463. CHAPTER 8.
FREEDOM OF CHOICE.
Before the doctrine of the New Church respecting freedom of choice can be properly set forth, it is necessary to premise what the present church teaches on that subject in its dogmatic books, for unless this is done a man who has sound sense and religion may believe that it is not worth while to write anything new about it. For he would say to himself, "Who does not know that man has freedom of choice in spiritual things? Otherwise, why should priests preach that men should believe in God, should be converted, should live according to the precepts in the Word, should fight against the lusts of the flesh, and should make themselves new creatures?" and so on. Thus he cannot but think within himself that all this would be mere empty words, if there were no freedom of choice in matters of salvation, and that to deny it would be folly, because contrary to common sense. Nevertheless that the present church stands opposed to freedom of choice and banishes it from its temples, may be seen from the following extracts from the book called the Formula Concordiae, which the evangelical churches swear allegiance to. That a like teaching and therefore a like belief respecting freedom of choice prevails with the Reformed, and likewise throughout the entire Christian world, and thus in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, England and Holland, is evident from their dogmatic books. The extracts that follow are taken from the Formula Concordiae, the Leipsic edition of 1756.