The Elder Laestadius here addresses two important issues. The first is the will of man. It has been preached, and is a common understanding, that all people are born saved and that at the age of accountability a person has to stand on his own two spiritual feet. It is clear Laestadius taught that man does not have his own spiritual feet on which to stand, but if he will be saved must undergo the saving operation in the heart by the power of the Holy Ghost.
The second issue is the necessity of experiencing the awakening and conversion work within the heart. Those who speak of this experience, and inquire of others concerning their own experience, have been derided. However, the Elder here clearly speaks of this experience as being necessary. Future posts will confirm this.
Quote: "Furthermore, with regard to the doctrine of man's will, the pastor should explain as best he can to the confirmation children that the will has no power called liberum arbitrium (freedom to judge) in spiritual matters, and in conversion conducts itself pure passiv, that is, it has no power to make itself good, that man's will can not of its own power ever become good. And if before conversion someone imagines that he has a good will, this is self-deception. Even though a converted Christian could say wtih the Apostle: '...to will is present with me...', it is nevertheless a false doctrine which has slipped into some spiritual books, that is, 'God beholds a good will.' It is written in the Bible that God looketh on the heart, not the will. Furthermore, the pastor should show the confirmation children that man is 'positively evil' and that man's evil nature is just that devil which has gained power over him, and that man can not by his own power tear himself loose from his evil nature or free himself from the devil's power, but that here is absolutely needed the grace and help of the Holy spirit, Who first through the law awakens his conscience and shows him the debt of sin and punishment or the curse of the law, God's wrath and eternal condemnation which in the awakened man must be feelable and perceptible in the pains of conscience and distress of heart, and not only a conviction in the intellect founded upon the testimony of the Bible, that man by nature is a child of wrath and that he has merited eternal condemnation. For through this 'faith in the understanding' or 'faith in the mouth' not one man becomes awakened, penitent, willing to repent, or broken; rather must the curse of the law and God's wrath be felt in the conscience and the heart."
So writes Lars Levi Laestadius in The Voice Of One Crying In The Wilderness, page 138.