MASTER NEGA TIVE NO. 91 -80442 MICROFILMED 1992 COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES/NEW YORK as part of the "Foundations of Western Civilization Preservation Project" Funded by the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES Reproductions may not be made without permission from Columbia University Library COPYRIGHT STATEMENT The copyright law of the United States - Title 17, United States Code — concerns the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material... Columbia University Library reserves the right to refuse to accept a copy order if, in its judgement, fulfUlment of the order would involve violation of the copyright law. AUTHOR: rifLt STIMSON, HENRY ALBERT THE EVOLUTION OF CHASTITY PLACE: DATE: 1904 COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES PRESERVATION DEPARTMENT Master Negative # Restrictions on Use: BIBLIOGRAPHIC MICROFORM TARGET Original Material as Filmed - Existing Bibliographic Record 170 f V.2 I ( n-i. o^innon, Honry Albert, 1042-1936. The evolution of chastity, by... n ocn« • « enry A. Gtiio^ r* c^Oj. 88. :: c:n in fiG-/- en. Heprint fro. Libliotheca nacra. January 1904. VcluKo of pamphlets Ji>7 TECHNICAL MICROFORM DATA FILM SIZE:__iL^_l'2'___^:.__ REDUCTION RATIO:_/././ IMAGE PLACEMENT: lA MIA? IB IIB DATE FILMED: ^^^/j/fi_ INITIALS,/?^ HLMEDBY: RESEARCH pObLICATIONS. INC WOODBRIDGE. CT c Association for information and Image IManagement 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1100 Silver Spring, Maryland 20910 301/587-8202 Centimeter 12 3 4 5 iliii 6 iiliiii Liii 7 8 9 10 11 liiiiliiiiliiiiliiiiliiiiliiiiliiiiliiiili m 12 13 14 15 mm liiiiliiiiliiiiliiiiliiiilniiliiiil TTT I I I I I TTT Inches 1 1.0 1^ 2.8 1^ 3.2 1^ 1 71 3.6 l.i ■so Uku, 1.25 1.4 TTT 2.5 2.2 2.0 1.8 1.6 TTT 1 MfiNUFflCTURED TO fillM STflNDfiRDS BY APPLIED IMfiGE, INC. (\ \ ^."' 1 The Evolution of Chastity /^ By the Reverend HENRY A. STinSON, D.D. I ? ^ V [Reprint from Bibliotheca Sacra, January, 1904] 1904.] The Evolution of Chastity. 81 ARTICLE IV. THE EVOLUTION OF CHASTITY. BY THE REVEREND HENRY A. STIMSON, D.l>. This article has nothing to do with biblical revelation. It raises no question as to God's creating man in his own image. Christian dogmatics as a science detaches itself entirely from the question of how God created man, that it may limit itself to the fact that He did create him, and to the consequent re lationship. Man's ultimate moral responsibility unquestion ably covers his entire conscious existence, and is to God. Having said this, we are free to study the phenomena of hu- man life and character as they present themselves in the great distinctive groups: the physical phenomena, the moral. and the social. It is now an accepted truth with the biologist that the em- bryo, human or animal, reveals in these earliest stages of its history the lines of its subsequent development. It is prob- able that if we could properly observe we should find in the protoplasmic cell from which the embryo springs an equally clear indication of what the subsequent physical history of the particular organism would be. We could know the man there as definitely as we can in the baby. It seems to be true that no two atoms in the universe are identical, and that each stands related to the group to which it belongs, or to the con- nection in which its inherent force is to find its subsequent opportunity, in so distinctive a way that its history may be foretold. But whether this be so or not, the important fact is that the line of development of the human embryo is that of the later development of the man ; and as the physical or- gans unfold in a regular sequence in the embryo, so the facul- ties, physical, mental, and moral, of the man, have also their fixed natural sequence. They do not all appear together. Man acquires the power to hear, to see, to digest, to stand, to walk, and also to think, to estimate, to measure, to weigh, to forecast, step by step. The moral faculties also obey the same law, and have their true sequence; fear, avarice, love, hate, desire, passion, conscience, all showing a fixed relation to a normal line of unfolding. With perhaps not the same certainty, but along the same line, it is now generally believed that the life history of a race or a tribe is in the same way foretold in the development of the individual. Men moving together in the mass in the social organism, show the same definite, ordered development as appears in the individual man. Physical traits precede the intellectual, and they in turn the moral. Men, grouped together at first under the guidance of physical necessities, are under the control of physical powers. They need food, or a common defense, or merely physical well-being. Later they seek companionship for intellectual stimulus and grati- fication; and still later the moral and religious faculties find sustenance and opportunity in the association of man with his kind. So that only relatively late in any particular in- stance does a social group show the completed form of well- ordered existence in which the spiritual or ethical and intel- lectual and physical are rightly related and equally matured. In the light of this principle, now so universally recognized in human history, it is manifestly necessary to reexamine many well-established judgments. We know that with children we do harm when we crowd upon undeveloped minds studies that properly belong only to a later physical and intellectual stage. f^ i M The Evolution of Chastity. [Jan.