the good news (البشارة) of God's mercy and love and of the way of salvation through the atonement, becomes desirous of salvation, God Most Merciful will produce repentance and faith, will bestow on that man the redemption which Christ has accomplished for him, and will make him heir of eternal life and everlasting bliss and holiness. For the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has summed up the essence of the whole Gospel (البشارة) in one verse: 'God 1 so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.' And elsewhere it is written: 'The wages 2 of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.'

Repentance and faith, therefore, are the work of God.. Unbelief is not produced by God, but is man's own work, or that of Satan. For, as the holy Scriptures above quoted assure us, God Most Merciful has not fated any one to unbelief and destruction, nor has He created any one for hell fire. To entertain any such notion is opposed to both the justice and the mercy of God. But, since the Creator has rendered man a free agent and bestowed on him freedom of will, man has the power to drive away from himself that guiding influence and that inward movement which the Most Merciful God by means of His Holy Spirit exerts and arouses in his heart. Man can also prevent the upspringing of repentance

1 John iii. 16. 2 Rom. vi. 23.



and faith which God wishes to produce within him, and can so harden his heart that the soft and gracious influence of God's Holy Spirit does not make any impression on it. For God does not draw men to repentance and faith by violence and against their will. Hence, if any one remain in unbelief and consequently perish everlastingly and incur the punishment of hell, it will be entirely his own fault. This is clear from the New Testament. For example, it is written in St. John's Gospel: 'This 1 is the judgement, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil.' The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said to the Jews: 'Ye 2 will not come to me, that ye may have life.' And, addressing Jerusalem (مدينة اْلقُدس), by which is meant the Jewish nation, He said: 'O 3 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even has a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!' So also Stephen said to the Jews just before his martyrdom: 'Ye 4 stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.' Hence it is evident that it is his own fault if a man fall into perdition and incur the punishment of hell; it is not through an arbitrary decree of God, through what men call fate.

1 John iii. 19. 2 John v. 40.
3 Matt. xxiii. 37. 4 Acts vii. 51.