John Harvey Kellogg
John Harvey Kellogg M.D. (February 26, 1852 – December 14, 1943) was an American medical doctor in Battle Creek, Michigan, who ran a sanitarium using holistic methods, with a particular focus on nutrition, enemas, and exercise. Kellogg was an advocate of vegetarianism for health and is best known for the invention of the breakfast cereal known as corn flakes with his brother, Will Keith Kellogg. He led in the establishment of the American Medical Missionary College.
Plain Facts For Old and YoungEdit
- Burlington, IA: Segner & Condit, (1881) Full text available online.
- The publishers of this work offer no apology for presenting it to the reading public, since the wide prevalence of the evils which is exposes is sufficient warrant for its publication. The subjects with which it deals are of vital consequence to the human race ; and it is of the utmost importance that every effort should be made to dispel the gross ignorance which almost universally prevails, by the wide diffusion, in a proper manner, of information of the character contained in this volume.
- In order to make more clear and comprehensible the teachings of nature respecting the laws regulating the sexual function, and the evils resulting from their violation, it has seemed necessary to preface the practical part of the subject by a concise description of the anatomy of reproduction. In this portion of the work especial pains has been taken to avoid anything like indelicacy of expression yet it has not been deemed advisable to sacrifice perspicuity of ideas to any prudish notions of modesty. It is hoped that the reader will bear in mind that the language of science is always chaste in itself, and that it is only through a corrupt imagination that it becomes invested with impurity.
- JUST in proportion as the perpetuation of the race is more important than the existence of any single individual, the organs of reproduction may in a certain sense be said to rank higher than any other organs of the human frame, since to them is intrusted the important duty of performing that most marvelous of all vital processes, the production of human beings. That this high rank in the vital economy is recognized by nature, is shown by the fact that he has attached to the abuse of the generative function the most terrible penalties which can be inflicted upon a living being. The power of abuse seems to be almost exclusively confined to man; hence, we find him the only one of all living creatures subject of the awful penalties of sexual transgression.
The “use” of the reproductive function is perhaps the highest physical act of which man is capable; its “abuse” is certainly one of the most grievous outrages against nature which t is possible for him to perpetrate No observing person an doubt that sexual relations of men and women determine in a great degree their happiness or misty in life. This subject, then, deserves due attention and careful consideration. It is of no use to scout it; for it will inevitably obtrude itself upon us, no matter how sedulously we attempt to avoid it. It can be rightly considered only with the most perfect candor, with the mind unbiased by passion, and prayerfully anxious to know and “do” what is right.
- Sexual Precocity.-There are two periods in human life when the sexual instincts should be totally dormant; and they are so when nature is not perverted. The first is the period reaching from infancy to puberty. The second is the period reached in advanced age.
If raised strictly in accordance with natural law, children would have no sexual notions or feelings before the occurrence of puberty. No prurient speculation about sexual matters would enter their heads. Until that period, the reproductive system should lie dormant in its undeveloped state. No other feeling should be exhibited between the sexes than that brotherly and sisterly affection which is so admirable and becoming.
Fortunate, indeed, would it be for humanity if this natural state always existed; but it is a lamentable fact that it is rarely seen in modern homes. Not infrequently, evidences of sexual passion are manifested before the child has hardly learned to walk. It has been suggested that this precocity is nothing remarkable or unnatural, since it is often seen in little lambs and other young animals. To this it is only necessary to reply that the development of the sexual instincts perfectly correspond with the longevity of the animal; if short-lived, like the sheep, only a short period intervenes between birth and the attainment of the sexual appetite and virility. If the animal is intended for long life, as is the case with man, these manifestation s are delayed until a much later period, or should be. Certain insects perform the sexual act as soon as they acquire their perfect form; but they perish as soon as the act is completed.
- Often the manifestation of sexual precocity is less gross, but almost equally fraught with danger, nevertheless. Dr. Acton, a distinguished English surgeon whom we shall frequently quote, makes the following excellent remarks upon this subject:-
“Slight signs are sufficient to indicate when a boy has this unfortunate tendency. He shows marked preferences. You will see him single out one girl, and evidently derive and unusual pleasure (for a boy) in her society. His “penchant” does not take the ordinary form of a boy’s good nature, but little attentions that are generally reserved for a later period prove that his feeling is different, and sadly premature. He may be apparently healthy, and fond of playing with other boys; still there are slight, but ominous, indications of propensities fraught with danger to himself. His play with the girl is different from his play with his brothers. His kindness to her is a little too ardent. He follows her, he does not know why. He fondles her with a tenderness painfully suggestive of a vague dawning of passion. No one can find fault with him. He does nothing wrong. Parents and friends are delighted at his gentleness and politeness, and not a little amused at the early flirtation. If they were wise, they would rather feel profound anxiety; and he would be an unfaithful or unwise medical friend who did not if an opportunity occurred, warn them that such a boy, unsuspicious and innocent as he is, ought to be carefully watched and removed from every influence calculated to foster his abnormal propensities.
- The premature development of the sexual inclination is not alone repugnant to all we associate with the term childhood, but is also fraught with danger to dawning manhood. On the judicious treatment of a case such as has been sketched, it probably depends whether the dangerous propensity shall be so kept in check as to preserve the boy’s health and innocence, or whether one more shattered constitution and wounded conscience shall be added to the victims of sexual precocity and careless training. It ought not to be forgotten that in such a cases a quasi-sexual power often accompanies these premature sexual inclinations. Few, perhaps, except medical men, know how early in life a mere infant may experience erections. Frequently it may be noticed that a little child, on being taken out of bed in the morning, cannot make water at once. It would be well if it were recognized by parents and nurses that this often depends upon a more or less complete erection.
- We again quote from Dr. Acton some observations on the causes of this disorder,-for a grave disorder it is,-as follows:-
”I should specify “hereditary” predisposition as by no means the least common. . . . I believe that, as in body and mind, so also in the passions, the sins of the father are frequently visited on the children. No man or woman, I am sure, can have habitually indulged the sexual passions . . . without , at least, running the risk of finding that a disposition to follow a similar career has been inherited by the offspring. It is in this way only that we can explain the early and apparently almost irresistible propensity in generation after generation indulging similar habits and feelings.”
- The juvenile parties so common now-a-days, at which little ones of both sexes, of ages varying from four or five years to ten or twelve, with wonderful precocity and truthfulness imitate the conduct of their elders at fashionable dinners, cannot be too much deprecated. Such associations of the sexes have a strong tendency to develop prematurely the distinctive peculiarities of the sexes. This is well evidenced by the fact that on such occasions one of the most common and popular entertainments is sham marriages. Parents greatly err in encouraging or allowing their children to engage in amusements of so dangerous a character. They are productive of no good, and are almost without exception productive of positive and serious injury.
Modern modes of life, improper clothing, the forcing system of cramming in schools, the immodest example of older persons, and especially the irritating, stimulating articles of diet which are daily set before children, as well as older people, undoubtedly have a powerful influence in stimulating the development of the sexual passions. This subject is again referred to under the heading, “Chastity.”
Obscene books and papers, lewd pictures, and evil communications are telling causes which will be further noticed elsewhere.
- Senile Sexuality.-As with childhood, old age is a period I which the reproductive functions are quiescent unless unnaturally stimulated. Sexual life begins with puberty, and, in the female, ends at about the age of forty-five years, the period known as the “menopause”, or “turn of life”. At this period, according to the plainest indications of nature, all functional activity should cease. If this law is disregarded, disease, premature decay, possibly local degenerations, will be sure to result. Nature cannot be abused with impunity.
The generative power of the male is retained somewhat longer than that of the female, and by stimulation may be indulged at quite an advanced age, but only at the expense of shortening life, and running the risk of sudden death. Says Parise, “One of the most important pieces of information which a man in years can attain is “to learn to become old betimes,’ if he wishes to attain old age.
Cicero, we are told, was asked if he still indulged in the pleasures of love. ‘Heaven forbid,’ replied he, ‘I have forsworn it as I would a savage and a furious master.’”
Some learned physicians place the proper limit of man’s functional activity at fifty years, if he would not render himself guilty of shortening his days by sensuality. Other reasons for this course will appear hereafter.
When the passions have been indulged, and their diminishing vigor stimulated, a horrid disease, “satyriasis”, not infrequently seizes upon the imprudent individual, and drives him to the perpetration of the most loathsome crimes and excesses. Passions cultivated and encouraged by gratification through life will thus sometimes assert a total supremacy in old age.
- Marriage.-The scope and plan of this work will allow of but the briefest possible consideration of this subject upon which volumes have been written, much to no purpose other than the multiplication of books.
- The primary object of marriage was, undoubtedly, the preservation of the race, though there are other objects which, under special circumstances, may become paramount even to this.
- Time to Marry.-Physiology fixes with accuracy the earliest period at which marriage is admissible. This period is that at which the body attains complete development, which is not before twenty in the female, and twenty-four in the male. Even though the growth may be completed before these ages, ossification of the bones is not fully effected, so that development is incomplete.
Among the most modern nations, the civil laws fixing the earliest date of marriage seem to have been made without any reference to physiology, or with the mistaken notion that puberty and nobility are identical. It is interesting to note the different ages established by different nations fot the entrance of the married state. The degenerating Romans fixed the ages of legal marriage at thirteen for females and fifteen for males. The Grecian legislator, Lycurgus, placed the ages at seventeen for the female, and thirty-seven for the male. Plato fixed the ages at twenty and thirty years. In Prussia, the respective ages are fifteen and nineteen; in Austria, sixteen and twenty; in France, sixteen and eighteen, respectively.
Says Mayer, “In general, it may be established that the normal epoch for marriage is the twentieth year for women, and the twenty-fourth for men.”
- Application of the Law of Heredity.-A moment’s consideration of the physiology of heredity will disclose a sufficient reason why marriage should be deferred until the development of the body is wholly complete. The matrimonial relation implies reproduction. Reproduction is effected through the union of the ovum with the zoosperm. These elements, as we have already seen, are complete representatives of the individuals producing them, being composed-as supposed-of minute gemmules which are destined to be developed into cell and organs in the new being, each preserving its resemblance to the cell within the parent which produced it. The perfection of the new being, then, must be largely dependent on the integrity and perfection of the sexual elements. If the body is still incomplete, the reproductive elements must also be incomplete; and, in consequence, the progeny must be equally immature.
- Early Marriage.-The preceding paragraph contains a sufficient reason for condemning early marriage; that is, marriage before the ages mentioned. It is probable that even the ages of twenty and twenty-four are too early for those persons whose development is uncommonly slow. But there are other cogent reasons for discountenancing early marriages, also drawn from the physiology of reproduction, to say nothing of the many reasons which might be urged on other grounds.
1. During the development of the body, all its energies are required in perfecting the various tissues and organs. There is no material to be spared for any foreign purpose.
2. The reproductive act is the most exhaustive of all vital acts. Its effect upon an undeveloped person is to retard growth, weaken the constitution, and dwarf the intellect.
3. The effects upon the female are even worse than those upon the male; for, in addition to the exhaustion of nervous energy, she is compelled to endure the burdens and pains of child-bearing when utterly unprepared for such a task, to say nothing of her unfitness for the other duties of a mother. With so many girl-mothers in the land, it is any wonder that there are so many thousands of unfortunate individuals who never seem to get beyond childhood in their development? Many a man at forty years is as childish in mind and as immature in judgment, as a well-developed lad of eighteen would be. They are like withered fruit plucked before it was ripe; they can never become like the mellow and luscious fruit allowed to mature properly. They are unalterably molded; and the saddest fact f all is that they will give to their children the same imperfections; and the children will transmit them to another generation, and so the evil will go on increasing, unless checked by extinction.
- A writer of some note, whose work on this and kindred subjects has had quite an extensive circulation, advocates with great emphasis the theory that parties contemplating marriage should in all cases select for partners individuals as nearly like themselves as possible. Exact duplicates would, in his opinion, make the most perfect union attainable. To make this theory practicable, he is obliged to fall back upon phrenology; and directs that a man seeking wife, or a woman seeking a husband, should obtain a phrenological chart of his head and then send it around until a counterpart is found. If the circle of one’s acquaintance is so fortunate as to contain no one cursed with the same propensities or idiosyncrasies as himself, the newspapers are to be brought into requisition as a medium of advertising.
- According to this rule, a man or woman or large combativeness should select a partner equally inclined to antagonism; then we should have what? The elements of a happy contented, harmonious life? No, instead, either a speedy lawsuit for divorce, or a continual domestic broil, the nearest approach to mundane purgatory possible. The selfish, close-fisted, miserly money-catcher must marry a woman equally sordid and stingy. Then together they could hoard up, for moths and rust to destroy, or for interested relatives to quarrel over, the pictorial greenback and the glittering dollar, each scrimping the other down to the finest point above starvation and freezing, and finally dying, to be forgotten as soon as dead by their fellow-men, and sent among the goats at the great assizes. A shiftless sprendthrift must choose for a helpmeet (?) an equally slovenly, thriftless wife. A man with a crotchet should select a partner with the same morbid fancy. A man whose whole mental composition gravitates behind his ears, must mind a mate with the same animal disposition. An individual whose mental organization is sadly unbalance, is advised to seek for a wife a woman with the same deficiencies and abnormalities.
Any one can see at a glance the domestic disasters which such a plan of proceeding would entail. Men and women of unbalanced temperaments would become more unbalanced. An individual of erroneous tendencies, instead of having the constant check of the example and admonitions of a mate of opposite tendencies, would be, by constant example, hastened onward in his sinful ways. Thus, to all but a very small proportion of humanity, the married state would be one of infelicity and degeneration.
And what would be the progeny of such unions? The peculiarities and propensities of the parents, instead of being modified and perhaps obliterated in the children by corresponding difference sin character, would be doubly exaggerated. The children of selfish parents would be thieves; those of spendthrifts, beggars; those of crotchety parents, monomaniacs; those born of sensual parents, beastly debauchees. A few generations of such a degenerating process would either exterminate the race of drive it back to Darwin’s ancestral ape.
It must not be inferred, from our strictures upon the theory mentioned, that we would advocate the opposite course, that is, the contraction of marriage by individuals of wholly dissimilar tastes, aims, and temperaments. Such alliances would doubtless be quite as wretched in their results as those of an opposite character. It is with this as with nearly all other subjects; the true course lies between the two extremes. Parties who are negotiating a life partnership should be careful to assure themselves that there exists a sufficient degree of congeniality of temperament to make such close and continued association agreeable.
- Disparity of Age.-Both nature and custom seem to indicate that the husband should be a little older than the wife. Several reasons might be given for this; but we need not mention them. When, however, the difference of ages reaches such an extreme as thirty, forty, even fifty or more years, nature is abused, good taste is offended, and even morality is shocked Such ill-sorted alliances are disastrous to both parties, and scarcely more to one than the other. An old man who forms a union with a young girl scarce out of her teens-or even younger-can scarcely have any very elevated motive for his action, and he certainly exposes himself to the greatest risk of sudden death, while insuring his premature decay. A king once characterized such a course as “the pleasantest form of suicide.” It is doubtless suicidal, but we suspect there are some phases of such an unnatural union which are not very enjoyable.
One reason of the great danger of such marriages to the old is the exhaustive effects of the sexual act. As previously noted, in some animals it causes immediate death. Dr. Acton makes the following pertinent remarks:-
“So serious, indeed, is the paroxysm of the nervous system produced by the sexual spasm, that its immediate effect is not always unattended with danger, and men with weak hearts have died in the act. Every now and then we learn that men are found dead on the night of their wedding.”
“However exceptional these cases are, they are warnings, and should serve to show that an act which “may” destroy the weak should not be tampered with, even by the strong.”
“There are old men who marry young wives, who pay the penalty by becoming martyrs to paralysis, softening of the brain, and driveling idiocy.”
- Dr. Gardner quotes the Abbe Maury, as follows: “I hold as certain that after fifty years of age a man of sense ought to renounce the pleasures of love. Each time that he allows himself this gratification is “a pellet of earth thrown upon his coffin.”
Dr. Gardner further says: “Alliance of this sort have taken place in every epoch of humanity, from the time of the patriarchs to the present day,-alliances repugnant to nature,-between men bordering on decrepitude and poor young girls who are sacrificed by their parents for position, or who sell themselves for gold. There is in those monstrous alliances something which we know not how to brand sufficiently energetically, in considering the reciprocal relations of the pair thus wrongfully united, and the lot of the children which may result from them. Let us admit, for an instant, that the marriage has been concluded with the full consent of the young girl, and that no external pressure has been exerted upon her will-as is generally the rule-it will none the less happen that reflection and experience will tardily bring regrets, and the sharper as the evil will be without remedy; but if compulsion, or what is often the same thing, “persuasion”, had been employed to obtain the consent with the law demands, the result would have been more prompt and vehement. From this moment the common life becomes odious to the unhappy victim, and “culpable hopes” will arise in her desolate heart, so heavy is the chain she carries. In fact, the love of the old man becomes ridiculous and horrid to her, and we cannot sufficiently sympathize with the unfortunate person whose duty [?] it is to submit to it. If we think of it an instant, we shall perceive a repulsion such as is only inspired by the idea of incest. . . . So what do we oftenest observe? Either the woman violently breaks the cursed bands, or she resigns herself to them ; and then she seeks to fill up the void in her soul by adulterous amours. Such is the somber perspective of the sacrilegious unions which set at defiance the most respectable instincts, the most noble desires, and the most legitimate hopes. Such, too, are the terrible chastisements reserved for the thoughtless or foolish pride of these dissolute gray-bears, who prodigalize the last breath of their life in search of depraved voluptuousness.”
- Let Dr. Gardner speak again :-
“Children, the issue of old men, are habitually marked by a serious and sad air spread over their countenances, which is manifestly very opposite to the infantile expression which so delights one in the little children of the same age engendered under other conditions. As they grow up, their features take on more and more the senile character ; so much so that every one remarks it, and the world regard it as a natural thing. The old mothers pretend that it is an old head on young shoulders. They predict an early death to these children, and the event frequently justifies the horoscope. Our attention has for many years been fixed upon this point, and we can affirm that the greater part of the offspring of these connections are weak, torpid, lymphatic, if not scrofulous, and do not promise a long career.”
- In old age the seminal fluid becomes greatly deteriorated. Even at the best, its component elements could only represent decrepitude and infirmity, degeneration and senility. In view of such facts, say Dr. Acton,-
“We are, therefore, forced to the conclusion that the children of old men have an inferior chance of life; and fact daily observed confirm our deductions. Look but at the progeny of such marriages; what is its value? As far as I have seen, it is the worst kind-spoilt childhood, feeble and precocious youth, extravagant manhood, early and premature death.”
Unions of an opposite character to those just considered, wherein a young man married a woman much older than himself, are more rare than those of the other class. They are, perhaps, less deplorable in their physical effects, but still highly reprehensible they are seldom prompted by pure motives, and can e productive of no good. Children resulting from such unions are noticeably weak, unbalanced, and sorry specimens of humanity.
We have scarcely referred to the domestic misery which may result from these disgraceful unions. If a young girl is brought home by a widower to preside over his grown-up daughters, perhaps old enough to be her mother, all the elements are provided for such a domestic hell as could only be equaled by circumstances precisely similar. If children are born, neither father nor mother is fit to act the part of a parent to them. The father, by reason of his age, is fitful, uncertain, and childish; to-day too lenient, to-morrow too exacting. The mother is pettish, childish, indulgent, impatient ,and as unskilled in government as unfit for motherhood. In the midst of all this misrule, the child grows up undisciplined, uncultivated, unsubdued; a misery to his parents, a disgrace to his friends, a dishonor to himself.
“What shall I do with him? And what will he do with me?” was the question asked by a girl of eighteen whose parents were urging her to marry an old man; and every young woman would do well to propound it under similar circumstances.
- Were we disposed to define more specifically the conditions necessary to secure the most harmonious matrimonial unions, it would be useless to do so; for unions of this sort never have been, and never will be-with rare exceptions-formed in accordance with a prescribed method independent of any emotional bias. Nor is it probable that such a plan would result in remedying, in any appreciable degree, existing evils. It is a fact too patent to be ignored that a very large share of the unhappiness in the world arises from ill-mated marriages; but it is also true that nearly the whole of this unhappiness might be averted if the parties themselves would endeavor to lessen the differences between them by mutual approximation.
