INTELLIGENT PARENTAGE - FAVORABLE AND ADVERSE CONDITIONS.
The first work of the forces of organic life in plants and animals is the complete development of the in dividual. The vigor of every living being should increase until it attains full growth. No waste of this maturing force can be sustained but at the ex pense of permanent loss of vigor. The most fully developed and perfect plant and animal can give the most perfect fruitage. In man, consolidation of bone, muscle, and brain does not come until the age of twenty-four or twenty-six years; in woman but little earlier. Full development is certainly as im portant and desirable in men and women, in prepa ration for their office as parents, as in the inferior living things about us. Boy and girl parents cannot, and never will, attain the full, solid, maturity of bodily or intellectual strength which would have been their due, and can never give children what they do not have themselves. While early marriage and parentage is undoubtedly better than reckless waste of the forces of soul and body in vicious living, the wise, patient self-control, which defers marriage until full fitness for parentage, is the far better way. There is no exercise of human capabil 34 ity that deserves such perfection of action of all the vital resources as the gift of immortality to another fellow-creature. In the poorest home this trust can be so honorably fulfilled that the children, receiving the richest vigor of both parents, may have a wealth of mental and physical life, superior to either father or mother. A marriage is vitally wrong which does not include parentage, or look conscientiously and rationally forward to at least a fair hope of its favorable issue to children.
God most wisely entrusted the bestowal of life to two distinct individuals, and this conservative foresight rightly understood, and its natural principles applied in the founding and conduct of family and home life, would save great sorrow and pain in the after care of a family, and much suffering to children.
Undoubtedly the boon of a sentient, unending life is a precious one, even with heavy burdens and many limitations, but in its fulness it is an infinitely higher good. The best of the powers of two parents who are strong and well balanced in organization can give great mental and physical energy. Persons thus endowed make their way from childhood to old age, triumphing over climatic changes, disease, and the usual vicissitudes of life, with an ease and cer tainty hardly known to common mortals. No great man or woman was ever born without these essential conditions. We must not forget that, the higher the order of being, the greater the vigor required for its perpetuation; hence, in man and woman, the neces sity and duty of cherishing their best powers in order to be fit for the parental act. Is not the very best being we can give our children their simplest right? The following briefly stated principles should be fully understood. They are not theories, but truths, illustrated in varying phases in every station and condition of life all about us.
In order to the proper exercise of the genesic office, I. The parents should be at maturity.
II. There should be a reasonable possession of all the healthful qualities of being by either father or mother, or both.
III. Neither must be suffering from temporary indisposition, as colds, influenzas, summer sicknesses, or injuries depressing the health.
IV. They should be in the best mental and bodily condition at the time of procreation, and for some weeks previously.
V. They must be fully rested, not exhausted by over-labor of brain or muscular system, by depressing mental influences, habitual sleeplessness, or genesic excess.
VI. There should be no habitual or present in fluence of alcoholic stimulation, or narcotism, or great mental perturbation.
VII. There should be the fullest affection of the parents for each other, physical, intellectual, spirit ual.