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[216]

The moral nature of the idiot needs training and development as well as his physical and mental. All that can be said of him is, that he has the latent capacity for moral development and culture. Uninstructed and left to himself, he has no ideas of regulated appetites and propensities, of decency and delicacy of affection and social relations. The germs of these ideas, which constitute the glory and beauty of humanity, undoubtedly exist in him; but there can be no growth without patient and persevering culture. Where this is afforded, to use the language of the report, ‘the idiot may learn what love is, though he may not know the word which expresses it; he may feel kindly affections while unable to understand the simplest virtuous principle; and he may begin to live acceptably to God before he has learned the name by which men call him.’

In the facts and statistics presented in the report, light is shed upon some of the dark pages of God's providence, and it is seen that the suffering and shame of idiocy are the result of sin, of a violation of the merciful laws of God and of the harmonies of His benign order. The penalties which are ordained for the violators of natural laws are inexorable and certain. For the transgressor of the laws of life there is, as in the case of Esau, ‘no place for repentance, though he seek it earnestly and with tears.’ The curse cleaves to him and his children. In this view, how important becomes the subject of the hereditary transmission of moral and physical disease and debility! and how necessary it is that there should be a clearer understanding

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