness to this Goodness of God: and therefore every Part shall concur to praise thee, O Lord, who art the Health of my Countenance, who causest it to look with an healthful Aspect, make my Soul prosper as my Body does. I say, How becoming is this? But how rare for your Men of Busi­ness, or Men of Pleasure, to make such a Stand, to look inwards in Reflection upon what they insensibly enjoy, or to look up­ward [...] in Acknowledgment of a Blessing, without which they could neither do Busi­ness, nor enjoy Pleasure?

When we are long accustomed to Health, we take it for granted that we shall [...]oy it, without taking it for a Mercy that we do so. We are not sensible enough of our continual Dependence upon the Divine Goodness, if we enjoy it long; and by that unthankful Heedlesness necessitate Provi­dence to deprive us of its wonted Supports, [Page 42] to make us sensible that we do always need them. 'Tis but fit the Mercy should cease to be constant, when its Constancy only, which should be its Indea [...]ment, keeps us from entertaining it as a Mercy.a

SECT. II. AGain; When w [...] turn Health into Va­nity, and make it our B [...]ast; ascribing it to any Thing, in such a Manner, as plainly shews we are not concern'd that God should have the Praise and Honour of it.

You have heard Persons flourish upon the Strength of their Constitution, the Art they have in the Management of them­selves: They clap their Hand upon the [...]r Breast, and cry, Here's a Heart of Oak, with an Air of Defiance to Distempers: Here's a Constitution of Steel! I have not kept my Chamber a Day this twenty Years, says ano­ther. You wait to hear when the Bene­factor is brought into the Account, and acknowledged; and you are as much dis­appointed as you are surpriz'd the next Week, to hear that this Person died sudden­ly upon such a Day, and in such a Place.

It must be owned, the Forms, God be thanked, and I thank God, have been abused [Page 43] by Hypocrisy and Affectation; but it must also be owned, that even that Hypocrisy and Affectation is not more vile than the Ingratitude of not giving God the Glory of so excellent a Blessing. Are you shy of Hypocrisy, and do you run into Irreligion? You talk of your Constitution; Pray who framed it, and put it together for you with so much Advantage? You boast of your Skill and Study in Nature, and Acquain­tance with the Medicinal Properties of the several Parts of it; I ask, Who lodged those Properties in the several Parts of the Crea­tion? Who adapted them to their several Purposes? Whence came Understanding i [...] self? Job shrinks into Dust and Ashes, after all his Philosophy, when God answers him out of the Whirlwind, Gird up now thy Loins like a Man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the Foundations of the Earth? Declare if thou hast Understanding.

He that pretended to the Art of giving Immortality to human Bodies, is now Dust and Ashes. He that told others [...] to live an hundred Years, died at Forty*. We have seen Physicians of the best Renown drop down dead in the Streets. We have [Page 44] seen some of the strongest and most promi­sing Constitutions sink all of a sudden, and not so properly go down as tumble into the Grave at once: The Building was strong and beautiful, but the Ground was hollow; the Foundations in the Dust crushed sooner than a Moth: And therefore, let not the strong Man glory in his Strength, let not the wise Man glory in his Wisdom, nor the mighty Man glory in his Might, nor let the rich Man glory in his Riches; b for it is not in Strength nor Wisdom, in Might nor Riches, to secure Health, otherwise than as a Means thro' which God conveys and maintains it; there­fore let him that glorieth, glory in the Lord, who is our Life, and the Length of our Days.

SECT. III. Presuming too much upon the Strength and Firmness of Health, and so putting it to too great Trial and Expence, is a Fault of some healthy People.

THIS is one Way of boasting of it: A [...] deal of this most valuable Bles­sing ha [...] been sacrificed to Frolick, to Trial of Skill, to the Vanity of shewing what we can bear: And that which renders this the more criminal, is, That the same Person would have found out a thousand Ways of excu­sing [Page 45] himself from the twentieth Part of the Hazard or Trouble in the Service of God, or the Good of Mankind, which he throws away in Ostentation of a robust Consti­tution. Health is really too great a Blessing to be play'd away against so mean a Stake as the Shout of half a dozen Companions; or to bear away the Repute of a Quality, in which I am out-done by several Brutes. You glory in your Strength, (Taurina Gloria,) an Ox is more glorious if that be all: You have a great deal of Strength, an Elephant has more. No Body was stron­ger than Milo: This was his Glory; but it was his Shame; as indeed it generally is of such, to be of a Character that had nothing in it besides to boast of.

We presume too much upon Health, when we too much indulge to those Plea­sures that waste and destroy it. Pleasures too long continued, and too often repeated, spend the Spirits, and exhaust Nature too fast; they are said to live too fast. The same may be observ'd as to Labours; but that is an Extremity to which we are less liable, and Nature more forward and early in the Alarm it takes of Danger, because not bribed or beguiled by Delights and En­tertainment, to which it has always an In­clination. Many are now silent in their Graves, and many are groaning on sick [Page 46] Beds, on their Way thither, who might neither have been sick nor dead, had they not presumed too much this Way upon the Firmness and Stability of their Health; that it would carry almost any Load they would at any Time lay upon it. But then on the other Hand:

SECT. IV. Too great a Tenderness and Value for Health, an excessive Niceness about it, is another Extreme.

IT is indeed too valuable to be trifled with; but we ought to remember, that it is not the only Jewel that we have: And to continue the Allusion, we should manage it as we do those precious Parts of our Treasure; we neither suffer them carelesly to lie about the House, nor are we hover­ing perpetually over them; because they are precious they are not always under Lock and Key, nor are produced without Care and Caution: As valuable a Thing as Health is confessed to be, every Thing is not to be made a Sacrifice to it. We have some Things of more Consequence to us than Health it self, viz. our Usefulness in the World; our Duty to God; our Souls, that they may prosper even as our Body; our [Page 47] present sensible Interest in the divine Fa­vour; and our future eternal Happiness. What is it to God or Man whether that Per­son be well or sick, be dead or alive, who takes so much Care of his Health as to have no Regard to all these?

One would think some Persons more a­fraid of losing their Health than of losing all these; more afraid of being sick than of being damn'd: They shut themselves up in their Apartment from the Duties of Life, and the Service of God; not so much from being really ill, as from an in­ordinate Fear of being so: The Wind must not blow upon them, the Weather is not to be encounter'd by them, the Inconveni­encies of God's Worship are not to be born by Complexions so nice and fine; 'till at length they have contracted such a Ten­derness and Delicacy, that they can indeed bear nothing at all: And what was their Sin in the Beginning, is their Punishment in the End.

God forbid that I should insinuate a Charge upon Cases wherein God makes Allowance, and will have Mercy rather than Sacrifice. Such is the Condition of many aged and infirm, and otherwise disabled Persons. No good Person will be offended at this Caution, lest such Nicety should pro­ceed from a bad State of Heart, rather than [Page 48] a bad State of Health, and lest it should in­deed provoke God to inflict upon them what they seem to fear more than himself. But what shall we say of such Persons, who as indispos'd as they are generally on the Lord's-Day, are seen to pursue the Affairs and Diversions of Life all the Week, that are ten Times the Risque of Health that any Parts of God's Worship can be, this must be own'd to look a little suspicious.

When I see some good People, who love the House of God, and the Place where his Honour dwells, making hard Shift, through all the real Weaknesses of Age and Infir­mity, to come to him, and enjoy him there; and when I meet with some others, most affectingly bewailing on a Sick-bed their Neglects of Duty upon too slight Occasions, O that I had now but one Quarter of that Health I enjoyed when I fancied my self too much indisposed to wait upon God! Oh, the Guilt I have contracted, the Benefit, Comfort, and Pleasure, I have lost, by indulging too much an affected Softness of Life, and to imaginary Distempers! I say, when I observe the hard Shifts of the one, and the Complaints of the other, I cannot but think such a Cau­tion as this may have its Use.

Under this Head I may mention a sort of Persons that are equally the Objects of Pity and Blame; those I mean that are [Page 49] hardly ever well for fear of being sick; that suffer a deal of the real Misery of Sickness from a Kind of Panick Fear of being illc: The sensible Pleasure, Com­fort, and Delight of Health are lost in the Anxiety and distracting Fear of losing it: The bitter Mortification, of living physi­cally they make sure to themselves, by way of Anticipation, in what they call Preven­tive Physick. Now one Quarter of this Concern well placed, laid out upon the Method of true Peace with God and Con­science, a steady Resignation to his Will, and a sure Hope of Eternal Life, would rescue them from this Torture, would en­able them to taste the true Pleasure of be­ing well, and help them to continue so. And yet on the other Hand, another Fault that sometimes attends Health is;

SECT. V. The putting off the Thoughts of Sickness and Death, and reckoning them to be at a very great Distance, because we are now in Health.

INstead of making the Pleasures of Health, the Thoughts of Sickness, and [Page 50] Prospect of Death, consist and be friendly, and agree with each other, as they certainly may, we are for setting them at the greatest Distance we can. But is Death or Sick­ness ever the farther off, because I won't think of them? Is a Man the safer from any Danger by shutting his Eyes, that he may not see it? Is he not in a fairer Way who views, considers, grows familiar with it, is thereby so prepared for it, that it is no longer a Danger? The Danger is over so soon as I have thought of it long enough to be prepared and ready; and if the Dan­ger be over, the greatest Allay to the Plea­sures of Life is removed, and they remain in their full Strength and Enjoyment.

When we are perfectly well, how na­tural is it for us to take it for granted that we shall continue so? Though at the same Time, nothing in the World is more uni­versally acknowledged than that we must be sick, and die. No Body needs Learn­ing or [...]arts to take in this, That Life is a Vapour, and Health a Shadow. This is so much the common Sense, that a Man is thought to want it that sets himself indust­riously to make out what no Body denies. But what's the Meaning then that where the Conviction is so clear, the Impression is so small? That where the Evidence is be­yond [Page 51] all Contradiction, yet the Disregard and Neglect should be to a Degree, as if it were not only a doubtful Thing, but ut­terly false? For if it were utterly false that I should ever be sick, and die, I could not be more heedless than never to allow my self to think at all of the Matter. The Meaning is, they think it a great Way off, and for that Reason they need not yet think of it at all. Some have ingenuously con­fessed, that because Man's Life is mea­sured at threescore Years and ten, they have imagined themselves set in for the utmost Year of that Standard; nay, after they have lived half Way to it, have dream'd of it as all to come; and have not easily been able to get rid of the inward Delusion, That the Taper, though burnt down so low, would yet last as long as the whole one when 'twas first lighted up. And o­thers we see, whether they will confess it or no, manage as if they thought the same Way; nay, the Scripture goes farther, and says of some, That their inward Thought is that they shall continue for ever, and their Dwelling-places to all Generations. d If it were not for their meeting now and then with a Funeral, or casting the Eye upon a [Page 52] Grave or a Tomb, it would be hard to guess when some People would think of Sickness or Death. From whose Course of Life, even in Spite of those Memento's, one would imagine they flatter'd themselves with an earthly Immortality.e

But you are afraid of Death, you say, and therefore don't care to think of it: You would be ashamed to reason so in any other Case of Danger. A wise Man would think the more of what he had Reason to be afraid of, either to prevent it, or to pro­vide for it. By all Means let's get rid of the Fears of Death; for without that At­tainment, Life and its Pleasures can in none of its Channels run pure and sweet.

Be gone the Dread of Hell, and all those Fears
That spoil our Lives with Jealousies and Cares,
Disturb our Joys with Dread of Pains ben [...]ath,
And sully all with the black Fear of Death. f

[Page 53] I say so too; Away with Fears of Death; but then I must add, that this can never be done by Lucretius's Prescription. In­dolence, Oscitancy, Unbelief, will never do it. It's a poor Relief to put the Evil Day far from one, and thereby make it more an Evil Day than otherwise it would be. The Thing is inevitable, and the Relief can never lie in preventing, much less for­getting it, but in providing for it. 'Tis only Guilt that makes us fear; and the natural Way to cure those Fears, is to re­move that Guilt, and cease to do Evil, and learn to do well, and go heartily into his Design and Method, who made it one Part of his Salvation to deliver th [...]se who through Fear of Death were all their Life-time subject to Bondage. This is the proper Natural Cure of guilty Fears; and this reconciles us to another World. For (to use the Words of a good Writer) Repentance, not Infidelity, is the Voice of Nature. But Men [...]ever think of rejecting another Life, till they lay aside the Thoughts of Repentance: And certainly that is not natural. To repent is an easy, natural, infallible Cure: To disbelieve [Page 54] another World is a Work of Art and Difficulty, and a Force upon Nature, and at best an un­certain Cure; for Infidelity can give Men no greater Security against Fear, than it does a­gainst another World: And those remaining Jealousies and Suspicions, and the frequent Re­turn of such Fears, which disturb bad Men, may satisfy us what that is. g

Surprise is a mighty Addition to any Thing that befals us: This they secure to themselves, who are heedlesly unprepared for what they know must come. This is a Folly beyond all Aggravation: There is nothing more absurd by which to expose it. If any Thing like a Sigh proceed from the Mouth of God, 'tis That, O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter End! h To consider this, it seems, is Wisdom in God's Account. This does not oblige us to be melancholy, and always poring upon this Subject, but to dwell upon it so long, till we have ans­wered the Ends of Safety and Comfort; and then there's an End of all Melancholy in the Thought; then it is so far from dashing the Pleasures of Life, that it is an additional one to all the rest, and one of [Page 55] the highest Relish too, when I think of coming Sickness and Death, with Compo­sure, as not to be avoided; and without Pain, as not to be undone by it; nay, with a great deal of Pleasure, as being to my in­finite Advantage and Gain.

This is an Improvement of the Pleasures of Life, a Refinement upon them: 'Tis now that they run pure and sweet in all the Chanels; That being remov'd which of all Things in the World was most able to sully and disturb them. Death & Eternity pro­vided for, there's nothing left in the World capable of giving any considerable Allay.

One may appeal to the most stupid in this Case, which is most to the Purpose; To put off the Thoughts of these Things, or attain the Ability of thinking of them not only till they are familiar, but pleasant and delightful; to lay in for their stealing on gradually, or for their sudden Invasion. So provided, a Man need not start at the nam­ing the Tokens of the Plague or Sickness, or any Distemper that's likely to become epidemical. He feels no inward Twinges at the opening of a Bible, upon the Places about Death and Judgment. He need not tremble with the Cup in his Hand, like Belshazzar, which the Fears of his Destiny will not suffer him to drink, or does very [Page 56] much imbitter. Such an one needs not be shy of a good Man's Company, that will be saying something of Heaven and ano­ther World; nor, with Felix, shake & trem­ble, with all his Guards about his Throne, while at the Bar Paul reasons of Righteous­ness, Temperance, and Judgment to come. He need not endeavour to set a strong Guard upon all the Avenues of his Soul, to keep out every Glance from another World, le [...]t he should be so unhappy as to think of his God or himself; glad of any Business, any Diversion, that will but deliver him from the meeting those he dares not face, God and his own Soul. Nor is he in the Va­pours presently upon some Discoveries of his own Frame and Make, how frail, how perishing it is; or to understand that Sick­ness & Death is always within a Moment's March of us; and whereas it was once said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy Soul liv­eth, there is but a Step between thee & Death, I may say, there is not so much as a Step; because the Strength whereby the Step must be taken may fail before it's finish'd, and the Breath that I am taking in may be stopp'd before it is compleatly drawn. In short, he is the happy Man who can live without the Fears of Death, and die with­out the Fears of Damnation; and whose [Page 57] Confidence in God the Terrors even of a Judgment-Day shall not be able to dismay.

People may talk what they will, but it is Religion with its Evidences, Supports, and Prospects, that must set us above the Fears of Death: Thô some Gentlemen have prescrib'd the getting rid of all Re­ligion in order to this Attainment, and quote their (Esprits Forts qui sont morts en Plaisantant) brave Fellows that have gone off with an Air, to support a sort of Philo­sophy that is too often practised at the Place of Execution, by the great Geniusses who have learn'd to dye hard.

Must Pride, Despair or Stupidity, fur­nish Instances of defying Death, to rival the Faith and Hope, the calm Resignation, or joyful Assurance of the Christian? What a swaggering does Lucretius make with his Epicurus? Primum Graius Homo—This was the Man that first inform'd the World how to defy Religion and its Fears: But they that knew as much of him as Lucretius did, tell us, that never any poor Creature did so trem­ble at the Approach of what he had taught others to laugh at, viz. Death and another World: * Nature recoiled upon him. To [Page 58] disbelieve another World is a Work of Art and Difficulty, and a Force upon Nature, and at best an uncertain Cure, as was observed before. But to close this Chapter:

CARUS, we grant, no Man is blest but he,
Whose Mind from anxious Thoughts of Death is free.
Let Laurel Wreaths the Victor's Bows adorn,
Sublime thrô gazing Throngs in Triumph born:
Let Acclamations ring around the Skies,
While curling Clouds of Balmy Incense rise;
Let Spoils immense, let Trophies gain'd in War,
And conquer'd Kings attend his rolling Car:
If Dread of Death still unsubdu'd remains,
And secret o'er the vanquish'd Victor reigns,
Th' illustrious Slave in endless Thraldom bears
An heavier Chain, than his led Captive wears.
With swiftest Wing the Fears of future Fate
Elude the Guards, and pass the Palace Gate:
Traverse the lofty Rooms and uncontroul'd
Fly hovering round the painted Roofs, & bold
To the rich Arras cling, & perch on Bust: of Gold.
Familiar Horrors haunt the Monarch's Head,
And Thoughts ill-boding from a downy Bed
Chose gentle Sleep.
Thy Force alone, Religion, Death disarms,
Breaks all his Darts, and every Viper charms.
Soften'd by thee, the grisly Form appears
No more the horrid Object of our Fears.
[Page 59] We undismay'd this awful Power obey,
That guides us thrô the safe, thô gloomy Way,
Which leads to Life, and to the blest Abode,
Where ravish'd Minds enjoy, what here they own'd, a God.
Sir RICH. BLACKMORE's Creation.

CHAP. IV. That the ordinary Continuance of our Health is a very great Wonder. The Use we are to make of that Consideration.

THAT the ordinary & common Health of our Body, and its Continuance for any considerable Time, is indeed a wonder­ful Thing, I shall endeavour to illustrate from the Make and Frame of our Bodies, from the Accidents to which these fine Compositions are expos'd from without, and from the Diseases which they are liable to from within.

SECT. I. From the Make and Frame of these our Bodies, and the Materials of which they consist, and the Manner of their Composition.

AS to the Materials of which we con­sist, we dwell in Houses of Clay, whose [Page 60] Foundation is Dust, crushed sooner then a Moth. The Workmanship is indeed as curious as the Materials are mean; it would exhaust the Study of an Age, to shew the exquisite fineness and marvellous Compo­sition of the Animal Machine, where all is in Number, Weight and Measure, nothing without Design, Intention and Use,i all wrought off with Characters of its Author upon it, and in a Manner worthy of him that made the bigger World.

The Pieces or Particles of which we con­sist, and their distinct Intentions, one is tempted to call infinite; besides the mu­tual Dependence of them upon each other, thô at the greatest Distances in the Body; and that, both with Respect to the due Cir­culation of the Fluids, and the Communi­cation of the nervous System, the smallest Interruption of either of which may be Sickness and Death; besides this, I say, we are in every Particle liable to the Attack of Distempers, and they may enter at e­very Pore.

They who understand the Make and Structure of the human Body, would be [Page 61] able to illustrate this part of the Subject to much greater Advantage. All that I shall pretend to, is, to lay together a few Instan­ces, that they may make us a little more sensible of the Wonder of Health, and that Wonder followed by another, and that is, that this same Health which is so wonder­ful, should yet be so lasting and common a Thing!

How many Parts and secret Operations conspire to that one Event, which is the Spring of their own Continuance and Re­petition, and of all other Operations of Na­ture; namely, to Animal Nutrition, a Fai­lure in any of which, would lay the Foun­dation of Sickness; I shall lay it down in the Words of a great Master. ‘The Alimentk is received into the Mouth, and is there masticated by the Teeth, and impregnated with the Saliva or Spittle, which is press'd out of the Salivary Glands by the Motion of the Jaw and the Mus­cles that move it and the Tongue: From hence it descends thrô the Pharynx into the Stomach, where it is digested by the Juices of the Stomach (which are what is thrown out of the Glands of its inmost Coat, and Saliva out of the Mouth) and a moderate Warmth & Attrition: When [Page 62] thrô the Pylorus, or right Orifice, it is got into Duodenum, it is mixed with Bile from the Gall Bladder and Liver, and with Pancreatick Juice from the Pancre­atick Gland. After this it is continually moved by the peristaltick or vermicular Motion of the Guts, and the Compression of the Diaphragm and Abdominal Mus­cles, by which Forces the fluid Parts are pressed into the Lacteals, the grosser Parts still downwards.’

The Chyle, or thin and milky part of the Aliment, being received into the Lacteals from all the small Guts, they carry it into the Receptaculum Chyli, and from thence the Ductus Thoracicus carries it into the left Subclavian Vein, where it mixes with the Blood and passes with it to the Heart.

All the Veins being emptied into two Branches, viz. the ascending & descend­ing Cava, they empty into the right Au­ricle, the right Auricle into the right Ventricle, which throws the Blood thro' the Pulmonary Artery into the Lungs, where it is mixed with Air, and has those Globuli seperated that cohered in its un­active Course thro' the Veins.

From the Lungs the Blood is brought by the Pulmonary-Veins into the left [Page 63] Auricle, and from that into the left Ven­tricle, by which it is thrown into the Aorta, and so by the Arteries distributed thro' the Body.

From the Extremities of the Arteries, arise the Veins & Lymphatics, the Veins to collect the Blood and bring it back to the Heart, the Lymphatics to return the Lymph, or thinner part of the Blood from the Arteries, that the Blood might not run too thin in the Veins.

All the Fluids we take in being carried into the Blood-Vessels, the greatest Part of them are seperated and carried off by proper Vessels, viz. Urine by the Kid­neys, Bile by the Liver, &c.

How nice an Operation in Nature is the Animal Secretion of the Fluids? By this the Juices of the Body of different Textures and Qualities are separated, sorted, & made fit for what Nature designs, by passing them thorough so many Strainers (the Glands) of various Name and Situation in the Body. The Passages are exquisitely fine, number­less, involved, with innumerable Windings and Turnings; yet so few Stoppages! and that the grosser Parts denied Entrance, do not make a Damm, as we sometimes see at the Mouth of a Grate!

