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A Solemn Appeal

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    EFFECTS OF UNCHASTITY UPON THE MIND

    Unchastity, as we have already seen, deranges, debilitates and ruins the body. Now, out of this startling fact arises another fact, if possible more startling. It is that unchastity deranges, debilitates and ruins the mind. That this latter fact must follow the former, is clear in the consideration that the body is the seat of the mind, and the medium through which it acts. The mind gets its simple ideas through the medium of the body. And in proportion to the perfectness of this medium does the mind improve. But when the body is debilitated, languid, sick, it is injured, and ruined as a medium for the action of the mind. Consequently the mind is then shut up to itself in weakness and destitution. Moreover, the mind increases its stock of knowledge and its energy by the reflection upon its ideas. So that on ideas, by reflection, ideas grow. But when the body is feeble and sick, reflection cannot be supported. (Witness the case of thousands of invalids.) As, then, reflection is necessary to mental improvement, and as a sound body is necessary to clear and continued reflection, so is a sound body necessary to high mental improvement. Once more - the ability of the mind to use the knowledge it has, is dependent upon the body. Thus, whatever weakens the body, in so far locks up the mental treasure-house against even itself. But unchastity does weaken and debilitate the body, and by consequence, as we have above seen, the mind also. But to be a little more particular:SOAP 15.2

    1. By unchastity, especially by solitary vice, the mind suffers lassitude. By lassitude, we mean that dozy indifference which the victims of venereal excesses often feel.SOAP 16.1

    To be sure, sensation and conscious energy may be, for a time and at intervals, exalted, under the influence of this unnaturalness. But unless they be exalted to the point of insanity, the system soon relapses, and sinks into the condition above mentioned. This condition is the perfectly-natural result of the exhaustion of the nervous energy upon the venereal passion. It is indicted by a general feeling of irresolution, and this more especially in the morning. Students, as many of them as are vicious, are the sorest sufferers from it. And, in general, persons of sedentary habits are most liable to it, although no victim of solitary vice is safe from it. Says Dr. Deslandes, “Young men who previously showed considerable vivacity of mind and aptitude for study, become, after being addicted to this habit [solitary vice], stupid and incapable of applying themselves. It is evident that this transitory state which immediately succeeds the act of venery, becomes continued when this act is frequently repeated, because time is not allowed for the effects of it to pass off.” But if unchastity - more especially solitary vice - unfits students for their work, so does it young farmers, mechanics, seamstresses, etc., for theirs. It is always and every where, “evil, only evil, and that continually.”SOAP 17.1

    2. By unchastity, especially by solitary vice, the mind suffers permanent debility. Dr. Woodward says that loss of memory and power of application shows the devastating effects of solitary vice upon the mind. Says Todd in his “Student’s Manual,” “Remember that the fruits of this habit (solitary vice) are, (1) great debility of the memory, (2) great prostration of foolish imbecility of the mind.”SOAP 17.2

    But while the memory suffers so much from this vice that it has been marked by all who have written upon this subject, still it does not suffer alone. All the mental faculties partake of the general blight. Perception is made dull and obtuse, the reasoning powers are blunted. Nothing is seen clearly - nothing is understood perfectly. The whole mental man is sunk; and this, more or less, according to the degree of venereal abuse. To all this the reflecting reader will assent.SOAP 18.1

    3. From debility the mind often sinks into idiocy. We have already seen that Dr. Woodward reckons idiocy among the consequences of solitary vice. And it is no marvel that whatever induces mental lassitude and debility, should finally induce vacant idiocy itself. The tendency is all that way. “Last fall,” says the author of “Facts and Important Information,” etc., “I saw a young woman in a town in Massachusetts who had made herself an idiot by masturbation. A most miserable creature she was. Her looks and gestures were indescribable; licentiousness, like a foul plague, had blasted everything beautiful in her face, everything noble and lovely in her soul.” Says Dr. Clarke, by this vice the mind is ‘often debilitated even to idiotism.’SOAP 18.2

    In the fall of 1844, the writer visited the Massachusetts State Lunatic Hospital. While being conducted through the various apartments, mingling promiscuously with the insane, our attention was suddenly arrested by the peculiarly haggard, frantic, wild, and fiendish appearance of a young man, turning from us with his eye turned back over his shoulder. Struck with his shocking aspect, we inquired of our attendant, a young physician, what was the cause of his insanity. “Solitary vice,” was the ready reply. Thought we, solitary vice produces solitary insanity! for we never saw the like before. We further asked, Have you many here from that cause? “A large proportion,” was the reply. More than from intemperance? “Oh, yes, far more.” Do you find ladies alike victims of that practice? “We know no difference.” We were now passing through a large room where a number of beautiful and apparently intelligent young ladies sat gazing mutely upon us. But, doctor, what are your prospects of cure in such cases? “When there is reason enough left to make the patients see and feel that by abandoning the habit they may be cured, we have good hope; but not otherwise.” This last sentiment agrees perfectly with a remark of Deslandes’, that “when they (crazy persons) do indulge, this act must be considered as a bad symptom, since it constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to the cure: it destroys the strength, and finally produces, in the patients, stupidity, phthisis, marasmus, and death.” And surely nothing but death was wanting to fill this picture in the case of the young man to whom we have just alluded.SOAP 19.1

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