"Turgidus hic epulis, atque albo ventre lavatur,
"Gutture sulphureas lente exhalante mephites.
"Sed tremor inter vina subit, calidumque triental
"Excudit e manibus, dentes crepuere retecti,
"Uncta cadunt laxis, tunc pulmentaria labris,
"Vitam sub Dio—agat.




THE Author of the following Ser­mons takes this method of inform­ing the Public, that they never were preached. The title and style of Sermons were chosen for no other purpose than to excite the attention of the Public to subjects highly interesting to every body. It is unnecessary to mention the Author's name, as he seeks nothing from his countrymen, but the pleasure of doing them good. If he fails in this, he is disappointed in the only thing he had in view in writing them.




AS embarked in the same common cause with you, of attempting to save the lives of his Majesty's subjects, I have taken the liberty of prefixing your name to these Sermons, not with the view of its protecting them, for it seems it was not sufficient to protect your own work, but from a desire I had of showing my high esteem of your head and heart. Although we differ in some points (which are chiefly speculative) yet I am happy in finding that we agree in those things which are most essential, in one sense of the words, to man's salvation. It is with plea­sure we now see the same freedom of enquity extending itself to medicine, which has long prevailed in religion. While the common people reject infallibility in the head of a church, and a sovereign efficacy in a few rites and ceremonies, they have unhappily remained en­slaved [Page] to the infallibility of medicine, or a few trifling prescriptions, which are as unequal to the expectations of the vulgar in curing diseases, as a wafer or extreme unction are to expiate their sins. Physic will never suf­fer by undeceiving the common people; but, on the contrary, like the Reformed Religion, it will become illustrious by stripping it of its pageantry.— Thus, the Indian receives not half the pleasure from worshipping the sun, which the philosopher does from viewing it through a telescope.

THE clergy are not less honoured now than they were formerly, although they do not pretend to work miracles, or to grant absolution—so physicians would not be less respected, should they sometimes disclaim their usurped omniscience of the causes or events of dis­eases, nor attempt always to cure them by receipts com­posed of ingredients drawn from every kingdom in na­ture, and every quarter of the globe.

THE clergy are often told, that example goes farther than precept. Upon this account, I think it would add much to the dignity of physic, if the professors of it would live agreeable to their doctrines.

AN OLD PHYSICIAN always carries about with him the most honourable encomiums in praise of his art.— That you may honour the profession as much in this respect, as you have done in your ingenious Dissertation on the Gout, is the ardent wish of

Your most obedient humble servt. THE AUTHOR.


PROVERBS xxiii. 1, 2, 3.

When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee. And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties, for they are deceitful meat.


THESE are the words of King Solomon, em­phatically called the Wise Man, from his great pre-eminence in wisdom over the whole human race. His knowledge, like his pleasures, was unconfined, and while he tortured nature for the one, he ransacked her no less for the other. He was none of those philosophers, who exclaim against the world for no other reason, than because they possess so small a share of it. He tasted, he possessed, he knew every thing which the mind of man in its most improved state is capable of tasting, pos­sessing, or knowing. This raises his character above all praise, and gives the same eloquence to every thing which comes from his pen, as if a voice had proclaimed it from heaven.

[Page 8]WITHOUT taking up your time in wiredrawing the words, which are plain, and stand in need of no illustration, I shall proceed immediately to speak of TEMPERANCE in EATING. The method I have chosen for this purpose, is to consider it as it relates

  • I. To the QUALITY.
  • II. To the QUANTITY of our ALIMENT. And,
  • III. To the TIME of taking it. After this I shall conclude with an APPLICATION.

I. OF THE QUALITY OF OUR ALIMENT. There hath been much common-place declamation upon this subject. There is such a variety in the appetites and constitutions of mankind (implanted originally for wise purposes) that no fixed rules can be laid down under this head. In general, the more simple our food is, the better. Animal and vegetable food should always be mixed together by people in health.—That nature intended man should be supported by them both, we infer from the structure of his teeth, and organs of digestion, which are formed upon the compound principles of carnivo­rous and granivorous animals. The proportion of vegetable food should always predominate, especially in warm seasons, and warm climates. Wild animals, and those which are full grown, should be preferred to tame and young animals, as be­ing more easy of digestion and perspiration. For the same reason, flesh which has been kept for some time, is to be preferred to that which is newly killed.

MUCH has been said against high seasoned food. To per­sons, in the full vigor of health and youth, I grant it may be hurtful; but to old, and to sickly people, who are afflicted with a general torpor of the alimentary canal, it is not only [Page 9] inoffensive, but absolutely necessary. I appeal to all such of my hearers, as labour under a weakness of the stomach—indi­gestion—acid belchings, and the like, whether a little salted or smoaked beef has not sat easier upon your stomachs, and been sooner digested, than the most simple food that could be contrived. High seasoned food is likewise necessary to the inhabitants of low marshy countries, more especially at those seasons of the year, when the diseases of such places are epi­demic. It is remarked in some of the West-Indian Islands, as well as in those parts of South-America, which are within the tropic, that such as eat a large quantity of spices of all kinds, with their food, are less subject to the intermitting and bi­lious fevers, than those who avoid them.—This is easily ac­counted for, when we reflect, how much they obviate the re­laxing powers of heat and moisture, which always combine to produce these diseases. It is for this reason, probably, that Providence has so ordered it, that the spicy trees grow spontaneously in warm climates only, in all parts of the world.

BEFORE I conclude this head, I shall remark, that little mischief is done to the constitution by the quality of aliment. Nature, for the most part, takes the alarm, and, unless we use violence with her, deprives us of our relish for those things, which are destructive to our constitutions. Such per­sons as love meat with those qualities which are hurtful, too often love likewise an excess in quantity, which leads us to the next head we proposed, namely, to speak

II. OF THE QUANTITY OF OUR ALIMENT. "Temper­ance (says Sir William Temple) consists in a regular and simple diet, limited by every man's experience of his own easy digestion."—Food, therefore, may be said to be taken in [Page 10] too large a quantity, when we do not feel light and cheerful after it.—There are few who do not eat one third, or a fourth more than is necessary to support them. The chief incentive to this is the variety of our dishes, which excites us to eat after the appetite is satisfied. Few men, I believe, ever eat to excess more than once of one plain dish.

