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A Solemn Appeal

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    SELF-ABUSE

    “Self-abuse is, probably, the most flagrant violation of the sexual law; the grossest abuse of the sexual function; and it is a practice fraught with the most disastrous consequences to the health, happiness, and even life of the race. It is an evil even more damning than any other to which mankind is subject! Language supplies to words sufficiently strong to express the horrors which result from it! And surely if the evil one, in tempting our first parents, had foreseen that this practice would have been the result of the passions he aroused, he must have been more than satisfied with his ignoble work.SOAP 84.2

    “Self-abuse is practiced in almost every country, and by persons of all ages and both sexes. Many children are born with this propensity, and the habit is commenced in infancy, or in early childhood, by handling the genital organs; the friction and irritation giving rise to a peculiar kind of excitement which they are unable to resist. The habit formed at this early age is usually kept up till after puberty, if the system does not earlier succumb to its ill effects. The little, puny, sickly, dwarfed, and diminutive men-and-women-looking children that we sometimes see are many of them examples of this habit.SOAP 85.1

    “Others who have escaped the vice at so early an age are often initiated into the practice of self-pollution at the age of eight or ten by their playmates, their school-fellows, or by hired servants; and all this without a thought of evil on the part of the little masturbators.”SOAP 85.2

    “Those who have neither inherited the vice nor learned it from others, often commence the habit of self-abuse about the age of puberty when the development of the sexual organs and the establishment of the sexual function produce a peculiar uneasiness of the parts, to allay which, this habit is at first almost unconsciously fallen into.SOAP 86.1

    “Of course, the excitement and irritation, instead of being allayed, are by this means increased, and the momentary pleasure experienced induces a repetition of the act, till by-and-by the habit becomes fully established. This goes on voluntarily for from three to ten years, till those who practice it learn from some source that this habit must, sooner or later, lead them to misery and, perhaps, destruction; but by this time the organs have become so weakened, and the system so impoverished, that, although the habit may be abandoned, in nine cases out of ten the loss will be continued in the form of involuntary nocturnal and, perhaps, diurnal emissions.”SOAP 86.2

    Mr. O. S. Fowler says: ‘I have known boys not yet four years old both practice self-abuse and indulge with the opposite sex; and have known hundreds ruined by it before they entered their teens.’ ‘I have been consulted in cases almost without number by those on the brink of ruin who sought relief from the consequences of this vice. I know it by its infallible signs, and go where I will, in the busy street, in the lecture-room, in the family, they throng me like leaves in autumn.’SOAP 86.3

    “Dr. Woodward says: ‘I have never conversed with a lad twelve years of age who did not know all about the practice, and understand the language used to describe it.’SOAP 87.1

    “William C. Woodbridge says: ‘This solitary, but fatal, vice is spreading desolation throughout our schools and families, unnoticed and unknown.’SOAP 87.2

    “E. M. R. Wells, a teacher in Boston, says: ‘Thousands of pure-minded and amiable boys and young men are undermining their physical constitutions, and prospectively corrupting their souls,by a pleasurable, and to many of them innocent, gratification.’SOAP 87.3

    “Dr. Alcott says: ‘There is not a town in New England whose bills of mortality from year to year are not greatly increased by this fearful and wide-wasting scourge.’SOAP 87.4

    “Dr. Snow, of Boston, says: ‘Self-pollution is undoubtedly one of the most common causes of ill health that can be found among the young men of this country. I am satisfied the practice is almost universal. Boys commence it at an early age; and the habit once formed like that of intemperance, becomes almost unconquerable. In boarding-schools and colleges it obtains almost without exception.’ “SOAP 87.5

    When a primary law of the human system is violated, the most disastrous consequences must follow. There is no law of the animal economy that is violated with so great risk to life and happiness as the sexual law; no function, the abuse of which is followed by such deleterious results as the sexual function.SOAP 88.1

    “The evils which result from self-abuse do not come upon the victim all at once; they creep in so slowly, so unconsciously, that they are often scarcely perceived until he is upon the verge of ruin. Multitudes of unpleasant feelings arise, which are attributed to a variety of causes, but they are seldom traced to their true source.SOAP 88.2

    “Truly, if there is a wretched being upon earth, it is the person who has habitually practiced self-abuse, even for a few years. It brings disaster and ruin upon every part of the system. It drains away the life-power, the vitality, the proper elements of health and strength, and destroys the ability to grow and develop, and increase in beauty and vigor. It takes away the materials that are needed to produce a noble, high-toned, healthy and happy human being. It crushes out the image of God, and stamps in its place that of the destroyer. It withdraws such an amount of life-force from the blood that every organ and tissue of the body is left so enfeebled and debilitated as to become an easy prey to disease. Self-abuse opens the door for consumption, dyspepsia, nervous debility, apoplexy, epilepsy, paralyses, insanity, and almost every disease from which humanity suffers.SOAP 88.3

    “It weakens and deranges the stomach, the liver, the kidneys, the bowels, the muscles, the bones, the nerves, the brain, and all the various organs of the body.”SOAP 89.1

    “The inordinate craving for spirituous liquors and tobacco, which is to-day so almost universal, is due, in a great measure, to the lack of vital force in the system, resulting from sexual abuses.”SOAP 89.2

    “Stimulants and narcotics fail most signally to satisfy the terrible craving; for self-abuse enkindles a flame which cannot be extinguished! It opens the flood-gates of the passions, and ingulfs all that is pure and true! It makes a hell where Christ says ‘the kingdom of Heaven is’! Ask him whose life-force has been exhausted in this direction, and he will tell you ... that his thoughts are a consuming fire! his hopes and aspirations blasted as by the lightning’s shock! his mind shattered and vapid, his whole life a constant burden, and his every duty an irksome task! He will tell you that his waking hours are filled with anguish, and his sleep disturbed by cursed and depraving dreams. Self-abuse is a sure road to the grave, which is often longed for as a haven of rest from the uncontrollable and never-ending sufferings of its victim.SOAP 89.3

    “This picture, full of horrors as it is, is not overdrawn; in truth ‘the half hath not been told;’ nor would volumes contain all that might be said, all that should be said, upon this terrible and revolting evil. Truly, ‘there is no more degrading bondage than the bondage of one’s own lusts.’ “SOAP 90.1

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