LESSONS FROM NATIONAL HISTORY.
A glance at Old Testament history (and its analogue is found in that of all degenerate nations) shows the divine hatred of this perversion. In the last part of the ninth chapter of Genesis, the historian tells us of Shem's dishonor of his father, and of his two brothers' reverence of his fatherhood in his drunken shame. Many centuries later we have details of the national character of Shem's numerous and wealthy descend ants. The debased thought that held lightly and disclosed to others a father's humiliated manhood, has grown to such national decadence and rottenness that God says to the Israelites, to whom the desecrated land was to be given, "the land is defiled, therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants; ye shall there fore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations . . . that the land spue not you out also when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you." In the twenty-second verse of the chapter, describing their degradation (Leviticus xviii), is defined the form of debased creative power which blighted Sodom and the four ill-fated cities that perished in the same memorable overthrow. The destruction of the land of Canaan, and of those populous cities where ten men could not be found guiltless of the vice of so domy, was most merciful. No less a wise moral surgical necessity was the terrible destruction of the Jewish tribe, related in Judges xix., xx., xxi., for such pa rents must, of necessity, entail upon their children an insanity like that of nymphomania and satyriasis, which so subverts all moral power that they would have no wish to attain, or conception of, any higher life than that of mere sensual gratification.
Lessons from personal history.
Were I to repeat here the startling revelations of the misery and degradation resulting in individual life, and in some respectable homes, from disobe dience to the seventh commandment, I should fill a volume several times larger than this. The thought of so much needless suffering is pitiable, but the unwritten records of mental and physical anguish from this sin are countless. As I write these pages from the story of those I have known, I hope my true words may turn aside some helm from its sure swift bearing upon fatal quicksands. A healthful lad, dur
ing his eleventh summer, was initiated by the servant man, in whose room he slept, into the habit of sliding the prepuce over the structures beneath, and from that time the sexual sensations were provoked every day. In a few weeks, mucous secretions occurred at intervals; at twelve years of age, seminal emissions came daily at the call of the fretted nerves; and from this time till he reached nineteen the habit was rarely omitted for twenty-four hours. He did not grow well, was not strong, and for this reason was kept at study because out-door work was too hard, and at twenty he became much reduced with a chronic and obstinate bronchial affection, supposed to be pulmonary consumption. At this time, in read ing, he for the first time learned the exhausting char acter of the habit of masturbation, and tried earnestly and conscientiously to rectify the habit and its con sequences. The secretions, formerly so frequently compelled, now came involuntarily and with the ac customed frequency; and in spite of all his efforts at recovery, the central sapping influence went on, until, at twenty-one, his physician advised an early mar riage. He soon after married a young lady near his own age, who had delicate health, but instead of finding marriage a cure, the old clamor in the nerves went on, and, in the vain hope of stilling it, full rein was given to the exercise of " marital rights " (?), till, at the close of a year, the young wife, and baby prema turely born, were laid in one grave.
With still more enfeebled health, he tried again for self-mastery, with varying success; married, within two years, an excellent and sensible woman, whose distress and surprise at his marital excesses (which were extreme), well-nigh led to permanent aliena tion. Now came a fearful struggle for self-control, attended with much suffering and alternate defeat and triumph. The only child of this marriage was a son, whose great nervous excitability and recklessness has given them little but care and sorrow to the pre sent hour.