The Review and Herald

1000/1902

July 4, 1899

Disease and Its Causes

EGW

If women of past generations had always moved from high considerations, realizing that future generations would be ennobled or debased by their course of action, they would have taken their stand, that they could not unite their life interest with men who were cherishing unnatural appetites for alcoholic drinks, and tobacco, which is a slow but sure and deadly poison, weakening the nervous system, and debasing the noble faculties of the mind. If men would remain wedded to these vile habits, women should have left them to their life of single blessedness, to enjoy these companions of their choice. Women should not have considered themselves of so little value as to unite their destiny with men who had no control over their appetites, but whose principal happiness consisted in eating and drinking, and gratifying their animal passions. Women have not always followed the dictates of reason instead of impulse. They have not felt in a high degree the responsibilities resting upon them, to form such life connections as would not enstamp upon their offspring a low degree of morals, and a passion to gratify debased appetites, at the expense of health and even life. God will hold them accountable, in a large degree, for the physical health and moral characters thus transmitted to future generations. RH July 4, 1899, par. 1

Men and women who have corrupted their own bodies by dissolute habits have also debased their intellects, and destroyed the fine sensibilities of the soul. Very many of this class have married, and left, for an inheritance to their offspring, the taints of their own physical debility and depraved morals. The gratification of animal passions, and gross sensuality, have been the marked characteristics of their posterity, descending from generation to generation, increasing human misery to a fearful degree, and hastening the depreciation of the race. RH July 4, 1899, par. 2

Men and women who have become sickly and diseased have often, in their marriage connection, selfishly thought only of their own happiness. They have not seriously considered the matter from the standpoint of noble, elevated principles, reasoning in regard to what they could expect of their posterity, but diminished energy of body and mind, which would not elevate society, but sink it still lower. RH July 4, 1899, par. 3

Sickly men have often won the affections of women apparently healthy, and because they loved each other, they felt themselves at perfect liberty to marry, neither considering that by their union the wife must be a sufferer, more or less, because of the diseased husband. In many cases the diseased husband improves in health, while the wife shares his disease. He lives very much upon her vitality, and she soon complains of failing health. He prolongs his days by shortening the days of his wife. Those who thus marry commit sin in lightly regarding health and life given to them of God to be used to his glory. But if those who thus enter the marriage relation were alone concerned, the sin would not be so great. Their offspring are compelled to be sufferers by disease transmitted to them. Thus disease has been perpetuated from generation to generation. And many charge all this weight of human misery upon God, when their wrong course of action has brought the sure result. They have thrown upon society an enfeebled race, and done their part to deteriorate the race, by rendering disease hereditary, and thus accumulating human suffering. RH July 4, 1899, par. 4

Another cause of the deficiency of the present generation in physical strength and moral worth, is men and women uniting in marriage whose ages widely differ. It is frequently the case that old men choose to marry young wives. By thus doing, the life of the husband has often prolonged, while the wife has had to feel the want of that vitality which she has imparted to her aged husband. It has not been the duty of any woman to sacrifice life and health, even if she did love one so much older than herself, and felt willing on her part to make such a sacrifice. She should have restrained her affections. She had considerations higher than her own interest to consult. She should consider, if children be born to them, what would be their condition? It is still worse for young men to marry women considerably older than themselves. The offspring of such unions, in many cases, where ages widely differ, have not well-balanced minds. They have been deficient also in physical strength. In such families have frequently been manifested varied, peculiar, and often painful traits of character. The children often die prematurely; and those who reach maturity, in many cases are deficient in physical and mental strength, and moral worth. RH July 4, 1899, par. 5

The father is seldom prepared, with his failing faculties, properly to bring up his young family. These children have peculiar traits of character, which constantly need a counteracting influence, or they will go to certain ruin. They are not educated aright. Their discipline has too often been of the fitful, impulsive kind, by reason of the father's age. He has been susceptible of changeful feelings,—at one time overindulgent, while at another he is unwarrantably severe. In some such families, everything is wrong, and domestic wretchedness is greatly increased. Thus a class of beings has been thrown upon the world as a burden of society. Their parents were accountable in a great degree for the characters developed by their children, which are transmitted from generation to generation. RH July 4, 1899, par. 6

Those who increase the number of their children, when, if they consulted reason, they must know that physical and mental weakness must be their inheritance, are transgressors of the last six precepts of God's law, which specify the duty of man to his fellow man. They do their part in increasing the degeneracy of the race, and in sinking society lower, thus injuring their neighbor. If God thus regards the rights of neighbors, has he no care in regard to closer and more sacred relationship? If not a sparrow falls to the ground without his notice, will he be unmindful of the children born into the world, diseased physically and mentally, suffering, in a greater or less degree, all their lives? Will he not call parents to an account, to whom he has given reasoning powers, for putting these higher faculties in the background, and becoming slaves to passion, when, as the result, generations must bear the mark of their physical, mental, and moral deficiencies? In addition to the suffering they entail upon their children, they have no portion but poverty to leave to their pitiful flock. They can not educate them, and many do not see the necessity, neither could they find time if they did, to train them, and instruct them, and lessen, as much as possible, the wretched inheritance transmitted to them. Parents should not increase their families any faster than they know that their children can be well cared for and educated. A child in the mother's arms from year to year is a great injustice to her. It lessens, and often destroys, social enjoyment, and increases domestic wretchedness. It robs their children of that care, education, and happiness which parents should feel it their duty to bestow upon them. RH July 4, 1899, par. 7

The husband violates the marriage vow, and the duties enjoined upon him in the word of God, when he disregards the health and happiness of the wife, by increasing her burdens and cares by numerous offspring. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.... So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.” RH July 4, 1899, par. 8

We see this holy injunction almost wholly disregarded, even by professed Christians. Everywhere you may look, you will see pale, sickly, care-worn, broken-down, dispirited, discouraged women. They are generally over-worked, and their vital energies exhausted by frequent child-bearing. The world is filled with images of human beings who are of no worth to society. Many are deficient in intellect, and many who possess natural talents do not use them for any beneficial purposes. They are not cultivated, and the one great reason is that children have been multiplied faster than they could be well trained, and have been left to come up much like the brutes. RH July 4, 1899, par. 9