Tuesday, 21 September 2010

You know it won't kill you to smile?

Q 135: What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?

A: The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defense thereof against violence, patient bearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind,
cheerfulness of spirit; a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labor, and recreations; by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness; peaceable, mild and courteous speeches and behavior; forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; comforting and succoring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent.
[Larger Catechism]
Some readers may be surprised to learn that a lack of cheerfulness violates the sixth commandment! ... [I was one of them!]  The Puritans saw, among other things, that 'a joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones' (Proverbs 17:22). As modern medicine is discovering anew, cheerfulness has physical consequences. It promotes life. So the sixth commandment calls us, among many other things, to be cheerful.  The Doctrine of the Christian Life (Theology of Lordship) p686.

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