chapter  XII
8 Pages


This idea, which permeates literature-that man has a spiritual as well as a material originemphasises from another point of view the doctrine of the Fall. For the utilisation of a material body, of animal ancestry, exposes the individual to much trial and temptation, and makes him aware of a contest between the flesh and the spirit, or between a lower and a higher self, which constitutes the element of truth in the otherwise mistaken doctrine of “ original,” or inherited, or imputed sin. Vicarious sin is a legal fiction: so is vicarious punishment; vicarious suffering is a reality. The mother of a ne’er-do-w ell knows it: it is undergone by the children of vicious parents; the highest souls have felt it on behalf of the race of man ; but it is not artificial or imputed suffering, it is genuine and real; and experience shows that it can have a redeeming virtue.