- Courting, in the sense in which we use the word, is distinctly an American custom. The social laws of other civilized countries are such as to preclude the possibility of the almost unrestrained association of the sexes in youth which we see in this country. We do not offer this fact as an argument in favor of foreign social customs, by any means, although in this one particular they often present great advantages, since in the majority of instances other evils as great or even greater are encouraged. We mention the fact simply for the purpose of bringing into bold relief the evils of the characteristic American looseness in this particular.
A French matron would be horrified at the idea of a young man asking her daughter to accompany him alone on an evening ride to a lecture, concert, or other place of amusement, and much more should he ask the privilege of sitting up all night in the parlor with the light turned down, after the rest of the family had retired. Among respectable people in France such liberties are not tolerated; and a young man who should propose such things would be dismissed from the house instantly, and would be regarded as unfit for association with virtuous people. If a young man calls upon a young lady for the purpose of making her acquaintance, he sees both her and her mother, or an aunt or older sister. He never sees her alone. If he invited her to ride, or to accompany him to an entertainment of any sort, he must always invite her lady friend also; she goes along at any rate. There is afforded no chance for solitary moonlight strolls or rides, nor any other of the similar opportunities made so common by American courting customs. We are no advocates of the formal modes of contracting matrimonial alliances common among many nations, and illustrations of which we find at all ages of the world. For example, among the ancient Assyrians it was a custom to sell wives to the highest bidder, at auction, the sums received for the handsomer one being given to the less favored ones as a dowry, to secure a husband for every woman. The same custom prevailed in Babylon in ancient times, and has been practiced in modern times in Russia. At St. Petersburg, not many years ago, an annual sale of wives was held on Whit Sunday, after the same plan followed by the Assyrians.
Among the early Jews it seems to have been the custom for parents to select wives for their sons. In the case of Isaac, this important matter was intrusted to an old and experienced servant, who was undoubtedly considered much more competent to select a wife for the young man than he was himself. The same custom has been handed down even to the present time among some oriental nations. In many cases the parties are not allowed to see each other until after the wedding ceremony is completed. The Hungarians often betroth their children while they are yet in their cradles, as did the Mexicans and Brazilians of the last century. In some countries it has even been customary to betroth girls conditionally before they were born. The primitive Moravians seem to have adhered to the ancient Jewish custom in some degree, though making the selection of a wife a matter of chance. The old people did all the courting there was done, which was not much. When a young man desired a wife, a helpmeet was selected for him by casting lots among the marriageable young ladies of the community, and the young man was obliged to abide by the decision, it being supposed that Providence controlled the selection. We are not prepared to say that the young man ran any greater risk of getting an uncongenial or undesirable life companion by this mode of selection than by the more modern modes in vogue among us.
As before remarked, we do not represent these customs as illustrations of what might be considered a proper mode of conducting the preliminary steps of matrimonial alliances. On the contrary, we unhesitatingly pronounce them decidedly objectionable on moral grounds if not on others, and we can readily see that such inions must have been in many cases exceedingly unsatisfactory.
- In various other countries, marriage customs quite the opposite from those described have been in vogue. In Irving’s “Knickerbocker’s History of New York,” a somewhat humorous account is given of a custom which has prevailed in some parts of this country as well as others, even within the memory of persons living at the present day, and is, indeed, said to be not yet altogether obsolete in Finland. The author, in dwelling upon the social customs of the early Dutch settlers of New York, describes “a singular custom prevalent among them, commonly known by the name of “bundling”,-a superstitious rite observed by the young people of both sexes, with which they usually terminated their festivities, and which was kept up with religious strictness by the more bigoted part of the community. This ceremony was likewise, in those primitive times, considered as an indispensable preliminary to matrimony, their courtships commencing where ours usually finish,-by which means they acquired that intimate acquaintance with each other’s good qualities before marriage, which has been pronounced by philosophers the sure basis of a happy union. Thus early did this cunning and ingenious people display a shrewdness of making a bargain, which has ever since distinguished them.”
“To this sagacious custom, therefore, do I chiefly attribute the unparalleled increase of the Yanokie or Yankee race; for it is a certain fact, well authenticated by court records and parish registers, that, wherever the practice of bundling prevailed, there was an amazing number of sturdy brats annually born into the State, without the license of the law, or the benefit of clergy.”
- [W]e are opposed to long courtships and long engagements. They are productive of no good, and are not infrequently the occasion of much evil. They may be circumstances which render a prolonged engagement necessary and advisable; but, in general, they are to be avoided
On the other hand, hasty marriages are still more to be deprecated, especially when, as is too commonly the case, the probability is so great that passion is the actuating motive far more than true love. Marriage is a matter of most serious consequences, and deserving of the most careful deliberation. Too often matrimony is entered upon wit out any more substantial assurance of happiness as the result than the individual has of securing a valuable prize who buys a ticket in a lottery scheme. In the majority of cases, young people learn more of each other’s real character within six weeks after marriage than they discovered during as many months of courting. To every young man and woman we say, Look well before you leap; consider well, carefully, and prayerfully. A leap in the dark is a fearful risk, and will be far more likely to land you in a domestic purgatory than anywhere else. Do not be dazzled by a handsome face, an agreeable address, a brilliant or piquant manner. Choose, rather, modesty, simplicity, sincerity, morality, qualities of heart and mind, rather than exterior embellishments.
“It is folly,” suggests a friend, “to give advice on these subjects, for no one will follow advice on this point, no matter how sensible and reasonable he may be on all other subjects. The emotions carry the individual away, and the reason loses control.” This is all too true, in nearly all cases. We believe in affection. The emotions have their part to act. We have no sympathy with the theories of those who will have all marriages made by rule. But reason must be allowed a voice in the matter; and although there may be a time when the over whelming force of the emotions may force the reason and judgment into the background, there has been a time previous when the judgment might have held control. Let every young man and woman be most scrupulously careful how he allows emotional excitement to gain the ascendency. When once reason is stifled, the individual is in a most precarious situation. It is far better and easier to prevent this danger than to escape from it.
- Flirtation.-We cannot find language sufficiently emphatic to express proper condemnation of one of the most popular forms of amusement indulged in at the present day in this country, under the guise of innocent association of the sexes. By the majority of people, flirtation is looked upon as harmless, if not useful, as some even consider, claiming that the experience gained by such associations is valuable to young persons, by making them familiar with the customs of society and the ways of the world. We have not the slightest hesitation in pronouncing flirtation as pernicious in the extreme. In exerts a malign influence alike upon the mental, the moral, and the physical constitution of those who indulge it. The young lady who has become infatuated with a passion for flirting, courting the society of young men simply for the pleasure derived from their attentions, is educating herself in a school which will totally unfit her for the enjoyment of domestic peace and happiness should she have all the conditions necessary for such enjoyment other than those which she herself must furnish. More than this, she is very likely laying the foundation for lifelong disease by the dissipation, late hours, late suppers, evening exposures, fashionable dressing, etc., the almost certain accompaniments of the vice we are considering. She is surely sacrificing a life of real true happiness for the transient fascinations of unreal enjoyment, pernicious excitement.
It may be true, and undoubtedly is the case, that the greater share of the guilt of flirtation lies at the door of the female sex; but there do exist such detestable creature as male flirts. In general, the male flirt is a much less worthy character than the young lady who makes a pastime of flirtation. He is something more than a flirt. In nine cases out of ten, he is a rake as well. His object in flirting is to gratify a mean propensity at the expense of those who are pure and unsophisticated. He is skilled in the arts of fascination and intrigue. Slowly he winds his coils about his victim, and before she is aware of his real character, she has lost her own.
Such wretches ought to be punished in a purgatory by themselves, made seven times hotter than for ordinary criminals. Society is full of these lecherous villains. They insinuate themselves into the drawing-rooms of the most respectable families; they are always on hands at social gathering of every sort. They haunt the ball-room the theater, and the church, when they can forward their infamous plans by seeming to be pious. Not infrequently they are well supplied with a stock of pious cant, which they employ on occasion to make an impression. They are the sharks of society, and often seize in their voracious maws the fairest and brightest ornaments of a community. The male flirt is a monster. Every man ought to despise him; and every woman ought to spurn him as a loathsome social leper.
- Flirting is not confined to young men and women. The contagion extends to little boys and girls, whose heads ought to be as empty of all thoughts of sexual relations as the vacuum of an air-pump of air. The intimate association of young boys and girls in our common schools, and, indeed, in the majority of educational institutions, gives abundant opportunity for the fostering of this kind of a spirit, so prejudicial to healthful mental and moral development. Every educator who is alive to the objects and interests of his profession knows too well the baneful influence of these premature and pernicious tendencies. Many times has the teacher watched with a sad heart and withering of all his hopes for the intellectual progress of a naturally gifted scholar by this blighting influence. The most dangerous period for boys and girls exposed to temptations of this sort is just following puberty, or between the ages of twelve and eighteen or twenty. This period, a prominent educator in one of our Western States once denominated, not inappropriately, “the agonizing period of human puppyhood.” If this critical period is once safely passed, the individual is comparatively safe; but how many fail to pass through the ordeal unseared!
The most painful phase of this subject is the tacit-even, in many cases, active-encouragement which too many parents give their children in this very direction, seemingly in utter ignorance of the enormity of the evil which they are winking at or fostering Parents need enlightenment on this subject, and need to be aroused to the fact that it is one of the most momentous questions that can arise in the rearing and training of children.
- One hundred years ago the discussion of the public propriety or impropriety of a plurality of wives would have been impossible. Polygamy had not obtained a foothold as an institution in any civilized land. Being well known as not uncommon among certain heathenish and barbarous tribes, it was looked upon as a heathenish and debasing institution, the outgrowth of ignorance and gross sensuality, and a relic of a sensual age. Now, this is no longer true. Even in this, the most enlightened of all lands, where there are more ample facilities for culture, for moral and mental development, polygamy holds up its hideous head in defiance of all the laws of God and man. It is true that the perpetrators of this foul crime against humanity and Heaven have been driven by the indignation of outraged decency to seek a lurking place in the far-off wilderness of the Western territories; yet the foul odors from this festering sore are daily becoming more and more putrescent, and in spite of the distance, are contaminating the already not overstrict morals of the nation.
- We deny most emphatically the assertion that polygamy is either taught or approved by the Bible. It was tolerated in a people who had long been in the darkness of Egyptian bondage, but never approved. Indeed, the inspired writers have evidently taken pains to give numerous examples of the evils growing out of that violation of the laws of god and Nature.
- While it is true as a fact affirmed by constant observation that men have stronger passions than women, in general and that many men demand of their wives a degree of sexual indulgence which is the cause of serious injury to them, and even impossible for them to grant without doing themselves the greatest wrong, it is by no means proven either that these demands are imperative, that they are natural, or that they are not injurious to the man as well as the woman, much less beneficial to either. On the contrary, there is a great a weight of evidence as could be required that restraint, self-control, and moderation in the exercise of the sexual instinct is in the highest degree beneficial to man, as well as to woman, and necessary for his highest development.
- While it is true that there are a few more adult women than men, the difference is not sufficiently great to require the introduction of polygamy as a remedy for enforced celibacy At any rate this would be unnecessary until all bachelors ad been provided with wives, when there would be found no necessity for further provision, since there are large numbers of women who are utterly unfit to marry, who would be injured by so doing, and would only serve to degenerate the race, besides making themselves more wretched than they already are.
Again, it is a well-known fact that more males than females are born, the preponderance of adult females being caused by a greater mortality among ale children, together with the losses from accidents and war. By a correct observance of the laws of health, together with the abolition of wars, the disparity in relative numbers of the sexes would disappear. Indeed, it might happen that men would be in the preponderance.
Still again, it is only in a few very populous and long-settled communities that there are more women than men, as in the States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and a few others of the Eastern States, and a few countries of Europe. In all newly settled countries the reverse is true. The inquiry naturally arises, What shall be done under these circumstances? Shall a woman be allowed more than one husband, as is actually the case in some countries? “Oh! no;” our polygamist replies “A woman is not capable of loving more than one man, and is not even able to satisfy the sexual demands of a single husband; so, of course, a plurality of husbands is out of the question. A man is capable of loving any number of women, being differently constituted from a woman ; and so the same rule does not apply.”
- Do not we owe much to those grand old pagans who laid the foundation for nearly all the modern sciences, and established better systems of political economy, and better schools for uniform culture of the whole individual, than any the world has seen since?
- If it was so important that man should have more than one woman to supply his sexual demands, why was the Creator so short-sighted as to make but one Eve? It would have been as easy to remove two or three or half a dozen ribs from Adam’s side as one; and as the whole world had yet to be populated, a plurality of wives would certainly have accelerated the process. Surely, if polygamy was ever required or excusable, it ought to have been allowed at the start.
Again, when Noah went into the ark taking with him an assortment of all species of animals, he took some kinds of pairs and some by sevens, from which we might suspect, at least, that he observed the laws of nature respecting polygamous and monogamous animals. But he took only one wife for himself, and only one for each of his sons. Why not two or half a dozen instead? Polygamy would certainly have accelerated the repopulation of the earth most wonderfully; but Noah was monogamous. To say, in view of such facts, that monogamy originated with the paganism of ancient Greece and Rome, is blasphemy.
- Perhaps we should add a word of two respecting this custom, which seems to be a still greater outrage against nature than that of polygamy, being the possession of a plurality of husbands by one woman. This practice is in vogue in several countries at the present time, being very common in Thibet, where it is not an unusual thing for a woman in marrying the eldest of a family of brothers to include in the contract all of the other brothers as well. Polyandry was also common among the ancient Medes. Indeed, the Medes practiced both polygamy and polyandry. A man was not considered respectable unless he had at least seven wives; neither were women considered worthy of general esteem unless they had as many as five husbands. In that country, the fact that a woman was already married was in no degree a barrier to subsequent marriages, even while the husband was living, and without the trouble of a divorce. Those who maintain the propriety o polygamy would do well to consider the historic facts respecting the opposite practice. There appear to be as good grounds for believing one to have a basis in the human constitution as the other.
- Another of the crying evils of the day, and one which menaces in a most alarming manner the most sacred interests of society, is the facility with which divorces may be obtained. In some States the laws regulating divorce are so notoriously loose that scores and even hundreds of people visit the States referred to every year with no other object than to obtain a dissolution of the bonds of matrimony. The effect of this looseness in the laws is to encourage hasty, inconsiderate marriages, and to make escape from an uncongenial partner so easy that the obligation to cultivate forbearance and to acquire mutual adaptation which may not at first exist, is wholly overlooked.
The Bible rule for divorce, laid down by the Great Teacher, is little regarded in these degenerate days. He made adultery the only legitimate cause for divorce; yet we now see married people breaking asunder their solemn marriage ties on the occurrence of the most trivial difficulties. If a couple become tired of each other and desire a change, all they have to do is to forward the fee to a New York or Chicago lawyer, and they will receive back in a short time the legal papers duly signed, ranting them the desired annulment of their vows.
Although countenanced by human laws, there can be no doubt that this is shameless trifling with a divine institution is regarded by High Heaven as the vilest abomination. In no direction is there greater need of reformatory legislation than in this. The marriage contract should be recognized in our laws as one which cannot be made and broken so lightly as it now is. It should be annulled only or the most serious offenses. The contrary course now pursued so frequently is most detrimental to morals. Our divorce laws virtually offer a premium for unchastity.
- ”Though shalt not commit adultery.” “Who so ever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
In these two scriptures we have a complete definition of unchastity. The seventh commandment, with the Saviour’s commentary upon it, places clearly before us the fact that chastity requires purity of thought as well as of outward acts. Impure thoughts and unchaste acts are alike violations of the seventh commandment. As we shall see, also, unchastity of the mind is a violation of natural law as well as of moral law, and is visited with physical punishment commensurate to the transgression.
- Mental Unchastity.-It is vain for a man to suppose himself chaste who allows his imagination to run riot amid scenes of amorous associations. The man whose lips delight in tales of licentiousness, whose eyes feast upon obscene pictures, who is every ready to pervert the meaning of a harmless word or act into uncleanliness, who finds delight in reading vivid portrayals of acts lewdness,-such a one is not a virtuous man. Though he may never have committed an overt act of unchastity, if he cannot pass a handsome female in the street without, in imagination, approaching the secrets of her person, he is but one grade above the open libertine, and is as truly unchaste as the veriest debauchee.
Man may not see these mental adulteries, he may not perceive these filthy imaginings; but One sees and notes them. They leave their hideous scars upon the soul. They soil and amr the mind; and as the record of each day of life is photographed upon the books in Heaven, they each appear in bold relief, in all their innate hideousness.
- Foul thoughts, once allowed to enter the mind, stick like the leprosy. They corrode, contaminate, and infect like the pestilence; naught but Almighty power can deliver from the bondage of concupiscence a soul once infected by this foul blight, this moral contagium.
- It is a wide-spread and deadly error, that only outward acts are harmful; that only outward acts are harmful; that only physical transgression of the laws of chastity will produce disease. We have seen all the effects of beastly abuse result from mental sin alone.
I have traced serious affections and very great suffering to this cause. The cases may occur at any period of life. We meet with them frequently among such as are usually called or think themselves, continent young men. There are large classes of persons who seem to think that they may, without moral guilt, excite their own feelings or those of others by loose or libidinous conversation in society, provided such impure thoughts or acts are not followed by masturbation or fornication. I have almost daily to tell such persons that physically, and in a sanitary point of view, they are ruining their constitutions. There are young men who almost pass their lives in making carnal acquaintances in the street, but just stop short of seducing girls; there are others who haunt the lower classes of places of public amusement for the purpose of sexual excitement, and live, in fact, a thoroughly immoral life in all respects except actually going home with prostitutes. When these men come to me, laboring under the various forms of impotence, they are surprised at my suggesting to them the possibility of the impairment of their powers being dependent upon these previous vicious habits.”
- ”Those lascivious “day-dreams” and amorous reveries, in which young people-and especially the idle and voluptuous, and the sedentary and the nervous-are exceedingly apt to indulge, are often the sources of general debility, effeminacy, disordered functions, premature disease, and even premature death, without the actual exercise of the genital organs! Indeed, this unchastity of thought-this adultery of the mind-is the beginning of immeasurable evil to the human family.”
- To the majority of mankind, apparently, amativeness, or sexual love, means lust. The faculty has been lowered and debased until it might almost be considered practically synonymous with sensuality. The first step toward reform must be a recognition of a higher and purer relation than that which centers every though upon the gratification of the animal in human nature. If one may judge form the facts which now and then come to the surface in society, it would appear that the opportunity for sensual gratification had come to be, in the world at large, the chief attraction between the sexes. If to these observations we add the filthy disclosures constantly made in police courts and scandal suits, we have a powerful confirmation of the opinion. Even ministers, who ought to be “ensamples to the flock,” are rather “blind leaders of the blind,” and fall into the same ditch with the rest. This perversion of natural instinct, and these sudden lapses from virtue which startle a small portion of community and afford a filthy kind of pleasure to the other part, are but the outgrowths of mental unchastity. “Filthy dreamers, before they are aware, become filthy in action. The thoughts mold the brain, as certainly s the brain molds the thoughts. Rapidly down the current of sensuality it swept the individual who yields his imagination to the contemplation of lascivious themes. Before he knows his danger, he finds himself deep in the mire of concupiscence. He may preserve a fair exterior; but deception cannot cleanse the slime from his putrid soul. How many a church member carried under a garb of piety a soul filled with abominations, no human scrutiny can tell. How many pulpits are filled by “whited sepulchers,” only the Judgment will disclose.
- Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of Judgment.” “By thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matt. 12: 34, 26, 37. In these three brief sentences, Christ presents the whole moral aspect of the subject of this paragraph. To any one who will ponder well his weighty words, no further remark is necessary. Let filthy talkers but consider for a moment what a multitude of “idle,” unclean words are waiting for account in the final day; and then let them consider what a load of condemnation must roll upon their guilty souls when strict justice is meted out to every one before the bar of Omnipotence, and in the face of all the world-of all the universe.
The almost universal habit among boys and young men of relating filthy stories, indulging in foul jokes, making indecent allusions, and subjecting lewd criticism every passing female, is a most abominable sin. Such habits crush out pure thoughts, they annihilate respect for virtue; they make the mind a quagmire of obscenity they lead to overt acts of lewdness.
