Too frequently there are those who in their natural inclinations allow themselves whatever liberties are not specifically prohibited by the moral code, just as there are in business matters too many who do not hesitate at any transaction which is "o' the windy side of the law," and construe. like the lawyer Mr. Vholes in Dickens' novel, everything to be moral which is legal. One such it was our chance to meet, one who professed to live according to the highest religious life, and yet who defended the propriety of an occasional indulgence in solitary licentiousness on the ground that it was nowhere prohibited in the New Testament.

This defence, urged as it was by one decidedly above the average in talents and acquirements, impressed us strongly with the need of a more definite expression of opinion on the part of teachers, both medical and religious, in reference to the duties of man in relation to his sexual nature.

All readers are familiar with the cardinal difference that exists between the manner of teaching of the Old and the New Testament, that the former lays down a defined ethical code chiefly in the method of prohibition, while the latter inculcates principles and motives of a positive character, which, followed out, necessarily carry with them all and more than all the force of the older law.

"While, therefore, in the older books we found a minuteness of detail not surpassed even in special sanitary works, we must not expect a reiteration of these in the Evangelists and Apostles. But what we may expect, and what we do find in abundance, are numberless exhortations to purity, chastity, and cleanliness, warnings against lewdness, unclean-ness, the lusts of the flesh, and the abominations which were in vogue in the corrupt cities of the Roman Empire, at that time rapidly declining toward the pit of effeminacy and ruin into which it finally fell. The prevailing licentiousness of the times is over and over again referred to, and the strictest injunctions given to the early Christians to keep themselves aloof from the pitch which defiled the social life of the heathen.

Paul was too well aware of the destructive consequences of sexual vice either to omit the mention of it, or to pass it by with a timid delicacy. He refers to it with distinct emphasis, and sounds his warnings in no ambiguous words.

The precise view taken of the marital relation by our Saviour and his disciples, has always been and continues to be an unsettled point between rival schools of theologians. Even in the second century there arose a Syrian sect under the leadership of Saturninus, who declared, somewhat as do the Shakers of to-day, that sexual intercourse at all times and under all circumstances is a sin of the darkest dye. and that marriage is an invention of the devil. As Mosheim well remarks in his Ecclesiastical History, it is gratifying to consider that any such extreme view brings with it its own correction, for as it prevents the birth of children, it must look for recruits solely to the adult population, and must consequently be of limited duration.

Certain it is, however, that the expressions used by the Great Teacher led to a much higher estimate of the sacred-ness of the marriage tie, and produced a loftier respect for woman than had been usual either in the Israelitish or the European nations.

The law of divorce which was then promulgated, was based upon a view of marriage very different from that pre. viously existent. Under the Mosaic law, as well as under the Greek and Roman codes, the husband and wife were united by a tie previously civil in its character. The deeper unity which binds them, which makes them one, which sinks the duality of person in the oneness of life and aims, and which is now recognized as a physiological truth, was not so much as suspected by the most contemplative philosopher of classical days.

Then again, the duty of fidelity to one wife, and to the marriage vow, was never before impressed upon either Jew or Gentile. Polygamy was practised and authorized among the Jews, while the Greeks, though approving of only one wife, did not consider it obligatory upon the husband to be faithful to her. On the contrary, we read frequently in the Greek classics of married men visiting the houses of the hetaerce, and passing their time in this company, without any general denunciation of the act, and almost without comment.

Only when we compare the social life of that day with that which Christianity introduced, can we appreciate the immense superiority of its morality, and the enormous vices it had to combat and to conquer. All social life is based upon family life; and this, in its inception, history, and character, depends directly upon the moral relations of the sexes. Social reforms must commence here, and here is where Christianity did commence.