Skip to main content


I have gout, asthma, and seven other maladies, but am otherwise very Well.- SYDNEY SMITH. I feel and grieve, but, by the grace of God, I fret at nothing. - JOHN WESLEY.

This one sits shivering in Fortune's smile, Taking his joy with bated, doubtful breath ; This other, gnawed by hunger, all the while Laughs in the teeth of death.


Anxiety never yet successfully bridged over any chasm. - RUFFINI

For every evil under the sun, There is a remedy, or there is none ; If there be one, try and find it: If there be none, never mind it."

On morning wings how active springs the mind That leaves the load of yesterday behind.


Blessed are the joy makers.- WILLIS.

'T is always morning somewhere, and above The awakening continents, from shore to shore, Somewhere the birds are singing evermore.


The cheerful live longest in years, and afterward in our regards. - BOVEE.

Wondrous is the strength of cheerfulness, altogether past calculation its powers of endurance. Efforts to be permanently

useful must be uniformly joyous, -a spirit all sunshine, graceful from very- gladness, beautiful because bright. -


There's a good time coming, boys, a good time coming Let us aid it all we can, every woman, every man. - MACRAY.

GOLDSMITH says that one of the happiest persons he ever saw was a slave in the fortifications at Flanders, - a man

with but one leg, deformed, and chained. He was condemned to slavery for life, and had to work rom dawn till dark, yet he seemed to see only the bright side of everything. He laughed and sang, and appeared the happiest man in the garrison.

"It is from these enthusiastic fellows," says an admirer, " that you hear - what they fully believe, bless them ! - that all countries are beautiful, all dinners grand, all pictures superb, all mountains high, all women beautiful. When such a one has come back from his country trip, after a hard year's work, he has always found the cosiest of nooks, the cheapest houses, the best of landladies, the finest views, and the best dinners. But with the other the case is indeed altered. He has always been robbed; he has positively seen nothing; his landlady was a harpy, his bedroom was unhealthy, and the mutton was so tough that he could not get his teeth through it."

A gentleman in Minneapolis owned a business block which was completely gutted by fire. The misfortune produced a melancholy that boded ill for his mind. In vain his friends tried to cheer him. Nothing could dispel the impenetrable gloom. He was almost on the point of suicide. He was away from home when the disaster occurred, and received the following letter from his little seven-year-old daughter:

' DEAR PAPA, - I went down to see your store that was burned, and it looks very pretty all covered with ice. Love and kisses from LILIAN."

The father smiled as he read; and the man who had contemplated jumping from the train laughed aloud. The spell that had overshadowed him was at last broken by this ray of sunshine.

A cheerful man is pre-eminently a useful man. He does not cramp his mind, nor take half-views of men and things. He knows that there is much misery, but that misery need not be the rule of life. He sees that
in every state people may be cheerful; the lambs skip, birds sing and fly joyously, puppies play, kittens are full of joyance, the whole air full of careering and rejoicing insects; that everywhere the good out-balances the bad, and that, every evil has its compensating balm.

"You are on the shady side of seventy, I expect?" was asked of an old man. "No," was the reply, " I am on the sunny side; for I am on the side nearest to glory."

Travelers are told by the Icelanders, who live amid the cold and desolation of almost perpetual winter, that "Iceland is the best land the sun shines upon"

When Pandora out. of curiosity removed the lid from the great box in which Hesiod says the gods had inclosed all human miseries, they flew abroad through the earth, but Hope remained at the bottom, the antidote for all.

Doctor Marshall Hall frequently prescribed "cheerfulness " for his patients, saying that it was better than anything they could get at the apothecary's. "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." Health is the condition of wisdom, and the sign is cheerfulness. Half the people we meet think they have something about them which will ultimately kill them, and live in chronic dread of death. What is even worse, they seem anxious that other people should share with them the "enjoyment of bad health," and are ready to tell them at the slightest provocation.

You must take joy with you, or you will not find it, even in heaven. He who hoards his joys to make them more is like the man who said: "I will keep my grain from mice and birds, and neither the ground nor the mill shall have it. What fools are they who throw away upon the earth whole handfuls."

"Nothing will supply the want of sunshine to peaches," said Emerson, " and to make knowledge valuable, you must have the cheerfulness of wisdom." In answer to the question, " How shall we overcome temp-
tation," a noted writer said, "Cheerfulness is the first thing, cheerfulness is the second, and cheerfulness is the third." A habit of cheerfulness, enabling one to transmute apparent misfortunes into real blessings, is a fortune to a young man or young woman just crossing the threshold of active life. He who has formed a habit of looking at the bright, happy side of things, who sees the glory in the grass, the sunshine in the flowers, sermons in stones, and good in everything, has a great advantage over the chronic dyspeptic, who sees no good in anything. His habitual thought sculptures his face into beauty and touches his manner with grace.

