THE HOLY SPIRIT, An Experimental and Practical View by Octavius Winslow

"The Spirit a Quickener" or "The Soul Before Conversion"

It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing. John 6:63

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. John 6:63

It is the Spirit who gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. John 6:63

Having laid the foundation of the Holy Spirit's work in His Personal Dignity, it will now be an easy and a more delightful (because less controversial) task to raise the superstructure. Commencing from such a foundation- the GODHEAD Of the Spirit- what dignity and glory attach to His various offices and operations, as contained in the covenant of redemption, and as unfolded in the work of grace upon the heart! How important that we should enter upon its discussion deeply impressed with the spirituality of our theme, with its essential relation to the eternal happiness of the soul, and with fervent prayer for His own Divine illumination! It will be perceived that, in unfolding His work, we commence with the Spirit's first gracious and Divine act- the breathing of spiritual life in the soul. This must be regarded as an operation preceding all others. The Spirit's work as a Quickener must ever precede His work as a Sanctifier and a Comforter. If we look for Him in any of His offices before we have received Him as the Author of Divine life in the soul, we reverse His own order and cover ourselves with disappointment. We enter upon the discussion of this subject the more readily and, we trust, prayerfully, from the conviction that the modern views of the doctrine of regeneration, as held and preached by many, are not only widely different from the old standards of doctrinal truth, but, which is more serious and deeply to be deplored, are such as the Word of God clearly and distinctly disowns, and upon which there rests the darkness of its frown. Regeneration, as taught by many in the present day, differs widely from the doctrine as preached in the days of the apostles and reformers. In their writings and discourses the basis was deeply and broadly laid in the original and total depravity of man; this doctrine is now by many greatly modified, if not absolutely denied. In the days of primitive Christianity, the utter helplessness of the creature, and the absolute and indispensable necessity of the Holy Spirit's influences in the regeneration of the soul, were distinctly and rigidly enforced; sentiments the reverse of these, subversive of the Scripture doctrine of regeneration, and destructive of the best interests of the soul, are now zealously and widely promulgated. Surely this is a cause of deep humiliation before God; may He restore to His ministers and people a pure language, and graciously revive the precious, soul-humbling, Christ-honoring truths, once the safeguard and the glory of our land. We propose in this and the following chapter to present a simple and scriptural delineation of the doctrine of regeneration, the office of the Holy Spirit in its production, and some of the holy effects as traced in the life of a believer. May there descend on the reader the anointing of the Holy One, and may the truth empty, sanctify and comfort the heart.
Regeneration is a work standing alone and distinct from all the other operations of the Divine Spirit. It is to be carefully distinguished from conversion, adoption, justification and sanctification, and yet must be regarded as forming the basis and the spring-head of them all. For instance, there can be no conversion without a principle of life in the soul, for conversion is the exercise of a spiritual power implanted in man. There can be no sense of adoption apart from a renewed nature, for adoption confers the privilege only, not the nature, of sons. There can be no comforting sense of acceptance in the Beloved until the mind has passed from death unto life, nor can there be the smallest advance in a conformity of the will and of the affections to the image of God while there is lacking in the soul the very root of holiness. Faith is a purifying grace, but faith is only found in the heart "created anew in Christ Jesus." There must necessarily be the spiritual renewal of the whole man, before the soul can pass into an adopted, justified and sanctified state. Reader, ponder seriously this solemn truth. It will probably aid us in arriving at a clearer and more accurate knowledge of the true nature of regeneration, or the new birth, if we briefly look at the subject first from a negative point of view.
Notice first of all that regeneration is not an act of grace conferred upon an individual in the external rite or ordinance of baptism. An error so untenable on scriptural grounds and so fatal to the spiritual interests of the soul, we could scarcely believe would find an advocate professing to be taught of the Spirit, in this gospel-illumined age. And yet from the pulpit and from the press, both professing to be the guardians of evangelical truth, this doctrine is zealously propagated; thousands receive it as a Divinely revealed truth, and live and die in the fatal delusion. Oh, did every professed minister of Christ but study the third chapter of John's Gospel, with earnest prayer for the teaching of the Spirit, before he attempted to expound to others the way of salvation, how soon would the heresy of baptismal regeneration be expelled from our pulpits, and banished from the land! Let us endeavor to pour the light of Divine truth upon this dark and fatal error.