[Page 64] What innumerable Passages must be kept open for all this? What Variety of Juices? What a prodigious Compass? What a Con­spiration of Parts? What Geometry? What Chymistry? What Mechanism of all kinds? And where the Operations are so nice, the Intentions so numerous, and the Parts ne­cessary to so many Functions so liable, what a Wonder is our Health?

We support our Life by eating and drinking, but the Mixtures, or Contrariety of Qualities in it, an Error in the Season, Kind, Quantity of what we eat, may de­stroy what it is intended to support and maintain. I may take in a Distemper with a Morsel from the Animal whose Flesh I eat; from a noxious Vapour shut up in the Herb I feed on; perhaps they are not to be number'd, the Worms, or Animals, the Seeds, the Eggs, the Sands, that go into us along with our plentiful Meal.

The Concoction of our Food, upon which all Health depends, is it self a Wonder, so far as it is known. The Separation of the Parts, the Chylification and Distribution of [Page 65] it, by so many small and intricate Chanels; where, neither the dissecting Knife, nor the best Glasses can carry the Eye. Whether this be performed by some sharp Juices, which as a Menstruum, insinuate themselves into, and tear the small Parts of the Nou­rishment asunder; or by some muscular Motion, that by a gentle Collision grinds and attenuates the Food, or by something of both; 'tis a Wonder that such a Variety of Liquors as enter the Stomach, and pro­duce there so many and so strong Fermen­tations; 'tis a Wonder, I say, that it should not destroy all this; that the Fibres of the Stomach should endure such continued Op­erations as would wear away any thing else in the World! And such acid and corrosive Juices as would eat away by Degrees the strongest Metals in a quarter of the Time.* Besides, one of those Humours produced by our Food, one of them let loose, one of them overflowing and out of its Place, or predo­minant above the rest, overturns the Ba­lance, in the equipoise of which Health consists; or that the same Thing is not [Page 66] done by the frequent Fermentations in our Blood, that miraculous Fluid, (as one calls it) the Seat of Life and Spirits, is another Wonder.

To any one that views the Contexture of the Brain, Health, for any considerable Time, must appear a Wonder. How ex­quisitely fine the Nerves, the Fibres, the Blood-Vessels? The smallest of which if it should be stop'd, or crack; if it should too much relax with Heat, or contract with Cold, would, according to the Degree of the Disorder, be immediate Sickness or Death: And yet, how continual is the Pas­sage of the Blood and Spirits thro' these small Ducts and Canals? How fired are they sometimes by close thinking? Stretch'd and swell'd by the sudden Flushes of Passion and Surprise? When the Blood and Spirits rush violently thro' these most slender Pas­sages, that are finer than the slenderest Threads of a Cobweb, and seem ready to break by their own fineness.

How many thousand of these fine Pipes must be kept open to preserve the Commu­nication between the Brain and the Heart? What a Concurrence of innumerable Parts, Actions and Strings, must go to produce one of those Motions of the Heart we com­monly call the Beating, or Pulse? The [Page 67] smallest Intermission of which we immedi­ately feel all over us, and dread the general Stagnation of our Blood: And yet, ever since we were born, this opening and shut­ting has been repeated (if we may depend upon some Calculations) no less than 4000 times in an Hour!l How many thousand times therefore in an Hour am I liable to the sinking, fainting Consequences of an Intermission? By this, the Blood, which is the Vehicle of Life, and with it the vital Spirits, are distributed into every part of the Body. Admirable! that from this Fountain of Life and Heat, there should lie Chanels or Conduit Pipes to every, even the remotest Parts of the Body! Just as if from one Water-House there should be Pipes conveying the Water, not only to e­very House in the Town, but to every Room; nay, to every Vessel in every Room: Or from one Fountain in a Garden, there should be little Chanels directed to every Bed, to every Plant and Flower growing there; nay, to every Leaf, to every Fibre and hallow String of every Leaf!

And that these should not be stopp'd, broke nor fouled, for 20, 40 Years together, notwithstanding their Number, Fineness, various Configuration, mutual Dependence, [Page 68] and manifold Windings and Turnings, into which the constant Supply is directed, is to me Matter of thankful Wonder.

Besides, this constant opening and shut­ti [...]g of the Heart would wear away any thing else in the World but such a miracu­lous Substance as its own; which does not lose its Force or Spring, tho' it continue the Motion, as has been mentioned, for so many thousand times in an Hour, for so many Days, for so many Years together.

We commonly say, our Breath is in our Nostrils, because it passes thro' them; and is there not a free Passage for it to pass out of them? Why does it not fly off? There is no more visible Nexus or Tye between Soul and Body by this Breath, than for a Wreath of Smoak to tye a Sun-Beam and a Cold of Clay together. The Lungs could not draw it in, if any of the forementioned Operations were obstructed; and yet, there are as many thousand to one but they be obstructed, as there are thousands of Parti­culars necessary to compleat and continue this Motion. My Lord Bacon observes, [Page 69] that we breath in and out in a third part of a Minute; and that the Pulse of the Arteries or Motion of the Heart (Systole and Diastole) is three time quicker than that: So that the stopping this Motion would be much quicker Death than strang­ling. The Question seems to be put eve­ry ninth part of a Minute, whether I shall be well or sick, live or die? But suppose all the rest perform their Part, 'tis going from one Wonder to another, when we con­sider how the Lungs perform theirs after all: because of the prodigious Number, the exquisite Fineness of those small Arte­ries, into which they branch themselves? How easy for such small Passages to be stopp'd? For such thin Vessels to be rent and torn by an over stretch of Voice, or corroded by a Destruction of some fretting Juice, or be infected by some malignant Vapour that's drawn in? For we must breath whatever the Air be: One would think they should be spent by the continual Wear and Action of breathing and speak­ing. If our Lungs had been made of Brass they could never have lasted so long. Lord, what is Man! The Substance of his Body [Page 70] is Dust, the Tye of its numberless Parts to­gether a puff of Air: How easily is such a Knot united? Dust scatter'd, and Air dis­solved?

How great a Mystery is the Motion of any one Part about us? And how inexpli­cable to this Day? It astonishes to consider how many Things must go to produce any single Motion, any of which failing, all's ruined; and yet, our Life and Health de­pends upon Millions of these Motions. Not­withstanding the Help of the most exquisite Glasses,* we still are ignorant of the inter­nal Structure of the Motive Fibre, upon which the whole Motion of the musculous Machine depends; we know as little (it seems) of that Volatile Fluid, commonly called the Animal Spirits, designed to put that Fibre in Motion:m

Galen, tho' himself no great Friend to Religion, could not forbear acknowledging God, upon the Observation of the vast Va­riety, Contrivance, and commodious adapt­ing [Page 71] of the Parts to their proper Uses;n the preserving all which in their natural State of Health (says Bp. Wilkins) is a Matter of equal Wonder, and of thankful Acknow­ledgment. In his Book de Formatione Foetus, he take Notice, that there are in an human Body above 600 several Muscles, and there are at least ten several Intentions or due Qua­lifications to be observed in every one of these; proper Figure, just Magnitue, right Disposition of its several Ends, upper and lower Position of the whole, the Insertion of its proper Nerves, Veins and Arteries, which are each of them to be duly placed; so that about the Muscles alone, no less than 6000 several Ends or Aims are to be at­tended to, a Failure in any of which would put the Part out of its natural State, and endanger our Health.

The Bones of a Man's Body seem to pre­tend to Strength and Firmness; their Use being to give Shape and Stability to the Body, to be Levers for the Muscles to act upon, and to defend the more noble Parts from external Injuries; and yet, 'tis often seen how lit­tle they can defend themselves; how easily snap'd asunder, dislocated, carious, liable to many Diseases and Disorders.

[Page 72] Strong as they seem to be, if they remain safe and found, David teaches us to whom we are to ascribe their Preservation; the Lord delivereth the Righteous, he keepeth all his Bones, so that not one of them is broken; * and tells us the Language of sound Bones in another Place, all my Bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the Poor from him that is too strong for him?

‘The Bones are reckon'd to be 284, the distinct Scopes or Intentions in each of these, are above 40, in all about 100,000. And thus it is in some Proportion with all the other Parts; Skin, Ligaments, Glandules, Humours, but more especially with the several Members of the Body, which do in regard of the great Variety and Multitude of these several Intentions required to them, very much exceed the homogeneous Parts; and since the fail­ing in any one of these would cause Irregu­larity in the Body, and in many of them, such as would be very notorious, if not de­structive, we have reason to conclude, that we are not only wisely and wonderfully made, but as wonderfully preserved, and that any common Measure of Health, or Continuance in our natural State, for any Time, is a [Page 73] great Wonder; because there are so many thousand to one that in some of these In­stances in which they are so liable to Dis­order, they may be overtaken by it.

Since there are so many fine impercepti­ble Parts, so many Vessels, Chanels, Threads, Strings; since there are such Numbers of Bones, Muscles, Membranes, Fibres, Nerves, Veins, Arteries, Ligaments, Tendons, with their Insertions, Positions, precise Motions; Juices, Humours, Fluids, Secretions, Spi­ [...]its; the Stoppage, Breaking or Disorder of any of which, would infer Sickness and Pain; what a Wonder is that Health to which the Harmony of all these is so ne­cessary? What a Wonder is it that an In­strument of ten thousand Strings should be so long kept in Tune, thrô all the Changes of Heats and Colds, Wet and Dry? And what Folly? What Ignorance? To de­pend upon the Health of such a Body for a Day? To suppose Sickness or Death of such a Body, to be so far off? Especially, when to all this we add, the Violences and rough Accidents it's liable to from without, which is the next Thing to be taken No­tice of.

[Page 74]

SECT. II. The Wonder of Health from the Accidents from without, to which these fine Composi­tions are exposed.

THAT which is of the most exquisite Make, may with much Difficulty and Hazard, possibly, be preserved in its natural State, by a great deal of Care to keep it out of Harms Way; but that's impossible in this Case; the bare Change of Weather may as well discompose the Body, as untune the Strings of an Instrument. This is re­presented by one of the Faculty, in the fol­lowing Manner:o ‘It is so far (says he) from being a Wonder, that we sometimes suffer in our Health by Change of Wea­ther, that it is the greatest Wonder we do not always so; for, when we consider, that our Bodies are sometimes pressed up­on by a Tun and an half Weight more than at another, and that this Variation is often very sudden; it is surprizing that every such Change should not entirely break the Frame of our Bodies to pieces, and be the constant Harbinger of sudden Death. One would think that when so many of the Vessels of our Bodies are [Page 75] straitned by the increased Pressure, that the Blood would stagnate up to the very Heart; which not being able to contract it self, the Circulation would cease, and we should die. But such is the Contri­vance of infinite Wisdom, that when the Resistance to the circulating Blood is greatest, the Impetus by which the Heart contracts, should be so too. The Weight of the Air increasing, the Lungs will be more forceably expanded, and hereby the Blood more intimately broken and di­vided, so that it becomes fitter for the most fluid Secretions, such as that of the Animal Spirits, by which the Heart will be more strongly contracted; the Bloods Motion toward the Surface of the Body being obstructed, it will pass in greater Quantity to the Brain, where the Pressure of the Air is taken off by the Cranium; and, upon this Score, more Spirits will be separated, whereby the Heart will be so strongly contracted as to carry on the Circulation thro' the passable Canals, whilst some others are obstructed.’ Thus far the Doctor.

What Hazard is here to our Health and Life even from imperceivaable Changes of Weather? That a Man must almost look upon his Weather-Glass as the Measure of [Page 76] his Health and Life. What Contrivance, what Artifice in our Composition to prevent the fatal Effects of so sudden a Change? And what Hazard in that Mechanism lest it should not play its Part with that Nim­bleness and unobstructed Regularity as to prevent the Mischief? Do we wonder that People drop down dead? It is rather a grea­ter wonder that they so seldom do so.

When we turn our Eyes from the Nice­ness of the Frame to the infinite Accidents that are every where ready to ruffle and destroy it, it increases the Wonder! The inimitable Structure of human Bodies is scarce more admirable, than that such curi­ous and elaborate Engines should be so con­trived as to be no oftner out of Order than they are; the Preservation of so nice and exact a Frame being the next Wonder to the Workmanship.p

‘When I consider (says the forequoted excellent Philosopher) how many out­ward Accidents are able to destroy the Life, or at least the Health, even of those that are the most careful to preserve them; how easily the Beams of a warm Sun, or the Breath of a cold Air, too much or too little Exercise, a Dish of green Fruit, [Page 77] an infectious Vapour drawn into the Lungs, and so mixing with the Blood, and circulating the Corruption into eve­ry Part; how a sudden Fright, or a Piece of ill News, are able to produce Sickness and Death; when I think too how many Mischiefs our own Appeties or Vices ex­pose us to, by Acts of Intemperance, that necessitate the Creatures to offend us; and Practices of Sin, whereby we pro­voke the Creator to punish us; when, I say, I consider all this, and consequently how many Mischiefs he must escape that arrives at grey Hairs, I confess the Com­monness of the Sight can't keep me from thinking it worth some Wonder to see an OLD MAN, especially if he be any Thing healthy.q

It would be almost endless to mention these Accidents that are ruinous to our Health, and Life itself: A Blast of Light­ning, a Shock of an Earthquake, Inunda­tions, Wars, Thieves, and Murderers; the permitted Mischiefs of evil Spirits, which have been allowed sometimes to go a great Way in doing such Sort of evil. I ought always to carry my Life in my Hand, and to suppose when I go out I may not come [Page 78] home alive and well: It may be a Fall, a Bruise, a Tile from a House, a Thrust with a Sword, Discharge of a Gun, a Blow un­designed, the Tooth of an Adder, the Mis­take of a poisonous Herb instead of an whol­some one, the like Mistake of a Drug thro' the Ignorance or Heedlessness of those you trust, the Throwing a Stone, the Trip of a Foot, the Scratch of a Nail, the Wrench­ing off a Bit of Skin: These are Accidents that have done as sure Execution, though not so wide and spreading, as Famine, War, or Pestilence. The Pairing of a Nail, Cut­ting a Corn, the Rent of a little Skin, from the Side of the Finger, putting a Patch upon a little Pimple, the Plucking off a single Hair: These have sometimes done the Business as effectually as Gun or Pistol. Thus Anacreon the Poet was choak'd with a Grape stone. Fabius the Roman Senator, was suffocated with a single Hair in a Draught of Milk; Pope Alexander with a Fly, that flew accidentally into his Mouth. Homer died of Grief: Sophocles with Excess of Joy: Dionysius with the good News of a Victory he had obtain'd; Aurelianus in the midst of a Dance. What remote small Accidents have proved mor­tal? The Dust of a Wall, the Lash of a Whip, the Unevenness of a Pebble-stone: [Page 79] Nothing is so small as not to be able to con­ceal Disease and Death under it.

Diseases and Death are secretly lurking every where: It is in our Bosoms, in our Bowels, in every Thing we taste, in every Thing we enjoy. We have Death dwel­ling with us in our Houses, walking with us in the Fields, lying down with us in our Beds, and wrapp'd about us in our very Cloaths; always at Hand, ready at God's Command to give the fatal Blow. If Hea­ven permits, Benhadad is slain in his Bed, and Amnon at his Table, Belshazzar in his Cups, the Egyptian First-born in their Sleep, Saul in the Field, Caesar in the Senate, Cali­gula in the Theatre, Antiochus in his Coach, Zechariah in the Temple, Joab at the Altar, and Pope Victor at the Sacrament.

The whole History of sudden Death, from known or unknown Causes, belongs to this Head, and inforces the Admonition of the wise Man; Boast not thy self of to Morrow, for thou knowest not what a Day may bring forth. Nay, it appears from these Surprizes, that thou knowest not what a Meal, a Mouthful, a Draught, a Step, a Moment, may bring forth; and therefore it is a senseless as well as a graceless Thing, in a Time of Health, to suppose Sickness and Death to be always a great Way off.

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SECT. III. The Wonder of Health is farther illustrated from the Diseases and Distempers the Body is liable to.

COnsidering the Fineness of our Make, the infinite Variety of Accidents, and the innumerable Diseases that we our selves breed within us: Considering, I say, all this, Distempers and Death are not only sure of us at last, but our Health for any conside­rable Time seems to me an equal Wonder with a Man's standing the Fire of an Army, where the Shot can hardly be supposed to fly more thick than the Diseases and Casu­alties that continually hover about us. A meer Catalogue of Distempers, and of their single Names, what a Volume does it make? Besides those for which as yet we have no Names at all.r It would make one trem­ble to see what a Number of Distempers belong to any one Part of the Body only, as in particular the Eye. They tell us of about 300 Distempers that belong to that single Part, liable to so many more Disor­ders as it is a Part of a more exquisite Com­position.

[Page 81] What an Illustration of this Matter could some of the Faculty give us, even to Asto­nishment? What an Army of Diseases, if they were to be drawn out under these two distinct Heads, either of such as belong to the Humonrs and Fluids, as Fever, Small-Pox, Dropsy, Jaundice, &c. which are distinct in their Nature, and frequently occur to Observation? And how commonly they are the Instruments of Death, the Weekly Bills are a perpetual Testimony. Then, if we should descend into all the Sorts and Kinds of these Diseases, that Account would be it self a Volume. Or in the second Place, the Diseases of the Solids: And that En­quiry should be pursu'd in the Order the Animal OEconomy leads us; as first, a Fault in the Salivary Glands of the Mouth, or in those of the Stomach, or in the Tone of the Stomach, or a vicious Biliary Secretion, are any of them sufficient to prevent Digestion, and consequently the Nourishment of the Body, which must end in Death.

Besides these, Obstructions in the Lacteal Veins, or Thoracick Duct; Diseased Lungs; not able to furnish the Blood with Air. Large Polypuses in the Heart, Veins, or Ar­teries; Obstructions or Ruptures in the Blood Vessels, or Lymphaticks; Excrescen­ces, Inflammations, or Imposthumations, in [Page 82] or about the Heart, Brain, or Liver: All which are one Time or other Causes of Death, and baffle the Skill of the best Phy­sicians. To these we may add the Diseases of the Nerves; which are certainly nume­rous, though we have no very distinct Idea of them.

Under one or other of these Heads must we rank the Fevers that burn us, the Agues that shake us, the Small-Pox that poisons the Blood, and turns us into Lazars; Drop­sies that drown and overflow us, the Jaun­dice that pours out its baneful Suffusion upon our Blood; the Stone that grinds, the Gout that tortures, the Convulsions that wrack the Nerves; Cholicks that tear and rend our Bowels, and immoderate Fluxes; the Phrensies that unman us, the Epilepsies that fell us to the Ground.

Besides these common and known Cases, there are Thousands of Disorders that are wrapp'd up in general Names, and com­priz'd under some single Distempers above named, and whose very Symptoms are so many particular Distempers themselves.

What Man now can ensure Life & Health for a Day, when there are so many Ways of Attack, so many Shapes under which Sickness and Death may enter? Can I say, I shan't die to Day, when many that have thought [Page 83] so have died the next Hour? Is there any Sense in putting off the Thought of Sick­ness and Death merely because we are well at present? Is it not a much better Condi­tion to be able to think of it, though as a Thing near, without Disturbance? By get­ting into such a Condition as to Soul, Estate, and Affairs, as that a Man may say with himself; Well, now let Sickness and Death come when they will, I thank God I have nothing else to do but to observe them, to wait Orders, to compose my Soul to resign chearfully, and my Bo­dy to fall decently, and rise gloriously; and in the mean Time, I'll enjoy my self, and my God, and all the allowed Comforts of Life, with so much the greater Relish, as it is without the Hazard of Surprize, the Fear of Death, or the Danger of Damnation.

To think of Sickness and Death, does it bring them a Jot nearer to us? And on the other Hand, to banish all Thoughts of them, does it really set them a Moment farther off? When you are at Sea, and per­ceive a Sail making after you, you know not whether it be a Friend or the Enemy: Then you take up your Perspective-Glass, and see what Colours, Built, and Aspect they bear, and form a Judgment: If it be an Enemy, the Perspective will not draw it [Page 84] nearer to the Ship you are in, though it brings it nearer to View, and so enables you to discover whether it be so or no, and puts you into a better Posture to receive them, let them be what they will. Sickness and Death are in full chase of us; if we are re­solv'd not to think of them, we throw down the Perspective, its true, and refuse to know whether they are Friends or Foes; but are they ever the farther off for that? Will they not as surely come up with us at Length? For my Part, (to close this Head with the Words of an excellent young Man,) s Though my Beardless Chin (says he) allows me to presume that by the Course of Nature I have yet a pretty Stock of Sand in the upper Part of my Glass; and though I am too young to say with Isaac, Behold, now I am old, and know not the Day of my Death; yet since the strongest and lustiest of us all have Cause to say with Job, When a few Years are come, then shall I go the Way whence I shall not return; and since it is the wise Man's Counsel, Not to boast of to Mor­row, since we know not what a Day may bring forth; I will endeavour (to use my Saviour's Terms) to take Heed to my self, [Page 85] lest at any Time that Day come upon me una­wares: And as the only Expedient in order thereunto, in Imitation of holy Job, All the Days of mine appointed Time will I wait till my Change come.

Thus far of the Temptations that at­tend a State of Health, and the Sins that are apt to spring out of it. We are apt to be so little sensible of it while it is enjoyed, to ascribe it to many Things in a Manner derogating from the Honour of God; pre­suming too much upon the Firmness and Stability of it; too great a Tenderness of it on the other Hand, and an excessive Nice­ness about it. And that Unwillingness healthy People discover of thinking of Sick­ness and Death, and industriously putting them at too great a Distance; when at the same Time, the ordinary Continuance of Health is really a great Wonder, as we have endeavour'd, as well as we could, to re­present from the Make and Frame of our Bodies, the Accidents to which these fine Compositions are exposed from without, and the Diseases they are liable to from within.

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CHAP. V. Of the Duties of Health, which the Enjoy­ment of Health does oblige us to, and fit us for.

SECT. I. 'Tis our Duty to acknowledge God to be the first Cause, the Maintainer and Preserver of our Health.