“ Of all virtues," says S. C. Goodrich, " cheerfulness is the most profitable. While other virtues defer the day of recompense, cheerfulness pays down. It is a cosmetic which makes homeliness graceful and winning. It promotes health and gives clearness and vigor to the mind; it is the bright weather of the heart in contrast with the clouds and gloom of melancholy."

"The spirit that could conjure up a Hamlet or a Lear would have broken had it not possessed, as well, the humor which could produce a Falstaff, and the ' Merry Wives of Windsor.’ “The London "Lancet," the most eminent medical journal in the world, gives the following scientific testimony of the value of good spirits: -

"This. power of ‘good spirits' is a matter of high moment to the sick and weakly. To the former it may mean the ability to survive; to the latter, the possibility of outliving, or living in spite of, a disease. It is, therefore, of the greatest importance to cultivate the highest and most buoyant frame of mind which the conditions will admit. The same energy which takes the form of mental activity is vital to the work of the organism. Mental influences affect the system, and a joyous spirit not only relieves pain, but increases the momentum of life in the body."

“I find nonsense singularly refreshing," said Talley Rand. There is good philosophy in the saying, "Laugh and grow fat" If everybody knew the power of laughter as a health tonic and life prolonger, the tinge of sadness which now clouds the American face would largely disappear, and thousands of physicians would find their occupation gone. The power of laughter was given us to serve a wise purpose in our economy. It is Nature's device for exercising the internal organs and giving us pleasure at the same time. Laughter begins in the lungs and diaphragm, setting the liver, stomach, and other internal organs into a quick, jelly-like vibration, which gives a pleasant sensation and exercise, almost equal to horseback riding. The heart beats faster, sends the blood bounding through the body, increases the respiration, and gives warmth and glow to the whole system. Laughter brightens the eye, increases the perspiration, expands the chest, forces the poisoned air from the least used lung cells, and tends to restore that exquisite poise or balance which we call health, and which results from the harmonious action of all the functions of the body. This delicate poise, which may be destroyed by a sleepless night, a piece of bad news, by grief or anxiety, is often wholly restored by a good hearty laugh. A jolly physician is often better than all his pills.

It is not the troubles of today, but those of tomorrow and next week and next year, that whiten our heads and wrinkle our faces.

"Cries little Miss Fret, In a very great pet

'I hate this warm weather ; it's horrid to tan

It scorches my nose,

And it blisters my toes,

And wherever I go I must carry a fan., "

Chirps little Miss Laugh

“Why, I couldn't tell half

The fun I am having this bright summer day.

I sing through the hours,

I cull pretty flowers,

And ride like a queen on the sweet-smelling hay.”

"Men are not made to hang down either heads of lips," says a modern writer. “ It is the duty of every one to extract all the happiness. and enjoyment he can without and within him, and, above all, he should look on the bright side of things. As well might fog, and cloud, and vapor hope to cling to the sun-illumined landscape, as the blues and moroseness to remain in any countenance when the cheerful one comes with a hearty ' good-morning.' Don't forget to say it, with a smile, to all you meet. A busy life cannot well be otherwise than cheerful. Frogs do not croak in running water."

"I have told you," says Southey, "of the Spaniard who always put on spectacles when about to eat cherries, in order that the fruit might look larger and more tempting. In like manner I make the most of my enjoyments ; and though, I do not cast my eyes away from my troubles, I pack them in as small a compass as I can for myself, and never let them annoy others."

We all know the power of good cheer to magnify everything. When Garrison was locked up in the Boston city jail, he said he had two delightful companions, -a good conscience and a cheerful mind. It was Lincoln's cheerfulness that enabled him to stand up under the terrible load of the Civil War. His jests and quaint stories lightened the gloom of the darkest hours of the nation's peril.

About two things we should never fret, that which we cannot help, and that which we can help. Better find one of your own faults than ten of your neighbor's.

Henry Ward Beecher was the greatest joker in college, and shocked many church people because he was so full of fun. His sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, said he was like "a converted bobolink who should be brought to judgment for short quirks and undignified twitters and tweedles among the daisy-heads, instead of flying in dignified paternal sweeps like a good swallow of the sanctuary, or sitting in solemnized meditation in the depths of the pine-trees like the owl." Solemnity was regarded then as evidence of Christian character; but this cheerful preacher has done much to show that religion is the most beautiful thing in the world.

Helen Hunt says there is one sin which seems to be everywhere, and by everybody is underestimated and quite too much overlooked in valuations of character. It is the sin of fretting. It is as common as air, as speech; so common that unless it rises above its usual monotone we do not even observe it. Watch any ordinary coming together of people, and we see how many minutes it will be before somebody frets -that is, makes more or less complaint of something or other, which probably every one in the room; or car, or on the street corner knew before, and which most probably nobody can help.

