By William Law
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Extra resources for A serious call to a devout and holy life : adapted to the state and condition of all orders of Christians
And he that considers that a just God can only make such allowances as are suitable to His justice, that our works are all to be examined by fire, will find that fear and trembling are proper tempers for those that are drawing near so great a trial. And indeed there is no probability that anyone should do all the duty that is expected from him, or make that progress in piety which the holiness and justice of God requires of him, but he that is constantly afraid of falling short of it. Now this is not intended to possess people's minds with a scrupulous anxiety and discontent in the service of God, but to fill them with a just fear of living in sloth and idleness and in the neglect of such virtues as they will want at the day of judgment.
And yet if they do not differ in these things which are here related, can it with any sense be said, the one is a good Christian, and the other not. Take another instance amongst the men. Leo lies a great deal of good nature, has kept what they call good company, hates every thing that is false and base, is very generous and brave to his friends; but has concerned himself so little with religion, that he hardly knows the difference betwixt a Jew and a Christian. Eusebius, on the other hand, has had early impressions of religion, and buys books of devotion.
And yet if the way is narrow, if none can walk in it but those that strive, is it not as necessary for me to consider whether the way I am in be narrow enough or the labor I take be a sufficient striving as to consider whether I sufficiently observe the second or third commandment? The sum of this matter is this. From the above-mentioned and many other passages of scripture, it seems plain that our salvation depends upon the sincerity and perfection of our endeavors to obtain it. Weak and imperfect men shall, notwithstanding their frailties and defects, be received as having pleased God if they have done their utmost to please Him.