HE is the Fountain both of Being and of Excellence to all Worlds: He formed our several Parts with curious and inimitable Art, his own skilful Hand brought us from the Darkness, wherein we were inclosed, safely to the Light of Day. 'Twas by his Goodness alone that we were not strangled in our Birth, nor smother'd in our Cradle; that by the Carelesness of our Keepers, or the many Distempers and Evils that attend our early helpless Age, we did not soon find a Grave, that is always so near us. His Goodness then saved us from Evils we did not so much as appre­hend, [Page 87] and delivered us from others, which, though never so painfully felt, poor Infants cannot inform any Body of, and which with­out his extraordinary Favour would have closed our Eyes as soon almost as we had seen the Light, and sent us into the other World as soon as we had enter'd this: His Mercy delivered us from the unknown Dangers of our heedless Infancy, and from the unfeared Evils of our daring Youth. 'Tis God that holds our Souls in Life: t The Visitation of the Almighty preserveth our Spirits. u

He is the Strength of our Life, * the Health of our Countenance, and our God, in whom we live and move, and have our Being. He not only protects us from Dangers without, but supports our natural Frailty by that se­cret Influence whereby he upholdeth all Things by the Word of his Power. He that first breathed into us the Breath of Life, keeps it there by the liberal Supply of those suitable Supports that nourish and maintain it. The Manner of this Influence of his is very mysterious: It becomes not the Weakness of our Minds daringly to determine it: We that are very much in the Dark about many of the Motions of our own Faculties, must not pretend to limit the Holy One of [Page 88] Israel, whose Ways are as unsearchable as his Nature is incomprehensible. But this we do most certainly know, That our Dependence for Life and Health is en­tirely upon him. And, methinks, the more visibly so, by the Use of all those Creatures that are their necessary Props and Supports; which shew at once that it can't stand of it self, and who it is that holds it up. 'Tis his Sun that refreshes our Spirits with his Temperate and comfortable Beams, and by its amiable Shine renders this World a Place of Delight, which, were it always cover'd with Darkness, would be a very undesirable Region, and full of Hor­ror. They are his Vapours that are drawn up to fill the Bottles of Heaven, and 'tis his Hand that opens them again, and makes the Clouds dissolve, to cause Grass to grow for the Cattle, and Herb for the Service of Man, that he may bring forth Food out of the Earth, and Wine that maketh glad the Heart of Man, and Oil to make his Face to shine, and Bread which strengtheneth Man's Heart. w The Day is his, in which we work, and are employed, and the Night also, in which we rest. His Earth we tread, and his Air we breath; his Winds purify and fan that Air, to keep it healthful and serviceable to [Page 89] us. From his Stores we daily repair the Decays of Nature, and from his Gift we daily derive the Necessaries that maintain, or the Refreshments that delight, our Lives, his Corn, his Wine, his Oil. x He not only spreads our Tables, and fills our Cup, but when he has done that he must go farther, and make those Supports of Life give us Strength; for we live not by Bread alone, but by the Word of his Blessing, that cometh out of his Mouth. 'Tis in the Sense of this that we ask his Blessing before we eat, and return him Thanks afterward; for where it not for his gracious Influence, what would become of our Appetite or Desire of Food? How many Diseases that would destroy it does he keep off? The Faculty of digest­ing, altering, and distributing the Nourish­ment would be lost, and notwithstanding all our Care we should quickly die.

SECT. II. 'Tis our Duty in Health to be sensible of, and acknowledge not only that our Health and Life, and all our Blessings, depend upon God, but are entirely at his Disposal, as Lord of Life and Death.

'TIS with the most magnificent and lofty Air of Divinity that he chal­lenges [Page 90] this Prerogative to himself: See now, that I, even I am he, and there is no God with me, (in this Matter;) I kill, and I make a­live; I wound, and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of my Hand. y And 'tis fit it should be so: For,

I. He is the Absolute Lord Proprietor of all our Blessings.

Life and Health, and all that belongs to them, are from him as their Fountain Spring, and in his Hand & Disposal. We live as long as he pleases, by whom we live. We are not our own, and therefore not at our own Disposal. Absolute Disposal fol­lows absolute Propriety. May he not do what he will with his own? None so fit to determine the Continuance of our Being, as the Author of it. None so fit to deter­mine our Life, and the Length of our Days, as he who is our Life, and the Length of our Days. Every one takes it to be his Right to dispose of his own, whether it be the Lumber of his House, or the Gold and Silver of his Treasure. Who but the Fa­ther of Spirits should have the Disposal of his own dear Offspring? Who but the Former and Framer of our Bodies should have the Power of taking them to Pieces? [Page 91] The Hand that tied the fine, the unac­countable Knot, is the fittest to unty, and the properest Judge when to make the Separation.

II. He is our Supreme Ruler and Gover­nor, and therefore 'tis fit he should have the Supreme Power of Life and Death.

Without this Power we cannot conceive how he should govern the World; the Go­vernment of which so often requires the lengthning out one Man's Health and Life, and [...]he cutting short another's. There's a Secret of Providence in the sudden Death of some, and prolonging the Life of others, which could not be attained by any Power short of this. If the Bloody Lives of some Nimrods were not cut short, the Church on Earth would be hunted down; and if the Lives of some Tyrants had not been continued, our Martyrology would have been very scanty, and [...] never a­mounted to such a Glorious Army. The subordinate Power of the Sword is the great Instrument of Government among [...] and there can be [...]o Government without it. Such is the absolute Power of Life and Death in the Hands of God, by which he can prevent, over-rule, manage, execute, or forbear, and do whatsoever he pleases among the Inhabitants of the Earth.

[Page 92] III. This Consideration of God's having the absolute Power of Life and Death, gives a great deal of Force to all the Motives of Religion, and is a great means to preserve it in the World.

To consider,—The Object of my Worship is the Master of my Life and Health! Surely it concerns me to live to him by whom I live at all! 'Tis but for him to be displeased, and I die. He can stop my Breath the next bad Word I speak. He that pronounced the Sentence of Death upon Adam and his Offspring for the first Act of Disobedience; he that erected Lot's Wife a Monument of the Folly of hanke­ring after any Thing God commands us to abandon: He that struck Uzzah with Death for his unbelieving Rashness; Herod with Worms for his Vanity and Pride; and the Corinthians with Distempers and Death for their prophaning the Lord's Supper: Sure­ly we should be careful to please, and afraid of offending one of such Power; one that can wither the Hand that is put forth to Iniquity; can blast with Lightning the wan­ton Eye, or close it in the Shades of Death in the very Turn of a lustful Glance, as easily as he struck dead Ananias with a Lie in his Mouth.

[Page 93] None can bless me as God can bless me: Nor can any curse me as God can. He can bless me so, as that all the Curses in the World shall be but as throwing Fea­thers against a Rock: He can curse me so, as that all the Blessings in the World shall be but so many loud and sudden Wishes for a Man that is already fallen over a Pre­cipice. Whom thou blessest, they are blessed indeed; and whom thou cursest, they are cur­sed indeed.

How much Pain can he crowd into one single Limb of the Body? Nay, into one Joint? Ay, into one single Fibre? He can cause Blessings to descend upon me like Rain upon the tender Grass, or pour down his Curses upon me like a Storm, and take me away as with a Whirlwind. He can pluck the guilty Soul out of the wicked Body; and throw the one into the Grave, there to lie and rot, and the other into Hell, there to perish for ever. O my Soul, there­fore hear and fear, and do no more so wickedly, lest he take thee away in his Anger, and there be none to deliver; lest he let fly his Arrows into thy Breast, which will pierce like Light­ning, and wound beyond all Recovery. Cleave to him, for he is thy Life; In his Right Hand is Length of Days, and in his Left Hand are Riches and Honour, to give of both to whom he pleases.

[Page 94] This Thought puts a mighty Efficacy, I say, into all the Motives of Religion, the Calls of his Word, the Intreaties of his Em­bassadors, the Motions of his Spirit, the Promises of Heaven, the Threats of Hell: For all these are the Instances and Appli­cations of one who has the Power of my Health and Life, and can easily avenge himself of any Affront or Slight, of any Neglect or Delay, at the Cost of one or both of these.

IV. Hereby God has it in his Power to bless or punish a great many at once.

The Happiness of a great many is very often wrapp'd up in the Life and Health of one: And therefore 'tis not fit such a Power should be in the Hands of any other Being, but one of infinite Wisdom and Goodness. Providence often hangs many Weights upon one single String, and when that breaks, all falls to the Ground at once. If we go into the Houses of Mourning we shall see and hear most affecting Evidences of this from the disconsolate Widow, the fatherless Children, the sorrowful Friends; all have a long and mournful Story to tell, how much they have suffer'd in the Loss of the Relation, or Friend, or useful Man; how much Business there is a Stop to; or on the other Hand, how many good Works [Page 95] are now no more; and how many suffer by that Means, who depended upon him, or were the better for him. These are Things of such Consequence in the World, that the Power of Life and Health ought to be only in the Hand 'tis in; and is too big a Trust to be lodged with Angels or Men: I mean the absolute Power over it, which can belong to none but God.

V. Life and Health are the Time of my Probation for Eternity, and therefore ought to be in no meaner Hands.

Mine eternal Happiness or Misery is wrapp'd up in this little Life of mine: If I die before I am fit to die, I am undone; and for that Reason I would not have the Power of my Life and Death, my Health and Sickness, in the Hand of any but the wise and good Governor of the World, for all the World. Who knows what Mea­sure of Health or Sickness is fittest to work upon the Conscience? Who knows so per­fectly well how to temper the Cup? What Sort and Measure of Ingredients to put in­to it, that may reach the Case, when to be­gin, and when to stop? If this Power were lodged in our Hands, we are such poor Creatures, we should hardly ever touch or afflict some, nor should we spare others; we should deal with too much Fondness, or [Page 96] too much Severity: There are some we would never suffer to be sick, nor die; and there are others, whom we should long ago have hurried out of the World, not know­ing how to have made the same Use of them in it that God does. He only knows when the Vessels of Wrath, that will not be cleansed are fitted for Destruction, and have filled up the Measure of their Iniquity. And on the other Hand, he only knows the Case of every good Man, how far they are to be chastised, that they may not be condemned with the World: He knows when they have done all their Work for him, and when he has done all his Work in them, and fulfilled the good Pleasure of his Will in them, and the Work of Faith with Power.

If these Things were left to us, how would fond Relations ever know when 'twas fit to let go, and take Leave? What a ten­der Partiality would there be in the Hus­band to the Wife, the Parent to the be­loved Child, and the Friend that is nearer than the Brother? However needful a Fit of Sickness was, it should never come; and however fitted a good Man was for Heaven, he should not be permitted to go: We should not know when 'twas Time to retire, and take our Leave, or suffer our Friends to do so.

[Page 97] VI. 'Tis beyond any Skill but the Divine to order the coming into the World, and go­ing out of it, in such a Proportion, both as to Numbers of Persons, and Distance of Time, as may best agree with the needful Succession of one Generation passing away, and another coming upon the Face of the Earth.

This requires great Skill to prevent Confusion, Deficiency, or Superfoetation of human Race.—But how easy is all this to him, who declares his Concern a­bout Matters vastly less than humane Life, viz. that he numbers the very Hairs of our Head, that one of them shall not fall to the Ground without our Father; how much less our Head it self be laid in the Grave any otherwise than when and as he pleases?

The Use that we should make of such a Truth as this, is,

This accounts for some Things we can't tell what to make of in the Providence of God, about the Health and Life of some Persons; that some weak Persons should live a long while, when others of a more healthy Constitution are cut off; that some pious, useful, an [...] excellent Persons are so sickly, and (as we think) immaturely taken away, while some of a very diffe­rent Character are healthy, and attain a [Page 98] great, though not a good Old Age. Some barren Trees are suffer'd to cumber the Ground a long Time, when others that are fruitful are transplanted into the Paradise of God, in Reward to themselves, and Pu­nishment to the World that's left behind. These are so much the less Riddles to us, when we consider that the Power of Life and Death is in his Hand who is Wife and Good, and whose Thoughts are not as ours, nor does he see as Man sees.

Again, 'Tis Matter of Comfort that my Health and Life is in so Wise and Good a Hand. It's of too great Importance both to me and others to have it any where else, for the Reasons above mentioned. If Men are suffered to kill the Body, it's because he suffers them, who has its Life in his Hand, and not they. 'Till he permits it I am immortal: All the Devils in Hell, all the Men in the World, all the Distempers in the Dispensary, all the Plagues and Pesti­lences, Invasions and Famines, that ever swept away their Millions from the Face of the Earth, shall not destroy my Life till they have his Commission, whose Preroga­tive it is to [...]ill, and to make alive.

Again, This aggravates the Sin of Mur­der, and whatsoever tends to it.

'Tis offering to take the Power of Life [Page 99] and Death out of God's Hands, and in Ef­fect, to say, Such a one shall die when I please, I will kill, and I will make alive: Whereas, he only that can say, I make alive, ought to say, I kill. Self-Murder is ano­ther Attempt to snatch the Power of Life and Death out of God's Hand, and to say, I will die when I please, and will have this Power of Life and Death in my own Hand.

Again, This should teach us not to fear Men so as to offend God; not only, as our Saviour says, because they can only kill the Body, but because they cannot so much as do that neither without God's Permission, in whom alone is the Power of Life and Death; nay, and what's more, who can kill the Body as well as Men, and without the Hand of any Man. The Life I save by offending God, God can easily take away himself. If a Man say, I'll kill you unless you do this, or that, let me remember that God says, I kill, and I make alive; and also, that unless God permit, the Tyrant can't.

The Martyr was full of this Thought, who, when his Life was offer'd him upon Condition of his Recantation, answered, Though you don't take away my Life to Day, can you assure me that God won't do it to Mor­row? What signifies thus saving what I can't keep always, and can never better bestow?

[Page 100] Again, This teaches us where we are to go for Health, viz. to God, and him only; because he only can say, I heal, and I wound; I kill, and I make alive. I go to God when I use his appointed Means, and when I pray for his Blessing upon them. The Pa­pists do not only pray to Saints and An­gels upon ordinary Occasions, but have their, particular Saints to address to upon particular Cases, Diseases, and Distresses: As, to St. Apollonia for the Tooth-ach; to St. Anthony for Inflammations, that are from thence called St. Anthony's Fire, a Sort of Inflammation, for the Cure of which they used to pray to St. Anthony; to St. Sigis­mund for Fevers and Agues; and to St. Sebastian for removing the Plague; to St. Nicholas for Dangers at Sea; and a great many other Cases like these.

But dare any of these Saints presume to speak such Words as these, I kill, and I make alive? Is Health and Life in their Power? Do they wound and heal, that they should be addressed to for Things on­ly in the Gift of God? If God be willing to heal, and make alive, why do they not directly go to him? If God be not willing, to what Purpose is it to go elsewhere, since he declares none can deliver out of his Hand?

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SECT. III. 'Ti our Duty in Health, to give God the Glo­ry of his Wisdom, Power and Goodness, in making so fine a Machine so lasting.

THEY are both Wonders, both our Make, and our Preservation. The most knowing Men in all Ages have been greatly affected with this. Plato calls it the Wonder of Wonders. Galen, an Heathen Physician, upon Observation of the Structure and Use of the Parts, could not forbear an Hymn of Praise to the Author and Con­triver. And a better Man than either of them, in Expressions worthy of the Subject, celebrates the Author of his Being. I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderful­ly made! Marvellous are thy Works, and that my Soul knoweth right well! My Substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest Parts of the Earth. Thine Eyes did see my Substance yet being imperfect, and in thy Book all my Members were written, which in Con­tinuance were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them. Psal. 139. 14. q. d. In the Composition of my Body, there are as ma­ny Wonders as Particles, and the putting them together encreases the Wonder be­yond [Page 102] Expression; it strikes me with Asto­nishment, and with a Dread of thy Majesty. What Power must that be that can do this? How intimately acquainted with thy Crea­ture? How able to unravel what thou hast so [...] put together? I know that all thy Works are Marvellous, but this of my Body is eminently so, far above all human Skill, as it was from the Observation of all Eyes but thine, to see Nature darting her vital Energy thro' every Particle, in a manner so directed by thee, as to serve a thousand Intentions at once, in Secret, as curious Workmen carry on a Piece behind a Cur­tain till finish'd, and then it is produ­ced to the Publick View. In this Work is laid out the Art and Curiosity of a God, curiously wrought. Here divine Skill resol­ved to be exquisite, nor could a Piece wrought from such a Model be less admi­rable, for, every thing was done, it seems, according as it was written down in thy Book, according to his Purpose and Wisdom; when he said with an Air of Consultation, Let us make Man, the Model was then fixed, and the Lines drawn, and the Plan laid out of this piece of Art. There thou hadst the Names and Number, Situation and Intentions of every Part, to a Nerve, to an Artery; and according to that was I made; [Page 103] in Continuance, in progress of Time, and by Degrees unfolded, formed into that Distinct­ion of Parts, which before lay wrapp'd and intangled together in that Mass, which was the Chaos of this little World, when the whole was without Form and Void and Dark­ness was upon the Face of the unformed Em­bryo; till he that said, Let there be the Separation and Distinction of Earth, Water, Air, Heavens, in the greater World, said here, let there be several Regions of Body, let there be Members, Veins, Arteries, Muscles, Fibres, and all the other innu­merable Diversifications, and all adapted to their several Uses and Designs; and it was so. Therefore will I praise thee, and give thee the Glory of thy Wisdom and Power, in that I am so fearfully and wonder­fully made. Know ye that the Lord he is God, it is he that hath made us, not we our selves, but he.

Thus we see how David acquits himself of this Duty. Next let us observe how others have remark'd upon this. Those who know the most of the Frame and Structure of the human Body, have a great Advantage both for Entertainment and Pleasure, and for Devotion to the great Ar­tificer. How it comes to pass that they who know most this way, are often seen to defraud the great God of his due Acknow­ledgements, [Page 104] I cannot tell; 'tis provoking to any Artist to lose the Praise of his Work­manship, to have it slighted and overlook'd; especially by those who enjoy the Benefit of it; by those who derive to themselves a great Glory from the mere Knowledge of that very Work which the Workman him­self is not regarded for. It is a great Ho­nour for a Man to understand Anatomy; and to gain this Honour, Volumes have been written by some, who have hardly afforded three Lines to the Glory of the Maker of that Body, upon the bare Know­ledge of which Man so much values him­self: Just as if a poor Door-keeper, should be so proud of being able to shew you all the Appartments of a noble Piece of Archi­tecture, as to slight the Skill of the Pro­jector, or Expences of the Prince that built it, and dwells in it.

Galen had less Light, but a better Tem­per than these Gentlemen, when he follow­ed the dissecting Knife till it led him to his Creator. He could not forbear acknow­ledging God upon observing the Use and Structure of the Parts. I look upon true Piety or Religion, says he, to consist in this, not the offering up ever so many Hetacombs of Bulls; not in sending up Clouds of Incense of Cassia, or a thousand other odorous Unguents; [Page 105] but when I, first my self, gain the Knowledge of his Wisdom, and then explain it to others; when I shew forth his Power, his Goodness; when I represent with what Convenience and Ornament he has furnished out every Part, so that nothing is defective; this shews his most perfect Goodness; and this is the true way of praising his Goodness by shewing its real In­stances. To have projected such a beautiful Disposition of all the Parts, this is the Work of Wisdom; and to have been capable of do­ing thus whatsoever he pleased, this is the Effect of invincible Power. z His seventeen Books upon the Structure of the human Body, are represented by some as a conti­nued Hymn to the Author of our Frame; and it is said, that he was in a continued Rapture, all the way he was laying in Ma­terials for them, & putting them together.

God is known, admired, enjoyed in his Works, the Works of the Lord are great, sought out of all that have Pleasure therein, because in them the Power, Wisdom and [Page 106] Goodness, i. e. the Nature of God, is made known to us; he is seen and enjoyed in his Works of Creation, Providence and Re­demption. The unfolding of which thro' all the manifold Wisdom of God in them, is enjoying and seeing of God, without considering at pre­sent, what other Ways there are of doing so, and in what other Senses we are to see and enjoy him: The distinct and sure Knowledge of these Works forms to a dis­posed Mind one great Notion of the hea­venly Happiness: And as to the Knowledge of this Part of the Work of God, the hu­man Body, we shall surely both know and admire it, as well as the other parts of the Creation; for God will not lose the Glory due to his Wisdom, Power and Goodness, in making and preserving any part of the Creation, much less so noble a Part as this; and how he can have the Glory of his Workmanship from us, without our Ac­quaintance with the Excellency of it, I know not. What we call the Glory of [Page 107] God does not lie in an implicit confus'd Ascription of Perfections to him in the ge­neral, but then is God glorify'd when the Mind is filled with such distinct and clear Perceptions of the Nature of Things, their Make, and the Government and Conduct of them, as gives infinite Pleasure to the Soul, and prompts it to the most rapturous Acknowledgment. 'Tis one of Aquinas's Thoughts,a that the human Body shall be perfectly known to us at the Resurrection, and the whole of its admirable Contrivance and Harmony of its Operations shall be visible to us, as in a Glass; meaning, I suppose, both what it has been, while it was Flesh and Blood suited to this World, as well as what it then shall be, when suited to that King­dom of Heaven, which present Flesh and Blood cannot enjoy. The same Thought may be carry'd into all the Philosophy of the Creation, the History of Providence, the Divinity of Redemption; which, besides the Fountains of Pleasure and Knowledge that may be open'd in the Divine Nature it self, will be Subjects of everlasting Plea­sures to us, and of endless Praise and Glory to God.

[Page 108] In the mean time, to return to the Par­ticular I am upon, let us give God the Glory of this, so far as we do know at pre­sent, of the Elegance and Delicacy of our Texture, and of his Preservation of it; that the many Errors we commit in the Use of those very Things that are the Means of Health and Life, such as Meat, Drink, Ex­ercise and Rest; that the violent Accidents about us, and many unregarded and shocking Convulsions within us; that none of those millions of Things that we know are capable of destroying Health or Life, have done it hitherto.

SECT. IV. 'Tis our Duty with an healthful Body to se­cure the Health and Prosperity of the Soul:

THAT both may flourish together, and we may enjoy the Apostle's Wish compleat, Body and Soul to prosper and be in Health. Health of Body is a great Bles­sing, but the Health and Prosperity of a Soul must be own'd to be as much the greater Blessing, as the Soul [...] more valu­able tha [...] [...] Body, as Heaven is above Earth, and as an Eternity of Happiness is beyond a temporal Life, even in its best Circumstances. He that believes prevail­ing [Page 109] Sin, which is the Soul's Sickness, [...] the Damnation of Hell, which is the Soul's Death, are greater Evils than the Sickness or Death of the Body, can never rest satis­fy'd with an healthful Body only, will never neglect his better Part. He will never let the Soul bring its Complaint, that while the Body truly has wanted for nothing, nei­ther Entertainment, Food, nor Physick, in order to its thriving State, the poor Soul is neglected and forgot, and suffer'd to lie in a languishing and pining Condition.