But boys and youths are not alone in this. More often than otherwise, they gain from older ones the phraseology of vice. And if the sin is loathsome in such youthful transgressors, what detestable enormity must characterize it in the old.
And women, too, are not without their share in this accursed thing, this ghost of vice, which haunts the sewing-circle and the parlor as well as the clubroom. They do not, of course, often descend to those black depths of vulgarity to which the coarser sex will go, but couch in finer terms the same foul thoughts, and hide in loose insinuations more smut than words could well express. Women who think themselves rare paragons of virtue can find no greater pleasure than in the discussion of the latest scandal, speculations about the chastity of Mrs. A or Mr. B., and gossip about the “fall” of this man’s daughter or the amorous adventures of that woman’s son.
- Masculine purity loves to regard women as chaste in mind as well as in body, to surround her with conceptions of purity and impregnable virtue; but the conclusion is irresistible that those who can gloat over others’ lapses from virtue, and find delight in such questionable entertainments as the most recent case of seduction, or the newest scandal, have need to purify their hearts and re-enforce their waning chastity.
- Travelers among the North American Indians have been struck with the almost entire absence of that abandonment to vice which might be expected in a race uninfluenced by the moral restraints of Christianity. When first discovered in their native wilds, they were free from both the vices and the consequent diseases of civilization. This fact points unmistakably to the conclusion that there must be something in the refinements and perversions of civilized life which is unfavorable to chastity, notwithstanding all the restraints which religion and the conventionalisms of society impose. Can we find such influences? Yes; they abound on every hand and leave their blight in most unwelcome places, oft unsuspected, even, till the work of ruin is complete.
- As we have shown, a child conceived in lust can no more be chaste by nature than a negro can be a Caucasian. But back of this there is a deeper cause, as we shall see, one that affects parents as well as offspring. Between infancy and puberty, are in operation, all those influenced mentioned under “Sexual Precocity.”
The frequent custom of allowing children of the opposite sex to sleep together, even until eight or ten years of age, or longer is a dangerous one. We have known of instances in which little boys of seven or eight have been allowed to sleep with girls of fourteen or sixteen, in some of which most shameful lessons were taught, and by persons who would not be suspected of such an impropriety. In one instance a little boy of eight, occupying the same bed with three girls several years older, was used for illustration by the older girl in instructing the younger ones in the “modus operandi” of reproduction. The sexes should be carefully separated from each other at least as early as four or five years of age, under all circumstances which could afford opportunity for observing the physical differences of the sexes, or in any way serve to excite those passions which at this tender age should be wholly dormant.
- Diet vs. Chastity.-From the earliest infancy to important old age, under the perverting influence of civilization, there is a constant antagonism between diet and purity. Sometimes-rarely we hope-the helpless infant imbibes the essence of libidinous desires with its mother’s milk, and thence receives upon its forming brain the stamp of vice. When old enough to take food in the ordinary way, the infant’s tender organs of digestion are plied with highly reasoned viands, stimulating sauces, animal food, sweetmeats, and dainty tidbits in endless variety. Soon, tea and coffee are added to the list. Salt, pepper, ginger, mustard, condiments of every sort, deteriorate his daily food. If, perchance, he does not die at once of indigestion, or with his weakened forces fall a speedy victim to the diseases incident to infancy, he has his digestive organs impaired for life at the very outset of his existence.
Exciting stimulants and condiments weaken and irritate his nerves and derange the circulation. Thus, indirectly, they affect the sexual system, which suffers through sympathy with the other organs But a more direct injury is done. Flesh, condiments, eggs, tea, coffee, chocolate, and all stimulants, have a powerful influence directly upon the reproductive organs. They increase the local supply of blood; and through nervous sympathy with the brain, the passions are aroused.
Overeating, eating between meals, hasty eating, eating indigestible articles of food, late suppers, react upon the sexual organs with the utmost certainty. Any disturbance of the digestive function deteriorates the quality of the blood. Poor blood, filled with crude, poorly digested food, is irritating to the nervous system, and especially to those extremely delicate nerves which govern the reproductive function Irritation provokes congestion; congestion excites sexual desires; excited passions increase the local disturbance and thus each reacts upon the other, ever increasing the injury and the liability to future damage.
Thus, these exciting causes continue their insidious work through youth and more mature years. Right under the eyes of fathers and mothers they work the ruin of their children exciting such storms of passion as are absolutely uncontrollable.
- Our most profound disgust is justly excited when we hear of laxity of morals in a clergyman. We naturally feel that one whose calling is to teach his fellow-men the way of truth, and right, and purity, should himself be free from taint of immorality. But when we consider how these ministers are fed, we cannot suppress a momentary disposition to excuse, in some degree, their fault. When the minister goes out to tea, he is served with the richest cake, the choicest jellies, the most pungent sauces, and the finest of fine flour bread-stuffs. Little does the indulgent hostess dream that she is ministering to the inflammations of passions which may imperil the virtue of her daughter, or even her own. Salacity once aroused, even in a minister, allows no room for reason or for conscience. If women wish to preserve the virtue of their ministers, let them feed them more in accordance with the laws of health. Ministers are not immaculate.
- Tobacco and Vice. Few are aware of the influence upon morals exerted by that filthy habit, tobacco-using. When acquired early, it excites the undeveloped organs, arouses the passions, and in a few years converts the once chaste and pure youth into a veritable volcano of lust, belching out from its inner fires of passion torrent of obscenity and the sulphurous fumes of lasciviousness. If long continued, the final effect of tobacco is emasculation; but this is only the necessary consequence of previous super-excitation. The lecherous day-dreams in which many smokers indulge, are a species of fornication for which even a brute ought to blush, if such a crime were possible for a brute. The mental libertine does not confine himself to bagnios and women of the town. In the foulness of his imagination, he invades the sanctity of virtue wherever his erotic fancy leads him.
We are aware that we have made a grave charge against tobacco, and we have not hesitated to state the naked truth; yet we do not think we have exaggerated, in the least, the pernicious influence of this foul drug. As much, or nearly as much, might be said against the use of liquor, on the same grounds.
- Another potent enemy of virtue is the obscene literature which has flooded the land for many years. Circulated by secret agencies, these books have found there way into the most secluded districts. Nearly every large school contains one of these emissaries of evil men and their Satanic master. Some idea of the enormity and extent of this evil may be gained from the following quotations from a published letter of Mr. Antony Comstock, who has been for some time employed by the Young Men’s Christian Association in suppressing the traffic by arresting the publishers and destroying their goods:-
“I have succeeded in unearthing this hydra-headed monster in part, as you will see by the following statement, which, in many respects, might be truthfully increased in quantity. These I have seized and destroyed:-
“Obscene photographs, stereoscopic and other pictures, more than one hundred and eighty-two thousand; obscene books and pamphlets, more than five tons; obscene letter-press in sheets, more than twenty-one thousand; obscene microscopic watch and knife charms, and finger-rings, more than five thousand; obscene negative plates for printing photographs and stereoscopic views, about six hundred and twenty-five; obscene engraved steel and copper plates, three hundred and fifty; obscene lithographic stones destroyed, twenty; obscene wood-cut engravings, more than five hundred; stereotype plates for printing obscene books, more than five tons; obscene transparent playing-cards, nearly six thousand; obscene and immoral rubber articles, over thirty thousand; lead molds for manufacturing rubber goods, twelve sets, or more than seven hundred pounds; newspapers seized, about four thousand six hundred; letters from all parts of the country ordering these goods, about fifteen thousand, names of dealers in account-books seized, about six thousand; lists of names in the hands of dealers, that are sold as merchandise to forward circulars or catalogues to, independent of letters and account-books seized, more than seven thousand; arrest of dealers since Oct. 9, 1871, more than fifty.”
“These abominations are disseminated by these men first obtaining the names and addresses of scholars and students in our schools and colleges, and then forwarding circulars. They secure thousands of names in this way, either by sending for a catalogue of schools, seminaries, and colleges, under a pretense of sending a child to attend these places, or else by sending our a circular purporting to be getting up a directory of all the scholars and students in schools and colleges in the United States, or of taking the census of all the unmarried people, and offering to pay five cents per name for lists so sent. I need not say that the money is seldom or never sent, but I do that that these names, together with those that come in reply to advertisements, are sold to other parties; so that when a man desires to engage in this nefarious business, he has only to purchase a list of those names, and then your child, be it son or daughter, is liable to have thrust into his hands, all unknown to you one of these devilish catalogues.”
- Says Hon. C. L. Merriam, as quoted by Dr. Lewis: “We find that the dealers in obscene literature have organized circulating libraries, which are under the charge of the most vicious boys in the schools, boys chosen and paid by the venders, and who circulate among the students, at ten cents a volume, any of the one hundred and forty-four obscene books theretofore published in New York City.”
- It is a painful fact, however, that the total annihilation of every foul book which the law can reach will not effect the cure of this evil, for our modern literature is full of the same virus. It is necessarily presented in less grossly revolting forms, half concealed by beautiful imagery, or embellished by wit; but yet, there it is, and no law can reach it. The works of our standard authors in literature abound in lubricity. Popular novels have doubtless done more to arouse a prurient curiosity in the young, and to excite and foster passion and immorality, than even the obscene literature for the suppression of which such active measures have recently taken. The more exquisitely painted the scenes of vice, the more dangerously enticing. Novel-reading has led thousands to lives of dissoluteness.
- Idleness.-This evil is usually combined with the preceding. To maintain purity, the mind must be occupied. If left without occupation, the vacuity is quickly filled with unchaste thoughts. Nothing can be worse for a child than to be reared in idleness. His morals will be certain to suffer. Incessant mental occupation’ is the only safeguard against unchastity. Those worthless fops who spend their lives in “killing time” by lounging into bar-rooms, loafing on street corners, or strutting up an down the boulevard, are anything but chaste. Those equally worthless young women who waste their lives on sofas or in easychairs, occupied only with some silly novel or idling away life’s precious hours in reverie-such creatures are seldom the models of purity one would wish to think them If born with a natural propensity toward sin, such a life would soon engender a diseased, impure imagination, I nothing worse.
- Dress and Sensuality.-There are two ways in which fashionable dress leads to unchastity; viz, 1. By its extravagance; 2. By its abuse of the body.
How does extravagance lead to unchasitity? By creating the temptation to sin. It affects not those gorgeously attired ladies who ride in fine carriages, and live in brown-stone fronts, who are surrounded with all the luxuries that wealth can purchase-fine apparel is no temptation to such. But to less favored-though not less worthy-ones, these magnificent displays of millenery goods and fine trappings are most powerful temptations. The poor seamtress, who can earn by diligent toil hardly enough to pay her board bill,, has no legitimate admires. Plainly dressed as she must be if she remains honest and retains her virtue, she is scornfully ignored by her proud sisters. Everywhere she finds it a generally recognized fact that “dress makes the lady.” On the street, no one steps aside to let her pass, no one stoops to regain for her the package that slips from her weary hands. Does she enter a crowded car, no one offers her a seat, though she is trembling with fatigue, while the showily dressed woman who follows her is accommodated at once. She marks the difference ; she does not pause to count the chost, but barters away her self-respect, go gain the respect, or deference, of strangers.
- It has been authoritatively stated that there are, in our large cities, hundreds of young women who, being able to earn barely enough to buy food and fuel and pay the rent of a dismal attic, take the advice offered by their employers, “Get some gentleman friend to dress you for your company.” Others spend all their small earnings to keep themselves “respectably” dressed, and share the board and lodgings of some young “roué” as heartless as incontinent. Persons unaccustomed to city life, and thousands of people in the very heart of our great metropolis, have no conception of the frightful prevalence of this kind of prostitution. Young women go to our large cities as pure as snow. They find no lucrative employment. Daily contact with vice obtunds their first abhorrence of it. Gradually it becomes familiar. A fancies life of ease presents allurements to a hard-worked sewing girl. Fine clothes and comfortable lodgings increase the temptation. She yields, and barters her body for a home without the trouble of a marriage ceremony.
Wealthy women could do more to cure the “social evil” by adopting plain attire than all the civil authorities by passing license laws or regulating ordinances. Have not Christian women a duty here? A few years ago, some Nashville ladies mad e slight move in the right direction, as indicated in the following paragraph; but we have not heard that their example has been followed:-
“the lady member of the first Baptist Church, of Nashville, Tenn., have agreed that they will dispense with a ll finery on Sunday, wearing no jewels but consistency, and hereafter appear at church in plain calico dresses.”
A more radical reform would have been an extension of the salutary measure to all other days of the week as well as Sunday; though we see no reason for restricting the material of clothing to calico, which might, indeed, be rather insufficient for some seasons of the year.
- Fashion and Vice.-Let us glance at the second manner n which dress lends its influence to vice, by obstructing the normal functions of the body. 1. Fashion requires a woman to compress her waist with bands or corsets. In consequence, the circulation of the blood toward the heart is obstructed. The venous blood is crowded back into the delicate organs of generation. Congestion ensures, and with it, through reflect action, the unnatural excitement of the animal propensities. 2. The manner of wearing the clothing, suspending several heavy garments from the hips, increases the same difficulty by bringing too large a share of clothing where it is least needed, thus generating unnatural local heat. 3. The custom of clothing the feet and limbs so thinly that they are exposed to constant chilling, by still further unbalancing the circulation, adds another element to increase the local mischief.
All of these causes bombined, operating almost constantly,-with others that might be mentioned,-produce permanent local congestions, with ovarian and uterine derangements. The latter affections have long been recognized as the chief pathological condition in hysteria, and especially in that peculiar form o disease known as “nymphomania”, under the excitement of which a young woman, naturally chaste and modest, may be impelled to the commission of the most wanton acts. The pernicious influence of fashionable dress in occasioning this disorder cannot be doubted.
- Reform in Dress Needed.-The remedy for these evils, the only way to escape them, is reformation. The dress must be so adjusted to the body that every organ will be allowed free movement. No corset, band, belt, or other means of constriction, should impede the circulation. Garments should be suspended from the shoulders by means of a waist, or proper suspenders. The limbs should be as warmly clad as any other portion of the body. How best to secure these requirements of health may be learned from several excellent works on dress reform, any of which can be readily obtained of the publisher of this work or their agents.
- Fashionable Dissipation.-The influence of so important an agent for evil in this direction as fashionable dissipation, cannot be ignored. By fashionable dissipation as mean that class of excesses in the indulgence in which certain classes, usually the more wealthy or aristocratic, pride themselves. Among the class of persons a man who is known to be a common drunkard would not be recognized; such a person would be carefully shunned yet a total abstainer would be avoided with almost equal care, and would be regarded as a fanatic or an extremist at least. With persons of this class, wine drinking is considered necessary as a matter of propriety. Along with wine are taken the great variety of highly seasoned foods, spices, and condiments in profusion, with rich meats and all sorts of delicacies, rich desserts, etc., which can hardly be considered much less harmful than stimulants of a more generally recognized character.
These indulgences excite that part of the system which generally needs restraint rather than stimulation. A participant, an ex-governor, recently described to us a grand political dinner given in honor of a noted American citizen, which began at 5 P.M., and continued until nearly midnight, continuous courses of foods, wines, etc., being served for nearly six hours. Similar scenes have been enacted in a score of our large cities for the same ostensible purpose. Knowing that public men are addicted to such gormandizing on numerous occasions, we do not wonder that so many of them are men of loose morals.
- The tendency of luxury is toward demoralization. Rome never became dissipated and corrupt until her citizens became wealthy, and adopted luxurious modes of living. Nothing is much more conducive to sound morals than full occupation of the mind with useful labor. Fashionable idleness is a force to virtue. The young man or the young woman who wasted the precious hours of life in listless dreaming or in that sort of senseless twaddle which forms the bulk of the conversation in some circles, is in very great danger of demoralization. Many of the usages and customs of fashionable society seems to open the door to vice, and to insidiously, and at first unconsciously, lead the young and inexperienced away from the paths of purity and virtue. There is a good evidence that the amount of immorality among what are known as the higher classes is every year increasing. Every now and then a scandal in high life comes to the surface; but the great mass of corruption is effectually hidden from the general public. Open profligacy is of course frowned upon in all respectable circles; and yet wealth and accomplishments will cover a multitude of sins.
This freedom allowed to the vile and vicious is one of the worst features of fashionable society. Such persons carry about them a moral atmosphere more deadly than the dreaded upastress.
- Round Dances.-Whatever apologies may be offered for other forms of the dance as means of exercise under certain restrictions, employed as a form off calisthenics, no such excuse can be framed in defense of “round dances,” especially of the waltz. In addition to the associated dissipation, late hours, fashionable dressing, midnight feasting, exposures through excessive exertions and improper dresses, etc., it can be shown most clearly that dancing has a direct influence in stimulating the passions and provoking unchaste desires, which too often lead to unchaste acts, and are in themselves violations of the requirements of strict morality, and productive of injury to both mind and body.
Said the renowned Petarch, “The dance is the spur of lust-a circle of which the devil himself is the center. Many women that use it have come dishonest home, most indifferent, none better.”
- We cannot do better than to quote on this subject from a little work entitled, “The Dance of Death,” the author of which has given a great amount of attention to this subject, and presents its evils in a very forcible light, as follows:-
A score of forms whirl swiftly before us under the softened gaslight. I say score of “forms- but each is double-they would have made two score before the dancing began. Twenty floating visions-each male and female. Twenty women, knit and growing to as many men, undulate, sway, and swirl giddily before us, keeping time with the delirious melody of piano, harp, an violin.
“But draw nearer-let us see how this miracle is accomplished. Do you mark yonder couple who seem to excel the rest in grace and ardor. Let us take this couple for a sample. He is stalwart, agile, mighty; she is tall, supple, lithe, and how beautiful in form and feature! Her head rests upon his shoulder, her face is upturned to his; her naked arm is almost around his neck; her swelling breast heave tumultuously against his; face to face they whirl, his limbs interwoven with her limbs; with strong right arm about her yielding waist, he presses her to him till every curve in the contour of her lovely body thrills with the amorous contact. Her eyes look into his, but she sees nothing; the soft music fills the room, but she hears nothing; swiftly he whirls her from the floor or bends her frail body to and from in his embrace.
“With a last, low wail the music ceases. Her swooning senses come back to life. Ah, must it be! Yes; her companion releases her from his embrace. Leaning wearily upon his arm, the rapture faded from her eye, the flush dying from her cheek-enervated, limp, listless, worn out-she is led to a seat, there to recover from her delirium and gather her energies as best she may in the space of five minutes, after which she must yield her body to a new embrace.”
- I will venture to lay bare a young girl’s heart and mind by giving you my own experience in the days when I waltzed.
“In those times I cared little for Polka or Varsovienne, and still less for the old-fashioned “Money Musk” or “Virginia Reel,” and wondered what people could find to admire in those :slow dances.” But in the soft floating of the waltz I found a strange pleasure, rather difficult to intelligibly describe. The mere anticipation fluttered my pulse, and when my partner approached to claim my promised had for the dance, I felt my cheeks glow a little sometimes, and I could not look him in the eyes with the same frank gayety as heretofore.
“But the climax of my confusion was reached when, folded in his warm embrace, and giddy with the whirl, a strange, sweet thrill would shake me from head to foot, leaving me weak and almost powerless, and really almost obliged to depend for support upon the arm which encircled me. If my partner failed from ignorance, lack of skill, or innocence, to arouse these, to me, most pleasurable sensations, I did not dance with him the second time.
“I am speaking openly and frankly, and when I say that I did not understand what I felt, or what were the real and greatest pleasures I derived from this so-called dancing, I expect to be believed. But if my cheeks grew red with uncomprehended pleasure then, they grow pale with shame to-day when I think of it all. It was the physical emotions engendered by the contact of strong men that I was enamored of-not of the dance, nor even of the men themselves.”
“Thus I became abnormally developed in my lowest nature. I grew bolder, and from being able to return shy glances at first, was soon able to meet more daring ones, until the waltz became to me and whomsoever danced with me, one lingering, sweet, and purely sensual pleasure, where heart beat against heart, hand was held in hand, and eyes looked burning words which lips dared not speak.”