Why say anything about it ? It is cold, it is hot, it is wet, it is dry, somebody has broken an appointment, ill-cooked a meal; stupidity or bad faith somewhere has resulted in discomfort. There are plenty of things to fret about. It is simply astonishing, how much annoyance and discomfort maybe found in the course of every-day living, even of the simplest, if one only keeps a sharp eye out on that side of things. Some people seem to be always hunting for deformities, discords, and shadows, instead of beauty, harmony, and light.

We are born to trouble, as sparks fly upward. But even to the sparks flying upward, in the blackest of smoke, there is a blue sky above, and the less time they waste on the road, the sooner they will reach it. Fretting is all time wasted on the road.

Wordsworth, elsewhere sombre enough, in the most splendid ode ever written by mortal pen, saw wonder in the grass and glory in the flower; and that "land and sea gave themselves up to jollity;" and this was to his, one of the most reflective minds we have ever had, enough to inspire perpetual benedictions.

How true it is that if we are cheerful and contented, all nature smiles with us ; the air seems more balmy, the sky more clear, the earth has a brighter green, the trees have a richer foliage, the flowers are more fragrant, the birds sing more sweetly, and the sun, moon; and stars all appear more beautiful.

" If a word or two will render a man happy," said a Frenchman, "he must be a wretch indeed, who will not give it. It is like lighting another man's candle with your own, which loses none of its brilliancy by what the other gains."

Sir Walter Scott, who wrote, "Give me an honest laugher," was one of the happiest men in the world. He had a kind word and a pleasant smile for every one, and everybody loved him. He once threw a stone at a dog, and broke his leg. The poor creature crawled-up to him, dragging the broken leg, and licked his foot. It almost broke his heart. He said it caused him the deepest remorse of his life.

"I dare no more fret than I dare curse and swear," said John Wesley.

Habitual fretters see more trouble than others. They are never so well as their neighbors. The weather never suits them. The climate is trying. The winds are too high or too low; it is too hot or too cold, too damp or too dry. The roads are either muddy or dusty. "Mirth is God's medicine," says a wise writer; "everybody ought to bathe in it. Grim care, moroseness, anxiety-all the rust of life, ought to be scoured off by the oil of mirth." It is better than emery. Every man ought to rub himself with it.

A man without mirth is like a wagon without springs, in which one is caused disagreeably to jolt by every pebble over which it runs. A man with mirth is like a chariot with springs, in which one can ride over the roughest roads and scarcely feel anything but a pleasant rocking motion. Undoubtedly we could trace much of the moroseness in our bones past dyspepsia, back to our Puritan ancestors who groaned as they worshiped, and who for the glory of. God pulled faces as long as a yardstick. They were the people who, like Jacques, sucked "melancholy out of a song, as a weasel sucks eggs."

But we have arrived at a new and better understanding of the religion of Christ. God is glorified, not by our groans, but by our thanksgivings ; and all good thought and good action claim a natural alliance with good cheer.

Christ said, "today," not next year, not at Judgment day, but " today shalt thou be with me," not in purgatory, but "in paradise." How long will humanity persist in harboring thoughts of wickedness and woe, and insisting that we live in a hopeless, cheerless world where sin - and death shall forever perpetuate themselves ? Can we not see that sin and death are self-destructive, and must ultimately work their own annihilation ? that discord will finally be swallowed up in harmony, darkness in light, error in truth, disease in health, sorrow in joy? Why not enter the protest of our belief and example against the habit of forever dwelling upon deformity, disease, and discord ?

Anxiety and care may be read on nearly every- American face, telling the story of our too serious civilization. Bent forms, premature gray hair, heavy steps, and feverish haste are indicative of American life. Restlessness and discontent have become chronic, and are characteristic of our age and nation. Thousands of our people die annually from depressed spirits, disappointed hopes, thwarted ambitions, and premature exhaustion. We have not yet learned to cultivate that high-minded cheerfulness which is found in great souls, self-centred and confident in their own heaven-aided powers-that lofty cheerfulness which is the great preventive of humanity's ills. We have not yet learned, as a people, that grief, anxiety, and fear, are the great enemies of human life, and should be resisted as we resist the
Plague. Without cheerfulness there can be no healthy action, physical, mental, or moral, for it is the normal atmosphere of our being.

But oh, for the glorious spectacles worn by the good natured man! - oh, for those wondrous glasses, finer than the Claude Lorraine glass, which throw a sunlit view over everything, and make the heart glad with little things, and thankful for small mercies! Such glasses had honest Izaak Walton, who, coming in from a fishing expedition on the river Lea, bursts out into such grateful little talks as this: "Let us, as we walk home under. the cool shade of this honeysuckle hedge, mention some of the thoughts and joys that have possessed my soul since we two met. And that our present happiness map appear the greater, and we more thankful for it, I beg you to consider with me, how many do at this very time lie under the torment of the gout or the toothache, and this we have been free from; and let me tell you, that every misery I miss is a new. Blessing."

