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of the body should be cultivated, because of its relation to that body which shall never die.
This duty might be still further enforced, by following the anatomist, in his developement of the internal structure, or by tracing, with the inoral philosopher, the more minute influences of matter upon mind. It might also be urged, in obedience to Him whose command is, “Be ye holy, as I am holy.” Or it might be exhibited, as appealing to that principle of our nature which prompts to selfgratification, by illustrating the personal benefits and blessings which would result from a performance of the duty. But enough has been said, to show that the cultivation of the body is a duty, and a great one, which cannot be omitted, without a loss of present and future happiness.
I proceed, therefore, to the investigation of the principles on which this culture is to be performed. In doing this, I wish not to lay aside the volume of inspired instruction, which I apprehend recognizes each part of the whole duty of man. There is nothing, which can be justly styled a duty, that the conscientious inquirer may not find discussed, or on broad principles provided for, in the word of God. The Bible is not, indeed, a system of physical education ; but it establishes holy principles, on which that education should be founded. Nor is it possible to direct the energies of the body to their legitimate objects, or bring its powers into full or perfect action, without an application of the principles which it inculcates.
In establishing the laws which govern the constitution of man, the Almighty has been pleased to unite ultimate happiness with present obedience. So perfect is this union of cause and effect, that even that which is decreed as the penalty of an evil nature, becomes not only berest of its poignancy, but the source of great enjoyment, when it meets with implicit compliance with divine commands. The threatened evil is averted, and love is substituted, when faith, leaning on God, is fruitful in holy obedience. It is as if “ the Lord made bare his arm," and stretched it forth in anger from the skies; but when the confiding subject approached in faith, he sees not the hand of just resentment, but reads Mercy written on the extended palm.
This tempered goodness reaches as well to the body, as to the mind. In this way, that first principle which meets us, as established by God in human culture, viz. that man
shall labor for his subsistence, becomes subservient, when regulated by religious feeling, to the health and happiness of the species.
This principle of labor must be more fully noticed, as it is one of the most important in physical culture. In pronouncing sentence upon man, at his first dereliction, the Lord added to that of certain dissolution, the affecting penalty in this life, that “ by the sweat of his brow, he should eat of the fruit of the ground.” This is the foundation of human labor ; and hence springs the imperative necessity of exercise, as part of the very constitution of inan. It was consequently incorporated into the system of duties enjoined by God upon his peculiar people, and at last established by law upon the mountain, « Six days shalt thou labor." 6. The law was” thus “ given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” This grace and truth it is, which takes off the grievous burden of the law, by laying it at the feet of him who has said, “ Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Religion not only makes the burden of labor tolerable, but so sweetens its endurance, that it becomes the source of great and permanent enjoyment. The importance of exercise, or labor, for the acquisition of health, or the attainment of happiness, is so universally acknowledged, that I need not stop to show the truth of the proposition, or the extent of its utility ; but proceed to illustrate the general mode and nature of its correct application.
One of the prominent laws of the animal economy is this ; that the strength of an organ is increased by use. This is true of each separate system of the whole frame. The eye for instance, which, in early life, has not been faithfully applied by a healthy use, will lose its power, and prematurely decay. This result of disuse is in the function of the organ; but its effect is also apparent in the developement of its structure. A sightless eye in infancy, will not attain the size of the adult organ. But this law, which operates on all the other systems, is particularly applicable to the locomotive apparatus. It is here that it operates in all its force. Even the different parts of this system are strengthened, just as they are called into action. This is familiarly noticed in the strong muscles of the smith's arm, or in the untiring strength of the pedestrian's limbs, or in the whole frame of the sturdy farmer. The mighty results which are effected, by those
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trained by long and constant use, seem almost incredible to those who do not know to what extent this law operates in man. The strength and swiftness of the athletæ, and the prodigious feats at the gymnasium, are all the products of this law. Under its influence, the human frame may be prepared to endure and to accomplish more than the strongest and hardiest quadruped. Even the horse cannot continue his effort so long, or effect so great an amount of labor, as a man.
Thus exercise seems to be interwoven with the very nature and constitution of man. To disobey the law which lays it on him by imperative necessity, is to ensure the inevitable train of evils which indolence induces; while to yield to its necessity, is to gain not only facility of action in the locomotive organs, and a healthy circulation of the vital fluid, but an increase of nervous energy, with accumulated mental vigor. As the father of physic has long since observed, “it gives strength to the body, and vigor to the mind ; and it is an irrefragable truth, that where it is improperly neglected, the energy and strength of the whole machine falls to decay."