- ”’Yet we had been taught that it was right to dance; our parents did it, our friend did, and we were permitted. I will say also that all the girls with whom I associated, with the exception of one, had much the same experience in dancing; felt the same strangely sweet emotions, and felt that almost imperative necessity for a closer communion than that which even the freedom of a waltz permits, without knowing exactly why, or even comprehending what.
“’Married now, with home and children around me, I can at least thank God for the experience which will assuredly be the means of preventing my little daughters from indulging in any such dangerous pleasure. But, if a young girl, pure and innocent in the beginning, can be brought to feel what I have confessed to have felt, what must be the experience of a married woman? “She” knows what every glance of the eye, every bend of the head, every close clasp means, and knowing that, reciprocates it, and is led by swifter steps and a surer path down the dangerous, dishonorable road.
- Modern Modes of Life.-Aside from all of the causes already enumerated, there are many other conditions and circumstances, the result of modern habits of living, that tend directly toward the excitement of sensuality. Superheated rooms, sedentary employments, the development of the mental and nervous organizations at the expense of the muscular, the cramming system in schools, too long confinement of school-children in a sitting position, the allowance of too great freedom between the sexes in the young, the demoralizing influence of the most varieties of public amusement, balls, church fairs, and other like influences too numerous to mention, all tend in the one direction, that of abnormal excitation and precocious development of the sexual functions.
It is not an exaggeration to say that for one conforming to modern modes of living, eating, sleeping, and drinking, absolute chastity is next to an absolute impossibility. This would certainly be true without a special interposition of Providence; but Providence never works miracles to obviate the results of voluntary sin.
- “CONTINENCE” differs from chastity in being entire restraint from sexual indulgence under all circumstances, while chastity is only restraint from unlawful indulgence. As we have both physical and mental chastity, so continence should be both mental and physical. Many of the observations on the subject of “Chastity” apply with equal force to continence. The causes of incontinence are the same as those of unchastity. The same relation also exists between mental and physical continence as between mental and physical chastity.
- Continence not Injurious.-It has been claimed by many, even by physicians,-and with conservable show of reason,-that absolute continence, after full development of the organs of reproduction could not be maintained without great detriment to health. It is needless to enumerate all the different arguments employed to support this position, since they are, with a few exceptions, too frivolous to deserve attention. We shall content ourselves chiefly with quotations from acknowledged authorities, by which we shall show that the popular notions upon this subject are wholly erroneous. Their general acceptance as been due, without doubt to the strong natural bias in their favor. It is an easy matter to believe that agrees well with one’s predilections. A bare surmise, on the side of prejudice, is more telling than the most powerful logic on the other side
- Marital Excess.
IT seems to be a generally prevalent opinion that the marriage ceremony removes all restraint from the exercise of the sexual functions. Few seem to even suspect that the seventh commandment has any bearing upon sexual conduct within the pale of matrimony. Yet if we may believe the confessions and statements of men and women, legalized prostitution is a more common crime than illicit commerce of the sexes. So common is the popular error upon this subject, and so strongly fortified by prejudice is it, that it is absolutely dangerous for a writer or speaker to express the truth, if he knows it and has a disposition to do so. Any attempt to call attention to true principles is mocked at, decried, stigmatized, and, if possible, extinguished. The author is vilified, and his work is denounced, and relegated to the ragman. Extremist, fanatic, ascetic, are the mildest terms employed concerning him, and he escapes with rare good fortune if his chastity or virility is not assailed.
- ”The ovaries, as well as the eggs which they contain, undergo, at particular seasons, a periodical development, or increase in growth. . . . At the approach of the generative season, in all the lower animals, a certain number of the eggs, which were previously in an imperfect and inactive condition, begin to increase in size and become somewhat altered in structure.”
“In mot fish and reptiles as well as in birds, this regular process of maturation and discharge of eggs takes place but once in a year. In different species of quadrupeds it may take place annually, semi-annually, bi-monthly, or even monthly; but in every instance it recurs at regular intervals, and exhibits accordingly, in a marked degree, the periodic character which we have seen to belong to most of the other vital phenomena.”
“In most of the lower orders of animals there is a periodical development of the testicles in the male, corresponding in time with that of the ovaries in the female. As the ovaries enlarge and the eggs ripen in the one sex, so in the other the testicles increase in size, as the season of reproduction approaches, and become turgid with spermatozoa. The accessory organs of generation, at the same time, share the unusual activity of the testicles, and become increased in vascularity and ready to perform their part in the reproductive unction.”
- ”It is a remarkable fact, in this connection, that the female of these animals will allow the approaches of the male only during and immediately after the oestral period; that is, just when the egg is recently discharged, and ready for impregnation. At other times, when sexual intercourse would be necessarily fruitless, the instinct of the animal leads her to avoid it; and the concourse of the sexes is accordingly made to correspond in time with the maturity of the egg and its aptitude for fecundation.”
“The egg, immediately upon its discharge from the ovary, is rady for impregnation. If sexual intercourse happens to take place about that time, the egg an the spermatic fluid meet in some part of the female generative passages, and fecundation is accomplished. . . . If, on the other hand, coitus do not take place, the egg passes down to the uterus unimpregnated, loses its vitality after a short time, and is finally carried away with the uterine secretions.”
“It is easily understood, therefore, why sexual intercourse should be more liable to be followed by pregnancy when it occurs about the menstrual epoch than at other times . . . Before its discharge, the egg is immature, and unprepared for impregnation; and after the menstrual period has passé, it gradually loses its freshness and vitality.
- An additional fact, as stated by physiologists, is that, under normal conditions, the human female experiences sexual desire immediately after menstruation more than at any other time. It has, indeed, been claimed that at this period only does she experience the true sexual instinct unless it is abnormally excited by disease or otherwise.
- ”He is an ill husband that “uses his wife as a man treats a harlot”, having no other end but pleasure. Concerning which our best rule is, that although in this, as in eating and drinking, there is an appetite to be satisfied, which cannot be done without pleasing that desire, yet since that desire and satisfaction were intended by nature for other ends, they should never be separated from those ends.”
- ”It is a sad truth that many unmarried persons, thinking that the flood-gates of liberty are set wide open, without measures or restraints (so they sail in the channel), have felt the final rewards of intemperance and lust by their unlawful using of lawful permissions. Only let each of them be temperate, and both of them modest.”
Says another writer very empathetically, “It is a common belief that a man and woman, because they are legally united in marriage, are privileged to the unbridled exercises of amativeness. This is wrong. Nature, in the exercise of her laws, recognizes no human enactments, and is as prompt to punish any infringement of her laws in those who are legally married, as in those out of the bonds. Excessive indulgence between the married produces as great and lasting evil effects as in the single man or woman, and is nothing more or less than legalized prostitution.”
- But any warning against sexual dangers would be very incomplete if it did not extend to the excesses so often committed by married persons in ignorance of their ill effects. Too frequent emissions of the life-giving fluid, and too frequent excitement of the nervous system are, as we have seen, in themselves most destructive. The result is the same within the marriage bond as without it. The married man who thinks that because he is a married man he can commit no excess, however often the act of sexual congress is repeated, will suffer as certainly and as seriously as the unmarried debauchee who acts on the same principle in his indulgences-perhaps more certainly from his very ignorance, and from his not taking those precautions and following those rules which a career of vice is apt to teach the sensuality. Man a man has, until his marriage, lives a most continent life ; so has his wife. As soon as they are wedded, intercourse is indulged in night after night, neither party having any idea that these repeated sexual acts are excesses which the system of neither can bear, and which to the man, at least, are absolute ruin. The practice is continued till health is impaired, sometimes permanently, an when a patient is at least obliged to seek medical advice, he is thunderstruck at learning that his sufferings arise fro excesses unwittingly committed. Married people often appear to think that connection may be repeated as regularly and almost as often as their meals. Till they are told of the danger, th idea never enters their heads that they are guilty of threat and almost criminal excess ; nor is this to be wondered at, since the possibility of such a cause of disease is seldom hinted at by the medical man they consult.”
“Some go so far as to believe that indulgence may increase these powers, just as gymnastics exercises augment the force of the muscles. This is a popular error ; and requires correction. Such patients should be told that the shock on the system each time connection is indulged in, is very powerful, and that the expenditure of seminal fluid must be particularly injurious to organs previously debilitated. It is by this ad similar excesses that premature old age and complaints of the generative organs are brought on.”
- The debilitating effects of excessive sexual indulgence arise from two causes; viz, the loss of the seminal fluid, and the nervous excitement. With reference to the value of the spermatic fluid, Dr. Garner remarks:
“The sperm is the purest extract of the blood. . . . . Nature, in creating it, has intended it not only to communicate life, but also to nourish the individual life. In fact, the re-absorption of the fecundating liquid impresses upon the entire economy new energy, and a virility which contributes to the prolongation of life.”
- Testimony of a French Physician.-A French author of considerable note, remarks on the same subject:-
Nothing costs the economy so much as the production of semen and its forced ejaculation. It has been calculated that an ounce of semen was equivalent to forty ounces of blood. . . . Semen is the essence of the whole individual. Hence, Fernel has said, “Totus homo semen est.’ It is the balm of life. . . . That which gives life is intended for its preservation.”
- It has been a matter of common observation that the physical status of the women off Christendom has been gradually deteriorating; that their mental energies were uncertain and spasmodic; that they were prematurely care-worn, wrinkled, and enervated; that they became subject to a host of diseases scarcely ever known to the professional men of past times, but now familiar to, and the common talk of, the matrons, and often, indeed, of the youngest females in the community.”
- ”We hear a good deal said about certain crimes against nature, such as pederasty and sodomy, and they meet with the indignant condemnation of all right-minded persons. The statutes are especially severe on offenders of this class, the penalty being imprisonment between one and ten years, whereas fornication is punished by imprisonment for not more than sixty days and a fine of less than one hundred dollars. But the query very pertinently arises just here as to whether the use of the condom and defertilizing injections is not equally a crime against nature, and quite as worthy of our detestation and contempt. And, further, when we consider the brute creation, and see that they, guided by instinct, copulate only when the female is in proper physiological condition and yields a willing consent, it may be suggested that congress between men and women may, in certain circumstances, be a crime against nature, and one far worse in its results than any other. It is probable that a child born of a connection to which the woman objects will possess that felicitous organization which every parent should earnestly desire and denavor to bestow on his offspring? An the unwelcome fruit of a rape be considered, what every child has a right to be a pledge of affection? Poor little Pip, in ‘Great Expectations,’ spoke as the representative of a numerous class when he said, ‘I was always treated as if I had insisted on being born, in opposition to the dictates of reason, religion and morality, and against the dissuading arguments of my best friends.’ We enjoin the young to honor father and mother, never thinking how undeserving of respect are those whose children suffer from inherited ills, the result of the selfishness and carelessness of their parents in begetting them.
- Indulgence during Menstruation.-The following remarks which our own professional experience has several times confirmed, reveal a still more heinous violation of nature’s laws:-
“To many it may seem that it is unnecessary to caution against contracting relationships at the period of the monthly flow, thinking that in the instinctive laws of cleanliness and delicacy were sufficient to refrain the indulgence of the appetites ; but they are little cognizant of the true condition of things in this world. Often have I had husbands inform me that they had not missed having sexual relations with their wives one or more times a day for several years ; and scores of women with delicate frames and broken-down health have revealed to me similar facts, and I have been compelled to make personal appeals to the husbands.
- Dr. Gardner as qtd on p.237
- THE evil considered in the preceding section is by far the greatest cause of those which will be dwelt upon in this. Excesses are habitually practiced through ignorance or carelessness of their direct results, and then to prevent the legitimate result of the reproductive act, innumerable devices are employed to render it fruitless. To even mention all of these would be too great a breach of propriety, even in this plain-spoken work ; but accurate description is unnecessary, since those who need this warning are perfectly familiar with all the foul accessories of evil thus employed. We cannot do better than to quote from the writings of several of the most eminent authors upon this subject. The following paragraphs are from the distinguished Mayer, who has already been frequently quoted:-
“The numerous stratagems invented by debauch to annihilate the natural consequences of coition, have all the same end in view.”
- Conjugal Onanism.-“The soiling of the conjugal bed by the shameful maneuvers to which we have made allusion, is mentioned for the first time in Gen. 38: 6,and following verses: ‘And it came to pass, when he [Onan] went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the Lord ; wherefore he slew him.”
Hence the name of “conjugal onanism”.
One cannot tell to what great extent this vice is practiced, except by observing its consequences, even among people who fear to commit the slightest sin, to such a degree is the public conscience perverted upon this point. Still, many husbands know that nature often succeeds in rendering nugatory the most subtle calculations, and reconquers the rights which they have striven to frustrate. No matter ; ‘they persevere, none the less, and by the force of habit they poison the most blissful moments of life, with no surety of averting the result that they fear. So, who knows if the infants, too often feeble and weazen, are not the fruit of these in themselves incomplete “procreations”, and disturbed by the preoccupations foreign to the generic act ? Is it not reasonable to suppose that the creative power, not meeting in ist disturbed functions the conditions necessary for the elaboration of a normal product, the conception might be from its origin imperfect, and the being which proceeded therefrom, one of those monsters which are described in treatises on teratology?”
- ”We have at our disposition numerous facts which rigorously prove the disastrous influence of abnormal coitus to the woman, but we think it useless to publish them. All practitioners have more or less observed them, and it will only be necessary for them to call upon their memories to supply what our silence eaves. ‘However, it is not difficult to conceive,’ says Dr. Francis Devay, ‘the degree of perturbation that a like practice should exert upon the genital system of woman by provoking desires which are not gratified. A profound stimulation is felt through the entire apparatus ; the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries enter into a state of orgasm, a storm which is not appeased by the natural crisis ; a nervous superexcitation persists. There occurs, then, what would take place if, presenting food to a famished man, one should snatch it from his mouth after having thus violently excited his appetite. The sensibilities of the womb an the entire reproductive system are teased for no purpose. It is to this cause, too often repeated, that we should attribute the multiple neuroses, those strange affections which originate in the genital system of woman. Our conviction respecting them is based upon a great number of observations. Furthermore, the normal relations existing between the married couple undergo unfortunate changes; this affection, founded upon reciprocal esteem, is little by little effaced by the repetition of an act which pollute the marriage bed ; from thence proceed certain hard feelings, certain deep impressions which, gradually growing, eventuate in the scandalous ruptures of which the community rarely know the real motive.”
- ”If the good harmony of families and their reciprocal relations are seriously menaced by the invasion of these detestable practices, the health of women, as we have already intimated, is featfully injured. A great number of neuralgias appear to us to have no other cause. Many woman that we have interrogated on this matter have fortified this opinion. But that which to us has passed to the condition of incontestable proof, is the prevalence of uterine troubles, of enervation among the married, hysterical symptoms which are met with in the conjugal relation as often as among young virgins, arising from the vicious habits of the husbands in their conjugal intercourse.. . Still more, there is a graver affection, which is daily increasing, and which, if nothing arrests its invasion, will soon have attained the proportions of a scourge; we speak of the degeneration of the womb. We do not hesitate to place in the foremost rank, among the causes of this redoubtable disease, the refinements of civilization, and especially the artifices introduced in our day in the generic act. When there is no procreation, although the procreative faculties are excited, we see these pseudo-morphoses arise. Thus it is noticed that polypi and schirrus [cancer] of the womb are common among prostitutes. And it is easy to account for the manner of action of this pathogenetic cause, if we consider how possible it is that the ejaculation and contact of the sperm with the uterine neck, constitutes, for the woman, the crisis of the genital function, by appeasing the venereal orgasm an calming the voluptuous emotions under the action of which the entire economy is convulsed.”
- The following is from an eminent physician who for many years devoted his whole attention to the diseases of women and lectured upon the subject in a prominent medical college:-
“It is undeniable that all the methods employed to prevent pregnancy are physically injurious. Some of these have been characterized with sufficient explicitness, and the injury resulting from incomplete coitus to both parties has been made evident to all who are willing to be convinced. It should require but a moment’s consideration to convince any one of the harmfulness of the common use of cold ablutions and astringement infusions and various medicated washes. Simple and often wonderfully salutary as is cold water to a diseased limb, festering with inflammation, yet few are rash enough to cover a gouty toe, rheumatic knee, or erysipelatous head with cold water.
. . . Yet, when in the general state of nervous and physical excitement attendant upon coitus, when the organs principaly engaged in this act are congested and turgid with blood, do you think you can with impunity throw a flood of cold or even lukewarm water far into the vital in a continual stream? Often too, women add strong medicinal agents, intended to destroy by dissolution the spermatic germs, ere they have time to fulfill their natural destiny. These powerful astringents suddenly corrugate and close the glandular structure of the parts, and this is followed, necessarily, by a corresponding reaction, and the final result is debility and exhaustion, signalized by leucorrhea, prolapses, and other diseases.
- Dr. Gardner as qtd. in pp.254-255
- Finally, of the use of intermediate tegumentary coverings, made of thin rubber or gold-beater’s skin, and so often relied upon as absolute preventives, Madame de Stael is reputed to have said, ‘They are cobwebs for protection, and bulwarks against love.’ Their employment certainly must produce a feeling of shame and disgust utterly destructive of the true delight of pure hearts and refined sensibilities. They are suggestive of licentiousness and the brothel, and their employment degrades to bestiality the true feelings of manhood and the holy state of matrimony. Neither do they give, except in a very limited degree, the protection desired. Furthermore, they produce (as alleged by the best modern French writers, who are more familiar with the effect of their use than we are in the United states) certain physical lesions from their irritating presence as foreign bodies, and also from the chemicals employed in their fabrication, and other effects inseparable from their employment, oft times of a really serious nature.
“I will not further enlarge upon these instrumentalities. Sufficient has been said to convince anyone that to trifle with the grand functions of our organism, to attempt to deceive and thwart nature in her highly ordained prerogatives-no matter how simple seem to be the means employed-is to incur a heavy responsibility and run a fearful risk. It matters little whether a railroad train is thrown from the track by a frozen drop of rain or a huge bowlder lying in the way, the result is the same, the injuries as great. Oral degredation, physical disability, premature exhaustion and decrepitude are the result of those physical frauds, and force upon our conviction the adage, which the history of every day confirms, that ‘honesty is the best policy.’”
- The effects if these sins against nature are frequently not felt for years after the cause has been at work, and even then are seldom attributed to the true cause. In some instances we have known persons to suffer on for many years without having once suspected that the cause of their suffering was a palpable violation of nature’s laws. Uterine diseases thus induced are among the most obstinate of diseases of this class, being often of long standing, and hence of a very serious character. Dr. Wm. Goodell of Philadelphia has recently called attention to the fact that the prevention of conception is one of the most common causes of prolapses of the ovaries, a very common and painful disease. Not infrequently, too, other organs, particularly the bladder, become affected, either through sympathy or in consequence of the congested condition of the contiguous parts.
A difficulty which we have often met with has been the inability to convince those who have been guilty of the practices referred to, of the enormity of the sin against both soul and body. In spite of all warnings, perhaps supplemented by sufferings, the practice will often be continued, producing in the end the most lamentable results. Too often it is the case that this reluctance to obey the dictates of Nature’s law is the result of the unfeeling and unreasonable demands of a selfish husband.
- [F]or what moral right have men or women to do that which injure the integrity of the physical organism given them, and for which they are accountable to their Creator ? Surely none; for the man who destroys himself by degrees, is no less a murderer than he who cuts his throat or puts a bullet through his brain. The crime is the same-being the shortening of human life-whether the injury is done to one’s self or to another. In this matter, there are at least three sufferers; the husband, the wife, and the offspring, though’ in most cases, doubtless, the husband is the one to whom the sin almost exclusively belongs.
- It has been previously shown that in the two elements, the ovum of the female, and the spermatozoon of the male, are, in rudimentary form, all the elements which go to make up the “human form divine.” Alone, neither of these elements can become anything more than it already is; but the instant that the two elements come in contact, fecundation takes place, and the individual life begins. From that moment until maturity is reached, years subsequently, the whole process is only one of development. Nothing absolutely new is added at any subsequent moment. In view of these facts, it is evident that at the very instant of conception the embryonic human being possesses all the right to life it ever can possess. It is just as much an individual, a distinct human being, possessed of soul and body, as it ever is, though in a very immature form. That conception may take place during the reproductive act cannot be denied. If, then, means are employed with a view to prevent conception immediately after the accomplishment of the act, or at any subsequent time, if successful, it would be by destroying the delicate product of the conception which had already occurred, and which, as before observed, is as truly a distinct individual as it can ever become-certainly as independent as at any time previous to birth.
