affection, is gradual and progressive. But no beginning is progressive or gradual and regeneration is a beginning of the new affection. We may gradually come to the knowledge that a new affection exists, but the knowledge of a beginning is one thing, the beginning itself is another thing. Luther had experienced a change of heart, long before he knew its meaning or could express his new feelings in scientific form. It is not in the sense of a gradual regeneration, but in the sense of a gradual recognition of the fact of regeneration and a progressive enjoyment of its results that ?the path of the righteous? is said to be ?as the dawning light? ? the morning-dawn that begins in faintness, but ? ?that shineth more and more unto the perfect day? ( <200418>Proverbs 4:18). Cf. <470404>2 Corinthians 4:4 ? ?the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them.? Here the recognition of God?s work is described as gradual; that the work itself is instantaneous, appears from the following verse 6 ? ?Seeing it is God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness, who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ?
Illustrate by the unconscious crossing of the line, which separates one State of the Federal Union from another. From this doctrine of instantaneous regeneration, we may infer the duty of reaping as well as of sowing: John4:38 ? ?Is onto you to reap.? ?It is a mistaken notion that it takes God a long time to give increase to the seed planted in a sinner?s heart. This grows out of the idea that regeneration is a matter of being trained because a soul must be educated from a lost state into a state of salvation. Let us remember that three thousand, whom in the morning Peter called murderers of Christ, were before night regenerated and baptized members of his church.? Drummond, in his Nat. Law in the Spir. World, remarks upon the ?humaness? of sudden conversion. As self- limitation, self-mortification, suicide of the old nature, it is well to have it at once done and over with and not to die by degrees.
(b) This change takes place in the region of the soul below consciousness. It is by no means true that, in regeneration, the subject of it always recognizes God?s work but, on the other hand, it is never directly perceived at all. The working of God in the human soul, since it contravenes no law of man?s being, but rather puts him in the full and normal possession of his own powers, is secret and inscrutable. Although man is conscious, he is not conscious of God?s regenerating agency.
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