Williams is professor of systematic theology at Union Theological College in Belfast, Ireland. The title of the six-part series is “The Election of Grace: A Riddle without Resolution?” The sixth lecture in the series was advertised to be “an exposition of Romans 9-11 offering a positive proposal on election, prepared for in lectures 1-5.”
[Simeon] 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?
[Wesley] Yes, I do indeed.
[S] 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?
[W] Yes, solely through Christ.
[S] But, Sir, supposing you were at first saved by Christ, are you not somehow or other to save yourself afterwards by your own works?[W] No, I must be saved by Christ from first to last.
[S] 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?[W] No.
[S] What then, are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as an infant in its mother’s arms?[W] Yes, altogether.
[S] And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you unto His heavenly kingdom?[W] Yes, I have no hope but in Him.
[S] 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.