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amuse their thoughts and feed the mind : to which purpose letters are best suited; and next to these, building and planting.
Lastly, one and the same action, study, or labour, undertaken by choice, and with a willing mind, refreshes the spirits; but if against the inclination, it wastes and destroys them: it is therefore conducive to long life, either that a man sọ shape his course by art, as to have it free and according to his own wish; or else procure himself such a pliable temper, that whatever is iinposed upon him by necessity, may rather lead than drag him.
We must not omit, with regard to the government of the passions, that particular care should be had of the mouth of the stomach; but principally to keep it from being too much relaxed; because this part bas a greater influence over the passions, especially the daily ones, than either the heart or brain ; excepting only such as proceed from powerful vapours, as in drunkenness and melancholy.
And thus much for the operation upon the spirits, with a view to continue them in a flourishing and youthful state : wherein we have used the greater diligence, because physicians and other writers scarce touch upon it: but chiefly because the operation upon the spirits, and making them young again, is the readiest and shortest way to prolong life, on account of two abridgments; the one, that the spirits operate immedi ately upon the body; the other that vapours and the passions operate immediately upon the spirits: so that these things go directly, and in a strait line to the end; whilst others reach it by a
THE HISTORY OF THE OPERATION FOR EXCLUDING THE
AIR FROM THE BODY.
The exclusion of the air, has a double tendency to prolong life; first, as after the native spirit, it more than any other thing preys upon the juices, and hastens the dryness of the body; so that how much soever air may otherwise animate, and contribute to health; yet the shutting of it out, externally, conduces to longevity. The second effect, which follows upon
excluding the air, is much more deep and subtile ; for the body being closed up, and not perspiring, detains the included spirit, and turns it into the harder parts of the body; which therefore are kept soft and tender by the spirit.
The manner of this action appears in the desiccation of inanimate bodies ; and it is a certain axiom, that bodies are dried by the avolation of their spirit; but rendered soft and yielding by its
detention. It must likewise be allowed the property of all heat, to moisten and attenuate; and to contract and dry only by accident.
To live in caves and dens, where the air receives not the sun's rays, may conduce to longevity; as the air of itself, without being animated by heat, has no great force to prey upon the body. And if we go backwards, it will appear from many remains and ancient monuments, that the size aud stature of certain men have been much larger; and that these men generally lived in caves : and there is some affinity between length of age, and largeness of limbs. We also süspect the life of the Stylites, or anchorites of the pillar, bore some resemblance to a life led in caves; their bodies being secured, or screened from the sun's heat; and the air they breathed not being subject to great changes or inequalities. Thus much is certain, that both the Symeons, and Daniel, and Saba, as well as other Stylites, were very long lived. And even the modern anchorites, who were either immured, or shut up in pillars, have frequently lived long.
Next to the living in caves, 'is living upon mountains: for as the sun's heat penetrates not into caves, it has but little effect on the tops of mountains, for want of reflection. But this must be understood of mountains where the air is clear and pure, or where, by reason of the dryness of the valleys, no clouds or vapours ascend; as in the mountains round Barbary, where to this day, men often live to a hundred and fifty years.
But though the air of these caves or mountains is not of its own nature considerably predatory; yet, as the air we live in is rendered so by the sun's heat, the body ought, as much as possible, to be secured against it.
The air may be excluded two ways; first by contracting the pores, and again by filling them up.
For contracting or shutting up the pores, the coldness of the air itself is serviceable; so are uncovering of the skin, which hardens it; bathing in cold water; and astringents used externally, such as mastich, myrrh, myrtle, &c.
But this intention is much better answered by baths (though to be seldom used, especially during the summer) consisting of such astringent mineral waters, as may be safely drank; for example, those of chalybeate and vitriolic springs; which powerfully contract the skin.
As for filling up the pores; paints and the like, thick unctuous bodies, or, what may be used with more convenience, oil and fats preserve the substance of the body, as much as oil-paint and varnish preserve wood.
The ancient Britons painted themselves with woad, and were very long-lived; so likewise did
the Picts; who are from thence thought by some to have derived their name, which siguifies painted men.
The inhabitants of Brasil and Virginia paint themselves to this day, and are very long lived, especially the Brasilians; insomuch, that five years since, the French Jesuits met with some of them who remembered the building of Fernamburg ; a hundred and twenty years back, wards; and yet were men grown at the building thereof.
Johannes de Temporibus, who is reported to have lived three hundred years, being asked by what means he preserved himself, is said to have answered, by honey within, and oil without.
The Irish, especially the Wild-Irish, are to this day very long lived; and they report, a few years ago, that the countess of Desmond lived to a hundred and forty, and shed her teeth three times : and it is a practice with the Irish, to anoint themselves with old salt-butter before the fire.
The Irish also were accustomed to wear their shirts and linen stained with saffron, which practice, though first introduced to prevent putrefaction, yet we judge it of the same service in.prolonging life: for saffron, of all the things we know, is the best for cherishing the skin, and the flesh; as it bas, a remarkable astringency,