From the structure and from the constitution of man, this duty may be clearly drawn; and from the word of God it is enjoined, as one which cannot be violated with impunity, and shall be rewarded when fulfilled. But to what extent shall it be carried, as a duty ? How far is the cultivation of the locomotive powers to be extended, in conformity with the rest of the nature of man, and the cultivation of his other qualities ? Shall this be the single object of pursuit ; and shall immortal man devote to the culture of his body his exclusive, or even chief attention ?
The relation which the body holds to the mind tempers the duty of physical culture, and prescribes its limit. Man has a mind to cultivate for God, as well as a body to bring into subjection to hin, and this mind requires for its improvement no small portion of the time allotted to human life. The Bible is full of the precept to seek after knowledge, and pursue understanding; and God has affixed the seal of his approbation to the acquirement of wisdom, by giving the son of David a rich measure of understanding, in answer to his prayer. How then are these principles, apparently opposite, to be reconciled ? By making the first pace of men tillers of the ground, God seems to require the
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complete fulfillment of the penalty of the fall; and by giving man a capacity for exploring knowledge, which is deeply hid, he appears to demand a life of study for its attainment. God has reconciled this apparent diversity of works, by the system of his providence. He has permitted different orders of society, and he has kindly allowed these different principles to admit of such modification as to apply without interference to every class. But although the law which requires labor, and the command which urges the pursuit of knowledge, may be modified by all, it may be broken with impunity by none. Each class, while it pursues primarily its peculiar object, must yield to the law of necessity and to duty, in the pursuit of other attainments. These may by each be done, but others must not be left undone. Let, then, every accountable subject of the moral Governor, while he cultivates the exalted mind, not neglect the frame in which it tabernacles; or while he tasks the body in the developement of its powers, let him not forget that he owes to the mind a full share of attention and of care.
They that till the earth, must not forget that they have immortal minds to be improved for God, and immortal spirits to be devoted to his service. And they that pursue knowledge with insatiable avidity, must remember that the injunction has gone forth to live by labor. The scholar must sometimes follow the plough ad sudorem, and the farmer pursue study ad sapientiam.
From the state of action, we pass to another principle of the economy, not less imperious, although not imposed as a burden, but mercifully bestowed, in mitigation of that penalty. We shall consider now the physical necessity of sleep, and the moral laws which should govern this state of rest.
On the fourth day of his work, the Creator of the universe divided the day from the night, by making the sun to rule the day, and the moon to govern the night. In this division of time, he seems to have had reference to the future preservation of man; for, in the construction of his frame, he has affixed a law, that when the system becomes exhausted by exercise, it must be recruited by rest. Now man is prompted to action, so long as the nervous energy is stimulated through the senses. But at night, the natural excitements are removed—the eye is no longer roused by the contemplation of external objects—nor the ear assailed by sound-the feeling will not be excited to sensation, when
the locomotive organs do not transport the body to the contact of external objects, or these objects are conveyed to the touch. For the want therefore of these stimuli, the body s'nks into repose after its fatigue from labor. And the night is kindly bestowed for the preservation and comfort of man.
The beneficial influence of sleep may be briefly summed up in these general effects upon the body and mind.
“By sleep the vital energy is renewed, which had been exhausted by former exertions."
“ The process of assimilation or nourishment goes on more perfectly."
“ The frame attains its proper growth.”
6 Much acrid matter is expelled through the medium of perspiration.”
“The cure of disease and restoration of health are in many cases promoted.”
“ The vigor of the mental faculties is renewed.”
“ The extension of life is advanced, and an important addition is made to its pleasures."*
Such are the effects which experience shows to be the kind result of sleep. Indeed, so indispensable is the necessity of sleep to the human frame, that the body could not endure its loss, in most cases, beyond a few days, and in any case could not suffer its deprivation beyond a few weeks, and the mind, without its restoring qualities, would soon break away from the subjection of reason, and leave the victim of watchfulness an exhausted maniac. Sleep is then, the chief nourisher of life's feast.” But it is not a cup of pleasure which may be taken without limit. It is very closely connected with the moral man. Its very state is a full illustration of the truth of this position. Consider the sensible phenomena of sleep. See that active, restless, and intelligent being, endowed with capacities, both corporeal and mental, capable of producing vast results. With his mind he grasps the laws of science, and sets in action the springs of art. He contemplates divinity, and can even be made so far to understand the spiritual world, as to enter a new and entire spiritual life and kingdom. With his locomotive powers, he goes from place to place in search of knowledge, or in the performance of duty. See him in his state of watchfulness, capable of loving and serving his Creator.
* Sir John Sinclair.