How to promote the Health and Pros­perity of this Soul, requires no mighty Depth of Thought to understand. You may learn what you are to do for your Soul in this Case, from your Conduct towards your Body: 'Tis but observing how careful and studious you are of the Body's Health and Welfare, how cautious of exposing it, how little you grudge what you lay out for it, either of your Money or your Time; how quick your Concern is to avoid what may be mischievous and hurtful. Go and do likewise for the Soul, do but spiritualize the Instances of your Regimen and Conduct for bodily Health, and thy Soul will prosper too even as thy Body prospers. As thus,

Let thy Soul have its proper Food in due Season, and such as thou knowest to be the [Page 110] most nourishing and most wholesome, let the Word of God dwell richly in you [...] thy Soul with Knowledge and Understand­ing: this [...] heavenly Ma [...]na, the Bread of Life that [...] down from Heaven, the sincere Milk of the Word to some, and strong Meat to others. I found thy Word and did eat it, and it was the Joy and Rejoycing of my Heart. By the Words of Truth and of sound Doctrine, your Souls will be nourish'd unto eternal Life; see that they be whole­some Words, even the Words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Doctrine which is ac­cording to Godliness: What the Stomach is to the Body, that the Conscience is to the Soul; and as thou wilt take nothing into the Stomach that would be offensive to it, use the same Discretion here, and think not any thing wholesome, that offends the Con­science, but endeavour to keep a Conscience void of Offence towards God and Man. A­gain, let thy Soul never want proper Physick any more than thy Body: Repentance, Self-denial, and needful Mortifications are the Physick of the Soul; to the same Pur­poses Christ sometimes makes use of Af­flictions and Crosses. Let all these be im­proved and managed under the Direction of the great Physician, the Lord Jesus Christ, apply to him both for recovering and pre­ventive [Page 111] Physick. 'Tis one of his Title, Able to keep us from falling, and to present us blameless; or, He can heal our Backsliding, receive us graciously, and love us freely: He has all Skill and Furniture requisite to the Health of Soul; Cordial Promises for the Faint and Weary; restorative Compassion for the Ignorant, and such as are out of the Way; purgative Chastisements for others, whereby he purges away Iniquity from Jacob, and this shall be the Fruit of all, to take away their Sin, and make them Partakers of his Holiness: He has Eye Salve for those that are blind, or need a better Sight; which he counsels us to buy of him: He has softening Grace for hard Hearts; enliven­ing Grace for dead and dull, humbling Grace for proud Spirits: He has Grace and Mercy to help in every Time of Need. His Furniture is all the Fulness of the Godhead dwelling in him bodily: His Skill amounts to all the Treasures of Wisdom and Know­ledge; the Appearance of this Sun of Righ­teousness was with Healing under his Wings: His Business was going up and down, healing all manner of Diseases: His Character is, the Lord that health all thy Diseases, and forgiveth all thine Iniquity.

Let thy Soul never want proper Cloathing, both for Fence and Ornament; Put on the [Page 112] Lord Jesus Christ, be cloathed with Humility, adorn with that white Linen, pure & white, which is the Righteousness of the Saints, and buy of him white Rayment that thou may'st be cloathed.

Let thy Soul have its proper Entertain­ments and Refreshments, as well as the Body; some seasonable Retirements from the World, for Communion with God, Joy in the Holy Ghost, delighting thy self in the Lord, rejoycing in the Prospect of the Hea­venly World, and in the Hope of the Glory of God.

Let thy Soul have its proper Exercises; exercise thy self unto Godliness; let none of the Graces languish and decay thro' difuse; Practice gives Facility in every thing, with­out which, even the Limbs that are sound may be unwieldy and stiff.

Avoid whatsoever would endanger the Safety, Peace or Purity of thy Soul, as thou dost avoid what thou knowest prejudicial to thy bodily Heath; the very Suspicion of Unwholesomeness in Cases of Air, Places, Posture, Diet: How does it make People curious, inquisitive, cautious, as to these things? Why should I not be as kind to my Soul, and as tender of its spiritual Health, by keeping out of the Way of Temptation, and avoiding even the Appear­ances of Evil?

[Page 113] The Symptoms of an healthful Soul are to be discerned, in the same manner of Al­lusion to the Signs of a healthful Body; for Instance, when the Pulse is regular, i. e. the Affections of the Soul, when they are as they should be, when they beat strong, even and constant, toward Heaven and hea­venly Things; indifferent to this World, and but moderate to our selves; when there is a good Appetite to the spiritual Food, the Word of God, the Knowledge of God, and an high Value of all the Means of Union to him, Enjoyment of him, and farther Acquaintance with him; when we hunger and thirst after Righteousness, and have a mighty Relish for all the Duties and Enjoyments of Religion in their proper Season; (I esteemed the Words of thy Mouth more than my necessary Food) and are never better pleased than when we have engaged God with us in a religious Transaction, and find our Souls are satisfy'd as with Marrow and Fatness; when Sin is our growing A­version, as God and his Company is our growing Delight and Pleasure; when we can say, we hate all Evil, but thy Law do we love; when we hate what God hates, and love what God loves, and endeavour that his Regards and ours should be after the same manner, and to the same Objects; [Page 114] when we fear Sin more than Suffering, love God more than the World, and covet Grace more than Gold, and make the great Pros­pects of the other World the habitual Re­gulation of all our moral Actions in this; when our Faith enables us to live much upon Christ, and with him, and to walk as always before him, and upon all Occasions to come to God by him, and derive Strength from him, in constant Supplies of Grace; when we can heartily submit to his Autho­rity, depend upon his Merits and Interces­sion, and chearfully imitate his Example; when we can digest the hardest Truths, and bear the most burthen some Providences, it argues a good Constitution of Soul; when we can believe in Hope against Hope; when we can walk by Faith tho' in Darkness, live by Faith tho' we have nothing else to live upon, and die in Faith altho' not hav­ing yet received the Promises.

These Things argue a sound and health­ful Soul, and that Establishment in the Faith, which is attended with all the happy Symp­toms of an healthful Mind, a clear Head, a warm Heart, a regular Conversation, a florid Complexion, i. e. an uniform Course of Life, which makes it visible, that things are well in the Soul, as a good Complexion usually shews when it is so in the Body.

[Page 115] When there is that Activity in Religion, that shews 'tis our Meat and Drink to do the Will of our Father which is in Heaven; that holy Vivacity toward God that proves him to be our Center of Rest, and the Element of our Spirits; when there is a Peace of Conscience, the Result of impartial Search and Self-acquaintance, and not the poor Contrivance of Evasion and Shift; when there is that Chearfulness of Spirits, that Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost, wherein so much of the Kingdom of God does con­sist; when we can bear Fatigues with Pati­ence, enjoy Prosperity without Corruption and base Degeneracy; when we can endure Adversity without Dejection & loss of Tem­per, and are never the worse for either For­tune in the World, whether it smiles or frowns, and the ordinary Occurrences of Life do not disorder us: It's a crazy Body that's affected by a little Change of Wea­ther, a Stumble, a small Cold, an acciden­tal Surfeit, a Disappointment in Diet; but it's a strong and healthful one that can rub thro' them all, without Concern: So does an healthful Soul thro' common Tempta­tions, these he is able to bear down before him; and as for great ones, and those more p [...]culiar, they do not make an easy Prey of him: He can overcome the Malignity of [Page 116] some unwholesome thing accidentally taken in, he knows how to throw it off by Re­pentance, and where to go for the Cordial Mercy for what is past, and for Antidoting Grace for Time to come.

SECT. V. That we must use the Ease, Liberty and Lei­sure of a Time of Health, to the best Pur­poses, to obtain this healthful Condition of Soul, to lay in before hand such Principles, Prospects, Promises and Evidences, that may be a safe and comfortable Preparation for Sickness and Death.

THE last time I was sick, I could not but think, that were I well again, re­leased from this Confinement, got rid of these enfeebling and disabling Pains, sinking and fainting Qualms, I should, I think, value more than ever, and use better, the Opportunities of laying in such Principles, Promises, Evidences, that might be a safe and comfortable Provision for Sickness and Death.

Well, the Thing desired is come, I am well and in Health, I have the very Thing I so earnestly desired, and shall desire again: I am now freed from those Depressions of Spirit that made Life a Burthen; what Use have I made of it all? To what Purpose is [Page 117] the Blessing bestowed upon me? He that has given me the Blessing, has told me how to improve it, in such Words, as carry in them a most affecting Mixture of Com­passion and Authority, Oh! that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter End. Deut. 32. 29.

It should seem then, in the Account of God, that a Man has neither Wisdom nor Understanding that does not use them to this Purpose of consid [...]ring his latter End.

A Time of Health is the best Time, and it may be the only Time of preparing for Death; for, may not I be cut off by a sud­den Death in an unprepared State? Or, may not I be seized with a Distemper that may as suddenly snatch away the use of my Reason, and so be derived of a Capacity of preparing for Death? The Disorders of Sickness, do they not generally unfit for such Actions of Mind as are necessary to Preparation? Is it not next to impossible, that long Customs in Sin should be changed at once, and that inveterate Habits that have taken deep Root in the Soul, should be plucked up at once? Tho' we limit not the Holy One of Israel, yet we must regard his own Representation of this Matter, as next to an Impossibility, Jer. 13. 23. Can the Ethiopian change his Skin, or the Leopard his [Page 118] Spots? Then may ye also do Good that are accustomed to do Evil. Besides, the Grace necessary to effect so great a Thing (with­out which such a Miracle can't be done) is less likely to be given to one that has op­posed and rejected it, during the Time of Health. Prov. I. 24. Because I have called, and you refused, v. 25. and you have set at nought my Reproof: v. 26. I will laugh at your Calamity, I will mock when your Fear cometh; v. 27. When your Fear cometh as Desolation, and your Destruction as a Whirl­wind; when Distress and Anguish cometh up­on you. v. 28. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me. And farther, the Repentance in a Time of Sickness, and on a Death Bed, is seldom true; the Tears and Cries are generally wrung out, only by a Dread of what's a coming, not from a Conviction of the evil of Sin, or a Turn of Mind from it, as appears for the most part in the Return to Sin upon their Recovery, with the same, or greater Greediness than before; like Esau's Tears bewailing, not the Sin of despising his Birthright, but the Suffering of going without any Blessing. And farther still, the Gospel does so plainly require Holiness of Heart and Life, the Fruits meet for Repentance, the putting off the [Page 119] Old Man, putting on the New, the walking after the Spirit (things that do not lye mere­ly in a Turn of Thought, or a sudden Change of Mind) that some have been rea­dy to imagine, all that can be done upon a Death Bed too late, if nothing have been done before; and that the Case of one who has rejected the Offers of Grace all his Life-time, is desperate upon a Death Bed, let his Convictions or Pretensions be what they will; and that a forced Repentance in this Extremity, can't come up to the re­quired Gospel Terms of Salvation. The Love of Sin was in its full Strength to the very Time they took their Beds; 'tis Sick­ness that has taken off the Appetite, not Grace, and so they have not left their Sins, but their Sins have left them. As to those called at the eleventh Hour, that's far from being the Case here, because they were ne­ver called before, as you have been all your Life. They obeyed the first Call, tho' it came at the eleventh Hour, whereas you dis­obey the heavenly Call at present, in Pre­sumption upon an after Game, which very Presumption is a Provocation to God not to give you then the Opportunity, the Means, or the Grace of Conversion.

The same may be said with respect to the Thief upon the Cross, which so many abuse [Page 120] to a Purpose, miserably wide from the De­sign of so illustrious an Act of Grace. For, that was not only an extraordinary thing in it self, and consequently no more to be drawn into ordinary Application, than a Man should expect to be fed by Ravens, in neglect of his lawful Calling, because he has read that Elijah was so; but also, it must be observed, that this was (very likely) the first Call to Christianity he ever had: He was not, it may be, one of those lost Sheep of the House of Israel, to whom Christ and his Apostles directed their first Address of the Gospel; but, as should seem, by the Roman Manner of his Execution, was a Sin­ner of the Gentiles; and had now, first of all, met with Christ, and now first of all called by him; and what's this to the Pur­pose of those who live in a constant Slight of the Calls of the Grace and Word of God, upon the secret Hope of complying at last, which is the desperate Presumption of those who quote this Instance to their own Destruction?

[Page 121] This may suffice to shew how wise a Thing it is to consider our latter End, in a Time of Health; the next Thing is to engage Per­sons to be so wise as this comes to.

This is a Thing of that Importance that it ought to be a little enlarged upon; but then 'tis a Thing People are wond'rous shy of; they take the State of Health & Vigour to be given for nothing but Enjoyment, Pleasure, or Business; as for thinking of the latter End, it's time enough when we come to be sick, that is to say, the greatest Blessing of Life is given for every Thing but the main Thing for which it is given, providing for Sickness and Death; and it is time enough to do that, at that Time, when it is next to impossible it should be done at all; it is time enough to prepare for a Thing when the Thing has surprised us unpre­pared.

Let not the healthful Person be frighted at the Words, Preparing for Sickness and Death; they mean nothing but what is the most friendly and delightful in the World, namely, Pleasure, Peace, and Safety; it does not signify, that you must think of nothing else but your latter End it does not oblige [Page 122] you to sleep in a Winding Sheet, to lye down every Night in a Coffin, and always have a Death's Head upon the Cabinet; but it will set you above the Weakness of counting even these Things Melancholy.

It will render those Thoughts familiar to you that are the Dread of Mankind, and take off the Horror of the most horrible Thing to human Nature; horrible, merely because in Time of Health we will not make our selves acquainted with it.

They who are put upon preparing for Sickness and Death, and answer, What, must we be always thinking of these Things? They know in their Conscience, that is not the Thing God or Man means by it; they know 'tis an impertinent Evasion, and objecting against what no body supposes: No Body supposes you must always be thinking of it, but you would, by your good Will, never think of it at all, even tho' you don't so much as pretend to escape it; which is the meanest Folly, and most sordid Lowness of Soul that can be described.

By considering our latter End, God does not require that we should be inconsiderate about our temporal Affairs; there is no Quarrel against this forethought upon this Account. Take your Time for Business and Diversion too, only let them not have [Page 123] all your Health and Time. There is no need to set at Odds those Things that may and do very well agree, Business and Reli­gion, the Trade for both Worlds, Earth and Heaven, the Health and Prosperity of both Parts, Body and Soul; these may very well be carried on together, and be render'd friendly and helpful to each other. We may be Christians without turning Hermits, and must overcome this World not by re­tiring out of it, but by bringing the other World down into it. The Affairs of this World have an allowed Place in our Con­sideration; the Business is, to make them know and keep their Place; as the Church is represented, not shut up from the World, above it; the World under her Feet, but her Head above the Clouds, cloathed with the Sun, the Moon under her Feet, and upon her Head a Crown of twelve Stars. Rev. 12. 1. If we use the World so as not to abuse it, if we live in it, as those who are not of it, and make that Mammon, which is the World's God, to be with us God's Ser­vant, and our Assistant, and so press this World into the Service of the other, we answer that Representation.

Nor is it such a Poring upon approach­ing Sickness & Death as should in any wise destroy the Comforts of Life, but rather heigh­ten [Page 124] and improve them: If you are not able to think of Sickness and Death without a Blast upon all your Comfort, and the Tho't imbitters every thing, that very Thing proves it to be high Time for you to con­sider the Matter; for, what a Condition must you be in, or what sort of Pleasures must they be, that are not able to bear the Thoughts of your latter End? There is not a Pleasure a Christian need meddle withal, but what will bear the Thought, and be im­proved by it too, with this additional Plea­sure, unknown to the Inconsiderate, viz. My Pleasures can bear, not only the Thought of Death, but the Thing it self; it can overtake me in them without my Ruin: Lord! is not this an happy Condition? But of this more hereafter.

In the mean time, I shall explain this last Direction and Duty a little farther in the following Particulars. If I would make the best Use possible of my Health, & consider my latter End to Purpose, I must,

First, think of it frequently, till it grows a familiar and an easy Thought, as it will do to a Christian.

This will gradually remove the Dread and Horror that attends an unconsider'd Trial. Monsters of Africk are not terrible to their Keepers, because they are always with them; [Page 125] the Dread wears off as the Eye becomes ac­customed to the Object. I lye down at Night, stretch out my self, and take it for granted, I am bidding the World farewel. I have blessed my Family, and composed my concern'd Friends to a willing Resigna­tion. The vital Knot is untying, suppose; I am but a little Way from the Presence of God, the Seat of his Judgment, and his Glory. Well, what is it now that hinders my enjoy­ing the Pleasure of this Thought? I am upon the Borders of Immortality and Per­fection, what is it makes me shrink & hang back? What am I defective in? Now, whatever I find, that would spoil the Plea­sure of such a Season, let me set my self to repent of those Sins, to mortify those Cor­ruptions, to obtain that Grace, and secure those Measures of Faith, Hope, and Love, of Spirituality, and Evidence for Heaven, as may enable me to think of dying into Immortality and Perfection, with all the Pleasure that becomes the near Approach of perfect Happiness.

I die daily, says the Apostle, that's the Way to die safely and pleasantly. They that will not bear the Thoughts of this while they are well, will find it hard to look Death in the Face when they are not able to avoid it; when he that has often thought the [Page 126] Matter over, meets it as an Acquaintance, as a known Thing, a Thing he has often acted over with himself, and so puts himself into the best Preparation for doing it in Re­ality: He is able to consider Death, as hav­ing no Sting in it, nor Curse belonging to it, and consequently no Hell following it; he looks at it under more agreeable Notions, as it is a parting with Corruption, dropping Mortality, ceasing to Sin, to suffer, or to die; entering the assured State of unalterable, Blessedness, Immortality and eternal Life, that instead of groaning at the Thoughts of it, they can sometimes with the Apostle, groan to be uncloathed, in order to be cloathed upon, to be dissolved and be with Christ, which is far better.

It must be owned, there are some Con­stitutions of such a Make, that double the Share of Grace they have, would not recon­cile them to the Thoughts of dying, tho' they may have Grace enough to render their Death safe, they may not have enough to render the Fore-thought of it pleasant to them, but like some timorous Persons, shrink at the Sight of a Gun tho' it be not charged, and tremble at a naked Sword, thô it be in the Hand of a Friend they know will do them no [...]arm. To such I would only say at present, that frequent thinking [Page 127] on your latter End, acting over the Scene of your Farewel to the World, stating your Accounts with God, and placing your self at his Bar, and clearing your Interest in your Advocate, at the same Time you present your self before your Judge; this will by De­grees wear off that unpleasant Aversion, which, of it self, ought to give us more Con­cern, than the Thoughts of dying, lest that Aversion should continue me unprepared, as, to be sure I shall be, if I never think of the Matter.

And not only for our own Comfort, but we ought so far to consult the Honour of Religion, and the Glory of Christ, who has delivered us from the Second Death, as to endeavour to overcome the Fears of the First, to deliver us from which, was one Branch of his Redemption, and one Design of his Conquest; for as he came to destroy him that had the Power of Death, so he came to deliver those, who thro' Fear of Death have been all their Life times subject to Bondage. Was this Freedom one thing Christ died to procure, and is it not my Duty to en­deavour to obtain it? Is it not very odd, for a Christian to say, my Conversation, Hope and Happiness is in Heaven, but as for going thither, I dread and abhor the Thoughts on't.

[Page 128] Secondly, to think wisely of our latter End, is to act under the Influence of such Thoughts while we are in Health, as those that know they shall not be always so.

To think of our latter End, would be but a sorry Direction, if to think of it was all, without acting in a constant Reference to it, and under the Influence of it: If our Preparation goes no farther than Thoughts and Purposes, the Fruits of eternal Life pe­rish in the Blossom; it does not so much lye in poring upon the Memento's of Mor­tality, an Hour-glass, Coffin, Tombs, a Death's Head, &c. as in acting upon the Conclusions, which these things suggest; as thus, The end of all Things is at hand, therefore let us watch and be sober; the Night comes wherein no Man can work, there­fore let me work out my Salvation with Fear and Trembling, therefore let me work the Works of him that sent me while it is called to Day? Time is short, Health is uncertain; short and uncertain as they are, my Eternity depends upon them, therefore will I keep my Eye upon my Glass, and wisely observe how fast my Sands do run, how soon they will be out, how easily my Glass may be broke, even before my Sands are out.

Again, to act under the Influence of such Thoughts, is to think with my self, how [Page 129] will this Acti [...] look when I come to be sick and die? When I come to review it upon a sick and dying Bed? I see how it looks now, plea­sant, delightful, promising, entertaining, and seems allowable; but may I trust its Appear­ance? Will it not have another Aspect when I am forced to review it upon a sick & dying Bed? When every thing will appear in a very different Manner from what it does now, thro' the false Colours of Prejudice, Partiality and Self-Indulgence. How will Holiness then look, compared with Sin? The Favour of God compared with ventur­ing the Loss of it? Resisting Temptation compar'd with yielding to it? How will it look then, to have nobly conquer'd by Self-denyal, or to have meanly yielded thrô Self-indulgence? Heaven, Hell, this World, and the other, the Gospel Promise and In­vitation, and the Excuses, Shifts and Eva­sions we have used, how will they then look, either to the wise Christian, or to the a­wakened Sinner? For want of living under the Influence of this Fore-sight, some who have slept under the most affecting Calls of the Gospel, have awaked at once from their secure Dream into the utmost Confusion. Upon a sick Bed, when Things began to appear just as they were, then, the Folly of Sin! the Wisdom of Holiness! the Wisdom particularly of this Part of Holiness I am [Page 130] now recommending, of improving Health to the best Purposes, and acting under the Influence of this Prospect of our latter End, then it will appear in fullest Evidence and Lustre!

Now, (says the surprised Soul) I see plain­ly, this World is not what I took it for: Satis­faction, Rest, and Happiness! Lord! what have I been doing? that ever I should so for­get, what 'twas impossible I should avoid, and banish from my Thoughts, what I find will al­ways come too soon to those who think on it least? Oh! Why could not I have been con­tented with allowed Pleasures? Now I fully see, God's Allowance was always sufficient; and to exceed that, was needless Folly, as well as impudent Disobedience; 'twas like getting up from a well-spread Table, to cram down Poison in secret, meerly because 'was forbidden Fruit; or at least, because it was sweet. Now I can see no Sense in those Excuses and Palli­ations, which I before thought wondrous witty and cunning. Lord! where was my Under­standing, that I should venture my Soul upon a slight Turn of Thought, against such a deal of Evidence that I was in the wrong? But I would not suffer my self to think; or if I did, I labour'd to place Matters in such a View as has deceiv'd me, and undone me. A little Fore-thought might have prevented the dire [Page 131] Confusion of this Hour. I might have been looking upward, through an open Heaven, to a smiling God: I might have been adorn'd with the Grandeurs of a Christian breathing after Immortality, instead of the Horrors of a perish­ing Sinner: But when I need Comfort most, the Things about me, that I made my Trust, can yield me none: And God, who only can, is departed from me: Satan busy about me, as an Executioner about a Malefactor! What then?—No Angel to take Care of my Soul? No God to smile upon a dying Creature? Must I never see Christ Jesus in the Form of a Re­deemer more?—No, no more in the F [...]rm of a Redeemer.—Oh Lord, I am cheated, gull'd and deceived, out of my Soul! for want of being wise enough to think of my latter End, while I was well in Health, and had Time, Liberty and Ease, to do it!

