But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives.
We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind, and poisons us.
The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret. The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain.
There are moments, psychologists tell us, when the passion for sin, or for what the world calls sin, so dominates a nature, that every fibre of the body, as every cell of the brain, seems to be instinct with fearful impulses.
Men and women at such moments lose the freedom of their will.
They move to their terrible end as automatons move, Choice is taken from them, and conscience is either killed, or, if it lives at all, lives but to give rebellion its fascination, and disobedience its charm.
For all sins, as theologians weary not of reminding us, are sins of disobedience.
When that high spirit, that morning-star of evil, fell from heaven, it was as a rebel that he fell.