Is "A Christmas Carol" an Original Idea?

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"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost.  "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.  Is its pattern strange to you" (49).  

I was raised in a church where this image is given to explain the bondage people wear when they haven't declared to give their life over to Jesus Christ.  There are plenty of pamphlets and preachers who will give an explanation of their unsaved life by saying they felt like they were hauling around huge chains of sin before the Lord set them free.  I understand the comparison, it makes perfect sense and it is a good way to explain the burden of sin; however, now I'm curious to know if that explanation was used before Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol was written.  Did the church always explain a sinner's burden as heavy chains and misery, or did they decide to use Scrooge's future penance for greediness to explain all sin?  I even remember one story that described people who are unsaved as carrying around large garbage bags on their back.  Some people had to drag several bags while others only had a small pack -- but they were still forced to carry garbage everywhere they went because they refused to let go of their sin.  If I could remember the name of the story I would add a link to it, but I've completely forgotten.  If anyone has any idea of who stole whose idea for a great story, comment on my blog -- I'm curious!


Aja Hannah said:

That's interesting! What church do you belong to? I wonder if it was established before "A Christmas Carol" and Charles Dickens wrote it this way for the highly religious people of Victorian time.

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