Free-Will and Free Grace
It pleased God to deliver me from the Arminian snare before I was quite eighteen.
Antecedently to that period, there was not (with the lowest self-abasement I confess it) a more haughty and violent free-willer within the compass of the four seas.
One instance of my warm and bitter zeal occurs just now to my memory. About a twelvemonth before the Divine Goodness gave me eyes to discern, and a heart to embrace the truth, I was haranguing one day in company (for I believed myself able to cope with all the predestinarians in the world) on the universality of grace, and the powers of human free-agency.
A good old gentleman (now with God) rose from his chair, and coming to mine, held me by one of my coat-buttons, while he mildly addressed me to this effect :- “My dear Sir, there are some marks of spirituality in your conversation, though tinged with an unhappy mixture of pride and self-righteousness. You have been speaking largely in favour of free-will; but from arguments, let us come to experience. Do let me ask you one question. How was it with you when the Lord laid hold on you in effectual calling? Had you any hand in obtaining that grace? Nay, would you not have resisted and baffled if it God’s own Spirit had left you in the hand of your own counsel?”
I felt the conclusiveness of these simple, but forcible interrogations more strongly than I was then willing to acknowledge. But, blessed be God, I have since been enabled to acknowledge the freeness and omnipotence of His grace, times without number; and to sing (what I trust will be my everlasting song when time shall be no more), “Not unto me, O Lord, not unto me, but unto Thy Name give all the glory.” We never know so much of heaven in our own souls, nor stand so high upon the mount of communion with God, as when His Spirit, breathing on our hearts, makes us lie low at the footstool of sovereign grace, and inspires us with the cry, “O God, be mine, the comfort of salvation, but Thine be the entire praise of it.”
By Augustus Toplady