THE Church of Rome acts with a wise regard to the health, as well as morals of her sons, in prescribing abstinence from flesh during Lent, and in allowing them nothing but fish.— Most of animals, in the spring of the year, or the season of Lent, are very poor, and upon several accounts unfit for food; but the chief reason upon which this canon is founded, and which serves our present purpose more immediately, is, that by confining them to fish only, there is less danger of their eating to excess. Nature, we see, not only in this, but in another sensual enjoyment*, seems to have set a guard over our health, and instead of rousing our sensations by va­riety or novelty, kindly keeps them suspended, till appetite and pleasure are awakened together, which to the same ob­ject they never will be oftener than is consistent with the health and vigor of the constitution. This wise oeconomy in the make of our bodies, cannot be too much admired, especially as we are enabled to discover in it the strict connexion between the positive precepts of heaven, and our own happiness.

NEXT to our eating of but one dish, I would inculcate eating put one hearty meal a day. In support of this piece of [Page 11] advice, I might here summons many of the illustrious dead among the ancient philosophers and legislators, who never eat more than one hearty meal in the four and twenty hours. So common was this simplicity of living in Greece, that Plato, upon being asked when he returned to Athens from his travels into Sicily, what he had seen that was curious while he was abroad, answered, Vidi monstrum in natura, hominem his satu­ratum in die.‘I have beheld (said he) a monster in na­ture—a man who eat two hearty meals in a day.’ These are more than sufficient to repair the daily waste of the body. They oppress nature, and keep her constantly fatigued, in concocting the immense supplies of food which are thrown into the stomach. Although she sometimes forbears long, yet sooner or later she takes ample vengeance of such as treat her in this manner, by afflicting them with blotches, and other disorders, which are the legitimate offspring of this species of intemperance. But if we are to eat only one hearty meal a day, a question very naturally occurs here, and that is, at what time should it be taken?

THIS brings us to our last general head, namely, to speak of temperance as it relates to the

III. TIME OF EATING. At present noon is looked upon as the most proper for this purpose. Hence we generally find dinner the principal meal through this country. I am aware of the difficulty of opposing popular prejudices, and that it is often much better to swim with the multitude down the stream, than to stem it alone. I am aware too of the fate of reformers in religion—politics and science. Many have lost their characters—their livings—and even their lives, by ad­vancing things contrary to the established opinions of the world. But, should this be my case, I will not conceal my [Page 12] sentiments, nor resist what I look upon and feel to be the sa­cred power of truth. It is well known to every one, that exercise of mind or body is disagreeable after dinner. Nature recoils from them both. Every full meal is a stimulus to the whole system and brings on a temporary fever, which shows itself in that chilliness and quickness of pulse, which are so very remarkable after eating. To add to these either exer­cise of body or mind, is to divide and weaken the powers of nature in a work, which requires the combined action of them all. Upon this account, I think the principal meal should al­ways be made in the evening.

THE old Romans, we find, in the early and virtuous ages of their commonwealth, made their chief meal after night. The French (except such of them as copy after the English manners) and the Italians always make supper their principal meal. The Indians in this country (who live the most agree­able to nature of any people in the world) eat flesh but once in the four and twenty hours, and that is in the evening, after the fatigues of fishing—hunting or marching, are over. The Spaniards, who have not yet adopted the French and Italian custom of making their chief meal at night, are neverthe­less so unanimous in the practice of sleeping an hour or two every day after dinner, that it is a common thing to hear a Spaniard say, in most of the cities of Spain, that "none but Englishmen and dogs are to be seen in their streets immedi­ately after dinner." Sleep is always natural after eating. Nature calls loudly for it. It is common to all the brute animals we are acquainted with. That state of the body or mind which approaches nearest to it, is always most agreeable to us, when we cannot enjoy it immediately.—Hence we read, that it was a practice among the Romans to sit upon cushions, and to lean upon each other at their entertainments. Our SAVIOUR adopted this custom. At the last feast he had with [Page 13] his disciples (which was a supper) he admitted him who sat next to him to lean upon his bosom.—But what proves, above all things, that rest and sleep are necessary after eating, is, that digestion has been lately proved to be carried on chief­ly by FERMENTATION, to which rest, every body knows, is so essentially necessary, that it cannot take place without it. Unless the body enjoys more or less of this after eating, there can be no perfect concoction of the food. This is what all must consent to, who have been obliged to ride on horse­back, or to use any violent exercise of body, after a hearty dinner. The digestion, in such cases, is so disturbed, that persons have complained of being indisposed for several days after it.

BUT methinks I hear some object and say, that eating a hearty supper makes them restless in the night, and prevents their sleeping. To such I would wish joy.—It is a proof, that nature has not yet sunk under the weight of two hearty meals a day; for I never heard any one make this complaint, who did not likewise eat a hearty dinner. Leave off dining in your usual manner, and, instead of eating half a pound, or a pound of flesh, with vegetables proportioned to it, allay your appetite with a little bread and cheese—a bowl of light soup —a cup of coffee or chocolate—or, after the French custom, with a few raisins, or an apple, and I am persuaded, you will feel no inconvenience from eating a moderate supper. Here give me leave to remark to you, that the more of these light substances you take during the day, the better, as they tend to lessen the sense of hunger, or the keenness of the appetite, which too often provokes us to intemperance. Sir Francis Bacon tells us a story of a very old man, whose manner of living he enquired into, and found that he observ­ed no other rules than eating before he was hungry, and [Page 14] drinking before he was dry; for by these means, he said, he was sure never to eat, nor to drink too much at a time.— If we appeal once more to the brute animals, they will fur­nish us with arguments in favour of this practice. Every ana­logy borrowed from them deserves to be attended to, as they have never yet subjected their instincts to the tyranny of fashi­on. The cow and the horse, as also the sheep, when they range at large in a pasture, feed with little interruption dur­ing the day, and thus guard against the intemperate effects of hunger. The horse, it is true, sometimes suffers from this cause, but it is only when he is obliged to live as we do, that is, to divide his meals into three or four in a day, and to work immediately afterwards. It is universally agreed, that people live much longer in warm than in cold climates. May not one reason of this be owing to the heat of such climates dimi­nishing their appetites, and thus preventing their wearing out their constitutions by excess in eating?—I would have it re­membered here, that in speaking of warm climates, I mean the improved parts of Asia and Africa only. The warm climates of America are as yet too little cultivated, to allow us to extend the observation to our own country.—But to re­turn. Methinks I hear others say, if we make supper our principal meal, we shall overset part of an old rule, which bids us,

"After dinner sit a while,
"After supper walk a mile."