It is immoral to take human life? Is it a sin to kill a child? Is it a crime to strangle an infant at birth? Is it a murderous act to destroy a half-formed human being in its mother’s womb? Who will date to answer “No,” to one of these questions? Then, who can refuse to assent to the plain truth that it is equally a murder to deprive of the life of the most recent product of the generative act ?
Who can number the myriads of murders that have been perpetrated at this early period of existence ? Who can estimate the load of guilt that weighs upon some human souls ? and who knows how many brilliant lights have been thus early extinguished ? how many promising human plantlets thus ruthlessly destroyed in the very act of germinating ? Is it to be hoped that in the final account the extenuating influence of ignorance may weigh heavily in the scale of justice against the damning testimony of those “unconsidered murders.”
- It will be urged that these early destructions are not murders. Murder is an awful word. The act itself is a terrible crime. No wonder that its personal application should be studiously avoided ; the human being who would not shrink from such a charge would be unworthy of the name of human-a very brute. Nevertheless, it is necessary to look the plain facts squarely in the face, and shrink not from the decision of an enlightened conscience. We quote the following portions of an extract which we give in full elsewhere ; it is from the same distinguished authority* whom we have frequently quoted:-
“There Is, in fact, no moment after conception when it can be said that the child has not life, and the crime of destroying human life is as heinous and as sure before the period of ‘quickening’ has been attained, as afterward. But you still defend your horrible deed by saying: ‘Well, if there be, as you say, this mere animal life, equivalent at the most to simple vitality, there is no mind, no soul destroyed, and therefore, there is no crime committed.’ Just so surely as one would destroy and root out of existence all the fowls in the world by destroying all the eggs in existence, so certain is it that you do by your act destroy the animal man in the egg and the soul which animates it. . . .
Murder is always sinful, and murder is the willful destruction of a human being at any period of its existence, from its earliest germinal embryo to its final, simple, animal existence in aged decrepitude and complete mental imbecility.”
- Gardner as qtd. in pp.262-263
- Difficulties.-Married people will exclaim, “What shall we do?” Delicate mothers who have already more children on their hands than they can care for, whose health is insufficient to longer endure the pains and burdens of pregnancy, but whose sensual husbands continue to demand indulgence, will echo in despairing tones, while acknowledging the truth, “What shall “we” do?” We will answer the question for the latter first, Mr. Mill, the distinguished English logician, in his work on “The Subjection of Woman,” thus represents the erroneous view which is popularly held of the sexual relations of the wife to the husband. “The wife, however brutal a tyrant she may be chained to-though she may know that he hates her, though it may be his daily pleasure to torture her, and though she may feel it impossible not to loathe him-he can claim from her and enforce the lowest degredation of a human being, that being made the instrument of an animal function contrary to her inclinations.”
- Woman’s Rights.-A woman does not, upon the performance of the marriage ceremony surrender all her personal rights. The law recognizes this fact if her husband beats her, or in any way injures her by physical force, or even by neglect. Why may she not claim protection from other maltreatment as well ? or, at least, why may she not, refuse to lend herself to beastly lust? She remains the proprietor of her own body, though married ; and who is so lost to all sense of justice, equity, and even morality, as to claim that she is under any moral obligation to allow her body to be abused?
- What to Do.-Now to the question as asked by the first parties-married people who together seek for a solution of the difficulties arising from an abandonment of all protective against fecundation. The true remedy, and the natural one, is doubtless to be found in the suggestion made under the heads of “Continence and “Marital Excesses.” By a course of life in accordance with the principles there indicated, all of these evils and a thousand more would be avoided. There would be less sensual enjoyment, but more elevated joy. There would be less animal love, but more spiritual communion ; less grossness, more purity ; less development if the animal, and a more fruitful soil for the culture of virtue, holiness, and all the Christian graces.
“But such a life would be impossible this side of Heaven.” A few who claim to have tried the experiment think not. The shakers claim to practice, as well as teach, such principles ; and with the potent aids to continence previously specified, it might be found less difficult in realization than in thought.
- A Compromise.-There will be many, the vast majority, perhaps, who will not bring their minds to accept the truth which nature seems to teach, which would confine sexual acts to reproduction wholly. Others, acknowledging the truth, declare “the spirit willing” though “the flesh is weak.” Such will inquire, “Is there not some compromise by means of which we may escape the greater evils of our present mode of life?” Such may find in the following facts suggestions for a “better way,” if not the “best” way, though it cannot be recommended as wholly free from dangers, and though it cannot be said of it that it is not an “unnatural way:-
“Menstruation in women indicates an aptitude for impregnation, and this condition remains for a period of six or eight days after the entire completion of the flow. During this time only can most women conceive. Allow twelve days for the onset of the menses to pass by, and the probabilities of impregnation are very slight. This act of continence is healthful, moral, and irreproachable.”
It should beaded to the above that the plan suggested is not absolutely certain to secure immunity from conception. The period of abstinence should certainly extend from the beginning of menstruation to the fourteenth day. To ensure even reasonable safety, it is necessary to practice further abstinence for three or four days previous to the beginning of the flow.
Many writers make another suggestion which would certainly be beneficial to individual health; viz, that the husband and wife should habitually occupy separate beds. Such a practice would undoubtedly serve to keep the sexual instincts in abeyance. Separate apartments, or at least the separation of the beds by a curtain, are recommended by some estimable physicians, who suggest that such a plan would enable both parties to conduct their morning ablutions with proper thoroughness and without sacrificing that natural modesty which operates so powerfully as a check upon the excessive indulgence of the passions. Many will think the suggestion a good one and will make a practical application of it. Sleeping in single beds is reputed to be a European custom of long standing among the higher classes.
- ”The obvious design of the sexual desire is the reproduction of the species. . . . The gratification of this passion, or indeed of any other, beyond its legitimate end, is an undoubted violation of natural law, as may be determined by the light of nature, and by the resulting moral and physical evils.”
“Those creatures not gifted with erring reason, but with unerring instinct, and that have not the liberty of choice between good and evil, cohabit only at stated periods, when pleasure and reproduction are alike possible. It is so ordered among them that the means and the end are never separated ; and as it was the all-wise Being who endowed them with this instinct, without the responsibility resulting from the power to act otherwise, it follows that it is “HIS LAW”, and must, therefore, be the true copy for all beings to follow having the same functions to perform, and for the same end. The mere fact that men and women have the power and liberty of conforming or not conforming to this copy does not set them free from obedience to a right course, nor from the consequences of disobedience.”
“The end of sexual pleasure being to reproduce the species, it follows, form the considerations just advanced, that when the sexual function is diverted from its end, reproduction, or if the means be used when the end is impossible, harm or injury should ensure.”
“Perhaps the number is not small of those who think there is nothing wrong in an unlimited indulgence of the sexual propensity during married life. The marriage vow seems to be taken as equivalent to the freest license, about which there need be to restraint. Yet, if there is any truth in the law in reference to the enjoyment of the means only when the end is possible, the necessity of the limitation of this indulgence during married life is clearly as great as for that of any other sensual pleasure.
“A great majority of those constituting the most highly civilized communities, act upon the belief that anything not forbidden by sacred or civil law is neither sinful nor wrong. They have not found cohabitation during pregnancy forbidden ; not have they ever had their attention drawn to the injury to health and organic development which such a practice inflicts. Hence, a habitual yielding to inclination in this matter has determined their life-long behavior.
“The infringement of this law in the married state does not produce in the husband any very serious disorder. Debility, aches, cramps, and a tendency to epileptic seizures, are sometimes seen as the effects of great excess. An evil of no small account is the steady growth of the sexual passion by habitual unrestraint. It is in this way that what is known as libidinous blood is nursed as well among those who are strictly virtuous, in the ordinary meaning of the term, as among those who are promiscuous in their intercourse.
“The wife and the offspring are the chief sufferers by the violation of this law among the married. Why this is so, may in part be accounted for by the following consideration: Among the animal kind it is the female which decides when the approaches of the male are allowable. When these are untimely, her instinctive prompting leads her to resist and protect herself with ferocious zeal. No one at all acquainted with the remarkable wisdom nature invariably displays in all her operations, will doubt that the prohibition of all sexual intercourse among animals during the period of pregnancy must be for a wise and good purpose. And, if it serves a wise and good purpose with them, why should an opposite course not serve an unwise and bad purpose with us? Our bodies are very much like theirs in structure and in function ; and in the mode and laws that govern reproduction there is absolutely no difference. The mere fact that we possess the power to acct otherwise than they do during that period, does not make it right. “Human beings having no instinctive prompting as to what is right and what is wrong, cohabitation, like many other points of the behavior, is left for reason or the will to determine ; or rather, as things now are, to unreason ; for reason is neither consulted nor enlightened to what is proper and allowable in the matter. Nature’s rule, by instinct, makes it devolve upon the female to determine when the approaches of the male are allowable.
But some may say that she is helpless in the matter, No one dare to approach her without consent before marriage; and why should man not be educated up to the point of doing the same after marriage? She is neither his slave, nor his property; nor does the tie or marriage bind her to carry out any unnatural requirement.”
- ”The Ten Laws of Health”, as qtd. on pp. 267-271
- Not a Modern Crime.—Although this crime has attained remarkable proportions in modern times, it is not a new one by any means, as the following paragraph will suffice to show:—
"Infanticide and exposure were also the custom among the Romans, Medes, Canaanites, Babylonians, and other Eastern nations, with the exception of the Israelites and Egyptians. The Scandinavians killed their offspring from pure fantasy. The Norwegians, after having carefully swaddled their children, put some food into their mouths, placed them under the roots of trees or under the rocks to preserve them from ferocious beasts. Infanticide was also permitted among the Chinese, and we saw, during the last century, vehicles going round the streets of Pekin daily to collect the bodies of the dead infants. To-day there exist foundling hospitals to receive children abandoned by their parents. The same custom is also observed in Japan, in the isles of the Southern Ocean, at Otaheite, and among several savage nations of North America. It is related to the Jaggers of Guinea that they devour their own children.”
The Greeks practiced infanticide systematically, their laws at one time requiring the destruction of crippled or weakly children. Among all the various nations, the general object of the crime seems to have been to avoid the trouble of rearing the children, or to avoid a surplus, objects not far different from those had in view by those who practice the same crimes at the present time.
The destruction of the child after the mother has felt its movements is termed infanticide; before that time it is commonly known as abortion. It is a modern notion that the child possesses no soul or individual life until the period of quickening, an error which we have already sufficiently exposed. The ancients, with just as much reason, contended that no distinct life was present until after birth. Hence it was that they could practice without scruple the crime of infanticide to prevent too great increase of population. "Plato and Aristotle were advocates of this practice, and these Stoics justified this monstrous practice by alleging that the child only acquired a soul at the moment when it ceased to have uterine life and commenced to respire. From hence it resulted that, the child not being animated, its destruction was no murder."
- Causes of the Crime.—Many influences may combine to cause the mother ruthlessly to destroy her helpless child: as, to conceal the results of sin; to avoid the burdens of maternity; to secure ease and freedom to travel, etc., or even from a false idea that maternity is vulgar; but it is true, beyond all question, that the primary cause of the sin is far back of all these influences. The most unstinted and scathing incectives are used in characterizing the criminality of a mother who takes the life of her unborn babe; but a word is seldom said of the one who forced upon her the circumstances which gave the unfortunate one existence. Though doctors, ministers, and moralists have said much on this subject, and written more, it is reasonable to suppose that they will never accomplish much of anything in the direction of reform until they recognize the part the man acts in all of these sad cases, and begin to demand reform where it is most needed, and where its achievement will effect the most good. As was observed in the remarks upon the subject of "Prevention of Conception," this evil has its origin in "marital excesses," and in a disregard of the natural law which makes the female the sole proprietor of her own body, and gives to her the right to refuse the approaches of the male when unprepared to receive them without doing violence to the laws of her being.
- Instruments of Crime.—"The means through which abortions are effected are various. Sometimes it is through potent drugs, extensively advertised in newspapers claiming to be moral!—the advertisements so adroitly worded as to convey under a caution the precise information required of the liability of the drug to produce miscarriages. Sometimes the information is conveyed through secret circulars; but more commonly the deed is consummated by professed abortionists, who advertise themselves as such through innuendo, or through gaining this kind of repute by the frequent commission of the act. Not a very few women, deterred by lingering modesty or some sense of shame, attempt to execute it upon themselves, and then volunteer to instruct and encourage others to go and do likewise.”
- Results of this Unnatural Crime.-It is the universal testimony of physicians that the effects of abortion are almost as deadly upon the mother as upon the child. The amount of suffering is vastly greater ; for that of the child, if it suffer at all, is only momentary, in general, while the mother is doomed to a life of suffering, or misery, if she survives the shock of the terrible outrage against her nature. It has been proved by statistics that the danger of immediate death is “fifteen times as great as in natural childbirth.” A medical author of note asserts that a woman suffers more injury from one abortion than she would from twenty normal births. Says Dr. Gardner on this point:-
“We know that the popular idea is that women are wornout by the toil and wear connected with the raising of large families, and we can willingly concede something to this statement ; but it is certainly far more observable that the efforts at the present day, made to avoid propagation, are ten thousand-fold more disastrous to the health and constitution, to say nothing of the demoralization of mind and heart, which cannot be estimated by red cheeks or physical vigor.”
- An Unwelcome Child.-But suppose the mother does not succeed in her attempts against the life of her child, as she may not ; what fearful results may follow! Who can doubt that the murderous intent of the mother will be stamped indelibly upon the character of the unwelcome child, giving it a natural propensity for the commission of murderous deeds?
Then again-sickening thought-suppose that attempts to destroy the child are unsuccessful, resulting only in horrid mutilation of its tender form ; when such a child is born, what terrible evidences may it bear in its crippled and misshaped body of the cruel outrage perpetrated upon it!
- The Remedy.-Whether this gigantic evil can ever be eradicated, is exceedingly doubtful. To effect its cure would be to make refined Christians out of brutal sensualists to emancipate woman from the enticing, alluring slavery of fashion ; to uproot false ideas of life and its duties, -in short, to revolutionize society. The crime is perpetrated in secret. Many times no one but the criminal herself is cognizant of the evil deed. Only occasionally do cases come near enough to the surface to be dimly discernible ; hence the evident inefficiency of any civil legislation. But the evil is a desperate one, and is increasing ; shall no attempt be made to check the tide of crime and save the sufferers from both physical and spiritual perdition ? An effort should be made, at least. Let every Christian raise the note of warning from every Christian pulpit let the truth be spoken in term too plain for misapprehension. Let those who are known to be guilty of this most revolting crime be looked upon as murderers, as they are ; and let their real moral status be distinctly shown.
- Murder by Proxy.-“There is at the present time, a kind of infanticide, which, although it is not so well known, is even more dangerous, because done with impunity. There are parents who recoil with horror at the idea of destroying their offspring, although they would greatly desire to be disembarrassed of them, who yet place them without remorse with nurses who enjoy the sinister reputation of never returning the children to those who have untrusted them to their care. These unfortunate little beings are condemned to perish from inanition and bad treatment.
“The number of these innocent victims is greater than would be imagined, and very certainly exceeds that of the marked infanticides sent by the public prosecutor to the Court of the Assizes.”
- The Social Evil.
Illicit intercourse has been a foul blot upon humanity from the earliest periods of history. At the present moment, it is a loathsome ulcer eating at the heart of civilization, a malignant leprosy which shows its hideous deformities among the fairest results of modern culture. Our large cities abound with dens of vice whose “habitués” shamelessly promenade the most public street sand flaunt their infamy in the face of every passer-by. In many large cities, especially in those of Continental Europe, these holds of vice are placed under the supervision of the law by the requirement that every keeper of a house of prostitution must pay for a liscence ; in other words, must buy the right to lead his fellow-men “down to the depths of hell.”
In smaller cities, as well as in large ones, in fact, from the great metropolis down to the country village, the haunts of vice are found. Every army is flanked by bands of courtesans. Whenever men go, loose women follow, penetrating even to the wildness of the miner’s camp far beyond the verge of civilization.
But brothels and traveling strumpets do not fully represent the vast extent of this monster evil.
There is a class of immoral women-probably exceeding in numbers the grosser lass just referred to-who consider themselves respectable. Few are acquainted with their character. They live in elegant style and mingle in genteel society. Privately, they prosecute the most unbounded liscentiousness, for the purpose of gain, or merely to gratify their lewdness. “kept mistresses” are much more numerous than common prostitutes.
- Unchastity of the Ancients.—We are prone to believe that the present is the most liscentious age the world has ever known ; that in the nineteenth century the climax of evil has been reached ; that the libidinous blood of all the ages has culminated to produce a race of men more carnal than all predecessors. It is a sickening thought that any previous epoch could have been more vile than this; but history presents facts which disclose in ancient times periods when lust was even more uncontrolled than now ; when vice was a universal ; and when virtue was a thing unknown. A few references to historical facts will establish this point. We do not make these allusions in any way to justify the present immorality, but to show the part which vice has acted in the overthrow of nations.
From the sacred record we may judge that before the flood a state of corruption prevailed which was even greater and more general than any that has ever since been reached ; only eight persons were fit to survive the calamity which swept into eternity that lustful generation with their filthy deeds.
But men soon fell into vice again, for we find among the early Assyrians a total disregard of chastity. Her kings reveled in the grossest sensuality.
No excess of vice could surpass the licentiousness of the Ptolemics, who made of Alexandria a bagnio, and all Egypt a hot-bed of vice. Herodotus relates that “the pyramid of Cheops was built by the lovers of the daughter of this king ; and that she never would have raised this monument to such a height except by multiplying her prostitutions.” History also relates the adventures of that queenly courtesan, Cleopatra, who captivated and seduced by her charms two masters of the world, and whose lewdness surpassed even her beauty.
Tyre and Sidon, Media, Phoenicia, Syria, and all the Orient, were sunk in sexuality. Fornication was made a part of their worship. Women carried through the streets of the cities the most obscene and revolting representations. Among all these nations a virtuous woman was not to be found; for, according to Herodotus, the young women were by the laws of the land "obliged, once in their lives, to give themselves up to the desires of strangers in the temple of Venus, and were not permitted to refuse anyone."
St. Augustine speaks of these religious debaucheries as still practiced in his day in Phoenicia. They were even continued until Constantine destroyed the temples in which they were prosecuted, in the fourth century.
Among the Greeks the same corruptions prevailed in the worship of Bacchus and Phallus, which was celebrated by processions of half-nude girls "performing lascivious dances with men disguised as satyrs." In fact, as X. Bourgeois says, "Prostitution was in repute in Greece." The most distinguished women were courtesans, and the wise Socrates would be justly called, in modern times, a libertine.
The abandonment to lust was, if possible, still more complete in the times of the Roman emperors. Rome astonished the universe "by the boldness of its turpitudes, after having astonished it by the splendor of its triumphs."
The great Cæsar was such a rake that he has been said to have "merited to be surnamed every woman’s husband.” Antony and Augustus were equally notorious. The same sensuality pervaded the masses as resigned in the courts, and was stimulated by the erotic poems of Ovid, Catullus, and other poets of the time.
Tiberius displayed such ingenuity in inventing refinements in impudicity that it was necessary to coin nee words to designate them. Caligula committed the horrid crime of incest with all his sisters, even in public. His palace was a brothel. The Roman empress, Messalina, disguised herself as a prostitute and excelled the most degraded courtesans in her monstrous debaucheries. The Roman emperor Vitellius was accustomed to taken an emetic after having eaten to repletion, to enable him to renew his gluttony. With still grosser sensuality he stimulated his satiated passions with philters and various aphrodisiac mixtures.
Nero, the most infamous of the emperors, committed rapes on the stage of the public theaters of Rome, disguised as a wild beast.
If this degraded voluptuousness had been confined to royalty, some respect might yet be entertained for the virtue of the ancients ; but the foul infection was not restrained within such narrow bounds. It invaded whole empires until they fell in pieces from very rottenness. What must have been the condition of a nation that could tolerate such a spectacle as its monarch riding through the streets of its metropolis in a state of nudity, drawn by women in the same condition ? Such a deed did Heliogabulus in Rome. In the thirteenth century, virtue was almost as scarce in France as in ancient Greece.