* And we are unjust and even cruel when we demand moral discernment that lies quite beyond their years. There is, for example, a time when to a child a lie means nothing, when selfishness and greed are but the normal animal instincts, and when passion and violence are only the primitive expression of weakness and fear. Many a child has been punished for an apparent moral obliquity of which it was utterly uncon- scious, as it has had attributed to it motives of which as yet it was physically (and therefore morally) incapable. With equal truth we are to measure the moral status of a community or a race only in connection with its ethical age, that is, the stage at which it has arrived in its moral develoi>- ment. Otherwise we are unjust. We may hold up our own standards as an ideal for its future advancement ; we may not insist upon them as the measure of its present character. George Eliot says, " The level to which one man strives in vain to rise, is that to which if another falls he is lost." I propose to show the importance of this principle in one rela- tion, and the light it casts upon a single social evil. The other day a Southern woman, writing on the Negro question, at the South, found difficulty in putting into words the extent of her contempt for Negro women, because of what she esteems their constitutional impurity. She does not believe there is, or at least she never has known, a single negro woman whom she thought chaste. And she proceeded to jus- tify her own antagonism to the race, and the treatment of the negro which is now expressed in Southern legislation and largely justified in Southern society, on the ground that chas- tity is a sacred trust divinely committed to the Anglo-Saxon race. There is a general and singular tendency for people to as- sume that what is committed to them by inheritance, either 1904.] The Evolution of Chastity, H in property or personal traits, is characteristic, and marks aa. inherent distinction which is theirs by the grace of God. The particular possession or trait may be of most recent acquisi- tion and in its nature readily lost. Its origin and history are bravely ignored. The wealthy daughter of the shoemaker who, having made the family fortune, has departed this life, sneers at the son of the successful tailor whose task of money- making is not yet completed ; and the wife of the professor in. the college town, or of the man of letters or of science in the city, has a comfortable feeling of superiority over her neigh- bor the wife of the grocer or the butcher. Dr. Johnson's friend who thought all foreigners are fools, has a very flour- ishing progeny. We none of us can easily escape the comfort- able conviction that if in any direction God has given us more than others, it is because of some native and inherent superi- ority on our part, to which, in the divine providence, external conditions have been made properly in some degree to cor- respond ; in the language of the French nobleman, we think, " God knows a gentleman when he sees him." Light would be thrown on many burning questions, and something would be done to ameliorate the scorn which is frequently felt for people less favorably circumstanced than ourselves, if the history of the evolution of human society were kept in mind. In the case in hand, chastity, for example, so far from being the characteristic of a particular race or in- herent in any one grade of human society, is one of the latest of acquisitions, and one of the most unstable. It pertains characteristically to no stage of human existence, and has proved as difficult to maintain among the highest as in any stage below. Witness the dissoluteness of court life in almost any generation, the immiorality of princes as exalted as Louis XIV. or of queens as favored as Mary Stuart or the virgin 84 The Evolution of Chastity. [Jan. 1904.] The Evolution of Chastity, 85 Elizabeth, not to speak of the notorious impurity of most European courts to-day. This has always been true. We need not go back for our proofs to the earliest periods of human society, the courts of the Pharaohs or of Sardanapalus. Unchastity was no bar to the position of woman in the best days of Greece, and in Rome the sneer of the satirist told the undisputed truth that the great ladies of the Empire counted the years by their husbands. Even a man of the personal character and refinement of Cicero did not rise above the kvel of his times, and readily gave away his wife to his friend. The Old Testament, authoritative expression as it is of the mind of God, is by no means a record of the lives of men who can be adopted as examples, and as a book of morals has care- fully to be guarded as furnishing principles, but not patterns. Nowhere in antiquity is there evidence that feminine chastity was an original gift to any race, or was a permanent mark of any state of civilization. It is true that Tacitus noted as a characteristic of some of the remoter German tribes that they had a habit of planting their homes in the solitude of the for- est, and highly prized the virtue of their women. But this was only an incidental case; and there is no instance of a race acquiring the idea of the chastity of woman as a virtue and holding it as a prized possession, except as the result of a long and bitterly maintained struggle. From the standpoint of the historian, Renan says that " Tens of thousands of women had to be stoned to death before adultery could be got recognized by them as a crime." The difficulty with which it is held in that position in the feminine mind is illustrated by the constant falling off of public opinion even in the best so- ciety, and the manner in which those who depart from the stricter code are tolerated. Even our highly favored Americant life is gaining a shameful notoriety because of the looseness of the marriage tie. We justify the sneer of the satirist, that we differ from the Mormons only in this that we drive wives tandem, and they drive them abreast. And shocking as is the evidence from time to time thrust upon us of the moral degra- dation that exists in neglected rural communities, the fre- quency with which divorce and prompt marriage with a para- mour occur and awaken no condemnation in the topmost social circles in our great cities, is painful testimony to the instabil- ity of our moral standards and the prolonged and insistent struggle by which alone they can be secured. The most brilliant and the most successful attack upon Christianity in modern times was that of Voltaire. It is by common consent the most unspiritual, immoral, and irreligious of them all. The " infamous " thing, as he termed it, against which his m.ain assault was dealt, was simply continence and chastity. To him chastity was the mystic key of the Christian holiness. Voltaire and his friends held that chastity is no vir- tue at all, but generally an impediment to free human happi- ness. This, in the testimony of the historian to-day, is the underlying motive of the