This adage, it is true, from its great antiquity, as well as from its being delivered in rhyme, comes armed with the strength of Sampson, but it does not require the skill of a Delilah to cut its locks. I might here mention an hundred common sayings in several of the arts and sciences, as well as in common life, which are equally universal, and at the same time equally false with the above. It is a vulgar error, and [Page 15] is repugnant both to experience and sound philosophy. I conclude, therefore, that it is most agreeable to the usage of the most civilized nations—to the practice of savages—to nature—and to common experience, to eat our chief meal at night, and that the seeming objections against it are of no weight.

I HASTEN now to the APPLICATION of this discourse. And here I might exclaim against the depravity of man, which has converted the common blessings of life into wea­pons of destruction against himself.—I might open Pandora's box, or show you Milton's Lazar-house,

—"Wherein were laid
"Numbers of all diseased, all maladies
"Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture qualms
"Of heart-sick agony, all severous kinds,
"Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs,
"Intestine stone and ulcer, colic pangs,
"Demoniac phrenzy, moaping melancholy,
"And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy,
"Marasmus, and wide wasting pestilence,
"Dropsies and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums."

And might prove to you, that most of these diseases are the children of intemperance in eating. I might conduct you to yonder grave-yard, and point to the tombs of many of your former companions, who "came up like flowers, and were cut down," and who strictly speaking, "lived not out half their days."—But, without entering upon these things, I shall conclude, by fixing your attention on the picture of a man, who has spent part of his life "among riotous eaters of flesh."—Mark his pale countenance! His belly is swelled— his physicians tell us that it arises from a fixed obstruction in his liver, which has brought on a species of dropsy of the [Page 16] worst sort—See! with what difficulty he breathe! A slow fever consumes his vitals—His thirst is inextinguishable—Say ye patrons and practicers of the healing art, can nothing be done to relieve him from this deplorable condition?—Call for some rich dainty—Perhaps this may revive him—Tell him of his past enjoyments—of the honour he once had of eating and drinking with the "Rulers" and chief men of the land. Alas! these can avail nothing.—The sight of the one—and the remembrance of the other, serve only to increase his pain.— Will cordials and bitters do nothing to rouse the languid powers of life? Their virtues have long ago been exhausted, when there was no occasion for them. Better, far better, would it have been for him, had he (in the words of our text) "put a knife to his throat," or even plunged a dagger into his heart the first day he gave himself up to his appetite, than lived to endure such aggravated misery. In a word, all nature is up in arms against him—The elements keep back their medicinal aids—They take part in their Creator's quar­rel, whose bounties he has abused—The air refuses to expand his lungs—water—to allay his thirst—fire—to warm his limbs, and thus he dies his own executioner. Be exhorted, my hearers, from these considerations to temperance and so­briety. If you have any love for yourselves—for your fami­lies—for your posterity—and for the community to which you belong, think of these things. I have only to add my best wishes, that what has been delivered upon this subject may have due weight with you, more especially at this season of the year *, when, as the Poet expresses it,

"Falsly, grateful man, at the full feast,
"To do God honour makes himself a beast.


PROVERBS xxxi. 6, 7.

Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.


THE last time I addressed you from this place, I enlarged upon Temperance in Eating. In the present discourse, I shall lay before you a few considerations upon the USE AND ABUSE OF WINE AND STRONG DRINK. This, I shall attempt, by considering more particularly the words of our text. For this purpose, I shall enquire,

  • II. TO WHOM THEY SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN; and then I shall conclude with an APPLICATION.


1. To the sick. The diseases in which wine is indicated are, First, The slow nervous fever. Here the powers of na­ture are weakened and oppressed, and the poor patient may, strictly speaking, be said to be ready to perish. Wine may be administered therefore in such cases with advantage.—If ever it fails of doing, service, it is because it is given in too small a quantity. Secondly, In chronic diseases, which are ac­companied with a languor of the whole system, which shows itself in a more especial manner in the stomach, wine is a so­vereign remedy. It was to relieve a complaint of this kind that St. Paul prescribed it to his son Timothy. By its gentle stimulus it excites the action of the stomach—invigorates the circulation—opens obstructions—and thus, in some measure, renews the whole constitution. The relief which wine af­fords in these cases, is the more certain, if the weakness of the system has been brought on by grief, or any of those passions which are of the sedative kind. Here the heavy heart is re­vived, and made to sing for joy.

2. WINE is sometimes necessary to the inhabitants of low marshy countries. The moisture of such places obstructs per­spiration, and brings on a general laxity of the system. When used in a moderate quantity, it braces the solids, and by keeping up a proper balance between them and the fluids, it obviates diseases.—Hence we seldom find those people, who live in affluence, and who can afford to drink a glass or two of generous wine every day, afflicted with those fevers and agues, which make such great havock among poor people. The Hollanders have been charged with the national reflec­tion of loving strong drink. This censure is unjust, as neces­sity at first drove them to it, and as it is by using wine and other spirituous liquors in moderation, that they guard them­selves [Page 19] from the ill effects of the moisture to which their coun­try is always exposed. Remember you are to use wine in these cases only during that season, in which these diseases are epi­demic, which, in this climate, is chiefly during the months of August, September and October. But,

3. WINE is principally useful to old people, or such as are in the decline of life. It is hard to fix the limits between the beginning of old age, and the close of manhood. At a medi­um, the body begins to decline at the age of forty-five or fifty in this climate. Then the hot fit of the fever of life begins to abate, and from the many disappointments in love—friendship —ambition or trade, which most of men meet with by the time they arrive at this age, they generally feel a heavy heart.—The decay of the vital heat—the slowness of the pulse— the diminution of the strength, all show that the vigour of the system is declining. Here wine prolongs the strength and powers of nature. It is the grave of past misfortunes—In a word, it is another name for philosophy. Remember, my aged hearers, if you would expect to enjoy a long reprieve from the infirmities of age, you must begin to use wine mode­rately, and increase the quantity of it as you descend into the valley of life.—Add to this, you must diminish the quantity of your solid aliment.—This nature points out to us, by depriv­ing us of our teeth in proportion as we grow old, teaching us thereby, that we have now no longer use for them.

