Page images


uptuou Diogenes.seast, he

his frien

TEMPERANCE has been called the best physic. It is certainly conducive to health, and not only so, but to cheerfulness likewise. As in. temperance clogs the body, wastes the property, and stupifies the mind, so temperance is fruitful of a variety of blessings and comforts unknown to the voluptuous.

It is said of Diogenes, that, meeting a young man who was going to a feast, he took him up in the street, and carried him home to his friends, as one who was running into imminent danger, had he not prevented him.

" What would that philospher have said, had he been present (says Addison) at the gluttony of a modern meal?'Would not he have thought the master of a family mad, and have begged his servants to have tied down his hands, had he seen him devour fowl, fish, and flesh; swallow oil and vinegar, wine and spices; throw down sallads of twenty different herbs, sauces of an hundred in. gredients, confections and fruits of numberless sweets and flavours ? What counter-ferments must such a medly of intemperance produce in the body! For my part, when I behold a fashion. able table set out in all its magnificence, I fancy that I see gouts and dropsies, fevers and lethargies, with other innumerable distempers, lying in ambuscade among the dishes.”

Lewis Cornaro, a Venitian of noble extraction, was memorable for having lived healthful and active to above 100 years of age, by a rigid course of temperance. In his youth he was of a weak constitution, and, by irregular indulgence, redu.

able table set my part, when I bebe, produce in

ced himself, at about forty years of age, to the brink of the grave, under a complication of disorders; at which extremity he was told, that he had no other chance of his life, but by becoming sober and temperate. Being wise enough to adopt this wholesome counsel, he reduced himself to a regimen of which there are very few examples. He allowed himself no more than twelve ounces of food, and fourteen ounces of liquor each day, which became so habitual to him, that, when he was about seventy years old, the experiment of adding two ounces to each, by the advice of his friends, had like to have proved fatal to him. At eighty-three he wrote a treatise, which has been translated into English, and often printed, intitled, " Sure and certain Methods of attaining a long and healthful Life ;” in which he relates his own story, and extols temperance to a degree of enthusiasm. At length, the yolk of an egg became sufficient for a meal, and sometimes for two, until he died, with much ease and composure.

"A knight of my acquaintance,” says Dr. Cotton Mather, “ visiting the famous Dr. Lower in his last sickness, asked him for the best advice he could give him, how to preserve his health and prolong his life ?" The doctor only answered him, . Do not eat too much.' After some other discourse, the knight, not imagining that the doctor had thoroughly answered his enquiry, repeated it. The doctor thereupon only repeated his answer, ! Why, did I not tell you, do not eat too much ?' and farther said not.”

Sir Theodore Mayem, on his death-bed, gave this advice to a noble friend that asked his counsel for the preservation of health :-"Be moderate in

The doctor

y answered his enag that the docto

your diet, use much exercise, and little physiq.”

Sully, the great statesman of France, kept up, always, at the table of Villebon, the frugality to which he had been accustomed in early life in the army. His table consisted of a few dishes, dressed in the plainest and most simple manner. The courtiers reproached him often with the simplicity of his table. He used to reply, in the words of an ancient, “If the guests are men of sense, there is sufficient for them ; if they are not, I can very well dispense with their company."


It is of the utmost consequence that we improve our time. “ Never,” says one, delay till to-morrow, what reason and conscience tell you ought to be performed to-day. To morrow is not your's, and, though you should live to enjoy it, you must not overload it with a burden not its own.” “ God (says another,) who is liberal and generous in all other gifts, teaches us, by the wise oeconomy of his Providence, how circumspect we ought to be in the right management of our time ; for he never gives us two moments together; he gives us only the second as he takes away the first, and keeps the third in his hands, leaving us in an absolute uncertainty whether he will give it us or not.”

Grotius used to take for his motto : " Hora ruit,” to put himself in continual remembrance, that he should usefully employ that time which was flying away with extreme rapidity ; and yet, so great a sense had he of the non-improvement


toputused to take

of it, that, with all his learning, when he came to die, he exclaimed, “ I have wasted my life in incessant toil, and have done 'nothing:”

Dr. Cotton Mather was so careful to redeem his time, that, to prevent the tediousness of visits, he wrote over his study door in capital letters_“ BE SHORT.

Mr. Henry Jessey, a non-conformist minister, had the following motto put over his study door :

Amice quisquis huc ades
Aut agito paucis, aut abi
Aut me laborantem adjuva.
“Whatever friend comes hither,
Dispatch in brief, or go,
Or help me busied too."

H. I. Titus, the Roman Emperor, throughout the course of his whole life, called himself to an account every night for the actions of the past day; and, as often as he found he had slipped any one day without doing good, he entered upon his diary this inemorial, “ Perdidi dicm ;" I have lost a day. Thus may every man say, who suffers a day to pass without doing something for God, for his soul, or for his fellow creatures.

“ Take care of the pence, for the pounds will take care of themselves," was a very just and sensible reflection of old Mr. Loundes, the famous Secretary of the Treasury under William III. Anne, and George I. “ I therefore recommend to you," says an author, “ to take care of minutes, for hours will take care of themselves. Be doing something or other all day long, and not neglect half hours and quarters of hours, which, at the year's end, amount to a great sum.”

“ An Italian philosopher,” says Dr. Johnson, expressed in his motto, that time was his estate ;


an estate, indeed, which will produce nothing without cultivation, but will always abundantly repay the labours of industry, and satisfy the most extensive desires, if no part of it be suffered to be Wasted by negligence, to be overrun with noxious plants, or laid out for shew, rather than for use.”

VANITY OF THE WORLD. 6 THERE are few people in the world,” says Saurin, who do not form in their minds agreeable plans of happiness, made up of future flattering prospects, which have no foundation except in their own fancies. The disposition of mind, which is so general among mankind, is also one of the principal causes of their immoderate desire to live, Some have questioned whether any mortal were ever so happy as to choose to live his life over again, on condition of passing through all the events through which he had gone from his birth to his last hour. Without investigating this pro. blem, I venture to affirm, that mankind would be much less attached to the world, if they did not flatter themselves with the hope of enjoying more pleasure than they had hitherto experienced. A child fancies, that as soon as he arrives at a certain stature, he shall enjoy more pleasure than he hath enjoyed in his childhood ; and this is par. donable in a child. The youth persuades himself that men, who are what they call settled in the world, are incomparably more happy than young people can be at his age. While we think our. selves condemned to live single, solitude seems intolerable; and when we have associated our

« EelmineJätka »