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It is very certain that there is not one perfectly healthy man on earth.
He who denies this may be the fat inan, who boasts that he never had a day's sickness and weighs two hundred and fifty pounds. He has had, if he knew it, one spell; and when that will end it might be hard to say. His plethora is worse than emaciation ; his nerve-spirit is shut up, Ginevra-like, in a trunk. There is a life near him to which he is dead ; one-half of him is the sepulchre of the other.
Perfect health admits of no malformation. It must include the rounding out of the lobes of the brain, and a nervous action which can never be unsettled or controlled by the storms of passion. Is a man lustful : you shall find there is too much blood in the back part of his head. Is he easily angered : cooling diet and wet cloths about his temples are good for that. Such men are sick. A healthy man could not do wrong, for he would seek happiness; and only a deformed or insane cerebral formation could induce a man to think that he could obtain happiness by violating the laws of his being, moral, intellectual, social or physical. Indeed, when Society itself is healthier, the only prisons will be hospitals and infirmaries. Drunkenness is reaching its just treatment; Prostitution will pass the crisis of the Magdalen Asylum and feel the probe of Positive Science.
It is impossible to conceive what would be the result of having one perfectly healthy person on Earth. He would be felt to the centre of the Solar System. Not only would the human race, conscious of its hereditary diseases of ignorance and excess, cluster about him, but men would bring their lame institutions, their blind churches, their dumb superstitions, that he might transfuse into them his living blood. Invalids are warned to balmy skies, with light dews, pure airs and clear waters ; but a healthy man would have pure airs and fountains and clear skies in his touch ; for of such a man Nature must be the constituency.
To see this we have but to recall the health of some one function of a man, which has startled the world at any time. The perfect health of any faculty has always addressed the world as a miracle. The distance at which the Greek sailors saw the Minerva on the
Parthenon, from the sea ; George Fox receiving, whilst preaching, a blow from an iron bar wielded by a giant blacksmith, and not having a bruise left ; Swedenborg impressed at Gottenburg by the fire which was raging at Stockholm, three hundred miles distant,these and many other instances of fragmentary health which might be named, suggest our meaning. Each of these men, however, was unhealthy in other directions. But what would be the result had either of them possessed a physical and moral endurance, a will, an eloquence, a presence, an inventive power, a wealth, a control over animals and men, a manner, a humility,— each and all as perfectly developed and vigorous as that one specialty by which either of them made his mark, and became a part of phenomenal history?
It is recorded that when, on one occasion, the Christ and his disciples were on a ship at sea, there arose a terrible storm, one that caused even those weather-beaten fishermen to quake with fear. But amid the tossing and lashings of the waves, the shrieks of the wind, the peals of the thunder, Jesus slept in unbroken slumber. When awakened by the trembling mariners, he showed no alarm, but by his calmness quieted their storm.
That profound slumber amid the roar of the elements tells of health, that calm awaking of nerves which knew no disease. It accords well with the fact that in all his life no day or hour of sickness is recorded. That sleep is the most eloquent of discourses. Could one fully accept the claim that Jesus was a man of perfect health, he would read the wondrous story in the New Testament with little marvel or skepticism, rather with belief and exultation that one had lived the normal life. It is not incredible that contact with a perfectly healthy person should send a thrill of health through the diseased. Health is also contagious. That which is alive can engender life.
Coördinate with that health which slumbered in the storm, which mastered diseases, was that moral health, Virtue, which in the darkest hour said, “Now am I glorified.” Only health could see an Idea to be as palpable and precious as life.
Here was one who lived in his body as in a palace; the Elements were willing vassals to him in whom they had distilled their finest essences : bat we, do we not live in our bodies as in huts ? Who of us is in such a relation with the world in which we exist, that
he can go forth into life, without fear or vexation, knowing that as the sparrow is fed he shall be fed, as the lily is clothed he shall be clothed ? To hew and hack, slay and rot,—that sums up the usual life with Nature. Humboldt asked an Indian chief if he had known a certain American officer who had died in the war of 1816. “I ate a piece of him," was the reply. Similarly gastronomic is our knowledge of Nature. We are in a state of war. We slay the animal and eat it; then he goes prowling along our veins ; the bird preys in our vitals after we have preyed on it. Thus the Indian has eaten himself as wild as the beast he hunts; the Irishman has eaten himself into a kind of human potato, which must dig ditches, live in cellars, or root under ground in some other way.
easy it is by any sudden excitement to transform a Congress into a Menagerie !