line of attack upon Christianity which has never ceased from that time to this, and has lost none of its virulence. As a professed doctrine, free love may not be decent, but it is a practical experience into which individuals, even the loftiest, are continually falling and by which whole groups of the most highly developed in human society are continually affected. Indeed, it is safe to say that to-day there is no community, whether in Christian societies or in heathen, so cultivated or so exalted that it is safe from this form of demoralization or is at any time without its numerous in- stances. Christianity, and Christianity alone, with the possible exception of Judaism in its later development, has proved able to arrest this tendency or to awaken or maintain this concep- WPS 86 The Evolution of Chastity, [Jan. tion of virtue. So far from its being inherent in civilization and refinement, one is never safe to assume its existence. Even among Christian nations the literature which depicts the lives of the higher classes, and which certainly furnishes the reading of those classes, is loaded with suggestions of impur- ity. A distinguished French lecturer in New York last winter urged his hearers not to judge of the France of to-day by the novels which are produced by its chief writers, asserting that the great body of the French people, the people of common life, and outside the cities, are as pure and as simple as in any land ; while at the same time he was comf>elled to acknowledge the gross impurity of French literature and the correctness of its picture of the most aristocratic French society. Whether we turn to Russian, or German, or Scandinavian, or even English society, the same is true, and our American aristo- cratic life as we see it in New York, bears its own shameful testimony. A recent visit to the older part of Pennsylvania, settled by the sturdiest and most religious of German emi- grants two generations ago, brings to light a condition of im- purity existing to-day among their young people that is diffi- cult to put into words. The point to be observed is that the conception of feminine chastity as a supreme virtue, which is so easily assumed as characteristic of a particular race or group, is only a late acquisition, the result of prolonged and painful development, and is maintained only with effort, Everywhere in society, at home or abroad, there is abundant evidence of the feeling expressed by the famous French trag- edienne Madame Bernhard, who, when asked by an American friend for her opinion on the Decalogue, replied simply, " // y en a trap." The truth is, as George Eliot said, that " Man is by nature an unmitigated savage; let him alone, and he lapses into barbarism." The social virtues and refinements 1904.] The Evolution of Chastity. 87 in which we glory and by which we so readily distinguish our superiority above our neighbors, particularly those of another speech or another skin, are often the thinnest veneer; and are at best the result of circumstances in our history or condition the most accidental. Nothing but the grace of God and the most strenuous obedience to the Christian code of ethics will preserve for us what little of permanent moral charac- ter we may at any time have acquired. Relax even a little in our watchfulness, and we seem quickly to lose all that we have gained. When, therefore, we find ourselves tempted, as people of Anglo-Saxon birth are very apt to be tempted, in discussing our relations to what we call inferior races, lightly to throw aside moral obligations or justify ourselves in de- parting from the strictest rule of right, on the ground that the higher code is only for ourselves, we are sure not only to deal unjustly with others but to undermine the very founda- tions of our boasted superiority. It is simply suicide to im- ply that for any immediate gain, however desirable, we are justified in setting aside the strictest observance of the moral law. There can be but one true code of morals. It has been hard to learn it, harder to maintain it in practice. But as hu- man society advances, it gains in significance as well as in power. And there never was a time, and perhaps never a community, in which its assertion and its absolute inviolability were more to be insisted upon. We are entering upon a new stage of history. The opportunity of the Anglo-Saxon is coming in new forms of national development and in new relations to other races. The history of such virtues as we possess, and the consciousness of the unsteadiness and weak- ness of our practice even of those virtues which we claim as peculiarly our own, are so marked that we may well feel ourselves called to walk humbly. We may indeed be proud I 88 The Evolution of Chastity, [Jan. of our distinction and our opportunities, but it is well not to forget the path by which we have come into them and the instability of our present tenure. Then we will be not only more just in judging others and more pitiful to those less favorably circumstanced, but also more modest and more hon- est in judging ourselves. Woman never held a loftier posi- tion than the one she occupies in America to-day. No one can impair it but herself. And as for the men, we will do well to try to understand the spirit of that noble-minded Lon- don physician and philosopher, the late Dr. James Hinton, who, with all his distinguished doings to choose from and his intimate knowledge of the needs of modern society, said on his death-bed : " If I am to be remembered at all, this is what I would be remembered by : I am the man who said, ' Man is so made that he can rise above the sexual passion and sub- ordinate it to use.' There ! even if that be false and all else I have said was true, I would rather be remembered as having said that one falsehood than by all the truths." There is permanent validity in Lady Mary Wortley Mon- tague's remark that there are but two kinds of people, men and women. This is the one unfading distinction. Upon their holding their true place and moving forward together, each without degrading the other, depends the progress of the race, and the ultimate attainment of the true goal of ex- istence. The worth of the goal may be measured by the dif- ficulty of the contest.