Simon the Cyrenian
There is no greater mistake than that which would represent it as an easy thing to attain eternal life. Just because Christianity is the revelation of a free pardon to transgressors, the announcement of a wondrous interposition of Deity on our behalf — an interposition through which there has been provided for the guilty, without money and without price, whatsoever is required to their full justification -therefore is it surmised that there is little, if any thing, for the guilty to do, and that salvation asks no effort, seeing that confessedly no effort could deserve it. But again and again must the protest be delivered against a theory so opposed to the Gospel, and so fatal to the soul. There are such things as conditions of salvation: it is not legalizing, it is not frustrating the grace of God, to assert and insist on conditions of salvation. Salvation is a free gift: let the tongue cleave to the roof of the mouth, rather than give utterance to a syllable which shall seem to impeach the freeness of the gift. But the gift is bestowed only upon those who "by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory, honour, and immortality." Since it is still a gift, it cannot be the "patient continuance" which procures it: for then it would be debt, and no longer gift. The "patient continuance" however is required of all who hope for the gift, required as a condition, a condition without which God does not please to bestow, but which, in no degree whatsoever, obliges Him to bestow, and which therefore, when most rigidly performed, takes not one tittle away from the unlimited freeness of the gift. And thus with all its gratuitousness, with all its assertion of human insufficiency, and all its proffers of forgiveness and righteousness, the Gospel lays an unceasing demand on every energy, requiring of us that we work out with fear and trembling," that salvation for ourselves, which we thankfully confess to have been wrought out for us by Christ [pp. 227-228; emphasis added].
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