Religious cenobitism was, and is, but one of those morbid, unnatural and sexually subversive customs with which, among heathen races particularly, ethical thought has always delighted to invest the sacred or prophetic character. The same motive which made Isaiah, for instance, walk naked through the streets of Jerusalem to show that the Lord intended to strip the latter, and make her bare.' Which made Cardan remark, of roch "prophets," that if they went to church through the day they could sleep with prostitutes at night—introrsum turpes, speciosi pelle decord. Which made Ezekiel cut off his hair and beard, weigh them, and divide them into three parts, one of which was to be burned with fire, one cut with the knife, and one scattered to the four winds.' Which made him butter his bread with his oum excrement, and eat it publicly, in token of Gentile defilement.* Which made Jeremiah wear a wooden yoke, as a sign that the Jews should go into captivity which made Hosea cohabit with a prostitute for three years, to indicate that the tribes were guilty of wantonness and of idol-worship;1 and with another man's wife, to signify the so-called adultery of his nation with the gods of the heathen.*
The Jewish prophet, speaking tike an angel and acting like a beast, was an extraordinary being; but not more extraordinary than many of the cloistered cenobites and nuns of the middle ages; if indeed the character of the latter be materially improved in the present day. Among these, as we are credibly informed by El Ktab, a Mohammedan writer, whose book, "Traduction de Paul de Regla," was published in Pari3 in 1893, the sexual vices—Lesbian love, masturbation, etc.—grew so common that they came to be regarded as peculiarly Christian institutions by the theologians of Islam. The Mohammedan religion, while openly tolerating and even encouraging the sexual relationship, still placed such restrictions upon the practice of self-abuse that it was only allowed to devout Mussulmans when alone, on a journey; for the sin of the seminal emission during sleep, which was the subject of such long and heated controversy by the fathers of the early Christian Church, and which provided the necessary relief to the physical function, the pious Mussulman consoling himself with the convenient ejaculation that" Allah is merciful 1"*
* A careful reading of the records of ancient medicine will speedily convince us of the perfect consistency of the early Church's attitude towards certain sexual matters which later intelligence enabled it to unqualifiedly condemn. Thus, even Galen taught that long retention of the semen produced insanity. Hieronymus Mercurialia attributed to the same cause that, and many other maladies; and Oribasius (Med. Coll. 6, c. 37) says that those "who do not use carnal copulation suffer continually with heaviness and headache." Felix Plater, in his "Observations," tells of an old man who married a young wife, and, being unable to "pay his just debts," the latter took on a "kind of madness" (not unknown even today), in which "she desired every man that came to see her, by looks, words and gestures, to have to do with her." The Church, "knowing the Father's will but doing it not," dared not array itself against medical science, with its physical Culminations; and, being then far more timorous in this respect than at present, tacitly, at least, moved with the current it had not power to stem; going to such an extreme in the opposite direction that we find Jacchinus relating (in 9 Rharis, IS) the case of a patient, a young priest, who had bo exhausted himself with "chamberwork" that he became mad, and was only cured by "moistening remedies." The "moistening remedies" growing out of the prevalent belief that sexual love was due to abnormal heat and dryness of the brain.