« PreviousContinue »
PRESERVATION OF HEALTII.
Be not among wine bibbers ; among riotous eaters of flesh. -Proverbs, xxiii. 20.
Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.–Romans, xiii. 13.
PRESERVATION OF HEALTH.
HEALTH is the condition of the body, when every organ or part of it is sound, and performs without difficulty the functions or duties assigned to it. If the stomach and bowels have all their natural strength, and act properly upon the food ; if the heart and its vessels are in good order, and circulate the blood rightly; if the lungs be entire, and permit the blood to receive its due supply of air; if the brain be sound, so as duly to perform all the mental functions; and if the skin be fit to carry off the perspiration ; the chief conditions of health are observed: wethen experience no disagreeable or painful sensations, and are able to attend to all our appointed duties. To be in this state, is to enjoy one of the greatest of blessings : to be otherwise, is felt as a severe misfortune. It has been provided by our beneficent Creator, that all the organs or parts of our frames, if we only take care not to injure them, should continue in their original soundness, and that we should consequently be healthy. But if we do not take care to keep them sound, it is impossible that we can be healthy. For instance, taking habitually too much food, or food of an injurious kind, is sure to hurt the stomach; too much thought and care injures the brain, and also the heart and its vessels; a draught of cold air upon the skin when warm, closes up its pores, so that it is no longer able to carry off the perspiration; each organ is liable to be thus hurt, or deranged in its function, by some erronecus course of conduct, or some accident that may befall, and the consequence is DISEASE, which, in its worst forms, often occasions death. In order, then, to preserve health, it is clear that we must follow certain rules—we must observe
the laws of health. It is one of the highest duties which we owe to ourselves, to study to act in such a way that we may possess all our native strength and health.
Some people inherit diseases from their parents. There are also diseases which spread by infection or contagion; that is to say, the air carries them, or they are imparted from one person to another by touch: these diseases consequently seize many persons who had no concern in originating them. Nevertheless, in such cases, as in all others, the malady can be traced to human error, however innocent particular victims
may be. The parents, grandparents, or some other ancestors, must have contracted, by imprudence, the diseases which they sent down to their children. Infectious and contagious diseases invariably take their rise from people dwelling in unhealthy places, as marshes, or the close and filthy parts of large cities, or from their not using healthy and sufficient food, or from not keeping themselves and their houses clean.
It thus appears that, for the sake of our fellow-creatures, as well as for ourselves, it is our duty to use all proper means for preserving health.
The chief things required for preserving an originally sound man in health are these :- -The place where he lives must be dry. His house must be clean, and fresh air must be allowed to circulate through it by night as well as by day. He must frequently wash the whole surface of his body. He must take, each day, not less than twenty-four ounces of solid food, whereof three or four ounces at least should be animal food. He must avoid too great a sameness in his food, and also too great a variety at one meal. He must avoid indulgence in spirituous and fermented liquors. He must spend an hour at least, and as much more of his time as possible, every day, in the open air. He must have some occupation to give him bodily and mental exercise, and which may engage his attention eight or ten hours every day. If so employed, he must spend some part of the leisure time of every day in cheerful amusement. He must never sit for a single minute in damp clothes, or in a room where a cold draught of wind is passing. He must sleep from sis to eight hours of the twenty-four. He must be
careful to avoid great anxiety of mind, and endeavour to sustain his fortitude against the sorrow which arises from misfortune. If all men were to live in accordance with these rules, disease would in time be little known on earth, and human happiness would be increased to a degree of which we cannot now form
THE DAMP HOUSE.
A lady, who knew the rules by which health is preserved, went to visit a sister in one of the eastern counties of England. This sister was a well-meaning, but comparatively ignorant, woman. She resided with her family in a house placed close beside a fen, and so low that the kitchen floor in winter was often an inch deep in water. When her visitor inquired into the health of the family, she said, “ We have been very unlucky somehow in this house. Since ever we came to it, we have never been able to dismiss the doctor. My husband has been struck with severe rheumatism, which threatens to deprive him altogether of the use of his limbs. I am seldom free from colds myself, and the young people have sore throats every winter. Besides, we all had an attack of fever last October, when, as you know, we lost two of our boys, besides one of the servants. I can't tell how we should be so unfortunate here."
