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habits. The father had used neither liquor nor tobacco in any form.
The mother could give no light on the matter, and we were obliged to
rest for the time being upon the conviction which fastened itself upon
us that the cases before us were most marked illustrations of the
results of self-abuse begun at a very early age. The mother thought
it impossible that our suspicions could be correct, saying that she
had watched her sons with jealous care from earliest infancy and had
seen no indications of any error of the sort. But we had not long to
wait for confirmation of our view of the case, as they were soon caught
in the act, to which it was found that they were greatly addicted, and
the mystery was wholly solved.
Every possible remedy was used to check the terrible disease which was
preying upon the unfortunate boys, but in vain. At times the symptoms
would be somewhat mitigated, and the most sanguine hopes of the fond,
watching mother would be excited, but in vain. The improvement always
proved to be but temporary, and the poor sufferers would speedily
relapse into the same dreadful condition again, and gradually grew
worse. At last, the poor mother was obliged to give up all hope, in
utter despair watching the daily advances of the awful malady which
inch by inch destroyed the life, the humanity, the very mind and soul
of her once promising sons. Sadly she took them back to her Western
home, there to see them suffer, perhaps for years before death should
kindly release them, the terrible penalty of sin committed almost
before they had arrived at years of responsibility.
How these mere infants learned the vice we were never able to determine.
We have no doubt that opportunities sufficient were presented them,
as the parents seemed to have very little appreciation of danger from
this source. Had greater vigilance been exercised, we doubt not that
the discovery of the vice at the beginning would have resulted in the
salvation of these two beautiful boys, who were sacrificed upon the
altar of concupiscence. Two or three years after we first saw the cases,
we heard from them, and though still alive, their condition was almost
too horrible for description. Three or four similar cases have come
to our knowledge.
Boys, are you guilty? Think of the fearful fate of these boys, once
as joyous and healthy as you. When you are tempted to sin, think of
the fearful picture of the effects of sin which they present. Have you
ever once dared to commit this awful sin? Stop, never dare to do the
thing again. Take a solemn vow before God to be pure. Your fate may
be as sad, your punishment as terrible. No one can tell what the results
may be. Absolute purity is the only safe course.
A Prodigal Youth.--A. M., son of a gentleman of wealth in Ohio, early
acquired the evil practice which has ruined so many bright lads. He
was naturally an intelligent and prepossessing lad, and his father gave
him as good an education as he could be induced to acquire, affording
him most excellent opportunities for study and improvement. But the
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