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and ten years of age, according to Dr. Copland.
Unsuspected Rottenness.--Parents who have no suspicion of the evil,
who think their children the embodiment of purity, will find by careful
observation and inquiry,--though personal testimony cannot be relied
upon,--that in numerous instances their supposed virtuous children are
old in corruption. Such a revelation has brought dismay into many a
family, only too late in some cases.
Not long since a case came under our care which well illustrates the
apathy and blindness of parents with respect to this subject. The
parents of a young man whose mind seemed to be somewhat disordered,
sent word to us through a friend respecting his condition, asking advice.
We suspected from the symptoms described the real cause of the disease,
and urged prompt attention to the case. In a short time the young man
was placed under our immediate care without encouragement of a cure,
and we gave the case still closer study. The characteristic symptoms
of disease from self-abuse were marked, but the father was positive
that no influence of that kind could have been at work. He had watched
his son narrowly from infancy, and did not believe it possible for him
to have been guilty. In addition, the young man had long been remarkable
for his piety, and he did not believe there could be any possibility
of his being guilty of so gross a crime.
A short time sufficed, however, to secure the indisputable evidence
of the fact by his being caught in the act by his nurse.
This young man was a sad example of what havoc is made with the "human
form divine" by this debasing vice. Once a bright boy, kind,
affectionate, active, intelligent, the pride of a loving mother and
the hope of a doting father, his mind had sunken to driveling idiocy.
His vacant stare and expressionless countenance betokened almost
complete imbecility. If allowed to do so, he would remain for hours
in whatever position his last movement left him. If his hand was raised,
it remained extended until placed in a position of rest by his attendant.
Only with the utmost difficulty could he be made to rise in the morning,
to eat, drink, or walk. Only by great efforts could he be aroused from
his lethargy sufficiently to answer the most simple question. The
instinctive demands of decency in regarding the calls of nature were
not respected. In short, the distinguishing characteristics of a human
being were almost wholly obliterated, leaving but a physical semblance
of humanity; a mind completely wrecked, a body undergoing dissolution
while yet alive, a blasted life, no hope for this world, no prospect
for the next. In the insane asylums of the country may be seen hundreds
of these poor victims in all stages of physical and mental
Causes of the Habit.--It is needless to recapitulate all the causes
of unchastity which have previously been quite fully dwelt upon, nearly
all of which are predisposing or exciting causes of solitary as well
as of social vice. Sexual precocity, idleness, pernicious literature,
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