It was the Saying of a grave Divine, that he wonder'd how any Man could dye in his Wits, that did not dye in Faith: And that their Souls did not leave their Bodies, as the Devil left the Body of the Demoniacs, rending and tearing.

Again; To live under the Influence of the Thought of our latter End, is to con­sider, How if this Action should close my Life, and be my last? How would it look to lose my Life with such an Action as this? E­very [Page 132] thing that it is fit for us to have, and allowable to do, or enjoy, will bear such a Thought as this. All becoming Pleasures, all lawful Business will subsist, ay, and thrive and sweeten under such a Thought as this, and not be blasted by it. If any Business or Pleasure can be spoiled by this Medita­tion, either that is not good, or we are not in a good Condition; and which soever it be, it's time that something give way to settle a Question of so great Importance; whatsoever will not bear this Thought, is to be suspected, stopp'd & examin'd: That cannot be good it self, that is shy of, and won't agree with, such good Company, as the Thoughts of God, and another World.

If in my Conscience I know that this is my lawful Business, or this a fit Recreation for needful Health, or allow'd Enjoyment, I may venture to dye in that Diversion or Business. I say, venture to dye in it. For it's one thing, indeed, what a good Man may venture or dare to do, it's another thing, what he would chuse to do. A good Man may venture to dye in drinking a Glass of Wine at a Feast, or in taking a Walk, or riding out, though he would not chuse to do so, it being desirable to do so great a Work in the best Order, and with some suitable Composure: But then there are some Acti­ons [Page 133] in which a good Man would not so much as venture to die, no nor live neither, in Actions or Pleasures that will not stand the Presence of good Thoughts, Thoughts of God, and of dying into his immediate Presence in the Act; they have not War­rant or Allowance enough to bear the Thought, that when our Lord comes, he should find us so doing.

Sad is the Case of those who die in Act of Sin, for a Man to finish his last Bre [...] with a Lye! to dye away in the Sleep a Drunkenness! to be cut off in the conduct­ing an Affair of Cheating and Couzenage and so go down to the Pit with a Lye in ou [...] right Hand! Problems in Divinity may be started, and Cases may be put, but for my own Part, I cannot form to my self an Idea of greater Horror, Confusion and Dread, than to think of my wilful sinning against God one Minute, and standing before His Bar the next. He is the Man that lives well, He understands the Art of living and dying too, both for the Pleasure and Safety of it, who can in all his Actions say, If God pleases, let this be my last; I could venture it, tho' I would not chuse it; who behaves as if every Day and Action were to close his Life, not with so much Solemnity and Concern as if he certainly knew he must [Page 134] die to Day, for that would spoil the com­mon Affairs and Pleasures of Life, but with equal Respect to the Righteousness and Holiness of all he does, and so, as would render the dying it self uncumber'd with any Disturbance that should be trouble some or unbecoming.

To this I may add, that to act under the Influence of the foresight of our latter End, is to think with our selves, How does God look upon this that I do? What Opinion has he of it? What does his Word say about it? The Judgment of God is according to Truth, and every thing is right that is ac­cording to that. We shall all be of his Mind sooner or later; 'tis Wisdom to be as near it now as we can; for, as to be like God is the highest Perfection of our Na­tures, and to enjoy God the highest Feli­city we are capable of, so to be of the same Mind with him, is the highest Wisdom and Prudence; to see things in his Light, and look upon them with Sentiments conform to his unerring Mind. Thus have I shewn what it is to act under the Influence of the foresight of our latter End; it is to con­sider how this Action will look when we come to be sick and die: How if it should be our last, and close our Lives? How does God look upon it, what Opinion has he of [Page 135] it, and what does his Word say about it? Which is to be the Rule of Judgment.

Thirdly, No Man can think wisely of his latter End, that does not endeavour to get all things ready for it.

In all other Cases this is accounted Wis­dom, to have Matters in Readiness, not only to prevent the Danger of Delay, but the uncomfortable Hurries, Confusions and Distractions of a Man surprised and unpre­pared; if it be but a Journey of Impor­tance, or a Cause to be tryed, especially of Life and Death, a Man would not be able to lift up his Head under [...]he Load of Re­proach with which the World would con­demn such Heedlessness in any of these Cases. Dying is all these Cases in one; it is a Journey into the eternal World; it is also a Tryal for eternal Life or Death: Unpreparedness here is part of that eternal Shame to which the Wicked shall be con­demned.

Now the Time of Health is the most proper Time in the World for this Work, you have Leisure, if you please to have it, for Enquiry; Capacity and Strength for thinking, and pursuing any Thoughts till you have brought them to a Point; Op­portunity and Ease for Conversation with Friends that may assist or direct; the Du­ties [Page 136] of Religion, and the Means of Grace are all before you, without the sadning In­terruptions of Pain and Sickness; when the Physicians, it may be, will give Orders, that you must not be spoke with, you must not think, nor be put into any Concern for fear of inflaming the Distemper, and so in Compassion to the Body the Soul must run dreadful Hazards; but whose Fault must i [...] be if it be thus? This Business ought to have been done long before, the working out of our Salvation is a Work of Health: Then every thing ought to be set in such Order, as that in Sickness we may have no­thing to do but with inward Calm and se­cret Joys to relieve the Anguish of the out­ward Man, and with curious Expectancy and pleasing Glances of Heaven dress for Eternity, and put on every Grace; and so with holy Resignation wait the opening of that Door, that will let us into the best Company, and the brightest Scene that e­ver our Eyes [...]held. Certainly Sickness and Dying are, either of them, Work e­nough for any Man of themselves alone, without the additional Weight of Exami­nations, dubious Enquiries, bitter Repent­ings, dreadful Complaints, fearful Appre­hensions, of a wounded Conscience, and a surprised Mind, at the time when a Man [Page 137] can hardly bear a single Sheet upon him [...] Be ye therefore always ready is the Advice of infinite Wisdom; Stand, says he, having your Loins girt, in a Posture of Waiting and Readiness for whatever comes; as Men that wait for the coming of the Lord, be ready both as to your State and Frame, both for Safety and for Comfort. He is indeed a good Steward, who when his Lord shall come is found honest enough to have all things safe, tho' his Accounts were not ready cast up, stated and clear; but he is a better and a wiser Steward, who when his Lord comes [...] all things not only safe but ready stated and in Order for the welcome Re­ception of his Lord; and to whom the coming of the Lord may not only be void of Fright and Surprise, but may be a thing of Joy and Delight, because his Reward is with him. Let then your Loins be girt a­bout, and your Lights burning, and be ye your selves like Men that wait for the Lord when he shall return from the Wedding, that when he cometh & knocketh ye may open to him im­mediately. Blessed are those Servants whom when the Master shall come he shall find watch­img. Verily I say unto you, he shall gird him­self, and make them sit down, and will come forth himself and serve them: Be ye therefore ready, for the Son of Man cometh in an Hour [Page 138] ye think not of. We must not be content to die in the Dark, for tho' Comfort in Death be not in our Power, but is the Gift of God, and it be no Sin meerly to want it; yet, it is a Sin to be willing to want it, it is a Sin to want it thro' our own Default and Negligence, and the Confusion and Uncertainty in which we suffer Matters heedlesly to lie. Let your Loins be girt a­bout, are Words, commanding us to be ready either for Business, Contest or Travelling. Let your Lights be burning, are Words that forbid our dying in the Dark, and make it our Duty as well as our Consolation to have our Graces shining, our Evidences clear, and the Promises of God sued out and ap­plied: The Lord will come at one Hour or another, and that Hour unknown, and there is no Hour wherein we can promise our selves the Son of Man will not come, as to us in particular, by Death; and to welcome his coming with Joy is so honour­able, so much to the Advantage of those that are ready, that our Lord not only pro­nounces them three times blessed, Luke 12, 37, 38, 43. but in a Strain very singular and extraordinary, expresses the Blessedness of that Man whom he finds so prepared. It's a very strange and unusual thing for a Master to get up and wait upon his Ser­vant, [Page 139] and yet, he says here, Verily he shall gird himself, and make that Servant sit down, and will come forth himself and serve him, that is to say, the Honours he will do them in Person, and the Blessedness he will en­tertain them with, are as much beyond all our Expectation, as it is beyond a Servant's Imagination, that his Master should get up and make him sit down for himself to wait upon him; for it has not enter'd into the Heart of Man to conceive what God has laid up for them that fear him. You your selves would have but a mean Opinion of that Servant who should squander away the Time of your Absence; and instead of set­ting every thing to Rights, that so they might have nothing to do but to wait for and welcome your coming home, you should find them all in Confusion, and e­very thing out of Order. Would you like such Service? Would they deserve any Commendation? Would not their Love, Obedience and Regard be better expressed, and your Approbation better secured, if they did every thing in your Absence after the same Manner as if you stood by? And upon your sudden unexpected Return you found all things ready and in Order?

Fourthly, If you would consider wisely of this, you must suppose it near, even in a [Page 140] time of Health, and not imagine it a great way off because you are now well.

We have already shewn the Reason of this, when we proved, that the Continu­ance of Health is so great a Wonder. Your own Observation of the sudden Deaths of so many Persons, that seemed to die in Health, may farther convince you that it is not to be depended upon. He is a Fool upon Record, who said to his Soul, Soul take thine Ease; because he had got a good Estate, he promis'd himself the Enjoyment of it for many Years, when that very Night his Soul was required of him. 'Tis always foolish and ignorant, 'tis often fatal and destructive to put the evil Day far from us. Besides, that it is doing so that makes it an evil Day, which otherwise would be better than the Day of our Birth, Eccl. 7. 1. But we bid the Young consider their latter End, and they look at you, as if you offer'd to put them to Bed at Noon-day, they have so much Time yet before them. We bid the grown Persons consider their latter End, and we come in the wrong Time, for they are just got into Business, and they must mind that. We bid the Old consider their latter End, and they have a Proverb in Readiness to answer us, None are so old but they may live another Year. The bare [Page 141] Possiblility that they may live, will do more towards their Presumption upon an Uncer­tainty, than the Certainty that they must die, towards their Preparation. We bid those in Health prepare, and they think 'tis time enough when they come to be sick. And as for the Sick, some of them are so full of the Hopes of Recovery and Escape, that minding them of their latter End & to consider it as near, would be more grievous than any part of the Distemper. All Ages of Life, all Ranks and Degrees of Men, contrive to keep off the Thoughts of a Thing unavoidable and near, as if Pleasure, Ease and Happiness of Mind did not lie in being above the Fears, and be­yond the Danger of dying, but in being insensible of both.

Epicurus himself says well that no Man is either immature or over-ripe in regard to his Soul's Health; upon which Words Dr. Barrow thus comments, ‘We can never set upon it too soon, we should never think it too late 'to begin; to live well is always the best thing we can do, and therefore we should at any time endea­vour it; there are common Reasons for [Page 142] all Ages, there are special Reasons for each Age, that most strongly and most clearly do urge it; it is most seasonable for young Men, it is most necessary for old, it is most adviseable for all.’

Fifthly, We must consider our latter End as our final Determination for Eternity.

This is a Matter that adds infinite Weight and Importance to the Business of dying, and consequently sets an unspeakable Value upon our time & Health, upon the Improve­ment of which our everlasting Happiness or Misery depends. It is our Determina­tion for Eternity! There is no After-Game to be played! No Reserves for future Pro­bation and Tryal! Heaven and Hell are the only Receptacles for departed Spirits; and he that has made Heaven and Hell has told us nothing of a Purgatory between, nor has any one yet found it, either in the Word of God, or in their Passage to these invisible Worlds; but he has told us, that the next thing to Death is Judgment, that as the Tree falls so it lyes, that the Spirit immediately returns to God who gave it, who knows how to dispose of it according to the Condition and State in which it appears before him. He has told us that there is no Return in that Warfare, no fighting the good Fight over again; but as we are [Page 143] carried off the Field, so it will be with us, whether we go off Conquerors, or are car­ried off Slaves and Captives. Lazarus dying, stops no where till he came to A­braham's Bosom, which was no Place of Tor­ment, for then he was comforted; and Dives when dead, and was buried, the next Place you find him in is Hell: In Hell he lift up his Eyes, being in Torments, without any Hope of Relief from, or Relief under his Miseries; for such Hope would have been more than a Drop of Water toward the cool­ing of his Tongue.

Sixthly, I think that my Health is given and continued so long for this very End and Purpose, that I may consider my latter End and prepare for it.

You cannot suppose the best of temporal Blessings as we have proved Health to be, is given for any meaner Purposes than those that are spiritual and eternal; acquiring Grace, and securing Glory.b To suppose Health and Life given for those common Affairs only, upon which it is generally wasted, were to imagine the glorious Sun Beams created only for Flies to sport it, or to make the Worm lie warm in its Bed.

[Page 144] The Uses People generally put their Health to, are equalled in the Business of a little Ant upon a Mole-hill, or the spor­tiveness of a Flie, or the sluggishness and earthiness of a Worm; such are the Men of Bustle, the Men of Pleasure, the sloth­ful and idle Servant, the Lust of a Brute, or the Pride and Passion of a Devil! Where­as the Uses for which God gives us our Health, are to work out our Salvation, to grow fit for the heavenly Place, Company and Work; that I may have Time and Space to repent; and whatever my Hand finds to to do, to do it with all my Might, because, there is no Work nor Device in the Grave whither I am going, and it is impossible that in the Neglect of these Things I can lay out my Health upon any thing lawfully; for how­ever lawful the Affairs of Life are in them­selves, yet to me, neglecting God and my Soul for their Sakes, they become Sin. They are the Idol of my Affections, to which Time and Health are sacrificed, and the Price of my Soul, which by such Neg­lect I do actually give in Exchange for them, and thereby sell it into Perdition. But the wise Consideration of our latter End, prevents this greatest of all Evils, viz. a Life full of Dread, of shrinking Fear and Terror upon every Apprehension of Danger, [Page 145] which is a great Slavery and Imbitterment of Life; and it prevents a Death full of Horror, and a Resurrection to Confusion, Shame and Misery: And is it not our Wis­dom to prevent the greatest Evils, Sin, Sor­row, Terror and Damnation, and to secure the greatest Good, Grace and Glory, God and Heaven, and the Enjoyment of them for ever?

'Tis said indeed, the Children of this World are wiser in their Generation than the Children of Light; but how? neither in Degree, a [...] having more Wisdom, nor in Kind, as hav­ing a more excellent Sort, but by the Use and diligent Application of what they have, and Steadiness in what they pursue. What they resolve upon, they for the most part prosecute with greater Diligence, than the Christian does what he resolves on. They are wiser in their Way, than the Children of God in theirs; just as a Spider is in its Way, wiser than a Man: A Man cannot weave a Cobweb; wiser (eis genean autoon) for their present Age, Time & Affairs, than the Children of Light are (eis genean autoon) for their Age, which is to come, to secure the true Riches, and the celestial Habitations prepared for them: They are wiser in their Way, tho' that their Way is their Folly; for, can a Man be wise that is not wise for [Page 146] the main, the eternal Concern? Can a Man be wise that disobliges his best Friend, and provokes the most Powerful of all Beings to become his Enemy? Can a Man be wise that neglects the properest Season of Action, and perhaps the only one he may ever have, for doing the most necessary Business in the World? So that in short, as the Sinner of an hundred Year old is accursed, so the Sinner of an hundred times more Wit, Learning, Riches, or Parts than any honest Christian, is a Fool; for unto Man he saith, the Fear of the Lord, this is Wisdom, and to depart from Evil, this is Understanding. All the Wisdom, Learning, and Knowledge in the World, will not make a wise Man in God's Account, if this Branch of Wisdom be want­ing; the Consideration of our latter End. Oh! that they were wise, that they would consider, &c. If you know these Things, says Christ, happy are you if you do them. If you know these Things, says God, happy are you if ye consider them. Then happy the Man who has considered this Matter so, as to be placed above present Fear, or future Danger. Happy in a sublimer Sense than the Poet ever thought of, when he said:

Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas,
Atque metus omnes, & inexorabile fatum,
Subjecit pedi [...]us, strepitumque Acherontis avari.

[Page 147] I shall conclude this Section with these two Remarks: The First, That as easy as this Matter seems to be, this Wisdom is very rarely attained. And secondly, That where this Consideration is practised, it spoils neither Business nor Pleasure, but is a great Advan­tage to both.

There are but few that attain this Wisdom of considering their latter End. Not one thing in the World is more universally a­greed on than this, that we must also in our Turn, be sick and die. It's a Jest to go a­bout to prove what no Body denies; and yet not one thing of all that concerns us, is so little considered! Such a Witchcraft there is in the World, that People can't abide to hear they must one time let it go. Busy, like so many Ants about a Mole-hill, they take no Notice of the Foot that's just go­ing to crush them: Like Archimedes, so intent upon drawing his Schemes, that the Sword was in his Bowels, before he appre­hended the City was taken, and the Enemy was near him. Such is the Love, the gree­dy Love of present Pleasures which they won't suffer to be mingled with a Thought of Death, 'tis dashing Wormwood into their merry Cups.

Sometimes it is Laziness hinders the Con­sideration of this, and keeps Men from set­ting [Page 148] Matters to Rights between God and their Soul. Sometimes it is a secret Sus­picion that their Estate is bad, that keeps them from looking into it, as they that run behind hand in the World, do not care to look into their Books, and as Children in the dark are afraid to open their Eyes, lest they should see something; but even those very Children know, that they are never the safer for shutting their Eyes. Is it possible for any to imagine, that by think­ing of our latter End, we do really hasten and invite it? And that to make a Will, is ominous and foreboding? I give my Soul to God, and my Body to the Grave: These Words are dreadful to a Man that does not know what God will do with his Soul; to a Man that never gave his Soul and Body to God before; to a Man that is afraid God will take him at his Word, and really take the Soul and Body that he surrenders: It sounds like a Passing-Bell. They desire to be excused such melancholy Things. But is it not really a much more melancholy thing, to find your self in such a sorry Con­dition, as to dread the Thought, & banish the Consideration, when you cannot avoid the Thing? To think of Death cannot bring it nearer, but never to think of it, will cer­tainly make it come too soon, though it be an hundred Year hence.

[Page 149] In the next Place, I say, these Thoughts with a Christian need spoil neither Business nor Pleasure. I should rather wonder how any thing could be pleasant till these Matters are settled. It is very strange to me, that the Voluptuous should have the Secret of heightning their Pleasures from the Views of Death, and that the same Views carried onward into Perfection and Life, should be any Draw-back upon the Pleasure of a Christian.*

The Egyptians at their Feasts, served up first of all a Death's Head that stood all the Time in View. And in the famous Feast of Trimalcion, a Skeleton of Silver was pre­sented, to advertise, that the Time for Plea­sure was short and precious, & consequently to be filled up to the best Advantage.—Catullus and Horace, and other Poets, use the same Turn of Thought to the same Purpose; and these are the People who say, Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die. Heathen as they were, they did not think a Memento mori, spoil'd all the Entertain­ment: Are we set back by Christianity? Have we lost Ground by that Life and Im­mortality [Page 150] which Christ has brought to Light by the Gospel? Could they reconcile Plea­sure with the Thoughts of Death and Ex­tinction? And can't we make it agree with the Thoughts of Dying into Immortality? Should not that be rather adding Pleasure to Pleasure, by remembring, that our De­lights improve and rise, where they imagin'd theirs to expire for ever? Shall an Heathen be able to feast with a Death's Head in view? Shall a Jew chuse to have his Tomb in his Garden, where he could never after take a Walk, without the Hint of his last Step? And shall a Christian think he should never take a pleasant Walk, nor eat a com­fortable Morsel, in the like Circumstances? Shall a Christian upon the Mention of ano­ther World, in a Season of pleasantry, cry out, Lord what melancholy Stuff is this? Ah! but these People had no Fears of what was to come after Death! I answer, they were never the more safe for that, since it pro­ceeded from affected and wilful Ignorance, not desiring to retain God in their Knowledge: Or if they knew God, yet glorified him not as God. Besides, they had one of the most intolerable things to humane Nature, next to Hell and Damnation, to fear, and that was a total Extinction of Being, if, as it is pretended, they had no other Expectation. [Page 151] Moreover, if they had nothing to fear after Death, which can scarce be true, with re­spect to those who were a Law unto them­selves, tho' without the revealed Law; and had Consciences that either excused or accused them; but I say, if they had nothing to fear, so neither had they any thing to hope for; nothing that might give dying a gainful Notion, and cloath it with Ideas of Plea­sure and Advantage: No Knowledge of an Happiness hereafter, large as our De­sires, and lasting as our immortal Souls, that lessens our Calamities, and doubles our Joys, and without the Prospect of which, the highest State of Life is insipid, and with it, the lowest is a Paradise. And finally, as to thy Fears, whose Fault is it that thou hast any thing to fear after Death, any thing that should make you unwilling to think of it in Health? For that very Reason, think of it till you can think of it with Pleasure, as if you are true to God and your own Conscience, you may and must.

It is a Lie of the Devil, that Religion destroys any of the worthy and becoming Pleasures of Life in its ordinary Course; and if in some extraordinary Cases, it may by accident give Trouble, that is not Re­ligion, but the Want of i [...] in wicked Per­secutors without, who make Work for [Page 152] suffering, or unconquered Lusts within, which make Work for Sorrow; and even then, Religion secures infinitely more Plea­sure than they can take away. No! no! Religion provides the Plenty of a Paradise, and says, of all the Trees in the Garden, thou mayest freely eat: It only commands our Hands off from forbidden Fruit, and from Excess of Affection, even to lawful Objects: It corrects the Excess, Levity, and Extra­vagance of our Pleasures, which are but the Froth of Joy, and so far from properly be­longing to the Truth and Reality of Plea­sure, that they destroy it. Religion gives so much the fuller Possession, and purer Taste of every Pleasure, as it places a noble Soul above the Power of any Thought that can come a cross to destroy or disturb it; no, not the Thought of our latter End it self can do it, a Thought, upon the very Appearance of which, all the Delights of the Wicked vanish like the visionary En­tertainments of Witchcraft at the Mention of the great Name of God, unless hardened by vitious Principles, against all Regard to what shall become of them after Life. 'Tis the Fear of Death, that destroys the Plea­sures of Life, and the Love of Life, that hinders the easy Death, and for want of settling this Matter in a Time of Health [Page 153] and Leisure, we neither live agreeably, nor die with Ease and Tranquility.