I COME now to the second general head of my discourse, namely,


[Page 20]IN the first place, it should not be given to children. Wine, we said formerly, is of a heating nature, and is indi­cated in those constitutions and ages, where a stimulus is ne­cessary to support the powers of life. Children, from the natural vigour of their systems, which shows itself in the re­markable quickness of their pulses, and in their great activity of mind and body, stand in no need of a stimulus of this kind. On the contrary, every thing should be withheld from them, which tends to add to the natural impetuosity of their fluids, or the vigorous action of their solids. Hence we are led to commend those parents, who forbid their children to taste all kinds of animal food (upon the account of its stimulating quality) till they are upwards of seven or eight years of age. But,

2. STUDIOUS people, or those who have occasion to ex­ercise their thinking faculties much, should abstain from wine. Thinking is a stimulus to the constitution, and wears out the springs of life beyond the most laborious exercise of body.—Much study is literally a "weariness of the flesh."—Hence we find statesmen, generals, and even such as fill the learned pro­fessions with dignity, are more subject to the gout, from small deviations in their ordinary way of living, than other people. Wine, and a constant or vigorous exertion of the active facul­ties of the soul, produce nearly the same effects upon the bo­dy.—This is one reason probably why Solomon, in the chapter from whence our text is taken, says, "It is not for Kings to drink wine, nor for Princes strong drink." Much recreation and great exercise of body, are necessary to guard against the effects of too much application of the mind to business; should the stimulating effects of wine be added to this, relief will be sought from exercise and amusements in vain. But,

[Page 21]3. WINE should not be used by young people, or such as are under five and thirty or forty years of age, unless they la­bour under some of those evils we mentioned under our first head. The pursuits and pleasures of youth are too often more than sufficient to keep the system in an excited state. To add wine to these, is like throwing oil into fire, in order to extin­guish it. It is always a sign of a vitiated heart, when in full health wine is called for, in order to impart cheerfulness to it *. By avoiding wine in the early part of life, you will receive benefit from it when you grow old. You will likewise escape that dreadful scourge of intemperance the gout. This is the natural offspring of wine. In the great empire of China the gout is unknown. This is owing to their being unacquainted with the juice of the grape, and is a proof that the other causes, which have been accused of bringing on the gout, act too feebly to produce it, unless they are roused into action by the use of wine. Besides all this, by refraining from wine during this period of your lives, you may become the fathers of a healthful progeny, whose ruddy looks, and well formed limbs, will adorn your happy board, and more than repay you for your abstinence and self-denial.

[Page 22]BUT methinks I hear some of you say—why all this noise about wine and strong drink?—Have we not seen hundreds, who have made it a constant practice to get drunk almost every day for thirty or forty years, who, notwithstanding, ar­rived to a great age, and enjoyed the same good health as those who have followed the strictest rules of temperance—or who have lived by weight and measure like Lewis Cor­naro himself?—Some instances of this kind I grant might be mentioned, but they are few when compared with the num­ber of those who have abstained from wine and strong drink. Even these have began to drink after their constitutions were on the decline. They were moreover generally poor people, who were obliged to work hard for their support, and thus by their labour carried off the effects of their intemperance. But who knows how much longer they might have lived, had they been more temperate. Perhaps after all, they died mar­tyrs to spirituous liquors, and at the age of eighty, ninety, or even an hundred, were guilty of a species of suicide. If you should see a sailor fall from the mast of a ship under full sail into the sea, and afterwards be taken up alive, would you not think his companions mad, if they should leap from the same place, in hopes of meeting with the same good fortune?—

BUT who is he that says, if we banish wine from company, how shall we contrive to entertain our friends? The poets and philosophers of former ages, who abound so much with the praises of wine, would rise up against us, should we tear so precious a relict from the temple of hospitality. To this I answer, that more have complained of drinking too much, than of drinking too little in company. How many have refused to be present at entertainments, only because they were afraid of being forced to drink to excess? How many are obliged to counterfeit excuses, or to steal privately from company for [Page 23] the same reason? What confusion—what discord, among the most intimate friends, have you not seen follow those feasts where the host has relied upon the quantity or goodness of his wine for the entertainment of his guests?—Three or four glasses of wine will impart all its cheerful qualities to a stomach which is not rendered insensible to it by habit or disease. These may be taken occasionally among friends by persons of all ages and conditions, especially upon festive seasons. These seasons, however, should not recur too often. Our SAVIOUR wrought a miracle at a wedding, in order to furnish wine to the guests; but he fed five thousand people with a few loaves and fishes in the wilderness, without ordering any wine to be drank after them. This is the more remarkable, as there is no food which is supposed to require wine with it so much as fish,—it being a common saying, that it should always swim three times—namely, in water—butter—and wine.

IT is time now to hasten to the APPLICATION of this discourse.

HERE then I would call upon the diseased and the melancho­ly part of my hearers, as well as such whose misfortune it is to live in low marshy countries, to come and partake of this sovereign antidote to disease and care.—Banish your cordials—your bitters, and your magnesias, the paltry prescriptions of mercenary quacks, and substitute in the room of them a few glasses of good old wine. But to you my aged hearers—my venerable fathers would I chiefly address myself. Come here and drown all your sorrows in full bumpers of Lisbon or Ma­deira.—Here forget the inconstancy of your mistresses—the the persidy of friends—the broken promises of your patrons—and the villainy of those who have betrayed either your in­terest, or character.—Above all things, here you may forget [Page 24] not only to complain, but even to feel most of those infirmities which are too often connected with your age. "The keepers of the house, shall cease to tremble—nor shall the strong men bow themselves, and although your grinders may cease, be­cause they are few, yet those that look out of the windows, shall not be darkened.—Ye shall not rise at the voice of the bird, unable to sleep any longer, nor shall the grass-hopper any more be a burthen to you." The days shall never come in which you shall say, "we have no pleasure in them." Thus will you prolong your health and spirits till, like full matured fruit, you shall drop into the lap of your mother earth. Your bodies, like the garments of the children of Israel, shall not be torn by the ravages of time—and the same stroke which puts an end to your enjoyments, shall cut the silver cord of life.

IT is now time to address myself to another class of my hearers. First, let me call upon parents to withhold wine from their children. It is a poison instead of a cordial, which you pour down their little throats. No fortune which you can bequeath them, will ever be equivalent for depriving them of the inestimable blessing of a good constitution. Next, let me call upon statesmen, legislators, and all those who labour for the public good, to abstain from wine. Remember you are the guardians of your country. Public business should, like time, have no pauses. How often have treaties been suspend­ed, and even marches and battles been delayed, by the prin­cipals or leaders of them being laid up with a fit of the gout. Suffer not the short lived pleasures of drinking to cheat you out of your fame or importance, or to obstruct your motions through these exalted spheres which you are called to fill. But to you young men, would I now, in the last place, ad­dress myself.—You have heard several arguments against the [Page 25] necessity of your drinking wine. None of you can pretend to be of heavy hearts, or ready to perish. If you are not moved by a regard to your own health and happiness—think of your posterity. Let not your third and fourth generations be visited for your iniquities. They will imprecate ven­geance upon your ashes every time they feel the punishment of your folly.

