Adding this without much commentary (italics are mine)…
Fridfeldt seated himself on the sofa. He felt that he must not put off confessing where he stood. This strange old man with his brandy and his soldiers should at least learn what kind of assistant he had gotten.
“I just want you to know from the beginning, sir, that I am a believer,” he said. His voice was a bit harsh.
He saw a gleam in the old man’s eyes which he could not quite interpret. Was approval indicated, or did he have something up his sleeve? The rector put the lamp back on the table, puffed at his pipe, and looked at the young man a moment before he spoke.
“So you are a believer, I’m glad to hear that. What do you believe in?”
Fridfeldt stared dumbfounded at his superior. Was he jesting with him?
“But, sir, I am simply saying that I am a believer.”
“Yes, I hear that, my boy. But what is it that you believe in?”
Fridfeldt was almost speechless.
“But don’t you know, sir, what it means to be a believer?”
“That is a word which can stand for things that differ greatly, my boy. I ask only what it is that you believe in.”
“In Jesus, of course,” answered Fridfeldt, raising his voice. “I mean-that I have given him my heart.”
The older man’s face became suddenly as solemn as the grave.
“Do you consider that something to give him?”
By this time, Fridfeldt was almost in tears.
“But sir, if you do not give your heart to Jesus, you cannot be saved.”
“You are right, my boy. And it is just as true that, if you think you are saved because you give Jesus your heart, you will not be saved. You see, my boy,” he continued reassuringly, as he continued to look at the young pastor’s face, in which uncertainty and resentment were shown in a struggle for the upper hand, “it is one thing to choose Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior, to give him one’s heart and commit oneself to him, and that he now accepts one into his little flock; it is a very different thing to believe on him as a Redeemer of sinners, of whom one is chief. One does not choose a Redeemer for oneself, you understand, nor give one’s heart to him. The heart is a rusty old can on a junk heap. A fine birthday gift, indeed! But a wonderful Lord passes by, and has mercy on the wretched tin can, sticks his walking cane through it, and rescues it from the junk pile and takes it home with him. That is how it is.”
Fridfeldt said nothing. Thought it seemed sacrilegious to speak of the Savior in connection with such an ungodly thing as a walking stick, he saw that the old man’s intention was certainly not sacrilegious. He felt this by the very tone of his voice. When the old man continued, his voice was gentler still.
“And now you must understand that these two ways of believing are like two different religions, they have nothing whatever to do with each other.”
“And yet,” he added thoughtfully, “one might say that there is a path that leads from the lesser to the greater. First one believes in repentance, and then in grace. And I believe you are on that path. But now we must argue no longer…”