I hardly admire Doctor Rivet more, in the patient Sufferings under his dreadful Sickness, than I do in his Conduct of mak­ing the Fore-sight of his last Hours mingle with the Pleasures of his perfect Health. He delighted in his Garden, there he was walking and entertaining himself, and giv­ing Orders about the dressing of some Trees; for, says he, if I live till the Spring, they will afford me a pleasant Sight; if not, I shall be in a much more delightful Garden than this. His Friend interrupting him, that there was no Cause for a Man of his Health and Liveliness, to drop any such Pre­sages. The Doctor replied with an Air of Rebuke, The Time is come now, that I must be addressed in another Manner. My Age is so far declined, and hastning to an End, as plainly declares that Death, which none can be exempted from, stands at my Door: And truly, Death is the principal Subject of my Meditation. God is my Witness, I desire not its Delay, but am ready with a chearful Mind, to embrace it; yea, even this Day, if the Will of God were so. c

[Page 154] Our Kings are crowned in the same Place where they were buried. The Throne is erected in a Manner upon a Grave. But does the Lesson which this carries in it, di­minish the Pleasure and Splendor of a Co­ronation-Day? If some Officer were ap­pointed to improve this Circumstance, and say,—Sir, this Crown cannot give Immorta­lity. You must die as well as your Predecessors, over whose Ashes you now spread your Glories. From this Throne you must come down into that Vault, and the same Place must be Wit­ness of your highest Elevation and Dignity, and of your lowest Abasement. This might be thought an uncourtly Admonition at such a Time as that? But by whom? by little Minds, narrow Souls, that are Strangers to that real Grandeur of Spirit that raises it above all that's mortal, and consequently a­bove Mortality it self.

It was the Custom with some of the Em­perors at Constantinople, at their Coronation, while they were seated on the Throne, to receive the Homage and Acclamation of the People, for a Mason to come with se­veral Patterns of choice Marble—Sir, you are to chuse of which sort of these you please to have your Tomb. To have any Notion of the Pleasure arising from the inward Power, of adding fresh Delights to a glo­rious [Page 155] Day, from the Prospect of another World, and of a more glorious Day to come, a Man must be a Christian, whether he be an Emperor or no. But behold! a greater than all these is here! The most illustrious Congress for Splendour of Appearance, for the high Quality of the Persons and Entertainment, was that we read of at the Transfiguration: The Company were robed in Glory, Luke 9. 31. Moses & Elias talked with Him, who appeared in Glory: But their Discourse was of the Decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. So that we have the best Company in the World on our side, in this Maxim, of rendring the Thoughts of our Dissolution familiar to us, even in our highest Advancements and Pleasures.

SECT. VI. COmpassion to the Sick is a Duty of Health, a tender Regard to them, and Care of them, to assist them in their helpless Condition, as we are called by Providence, in­vited by Friendship, inclined by Pity, or obliged by Relation or Office.

We bestow, this way, a little of our Health upon those that have lost their own: By the Refreshment of our Conversation (where [Page 156] that can be borne) and the Concern we ex­press, we do by that Sympathy, wherein we take part with them in their Trouble, seem to take off so much of it from them. This is the only Sense, I believe, in which that Fancy that prevailed among some People I have read of, can be true, viz. That every Friend that came to visit the Sick, carried a­way such a Degree of the Distemper from the Patient.

What is done this way is Courtesie or Conscience, Civility or Religion, according to the Motives it proceeds from, and the Ends I propose: And so the paying a Debt of Love to my Friend, may be at the same time an Act of Obedience to my God, and an Instance of that pure Religion, and unde­filed before God and the Father, which is, to visit the Fatherless and the Widow in their Affliction; and Sickness is one of the great­est Afflictions.

The Enquiry that is made after this sort of Charity at the Judgment-Day, demon­strates how great a Place it holds in our practical Religion, and those Words, Sick and in Prison, and you visited me, or visited me not, shew what an Influence it has upon our Sentence, either of Absolution or Con­demnation.

[Page 157] Some are obliged by Office to this Work, as Ministers; others by Relation and De­pendence; and all, so far as the Royal Law of Love, & Goodness, and Charity extends: But then it must here be observed, that the same Scripture that makes it the Minister's Duty to visit and pray with the Sick, makes it the sick Person's Duty to send for the Minister: Jam. 5. 14. Is any sick among you, let him call for the Elders of the Church, and l [...]t them pray over him. Not that a Mi­nister is always to stay for this Invitation and Call; but then where and when it may be either Duty or proper to go uncall'd, is a Matter that must be left to Discretion and Conscience to determine, supposing him so much at Liberty from other Parts of his Charge, as to leave room for the Question.

Relation and Dependence oblige to all the kind and tender Offices at this time. Tis Compassion, Affection, Duty, Gratitude, to bear with their Infirmities, to compassionate their Pains & Sufferings, not to be offend­ed at their Uneasiness or their Fretfulness, nor grudge the necessary Services which thou thy self mayest come to need, and so much the sooner for not doing as you would be done by in the same Case.

We should not serve our sick Friends as the Priest & Levite did the wounded Man, [Page 158] who, when they saw him, they pass'd by on the other side; but as the good Samaritan, who when he saw him, had Compassion on him. It is indeed too natural for us, to love rather to go to the House of Mirth, than to the House of Mourning; but that is no great Sign of our Wisdom or Goodness; for the Heart of the Wise is in the House of Mourning, but the Heart of Fools is in the House of Mirth, Eccl. 7. 4. It is better to go to the House of Mourning, than to the House of Feasting, ver. 2. Better upon the account of the Good you may do others, and gain your self.

1. Better upon account of the Good you may do to them that are in this sick or mourning Condition.

It is a great Opportunity of doing Good: It may be now you may be heard, even by those who would never give you an hear­ing before, as having always something else to mind; or at least heard with greater Advantage, when the Heart is more wean­ed from the World, the Mind is convinced of its Emptiness and Vanity, the Consci­ence has them under, and is more at Li­berty to speak, and they more at Liberty to hear.

2 Better upon the account of the Good you may get to your selves at the House of Mourning, ver. 2. The Living will lay it to [Page 159] Heart. Go to the House of Mourning, look upon your sick Friend, and let his decay'd Strength and Beauty, consumed like a Moth, his sunk and hollow Eyes, his pale Cheeks, panting Heart, & nauseating Sto­mach, preach to thine Eyes what thou hast often heard with thine Ears. See what it is you must be, observe how little you can then do for your self, or any one else for you; see the Frailty of thine own Nature in a Manner far beyond what the best De­scription can represent.

When you see your languishing Friend, say with thy self, ‘Sin! what hast thou done? thou art the Inlet and Cause of Sickness, and the worst Part of its Mis­ery, where the Sense of Guilt is not re­moved by the Blood of Christ, thro' Faith and Repentance towards God.’

Look at thy Friend again, and when you shake your Head at the Symptoms of his End drawing near, say with your self, ‘Friends and Relations are but dying Comforts, and I am a dying Comforter: These are dying off from me, and all is dying about me, should not I maintain a dying Frame?’

Sit down by him, and when he rolls his languishing Eyes towards thee, think—‘This will be my Case in a little while: [Page 160] The same Enemy that now encounters my Friend, my Wife, Child, or Husband, is upon its full March towards me, and will as certainly overtake me. The same Arrow is levelled against me, how deep will it go if it strike me naked and un­prepared?’

When you see how little Relief can be administer'd by Art or Industry, how little Ease procured for Love or Money, think of the Emptiness and Insufficiency of this World, that cannot afford Ease to the Body, nor Comfort to the Mind, at a Time when they most need it.

I plainly see that is the best Thing that will do us most Good at the worst of Times. Such is the Blessing of an Interest in Christ, thro' the Grace of God, and the Promise of the Gospel. 'Tis this only can give Light in Darkness, Comfort in the Midst of this Trouble, enable us to bear Sickness and Pains, and to go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. This is the best Cordial on a Sick-Bed, this lies warm at the pant­ing Heart of a dying Christian, who knows that he can look the other World in the Face with Comfort and Confidence; who knows, that if the earthly House of this Ta­bernacle be dissolved, he has an House, not made with Hands, eternal in the Heavens; who [Page 161] knows in whom he has believed, and that he is able to keep what he commits to him, unto the Judgment of the Great Day. This is something that Sickness cannot waste, nor Death destroy, but will thrive and flourish the more for that which blasts and withers all other Things. When the Flesh and the World turn us off in our Extremity, as the Jews did Judas in his Anguish, with what is that to us, see thou to that? then dost thou, O Lord, stand by and own thy Servants; thou regardest them in their low Estate, thou knowest their Souls in Adversity: Thou standest by at the Time of dying A­gonies, and parting Struggles, as a Friend that will be by when some hazardous Ope­ration is to be performed, and in the mul­titude of their Thoughts within them, thy Comforts delight their Soul; for when their Flesh and Heart fails thou art the Strength of their Heart, and their Portion for ever.

Look upon thy sick Friend, and bless God for thy own Health. Learn the Value and Blessing of it, from his restless tossing to and fro, his nauseating every thing, his Sighs and Groans. And when you observe the Interruptions that their necessary Care of him occasions, the Weakness, Fainting, Fears, Pains, mortifying Prescriptions, Ap­plications, the Sorrow of Wife, Children, [Page 162] and Friends about him, that are so distur­bing and distracting, think how sad a Case it is to have the great Work of Conversion and Reconciliation then to do.

This little I thought not improper to add concerning Compassion to the Sick as a Duty of Health. It is the last Opportunity we have with our Friends, and it is the most important. It is at such a Time, that we are most capable of doing Good, or receiving it, most likely to teach others, or learn our selves, the Mischief that Sin has done; that our Friends are dying Comforts, the Emp­tiness of this World, and its Inability to do us the best Good in the worst of times, the Preciousness of Jesus Christ, and an Interest in him, the Excellency of Grace, the Value of Health, and the Misery of having the great Work of Conversion to do at such an un­fit and unlikely Time as this.

SECT. VII.

'TIS our Duty in Health to use the best Means that are within our Reach, for its Preservation and Continuance.

To preserve my Health, is as truly my Duty, as to expect and prepare for Sickness. But of the Preservatives of Health in the next Chapter.

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CHAP. VI. Of the Preservatives of Health, so far as belongs to Moral and Divine Prescription.

MY Part here is not to discourse of Food and Physic, Air and Exercise; for these things I refer you to the Physici­ans, the Guardians of Health: But there are some things that have no small Influence upon our Health, that do as properly be­long to the Philosopher, or the Divine to recommend, without which the Physician himself prescribes in vain. And in the first place I would advise every one that would preserve his Health:

SECT. I. Not to be overmuch afraid of being sick.

THE Dread of Sickness is a Distemper of it self, and the next Disposition to many more. What a Bondage does this keep some People in? The very Fear of a Climacterick, has killed some that knew not how groundless such a Fear was. 'Tis an easy Transition from the Fear and Fan­cy of being sick to Sickness indeed. In many Cases there is but little Difference between those two. How some Persons [Page 164] think themselves into Diseases, what it is that disposes the Body to receive some kind of Infection the sooner for the Fears of it, I leave to others to explain; while I take notice of some Instances of this Fear that have done the Business as well. There's one so afraid of being ill, that he would not stir out of Doors, and for want of Air and Exercise, he contracts a Distemper that kills him. Another you shall see tampering with preventive Physic, till by endeavou­ring to prevent imaginary Distempers, he dies of real ones: according to the Italian Epitaph upon one who died this way,

Stavo ben, ma per star meglio, sto qui.
I was well, I would be better, took Physic, died.

The common Comparisons express this Matter well enough, that by often blowing the Fire it's blown away, and by frequent scowring over, the hardest Metals are worn out. They do not only live miserably, as the Proverb says of those that live medicinal­ly, and measure out their Life and Actions by the Scale of Scruples and Drams, but they quicken their Fate, and hasten Dis­ease; as the Poet says of Turnus's Wrath,

Exuperat magis, aegrescit (que) medendo.
Virgil.
[Page 165]

The Fear of Death often proves mor­tal, and sets People on Methods to save their Lives, which infallibly destroy them. This is a Reflection made by some Histo­rians, upon observing that there are ma­ny more thousands kill'd in a Flight than in a Battel, and may be applied to those multitudes of Imaginary sick Persons, that break their Constitution by Physic, and throw themselves into the Arms of Death, by endeavouring to escape it. This Method is not only dangerous, but below the Practice of a reasonable Crea­ture. To consult the Preservation of Life, as the only End of it, to make our Health our Business, to engage in no Ac­tion that is not part of a Regimen, or Course of Physic, are Purposes so abject, so mean, so unworthy human Nature, that a generous Soul would rather die than submit to them. Besides, that a continual Anxiety for Life, vitiates all the Relishes of it, and casts a Gloom o­ver the whole Face of Nature; as it is impossible we should take delight in any thing that we are every Moment afraid of losing.d

[Page 166] I do not mean (continues that excel­lent Writer, full to my purpose) by what I have here said, that I think any one to blame for taking Care of his Health. On the contrary, as Chearfulness of Mind, and Capacity for Business, are in a great measure the Effects of a well-temper'd Constitution, a Man cannot be at too much Pains to cultivate and preserve it. But this Care which we are prompted to, not only by common Sense, but by Duty and Instinct, should never engage us in groundless Fears, melancholy Ap­prehensions, and imaginary Distempers, which are natural to every Man who is more anxious to live than How to live. In short, the Preservation of Life should be only a secondary Concern, and the Direction of it our Principal* If we have this Frame of Mind, we shall take the best Means to preserve Life, without be­ing over solicitous about the Event, and shall arrive at that Point of Felicity which Martial has mentioned as the Perfection [Page 167] of Happiness, of neither fearing nor wishing for Death.

And then in Answer to those who tem­per their Healths by Ounces and Scruples, and govern themselves by the Prescriptions of the most anxious Solicitude and Care, he tells a short Fable, which I can't for­bear inserting.

Jupiter, (says the Mythologist) in or­der to reward the Piety of a certain Country-man, promis'd to give him whatever he would ask; the Country­man desir'd that he might have the Ma­nagement of the Weather in his own Estate. He obtain'd his Request, and immediately distributed Rain, Snow, and Sun-shine among his several Fields, as he thought the Nature of the Soil re­quired. At the end of the Year, when he expected to see a more than ordinary Crop, his Harvest fell infinitely short of that of his Neighbours. Upon which, says the Fable, he desired Jupiter to take the Weather again into his own Hands, or that otherwise he should utterly ruin himself.’

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SECT. II. If you would preserve your Health, maintain always a good and peaceful Conscience, a Conscience void of Offence towards God and Man.

THIS may be thought wide of the Mark by some, but I am sure a good Conscience, and a peaceful Mind, are not only the best Festivals, but the best Physic too; if it be but consider'd how preventive of some Evils, how heal­ing to others, and how conducive it is to something more than both; that is, to a State, wherein we shall never com­plain of Sickness more. Take the wi­sest Man's Word for it, who understood both Physic and Divinity, beyond all the Professors of both.e My Son (says he) forget not my Law, but let thine Heart keep my Commandments; for length of Days, and long Life, and Peace, shall they add to thee. Fear the Lord, and depart from Evil; it shall be Health to thy Na­vel, and Marrow to thy Bones. That Self-denial and Government of Passions, that Calmness and Composure of Spirit, that Restraint and Moderation of bodily [Page 169] Appetites, which maintains a good Consci­ence, does at the same Time maintain a good Habit of Body. Health to thy Navel! that Channel of our earliest Nourishment; and Marrow to thy Bones, which is their Nourishment and Strength, a great Preser­ver and Prolonger of Life; and the De­cay of it is a great Cause of that Weakness, Dryness, and Decay in the Body which is a Symptom of old Age, and the Consequence of sinful Courses. And a little after,f They (the Commandments) are Life to those that find them, and Health to all their Flesh.

The same Author says (speaking of Wis­dom's Ways, as Ways of Pleasantness and Peace) that,g She is a Tree of Life to all that lay hold of her: The surest Means to pre­serve Natural Life, and to obtain that which is Eternal. The Allusion is to the Tree of Life in the midst of Paradise; which was so called, either as it was a natural Means of Life and Health, by some immortalizing Quality God might put into that Fruit, some secret Virtue to prolong Life, support Na­ture, prevent Diseases, and keep off the In­firmities and Decays of Age; or morally, by Virtue of a Covenant, Agreement, or Promise, which made that Tree a kind of [Page 170] sacramental Pledge of Life and Health, up­on Condition of his constant Obedience. In both these Respects, Religion, and a good Conscience, is a Preservative of Health and Life; that is, generally, and for the most part; and allowing for those reserved Cases, which God sees fit to make from the ordi­nary Course of things. With this Caution (which must be admitted, of whatsoever Causes we speak) I proceed to shew, that the keeping a good and peaceful Consci­ence, is,

1.h A natural Preservative of Health: Which may appear upon this two-fold Rea­son: Because it doth remove those things that would hinder it; and doth promote such things as will help it.

(1.) It doth Removere Prohibens. It is apt to prevent and remove such things as are the great Impediments of our Health. Nothing is more evident, than that there are several Vices which have a physical Ef­ficacy in the producing of Diseases; as all Kinds of Intemperance of Body, all inordi­nate Passions of Mind; to one of which the greatest part of the Sickness among Men may be ascribed; and consequently the Virtues opposite to these, Temperance, [Page 171] Sobriety, and Moderation, must needs have a natural Causality for the hindering of these Diseases. 'Tis by Religion that Men are enabled to prevent all such Ex­cesses as are prejudicial to Nature, to repress all such violent Transports of Passion, Ha­tred, Anger, Fear, Sorrow, Envy, as are in themselves very pernicious to our bodily Health, and that violent Commotion which they are apt to put the Humours into; these do sometimes cause present Sickness, and always, lay in us the Seeds of future Dis­eases.

Disease first of all made its Entrance by Sin, and still continues to find its way, very often, by the same Means. There is hardly a Sin of any size but has its par­ticular Distemper annex'd to it. Murder forfeits the Life at once, by the Laws both of God and Man. Gout, Dropsie, Stone, [...] &c. are in the Train of Drunken­ness, and of Lasciviousness.

Solomon's Account of this is,i He goes as an Ox to the Slaughter, till a Dart strikes thro' his Liver; As a Bird hast'neth to the Snare, and knoweth not that it is for his Life. Let not thine Heart decline to her Ways: Go not astray in her Paths, for she hath cast [Page 172] down many wounded, yea many strong Men have been slain by her. Her House is the way to Hell, going down to the Chambers of Death. To Hell, in both Senses of the Word, to Death and Damnation, to the Ruin of Soul and Body.

To keep a good Conscience is to pre­vent that Dread, that fearful Apprehen­sion, that attends a bad one. Those Ter­rors, those Pains of Mind, that Anguish of Spirit, that Load with which Guilt pres­ses, and alarms the Soul. These have an ill Influence upon Health, corrupt the Blood, and sower the Spirits. The Anxie­ty of the future, the Fears of divine Wrath and Displeasure, are themselves a Disease, and inward Torture. A wounded Spirit who can bear? Call you such a Man well, and in Health, whose Sore runs in the Night, whose Wounds stink and are corrupt? k Fear and Sadness if it continue long, the Person is melancholic, the Blood thickens and grows heavy, Perspiration is suppressed, and great Disorder follows in all the animal Functions. Which agrees with the Aphorism of an inspired Physician, That a merry Heart maketh a chearful Coun­tenance, l [Page 173] but by Sorrow of Heart the Spirit is broken.

2.m Religion and a good Conscience, is a Preservative of Health, as it doth Promovere Adjuvans, promote all such things as may most effectually conduce to the improving of it; by obliging us up­on the Account of Duty and Conscience to a careful Observance of the most proper Means to this End: keeping us within due Bounds in our Eating, Drinking, and Exercise; preserving our Minds in an equal Frame of Serenity and Calmness; supporting our Spirits with Contentation and Chearfulness, under every State of Life; so that nothing can be more true than that of Solomon, n That a chearful Mind doth good like a Medicine, ando makes an healthful Countenance; whereasp Hea­viness and Cares will break a Man's Spirit, and make it stoop.

I know (continues he) there are other Means to be made use of, in order to the procuring of Health, various Kinds of Medicaments to be apply'd by the Art of Physic, according as the Nature of se­veral [Page 174] Diseases shall require; which, Religi­on doth oblige a Man not to neglect: But yet this, I think, may be truly said, that those who are most expert in the Profession of Physic, are not able to prescribe any Catholicon, which shall more effectually operate, both by way of Prevention and Care, than the Observance of those Duties which Religion and Virtue do oblige us unto. He goes on to my Purpose, Nor is this true only in Theory and Spe­culation, but it may appear to be so up­on common Experience, to which I shall appeal for the farther Confirmation of it. What kind of Persons are those who en­joy the best State of Health, and the longest Lives? Are they not such gene­rally who are most sober and regular in their Conversations, most temperate as to their Bodies, most free from all kind of inordinate Passions, Fierceness, Anxiety, Cares, as to their Minds? 'Tis said of M [...]ses, that tho' he were exceeding old,q ye [...] his Eye was not dim, nor was his na­tural Force abated. Which (among other Causes) must be ascribed to those eminent Virtues he was endow'd with, the Tem­perance of his Body, and the Meekness [Page 175] of his Spirit. That beloved Disciple, whose Thoughts and Writings seem to be wholly taken up with the divine Vir­tue of Love, is upon Account of this Temper of his Mind, thought to have en­joy'd a more vigorous old Age than any of the rest. Such a Power is there in Religion, though not wholly to prevent the Infirmities of old Age, yet in a great measure to alleviate and abate them.

And on the other side, if we consult Experience; Who are the Men most ob­noxious to Diseases? Are they not such generally as are most vicious in their Lives? Most given to Surfeits, Debau­ches, & Lewdness, where by they do so far inflame their Blood, and waste their Spi­rits, as not to live out half their Days: Insomuch that no Man of ordinary Pru­dence, who is to take a Lease for Lives, will be content (if he can well avoid it) to chuse such an one whom he knows to be vicious and intemperate.

