By such authorities of Holy Scripture, the doctrines of Semi-Pelagianism were crushed, which denied, in fact, the preventing grace of God, conceding in different ways that the grace of God followed upon the endeavours of man, not that the effectual endeavours of man were called into being by the grace of God. It was then laid down in the Church, " If any one saith that the beginning of faith and the very desire of belief, whereby we believe in Him Who justifieth the ungodly and arrive at the birth of Holy Baptism, doth not, as well as the increase of faith, come to us by the gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, correcting our will from unbelief to faith, from ungodliness to godliness, but is in us by nature, he is a manifest adversary of the Apostolic doctrines, since the blessed Paul teacheth, ' We trust that He who has begun a good work in you, will perform it unto the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ.' "If any says that mercy is bestowed by God upon us believing, willing, desiring, endeavouring, labouring watching, studying, asking, seeking, without the grace of God, and confesses not, that through the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it taketh place in us,
that we believe, will, or are able to do all these things as we ought, and if he subjecteth the aid of grace to man's humility or obedience, and doth not allow that our being humble and obedient is the gift of grace itself, he resisteth the Apostle, who saith, ' what hast thou which thou hast not received ? ‘By the grace of God I am what I am.'
"If any affirm that, without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Who giveth to all sweetness in assenting and believing the truth, we can, by the force of nature, think as we ought, or choose any good thing which appertaineth to the Salvation of life eternal, or can assent to the saving preaching, that is, the preaching of the Gospel, he is deceived by a heretical spirit, not understanding the words of God Who saith in the Gospel, ' without
Me, ye can do nothing,' and that of the Apostle, ' not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to think any thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.' "
This is so plainly the teaching of our own Article upon free will that it would seem almost superfluousto insist upon it among ourselves, who mean, of course, to accept and believe its teaching. And yet if we turn, from what we profess and think we believe, to maxims almost stereotyped among us, or to consider things which are difficulties as to faith, it would seem as if we believed nothing less.