We observe that the application of water in any mode, as a sacramental rite, is utterly impotent in the production of this mighty change in man. It cannot impart spiritual life to a soul "dead in trespasses and sins." The following are some of the strong and emphatic expressions which the Word of God employs in describing the new birth: "Born again" "born of the Spirit" "quickened by the Spirit" "created anew in Christ Jesus" "made alive" "new creature." Claims that the external application of water, even as a sacred rite, could effect the great change implied in these phrases, are utterly incredible to a spiritual and reflecting mind.
To regard the ordinance of baptism as a vehicle by which the Spirit of God operates on the heart is equally unscriptural and dangerous. As a means of grace, it cannot be relied upon. If regeneration has not transpired in the soul before the act of baptism, we are nowhere in the Scriptures of truth authorised to believe that mere submission to the external ceremony confers spiritual life upon the subject. The ordinances both of baptism and the Lord's supper are to be considered, as far as they relate to the receiver, merely as sources of spiritual nourishment and comfort to the grace already implanted in the soul, through the omnipotent and effectual operation of the Spirit of God. The one may more properly be regarded as a witness to the grace that is there; the other, as a Divinely instituted source of nourishment to that grace. If it is not so; if this setting aside the two ordinances of Christ's church as causes of spiritual life is not scriptural and proper, then it must follow that all who have submitted to these external institutions are actually regenerated; and so, in reference to the departure into eternity of the avowed unbeliever, on the ground that baptismal regeneration be true, death is to him the birth-day of a glorious immortality! If this is not a most awful inference, properly and legitimately drawn from the error we have stated, we know not what is. The advocate of baptismal regeneration cannot evade it. It is a fair, legitimate and logical conclusion deduced from his own premises. If all those who have ever been baptized were, in the act, made the subjects of renewing grace, then thousands are now shut up in the regions of hopeless despair who ought not to be there. They were baptized and yet they lived in open rebellion against God and died, as the record of many testifies, with the "terrors of the Lord" already in their consciences. And, if baptism is a rite essential to salvation, it must follow that vast numbers are now in glory, who, never having submitted to that institution, are admitted there on other grounds than the mere observance of an external ceremony. We cite from among many, the case of the thief upon the cross, as illustrating our idea. There is no record of his having received Christian baptism, either in the early part of his life, for he was a pagan, or at the period of his death. And yet, here is presented to us the amazing spectacle of a heathen malefactor, passing from spiritual death unto spiritual life at the very extremity of his ignominious existence; and, without having washed in the laver of baptism, going from the cross to receive a kingdom and a crown. If water baptism be essential to salvation, let the advocate of the doctrine explain to us the nature and the cause of this remarkable conversion and this triumphant death.
Reader, your baptism, whether received in infancy or in riper years, will avail you nothing if you are not a new creature. You may be baptized, and yet be lost; you may not be baptized, and yet be saved. "In Christ Jesus, neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision" (and the same is true of baptism), "but a new creature." Gal. 6. 15. Your baptism infused into you no principle of life; it conferred upon you no saving grace. You must be born again of the Spirit, be washed in the blood of Christ and be clothed in His righteousness before you can enter the kingdom of grace on earth, or be admitted within the kingdom of glory in heaven.
Again, an outward reformation of habit does not constitute the spiritual change under investigation. The influence of education, early moral instruction, attendance upon an evangelical ministry, combined with the moral restraints of society, will go far in effecting an outward reformation of human character. There may be much unfolding itself which bears strong resemblance to the sweet flower of Divine grace - gentleness- kindness- amiability; there may be the heart that pours forth its deep sympathies over the picture of human suffering- the tear that falls upon the pallid cheek of sickness- the arm that is nerved to shield the oppressed- the hand that is extended to relieve the widow and the fatherless; and yet "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (the spring of all true holiness and goodness) may be strangers to that bosom. In others, there may be the excision of outward sins, the giving up of sinful habits long indulged in, even a love of virtue, an approval of things that are excellent, and a diligent observance of the means of grace, marking the character and deportment; and all the while, the heart, self-deceived, may know nothing of the renewing, transforming, humbling power of God the Holy Spirit. Regeneration is a mighty and a deep work. It does not rest upon the surface. It has to do with the deep, hidden principle of evil in the heart of man. It allows nothing for the tender and kindly instincts of our fallen nature. It does not destroy or weaken them in the wonderful process through which the mind passes at the period of its renewal, but rather invests them with a new character and directs them into another and a holier channel; yet in the effecting of this mighty moral revolution they take no part, and can lay claim to none of the glory.
