Both love and religion are founded in sacrifice. The same mental and spiritual qualities which make a woman an enthusiastic missionary, will make her a good wife, loving, true, and faithful; and, indeed, love is so closely allied to its kindred passion that not only is erotic insanity, as Berthier points out, most frequently found in convents, but religious exaltation almost exclusively manifests itself in both sexes at the period of puberty; declining in intensity, with a uniform regularity, at the climacteric in women, and the beginning of sexual impotency in men.'
The very essence of religion, as it is of love, is the repression of natural impulses. The promptings of instinct, at puberty, are wholly directed to sexual things; and, if checked, are extremely apt to pass into the region of mysticism; so that the intricate action and interaction between the two Bpheres, first pointed out by Friedreich, a German alienist of remarkable penetration,1 become psychologically natural.
In the early development of Christian theology, this quite noticeable invasion of sexuality into its most sacred relations gave rise to so minute an inquisition into religio-sexual phenomena that it became almost an obsession on the part of ecclesiastical Bchoolmen. It was found that the apparent antagonism between them was only superficial; and that a careful and discriminating study of the Scriptures disclosed a vein of sexuality very closely identified with that of spirituality; and that the former was only condemned because of the exceeding danger arising from the fact that it possessed within itself the potency, more than any other passion, to supersede ike latter.1
And the fear was not unfounded; for among all the enemies which have beset the Christian Church, sexual passion has been the strongest. Yet it has also accomplished mighty good within the Church.