There is another influence at work in causing race degeneracy concerning which the majority of girls are ignorant, and that is immorality. The prevalent idea that young men must “sow their wild oats” is accepted by many young women as true, and they think if the lover reforms before marriage and remains true to them thereafter, that is all they can reasonably demand. They will not make such excuses for themselves for lapses from virtue, but they imbibe the idea that men are not to be held to an absolute standard of purity, and so think it delicate to shut their eyes to the derelictions of young men. This chapter of human life is a sorrowful one to read, but to heed its warnings would save many a girl from sorrow, many a wife from heartache.
The law of God is not a double law, holding woman to the most rigid code of a “thou shalt not” and allowing men the liberty of a “thou mayest.”
Effects of Immorality
The penalty inflicted for the violation of moral law is one of the most severe, both in its effects upon the individual transgressor and upon his descendants. The most dreadful scourge of physical disease, as well as moral degeneracy, follows an impure life. This disease, known as syphilis, is practically incurable. It may temporarily disappear, only to reappear in some other form later in life; and even after all signs have become quiescent in the man, they may reappear in his children in some form of transmission. Even one lapse from virtue is enough to taint the young man with this dreadful poison, which may be in after years communicated to his innocent wife or transmitted to his children.
Dr. Guernsey says: “I do not overdraw the picture when I declare that millions of human beings die annually from the effects of poison contracted in this way, in some form of suffering or other; for, by insinuating its effects into and poisoning the whole man, it complicates various disorders and renders them incurable. This horrible infection sometimes becomes engrafted upon other acute diseases, when lingering disorders follow, causing years of misery, and only terminating in death. Sometimes the poison attacks the throat, causing most destructive alterations therein. Sometimes it seizes upon the nasal bones, resulting in their entire destruction and an awful disfigurement of the face. Sometimes it ultimates itself in the ulceration and destruction of other osseous tissues in different portions of the body. Living examples of these facts are too frequently witnessed in the streets of any large city. Young men marrying with the slightest taint of this poison in the blood will surely transmit the disease to their children. Thousands of abortions transpire every year from this cause alone, the poison being so destructive as to kill the child in utero, before it is matured for birth; and even if the child be born alive, it is liable to break down with most loathsome disorders of some kind and die during dentition; the few that survive this period are short-lived, and are unhealthy so long as they do live. The first unchaste connection of a man with a woman may be attended with a contamination entailing upon him a life of suffering, and even death itself. Almost imperceptible in its origin, it corrupts the whole body, makes the very air offensive to surrounding friends, and lays multitudes literally to rot in the grave. It commences in one part of the body, and usually, in more or less degree, extends to the whole system, and is said by most eminent physicians to be a morbid poison, having the power of extending itself to every part of the body into which it is infused, and to other persons with whom it in any way comes in contact, so that even its moisture, communicated by linen or otherwise, may corrupt those who unfortunately touch it.”
If girls were aware of all this they would not only be careful how they marry immoral men, but they would shrink from personal contact with them as from a viper. Not one, but many girls who have held somewhat lax ideas concerning the propriety of allowing young men to be familiar have reaped the result in a contamination merely through the touch of the lips. To-day a young woman in good social standing is a sufferer from this cause. She was acquainted with a young man of respectable family, but immoral life. His gaiety had a fascination for her, and his reputed wildness only added to the charm. On one evening, as he escorted her home, and took leave of her on the doorstep, she allowed him to kiss her. It chanced that at the time she had a small sore on her lip. The poisonous touch of his lips conveyed the infection through this slight abrasion, and she became tainted with the syphilitic virus, and to-day bears the loathsome disfigurement in consequence. I do not need to multiply such cases. You can be warned by one as well as by a hundred.
A young woman of pure life married a man whose reputation was bad, but whose social position was high. To-day she is suffering from the horrible disease which he communicated to her, and her children have died or are betraying to the world in their very faces the story of their father’s wrong deeds. Truly you cannot afford to be ignorant of facts so grave as these.