The Evolution Of Chastity -- By: Henry A. Stimson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 061:241 (Jan 1904)
Article: The Evolution Of Chastity
Author: Henry A. Stimson


The Evolution Of Chastity

Rev. Henry A. Stimson

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 relationship. Man’s ultimate moral responsibility unquestionably covers his entire conscious existence, and is to God. Having said this, we are free to study the phenomena of human 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 embryo, human or animal, reveals in these earliest stages of its history the lines of its subsequent development. It is probable 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 connection 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 organs unfold in a regular sequence in the embryo, so the faculties, 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...

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