This chapter may possibly arrest the attention of the rigid moralist, who, up to the present, has been enveloping himself in the thick and silken foldings of a self-complacent and self-righteous spirit, not for a moment suspecting the existence of a deep taint of ungodliness within, which, in the eye of a holy and a heart-searching God, mars all his moral virtues, and renders of none effect all his moral duties. Reader, may the Lord the Spirit in His infinite mercy bring you out of this awful state of self-deception; and, as one step towards it, He warns you in His word to trust to no view of yourself presented by the false mirror of your own heart. That "heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." Do not trust in it, it is treacherous; expect nothing truly good from it, it is a depth of undiscovered depravity. Is this harsh language? Are these sentiments revolting to you? I speak but the truth of God when I say that your heart, in its present unrenewed state, is your worst enemy. Does it speak soothingly? It speaks but to flatter. Does the surface look fair and pleasant to the eye? Beneath is every thing that defiles, and that works abomination. O the awful picture your renewed heart would present to your view were the Holy Spirit now to put in the plough of conviction, break up the hard and fallow ground, and bring to the surface the hidden evil that is there. How would you shudder at the discovery, and shrink away from the sight!
Again, shall we add, after the exceptions we have made, that an outward profession of the Gospel may exist, and yet the heart be a stranger to this spiritual process? And yet the age we live in demands a distinct avowal of this. If in the days of our Lord and of His faithful and vigilant apostles- the days when a public profession of attachment to Christ was to mark a man for the cross and the stake- if in their days and under these circumstances there were found those who could take refuge in a mere outward profession, is it astonishing that now, when it costs a man nothing to profess Christ, but rather adds to his worldly influence and emolument, thousands should run upon this quicksand and make shipwreck of their souls? Oh, it is no marvel. Our blessed Lord foresaw and forewarned men of this evil. Let His words- searching and solemn as though now uttered from the judgment-seat sink down into our ears: "Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name have done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity." Matt. 7. 21-23.
Yet we would go farther than this. In reviewing the negative evidences of regeneration, it is of the utmost importance that we do not overlook that close approximation to this work, which in numberless cases may take place, but which when brought to the test of God's Word proves but an awful deception. Few, but those who have been taught of the Spirit and who have accustomed themselves to analyze closely the evidences of true conversion, are aware how far an individual may go, not merely in an outward reformation of character and in an external union to Christ, but in a strong resemblance to the positive and manifest evidences of the new birth, without the actual possession of a single one. If there is one aspect in which our subject may be viewed as more solemn than another, it is this. May the eternal Spirit lead us into deep self-examination and prayer, while examining these FALSE EVIDENCES OF REGENERATION.
We have observed that there may be in an individual's frame of mind and outward conduct, much that bears a strong affinity and resemblance to many of the positive evidences of the new birth, without a single step towards that state having been taken. There may be, as regards the state of mind, a deep and clear knowledge of Divine truth, a strongly enlightened judgment, and a sound and scriptural creed. There may be a strong attachment to, and a zealous maintenance of, some of the distinguishing doctrines of grace- even a desire to hear of Christ, and an ability to judge between sound and unsound preaching- and all the while the heart may be encased in the hardness of impenitence and unbelief, a stranger to the regenerating influence of the Spirit of God. Do not misinterpret our meaning. We are not saying anything against a true spiritual and experimental acquaintance with Divine truth. We do not forget that there can be no faith in Christ without some knowledge of Christ. The very existence of faith in the heart implies the existence of, and an acquaintance with, the object of faith- the Lord Jesus. We are not against an enlarged possession of Divine knowledge. It would be well for the Church of Christ, and would greatly promote her stability and real spirituality, were the standard of Divine knowledge more elevated in her midst. It would screen her from much of the unsound theology and false philosophy, which, at this moment, threaten her purity and her peace. It cannot with perfect truth be said, as far as an elevated and spiritual taste and thirst for experimental truth are concerned, that "wisdom and knowledge are the stability of our times." Much of the prevalent religion is characterized by "itching ears," 2 Tim. 4. 3; habit of "change," Prov. 24. 21; "unstableness," 2 Pet. 3. 16; affected by "every wind of doctrine," Eph. 4. 14; and which, in its influence, is "barren and unfruitful," 2 Pet. 1. 8. Were there a more diligent and prayerful study of God's word, a more regular and constant attendance upon a stated ministry (if that ministry be found productive of spiritual benefit), connected with frequent seasons of retirement consecrated to meditation, self-examination and secret prayer, there would be less of that superficial Christianity which marks the many in this day of high and universal profession. We need more depth of knowledge, more spirituality, more experience, more of the life and power of true godliness; in a word, more of the anointing and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit in the church.