Have I shown you, brother, to be an invalid among invalids, and offered you no prescription ? It is because I remember the fate of Asa in Holy Writ, who when he was sick took not to the Lord, but to the physicians ; of whom it is said, “And Asa slept with his fathers !”
When one loves Nature, and resolutely sets his heart to that loyal obedience by which, as Bacon said, she is commanded, he needs no prescription,- not more than the bird needs to have its path mapped out on the trackless air.
It is a fact well known to those acquainted with the history of biblical criticism, that the passage in the New Testament which records Christ's treatment of the Woman taken in Adultery was for a long time enclosed by black lines, indicating that it had best be omitted in the public readings, so that in many corrupt versions, as of the Evangelisteria, it came to be omitted altogether. It was considered dangerous that such leniency should be commended! Such we have always had in the Church
“Who, taking God's word under wise protection,
Correct its tendencies to diffusiveness." But even now, when it stands there an inevitable portion of the New Testament, is not the black line, however invisible, still around it? Does not the Church practically draw it ? — does not Society ? Where else do men stand silent and paralyzed before as much evil and wretchedness? Who has a kind helpful word for such? What lady does not gather aside her skirts as the prostitute passes -- valuing her contempt as the halo of her virtue ? By how many an action and look is the cry still uttered, “Yes, stone her to death! Heap up your anathemas and sneers ; let her not touch the remotest vesture's hem ; name her not; look another way as she passes; bring forth stoniest glances, sneers and words to cast at her!”
May God pity the heart which does not stir with adoration at seeing the lordly soul rise about that poor stained spirit as a defending tower and fortress ! Even that remnant of all that was a woman once shall not be crushed to the dust in his presencenever so long as he walks upon the earth to seek and save that which was lost! Then and there he founded the first Home of the Outcast.
Outcast : in that inhuman word may be shown how far we are from any similar spirit — a godless word which signifies too well
our attitude toward the prostitute. Also the popular phrase speaks of the abandoned woman. Who has abandoned her ? Not He whose sun still smiles upon her, whose sky bends pure and blue above her! None of those who have searched into this ilegraded life have failed to report that the woman is never extinct in the prostitute. All the writers testify to their utter self-sacrifice in caring for the poor and sick whom they can approach. There is abundant evidence that they have a sense of honor and of shame, and that they acknowledge and respect purity. In addition to the many instances corroborative of this affirmation which may be found in the works of Mayhew, Sanger and others, the writer of this paper will here give several which have come under his own observation. Having been appointed once by the City Council a commissioner for the poor during a very severe winter, we visited many wretched tenements: among these we entered one where the inmates utterly refused to accept any money. Though seeing that these were what Mr. Longworth would call the unworthy poor," we were willing to help them ; but they sternly refused, saying,
The city didn't mean the money for such as we.” Another case : the Unitarian Minister at large in St. Louis was called upon a few weeks since by the female keeper of a brothel, and told of a young woman who had been enticed from Covington, Ky., and deceived, and who was invincibly hostile to the life designed for her. This female keeper urged the minister to save her, and offered secretly to assist him, which she faithfully did, and the misguided girl was returned to her friends in Covington. Never shall we forget the expression used by a street-walker in New York, who, on the very pavements of Broadway, caught hold of
We turned in horror, and there before us was a face in which every
loathsome disease had set its signature. Woman, you have been drinking," we said. “Of course I've been drinking,” she replied. “And why do you besot yourself so ?” · Ha, ha,” she laughed, “ do you think a woman would have the cheek to stop a man in the street unless she had liquor in her ?” Alas, what a story did that sentence tell of THE WOMAN back there, which would cry out, which must be drugged into stillness ere the
*cheek” could be despoiled of its blush, and the nameless sin committed !
But our whole social treatment seems ingeniously contrived, like some Devil's master-stroke, to bleach that “cheek” more and