BUT if, after all I have said, you are determined to perse­vere in your usual manner of living, I must address you once more in the words of The Wise Man, and say, "Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes;" yet remember there is a time coming when you will repent that you have hated reproof, and turned a deaf ear to the voice of the preacher. There is the same inseparable connexion between intemperance and disease, that there is betwixt vice and its punishment. Unless you should be cut off by some sudden gust of intemperance, you may depend upon feeling the effects of it hereafter. Think now, I beseech you, of the sleepless nights—of the low spi­rits—of the scorching pains in your hands and feet which await you. To give you an idea of the dreadful consequences of excess in drinking, let me beg of you to accompany me to the bed-chamber of a man afflicted with the gout. Be not alarmed at his groans—Let us go in—Is this the man who a few years ago was the life and soul of every company he went into?—Is this he who boasted of the quantity of liquor he could drink without being intoxicated?—who spent his youth in a constant round of gaity and pleasure?—How is he changed!—It is now eleven years since he has been a prison­er in this chamber. His physicians have long since deserted him, nor is it any reproach to their art that they cannot cure [Page 26] him, any more than it is that they are unable to raise the dead. He is a burthen to his friends. In vain does he seek relief from wine—food—physic—company, or even from phi­losophy. His only amusement is to number the days of his misery on the wall with the chalk which grows on the ends of his fingers.—Death, the last friend of the wretched, refuses to come at his call—He lives—I retract the word—He has ceased to live ever since his confinement—He breathes short­er and shorter, till at last he closes his eyes for ever in the si­lence of death. This is no exaggerated picture. We have all seen it at some time of our lives.

I CANNOT conclude what has been said upon this subject, with words more to our purpose than those of Solomon, "Who hath wo? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine, they that go to seek mixt wine. Lock not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder."



PROVERBS vi. 9, 10, 11.

How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?—Yet a little sleep—a little slumber—a little folding of the hands to sleep.—So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.


MAN was formed to be active. The vigour of his mind, and the health of his body can be fully preserved by no other means, than by labour of some sort. Hence, when we read the sentence which was pronounced upon man after the fall, "That in the sweat of his brow he should eat bread all the days of his life." We cannot help admiring the goodness of the Supreme Being, in connect­ing his punishment with what had now become the necessary means of preserving his health. Had God abandoned him to idleness, he would have entailed tenfold misery upon him. The solid parts of his body, particularly the nerves, would have lost their tone—the muscles would have lost their feeling and moving powers—and the fluids in consequence of this, [Page 28] would have lost their original or native qualities, and have stagnated in every part of his body. But, instead of inflict­ing this complicated punishment upon him, he bids him be ACTIVE, and implants a principle within him which impels him to it. Civil society and agriculture began together. The latter has always been looked upon among the first employ­ments of mankind.—It calls forth every individual of the hu­man race into action.—It employs the body in a manner the most conducive to its health.—It preserves and increases the species most;—and lastly, it is most friendly to the practice of virtue. For these reasons, therefore, it is natural to con­clude, that it is most agreeable to the Supreme Being that man should be supported by it. The earth is a skilful as well as a kind mother to her children. Instead of pouring her treasures in lapfuls upon them at once, and consigning them to idleness ever afterwards, she bestows her gifts with a sparing hand, and ceases to yield them any thing, as soon as they cease to culti­vate her. Thus by entailing constant labour, she meant to entail constant health upon them.

BUT these employments were too innocent for the restless spirit of man. He soon deserted his fields—and his flocks—and sought for some more speedy methods of acquiring for­tune—independence—and a superiority over his fellow crea­tures. These have been obtained by commerce—war—ra­pine—and lastly, to the reproach of the American colonies, and of humanity, be it spoken, by the perpetration of a crime, compared with which, every other breach of the laws of nature or nations, deserves the name of Holiness, I mean, by SLAVERY. But in exchange for these, he hath given up that greatest of all blessings, HEALTH. He hath had recourse to medicine as a succedaneum for labour: but this hath proved ineffectual; for the fossil—vegetable—and those parts of the animal king­dom [Page 29] which are employed in medicine, have not yet learned, like man, to rise in rebellion against the will of their Creator. Solomon seems to have been aware of this in the words of our text, and hence we hear him calling upon him to awake from his unhealthy "slumber"—to rise from his enervating bed—to unfold his "arms," and employ them in some useful labour, least sickness, with its companion "poverty," should come upon him like "travail upon a woman with child," or like an "armed man," neither of which can be avoided or resisted. But Solomon, and all the preachers from his time to the present day, who have addressed him upon this subject, have used their elo­quence in vain. Since therefore we cannot bring man back again to his implements of husbandry, we must attempt to find out some kinds of exercise as substitutes for them. The most healthy and long-lived people are found among the la­bouring part of mankind—Would the rich then enjoy health and long life, they must do that of choice which these people do of necessity. They must by exercise, subject themselves to a kind of voluntary labour.

AS this discourse is addressed chiefly to the rich and the luxurious, who are the most given to idleness, I shall confine myself to Exercise only; and, in order to handle the subject in the most extensive manner, I shall consider

  • II. THE PROPER TIME FOR USING IT; and then I shall conclude with an APPLICATION.

I. All Exercise may be divided into ACTIVE and PASSIVE.

ACTIVE EXERCISE includes walking—running—dancing —fencing—swimming, and the like.

[Page 30]PASSIVE EXERCISE includes sailing—riding in a carriage, and on horseback. The last of these is of a mixed nature, and is in some measure active as well as passive. We shall treat of each of them in order.


WALKING is the most gentle species of it we are acquaint­ed with. It promotes perspiration, and if not continued too long, invigorates and strengthens the system. As the most simple and wholesome drink, namely water, is within every body's reach, so this species of simple and wholesome exercise is in every body's power, who has the use of his limbs. It is to be lament­ed, that carriages are substituted too often in the room of it. In Pekin in China, we are told, that none but the Emperor, and a few of the first officers of state, are suffered to use chariots. Although the intention of this law was to suppress the num­ber of horses, in order to make room for the increase and support of the human species, in the number of which the riches of all countries consist, yet we find it attended with good effects otherwise; for the rich and the great, by being obliged to walk in common with the poor people, enjoy with them the common blessing of health, more than people of the same rank in other countries. To such as can bear it, I would recommend walking frequently up a hill. The inha­bitants of mountainous countries are generally healthy and long lived. This is commonly attributed to the purity of the air in such places. Although this has a chief share in it, yet I cannot help thinking, that the frequent and necessary exer­cise of climbing mountains, which these people are obliged to undergo, adds much to their health and lives. Every body knows how much walking up a hill tends to create an appe­tite. This depends upon its increasing the insensible perspi­ration—a secretion with which the appetite, and the state of the stomach in general, are much connected.