But in the exception that we make, we refer to a knowledge of biblical truth that is not saving in its effects, is not influential in its character, and which has its place in the judgment only. Here the truth may be assented to, approved of, and even ably and successfully vindicated, while the soul, the seat of life; the will, the instrument of holiness; and the heart, the home of love, are all unrenewed by the Holy Spirit. You cannot be too distinctly nor too earnestly informed that there is a great difference in divine knowledge. There is a knowledge of the truth, in the attainment of which a man may labor diligently, and in the possession of which he may look like a believer, but which may not come under that designation of a knowledge of Christ, in allusion to which our dear Lord in His memorable prayer uses these words, "This is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17. 3. The fatal error to which you are exposed is- O that you may have escaped it!- the substitution of knowledge of Divine truth in the judgment for the quickening grace of God in the heart. It is surprising how far an outwardly moral individual may go in Divine attainments- spiritual knowledge- eminent gifts- and even great usefulness, and yet retain the carnal mind, the rebellious will, the unhumbled and unbroken heart. If the volume of divine truth had not informed us of this, and supplied us with some striking and solemn cases in proof, we should be perpetually beguiled into the belief that a head filled with rational, speculative, theoretical truth must necessarily be connected with some degree of divine grace in the affections. But not so. Balaam's knowledge of Divine things was deep; he could ask counsel of God and prophesy of Christ, but where is the undoubted evidence that he "knew the grace of God in truth"? Saul prophesied, had "another spirit" given him, and asked counsel of God; but Saul's heart was unchanged by the Holy Spirit. Herod sent for John, and "heard him gladly, and did many things," and yet his heart and his life were strangers to holiness. Addressing the Pharisees, the apostle employs this striking language, "Behold, you are called a Jew, and rest in the law, and make your boast of God, and know his will, and approve the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law": and yet deep hypocrisy was their crying sin. O let no man be so deceived as to substitute knowledge for grace. Better that his knowledge of the truth should be limited to its mere elements, its first principles, and yet with it be enabled to say, "Behold, I am vile, but He has loved me and given himself for me," than to possess "all knowledge," and live and die destitute of the renewing grace of God upon the heart.
Still farther may an individual go in an approximation to the evidences of true godliness, and yet remain unregenerate. He may possess eminent spiritual gifts- fluency of expression in prayer- great exhortatory powers- eloquence in preaching- clear discrimination in spiritual subjects- the discerning of spirits- the gift of speaking and of interpreting of tongues; yet continue a graceless soul, retaining the "carnal mind" and the "heart of stone." What, we ask, is the most instructive and solemn page in the history of the Corinthian church? That which teaches us that great gifts may exist in union with great impiety; in other words, that gifts are not graces, that an individual, or a community of individuals, may possess the gifts that edify, and at the same time be destitute of the grace that humbles and sanctifies. On the other hand, how frequently is the union found to exist of feeble natural and acquired gifts with great grace, deep spirituality, and even extensive usefulness! The tongue has stammered in prayer; thought, deep welled in the mind, has found no adequate utterance; feelings, burning in the heart, no outlet; a glowing and spiritually-chastened imagination, no conductor; and yet in the man's secret life, there has been the holy and close walk of a patriarch, and in his public one, the self-consuming zeal of an apostle. God has revealed to him the secret of His love; Christ has opened to him the treasures of His grace; and the Holy Spirit has sealed him to the day of redemption. Well might an eminent prelate exclaim, as he surveyed a spectacle like this- "The poor illiterate world attain to heaven, while we, with all our learning, fall into hell."
One step farther would we go. There may be strong light and conviction of sin in the conscience (Heb. 6. 4)- deep distress of soul in the near prospect of death and eternity (Acts 24. 25)- this succeeded by solemn vows, purposes and resolutions (Exod. 9. 27, 28)- and this by a species of joy (Matt. 13. 20)- connected with an external mortification of sin (Acts 8. 12, 13)- and yet the mighty and spiritual process of regeneration may not even have commenced in the soul. Far be it from us to say that the Spirit of God may not employ these as means of conversion- He may, He often does; yet they may exist alone and apart from any connection with a work of grace. We are aware that, in showing what regeneration is not, we have assumed high and solemn ground, and have advanced statements which, if supported by the Scriptures of truth (and we have endeavored to fortify every position by the Word of God), will break up the lying refuges, undermine the spurious hopes, explode the false evidences, and rip apart the specious covering of many now dwelling in the outer courts of Christianity and making a "fair show" of religion "in the flesh." Gal. 6. 12. But the vast importance of the subject and its vital relation to the eternal happiness of the soul demanded from us a close investigation of the false evidences of this great work.

