to their destruction. Temperance-preachers descant on the "danger of worldly temptations" and "selfish indulgence," on the "lusts of unregenerate hearts." Drunkards plead their willingness to reform, but "the flesh is stronger than the spirit," the clamors of instinct silence the voice of every other monitor. Does the power of such appetites not suggest the occasional incompetence of our natural intuitions? Does it not seem to confirm the dogma of natural depravity, and prove an essential defect in the constitution of our physical conscience? Nay, in the light of Nature, for reason too often fails to supply the shortcomings of instinct; the teachers whom the ignorant must follow seem themselves to be in need of a guide; the stimulant vice has found learned and plausible defenders; zealous priests of Moloch have worshiped the man-devouring fire as a sacred flame; for thousands of honest truth-seekers the disagreement of doctors makes it doubtful if alcohol is a friend or a foe, a health-giving tonic or a death-dealing poison.
Does all this not prove that, in one most important respect, Nature has failed to insure the welfare of her creatures?
What it really proves is this: That habitual sin has blunted our physical conscience till we have not only ceased to heed, but ceased to understand, the protests of our inner monitor; it proves that the victims of vice have so utterly forgotten the language of their instincts that they are no longer able to distinguish a natural appetite from a morbid appetency.
For the Creator has not intrusted our physical welfare to accident or the tardy aid of science, and, in spite of the far-gone degeneration of our race, our children still share nearly all the protective instincts of the Nature-guided animals. Children abhor the vitiated air of our city tenements; they need no lecturer on practical physiology to impress the necessity of out-door exercise; their instinct revolts against the absurdities of fashion and the unnatural restraints of our sedentary modes of life. And the same inner monitor warns them against dietetic abuses. Long before Bichat proved that our digestive organs are those of a frugivorous animal, children preferred apples to sausages and sweetmeats to greasy made-dishes; they detest rancid cheese, caustic spices, and similar whets of our jaded appetites. No human being ever relished the first taste of a "stimulant." To the palate of a healthy child, tea is insipid; the taste of coffee (unless disguised by milk or sugar) offensively bitter, laudanum acrid-caustic; alcohol as repulsive as corrosive sublimate. No tobacco-smoker ever forgets his horror at the first attempt, the seasick-like misery and headache—Nature's protest against the incipience of a health-destroying habit. Of lager-beer—"the grateful and nutritive beverage which our brewers are now prepared to furnish at the rate of 480,000 gallons a day"—the first glass is shockingly nauseous—so much so, indeed, as to be a fluid substitute for tartar emetic. Nor do our instincts yield