“ My dear,” said the visitor, “you are not unfortunate; you are only imprudent. Your family distresses are all owing to your living in a damp house near a pestilential marsh. It can never be otherwise while you live here."
“Do you really think so ?" rejoined her sister. if I thought that, I would remove to-morrow. But evils will come upon us wherever we are, and perhaps in flying from what we have we might encounter worse.'
“ There is no doubt,” said the lady, “ that we are liable every
where to evils; but still it is our duty, when we see any particular calamity threatening us, to avoid it. By doing so, we are not necessarily to be more liable to other evils. God has appointed certain laws to govern the world, and laws for preserving health among
the rest. It seems to me that you are breaking some of these laws by
living here, and that your family distresses are only the natural consequence
your error. Finally, with much entreaty, she succeeded in getting her sister's family removed to another part of the country, where the husband recovered from his rheumatism, and the mother and children have for several years been in the enjoyment of excellent health.
FIRST STEP TO THE CURE OF A DYSPEPTIC PATIENT.
At one of the English watering-places, there is a physician who has acquired a great name for curing dyspepsia, or derangement of the digestive organs, though he does scarcely any thing for his patients but cause them to eat and drink moderately, and take a little out-of-door exercise. A heavy, middle-aged man came to him one day, complaining that he was grievously out of order. The doctor soon learned that he was one of those numberless people, who, having great wealth, perform all their movements in a carriage, and never deny themselves any luxury for which they have a desire. He asked his patient to accompany him in a drive a few miles from town; to which the other consented. When the doctor had got about five miles into the country, he dropped his whip, and requested his patient to step out and pick it up for him. As soon as the gentleman was out of the carriage, the doctor wheeled about, and set out on his
way back to town, first looking over his shoulder and laughingly telling the patient to find his way back on foot, by which means he would probably have a good appetite for dinner. This was the first step to a complete cure of the complaint.
A gentleman in similar circumstances applying for advice to an eminent but eccentric surgeon in London, the only reply he obtained was—“ Live upon sixpence a day, and earn it." Though oddly spoken, this was unquestionably the very thing he ought to have done.
THE YOUNG MAN WHO CAUGHT COLD.
A young man, newly entered into business, caught cold one evening in going home from the theatre. If he had
THE YOUNG MAN WHO CAUGHT COLD.
lain in bed next day, and taken a little medicine, the ailment would probably have left him; but, being anxious to attend to his business, which needed his utmost care, he could not submit to even one day's confinement. He went to his desk, and that evening, as might be expected, was a little worse. Being of a sanguine disposition, and resolute to perform his duty, he still persisted in going out; the consequence of which was, that his throat became more inflamed, though, feeling no great pain, he did not conceive that he was in any danger. He even took a journey on the top of a coach by night, in order to dispatch some piece of business about which he was anxious. His voice then sank to a whisper ; yet he still attended his mercantile duties. At length, a medical man who chanced to be in his warehouse one day, observing his condition, told him that he was risking his life by being out of bed, and recommended him immediately to go home and call in his ordinary surgeon.
The young man complied with reluctance. Every effort was made to cure him, but in vain. The top of his windpipe, and the tubes leading down into the lungs, had become ulcerated beyond cure; and he died in the course of a few weeks, lamented by all his family and friends. Thus was a young man of amiable character and full of promise cut off, in the beginning of his days, in consequence only of a slight imprudence.
Oh blessed health! thou art above all gold and treasure. 'Tis thou that enlargest the soul, and openest all its powers to receive instruction, and to relish virtue. He that has thee has little more to wish for; and he that is so wretched as to want thee, wants every thing with thee !-STERNE. The common ingredients of health and long life are
Great temperance, open air,