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Charles Simeon on “Calvinism”

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December 10, 1784, in a recorded conversation between Charles Simeon and John Wesley:

CS: Sir, I understand that you are called an Arminian, and I have been sometimes called a Calvinist and therefore I suppose we are to draw daggers. But before I consent to begin the combat, with your permission I will ask you a few questions…Pray, Sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creature, so depraved that you would never have thought of turning to God, if God had not first put it into your heart?

JW: Yes, I do indeed.

CS: And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself to God by anything you can do; and look for salvation solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ?

JW: Yes, solely through Christ.

CS: But, Sir, supposing you were at first saved by Christ, are you not somehow or other to save yourself afterwards by your own works?

JW: Now, I must be saved by Christ from first to last.

CS: Allowing, then, that you were first turned by the grace of God, are you not in some way or other to keep yourself by your own power?

JW: No.

CS: What, then, are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as an infant in its mother’s arms?

JW: Yes, altogether.

CS: And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you unto his heavenly kingdom?

JW: Yes, I have no hope but in him.

CS: Then, Sir, with your leave I will put up my dagger again; for this is all my Calvinism; this is my election, my justification by faith, my final perseverance: it is in substance all that I hold, and as I hold it; and therefore, if you please, instead of searching out terms and phrases to be a ground of contention between us, we will cordially unite in those things wherein we agree.

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Charles Simeon on “Calvinism”

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