The workings of grace in the heart

(by J. C. Ryle)

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear
its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes
from or where it is going. So it is with everyone
born of the Spirit." John 3:8

The workings of grace in the heart are
utterly mysterious and unsearchable.

We cannot explain why the Word produces
effects on one person in a congregation, and
not upon another.

We cannot explain why, in some cases; with
every possible advantage, and in spite of every
entreaty; people reject the Word, and continue
dead in trespasses and sins.

We cannot explain why in other cases; with every
possible difficulty, and with no encouragement;
people are born again, and become decided Christians.

We cannot define the manner in which the Spirit
of God conveys life to a soul, and the exact process
by which a believer receives a new nature.

All these are hidden things to us.

We see certain results, but we can go no further.

This is deeply instructive. It is humbling no
doubt to ministers, and teachers of others.
The highest abilities,
the most powerful preaching,
the most diligent working,
cannot command success.

God alone can give spiritual life.

But it is a truth at the same time, which supplies
an admirable antidote to excessive anxiety and
despondency. Our principal work is to sow the seed.
That done, we may wait with faith and patience for
the result. We may leave our work with the Lord.
He alone can, if He thinks fit, give success.