wrought in conjunction with the presentation of truth to the intellect, regeneration differs from moral suasion in being an immediate act of God.
Before regeneration, man?s knowledge of God is the blind man?s knowledge of color. The Scriptures call such knowledge ?ignorance? ( <490418>Ephesians 4:18). The heart does not appreciate God?s mercy. Regeneration gives an experimental or heart knowledge. See Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:495; <235004>Isaiah 50:4 ? God ?wakeneth mine ear to hear.? It is false to say that soul can come in contact with soul only through the influence of truth. In the intercourse of dear friends, or in the discourse of the orator, there is a personal influence, distinct from the word spoken, which persuades the heart and conquers the will. We sometimes call it ?magnetism,? ? but we mean simply that soul reaches soul, in ways apart from the use of physical intermediaries. Compare the facts, imperfectly known as yet, of second sight, mind reading, clairvoyance. But whether these be accepted or not, it still is true that God has not made the human soul so that it is inaccessible to himself. The omnipresent Spirit penetrates and pervades all spirits that have been made by him. See Lotze, Outlines of Psychology (Ladd), 142, 143.
In the primary change of disposition, which is the most essential feature of regeneration, the Spirit of God acts directly upon the spirit of man. In the securing of the initial exercise of this new disposition ? which constitutes the secondary feature of God?s work of regeneration ? the truth is used as a means. Hence, perhaps, in <590118>James 1:18, we read: ?Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth? instead of ?he begat us by the word of truth,? ? the reference being to the secondary, not to the primary, feature of regeneration. The advocates of the opposite view ? the view that God works only through the truth as a means, and that his only influence upon the soul is a moral influence ? very naturally deny the mystical union of the soul with Christ. Squier, for example, in his Autobiography, 343-378, esp. 360, on the Spirit?s influences, quotes
<431608> John 16:8 ? he ?will convict the world in respect of sin? ? to show that God regenerates by applying truth to men?s minds, so far as to convince them, by fair and sufficient arguments, that they are sinners.
Christ, opening blind eyes and unstopping deaf ears, illustrates the nature of God?s operation in regeneration, in the case of the blind, there is plenty of light, ? what is wanted is sight. The Negro convert said that his conversion was due to himself and God: he fought against God with all his might, and God did the rest. So our moral successes are due to ourselves and God, we have done only the fighting against God, and God has done the rest. The sand of Sahara would not bring forth flowers and fruit, even
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