[Page 31]RUNNING is too violent to be used often, or continued for any length of time. The running footmen in all countries are short-lived—Few of them escape consumptions before they arrive at their thirty-fifth year.—Sweating and perspira­tion, according to Sanctorius, have been found to be incom­patible.—The former always suppresses the latter. Upon this account, I would recommend it to be used as seldom as possible.

DANCING is a most salutary exercise. Future ages will be surprised to hear, that rational creatures should, at any time, have looked upon it as a criminal amusement. To reason against it, from its abuse, concludes equally strong against the lawfulness of every thing we hold sacred and va­luable in life.—It was a part of the Jewish worship. By its mechanical effects on the body, it inspires the mind with cheerfulness, and this, when well founded, and properly re­strained, is another name for religion. It is common among the Indians, and the savage nations of all countries, upon public and festive occasions.—They have their war—their love—and their religious dances. The music, which always accompanies this exercise, hath a pleasing and salutary effect upon the body as well as the mind. It is addressed through the avenue of the ears to the brain, the common centre of life and motion, from whence its oscillations are communi­cated to every part of the system, imparting to each, that equable and uniform vigour and action, upon which the healthy state of all the functions depends. It would lead us to a long digression, or I might here mention many remark­able cures which have been performed, particularly of those disorders, which are much connected with the nervous system, by the magic power of music. Dancing should not be used more than once or twice a week. It should never be [Page 32] continued 'till weariness comes on, nor should we expose our­selves to the cold air too soon after at.

FENCING calls forth most of the muscles into exercise, particularly those which move the limbs. The brain is like­wise roused by it, through the avenue of the eyes, and its action, as in the case of music, is propagated to the whole system. It has long been a subject of complaint, that the human species has been degenerating for these several cen­turies. When we see the coats of mail of our ancestors, who fought under the Edwards and Henries of former ages, we wonder how they moved, much more how they atchieved such great exploits, beneath the weight of such massy cover­ings. We grant that rum—tobacco—tea—and some other luxuries of modern invention, have had a large share in weak­ning the stamina of our constitutions, and thus producing a more feeble race of men; yet we must attribute much of our great inferiority in strength, size and agility to our forefa­thers, to the disuse which the invention of gun-powder and fire arms hath introduced of those athletic exercises, which were so much practised in former ages, as a part of military discipline.

TOO much cannot be said in praise of SWIMMING, or as the poet of Avon expresses it—"buffeting the waves with lusty sinews." Besides exercising the limbs, it serves to wash away the dust, which is apt to mix itself with the sweat of our bodies in warm weather. Washing frequently in water, we find, was enjoined upon the Jews and Mahometans, as a part of their religious ceremonies. The Hollanders are clean­ly in their houses and streets, without remembering, or per­haps knowing, that cleanliness was absolutely necessary at first, to guard against the effects of those inundations of mire, [Page 33] to which their country is always exposed—so a Jew and a Mussulman contend for, and practise their ablutions, with­out remembering that they were instituted only to guard them against those cutanious diseases, to which the constant accu­mulation of sordes upon their skins in a warm climate, na­turally exposed them. For the same reason, I would strong­ly recommend the practice of bathing, and swimming, fre­quently in the summer season. But remember, you should not stay too long in the water at one time, least you lessen instead of increasing the vigour of the constitution.

TO all these species of exercise which we have mentioned, I would add, SKEATING, JUMPING, also, the active plays of TENNIS, BOWLES, QUOITS, GOLF *, and the like. The man­ner in which each of these operate, may be understood from what we said under the former particulars.

ACTIVE exercise includes, in the last place, TALKING— READING with an AUDIBLE VOICE—SINGING and LAUGHING. They all promote the circulation of the blood thro' the lungs, and tend to strengthen those important or­gans, when used in moderation. The last has the advantage over them all, inasmuch as the mind co-operates with it. May unfading laurels bloom to the latest ages upon the grave [Page 34] of him * who said, "That every time a man laughs, he adds something to his life."

I WOULD remark here, that all these species of exercise which we have described, should be varied according to age— sex—temperament—climate—and season. Young people stand in less need of exercise than old.—Women less than men. The natural vigour of their constitutions is such, that they suffer least from the want of it. This will explain the meaning, and show the propriety of an opinion of a modern Philosopher that "Women only should follow those mecha­nical arts which require a sedentary life." But again, a man who is phlegmatic, requires more frequent and violent exercise than he who is of a bilious constitution: And lastly, people in warm climates and seasons, require less than those who live in cold. As Providence, by supplying the inhabitants of warm climates with so many of the spontaneous fruits of the earth, seems to have intended they should labour less than the inha­bitants of cold climates, so we may infer from this, that less exercise, which is only a substitute for labour, is necessary for them. The heat of such climates is sufficient of itself to keep up a regular and due perspiration. We said in a former dis­course, that the longest lived people were to be found in warm climates, and we gave one conjecture into the cause of it. It may not be improper here to add another. The coldness of northern climates, from the vigour it gives to the constitution, prompts to all kinds of exercise, which are not always restrain­ed within proper bounds. These, when used to excess, wear out the body. Thus, blowing a fire, may cause it to burn the brighter, but it consumes it the sooner. The inhabitants of warm climates being less prompted to these things, their bo­dies continue longer unimpaired. I confine this observation, [Page 35] as in the former instance, to the improved parts of Asia and Africa only. The inhabitants of the West-Indian islands are so mixed, and partake so much of the European manners, that we cannot as yet include them in any general remarks which are made upon this subject.

I COME to speak of those exercises which are of a PASSIVE NATURE. These are proper chiefly for valetudinarians: But, as I intend these sermons should be of use to them as well as the healthy, I shall make a few remarks upon each of them.