This is unexceptionable, after we have made due Allowance for the tender and brittle Constitutions of some, whom a very small Matter shall break to pieces; and for the tough and strong Constitution of others, who are able to hold out against many Batteries and Assaults. Besides the [Page 176] Allowance to be made (as I said before) for such exempt Cases, as shall seem good, to the Providence of God in the Govern­ment of human Affairs. Some good Men may be taken away from the Evils to come. Others may be exercised with Diseases in their Body for the Cure of their Minds, or to make their Patience & Cou­rage exemplary to others: And some that are good Men, for the main, may yet, by their own Carelesness, in using the fittest Means for the Preservation of their Health, expose themselves to Sickness; none of which can be any Prejudice to the thing I have been proving. This be­ing that which I affirm, that so far as the Infirmities of our natural Tempers are capable of Remedy, by any thing in our Power, it is the Observance of the Duties of Religion, that doth for the most part, and generally, prove the most effectual Means to this Purpose.

It promotes that Chearfulness of Spirit which is on all Hands acknowledged so friendly to bodily Health.r Her ways are ways of Pleasantness, and all her Paths are Peace. Great Peace have they that love thy [Page 177] Law. Righteousness, Joy, and Peace, go to­gether, and make up the Kingdom of God. Thus Righteousness tendeth to Life, and we may by this (as one says) transplant the Tree of Life into our own Gardens. Such Ease and Pleasure of Mind has an wholsome Effect upon the Body. It fills the Soul with Light and Vigour, and thereby infuses Ala­crity and Sweetness into the Humours. If the Spirits be not briskly moved, and vigo­rous, they could not thrust the Blood into the Extremities of the Vessels; the Con­traction of the Heart would be weakened, and the Blood be apt to stagnate in the nar­rowest Passages. This is the Philosophy of a good Conscience, & the wholsome Chear­fulness and Joy that arises from it. Upon this Account it is celebrated as a perpetual Feast to those that are well;s A merry Heart is a continual Feast, and an healing Medicine to the Sick;t A merry Heart doeth good like a Medicine; in which a good Conscience, regular Desires, and noble Prospects, are the chief Ingredients.u What tho' some [Page 178] good People have little enough, either of this Chearfulness of Mind, or Health of Body, to which it is so useful? That is their own Fault, and not the Fault of Religion. It is something contrary to Religion that has occasioned that, or else to be acccountd for as above, when we mentioned the Cases exempt from the General Rule.

Again: That Confidence and Trust in God, which a good Conscience supplies, has a very wholsome Influence. Beloved, if our Hearts condemn us hot, then have we Confi­dence toward God. We can trust him in this World, and meet him in the next. And if you ask what this is to Health: Let an excellent Personw answer you in a Discourse of Trusting in God, written in the time of the Plague. ‘It's apparent (says he) from what Physicians write concern­ing the Preservatives against this Pesti­lential Disease, that they can prescribe nothing like to Trust in God, which con­tains in it the Virtue of them all. First they tell us, that whatsoever expels all [Page 179] Fear, and makes us bold and confident, is of great Efficacy against the Infection.’ I ask then, what can do this like a good Conscience? A Mind that discerns it self well with God, and makes Report of good Terms with the Upper World? What room, what need at least, for unwholsome Panics, in one who can think of dying without Terror, meet it without Confusi­on, and suffer it without Destruction? Nay, I might have said, enjoy it, because of the infinite Gain and Advantage of it. 'Tis the Character and Comfort of a good Man, he isx not afraid of evil Tidings; his Heart is fixed, Trusting in God. The sudden News of invading Enemies, spreading Pesti­lences, or any other publick Disasters, does not presently sink his Spirits, overload his Heart, and dispossess him of himself: The inward Uproar arises from Guilt, Sense of Guilt, and unfitness for another World, upon the Loss of this. If tormenting Fears of Events are indeed such Enemies to our Health, a good Conscience must needs be a Preservative to it; since it gives that Confidence in God, and Trust in him, for all Events, as frees us from those Agi­tations and Distractions of Mind, which [Page 180] toss the Wicked to and fro like a troubled Sea; for there is no Peace, saith my God, to the Wicked.

Again: Physicians say, ‘That what­soever makes us quiet and still, calms the Passions, and stops the raging & boiling of the Blood, hath a singular Force in it to preserve, restore, or continue Health. But to this Design is there any thing in the World so powerful as this Trust and Confidence in God?’ To know my self in his Hands, so that nothing can touch me, but it must come, as we may say, thro' his Hands? I beseech you, whither would you send a Man for that inward Calm and Se­renity, that is of so balsamick an Influence upon Health, but where David himself went for it, and every good Man must go? Return unto thy Rest, O my Soul! 'Tis in this Ark only that the Dove can find Rest for the Sole of her Foot; all besides is De­luge, Tempest, Confusion, restless Agita­tion. But here, enfolded in the Arms of Power and Faithfulness, lying down in the Bosom of Love, under the Wing of cherish­ing Providence, we may say, tho' the Earth be cast into the Sea, yet will I not fear, as David; or, none of these things move me, as St. Paul; both Men of great Trust in God, and both arrived to a good old Age.

[Page 181] Again: Physicians say, ‘That in the Time of Infection 'tis necessary to use Cordials, and keep up the Spirits to a joyful Pitch, for that which keeps the Heart chearful and merry, is of notable Use against Contagion.’ This, we have already seen, is one Fruit of a good Con­science: And trusting in God will rear it up to its Exaltation and Triumph, to Joy unspeakable, and full of Glory; which a Stranger to this good Conscience, and Con­fidence in God, intermeddles not with. And thus we have consider'd how a good Con­science is a Preservative of Health, as a na­tural Means.

2. The maintaining a good Conscience is a Preservative of Health in a moral Sense, as it tends to the Blessing of God, and the securing of his Favour.

Godliness hath the Promise of this Life, as well as that to come, and it takes Place sometimes in this Respect, for all those Scriptures, that mention Health and Life, Quiet and Peace, as the Reward of Goodness, do express God's declared Intention and Promise, and the Nature and Tendency of the thing:y Length of Days is in her right Hand, and in her left Hand are Riches and Honour. Wis­dom advances towards you with both [Page 182] Hands full, and enforces her Offers with the most powerful Motives of Riches and Life; for upon both she has a moral Influ­ence, from the Blessing and Promise of God. Diseases are the Rod of God's Correction, and Health the Gift of his Goodness, and the Reward often of ours. One way then to avoid the former, (Diseases) must be not to provoke his Anger; one way to enjoy the other, (Health) must be to engage his Favour; for in his Favour is Life; z keep sound Wisdom and Discretion, so shall they be Life to thy Soul, and Grace to thy Neck, for by me thy Days shall be multiplied, and the Years of thy Life shall be increased; a the Fear of the Lord prolongeth Days, but b the Years of the Wicked shall be cut off.

The whole ninety first Psalm has Trust in God for the Premises, and long Life for the Conclusion, ver. 2. My God, in him will I trust; ver. 3. Surely he shall deliver thee from the noisome Pestilence; ver. 16. With long Life will I satisfy him, and shew him my Salvation. The same Promise is made to Charity to the Poor, and keeping God's Sabbath, and several other Parts of Godli­ness that are put together in Isaiah 58 and then shall thy Light break forth as the Morn­ing, & thine Health shall spring forth speedily.

[Page 183] It is certain, let a Man be never so reli­gious, he must be sick and die, as well as the rest of his Neighbours: But the Truth we advance by these Scriptures, is this, that Religion and a good Conscience, as it has a natural Tendency to Health, in the Man­ner treated of above, so it has a Moral Con­nexion with it, made by the Promise of God and the Influence of his Providence, which keeps off Diseases longer, or allevi­ates them when they do come, supports us under them, and prevents even their worst Extremity, dying to our Loss. Whereas, if we live to our selves, the Devil, the World, and Lust, to no Purpose, or a vile One, we provoke God to cut us off in the Midst of our Days; or whenever he does it, to our Destruction. To close this Section: Tho' it must be own'd that Religion does chiefly respect the Good of the Soul, and is not thought so much to avail the Body, yet I dare affirm, however paradoxical it may seem, that the Commands of Christ effectually do as much towards the Health of the Body, as ever his Miracles themselves did; for these never healed more Diseases, than the due Obser­vation of those have prevented and kept off. c

[Page 184]

SECT. III. The due Government and Moderation of the Passions, is a Preserva [...]ive of Health, which Philosophy and Divinity do both prescribe.

THE Government of the Passions, is a great part of practical Religion, as well as a good Direction in Physic. 'Tis a Preservative from Sin, as well as from Disease, and without it, there can be neither Religion nor Health. The Seat of the Passions, and of Health, are so much the same: viz. the Blood and Spirits, that they must have a near Relation to, and Influence upon each other. The Perturbation of ei­ther, must affect both. It's all one if the Sediment be raised, whether it be by Agitation from without, or Fermentation within; if our Passions which have their Seat in the Blood and Spirits, be not under Government, it is impossible for those Spi­rits and that Blood, to be in their natural State.

Our Passions are compared to the Winds [Page 185] in the Air, which when gentle and mode­rate, let them fill the Sail, and they will carry the Ship on smoothly to the desired Port; but when violent, unmanageable, and boisterous, it grows to a Storm, and threat­ens the Ruin and Destruction of all.

All the Passions of the Mind range them­selves under these two, Love and Auger, which the Schools distinguish by the Name of the Concupiscible and the Irascible; all of them Murderers from the Beginning, as it was said of him who first raised and armed them against ourselves and our God.

It would look too remote to charge them with the first Introduction of all Distem­pers and Death, and yet it is so true, that I can't omit saying, that there had never been any Diseases or Death at all in the World, had the Passions of Man been go­verned as they ought to have been. Ap­petite and eager Desire, Pride and Ambi­tion, have rival'd Plagues and Pestilences, and all the Diseases put together, for the Desolation wherewith they have filled the World.

Passions in their Violence are themselves Distempers, have the proper Symptoms, and are the Occasion of many more. Lust is a Fever in its self, besides the Diseases of other Names, that are in its Retinue. [Page 186] Envy, Pride, Anger, inordinate Grief, Fears, Hopes, Desires, Joys in their Excess, have been mortal, have done the Work of Sword and Poison, as well as of Diseases, and that not only in their long Continu­ance and distant Consequences, but in their immediate Influence.

Excess of Admiration may fix the animal Spirits so immoderately in the Brain, as to hinder their usual Influx into the other Parts of the Body.

Immoderate Desire, what Languishings and Pinings does it create, as well as too eager Hopes? Whence it is said, that Hope deferr'd, makes the Heart sick. Immo­derate Joy has cost some their Lives. So­phocles having a Victory in a Performance, adjudged to him by the Applause of a whole Theatre, is said to have died imme­diately with Excess of Joy. It is said (though disputed by some) that Diagoras died of the same Death,d for Joy that his three Sons had gained the Prizes in the Olympick Games. The People crouded about him with Acclamation and Applause of the Old Man's Felicity, and of his Fa­mily; poured out a Shower of Flowers up­on him, and in a pleasant Manner, and with [Page 187] an Air of Congratulation, said to him, Die Diagoras, die, while you are so happy. Three Sons victorious in a Day!—The Man died in earnest with the Transports, as he was em­bracing his triumphant Children. Chilon the Philosopher died much the same way.

There are modern Stories too of some, to whom excessive Joy has been fatal. The Dilatation of the Heart, and the Discharge of Blood and Spirits, thereby is so great, that the Seat and Center of Life is left abandon'd, the Blood and Spirits are not able to recover themselves Time enough, and return to their former Station, or else Life is drowned by their too violent Rush­ing into their Chanels: There is an Inun­dation in some Parts while there is a Defi­ciency in others.

Pope Leo X. was at a Pleasure-house a little way off from Rome, when an Express arrived with Advice, that the French were driven out of Milan & Pavia; he receiv'd the News with that Transport that carried him off.

Grief will do the same Execution, though in a different Way, with Languor, Dejec­tion, Pining, Wasting; where it is not mo­derated and over-ruled, it will wear away the most flourishing Constitution. Food shall not nourish, nor Air refresh, nor any [Page 188] of the Faculties in Nature, perform their Functions. We then say, such an one's Heart is broke, when they die of that Dis­temper which their Grief brought upon them. ‘There has not a Week of late pass'd (says Dr. Pat [...]ick in the Sickness Time) but we are told in the Bills of Mortality, that some are dead of Grief: The Weight of Sorrow has sunk many down to their Graves.e By Sorrow of Heart the Spirit is broken; the Heart is suffocated, Life strangled, by the too great Contraction of the Muscles, and the retir­ing of the Blood & Spirits to that Part, in too great Quantity, & thereby at the same Time the outward Parts being robbed of their natural Heat, and proper Recruits, grow weak and languid.

Walthmeidt and Baglivi observe, that Di­arrhoea's from immoderate Grief, are incu­rable, and that principally from a Suppres­sion of Perspiration; Grief contracting the Skin, as all troublesome Passions of the Mind do; so that the perspirable Matter returned, will be thrown upon some other Glands, and if on those of the Intes­tines, will continue a Diarrhoeaf And a­nother very learned Man says, that an heavy [Page 189] Heart drieth the Bones: g It consumes the Spirits, wastes the Body, contracts the Heart, hinders all the healthful Operations of Nature.

Immoderate Cares and Fears are very prejudicial to Health;h and if we would preserve Health, we must learn to give them to the Winds, in the Phrase of the Poet, or cast them upon God, in the better Phrase of the best Author in the World.

It is in the Nature of excessive Fears, to withdraw the Nourishment from the ex­treme Parts, and summon it inward, and so to leave the outward destitute of Blood and Spirits. The Symptoms are Paleness, Trem­bling, disordered Pulse, sometimes to be speechless with Convulsions. What Sorrow does by degrees, Fear has done more on a sudden: They seem to differ not in Kind, but in Degree.

And if any of these singly can do so [Page 190] much Mischief, what Execution will a great many of these Passions do, when they break loose at once; when Envy, Hatred, Malice, Revenge, Discontent, Am­bition, Pride, are all at work together? What Disorders in every Part? What Dis­tempers, not only in their distant Conse­quences, but in their immediate Influence? What irregular Motions of the Heart? How confused the Spirits? The Lungs oppressed, the Stomach inflated, the Blood boiling, the Nerves, by which the whole Machine is moved, have lost their due Spring and Extension, These Disorders, and many more, are visible in little Animals, by the help of Glasses. Plutarch advises any one in a Passion to behold himself in a Glass, and see how he looks. Those Dis­eases are observed to be most dangerous which produce Alterations in the Coun­tenance, whereby it appears to what Stress Nature is put by excess of Passion, and con­sequently, no wonder it is by Physicians rec­koned the worst Enemy to Health both of Body and Mind. Pride, Passion, Ava­rice, Intemperance, Lust, seldom or never enter our Weekly Bills, because the Ques­tion What they dyed of, is answered, not by the Account of what brought the Distem­per, but by the Distempers themselves; [Page 191] while the Passions and Lusts that brought those Distempers are not mentioned; which is much the same, as if when a Man is stab­bea, you should give it in, that he died of Loss of Blood, of Fa [...]n [...]ing in his Spirits, without naming the Cause of either.i

Ank ingenious Observer upon the Week­ly Bills of Mortality informs us, that in 20 Years there dyed 229250. Of this Number but two are set down to the Ar­ticle of Excessive Drinking: But can any one imagine that kind of Excess to have done no more Execution in 20 Years? No doubt if the Matter were truly stated, and the Informations of the true Causes of their Deaths fairly given in, several Hundreds, might be set off, from the Articles of Gout, Stone, Palsy, Apoplexy, Consumption, and such other Diseases, generated by Drinking, and set down to the Account of Excessive Drinking, as having direct­ly brought those Diseases of which they are said to die: The like Remark may be made concerning the Passion of Grief, of which there died within that Period [Page 192] 279.l But how much greater a Num­ber would they amount to, who might be fairly reckoned to die of Grief, if we take those into the Account, who, died of such Diseases as Grief threw them into, or brought upon them? World­ly Sorrow worketh Death. 2 Cor. 7. 10. And Heaviness in the Heart of Man maketh it stoop. Prov. 12. 25. Philosophers and Phy­sicians agree in the hurtful Influence of Grief upon the Health of the Body; 'tis the Moth to the Garment. Christ was a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with Griefs; and this some think was, the Reason that he appeared as a Man of fifty, when he was little more than thirty Years old. Joh. 8. 17.

Envy does the Work of Consumptions; for this Reason it is always painted a lean and meagre Fury, preying upon its own Flesh; as on the other hand, good Humour, and Benevolence of Spirit, if there be no­thing to hinder its natural Effect, is general­ly allowed the way to grow fat, and obtain a good Constitution. The Scripture con­firms the common Opinion, when it says, That a sound Heart is the Life of the Flesh, but Envy is Rottenness to the Bones. m And they that see the Prosperity of others, and [Page 193] envy and grieve a [...] it, the Psalmist says, Let them gnash their Teeth and melt away, the Wicked shall see it & be grieved, he shall gnash with his Teeth and melt away. n The mor­tal Effects of no Disease can be expressed in stronger Terms, than to say, it rots and melts away the Patient. Anger ferments the whole Mass of Blood, throws it into a Fever, swells every Vein, and strains every Nerve. Keep your Eye upon the angry Man in his Fit, and you will see all the Symptoms of some of the most formidable Distempers, Madness, Frenzy and Convul­sions, to say nothing of the Mischiefs done to others in the Paroxysm; the redning Eyes, the fiery Look of a Serpent, the Coun­tenance pale or flaming, the Lips livid and trembling, the Mouth foaming, the Speech abrupt and broken, from a Breast heaving and working as if it were ready to burst; the violent Postures of Hands and Feet strik­ing one against the other, or stamping the Ground; would not a Stander-by be ready to ask the Name of that Distemper, which had so many, and so bad Symptoms?

'Tis observed of Moses that he was 120 Years old, and yet his Eyes was not dim, neither was his natural Force abated. o And [Page 194] that this was not only the general Reward of his Obedience, but a particular Effect of that Meekness and Quietness of Spirit for which he was so famous.p This being a Grace, which as much as any other, is Health to the Navel and Strength to the Bones. The Noble Venetian Aloisius Cornaro, in Thuanus, could write himself more than an hundred Years old, and he himself, as well as his Historian, ascribes it in part to his great Moderation in this Respect, the calm Serenity of his Temper, as well as the Go­vernment of all his Passions.q

How often has the whole College been baffled, every Prescription ineffectual, and after repeated Tryals of the best Means, it has been found out that the Passions of the Mind have both brought and fed the Distemper, and that there is no curing the Body without the Mind? Galen speaks of several Persons whose Passions of Mind have rendered their Bodies diseased, and that he [Page 195] cured them by calming first of all those dis­orderly Motions: So, says he,r did AEscu­lapius, the God of my Country, relieve those whose violent Agitations of Mind raised in­temperate Heats in their Bodies; and he did it, as Pindar says, malakais epaoidais. Reason and Grace will help one to those softning Charms. A good Spirit, an easy Mind, a Benevolence and Sweetness of Dis­position, and a due Government of those Passions that would throw us off our Tem­per are things of the greatest Consequence, both to the Preservation of Health, and to the Enjoyment of it, when we have it.

SECT. IV. The Observation and Experience of what has been agreeable or hurtful to our Health, is another good Means for its Preservation.s

IT is in this respect we say, every Man must be his own Physician, and that a Man is either a Fool or a Physician at thirty Years of Age; because it is supposed, that by this time, a Man must be a Fool indeed, must [Page 196] have observed what is agreeable or disagree­able to himself, as to the Quantity, Quality, Time, and Season, or Frequency of any thing.

Memor illius Escoe
Quae simplex olim tibi sederit.
Hor. l. 2. Sat. 2.

Galen is said to have lived from the 28th Year of his Life, to a good Age, meerly by this Rule; though before he used to be afflicted with annual Distempers, and had no very good Constitution from the first. The Physician certainly understands human Nature, and the Cause and Cure of any single Distemper, better than the private Person; but there are Particularities in all Constitutions, which a Man must observe for himself, and have a suitable Regard to in Meat, Drink, Labour, Rest, Air, Exer­cise, [Page 197] Cold, and Heat, with respect to all which a Man may know himself better than any Body else can.

This has been known to preserve some very tender Constitutions for a great while, and has spun out a very small and feeble Thread to a very great Length, while some others, too robust and strong to be thought to need such Regularity, have been snapt asunder in the midst of a Confidence of a much greater Length of Time. So the finest Venice Glass has been preserved as long as an earthen Pitcher, with careful handling; especially when those Methods of Life which we mean by careful handling, are made customary and habitual, till they be­come easy, natural, and pleasant, which leads me to another Direction.

SECT. V. Render customary and familiar all those Me­thods of Living that you have thus observed agreeable and useful, towards the Continu­ance or Improvement of Health.t

THESE Methods are of little or no Use, when observed only by Fits and Starts, taken up for a little while, and then dropt [Page 198] again and given over. We must conquer the Difficulty of the first Attempts, by Re­solution and a manly Sense of Things; and when once any Methods are become habi­tual, they become a second Nature, plea­sant and easy of Observation: By which it comes to pass, that those Methods of living that would cost an unpractised Person a great deal of Self-denial and Mortification, will have no Difficulty in them to you, who by constant Practice have made them habitual.

Cornaro the noble Venetian I mentioned before, had brought himself when young, into a very ill State of Health, But, says he, as soon as I resolved to believe Physicians and thought it a Disgrace not to have Courage enough to be wise, I accustom'd my self so much to live soberly, that I contracted an Habit of so doing, without any Trouble or Violence of­fered to my self.

SECT. VI. Temperance and Moderation in the Use of all sensitive Delights.

THis Government of Appetite and In­clination, as to the Pleasures of Sense, has at once the Nature of a Christian Grace, a moral Virtue, and a medicinal Prescription, [Page 199] and may therefore be reckoned a Preserva­tive of the Health both of Body and Mind.

As it is a Christian Grace, you find it a­mong the rest of the Fruits of the Spirit, with­out which none of the rest can either thrive or subsist; the Fruits of the Spirit are Long­suffering, Gentleness, Faith, Meekness, Tempe­rance. u It is one of the Pearls upon that goodly String, add to your Faith Virtue, and to Virtue Knowledge, and to Knowledge Tem­perance, and to Temperance Patience. w And it is made one of the constituent Vir­tues of Religion, at the Foundation of all the rest: The Grace of God that bringeth Salvation, teacheth us, that denying all Ungod­liness and worldly Lusts, we should live godly, righteously and soberly. x

Moral Writers call it the Store-house of all Virtue. Its own proper Names bespeak its Excellence. It it sometime expressed by a Name that includes the Idea ofy Wis­dom. It must indeed be a Piece of great Wisdom, to cultivate that which is so much to the Advantage of Body and Soul.

