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To maintain health and strength, every person, whether old or young, requires a certain amount of food, some a little more than others. There is, with every one, a certain quantity which may be called enough, according as he is a strong and healthy, or a slender and weakly person; and no one can take more than this enough, without hurtful consequences. It is also necessary that no one should take too large a proportion of animal food, or of very finely dressed and spiced food, for all such excesses occasion bodily ailments, and, if much persisted in, permanently injure health.
One who eats much more than he ought to do, is called a glutton: one who is fond of fine food, is called an epicure. When any one thus seeks more enjoyment from his food than prudence would justify, he greatly lowers himself in the
eyes of all who think and act rightly. We should take a pleasure in our food, and eat it in moderation, with cheerfulness and gratitude; but to think much about it, and to take great pains about its preparation, or to make eating the chief source of our happiness, is shameful in the highest degree. There is scarcely any vice so much despised as that of gluttony. Its objects are low and gross, and he who delights in it must needs become despicable.
If it is bad to eat too much or too nicely, we may err still more in drinking. Man has invented various liquors, as wine, brandy, whisky, gin, and ale, of which no one can take a large quantity without great hurt to himself, and which, even in the most moderate quantities, are not perhaps to be taken without some degree of injury. In all of these fluids there is a quality called spirit, or alcohol, which has the effect, when a large quantity is taken, of exciting and intoxicating us, so that we lose our reason, and become fit to act like madmen. Under the influence of this spirit, men do the most outrageous actions, not excepting murder; and even when they take only a little, their talk is apt to become foolish, and they often say what they afterwards
THE TWO BEES: A FABLE.
bitterly repent of. All young persons should be greatly on their guard against tasting spirituous liquors, for taking a little leads to taking more, and that to taking so much, that ultimately a bad habit is acquired. Any one who is much given to drinking these liquors, is called a drunkard, or a sot. Such a man, supposing that he avoids committing any very wicked action in his drunken moments, nevertheless is almost sure to suffer from his intemperance. He cannot work so steadily, or to such good purpose, as a sober
No one can depend upon his executing any duties he undertakes. He therefore ceases to be employed, and
of the liquor he drinks adds to his poverty. His family, reduced to misery by his bad habit, cannot love or honour him. His home becomes a scene of wretchedness, and disease and penury cut short
THE TWO BEES: A FABLE.
One fine morning in May, two bees set forward in quest of honey; the one wise and temperate, the other careless and extravagant. They soon arrived at a garden enriched with aromatic herbs, the most fragrant flowers, and the most delicious fruits. They regaled themselves for a time on the various dainties set before them; the one loading his thighs at intervals with wax for the construction of his hive; the other revelling in sweets, without regard to any thing but his present gratification.
At length they found a wide-mouthed vial, that hung beneath the bough of a peach-tree, filled with honey. The thoughtless epicure, in spite of all his friend's remonstrances, plunged headlong into the vessel, resolving to indulge himself in all the pleasures of sensuality. The philosopher, on the other hand, sipped with caution, but, being suspicious of danger, flew off to fruits and flowers; where, by the moderation of his meals, he improved his relish for the true enjoyment of them.
In the evening, however, he called for his friend, to inquire whether he would return to the hive, but found him surfeited in sweets, which he was as unable to leave as to enjoy. Clogged in his wings, enfeebled in his feet, and his whole frame totally enervated, he was but just able to bid his friend adieu, and to lament, with his latest breath, that, though a taste of pleasure may quicken the relish of life, an unrestrained indulgence is inevitable destruction.
Louis Cornaro, a noble Venetian, lived intemperately, as the most of his friends did, till the age of forty, and was all that time rarely free from some disease, as pleurisy, gout, or fever, arising from his over-indulgence in eating and drinking. At last, by the advice of his physicians, he altogether reformed his mode of life, and became remarkable for temperance: the consequence was, that he was freed in a single year from all his diseases. He then allowed himself only twelve ounces of solid food, and fourteen ounces of light wine, a-day. This quantity of food is probably too little to maintain most persons, but it preserved Cornaro in health to a very advanced age. In his seventieth year, he had a fall, by which he broke his arm and leg: with some men, at that age, so great a hurt would have been difficult to heal, or might even have occasioned death, but with Cornaro, whose body was in the soundest condition, it was cured in a very short time. At eighty-three he could run up hills, leap from the ground upon his horse, and he had so entire a mind that he could write comedies. He was always cheerful, and to the end of his days could join in the sports of children. This singular example of temperance attained the age of ninety-eight, when he died in the greatest tranquillity, and quite free from pain.
Jack Simpkin, a sailor, who worked in the dock-yards at Portsmouth, was much given to drinking. The natural consequence was, that he and his wife and children were always very ill clad and ill fed, and their house was a damp, dismal place, with scarcely any furniture. As Jack and some drunken companions were one evening passing along the street, he chanced to stumble into a place where a Temperance Society was holding one of its meetings. A mild, respectable-looking man was delivering a speech about
the evils of intemperance, and the comparatively happy life which was led by those who never drank any intoxicating liquors. The sailor, though half tipsy, had enough of sense to understand and be convinced by what was said ; and at the end of the lecture, he requested the speaker to put down his name as a member of the society.
Honest Jack adhered to his resolution, notwithstanding the jeers of his companions. He ceased to go to taverns. He spent all his earnings on the things necessary for the comfort of his home. He and his family were well clad, and had a sufficiency of food. They got some good furniture, and the children were in time put to school. bye, he even began to save a little money,
which he carefully put aside in the Savings' Bank, that it might support him in case of his being at any time sick and unable to work, or accumulate until he should be an old man, when it might save him from going to live in a workhouse.
His old companions, instead of admiring Jack's conduct, laughed at it; but it is an awkward thing to stand in rags and laugh at that which gives another man good clothes, or to sit
down to a cold potato and laugh at that which gives another man a basin of comfortable soup. One day, Jack fairly got the better of all their raillery. Seeing him pass along, one cried to him, “ Ah, Jack, I don't think this temperance is agreeing with you—your cheeks are beginning to look very yellow with it!" “ Ay, my boys,” said he, taking out twelve gold pieces which he was carrying to the Savings Bank, “and it's giving me a yellow pocket too!" They were ashamed of their poverty, and never jeered at him any more.
SIMPLE FARE THE GREATEST LUXURY.
Luxurious living spoils the very pleasure it is intended to promote, because it prevents those who indulge in it from ever knowing the greater luxury of a healthy appetite gratified by simple fare. It is told of Artaxerxes Mnemon, à Persian monarch, that, flying from his enemies, and reduced for a dinner to dry figs and barley-bread, he found himself compelled to exclaim, “How much pleasure have I been ignorant of!"
“ You are old, father William," the young man cried,
66 The few locks that are left you are grey; You are hale, father William, a hearty old man
Now tell me the reason, I “In the days of my youth,” father William replied,
“ I remembered that youth would fly fast; And abused not my health and my vigour at first,
That I never might need them at last.” “You are old, father William," the young man cried,
“And pleasures with youth pass away; And yet you lament not the days that are gone Now tell me the reason,
I “ In the days of my youth,” father William replied,
“I remembered that youth would not last; I thought on the future, whatever I did,
That I never might grieve for the past." “ You are old, father William,” the young man cried,
“ And life must be hast’ning away; You are cheerful, and love to converse upon death
Now tell me the reason, I pray?" “ I am cheerful, young man,” father William replied;
Let the cause thy attention engage:
Look not thou
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, xxiii. 31, 32.
Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son : but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.-Proverbs, xxviii. 7.