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BEECHER, EDWARD. The Conflict of Ages: or, The Great Debate on the Moral Relations of God and Man. Fifth Edition. Boston: Phillips, Sampson & Co., 1854, 12mo. Bound publisher's brown cloth, rubbed a bit, fraying at spine ends and corners, small library tag at bottom of spine, engraved library bookplate, old library pocket and card, light foxing, light damp stain on bottom page edges. xii, 552pp. Edward Beecher (1803-1895) Congregational clergyman, college president, third child of Lyman Beecher and brother of Catharine Beecher, Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe; was president of Illinois college for 14 years. We offer his work on original sin. "The Calvinist dogma that tormented Edward most of all was that of innate depravity... It led learned, sensitive Edward Beecher into a theory of the origins of sinfulness that bordered on fantasy. Aided by what he believed was a divine illumination, he became convinced that souls came into this world not corrupt as a result of Adam's fall but as free spirits who fell from innocence in a previous existence. Since they had free choice in that existence, God could not be blamed for their fall... Fearing his theory would be labeled mystical and arrogant, if not heretical, he waited twenty-five years before publishing it in his magnum opus, The Conflict of Ages."--Milton Rugoff: The Beechers, p89.