And right here, in this brief Burvey of the rise and Sexual Sins Rare relations of society, and sexuality, we encounter a Among Savages remarkable fact. The more brutal and savage men are the fewer sins do they commit against their consciences; and in exact proportion as they become refined and civilized do they become sinful. With the primitive man, conscience is an instinct. The savage seldom does what he feels to be wrong; the civilized man does so constantly. The former does not feel it to be wrong to commit incest, or rape, or murder, outside his own tribe; to kill a sickly child, or to eat a grilled rib of his grandfather; therefore he does it without violation of conscience, and hence without sin. But the civilized man, of cultivated intelligence, knowing the will of the Father but doing it not, passes no day of his life without committing offenses against conscience. He has to reproach himself for the hour he has wasted, for the unkind word, the impure thought, the opportunity neglected, the burning desires and propensities which, being incident to his nature, as contrary to his conscience, cannot be quelled. But let us not argue from this that barbarism is better than civilization; it is not. In the very consciousness of these offenses, if we accept rational guidance, lies the means of remedying them, and the sure highway to ultimate human perfection.
There is no evil of society which does not contain a kernel of good. Even war, which has occasioned so much misery and suffering, and bloodshed and despair, is undoubtedly a divine institution for the betterment of the world; carrying religion and civilization to benighted races, and, as more germane to our subject, influencing society and the home-life in ways little dreamed of by the casual observer.
As a passing instance, and directly in the line of our thought, woman, who, as I have said, was at first . a chattel, a slave, common to all or exclusively for one, a bondservant, a drudge, the hewer of wood and drawer of water for her domineering lord, when war became an institution, and its captives were trained to slavery, was manumitted, the slave taking her place, and entered upon a life of ease. Before that time women were coarse, hard-featured, ill-favored creatures of toil. With their new freedom, and comparative condition of physical luxury, they became soft, gentle, beautiful, rendered fit both to feel and inspire love.