This section is from the book "The Transmission Of Life. Counsels On The Nature And Hygiene Of The Masculine Function", by George H. Napheys. Also available from Amazon: The Transmission of Life.
Although somewhat foreign to the purpose of this work, which is concerned with the health of the individual rather than considerations of race, we cannot forbear to quote the thoughts of an eminent theologian, Canon Kingsley, in reference to the extent and power of hereditary influences.
"Physical science is proving more and more the immense importance of race; the importance of hereditary powers, hereditary organs, hereditary habits, in all organized beings, from the lowest plant to the highest animal. She is proving more and more the omnipresent action of the differences between races; how the more favored race (she cannot avoid using the epithet) exterminates the less favored, or at least expels it, and forces it, under penalty of death, to adapt itself to new circumstances ; and, in a word, that competition between every race and every individual of that race, and reward according to deserts, is (as far as we can see) an universal law of living things. And she says - for the facts of history prove it - that as it is among the races of plants and animals, so it has been unto this day among the races of men.
" The natural theology of the future must take count of these tremendous and even painful facts; and she may take count of them. For Scripture has taken count of them already. It talks continually - it has been blamed for talking so much - of races, of families; of their wars, their struggles, their exterminations; of races favored, of races rejected ; of remnants being saved to continue the race ; of hereditary tendencies, hereditary excellencies, hereditary guilt. Its sense of the reality and importance of descent is so intense, that it speaks of a whole tribe or whole family by the name of its common ancestor, and the whole nation of the Jews is Israel to the end. And if I be told this is true of the Old Testament, but not of the New, I must answer, What ? Does not St. Paul hold the identity of the whole Jewish race with Israel their forefather, as strongly as any prophet of the Old Testament ? And what is the central historic fact, save one, of the New Testament, but the conquest of Jerusalem - the dispersion, all but destruc-tion of a race, not by miracle, but by invasion, because found wanting when weighed in the stern balances of natural and social law ?
" Gentlemen, think of this. I only suggest the thought; but I do not suggest it in haste. Think over it - by the light which our Lord's parables, His analogies between the physical and social constitution of the world afford - and consider whether those awful words, fulfilled then and fulfilled so often since - 'The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits hereof - may not be the supreme instance, the most complex development, of a law which runs through all created things, down to the moss which struggles for existence on the rock?
"Do I say that this is all ? That man is merely a part of nature, the puppet of circumstances and hereditary tendencies ? That brute competition is the one law of his life ? That he is doomed forever to be the slave of his own needs, enforced by an internecine struggle for existence ? God forbid. I believe not only in nature, but in grace. I believe that this is man's fate only as long as he sows to the flesh, and of the flesh reaps corruption. I believe that if he will ' Strive upward, working out the beast, And let the ape and tiger die;' if he will be even as wise as the social animals; as the ant and the bee, who have risen, if not to the virtue of all-embracing charity, at least to the virtues of self-sacrifice and patriotism, then he will rise to a higher sphere; towards that kingdom of God of which it is written, ' He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.'"
Wor Rred to in this sEction. - ThR Variations of Animals and Plants under Domestication, by Charles Darwin, vol. ii., p. 10 et seq. (Am. edition); J. B. Thompson, L R. C. S. Edin., On the Hereditary Nature of Crime, in the Journal of Mental Science for January, 1870, p. 487; Elam's Physician's Problems (Am. ed., 1869), article, Natural Heritage; Dr. Edward Seguin, On Idiocy, as the Effect of Social Evils, and as the Creative Canse of Physiological Education, in the Journal of Psychological Medicine for January, 1870, p. 1; Francis Galton, On Hereditary Talent and Character, in MacMillan's Magazine, vol. xii. ; Dr. Prosper Lucas, Traite Philosophique et Physiologique I Heredite Naturelle dans les Etats de Sante et de Maladie du Systeme Nerveux ; Prit-chard, Researches into the Physical History of Mankind, vol. ii. ; Flourens, De la Longevite Humaine et de la Quantile de Vie sur la Globe, (Paris, 1860) ; Hufeland, Art of Prolonging Life (Am. ed. 1870) ; Lewes, Physiology of Common Life, vol. ii. p. 314 (Am. ed., 1867) ; The British Medical Journal, January 11, 1868, p. 25 ; A. Debay, Hygiene et Physiologie du Mariage, p. 173 ; Carpenter, Human Physiology, p. 779 (Am. ed.) ; Mayer, Des Rapports Conjugaux, cinquieme edition, Paris, 1868, p. 381; Sir Henry Holland, Medical Notes and Reflections, p. 30, et seq, American Journal of Medical Sciences July, 1865.