Nobles held as mistresses all the young girls of their domains. About every fifth person was a bastard. Just before the Revolution, chastity was such a rarity that a woman was actually obliged to apologize for being virtuous !
In these disgusting facts we find one of the most potent agents in effecting the downfall of the nations. Licentiousness sapped their vitality and weakened their prowess. The men who conquered the world were led captive by their own beastly passions. Thus the Assyrians, the Medes, the Grecians, the Romans, successively fell victims to their lusts, and gave way to more virtuous successors. Even the Jews, the most enlightened people of their age, fell more than once through this same sin, which was coupled with idolatry, of which their seduction by the Midianites is an example.
Surely, modern times present no worse spectacles of carnality than these ; and will it be claimed that anything so vile is seen among civilized nations at the present day ? But though there may be less grossness in the sensuality of to-day, the moral turpitude of men may be even greater than that of ancient times. Enlightened Christianity has raised the standard of morality. Christ’s commentary upon the seventh commandment requires a more rigorous chastity than ancient standards demanded, even among the Jews ; for had not David, Solomon, and even the pious Jacob more wives than one ? Consequently, a slight breach of chastity now requires as great a fall from virtue as a greater lapse in ages past, and must be attended with as severe a moral penalty.
We have seen how universal is the “social evil,” that is a vice almost as old as man himself, which shows how deeply rooted in his perverted nature it has become. The inquiry arised, What are the causes of so monstrous a vice? so gross an outrage upon nature’s laws ? so withering a blight upon the race?
- Libidinous Blood.-In no other direction are the effects of heredity to be more distinctly traced than in the transmission of sensual propensities. The children of libertines are almost certain to be rakes and prostitutes. History affords numerous examples in illustration of this fact. The daughter of Augustus was as unchaste as her father, and her daughter was as immoral as herself. The sons of David showed evident traces of their father’s failing. Witness the incest of Amnon, and the voluptuousness of Solomon, who had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. Solomon’s son was, likewise, a noted polygamist, of whom the record days, “He desired many wives.” His son’s son manifested the same propensity in taking as many wives as the debilitated state of his kingdom allowed to trace the origin of this libidinous propensity still further back. A glance at the geneology of David will show that he was descended from Judah through Pharex, who was the result of an incestuous union between Judah and his daughter-in-law.
It is unreasonable to suppose that the abnormal passion which led David to commit the most heinous in of his life in his adultery with Bath-sheba and subsequently procuring the death of her husband, was really an hereditary propensity which had come down to him through his ancestors, and which under more favorable circumstances, was more fully developed in his sons ? The trait may have kept dormant by the active and simple habits of his earl years, but asserted itself in full force under the fostering influence of royal indleness and luxury. In accordance with the known laws of heredity, such a tendency would be the legitimate result of such a combination of circumstances.
The influence of marital excesses, and especially sexual indulgence during pregnancy, in producing viscious tendencies in offspring, has been fully dwelt upon elsewhere in this work, and will be considered here, it being only necessary to call attention to the subject. Physiology shows conclusively that thousands of parents whose sons have become libertines and their daughters courtesans, have themselves implanted in their characters the propensity which led to their unchastity.
- Gluttony.-As a predisposing cause, the influence of dietetic habits should rank next to heredity. It is an observed fact that “all libertines are great eaters or famous gastronomists.” The exciting influence upon the genital organs of such articles as pepper, mustard, ginger, spices, truffles, wine, and all alcoholic drinks, is well known. Tea and coffee directly excite the animal passions through their influence upon the nerve centers controlling the sexual organs. When children are raised upon asuch articles, or upon food with which they are thoroughly mingled, what wonder that they occasionally “turn ut bad”? How many mothers, while teaching their children the principles of virtue in the nursery, unwittingly stimulate their passions at the dinner table until vice becomes almost a physical necessity !
Nothing tends so powerfully to keep the passions in abeyance as a simple diet, free from condiments, especially when couples with a generous amount of exercise.
Influence of tobacco in leading to unchastity
- Precocious Sexuality.-The causes of a too early development of sexual peculiarities, as manifested in infantile flirtations and early signs of sexual passion, were dwelt upon quite fully in a previous connection, and we need not repeat them here. Certain it is that few things can be more dangerous to virtue than the premature development of those sentiments which belong only to puberty and later years. It is a most unnatural, but not uncommon, sight to se a girl of tender age evincing all those characters which mark the wanton of older years.
“Men’s Lewdness”- It cannot be denied that men are in the greatest degree responsible for the “social evil.” The general principle holds true here as elsewhere that the supply is regulated by the demand. If the patrons of prostitution should withdraw their support by a sudden acquisition of virtue, how soon would this vilest of traffics cease! The inmates of brothels would themselves become continent, if not virtuous, as the result of such a spasm of chastity in men.
Again, the ranks of fallen women, which are rapidly thinned by loathsome diseases and horrid deaths are largely recruited from that class of unfortunates for whose fall faithless lovers or cunning, heartless libertines are chiefly responsible. The weak girl who, through too much trust, has been deceived and robbed of her dearest treasure, is disowned by relatives, shunned by her acquaintances, and turned out upon a cold world without money, without friends, without a character. What can she do ? Respectable employment she cannot find, for rumor follows her. There seems to be but one door open, the one which she herself so unintentionally opened. In despair, she enters the “open road to hell,” and to her first sad error adds a life of shame. Meanwhile the villain who betrayed her still maintains his standing in society, and plies his arts to win another victim. Is there not an unfair discrimination here ? Should not the secured be blackened with an infamy at least as deep as that which society casts on the one betrayed ?
Fashion.-The temptation of dress, fine clothing, costly jewelry, and all the extravagances with which rich ladies array themselves, is in many cases too powerful for the weakened virtue of poor seamstresses, operatives, and servant girls, who have seen so much of vice as to have lost that instinctive loathing for it which they may have once experienced. Thinking to gain a life of ease, which means to gratify their love of show, they barter away their peace of mind for this world, all hope for the next, and only gain a little worthless tinsel the scorn of their fellow-creatures, and a host of loathsome diseases.
- Lack of Early Training.- It is needless to demonstrate a fact so well established as that the future character of an individual depends very largely upon his early training. If purity and modesty are taught from earliest infancy, the mind is fortified against he assaults of vice. If, instead, the child is allowed to grow up untrained, if the seeds of vice which are sure to fall sooner or later in the most carefully kept ground are allowed to germinate, if the first buds of evil are allowed to grow and unfold instead of being promptly nipped, it must not be considered remarkable that in later years rank weeds of sin should flourish in the soul and bear their hideous fruit in shameless lives.
Neglect to guard the avenues by which evil may approach the young mind, and to erect barriers against vice by careful instruction and a chaste example, leaves many innocent souls open to the assaults of evil, and am easy prey to lust. If children are allowed to get their training in the street, at the corner grocery, or hovering around saloons, they will be sure to develop a vigorous growth of the animal passions. The following extract is from the writings of one whose open has been an inestimable blessing to American youth;- “Among the first lessons which boys learn of their fellows are impurities of language ; and these are soon followed by impurities of thought. . . . When this is the training of boyhood, it is not strange that the predominating ideas among men, in relation to the other sex, are too often those of impurity and sensuality. . . . We cannot be surprised, then, that the history of most young men is, that they yield to temptation in a greater or less degree and in different ways With many, no doubt, the indulgence is transient, accidental, and does not become habitual. It does not get to be regarded as venial. It does not get to be regarded as venial. It is never yielded to without remorse. The wish and the purpose are to resist ; but the animal nature bears down the moral. Still, transgression is always followed by grief and penitence.
“With too many, however, it is to be feared, it is not so. The mind has become debauched by dwelling on licentious images, and by indulgence in licentious conversation. There is no wish to resist. They are not overtaken by temptation, for they seek it. With them the transgression becomes habitual, and the stain on the character is deep and lasting.
- Sentimental Literature.- In another connection, we have referred particularly to the baddy, obscene books and pictures which are secretly circulated among the youth of both sexes, and to their corrupting influence. The hope is not entirely a vain one that this evil may be controlled; but there seems no possible practicable remedy for another evil which ultimately leads to the same result, though by less gross and obscene methods. We refer to the sentimental literature which floods the land. City and school libraries, circulating libraries, and even Sunday-school libraries, are full of books which, though they may contain good moral teaching, contain, as well, an element as incompatible with purity of morals as is light with midnight darkness. Writers for children and youth seem to think a tale of "courtship, love, and matrimony" entirely indispensable as a medium for conveying their moral instruction. Some of these "religious novels" are actually more pernicious than the fictions of well-known novelists who make no pretense to having religious instruction a particular object in view. Sunday-school libraries are not often wholly composed of this class of works, but any one who takes the trouble to examine the books of such a library will be able to select the most pernicious ones by the external appearance. The covers will be well worn and the edges begrimed with dirt from much handling. Children soon tire of the shallow sameness which characterizes the "moral" parts of most of these books, and skim lightly over them, selecting and devouring with eagerness those portions which relate the silly narrative of some love adventure. This kind of literature arouses in children premature fancies and queries, and fosters a sentimentalism which too often occasions most unhappy results. Through their influence, young girls are often led to begin a life of shame long before their parents are aware that a thought of evil has ever entered their minds.
The following words from the pen of a forcible writer * present this matter in none too strong a light:-
“You may tear your coat or break a vase, and repair them again ; but the point where the rip or fracture took place will always be evident. It takes less than an hour to do your heart a damage which no time can entirely repair. Look carefully over your child’s library ; see what book it is that he reads after he has gone to bed, with the gas turned upon the pillow. Do not always take it for granted that a book is good because it is a Sunday-school book.. As far as possible, know “who” wrote it, who illustrated it, who published it, who sold it.
“It seems that in the literature of the day the ten plagues of Egypt have returned, and the frogs and lice have hopped and skipped over our parlor tables.
“Parents are delighted to have their children read, but they should be sure as to what they read. You do not have to walk a day or two in an infested district to get the cholera or typhoid fever ; and one wave of moral unhealthy will fever and blast the soul forever. Perhaps, knowing not what you did, you read a bad book. Do you not remember it altogether? Yes! And perhaps you will never get over it. However strong and exalted your character, never read a bad book. By the time you get through the first chapter you will see the drift. If you find the marks of the hoofs of the devil in the pictures, or in the style, or in the plot, away with it.
“But there is more danger, I think, from many of the family papers, published once a week, in those stories of vice and shame, full of infamous suggestions, going as far as they can without exposing themselves to the clutch of the law. I name none of them ; but say that on some fashionable tables there lie ‘family newspapers’ that are the very vomit of the pit.
“The way to ruin is cheap. It costs three dollars to go to Philadelphia ; six dollars to Boston ; thirty-three dollars to Savannah ; but, by the purchase of a bad paper for ten cents you may get a thorough ticket to hell, by express, with few stopping places, and the final halting like the tumbling of the lightning train down the draw-bridge at Norwalk-sudden, terrific, deathful, never to rise.”
- Poverty.-The pressing influence of poverty has been urged as one cause of prostitution. It cannot be denied that in many cases, in large cities, this may be the immediate occasion of the entrance of a young girl upon a life of shame ; but it may still be insisted that there must have been in such cases, a deficiency in previous training ; for a young woman, educated with a proper regard for purity, would sooner sacrifice life itself than virtue. Again, poverty can be no excuse, for in every city there are made provisions for the relief of the needy poor, and none who are really worthy need suffer.
- Perhaps nothing fosters vice more than ignorance. Prostitutes come almost entirely from the more ignorant classes, though there are, of course, many exceptions. Among the lowest classes, vice is seen in its grossest forms and is carried to the greatest lengths. Intellectual culture is antagonistic to sensuality. As a general rule, in proportion as the intellect is developed, the animal passions are brought into subjection. It is true that very intellectual men have been great libertines, and that the licentious Borgias and Medicis of Italy encouraged art and literature ; but those are only apparent exceptions, for who knows to what greater depths of vice these individuals might have sunk had it not been for the restraining influence of mental culture ?
Says Deslandes, “In proportion as the intellect becomes enfeebled, the generative sensibility is augmented.” The animal passions seem to survive when all higher intelligence is lost. We once saw an illustration of this fact in an idiot who has brought before a medical class in a clinic at Bellevue Hospital, New York. The patient had been an idiot from birth, and presented the most revolting appearance, seemingly possessing scarcely the intelligence of the average dog; but his animal propensities were so great as to be almost uncontrollable. Indeed, he showed evidences of having been a gross debauchee, having contracted venereal disease of the worst form. The general prevalence of extravagant sexual excitement among the insane is a well-known fact.
- Various disease which cause local irritation and congestion of the reproductive organs are the causes of unchastity in both sexes, as previously explained. It not unfrequently happens that by constantly dwelling upon unchaste subjects until a condition of habitual congestion of the sexual organs is produced, young women become seized with a furor for libidinous commerce which nothing but the desired object will appease, unless active remedial measures are adopted under the direction of a skillful physician. This disease, known as “nymphomania”, has been the occasion of the fall of many young women of the better classes who have been bred in luxury and idleness, but were never taught even the first lessons of purity or self-control. Constipation, piles, worms, pruritis of the genitals, and some other less common diseases of the urinary and genital systems, have been causes of sexual excitement which has resulted in moral degredation.
- Hereditary Effects of Venereal Disease.-The transgressor is not the only sufferer. If he marries, his children, if they survive infancy, will in later years show the effects of their father’s sin, exhibiting the forms of the disease seen in its later stages. Scrofula, consumption, cancer, rickets, diseases of the brain and nerves, decay of the bones by caries or necrosis, and other diseases, arise in this way.
But it generally happens that the child dies before birth, or lingers out a miserable existence of a few days or weeks thereafter. A most pitiable sight these little ones are. Their faces look as old as children of ten or twelve. Often their bodies become reduced before death to the most wretched skeletons. Their hollow, feeble cry sends a shudder of horror through the listener, and impresses indelibly the terrible consequences of sexual sin. Plenty of these scrawny infants may be seen in the lying-in hospitals.
In children who survive infancy, its blighting influence may be seen in the notched, deformed teeth, and other defects ; and very often it will be found, upon looking into the mouth of the child, that the soft palate, and perhaps the hard palate as well.
- 1. The moment that prostitution is placed under the protection of law by means of a license, it at once loses half its disrepute, and becomes respectable, as do gambling and liquor-selling under the same circumstances.
2. Why should so vile a crime as fornication be taken under legal protection more than stealing or the lowest forms of gambling. Is it not a lesser crime against human nature to rob a man of his money by theft or by deceit and trickery than to snatch from him at one fell swoop his health, his virtue, and his peace of mind?
- Children should be early taught to reverence virtue, to abhor lust; and boys should be so trained that they will associate with the name of woman only pure, chaste, and noble thoughts. Few things are more deeply injurious to the character of woman, and more conducive to the production of foul imaginations in children, than the free discussion of such subjects as the “Beecher scandal” and like topics. The inquisitive minds and lively imaginations of childhood penetrate the rotten mysteries of such foul subjects at a much earlier age than many persons imagine. The inquiring minds of children will be occupied in some way, and it is of the utmost importance that they should be early filled without thoughts that will lead them to noble and pure actions.
Teach Self-Control.-One important part of early training is the cultivation of self-control, and a habit of self-denial, whenever right demands it. Another most essential part of a child’s moral training in the cultivation of right motives. To present a child no higher motives for doing right than the hope of securing some pleasant reward, or the fear of suffering some terrible punishment, is the surest way to make of him a supremely selfish man, with no higher aim than to secure good to himself no matter what may become of other people. And if he can convince himself that the pleasure he will secure by the commission of a certain act will more than counterbalance the probable risk of suffering, he will not hesitate to commit it, leaving wholly out of the consideration the question. Is it right ? or noble ? or pure ? A love of right for its own sake is the only solid basis upon which to build a moral character. Children should not be taught to do right in order to avoid a whipping, or imprisonment in a dark closet,-a horrid kind of punishment sometimes resorted to,-or even to escape “the lake of fire and brimstone.” Neither should they be constantly coaxed to right-doing by promised rewards,-a new toy, a book, an excursion, nor even the pleasures of Heaven. All of these incentives are selfish, and invariably narrow the character and belittle life when made the “chief” motives of action. Bur rather begin at the earliest possible moment to instill into the mind a love for right, and truth, and purity, and virtue, and an abhorrence for their contraries ; then will he have a worthy principle by which to square his life ;then will he be safe from the assaults of passion, of vice, of lust. A mind so trained stands up on an eminence from which all evil men and devils combined cannot displace it so long as it adheres to its noble principles.
- IF illicit commerce of the sexes is a heinous sin, self-pollution, or masturbation, is a crime doubly abominable. As a sin against nature, it has no parallel except in sodomy (see Gen. 19: 5, Judges 19:22). It is the most dangerous of all sexual abuses, because the most extensively practiced. The vice consists of any excitement of the genital organs produced otherwise than in the normal way. It is known by the terms, self-pollution, self-abuse, masturbation, onanism, manusupration, voluntary pollution, solitary or secret vice, and other names sufficiently explanatory. The vice is the more extensive because there are no bounds to its indulgence. Its frequent repetition fastens it upon the victim with a fascination almost irresistible. It may be begun in earliest infancy, and may continue through life.
Even though no warning may have been given, the transgressor seems to know, instinctively, that he is committing a great wrong, for he carefully hides his practice from observation. In solitude he pollutes himself and with his own hand blights all his prospects for both this world and the next. Even after being solemnly warned, he will often continue this worse than beastly practice, deliberately forfeiting his right to health and happiness for a moment's mad sensuality.
- Testimony of Eminent Authors.—Says a medical writer, "In my opinion, neither the plague, nor war, nor small-pox, nor similar diseases, have produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of onanism; it is the destroying element of civilized societies, which is constantly in action, and gradually undermines the health of a nation."
"The sin of self-pollution, which is generally considered to be that of Onan, is one of the most destructive evils ever practiced by fallen man. In many respects it is several degrees worse than common whoredom, and has in its train more awful consequences, though practiced by numbers who would shudder at the thought of criminal connection with a prostitute.”
- Dr. Adam Clarke as qtd. on p. 318
- “However revolting to the feelings it may be to enter upon such a subject, it cannot be passed over in silence without a great violation of duty. Unhappily, it has not been hitherto exhibited in the awful light in which it deserves to be shown. “The worst of it is that it is seldom suspected.” There are many pale faces and languid and nervous feelings attributed to other causes, when all the mischief lies here.”
- Sir W. C. Ellis as qtd. on p. 318
- We scarcely need add further evidence of the fearful extent of this evil, but will conclude with the following:-
“The pernicious and debasing practice of masturbation is a more common and extensive evil with youth of both sexes than is usually supposed.” “A great number of the evils which come upon the youth at and after the age of puberty, arise from masturbation, persisted in, so as to waste the vital energies and enervate the physical and mental powers of man.” “Many of the weaknesses commonly attributed to growth and the changes in the habit by the important transformation from adolescence to manhood, are justly referable to this practice."
- Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. as qtd. on p.318
- It is needless to recapitulate all the causes of unchastity which have previously been quite fully dwelt upon, nearly all of which are predisposing or exciting causes of solitary as well as of social vice. Sexual precocity, idleness, pernicious literature, abnormal sexual passions, exciting and irritating food, glutton, sedentary employment, libidinous pictures, and many abnormal conditions of life, are potent causes in exciting the vile practice; but by far the most frequent causes are evil associations, wicked or ignorant nurses, and local disease, or abnormality. These latter we will consider more particularly, as they have not been so fully dwelt upon elsewhere.
- Evil Associations.-A child may have been reared with the greatest care. From infancy he may have been carefully shielded from all pernicious influences, so that by the age of ten or twelve, when he is for the first time sent away to school, he may be free from vice; but when he associated with his fellow-students, he soon finds them practicing a habit new to him, and being unwarned, he speedily follows their filthy example and quickly becomes fascinated with the vice. Thousands have taken their first lessons in this debasing habit at school. Teachers and scholars testify that it is often practiced even in school hours, almost under the teacher’s eyes ; but where the infection most quickly spreads is in the sleeping apartments, where more than one occupy the same bed, or where several sleep in the same room.