In this all Ages and Authors agree, the Advantages of Temperance to bodily Health.

A Man has but these four Things to chuse out of (as Sir William Temple ob­serves) [Page 200] to exercise much, to be very Tem­perate, to take Physick, or be sick: And now the Choice is left to every one as he pleases, and a Man cannot be long in sus­pence, that considers the Trouble of Ex­ercise, the Uncertainty and Nauseousness of Physic, and the Danger and Pains of Sickness.

We don't mean by Temperance, a morti­fying Abstemiousness. Temperance allows to Nature all that is necessary, not only for Support, but Refreshment, agreeable to the Rules of Health already mentioned. It for­bids only those undue Repletions that lay in the Principles and Seeds of Sickness and Death: It's one of the first of Hippocrate's Rules of Health, Non satiari cibis. He means only, that we should not feed Distem­pers, by glutting our selves, and indulging the Wantonness of Appetite.

The first Physicians by Debauch were made,
Excess begun, and Sloth maintains the Trade.
Dryd.

The Difficulty is to know where Necessity and Refreshment end, and when Excess be­gins.z There's no great Matter if we should stop a Degree or two on this Side the [Page 201] utmost Bounds. Sir William Temple stopt at the fourth Glass; ‘I drink one Glass (says he) for Health, a Second for Refreshment, a Third for a Friend, but he that offers a Fourth, is an Enemy.

Gorgias Leontinus was become a Proverb among the People, for Strength and Vigor at a very great Age: Every Body was in­quisitive into the manner of living that had brought him to 108 Years with so hail a Constitution: His Account was,a That he only observed this one Rule, never to do any thing merely for Pleasure. By this means he was indeed out of Danger from one of the greatest Banes of Health in the World, and enjoyed the most exquisite Pleasure in Nature, which consists in the Satisfaction of purely natural Appetites; but at the same Time we may abate of the Rigour, without losing any Thing of the Benefit of this Rule, by bringing Temperance into our Pleasures themselves. Temperance does not banish, but regulate our Pleasures; and doubtless Pleasures themselves under Regu­lation, are friendly to Health.

The Proverb says, He that would eat much, must eat little; (i. e.) he will live longer, and so eat more than he, who by indulging [Page 202] to Appetite, shortens his Days. He is likely to live longer, both as a Reward from Heaven upon the Duty of Temperance, and as a natural Means of Health, as it keeps out those Humours that disorder and oppress Nature, and hinder its Operations with Freedom, Ease, and Pleasure.

Cornaro would sometimes say merrily to his Friends, That of all Parts of a Feast, that which one leaves does one the most good.

Hence it is that one seldom sees in Cities, Courts, and rich Houses, where People eat, and drink, and indulge to the Pleasure of Appetite, that perfect Health and athletic Soundness and Vigour which is commonly seen in the Country, in the poor Houses and Cottages, where Nature is their Cook, and Necessity is their Caterer, where they have no other Doctor but the Sun and fresh Air, and no other Physic, but Exercise and Temperance.—It has been observed in the earlier Ages of the Church, that none lived such long and healthful Lives, as Monks and Hermits, who had sequestered themselves from the Pleasures and Plenties of the World, to a constant ascetick Course of the severest Abstinence and Devotion—I shall transcribe what follows from the same smart Author,b because it touches upon an [Page 203] Head that I shall make no other Room for but in this Place, which ought not wholly to be omitted: He goes on thus.

‘Nor is Excess the only thing by which Sin mauls and breaks Men in their Health, and the comfortable Enjoyment of themselves thereby, but many are also brought to a very ill and languishing Ha­bit of Body, by mere Idleness; and Idle­ness is both it self a great Sin, and the Cause of many more. The Husbandman returns from the Field, and from manu­ring his Ground, strong and healthy, because innocent and laborious. You will find no Diet-Drinks, no Boxes of Pills, nor Gally-pots amongst his Provisions: No, he neither speaks nor lives French, he is not so much a Gentleman (forsooth). His Meals are coarse and short, his Em­ployments warrantable, his Sleep certain and refreshing, neither interrupted with the Lashes of a guilty Mind, nor the Aches of a crazy Body, and when Old Age comes upon him, it comes alone, bringing no Evil with it but itself: But when it comes to wait upon a great and worshipful Sinner (who for many Years together has had the Reputation of eating well and doing ill, it comes (as it ought to do to a Person of such Quality) atten­ded [Page 204] with a long Tram and Retinue of Rheums, Coughs Catarrhs, and Dropsies, together with many painful Girds and Convulsions, which are at least called the Gout. How does such an one go about, or is carried rather, with his Body bend­ing inward, his Head shaking, and his Eyes always watering (instead of weeping) for the Sins of his mispent Youth? Old Age seizes upon such a Person, like Fire upon a rotten House; it was rotten before, and must have fallen of it self; so that it is no more than one Ruin pre­venting another’ Very much to the same Cause, though not to that only, may we ascribe the long Lives of those Pa­triarchs before the Flood, when they lived so many hundred Years; viz. the Tempe­rance of their Diet, and the Simplicity of their Manner of Life. They had not then found out those Arts of shortening Life, that will now let Men live but a little while, and of that little, but a small Part of it well. Cornar [...]'s Lamentation over Italy, is calcula­ted for other Meridians besides Rome and Naples.

O unhappy Italy! Dost thou not per­ceive that Gluttony and Excess robs thee every Year of more Inhabitants, than War, Pestilence and Plague? Thy true [Page 205] Plagues art too frequent Feasting, which are so extravagant now, that no Tables are made large enough to hold the Num­ber of our Dishes. We not only prodi­gally heap upon them, but are forced to raise them one upon them, but are forced to raise them one upon another, in Pyramids. What Madness, what Fury is this? Re­gulate those Disorders, if not for God's sake yet for your own, because no Sin is more offensive to him, none more perni­cious to your selves.c

Every one that dies in his Bed, does not die a natural Death. Daggers and Halters, or Poison, are not the only Violences the Body can suffer. The Disorders of Intem­perance are altogether as properly Violen­ces, though the Man dies in his Bed.

Over how many Graves may it be writ­ten, Here lies such an one that killed himself by drinking. Here lies one that died of intem­perate Pleasures. No, says a Stander by, it was a Fever. I ask what brought that Fever? and so of any other Disease of which the Intemperate are said to die.

Can such with any Face quarrel with God's Providence, for making their Lives so short, when they by their Intemperance make it yet shorter? Would one believe [Page 206] that some of these have only their Portion in this Life, to see them cut it so short? Would any Man shake the Glass, which, when run out would bring on his Executi­on? Of all People, they should make the most of this Life, who have no Hopes of another. But if it were only to be puni­shed with the Loss of Health, how great a Blessing is melted down in the transient Pleasure of a Gusto of Palate, or a wanton Fancy? A Pearl in a Draught with Cleopa­tra, or a Kingdom for one Cup with Lysi­machus, oh quantum ob quantillum! to sur­render Health for a Cup too much!

AEsculapius, as Plato in his Common-wealth represents him, would not allow Physicians to those who were sick only through Lux­ury and Intemperance: Let them die (says he) they neither deserve, nor ought to be cured, whose Disease was their Choice, and whose Recovery would be but a Return to their Crime. And truly, abating the Pros­pect of their growing sober, and good for something, it were not Matter if such Ex­amples were removed out of the Way, and such Consumptions of the good Creature (Fruges consumere nati) were let die for the Good of the Publick. AEsculapius thought Physic was not made for such, and that it was not his Duty to cure them, tho' they [Page 207] were as rich as Midas. I shall close this Head with a fine Passage of Temperance out of Sir William Temple.

d Temperance, thou Virtue without Pride, & Fortune without Envy. That givest Indolence of Body, and Tranqui­lity of Mind. The best Guardian of Youth, and Support of old Age. The Precept of Reason as well as Religion, and Physician of the Soul as well as the Body. The tutelar Goddess of Health, and universal Medicine of Life. That clears the Head and cleanses the Blood. That eases the Stomach and purges the Bowels. That strengthens the Nerves, enlightens the Eyes, and comforts the Heart; in a Word, that secures and perfects Digestion, and thereby avoids the Fumes and Winds, to which we owe the Cholick and Spleen; those Crudities and sharp Humours that feed the Scurvy and the Gout, and those slimy Dregs, of which the Gravel and Stone are formed within us. Diseases to which Mankind is exposed, rather by the Vici­ousness than by the Frailty of our Na­tures; and by which we often condemn our selves to greater Torments and Mis­eries [Page 208] of Life, than have perhaps been yet invented by Anger or Revenge, or inflicted by the greatest Tyrants upon the worst of Men.’

The due Observation of these Preserva­tives will sometimes prevent the Necessity of the more costly and disgustful Means; or at least render them more efficacious when they must be used; or, which is in­deed of greater Consequence to us than either, will make us better disposed for that Sickness and Death that must be no longer deferr'd.

SECT. VII. On proper Occasions, which call for the Di­rection, Advice, and Skill of the Learned, we ought to consult those who profess the Arts of restoring and preserving Health.

THE Art of Healing is one of the Gifts of God to a miserable World; to relieve us under, or save us from, Dis­tempers, which Sin has brought upon our Nature. The Jews say, God created the Physician. It is he that giveth Science to Men, and it is he that heal [...]th Man e The [Page 209] Pagans ascribed it to the Gods, as their Invention, or made Gods of those who were the Authors of any considerable Dis­coveries or Improvements in it.f

'Tis not to be doubted but the first Physician, and the first Patient too, are to be found in the Person of the First Man; Adam, when he became mortal, no sooner found any Ailments about him, but he would use all the Knowledge he had in Nature to find out some Remedy and Relief.

I am of Opinion, that there are no Ma­ladies incident to our Bodies, but the Good­ness of God hath provided Remedies or Alleviations for them, that lie in some Part of the Creation or other. The same God has, in his wise Providence, given Inclina­tion, Opportunity and Ability, to some Persons, to study, and find out those heal­ing Properties, and to render them useful by a proper Manner of Application. And [Page 210] as secret Treasures lie hid in the Bowels of Mountains, which would have been for ever secret, but for Industry or Provi­dence; so there are Treasures of Health and Relief, lodged in the animal, vegeta­ble and mineral Kingdoms, that had never been discovered but by Industry or Pro­vidence.

It must be owned, to the Mortification of the Pride of Man, that some of the noblest Things in Physic are owing merely to providential Discovery; but on the o­ther Hand, it must also be allowed, that the same good Providence has blessed the Industry of some Persons in the Knowledge of Distempers, and Methods of their Cure, and in pursuing Experiments to some very useful and excellent Purposes.

It is true, we are not to depend entirely upon the Physician, nor must we neglect him. We live not by Bread alone, but by the Word out of God's Mouth, and yet, if we refuse our Food, we starve. We are heal­ed not by Physic alone, but by the same Word out of God's Mouth; and yet, if we neglect to use the best Means within our Reach, we die.

It must be a great Degree of Ignorance, as well as Ingratitude to the Goodness of God, and the Labours of the Learned, to [Page 211] question whether they who study the Na­tures an Properties of Things, with refer­ence to our Make and Fame, must not know more of it than others. They who have so often taken the Machine to Pieces, examined the Structure, Use, and Opera­tion of the Parts; they who have hunted out the Properties of Herbs, Minerals, and Drugs; they who have studied the Causes, Symptoms, and Effects of Distempers; they, who to their Reading, Enquiries, and Experiments, have by Practice joined the constant Observation of the Process, Course, and Crisis of Distempers; to question (I say) whether these Persons must not be al­lowed to know more of the Matter than others, notwithstanding Mistakes in some Cases, and Darkness in others. As an Ar­tist can tell where the Disorder of a Watch lies, whether in the Spring, Balance, or any of the Wheels, better than one that has never so much as seen it taken to Pieces and put together.

Nature will certainly very much help it self, and Art will very much help Nature; and the Intention of Art is to assist Nature against what is unnatural, to supply where it is wanting, to remove Obstructions, to ease it of any Load or Burthen, and pro­mote its own Forces and Operations. [Page 212] Hence the Name Physician, or Naturalist,g one whose Study it is to restore and pre­serve the Body in its natural State and Condition.h

i Life is short indeed, Art is long, Oc­casion and Opportunity fleeting, Judgment difficult, Mistakes have been many, the Catalogue of incurable Distempers, and of those that are the Opprobria Medicorum, is large; the Art, in a great Measure, con­jectural, and the Dependence of many, on their Physicians, is superstitious and ridi­culous; [Page 213] and several of the Healing Faculty may have drawn Contempt upon their own Profession: And yet, for all the Raillery these Things are liable to, I cannot but think it a Sort of Prophaneness to put a Slight upon the Gift of God, and the La­bours of Men, who, though they don't know all Things, yet many important Things, that are Mysteries to the Vulgar, are very plain and easy to them.

Buchanan was doubtless a polite Man, and had a very great Genius, but it was no Part of his Sense that he defied the Physicians, in his last Fever, and refused all their Assistance. They knew Wine was mortal to him, as well as he knew how to make a Verse. They talk'd like Phy­sicians, he would die like a Poet. He takes a Bumper in Bravado, and is said to expire with the Glass in his Hand, and those Lines of Propertius in his Mouth;

Cynthia prima su [...]s miserum me cepit Ocellis,
Contactum nullis ante Cupidinibus.
Tum mihi constantis, &c.

He might as well have fallen upon his own Sword.

k Give Place to the Physician, for the Lord hath created him. Let him not go from thee, [Page 214] for thou hast need of him. There is a Time, when in their Hands there is good Success; for they shall also pray unto the Lord, that he would prosper that which they give for Ease and Remedy, to prolong Life.

There was a Time, it seems, when there were praying Physicians, as Men that own­ed the Power of Life and Death to be in the Hand of God, and that all the Means were ordained by him, subordinate to him, and incapable of doing any Manner of Service without him. I hope the Num­ber of such now may be greater than we are generally apt to imagine; and for their Sakes I shall add the following good Remark of a dignifyed Writer.l

I take the wise Man here to have left us a good Hint for making Choice of such Physicians who are likely to profit us by their Prayers, as well as by their Prescriptions. For sure it argues too little Sense of the Hand of God, in all Events of this Kind, when we lay our Lives at the Mercy of impious Wretches, who do not only seem to have no Rever­ence for, or Regard to God, but live in open Contempt and Defiance of his Ma­jesty, and are much more like to draw [Page 215] down a Curse by their Prophaneness and Irreligion, than to give us any reasona­ble Prospect of a Blessing upon their Undertakings.

SECT. VIII. Prayer for Health, and a Blessing upon the Means of it, ought to be reckoned among the Preservatives.

IT is a Blessing worth asking for; to neg­lect this, is in Effect to say, We will be well, whether God will or no. If to do nothing but pray towards Health is ri­diculous,m not to do it at all is impious. An Heathen would not place his God in such a Rank of Insignificancy. Should we not go to the great Physician? Has he not called himself our Physician? I am the Lord that healeth. That Health that could not be commanded by Power, nor bought with Riches, nor conveyed by Physic, has been often fetch'd down by Prayer. The effectual fervent Prayer of the righteous Man has availed much, to save the Sick, and preserve the Well.

[Page 216] Nor let it be thought an Errand too mean to come to Christ upon. For it is in a Manner as valuable as our daily Bread, which we are commanded as daily to ask for as to work for. Let a Man's Trade or Estate be what it will, still he must say, Give us this Day our daily Bread. 'Tis God's Gift, by whatever Hand it comes. Daily Bread would not be worth asking for, if it were only to feed Misery, and nourish Distempers. Many had never come to Christ at all, while he was upon Earth, if their Diseases had not brought them; and when they did come, they carried away a Cure for Soul and Body at the same Time.

But while we pray for Health, let us not destroy both that & our Prayers by throw­ing it away in the Manner of our Living. Diogenes had Reason to laugh at those who came and offered Sacrifice for Health, and at the same Time sed so intemperately up­on the Sacrifices, that they eat and drank away the Health they were offered for.n This is the Case of saying Grace over a spread Table, that is turned to a Debauch. A Man may with equal Sense pray to be invulnerable. You pray for Health and [Page 217] Vigour, says Persius, laughing, Why it is a Jest! this Array of Dishes, this Luxury, won't suffer it, if Jupiter himself were ne­ver so much inclined.o

CONCLVSION.

THUS have I gone through this Sub­ject of Health. My chief Design in it was to increase our Value for the Blessing, to direct how to avoid the Sins of it, and to assist towards the best Improvement of it, in the Duties that belong to it. Above all, that we lose not so happy an Oppor­tunity as a Time of Health, to secure Blessings that are beyond even Health it self; eternal Health and Pleasure, both of Body and Mind!

If any say that some Persons, who pract­ise all these Things we call Preservatives, do yet sicken and die as well as others, and some that mind none of them are healthful: I answer;

[Page 218] We have all along allowed for Cases of Reserve in the Divine Providence, which often over-rules even the most natural Connexions and Tendencies, and disposes them in a Method beside and above the Discourses of Mens Reason.

The same Observation may be made on those Preservatives that are purely Medi­cinal. They themselves do not always reach the Intention, and answer the De­sign. It is not the Pretence either of Di­vinity or Medicine, to give Immortality to Men in this Life, tho' the Prescriptions of both may have a Tendency to Health and Welfare.

Some, who mind all these Preservatives, sicken and die! Granted; but so do they who eat and drink, exercise and change the Air, and use the best Physic; and yet, who ever deny'd those to be Preservatives of Health and Life? Food, Physic, Exercise, and Air, will be Means of Health to the End of the World; and yet 'tis appointed for Men once to die, and 'tis appointed to Man to use these Means of Life & Health. They are both appointed.

I have endeavour'd to make this Sub­ject as practical as I could, and to order the Matter so, as to make the Thoughts about bodily Health, as useful as I could [Page 219] to the Prosperity of the better Part. I shall close all with three Words.

Take Care of your Health, since it is so valuable. Make the most of it, since it is so uncertain and frail. Long, pray for, and endeavour the ensuring of that State and World, where there is Health with­out Sickness! Eternal Health, without the least Shadow of Death.

1. Take Care of it, since it is so va­luable.

If the Display of the Value and Blessing of Health shall make Men a little more careful of it, and more thankful for it, and more useful with it; it will add something to the Benefit and Advantage of Mankind, and the Glory of God; the only Purposes of Life, that can give a true Relish to our Being.

Think of the Miseries of Sickness once more, and if you remember what passed when you were ill your selves, or have observed how it is in those that are so. What Confinement, what Closeness! how far, how quickly removed from Business and Pleasures the Heart before was set up­on. A Man is dead to the World, before he dies out of it. Those very Senses which before took in all their Delight, are now the Inlets of Sadness and Offence. The [Page 220] Sight of his Medicine is ungrateful to the Eye. So is the Smell of his Meat. The Taste is lost to Delight, or only subsists to be tormented with nauseous Draughts. The least Noise wounds his Ear, the least Air pierces him.p It turns his Comforts into Crosses. His Bed tires him, his Chair troubles him; Friends disquiet him if pre­sent, and offend him if absent; their Si­lence or Discourse, their Mirth or Sorrow, alike disturb; being uneasy himself, every thing about him is so. Poor Man! some­thing he would have, and cannot tell what; he is not well himself, and nothing about him is so.

Consider farther the Difficulty of Reco­very, with the Hazards and Uncertainty of Physic.

It is a very easy Matter to lose our Health, but not so to recover it. How­ever useful Physic is, 'tis not infallible. It must be used, but may not be depended upon. It's greatest Masters have called itq a conjectural Art, and such as neither Con­jecture nor Experience can always make suc­cessful. The Number of Diseases is pro­digious, and yet every single one is enough for the Study of a Man's Life. The Va­riation [Page 221] of Symptoms of the same Diseases, at different Times and Ages; the Hazard in the Quality, Goodness, and Compositi­on of the Medicaments; the Difficulty of observing the due Proportion in their Mix­ture, according to the Nature of the Dis­ease, and the Circumstances of the Sub­ject; the Hazard of promoting one Mis­chief by remedying another; the great Way round about the Medicine has to go, before it can reach the Case, or the affect­ed Part; the many Alterations of its Parts it must undergo, the many Juices and Humours it must meet and mingle with; these are all likely to disappoint the Inten­tion of the best Prescriptions. To say nothing of the many Differences among the most learned of the Faculty, nor of the sad Effects that some Distempers leave be­hind them, tho' cured in the best Manner the World can afford. These Things are enough to cure us of Ahoz' Distemper, of trusting to the Physicians, r or of exposing our Health at any Time in Dependence upon the Art. These shew the Reason of representing AEsculapius's Staff full of Knots, to denote the Difficulty of this Study.

[Page 222] 2. Make the most of it, since it is so uncer­tain and frail.

Let us improve it to the best and most lasting Purposes; catch hold of it as the Opportunity and Flower of Life; re­membring that like a Flower it will Wi­ther and Decay. But to this I have said so much Chap. V. §. 5. that I need add no more.

3. Long and pray for that State and World, where there is all Health without Sickness; eternal Health, without the least Disorder, or Shadow of Death.

When we consider that Sickness and Death is the way to this Health and Life, it softens the Idea of Sickness, and abates the Terrors of Death. Sickness and Death are themselves the surest Physic, and most infallible Cure. Under this Notion they have been consider'd by wise and great Men. Socrates seem'd to have this Thought, when he bid his Friends, after he had drank the fatal Cup, to sa­crifice a Cock to AEsculapius; this being the usual Thank-Offering to that God, from those who had recovered from Sickness, and were very well. It was as much as to say. Now I am in a fair Way to perfect Recovery; I am just going to be quite well, do my Ho­nours to AEsculapius for the Health I am [Page 223] entring upon. The pious Emperor Theo­dosius Third, with the same Design, order'd this one Word only to be put upon his Tomb (Hygicia) Health; as much as to say, All is well; now I am out of the Reach of Distemper, in that perfect Health, that is not to be found in a dying World. We are willing to endure some painful Opera­tions for the Recovery of an uncertain Health, in this World; now Sickness and Death are to be looked upon only as some painful Operation we are to go through, and then all is well. The Head that is once crowned with Glory, shall never ach more. The Eye that is once open'd upon the beatific Vision, shall never weep more. The Hand that has once laid hold of eternal Life, shall never tremble more. Everlasting Health & Vigour, Youth, Life, and Prosperity, both of Soul and Body, after a small Separation, belong to the Paradisaical Constitution, and are the Pro­perties of that Place where the Inhabitant shall not say I am sick, for the People that dwell therein shall be forgiven their Iniquity. s

THE END.

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