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THE DUTY OF LAUGHTER..pdf

THE DUTY OF LAUGHTER..pdf

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
THEY tell us that laughter is dying out among
men. If so, it is a pity. The Wise Man says
there is a time to laugh, that is, a time when
laughter is right, when it is a duty, and when it
would be wrong not to laugh. Perhaps we have
not been accustomed to think of laughter in
this way. We regard it as an agreeable ex-
ercise, but are not apt to class it among duties,
like honesty, or kindness.
THEY tell us that laughter is dying out among
men. If so, it is a pity. The Wise Man says
there is a time to laugh, that is, a time when
laughter is right, when it is a duty, and when it
would be wrong not to laugh. Perhaps we have
not been accustomed to think of laughter in
this way. We regard it as an agreeable ex-
ercise, but are not apt to class it among duties,
like honesty, or kindness.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 12, 2013
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11/12/2013

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THE DUTY OF LAUGHTER. BY J. R. MILLER " It is easy enough to be pleasant When life flows along like a song ; But the man worth while is the man who will smile When everything goes wrong. m For the test of the heart is trouble, And it always comes with the years, And the smile which is worth the praise of the earth Is the smile that comes through tears." THEY tell us that laughter is dying out among men. If so, it is a pity. The Wise Man says there is a time to laugh, that is, a time when laughter is right, when it is a duty, and when it would be wrong not to laugh. Perhaps we have not been accustomed to think of laughter in this way. We regard it as an agreeable ex- ercise, but are not apt to class it among duties, like honesty, or kindness. It would be a sad thing, however, if laughter should be altogether crowded out of life. There 20 1 202 STREGTH AD BEAUTY. are other exercises which we could much better afford to lose. Think of a world of human beings with no laughter, men and women wearing everywhere and always grave, serious, solemn faces, with no relaxing of the sternness on any
 
occasion. Think of the laughter of childhood departing from the world, and the laughter of youth, — how dull and dreary life would be! Laughter has its place in every wholesome, healthy life. A man who never smiles is morbid. He has lost the joy-chords out of his life. He has trained himself to think only of unpleasant things, to look only and always at the dark side. He has accustomed himself so long to sadness that the muscles of his face have become set in hard, fixed lines and cannot relax them- selves. His thoughts of life are gloomy, and the gloom has entered his soul and darkened his eyes. All this is wrong. It is abnormal, unnatural. True, most of us are busy and burdened. Our life is full of serious tasks which fill every moment and give us little time for unbending. Yet hard work should never drive laughter out THE DUTY OF LAUGHTER. 203 of the soul. We should keep a happy heart amid the severest toil. We should sing at our work. We will work better and far more effectively if we keep the music always ringing within our breast. "A sad heart tires in a mile," runs the old song. " The joy of the Lord is your strength," said the Tirshatha to the people, as he urged them to rejoicing. Joy of spirit makes burdens seem lighter and tasks easier. It is probably necessary to require silence in certain establishments where people work together, but it is not the natural way. It would add much to the value of labor if the strokes of toil could be the time-beats of joyous
 
music. Laughter is a token of a good heart and a good conscience. Shakespeare said some quite uncomplimentary things about the man who has no music in his soul. Where there is no music, all evils nest. Demons do not laugh unless it be the laugh of wicked exultation over the mischief they have wrought, or the laughing sneer at goodness and virtue. othing on earth is more beautiful than the merry laugh of child- 204 STREGTH AD BEAUTY. hood. It is the bubbling-up of the fountain of innocence and simplicity in the child's heart. It tells of a spirit yet unspoiled by sin, unhurt by the world's evil. Spontaneous, happy laugh- ter tells always of goodness, and the man who never laughs must not blame his fellows if they think there is something wrong with his life, something dark within. If the streams which flow out are only bitter the fountain cannot be sweet. Even trouble should not quench laughter. Sorrow often rolls like a dark flood over human lives, and it may sometimes seem as if there could be no gladness in the heart thereafter. But however great the grief, joy should live through it. Christian joy does not have its source on the earth, but in heaven, in the ever- lasting hills. People who live in the valleys amid great mountains have water even in the dryest, hottest summer, because they receive their supply from springs which flow out of the mountains and are unaffected by heat or drought. The Christian's springs of joy are

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