regeneration. Second blessing? Yes, and a forty-second. The stages in the Christian life are like ice, water, invisible vapor and steam, all successive and natural results of increasing temperature, seemingly different from one another, yet all forms of the same element.
On the relation between the divine and the human agencies, we quote a different view from another writer: ?God decrees to employ means which, in every case is sufficient, and which in certain cases it is foreseen will be effectual. Human action converts a sufficient means into an effectual means. The result is not always according to the varying use of means. The power is all of God. Man has power to resist only. There is a universal influence of the Spirit, but the influences of the Spirit vary in different cases, just as external opportunities do. The love of holiness is blunted but it still lingers. The Holy Spirit quickens it. When this love is wholly lost, sin against the Holy Ghost results. Before regeneration there is a desire for holiness, an apprehension of its beauty, but this is overborne by a greater love for sin. If the man does not quickly grow worse, it is not because of positive action on his part, but only because negatively he does not resist as he might ?Behold, I stand at the door and knock.? God leads at first by a resistible influence. When man yields, God leads by an irresistible influence. The second influence of the Holy Spirit confirms the Christian?s choice. This second influence is called ?sealing.? There is no necessary interval of time between the two. Prevenient grace comes first and conversion comes after.?
To this view, we would reply that a partial love for holiness, and an ability to choose it before God works effectively upon the heart, seems to contradict those Scriptures which assert that ?the mind of the flesh is enmity against God.? ( <450807>Romans 8:7), and that all good works are the result of God?s new creation ( <490210>Ephesians 2:10). Conversion does not precede regeneration. It chronologically accompanies regeneration, though it logically follows it.
Repentance is that voluntary change in the mind of the sinner in which he turns from sin. Being essentially a change of mind, it involves a change of view, a change of feeling, and a change of purpose. We may therefore analyze repentance into three constituents, each succeeding term of which includes and implies the one preceding:
A. An intellectual element, change of view, recognition of sin as involving personal guilt, defilement, and helplessness ( <195103>Psalm 51:3, 7, 11). If
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