THE life of a SAILOR is environed with so many dangers, that Heaven has in compensation for them connected with it an exemption from many diseases. In vain do the angry ele­ments assault him. His body, like some huge promontory, is proof against them all. Notwithstanding the dangers from shipwreck—fire—falling over board—and famine, to which sailors are exposed, I believe, that if we were to count an hundred sailors, and the same number of people on land, in a place that was ordinarily healthy, we should find more of the former alive at the end of ten years than the latter. The exercise of SAILING is constant. Every muscle is occasionally brought into exercise from the efforts we make to keep our­selves from falling. These efforts continue to be exerted by the oldest sailors, although the consciousness of the mind in these, as well as in many other actions we perform, is not ob­served from the influence of habit. By means of this regular and gentle exercise, the blood is moved in those small capil­laries, where it is most apt to stagnate, and perspiration is in­creased, which is carried off as fast as it is discharged from the body, by the constant change of atmosphere in a ship under sail. I say nothing here of the benefit of the sea air, it being en­tirely negative. Its virtue both at sea and on the sea-shore, [Page 36] consists in nothing but its being freed from those noxious ani­mal and vegetable effluvia, which abound in the air, which comes across land. From what has been said, you will no longer be surprised at the uncommon appetite which some peo­ple feel at sea. It is owing to the great and constant discharge of the aliment (after it has undergone its usual changes) by means of perspiration. I would recommend this species of exercise to consumptive people, especially to such as labour under a spitting of blood. Dr. Lind tells us *, "That out of 5741 sailors who were admitted into the naval hospital at Haslar, near Portsmouth, in two years, only 360 of them had consumptions, and in one fourth of these, (he says,) it was brought on by bruises or falls." In the same number of hospi­tal patients, in this or any other country, I am persuaded six times that number would have been consumptive—so much does the gentle exercise of sailing fortify the lungs against all accidents, and determine the quantity and force of the fluids towards the surface of the body.

RIDING IN A CHARIOT has but few advantages, inas­much as we are excluded from the benefit of fresh air; an article, upon which the success of all kinds of exercise in a great measure depends. It should be used only by such per­sons as are unable to walk or to ride on horseback. We can­not help lamenting here, that those people use this mode of exercise the most, who stand in the greatest need of a more violent species of it.

RIDING ON HORSEBACK is the most manly and useful species of exercise for gentlemen. Bishop Burnet expresses his surprize at the lawyers of his own time, being so much more long-lived ( [...]eteris paribus) than other people, consider­ing [Page 37] how much those of them who become eminent in their profession, are obliged to devote themselves to constant and intense study. He attributes it entirely to their RIDING the circuits so frequently, to attend the different courts in every part of the kingdom. This no doubt has a chief share in it: But we shall hereafter mention another cause which concurs with this, to protract their lives. It may be varied according to our strength, or the nature of our disorder, by walking— pacing—trotting—or cantering our horse. All those dis­eases which are attended with a weakness of the nerves, such as the hysteric and hypochondriac disorders, which show them­selves in a weakness of the stomach and bowels—indigestion —low spirits, &c. require this exercise. It should be used with caution in the consumption, as it is generally too violent, except in the early stage of that disorder. In riding, to pre­serve health, eight or ten miles a day are sufficient to answer all the purposes we would wish for. But in riding, to restore health, these little excursions will avail nothing. The mind as well as the body must be roused from its languor. In taking an airing, as it is called, we ride over the same ground for the most part every day. We see no new objects to divert us, and the very consideration of our riding for health sinks our spirits so much, that we receive more harm than good from it. Upon this account I would recommend long journies to such people, in order, by the variety or novelty of the journey to awaken and divert the mind. Many people have by these means been sur­prised into health. Persons who labour under hysteric or epileptic disorders, should be sent to cold; those who labour under hypochondriac or consumptive complaints should visit warm climates.

BEFORE I finish this head of our discourse, I shall add a few words concerning the exercise of the faculties of the soul. [Page 38] The mind and body have a reciprocal action upon each other. Are our passions inflamed with desire or aversion? Or does our reason trace out relations in those things which are the ob­jects of our understanding?—The body we find is brought in­to sympathy. The pulse and the circulation of the blood are immediately quickened. Perspiration and the other secretions are promoted, and the body is sensibly invigorated afterwards. The body partakes therefore of the torpor which the mind contracts by its neglecting to exercise its faculties. He must be but little acquainted with biography, who has not remarked, that such as have distinguished themselves in the literary world, have generally been long-lived. ADDISON, SWIFT, LOCKE, NEWTON, FRANKLIN, with many others whom we might mention, all found a retreat in the evening of their lives un­der the shade of laurels which they had planted in their youth. Perhaps in most cases, they might promise them­selves an exemption from diseases, and a death from mere old age, could they be persuaded to relinquish their midnight lamp before the oil which feeds it was consumed. Great care should be taken, however, to avoid too great application of the mind to study. The most powerful medicines in nature are the most certain poisons. Many promising geniuses have sacrificed themselves, before they arrived at the altar in the Temple of Fame. Such as are in danger of suffering from this cause, will do well in consulting the ingenious and humane Dr. Tissot's excellent treatise upon the diseases of literary peo­ple. The PASSIONS as well as our reason, should always be exercised as much as possible. We shall walk—run—dance—swim—fence—sail—and ride to little purpose, unless we make choice of an agreeable friend to accompany us. Soli­tude is the bane of man; insomuch, that it is difficult to tell which suffers most, the soul in its qualities, or the body in its temperament, from being alone. Too great a concourse of [Page 39] people breeds diseases. Too much company is destructive to cheerfulness. For the sake of both mind and body, there­fore, we should move in a little circle, and let heaven circum­scribe it for us. Let our wives and children be always around us, or if we are not blessed with these, let a few cheerful friends be our constant companions. It is remarked, that more single people die among those who are come to man­hood than married, and all physicians agree, that single men and women, compose by far the greatest number of their chronic patients among adults. Some men may talk against the cares of a family. They are unavoidable, it is true, but they are necessary. Stagnating waters are never sweet. Thus, these little cares, by keeping the tenderer passions always agitated, prevent that uniformity in life, which is so foreign and disagreeable both to the body and mind. After all, I believe, I shall have the suffrages of most of my hearers, when I add, that they are at least balanced by the sweets of domestic friendship.

WE come now to the next head of our discourse, namely,

II. To enquire into the proper TIME for EXERCISE— Sanctorius informs us *, that "exercise, from the seventh to the eleventh hour after eating, wastes more insensibly in one hour, than in three at any other time." If this be true, then (supposing you sup at eight o'clock in the evening) that exercise which is used from five 'till seven o'clock in the morning, will promote the greatest discharge in a given time, by insensible per­spiration. Such as make dinner their principal meal, are ex­cluded from the benefit of this aphorism; as the interval, be­tween the seventh and the eleventh hour, with them (sup­posing they dine at two o'clock in the afternoon) is from nine [Page 40] in the evening 'till one o'clock in the morning—a time, in which darkness, and the unwholesome night air, forbid walk­ing—riding—and almost every other species of manly exer­cise we have described.