Worry is a disease. It sometimes becomes a crime. In some States the unsuccessful suicide is arrested on the charge of homicide. Some people ought to be incarcerated for disturbing the family peace, and for troubling the public welfare, on the charge of intolerable fretfulness and touchiness. And it is this incessant care, this mordant anxiety that is to blame for our second national vice - hurry.

Of course every one will recognize the fact that worry is the vice for which as a nation we are remarkable. "Touchiness" is a modern disease. " Every man we meet looks as if he'd gone out to borrow trouble, with plenty of it on hand," said a French lady driving in New York.

How quickly we Americans, exhaust life ! With what panting haste we pursue everything! Every man you meet seems to be late for an appointment. Hurry is stamped in the wrinkles of the American face. We are men of action; we die without it; nay, we go faster and faster as the years go by, speed our machinery to the utmost, stretch the silver cord of life until it snaps. We have not even leisure to die a natural death; we go at high pressure until the boiler bursts. We have actually changed the type of our diseases, to suit our changed constitution. Instead of the lingering maladies of our fathers, we drop down and die of heart disease or apoplexy. Even death has adopted our terrible gait.

“It is not work that kills men," says Beecher; "it is worry. Work is healthy; you can hardly put more on a man than he can bear. But worry is rust upon the blade. It is not movement that destroys the machinery, but friction."

The busy bee stops not to complain that there are so many poisonous flowers and thorny boughs in his path, nor that disgusting bugs and flies are but soiling the flower from which he would gather sweets, but buzzes on, sucking up honey wherever he can find it, and passing quietly by the places where it is not.

"It is not the cares of today," says George Macdonald, "but the cares of tomorrow that weigh a man down. For the needs of today we have corresponding strength given."

"How much have cost us the evils that never happened ! " exclaims Jefferson.

"Do not anticipate trouble," says Franklin, "or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight." Charles Lamb tells of a chronic grumbler who always complained at whist, because he had so few trumps. By some artifice his companions managed to deal him the whole thirteen, hoping to extort some expression of satisfaction, but he only looked more wretched than ever as he examined his hand. "Well, Tom," said Lamb, " haven't you trumps enough this time ? " "Yes," grunted Tom, "but I've no other cards."

The Puritans went through. life tormented with the fear of sin and terror of the Judgment Day, and their melancholy taints their descendants. We are a nation of dyspeptics. We can earn our bread, but cannot digest it. We believe "there is not a string tuned to mirth, but has its chord of melancholy," that evil always stands behind good, and that the devil always has the whisk of his tail in everything. It seems impossible for some people to rid themselves of an inherent gloom which colors their whole life. They cannot enjoy a beautiful day. To them it is only one of those infernal " weather breeders." Their lives are set to a minor key, and they hear only plaintive sounds. Our religious creeds, philosophy, and hymns are tinged with the spleen of jaundice of unfortunate authors who sometimes mistook bile for inspiration.

Many writers have honestly believed they were giving the world valuable religious doctrines, when in reality they were writing an account of their own jaundice and dyspepsia.

Calvin, though unquestionably honest, was a dyspeptic and could eat but once a day. Who can say that his writings were not tinged by his malady ? How can men shut out from the pure air and sunlight in convents and studies, away from the great throbbing, pulsing heart of Nature and humanity, write healthy, vigorous, religious doctrines for a hardy, healthy, robust, and practical world.

We should fight against every influence which tends to depress the mind, as we would against a temptation to crime. A depressed mind prevents the free action of the diaphragm and the expansion of the chest. It stops the secretions of the body, interferes with the circulation of the blood in the brain, and deranges the entire functions of the body. Scrofula and consumption often follow protracted depression of mind. That "fatal murmur" which is heard in the upper lobes of the lungs to the first stages of consumption, often follows de-
pressed spirits after some great misfortune or sorrow. Victims of suicide are almost always in a depressed state from exhausted vitality, loss of nervous energy, dyspepsia, worry, anxiety, trouble, or grief.

Christ the great Teacher did not shut himself up with monks, away from temptation of the great world outside. He taught no long-faced, gloomy theology He taught the gospel of gladness and good cheer. His doctrines are touched with the sunlight, and flavored with the flowers of the fields. The birds of the air, the beasts of the field, and happy, romping children are in them. True piety is cheerful as the day.

Joy is the mainspring in the whole Of endless Nature's calm rotation. Joy moves the dazzling wheels that roll In the great timepiece of Creation.



Syndicate content