The Best Medicine Is A Cheerful Heart


From the December 7, 1907 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

My study of the Bible has disclosed an interesting fact. According to the King James version, Proverbs, 17:22 reads, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” I was glad to find that herein was no endorsement of materia medica, but quite the contrary. The word “like” is not in the Hebrew text, but was added by the translators. From the context, then, this meaning is evident: “A merry heart doeth good: it is a curative.” The American Standard version agrees with this interpretation, as its rendering of the passage is: “A cheerful heart is a good medicine.”

Ferrar Fenton’s translation is also in accord with this reading. He divides the book of Proverbs into short poems. Chapter 17—or rather chapter 16, verse 16, to chapter 21, verses 21 to 24—is called, “In Praise of Wisdom;” and verse 22 of chapter 17 he translates,—

The best medicine is a cheerful heart;
But a loaded mind exhausts the frame.

This proverb, then, is a striking instance in proof that certain Scriptural passages, which in the authorized version appear to be unscientific, are found to be in line with Science when their original meaning is made plain. Instructed by our Leader’s inspired teachings, we know that “the best medicine is a cheerful heart,” when the cheerful heart realizes that “the medicine of Science is divine Mind” (Science and Health, p. 104).

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