I KNOW it will be objected here, that we often see labour­ers return, after a full meal, to their work, without feeling any inconvenience from it. This is like the argument of those who recommend raw flesh to the human species, because the strongest and fiercest animals in nature eat it. It is because they are so fierce and so strong, that they are able to digest raw flesh. In like manner it is, because these men are na­turally so strong, that labour immediately after eating does not hurt them*. But let me ask, whether you have not ob­served such people leave their tables with reluctance—How slowly do they return,—and how many excuses do they form to loiter away a little time, before they renew their work.

BUT further—there is another reason why I would re­commend this practice of eating the chief meal in the even­ing, which is indeed a little foreign to our present subject.— In a country like this, where the constant labour of every in­dividual is so very necessary, the general use of this custom would add several hours to every day, and thus have the most beneficial effects upon the agriculture—commerce—and ma­nufactures of the country, exclusive of its influence upon the health of the inhabitants.

AFTER what has been said, I need hardly add, that exer­cise should never be used with a full stomach. Persons who exercise either to preserve, or restore health immediately after eating a hearty meal, resemble the man "who fled from a [Page 41] lion, and a bear met him, and who went into the house, and leaned his hand upon the wall, and a serpent bit him."

I COME now to the APPLICATION of this discourse.

I HAVE endeavoured in every part of it, to lay before you the most powerful arguments, to excite you to exercise, and have addressed them chiefly to that main spring of human actions—SELF PRESERVATION. I have taught you the true art of alchymy, and furnished you with the genuine Philo­sopher's stone, but with this difference from that which has been sought for, by the deluded pretenders to philosophy in all ages, that instead of converting, like Midas, every thing you touch into gold—every thing which touches you shall—not convert you into gold—but impart HEALTH to you—com­pared with which, even the gold of Ophir loses its weight. In a word—I have showed you an harbour where I have anchored safely for many years; for, from my youth upwards, I have followed the mode of living I have recommended to you, as far as my connections or intercourse with the world would ad­mit; and although I received from nature a weakly con­stitution, yet—I speak it with a grateful heart!—few men enjoy better health—none better spirits than myself; and was I now about to leave the world, surrounded with a family of children, I would charge them, among the most important lessons I should give them, to bind these things as a "a sign upon their hands, or as frontlets between their eyes"—to think of them "when they sat in their houses, and when they walked by the way—when they lay down, and when they rose up—that their days might be multiplied; and that the days of their children, might be as the days of Heaven upon the earth."

[Page 42]I SHALL conclude this discourse with a story, which, I hope, will not be looked upon as foreign to what has been delivered upon this subject.

IN the island of Ceylon, in the Indian ocean, a number of invalids were assembled together, who were afflicted with most of the chronic diseases, to which the human body is sub­ject. In the midst of them sat several venerable figures, who amused them with encomiums upon some medicines, which they assured them would afford infallible relief in all cases. One boasted of an elixir—another of a powder, brought from America—a third, of a medicine, invented and prepared in Germany—all of which they said were certain antidotes to the gout—a fourth, cried up a nostrum for the vapours— a fifth, drops for the gravel—a sixth, a balsam, prepared from honey, as a sovereign remedy for a consumption—a seventh, a pill for cutanious eruptions—while an eighth cried down the whole, and extolled a mineral water, which lay a few miles from the place where they were assembled. The credulous multitude partook eagerly of these medicines, but without any relief of their respective complaints. Several of those who made use of the German preparation; were hurried sud­denly out of the world. Some said their medicines were adulterated—others that the Doctors had mistaken their dis­orders—while most of them agreed that they were much worse than ever. While they were all, with one accord, giving vent in this manner, to the transports of disappoint­ment and vexation, a clap of thunder was heard over their heads. Upon looking up, a light was seen in the sky.—In the midst of this appeared the figure of something more than human—she was tall and comely—her skin was fair as the driven snow—a rosy hue tinged her checks—her hair hung loose upon her shoulders—her slowing robes disclosed a shape [Page 43] which would have cast a shade upon the statue of Venus of Medicis.—In her right hand she held a bough of an EVER­GREEN—in her left hand she had a scroll of parchment—she descended slowly, and stood erect upon the earth—she fixed her eyes, which sparkled with life, upon the deluded and afflicted company—there was a mixture of pity and indig­nation in her countenance—she stretched forth her right arm, and with a voice which was sweeter than melody itself, she addressed them in the following language: ‘Ye children of men, listen for a while to the voice of instruction. Ye seek health where it is not to be found. The boasted specifics you have been using, have no virtues. Even the persons who gave them, labour under many of the disor­ders they attempt to cure. My name is HYGIAEA. I pre­side over the health of mankind. Descard all your me­dicines, and seek relief from Temperance and EXERCISE alone. Every thing you see is active around you. All the brute animals in nature are active in their instinctive pur­suits. Inanimate nature is active too—air—fire—and water are always in motion. Unless this were the case, they would soon be unfit for the purposes they were designed, to serve in the oeconomy of nature. Shun sloth. This unhinges all the springs of life—fly from your diseases—they will not— they cannot pursue you.’ Here she ended—she dropped the parchment upon the earth—a cloud received her, and she immediately ascended, and disappeared from their sight—a silence ensued—more expressive of approbation, than the loud­est peals of applause. One of them approached with reve­rence to the spot where she stood—took up the scroll, and read the contents of it to his companions. It contained di­rections to each of them, what they should do to restore their health. They all prepared themselves to obey the advice of the heavenly vision. The gouty man broke his vial of elixir, [Page 44] threw his powders into the fire, and walked four or five miles every day before breakfast. The man afflicted with the gra­vel threw aside his drops, and began to work in his garden, or to play two or three hours every day at bowles. The hi­pochondriac and hysteric patients discharged their boxes of as­safoetida, and took a journey on horseback, to distant and op­posite ends of the island. The melancholic threw aside his gloomy systems of philosophy, and sent for a dancing master. The studious man shut up his folios, and sought amusement from the sports of children. The leper threw away his mer­curial pills, and swam every day in a neighbouring river. The consumptive man threw his balsam out of his window, and took a voyage to a distant country. After some months, they all returned to the place they were wont to assemble in. Joy appeared in each of their countenances. One had renewed his youth—another had recovered the use of his limbs—a third, who had been half bent for many years, now walked upright—a fourth began to sing some jovial song, without be­ing asked—a fifth could talk for hours together, without be­ing interrupted with a cough—in a word, they all enjoyed now a complete recovery of their health. They joined in offering sacrifices to Hygiaea. Temples were erected to her memory; and she continues, to this day, to be worshipped by all the inhabitants of that island.


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