4. If man were all of one piece- I mean, if he were nothing more than a made thing, acting and acted upon according to a fixed nature- he could be no more subject to reproach and punishment than the mere animals. But as the scheme holds, man is singled out for condemnation when he does evil; and this with justice. For he is no mere thing made to rigid plan; his nature contains a Principle apart and free.
This does not, however, stand outside of Providence or of the Reason of the All; the Over-World cannot be dependent upon the World of Sense. The higher shines down upon the lower, and this illumination is Providence in its highest aspect: The Reason-Principle has two phases, one which creates the things of process and another which links them with the higher beings: these higher beings constitute the over-providence on which depends that lower providence which is the secondary Reason-Principle inseparably united with its primal: the two- the Major and Minor Providence- acting together produce the universal woof, the one all-comprehensive Providence.
Men possess, then, a distinctive Principle: but not all men turn to account all that is in their Nature; there are men that live by one Principle and men that live by another or, rather, by several others, the least noble. For all these Principles are present even when not acting upon the man- though we cannot think of them as lying idle; everything performs its function.
"But," it will be said, "what reason can there be for their not acting upon the man once they are present; inaction must mean absence?"
We maintain their presence always, nothing void of them.
But surely not where they exercise no action? If they necessarily reside in all men, surely they must be operative in all- this Principle of free action, especially.
First of all, this free Principle is not an absolute possession of the animal Kinds and is not even an absolute possession to all men.
So this Principle is not the only effective force in all men?
There is no reason why it should not be. There are men in whom it alone acts, giving its character to the life while all else is but Necessity [and therefore outside of blame].
For [in the case of an evil life] whether it is that the constitution of the man is such as to drive him down the troubled paths or whether [the fault is mental or spiritual in that] the desires have gained control, we are compelled to attribute the guilt to the substratum [something inferior to the highest principle in Man]. We would be naturally inclined to say that this substratum [the responsible source of evil] must be Matter and not, as our argument implies, the Reason-Principle; it would appear that not the Reason-Principle but Matter were the dominant, crude Matter at the extreme and then Matter as shaped in the realized man: but we must remember that to this free Principle in man [which is a phase of the All Soul] the Substratum [the direct inferior to be moulded] is [not Matter but] the Reason-Principle itself with whatever that produces and moulds to its own form, so that neither crude Matter nor Matter organized in our human total is sovereign within us.
The quality now manifested may be probably referred to the conduct of a former life; we may suppose that previous actions have made the Reason-Principle now governing within us inferior in radiance to that which ruled before; the Soul which later will shine out again is for the present at a feebler power.
And any Reason-Principle may be said to include within itself the Reason-Principle of Matter which therefore it is able to elaborate to its own purposes, either finding it consonant with itself or bestowing upon it the quality which makes it so. The Reason-Principle of an ox does not occur except in connection with the Matter appropriate to the ox-Kind. It must be by such a process that the transmigration, of which we read takes place; the Soul must lose its nature, the Reason-Principle be transformed; thus there comes the ox-soul which once was Man.
The degradation, then, is just.
Still, how did the inferior Principle ever come into being, and how does the higher fall to it?
Once more- not all things are Firsts; there are Secondaries and Tertiaries, of a nature inferior to that of their Priors; and a slight tilt is enough to determine the departure from the straight course. Further, the linking of any one being with any other amounts to a blending such as to produce a distinct entity, a compound of the two; it is not that the greater and prior suffers any diminution of its own nature; the lesser and secondary is such from its very beginning; it is in its own nature the lesser thing it becomes, and if it suffers the consequences, such suffering is merited: all our reasonings on these questions must take account of previous living as the source from which the present takes its rise.