about religion is determined, at the outset, by hope or fear. See Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:512.

All these motives, though they are not the highest, are yet proper motives to influence the soul; it is right to seek God from motives of self-interest and because we desire heaven. But the seeking, which not only begins but ends upon this lower plane, is never successful. Until the soul gives itself to God from motives of love, it is never saved. And so long as these preliminary motives rule, regeneration has not yet taken place. Bible reading and prayers, and church attendance and partial reformations are certainly better than apathy or out breaking sin. They may be signs that God is working in the soul. But without complete surrender to God, they may be accompanied with the greatest guilt and the greatest danger. Simply because, under such influences, the withholding of submission implies the most active hatred to God and opposition to his will. Instance cases of outward reformation that preceded regeneration, like that of John Bunyan, who left off swearing before his conversion. Park: ?The soul is a monad and must turn all at once. If we are standing on the line, we are yet unregenerate. We are regenerate only when we cross it.? There is a prevenient grace as well as a regenerating grace. Wendelius indeed distinguished five kinds of grace, namely, prevenient, preparatory, operant, cooperative and perfecting.

While in some cases God?s preparatory work occupies a long time, there are many cases in which he cuts short his work in righteousness

( <450928>Romans 9:28). Some persons are regenerated in infancy or childhood cannot remember a time when they did not love Christ and yet take long to learn that they are regenerate. Others are convicted and converted suddenly in mature years. The best proof of regeneration is not the memory of a past experience, however vivid and startling, but rather a present inward love for Christ, his holiness, his servants, his work and his word. Much sympathy should be given to those who have been early converted, but who, from timidity, self-distrust, or the faults of inconsistent church members, have been deterred from joining themselves with Christian people and so have lost all hope and joy in their religious lives. Instance the man who, though converted in a revival of religion, was injured by a professed Christian. He became a recluse but cherished the memory of his dead wife and child, kept the playthings of the one and the clothing of the other and left directions to have them buried with him.

As there is danger of confounding regeneration with preparatory influences of God?s Spirit, so there is danger of confounding regeneration with sanctification. Sanctification, as the development of the new

<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment