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trolling the animal desires. Great urgency is often caused by too frequent indulgence, and may be moderated by active bodily exertion, by serious mental labour, or even by the resolute exertion of the will determined to preserve the body from the exhausting effects of so debilitating a function.
Thus, then, by a well-regulated activity of mind and body, health may be preserved, and a mature and vigorous condition be greatly prolonged, yet as years roll on decay will gradually advance, at first almost imperceptible—the sure impress of the hand of time will be gradually marked in every featui'e and member of the external frame, in every organ of the intelligent mind. It behoves the individual to watch closely the steps by which old age comes on, to study his own constitutional idiosyncrasy with a view to find out the weakest points; and, as a good general would most carefully guard the weakest portal, or that by which the enemy might easiest enter a citadel, so should every man advanced in life avoid exciting those organs which he knows to be weakest, select those foods which experience has taught him his digestive organs can most easily assimilate, follow such pursuits as he has found to be least exhausting, and seek such relaxation as he has found most exhilarating and recruiting. All that has been said as to the promoting of vigorous
maturity by active exertion, is applicable to the middle period of life, from 30 to 60 years of age. After this, although the individual may feel himself still able and vigorous, although no marks of decay may be visible, and old age may seem yet afar off, it will be well to remember the certainty of its advent, and to prepare for its approach. The same general principles of conduct which should guide an individual at 40, are equally applicable at 60; but each rule of life must be modified by the change of powers, the altered capabilities of the individual will cause some alteration in conduct, and the wise man must from year to year mark the gradual progress of that decline, which few about him discover, and so conduct himself by suiting his pursuits and habits to change of circumstances, as not only greatly to prolong his life, but to make that life, even unto its latest period, a scene of rational enjoyment. Thus may a man of virtuous and enlightened mind, endowed with a healthful, wellformed frame, pass through many happy useful years, respected and beloved by his fellow men; until, at the elose, the worn out body shall sink into nothingness, and the immortal soul shall rejoin its Creator, to give a good account of the performance of its mission here.
PART III. ON THE DECLINE OF LIFE IN DISEASE.
I Have hitherto spoken of the Decline of Life in Health, and have endeavoured to show how the body may best be sustained under the inevitable effects of time. I have now to take a very different and less agreeable view of the latter years of life,—to regard them under the baneful influence of disease, to mark the way by which the enemy gains footing into the citadel and becomes master of the fortress, sometimes so gradually that it is very difficult to observe his approaches and withstand his efforts; sometimes more boldly by a coup de main, if any portal be left thoughtlessly unguarded. I shall, first, shortly consider that perceptible failing in constitutional power and general health, which often marks the accession of old age,
and which has been well named, climacteric; secondly, explain the conduct which should be followed at that important period; and, lastly, I shall inquire to what diseases old age is peculiarly liable, and, as each one passes under review, endeavour to point out the means by which its attacks may be averted, or when it does appear, its progress may be arrested, or its evils mitigated.
It is not my intention to describe, fully, the diseases of age, or to point out their medical treatment. All this has been done by abler pens than mine; my object is neither to dispense with the physician nor with medicine. I wish to teach the aged invalid what he may well do for his own safety and comfort to avoid the attacks of disease, and when it does come to mitigate its evils and prevent its baneful consequences, and all this not to supersede but to aid those really curative means which the skill and ability of his physician can alone suggest. Self-medication is at all times a most silly practice; but in age, when the constitutional processes, weakened by time, are least able to resist disease, its attacks can only be properly opposed by a combination of learning, skill, and experience. No man of common sense would attempt to repair a watch, however long he had been accustomed to wear one; the human frame is, in