Nothing is more indispensable to purity of body and of morals than a private sleeping room and a single bed for each student. Such an arrangement would protect the youth from the reception of much evil, and would allow an opportunity for privacy which every young man or youth needs for his spiritual as well as physical benefit. Not the least benefit of the latter class is the opportunity for a thorough cleansing of the whole body every morning, which is almost as indispensable to purity of morals as cleanliness of body. The same suggestion is fully as applicable to the sleeping arrangements of girls. The exceptional cases in which this plan would not be the best are very few indeed.
- Corruption in Schools.-Says Dr. Acton, “I cannot venture to print the accounts patients have given me for what they have seen or even been drawn into at schools. I would fain hope that such abominations are things of the past.” The entrance of a single corrupt boy into a school which may have been previously pure-though such schools must be extremely rare-will speedily corrupt almost the entire membership. The evil infection spreads more rapidly than the contagion of smallpox or yellow fever, and it is scarcely less fatal.
This danger exists not in public or city schools alone, but in the most select and private schools. A father who had kept his two sons under the care of a private governess for several years, and then placed them in a small school taught by a lady, and composed of a few small children from the most select families, was greatly astonished when informed by a physician that his sons showed symptoms of the effects of self0abuse. He was totally incredulous, but an investigation showed that they had already practices the vile habit for several years, having learned it of an infantile school-mate.
We are acquainted with one instance in which a primary school in a secluded and select community was nearly broken up by the introduction of this vile habit through a corrupt student. Many a watchful teacher has seen the light of growing intelligence suddenly dim and wane in the eye of his favorite student just when he was giving the most promise of developing unusual talents in literature, mathematics, or some one of the natural of physical sciences, and has been compelled to watch the devastating influence of this deadly upas tree that often claims the best and fairest human flowers as its victims.
- Wicked Nurses.-In those cases in which the habit is acquired at a very early age, the work of evil is usually wrought by the nurse, perhaps through ignorance of the effects of the habit. Incredible as it seems, it is proved by numerous instances that it is not an uncommon habit for nurses to quiet small children by handling or titillating their genital organs. They find this is a speedy means of quieting them, and resort to it regardless or ignorant of the consequences.
Not an Uncommon Case.-Prof Lusk of Bellevue Hospital College, New York, related to his medical class in our hearing a case which came under his observation in which all of the children in a large family had been taught the habit by a wicked nurse for the purpose of keeping them quiet after they were put to bed. The vileness that would lead a person to thus rob childhood of its innocence, and blast its prospects for this life and the next, is base enough for the commission of almost any-crime. Indeed, the crime could hardly have been a worse one had the nurse referred to in the above case in cold blood cut the throats of those innocent children ; perhaps it might have been better for the children.
- The Instructor in Vice.-Are these line perused by any one who ever taught another this vice so vile, and so certainly followed’ by penalties so terrible-penalties not upon the instigator but upon the hapless victim ? let such a person clothe himself in sackcloth and ashes, and do penance for the remainder of his life. The only way in which he can hope to atone even in some small degree for such a heinous crime, is by doing in all his power to warn those in danger against this sin. When all men receive their just deserts, what will be the punishment of such a one who has not, by thorough repentance and a life spent in trying to undo the work of ruin so foully wrought, in some measure disburdened himself in the consequences of his act
Sending children very early to bed before they are weary, “to get them out of the way,” or for punishment, is a grave error, as this may give rise to the vice. Confining children alone in a room by themselves is an equally reprehensible practice, as it favors the commission of the act, at least, an may afford a favorable opportunity for its discovery. Allowing children to form a habit of seeking solitude is an evil of the same nature.
- Signs of Self-Abuse.- The net which this vice weaves around its victims is so strong, and its meshes are so elaborately interwoven with all his thoughts his habits, and his very being, when it has been long indulged that it is important to be able to detect it when first acquired, as it may then be much more easily overcome than at any subsequent period. It is often no easy matter to do this, as the victim will resort to all manner of cunning devices to hide his vice, and will not scruple to falsify concerning it, when questioned. To be able to accomplish this successfully, requires a careful study, first of the signs by which those who indulge in the practice may be known, and, secondly, off the habits of the individuals.
- Suspicious Signs.-The following symptoms, occurring in the mental and physical character and habits of a child or young person, may well give rise to grave suspicions of evil, and should cause parents or guardians to be on the alert to root it out if possible:-
1. General debility, coming upon a previously healthy child, marked by emaciation, weakness, an unnatural paleness, colorless lips and gums, and the general symptoms of exhaustion, when it cannot be traced to any other legitimate cause, as internal disease, worms, grief, overwork, poor air of poor food, and when it is not speedily removed by change of air or appropriate remedial measures, may safely be attributed to solitary vice, no matter how far above natural suspicion the individual may be. Mistakes will be rare indeed when such a judgment is pronounced under the circumstances named.
- 3. Premature and effective development is a symptom closely allied to the two preceding. When it cannot be traced to such natural causes as overstudy, overwork, lack of exercise, and other influences of a similar nature, it should be charged to self-abuse. The early exercise of the genital organs hastens the attainment of puberty, in many cases, especially when the habit is acquired early, but at the same time saps the vital energies to that the system is unable to manifest that increased energy in growth and development which usually occurs at this period. In consequence, the body remains small, or does not attain that development which is otherwise would. The mind is dwarfed as well as the body. Sometimes the mind suffers more than the body in lack of development, and sometimes the reverse is true. This defective development is shown, in the physical organization of males, in the failure of the voice to increase in volume and depth of tone as it should; in deficient growth of the beard ; in failure of the chest to become full and shoulders broad. The mind and character show the dwarfing influence by failure to develop show the dwarfing influence by failure to develop those qualities which especially distinguish early womanhood. Such signs deserve careful investigation, for they can only result from some powerfully blighting influence.
- 10. Untrustworthiness appearing in a child should attract attention to his habits. If he has suddenly become heedless, listless, and forgetful, so that he cannot be depended upon, though previously not so, lay the blame upon solitary indulgence. This vice has a wonderful influence in developing untruthfulness. A child previously honest, under its baneful influence will soon become an inveterate liar.
- 11. Love of solitude is a very suspicious sign. Children are naturally sociable, almost without exception. They have a natural dread of being alone. When a child habitually seeks seclusion without a sufficient cause, there are good grounds for suspecting him of sinful habits. The barn, the garret, the water-closet, and sometimes secluded places in the woods, are the favorite resorts of masturbators. They should be carefully followed and watched, unobserved.
- 15. Easily frightened children are abundant among young masturbators, though all easily frightened persons are not vicious. It is certain, however, that the vice greatly exaggerates natural fear, and creates an unnatural apprehensiveness. The victim’s mind is constantly filled with vague forbodings of evil. He often looks behind him, looks into all the closets, peeps under the bed, an is consistently expressing fears of impending evil. Such movements are the result of of a diseased imagination, and they may justly give rise to suspicion.
- 19. Weak backs, pains in the limbs and stiffness of the joints, in children, are familiar signs of the habit. To the first of these conditions is due to the habitual stooping posture assumed by these children. The habit referred to is not the only cause of these conditions, but its causative occurrence is sufficiently frequent yo give it no small importance a suspicious indication.
- pp. 339-340
- 21. The gait of a person addicted to this vice will usually betray him to one who has learned to distinguish the peculiarities which almost always mark the walk of such persons. In a child, a dragging, shuffling walk is to be suspected. Boys, in walking rapidly, show none of that elasticity which characterizes a natural gait, but walk as if they had been stiffened at the hips, and as though their legs were pegs attached to the body by hinges. The girl wriggles along in a style quite as characteristic, though more difficult to detect with certainty, as females are often so “affected” in their walk. Unsteadiness of gait is an evidence seen in both sees, especially in advanced cases.
- 22. Bad positions in bed are evidences which should be noticed. If a child lies constantly upon its abdomen, or is often found with its hands about the genitals, it may be at least considered in a fair way to acquire the habit if it has not already done so.
- 23. Lack of development of the breasts in females, after puberty, is a common result of self-pollution. Still it would be entirely unsafe to say that every female with small mammary glands had been addicted to this vice, especially at the present time when a fair natural development is often destroyed by the constaant pressure and heat of “pads.” But this sign may well be given a due bearing.
- 24. Capricious appetite particularly characterizes children addicted to secret vice. At the commencement of the practice, they almost invariably manifest great voracity for food, gorging themselvesin the most gluttonous manner. As the habit becomes fixed, digestion becomes impaired, and the appetite is sometimes almost wanting, and at other times almost unappeasable.
25. One very constant peculiarity of such children is their extreme fondness for unnatural, hurtful, and irritating articles. Nearly all are greatly attached to salt, pepper, spices, cinnamon, cloves, vinegar, mustard, horse-radish, and similar articles, and use them in most inordinate quantities without other food, gives good occasion for suspicion.
- 27. Disgust for simple food is one of the traits which a victim of this vice is sure to possess. He seems to loathe any food which is not rendered hot and stimulating with spices and other condiments, and cannot be induced to eat it.
28. The use of tobacco” is good presumptive evidence that a boy is also addicted to a practice still more filthy. Exceptions to this rule are very rare indeed, if they exist, which we somewhat doubt. The same influences which would lead a boy to the use of tobacco would also lead him to solitary vice, and each sin would serve to exaggerate the other.
- 30. Acne, or pimples, on the face are also among the suspicious signs, especially when they appear upon the forehead as well as upon other portions of the face. Occasional pimples upon the chin are very common in both sexes at puberty and for a few years afterward, but are without significance, except that the blood may be somewhat gross from unwholesome diet or lack of exercise.
31. Biting the finger nails is a practice very common in girls addicted to this vice. In such persons there will also be found, not infrequently, slight soreness or ulceration at the roots of the nails and warts, one or more, upon one or both the first two fingers of the hands-usually the right.
- 37. Epileptic fits in children are not infrequently the result of vicious habits.
38. Wetting the bed is an evidence of irritation which may be connected with the practice ; it should be looked after.
39. Unchastity of speech and fondness for obscene stories betray a condition of mind which does not exist in youth who are not addicted to this vice.
As previously mentioned,, so single one of the above signs should be considered as conclusive evidence of the habit in any individual ; but any one of them may, and should, arouse suspicion and watchfulness. If the habit really exists, but a short time will elapse before other signs will be noticed, and when several point in the same direction, the evidence may be considered nearly, if not quite, conclusive. But persistent watching will enable the positive signs to be detected sooner or later, and then there can no longer be doubt. It is, of course, necessary to give the individual no suspicion that he is being watched, as that would put him so effectually on his guard as, possibly, to defy detection.
- Positive Signs.—The absolutely positive signs of solitary vice are very few. Of course the most certainly positive of all is detection in the act. Sometimes this is difficult, with such consummate cunning do the devotees of this Moloch pursue their debasing practice. If a child is noticed to seek a certain secluded spot with considerable regularity, he should be carefully followed and secretly watched, for several days in succession if needed be. Many children pursue the practice at night after retiring. If the suspected one is observed to become quickly quiet after retiring, and when looked at appears to be asleep, the bed clothes should be quickly thrown off under some pretense. If, in the case of a boy, the penis is found in a state of erection, with the hands near the genitals, he may certainly be treated as a masturbator without any error. If he is found in state of excitement, in connection with the other evidences, with a quickened circulation as indicated by the pulse, or in a state of perspiration, his guilt is certain, even though he may pretend to be asleep ; no doubt he has been addicted to the vice for a considerable time to have acquired so much cunning. If the same course is pursued with girls, under the same circumstances, the clitoris will be found congested, with the other genital organs, which will also be moist from increased secretion. Other conditions will be nearly as possible the same as those in the boy.
- Before puberty, the effect o the vice upon the genital organs is to cause an unnatural development, in both sexes, of the sensitive portions. When this is marked, it is pretty conclusive evidence of the vice. In girls, the vagina often becomes unnaturally enlarged, and leucorrhoea is often present. After puberty, the organs usually diminish in size, and become unnaturally lax and shrunken.
All of these signs should be thoroughly mastered by those who have children under their care, ad if not continually watching for them, which would be an unpleasant task, such should be on the alert to detect the signs t once when they appear, and then carefully seek for others until there is no longer any doubt about the case.
- Seminal emissions during sleep, usually accompanied by erotic dreams, are known as nocturnal pollutions or emissions, and are often called “spermatorrhea”, though there is some disagreement respecting the use of the latter term. Its most proper use is when applied to the entire group of symptoms which accompany involuntary seminal losses.
The masturbator knows nothing of this disease so long as he continues his vile practice; but when he resolves to reform, and ceases to defile himself voluntarily, he is astonished and disgusted to find that the same filthy pollutions occur during his sleep without his voluntary participation. He now begins to see something of the ruin he had wrought. The same nightly loss continues, sometimes being repeated several times in a single night, to his infinite mortification and chagrin. He hopes the difficulty will subside of itself, but his hope is vain; unless treated, it will probably continue until the ruin which he voluntarily began is completed. <br This disease is the result of sexual excesses of any kind ; it is common in married men who had abused the marriage relation, when they are forced to temporary continence from any cause. It also occurs in those addicted to mental unchastity, though they may be physically continent. It is not probable that it would ever occur in a person who had been strictly continent and had not allowed his mind to dwell upon libidinous imaginations.
- Unchaste thoughts act detrimentally in a two-fold way. They first stimulate the activity of the testes, thus increasing the overloading of the seminal vesicles. Lascivious thoughts during wakefulness are the chief cause of lascivious dreams.
- Certain circumstances greatly increase the frequency of the emissions, and thus hasten the injury which they are certain to accomplish if not checked; as, neglect to relieve the bladder and bowels at night, late suppers, stimulating food and drinks, and anything that will excite the genital organs. Of all causes, amorous or erotic thoughts are the most powerful. Tea and coffee, spices and other condiments, and animal food have a special tendency in this direction. Certain positions in bed also serve as exciting or predisposing causes; as sleeping upon the back or abdomen. Feather beds and pillows and too warm covering in bed are also injurious for the same reason.
In frequency, emissions will vary in different persons from an occasional one at long and irregular intervals to two or three a week, or several—as many as four in one case we have met—in a single night.
The immediate effect of an emission will depend somewhat upon the frequency of occurrence and the condition of the individual. If very infrequent, and occurring in a comparatively robust person, after the seminal vesicles have become distended with seminal fluid, the immediate effect of an emission may be a sensation of temporary relief. This circumstance has led certain persons to suppose that emissions are natural and beneficial. This point will receive attention shortly.
If the emissions are more frequent, or if they occur in a person of a naturally feeble constitution, the immediate effect is lassitude, languor, indisposition and often inability to perform severe mental or physical labor melancholy, amounting often to despair and even leading to suicide, and an exaggeration of local irritation, and of all the morbid conditions to be noticed under the head of “General Effects.” Headache, indigestion, weakness of the back and knees, disturbed circulation, dimness of vision, and loss of appetite, are only a few of these.
- Are Occasional Emissions Necessary or Harmless?-That an individual may suffer for years an involuntary seminal loss as frequently as once a month without apparently suffering very great injury, seems to be a settled fact with physicians of extensive experience, and is well confirmed by observation ; yet there are those who suffer severely from losses no more frequent than this. But when seminal losses occur more frequently than once a month, they will certainly ultimate in great injury, even though immediate ill effects are not noticed, as in exceptional cases they may not be. If argument is necessary to sustain this position, as it hardly seems to be, we would refer to the fact that seminal losses do not occur in those who are, and always have been, continent both mentally and physically, when such rare individuals can be found. They occur the most rarely in those who the most nearly approach the standard of perfect chastity ; so that whenever they occur, they may be taken as evidence of some form of sexual excess. This fact clearly shows that losses of this kind are not natural.
- Emission not Necessary to Health.-If it be argued that an occasional emission is necessary to relieve the overloaded seminal vesicles, we reply, the same argument has been used as an apology for unchastity ; but it is equally worthless in both instances. It might as well be argued the vomiting is a necessary physiological and healthful act, and should occur with regularity, because a person may so overload his stomach as to make the act necessary as a remedial measure. Vomiting is a diseased action, a pathological process, and is occasioned by the voluntary transgression of the individual. Hence, it is as unnecessary as gluttony, and must be wasteful of vitality, even though rendered necessary under some circumstances. So with emissions. If a person allows his mind to dwell upon unchaste subjects, indulges in erotic dreams, and riots in mental lasciviousness, he may render an emission almost necessary as a remedial effort. Nevertheless, he will suffer from the loss of the vital fluid just the same as though he had not, by his own consupiscence, rendered it in some degree necessary. And as it would have been infinitely better for him to have retained and digested food in his stomach instead of ejecting it-provided it were wholesome food-so it would have been better for him to have retained in his system the seminal fluid, which would have been disposed of by the system and probably utilized to very great advantage in the repair of certain of the tissues.
- An eminent English physician, Dr. Milton, who has treated many thousands of cases of this disease remarks in a work upon the subject as follows:-
“Anything beyond one emission a month requires attention. I know this statement has been impuged, but I am quite prepared to abide by it. I did not put it forward till I considered I had quite sufficient evidence in my hands to justify me in doing so.”
“An opinion prevails, as most of my readers are aware, among medical men, that a few emissions in youth do good instead of harm. It is difficult to understand how an unnatural evacuation can do good, except in the case of unnatural congestion. I have, however, convinced myself that the principle is wrong. Lads never really feel better for emissions ; they very often feel decidedly worse. Occasionally they may fancy there is a sense of relief, but it is very much the same sort of relief that a drunkard feels from a ram. In early life the stomach may be repeatedly overloaded with impunity, but I suppose few would contend that overloading was therefore good. The fact is that emissions are invariably more or less injurious ; not always visibly so in youth, not susceptible of being assessed as to the damage inflicted by any given number of them, but still contributing, each in its turn, a mite toward the exhaustion and debility which the patient will one day complain of.”
- Diurnal Emissions.-As the disease progresses, the irritation and weakness of the organs become so great that an erection and emission occur upon the slightest sexual excitement. Mere proximity to a female, or the thought of one, will be sufficient to produce a pollution, attended by voluptuous sensations. But after a time the organs become so diseased and irritable that the slightest mechanical irritation, as friction of the clothing, the sitting posture, or riding horseback, will produce a discharge which may or may not be attended by sensation of any kind. Frequently a burning or more or less painful sensation occurs ; erection does not take place. Even straining at stool will produce the discharge, or violent efforts to retain the feces when there is unnatural looseness.
- Again, that the seminal fluid is the most highly vitalized of all the fluids of the body, and that its rapid production is at the expense of a most exhaustive effort on the part of the vital forces, is well attested by all physiologists. It is further believed by some eminent physicians that the seminal fluid is of great use in the body for building up and replenishing certain tissues, especially those of the nerves and brain, being absorbed after secretion. Though this view is not coincided in by all physiologists, it seems to be supported by the following facts:-
1. The composition of the nerves and that of spermatozoa is nearly identical.
2. Men from whom the testes have been removed before puberty, as in the case of eunuch, are never fully developed as they would otherwise have been.
The nervous shock accompanying the exercise of the sexual organs-either natural or unnatural-is the most profound to which the system is subject.
The whole nervous system is called into activity; and the effects are occasionally so strongly felt upon a weakened organism that death results in the very act. The subsequent exhaustion is necessarily proportionate to the excitement.
- For the rising generation, those yet innocent of the evil practices so abundant in this age of sensuality, how the evil habit may be prevented is the most important of all questions connected with thus subject. This topic should be especially interesting to parents, for even those who are themselves sensual have seen enough of the evils of such a life to wish that their children may remain pure. There are, indeed, rare exceptions to this rule, for we sometimes learn of parents who have deliberately led their own children into vice, as though they desired to make them share their shame and damnation.
- From earliest infancy all of those influences and agencies which cultivate chastity should be brought into active exercise. These we need not repeat here, having previously dwelt upon them so fully. The reader is recommended to re-peruse the portion of the work devoted to this subject, in connection with the present section. If parents have themselves indulged in this vice, they should use special care that all of the generative and gestative influences brought to bear upon their children are the purest possible, so that they may no inherit a predisposition to sin in this direction.
