The destructive influence of the perversion of crea tive power by men and women conjointly, whether in the haunts of vice or in the secret liaison of lover, mistress, or adulterous paramour, in degrading youth ful association or excesses in marriage, is more dis astrous than can be conceived. There may be a little more limitation in the opportunities for degradation than in solitary vice, but the harm is baleful and widespread, as it is ever the crime of two, and its curse extends as far as they lead others to a similar life.
After the full beginning of adolescence, the power ful attracting influence between the sexes becomes a quickening, restraining, and exalting impulse to both, if it has its natural results. Just in proportion to its abuse in thought or act, it is a fascinating destructive force, which reaches, as its advantages were designed to do, every hope and interest cf life. Ever in tak ing up this topic of thought, a picture rises before me sketched in a story told me of a traveller who was lost in the crater of Mount Vesuvius. The guides called to him not to venture upon the dry, yielding ashes within the scarcely defined brink, but he went a few steps too far, and fell, his pitiful cries and strug gles and half-smothered moans paralyzing the heart of every beholder. The fumes of sulphurous smoke benumbed his heart and brain, and he was lost ! What guides can guard the edge of the volcanic crater of Self Indulgence from the feet of our chil dren, or the hidden pitfalls covered by the flowery fascinations of sensual happiness, one of the deepest and most dangerous depths of which we are now con sidering, and from which so few are ever reclaimed? There is no greater human power exerted than the dual sexual magnetic attraction, and surely there is no stronger influence to be resisted than this where its sway has once been yielded to.
Thirty years ago I was consulted by a middle-aged woman who for several years had been relieved of severe pain by being put into a mesmeric sleep by a friend, a strong, healthful woman, who was her opposite in general temperament. The pain was always controlled in this way, and after several hours' sleep the patient awoke refreshed, and usually the pain did not immediately return. During the years of her ill health several different persons men or women, as the circumstances indicated — min istered to her relief. When obliged to do without this aid, the pain was more severe than at first, and she had become singularly devoid of power to bear pain, and almost incapable of independent volition in any direction. She acknowledged she had less and less ability to resist magnetic influence, every new person 'controlling her seeming to subordinate her will more perfectly, until she felt it impossible to resist the inclination to go to sleep if some persons looked at her earnestly. Much as she desired the
relief given, at my earnest injunction she discarded this unfortunate habit, and after a time regained a measure of will power.
A most singular and valuable lesson was taught by this lady's experience, that the persons thus affecting her not only held an unconscious and undesired power over her, but their thoughts and motions of will swayed her action when she had no distinct consciousness of it. I several times put this matter to the test, and afterward asking her why she did certain things out of the routine of her usual habits of life when I knew they accorded with the mental action of the one influencing her, I invariably received as answer, "I do not know why; I felt as if I must do it." This power is no doubt consciously or un consciously exerted by every human being, and its measure and extent is like the dominant character istics of the person from whom it emanates. The men or women whose whole beings are aflame with the habitual stirring of sexual feeling carry with them a sensual magnetic charm, which, if yielded to, is intense and controlling over those with whom they have intimate agreeable association. Both men and women have this influence over their companions of the same sex as themselves, but more over those of the opposite sex. It is this which enables men of ignoble mind and character to hold sway over women of integrity and purity; or women of strong nature, although of degraded life, without culture or any worthy attraction, to rule tyrannically the lives of men whose native manliness and strength would seem to render it impossible. Those unfortu nates, either men or women, who have been under such influence as has led to illicit sexual intercourse with different persons in youth or later age, have passed under a process of subjugation which makes the man or woman, otherwise strong, a servile weak ling before this magnetic fascination. The words of our Saviour explain the union through this attraction which is designed in a true Christian marriage : " He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh. Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What there fore God path joined together, let not man put Of these mysterious secret influences, sub tle and grand as the impulse which wheels our earth through her orbit, I believe woman holds that which is most powerful and far reaching, which, though hidden and silent, has yet a mighty sway for good or ill.