Special care should be exercised to avoid corrupt servants and associates. Every servant not known to be pure should be suspected until proof of innocence has been established. They should be especially instructed of the evil arising from manipulation of the genitals even in infants, as they may do immense harm through simple ignorance.
- Timely Warning.-But, in spite of chaste surroundings and all other favorable circumstances, if the child is left in ignorance of his danger, he may yet fall a victim to the devices of servants or corrupt playmates, or may himself make a fatal discovery. Hence arises the duty of warning children of the evil before the habit has been formed. This is a duty that parents seldom perform even when they are not unaware of the danger. They in some way convince themselves that their children are pure, at least, even if others are corrupt. It is often the most difficult thing in the world for patents to comprehend the fact that “their” children are not the best children in the world, perfect paragons of purity and innocence. There is an unaccountable and unreasonable delicacy on the part of parents about speaking of sexual subjects to their children. In consequence their young, inquisitive minds are let wholly in ignorance unless, perchance, they gain information from some vile source.
Objections are raised against talking to children or young persons about matters in any degree pertaining to the sexual organs or functions. Some of the more important of them are considered in the introduction of this work, and we need not repeat here.
The little one should be taught from earliest infancy to abstain from handling the genitals, being made to regard it as a very improper act. When the child becomes old enough to understand and reason, he may be further informed of the evil consequences; then, as he becomes older, the functions of the organs may be explained with sufficient fullness to satisfy his natural craving for knowledge.
If this course were pursued, how many might be saved from ruin! It is, of course, necessary that the parents shall themselves be acquainted with the true functions of the organs before they attempt to teach any one else, especially children.
- When the habit and its effects are of very short duration, a cure is very readily accomplished, especially in the cases of children and females, as in them the evils begun are not continued in the form of involuntary pollutions. In cases of longer standing in males, the take is more difficult, but still the prospect of recovery is very favorable, provided the cooperation of the patient can be secured ; without this, little can be done. But in those cases the patient may as well be told at the outset that the task of undoing the evil works of years of sin is no easy matter. It can only be accomplished by determined effort, by steady perseverance in right doing, and in the application of necessary remedies. Those who have long practiced the vice, or long suffered severely from its effects, have received an injury which will inevitably be life-long to a greater or lesser extent in spite of all that can be done for them. Yet such need not despair, for they may receive inestimable benefit by the prevention of greater damage, which they are sure to suffer if the disease is allowed to go unchecked.
- In children, especially those who have recently acquired the habit, it can be broken up by admonishing them of its sinfulness, and portraying in vivid colors its terrible results, if the child is old enough to comprehend such admonitions. In addition to faithful warning, the attention of the child should be fully occupied by work, study, or pleasant recreation. He should not be left alone at any time, lest he yield to temptation. Work is an excellent remedy ; work that will really make him very tired, so that when eh goes to bed he will have no disposition to defile himself. It is best to place such a child under the care of a faithful person of older years, whose special duty it shall be to watch him night and day until the habit is thoroughly overcome.
In younger children, with whom moral considerations will have no particular weight, other devices may be used. Bandaging the parts has been practices with success. Tying the hands is also successful in some cases ; but this will not always succeed, for they will often contrive to continue the habit in other ways, as by working the limbs, or lying upon the abdomen. Covering the organs with a cage has been practiced with entire success. A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is an degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anaesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practices, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed. If any attempt it made to watch the child, he should be so carefully surrounded by vigilance that he cannot possibly transgress without detection. If he is only partially watched, he soon learns to elude observation, and thus the effect is only to make him cunning in his vice.
- The science of physiology teaches that our very thoughts are born of what we eat. A man that lives on pork, fine-flour bread, rich pies and cakes, and condiments, drinks tea and coffee and uses tobacco, might as well try to fly as to be chaste in thought. He will accomplish wonders if he remains physically chaste; but to be mental virtuous would be impossible for him without a miracle of grace.
One whose thoughts have been so long trained in the filthy ruts of vice that they run there automatically, and naturally gravitate downward-such a one must exercise especial care to secure the most simple, pure, and unstimulating diet.
The following precautions are necessary to be observed in relation to diet:-
1. “Never overeat”. If too much is taken at one meal, fast the next meal the give the system a chance to recover itself and to serve as a barrier against future transgressions of the same kind. Gluttony is fatal to chastity ; an overeating will be certain to cause emissions, with other evils, in one whose organs are weakened by abuse.
2. “Eat but twice a day”, or, if supper is eaten, let it be very light, and of the most simple food, as fruit, or fruit and bread. Nothing should be eaten within four or five hours of bed-time, and it is much better to eat nothing after three o’clock. The ancients ate but two meals a day ; why should moderns eat three or four? If the stomach contains undigested food, the sleep will be disturbed, dreams will be more abundant, and emissions will be frequent. A most imperative rule of life should be, “ever go to bed with a loaded stomach.” The violation of this rule is the great cause of horrid dreams and nightmare.
3. “Discard all stimulating food.” Under this head must be included, spices, pepper, ginger, mustard, cinnamon, cloves, essences, all condiments, salt, pickles, etc., together with animal food of all kinds, not excepting fish, fowl, oysters, eggs, and milk. It is hardly to be expected that all who have been accustomed to use these articles all their lives will discard them wholly at once, nor, perhaps, that many will ever discard them entirely ; but it would be better for them to do so, nevertheless. The only ones which should be tolerated under any circumstances should be lean beef or mutton, salt in very moderate quantities, and a moderate use of milk. Use as little of these as possible-“the less the better.”
4.”Stimulating drinks” should be abstained form with still greater strictness. Wine, beer, tea, and coffee should be taken under no circumstances. The influence of coffee in stimulating the genital organs is notorious. Chocolate should be discarded also. It is also recommended by some who suppose it to be harmless, being ignorant of the fact that it contains a poison practically identical with that of tea and coffee.
Hot drinks of all kinds should be avoided.
Tobacco, another stimulant, though not a drink, should be totally abandoned at once.
5. In place of such articles as have been condemned, eat fruits, grains, and vegetables. There is a rich variety of these kinds of food, and they are wholesome and unstimulating. Graham flour, oatmeal, and ripe fruit are the indispensables of a dietary for those who are suffering from sexual excesses.
- 1. From seven to nine hours’ sleep are required by all persons. The rule should be, Retire early and sleep until rested. Early rising is not beneficial unless it has been preceded by abundant sleep.
2. Arise immediately upon waking in the morning if it is after four o’clock. A second nap is generally unrefreshing, and is dangerous, for emissions most frequently occur at this time.
3. If insufficient sleep is taken at night, sleep a few minutes just before dinner. Half an hour’s rest at this time is remarkably refreshing; and even fifteen minutes spent in sleep will be fund very reviving. Do not sleep after dinner, as a pollution will be very likely to occur, and, as a rule, after-dinner naps are unrefreshing and productive of indigestion.
4. Never go to bed with the bowels or bladder loaded. The bladder should be emptied just before retiring. It is also a good plan to form the habit of rising once or twice during the night to urinate.
5. The position in sleeping is of some importance. Sleeping upon the back or upon the abdomen favors the occurrence of emissions ; hence, it is preferable to sleep on one side. If supper has been taken, the right side is preferable, as that position will favor the passage of food from the stomach into the intestines in undergoing digestion.
Various devices are employed, sometimes with advantage, to prevent the patient from turning upon his back while asleep. The most simple is that recommended by Acton, and consists in tying a knot in the middle of a towel and then fastening the towel about the body in such a way that the knot will come upon the small of the back. The unpleasant sensations arising from pressure of the knot, if the sleeper turn upon his back, will often serve as a complete preventative. Others fasten a piece of wood upon the back for a similar purpose. Still others practice tying one hand to the bed post. None of these remedies should be depended upon, but they may be tried in connection with other means of treatment.
6. Soft beds and pillows must be carefully avoided. Feather-beds should not be employed when possible to find a harder bed ; the floor with a single folded blanket beneath the sleeper, would be preferable. Soft pillows heat the head, as soft beds produce heat in other parts. A hair mattress, or a bed of corn husks, oat straw, or excelsior-covered with two or three blankets or a quilted cotton mattress-makes a very healthy and comfortable bed.
7. Too many covers should be avoided with equal care. The thinnest possible covering in summer, and the lightest consistent with comfort in winter, should be the rule. Sleeping too warm is a frequent exciting cause of nocturnal losses.
8. Thorough ventilation of the sleeping-room, both while occupied and during the day-time, must not be neglected. It should be located in a position to admit the sunshine during the morning hours. It is a good plan to keep in it a number of house plants, as they will help to purify the air, besides adding to its cheerfulness.
- Dreams.-This is a subject of much interest to those suffering from nocturnal pollutions, for these occurrences are almost always connected with dreams of a lascivious nature.
In perfectly natural sleep, there are no dreams ; consciousness is entirely suspended. In the ordinary stage of dreaming, there is a peculiar sort of consciousness, many of the faculties of the mind being more or less active while the power of volition is wholly dormant. Carpenter describes another stage of consciousness between that of ordinary dreaming and wakefulness, a condition “in which the dreamer has a consciousness that he is dreaming, being aware of the unreliability of the images which present themselves before his mind. He may even make voluntary and successful efforts to prolong them if agreeable, or to dissipate them if unpleasing ; thus evincing a certain degree of that directing power, the entire want of which is characteristic of the true state of dreams.”
- Can Dreams Be Controlled?-Facts prove that they can be, and to a remarkable extent. A large share of emissions occur in the state described by Dr. Carpenter, in which a certain amount of control by the will is possible. This is the usual condition of the mind during morning naps ; and if a person resolutely determines to combat unchaste thoughts whenever they come to him, whether asleep or awake, he will find it possible to control himself not only during this semi-conscious state, but even during more profound sleep.
- A still greater control is exerted over the thoughts during seep by their character during hours of wakefulness. By controlling the mind during entire consciousness, it will also be controlled during unconsciousness or semi-consciousness.
Dr. Acton makes the following very appropriate remarks of this subject:-
“Patients will tell you that they ‘’cannot’’ control their dreams. This is not true. Those who have studied the connection between thoughts during waking hours and dreams during sleep know that they are loosely connected. The “character” is the same sleeping or waking. It is not surprising that, if a man has allowed his thoughts during the day to rest upon libidinous subjects, he should find his mind at night full of lascivious dreams--the one is a consequence of the other, and the nocturnal pollution is natural consequence, particularly when diurnal indulgence has produced an irritability of the generative organs. A will which in our waking hours we have not exercised in repressing sexual desires, will not, when we fall asleep, preserve us from carrying the sleeping echo of our waking thought father then we dared to do in the day-time.”
- A daily bath is indispensable to health under almost all circumstances ; for patients of this lass, it is especially necessary. A general bath should be taken every morning immediately upon rising. General “cold bathing” is not good for any person, especially in thee morning, though some may tolerate it remarkably well, being of exceptionally hardy constitutions ; but the advice to try “cold bathing” often to sufferers from seminal weakness, is very pernicious, for most of them have been reduced so low vitality by their disease that they cannot endure such violent treatment.
Sun baths, electric baths, spray, plunge, and other forms of bath, are of great value to those suffering from the effects of indiscretions.
- Said a leading physician in New York to us when interrogated as to his special treatment off spermatorrhoea, “When a young man comes to me suffering from nocturnal emissions, I give him tonics and send him to a woman.” That this is not an unusual method of treatment, even among regular physicians, is a fact as true as it is deplorable. There are hundreds of young men whose morals have been ruined by such advice. Having been educated to virtuous habits, at least so far as illicit intercourse is concerned, though their inclinations are very strong; but when advices by a physician to commit fornication s a remedial measure, they yield their virtue, far too readily sometimes, and begin a life of sin from which they might have been prevented. There are good grounds for believing that many young men purposely seek advice from physicians whom they know are in the habit of prescribing this kind of remedy.
Few know how commonly this course is recommended, and not by quacks, but by members of the regular profession. A medical friend informed us that he knew a case in which a country physician advised a young man of continent habits to go to a neighboring large city and spent a year or so with prostitutes, which advice he followed. Of his subsequent history we know nothing; but is is most probable that, like most other young men who adopt this remedy, he soon contracted disease which rendered his condition ten times worse than at first, without at all improving his former state. In pursuing this course, one form of emission is only substituted for another, at the best; but more than this, an involuntary result of disease is converted into a voluntary sin of the blackest character, a crime in which two participate, and which is not only an outrage upon nature, but against morality as well.
- Marriage.-Another class of practitioners, with more apparent regard for morality, recommend matrimony as the sure panacea for all the ills of which the sufferers from self-abuse complain, with the possible exception of actual impotence. Against this course several objections may be urged; we offer the following:-
1. It is not a remedy, since, as in the case of illicit intercourse, “legalized prostitution” is only a substitution of one form of emissions for another, the ill effects of which do not differ appreciably.
2. If it were a remedy, it would not a justifiable one, for its use would necessitate an abuse of the marriage relation, as elsewhere shown.
3. As another reason if a “good”, one, it may well be asked, What right has a man to treat a wife as a vial of medicine? Well does Mr. Acton inquire, “What has the young girl, who is thus sacrificed to an egotistical calculation, done that she should be condemned to the existence that awaits her? Who has the right o regard her as a therapeutic agent, and to risk thus lightly her future prospects, her repose, and the happiness of the remainder of her life.
- Drugs, Rings, etc.-If drugs, “per se”, will cure invalids of any class, they are certainly worthless in this class of patients. The whole material medica affords no root, herb, extract, or compound that alone will cure a person suffering from emissions. Thousands of unfortunates have been ruined by long-continued drugging. One physician will purge and salivate the patient. Another will dose him with phosphorus, quinine, or ergot. Another feeds him with iron. Another plies him with lipuline, camphor, and digitaline. Still another narcotizes him with opium, belladonna, and chloral. Purgatives and diuretics are given by another, and some will be found ready to empty the whole pharmacopoeia into the poor sufferer’s stomach if he can be got to open his mouth wide enough.
The way that some of these poor fellows are blistered, and burned, and cauterized, and tortured in sundry other ways, is almost too horrible to think of; yet they endure it, often willingly, thinking it but just punishment for their sins, and perhaps hoping to expiate them by this cruel penance. By those procedures, the emissions are sometimes temporarily checked, but the patient is not cured, nevertheless, and the malady soon returns.
The employment of rings, pessaries, and numerous other mechanical devices for preventing emissions, is entirely futile. No dependence can be placed upon them. Some of these contrivances are very ingenious, but they are all worthless, and time and money spent upon them are thrown away.
- The sin of self-pollution is one of the vilest, the basest, and the most degrading that a human being can commit. It is worse than beastly. Those who commit it place themselves far below the meanest brute that breathes.
The Living TempleEdit
- Battle Creek, MI: Good Health Publishing Company, (1903). Full text online.
- Said the great Teacher, “If your son asks for bread, will you give him a stone?” The body calls for bread, for life-giving food, but how often we supply, instead, such indigestible, unwholesome rubbish as pickles, green olives, fried foods, and various abominable mixtures which bring into the body death rather than life. How often, too, the voice which calls for pure, life-giving water is insanely answered by such disease-producing drinks as beer, whisky, wine, tea, or coffee, and the like.
- p. 58
- Man rears his cattle, his sheep, and his poultry much like household pets. His children make his lambs their playmates. Side by side his oxen toil with him in the field. In return for kindness, they give affection. What confidence they repose in him! how faithfully they serve! With winter's frost an evil day arrives,—a day of massacre, of perfidy, of bloodshed and butchery. With knife and ax he turns upon his trusted friends, the sheep that kissed his hand, the ox that plowed his field. The air is filled with shrieks and moans, with cries of terror and despair; the soil is wet with warm blood, and strewn with corpses.
- p. 186
- There is a fraternity more comprehensive and more universal than the “brotherhood of man.” Let us think and speak of the “brotherhood of being.” Let us see in the ox a patient, industrious kinsman, worthy of respect. Let us see and recognize in the sheep a meek and docile fellow creature appealing to us for protection and admiration.
- pp. 189-190
- Let us not forget that the sunlight is God's smile of benediction; that the sunshine is Heaven's light and life and glory, the true Shekinah, the real presence with which the temple needs most to be filled; that the cooling breeze is the breath of heaven, a veritable messenger of life, carrying healing on its wings.
- p. 412
- The man who desires to have a clear head, a brain keenly alive to the subtle influences of the universe about him, alert to respond to every call made upon it by the bodily organs under its supervision, ready to receive impressions from the infinite source of universal thought, and capable of thinking the high thoughts of God after him, must live simply, abstemiously, naturally, and must avoid every harmful and inferior food. He will select the choicest food stuffs. These will consist of fruits, nuts, legumes, and dextrinized grains,—that is, well-toasted grain preparations, toasted bread, toasted wheat flakes, etc. He will eat sparingly, never to repletion. He will exercise out of doors at least two or three hours daily, living as much of the time as possible in the open air. He will sleep eight hours at night. He will take a vigorous cold bath every morning on rising, and, at least two or three times a week, will take a warm cleansing bath just before going to bed at night. He will conserve for useful work every energy of mind and body. He will endeavor to live righteously in the largest sense of the word.
- pp. 422-423
- While man regards his body as a harp of pleasure to be played upon so long as its strings can be made to vibrate, so long will he continue to travel down the hill of physical decadence and degeneration in spite of quarantine laws and the most minute sanitary regulations. But when he recognizes his divine origin and obligations, and himself as the crowning masterpiece of creation, his body a precious thing, to be sacredly preserved, developed, expanded, and purified for service for humanity in this world, and a never-ending opportunity for development and joyous existence in the world to come, then only will he begin to climb toward the heights from which he has fallen, where he may once more stand forth as the crowning glory of creation, the masterpiece of God, “the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals.”
- pp. 431-432
- It is interesting to note that scientific men all over the world are awakening to the fact that the flesh of animals as food is not a pure nutriment, but is mixed with poisonous substances, excrementitious in character, which are the natural results of animal life.
- Quoted in Some Glimpses of Occultism: Ancient and Modern by C. W. Leadbeater, Rajput Press, 1909, p. 265.
- The vegetable stores up energy. It is from the vegetable world—the coal and the wood—that the energy is derived which runs our steam engines, pulls our trains, drives our steamships, and does the work of civilization. It is from the vegetable world that all animals, directly or indirectly, derive the energy which is manifested by animal life through muscular and mental work. The vegetable builds up, the animal tears down. The vegetable stores up energy; the animal expands energy. Various waste and poisonous products result from the manifestation of energy, whether by the locomotive or the animal. The working tissues of the animal are enabled to continue their activity only by the fact that they are continually washed clean by the blood, a never-ceasing stream flowing through and about them, carrying away the poisonous products resulting from their work as rapidly as they are formed. The venous blood owes its character to these poisons, which are removed by the kidneys, lungs, skin and bowels. The flesh of a dead animal contains a great quantity of these poisons, the elimination of which ceases at the instant of death, although their formation continues for some time after death. An eminent French surgeon recently remarked that ‘beef tea is a veritable solution of poisons.’
- Quoted in Vegetarianism and Occultism, by C. W. Leadbeater (1913)
- There is nothing necessary or desirable for human nutrition to be found in meats or flesh foods, which are not found in and derived from vegetable products.
- The New Dietetics, What to Eat and How: A Guide to Scientific Feeding in Health and Disease, Battle Creek, MI: The Modern Medicine Publishing Co., 1921, p. 366.
- The ejection from their country of a people whose blood is far superior to their own as indicated by all racial tests
- from "Germany's Futile Effort at Race Betterment", an October 1935 editorial in Good Health, quoted on page 215 of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and the Religion of Biologic Living by Brian C. Wilson (published in 2014 by Indiana University Press) and page 313 of "The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek" by Howard Markel (published in 2017 by Pantheon Books)
- A dead cow or sheep lying in a pasture is recognised as carrion. The same sort of a carcass dressed and hung up in a butcher's stall passes as food! Careful microscopic examination may show little or no difference between the fence corner carcass and the butcher shop carcass. Both are swarming with colon germs and redolent with putrefaction.
- Quoted in Romance of the Cow by Dahyabhai H. Jani, The Bombay Humanitarian League, 1938, p. 81.
- Encyclopedic article on John Harvey Kellogg on Wikipedia
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