We now proceed to VIEW POSITIVELY THE NATURE OF REGENERATION. Need we enlarge upon the moral state of the soul which is the reverse of true regeneration? It may be helpful to glance briefly at it. It is described in God's Word in dark colors, and by gloomy images. The heart is spoken of as depraved- the understanding as darkened- the will as perverted- the affections as estranged. Look at the description of the heart in its natural state. Jer. 17. 9: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." Matt. 15. 19: "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." Awful picture of the natural heart!- the picture of all yet in an unrenewed state. There may not be the overt act of sin, the actual commission, the outbreaking of the evil- but the evil is there, deeply imbedded and hidden there, and only restrained by the power of God. Read again, Eccles. 8. 11: "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." Eccles. 9. 3: "The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live." Can language present the natural state of the heart in more affecting and awful terms? Here it is represented as "fully set to do evil" "full of evil and madness" "deceitful" "desperately wicked." The surface may be fair to the eye- there may be kindness, affection, benevolence dwelling there; but beneath that surface is deep, deep ungodliness. No love to God there- no affection for Jesus there- no thirst for holiness there- no crucifixion of sin and self there; and until the Holy Spirit enters and creates all things new, all things will remain as they were, under the unbroken dominion and tyranny of sin.
The understanding is dark. Eph. 4. 18: "Having the understanding darkened." Hence there can be no true knowledge of God and of Christ; no proper acquaintance with His word, His law, His commands; no just realization of eternity, no proper estimate of time. All is spiritual darkness in the soul.
The will is perverted. It is in opposition to God and holiness. It has no bias towards spiritual and heavenly things. Its natural bent and disposition is to evil; evil only, and evil continually.
But there is more. There is positive enmity in the natural man to God. Rom. 8. 7: "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." This is a strong expression; the apostle states that the carnal mind is not only alienated from God, averse to Him, but is actual enmity. Had he represented the carnal mind as an enemy to God, that would have sounded startling; but when he describes it as "enmity" itself, we have the most vivid and awful idea of man's state by nature. An enemy may be reconciled, but enmity cannot. The ground of this enmity the apostle states to be "the law of God." "It is not subject to the law of God." The enmity of the carnal heart is against God as the moral Governor of the universe. Let not the reader, especially if there be the  honest conviction in his conscience of the existence of the carnal mind, overlook this important fact. There is danger of turning aside from the true cause of man's enmity to God. We repeat then, all are enemies to God who do not submit to His kingly authority. Men may imagine they admire and love God under other characters, but hate Him as a Lawgiver. But this cannot be. If God is not loved, adored and obeyed as a Lawgiver, He cannot, without denying Himself and throwing contempt upon His own law, recognize the supposed love and adoration of any of His creatures. Supreme dominion is essential to His character, and to be properly and truly loved He must be loved as a King. Among men, the person and the office may be separable. A man may be the personal friend of the king, and yet an enemy to his government. As a man, he may be loved; as a magistrate, he may be hated. We can imagine that many who lived in the days of the Commonwealth were sincerely attached to the person of Oliver Cromwell, but disapproved of his government, and condemned as unjustifiable his usurpation of authority and power. But not so in reference to God, the moral Governor of the world. His nature and His office, His attributes and His government are inseparable: and no one can possibly be a friend to God who hates His government and refuses obedience to His law.
Now "the carnal mind is enmity against God" because of His moral government. The question is, "who shall reign, God or the sinner?" This is the only ground of controversy. Decide this question in favor of the sinner, and so far as it relates to him, the controversy ceases. Only let God drop the reins of His government- let Him descend from His throne, lay aside His scepter, give up His law- and the enmity of the carnal mind ceases. Man would revel in His goodness, admire His wisdom, and adore His power. But God can as soon cease to be, as give up His right to dominion. He must assert His claim to the throne. He is bound to maintain the dignity, shield the purity and support the honor of His law; and sooner can heaven and earth pass away than one jot or one tittle of that law fail. This the carnal mind cannot bear, "for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Enmity against God, O awful thought! Enmity to the best of beings, the dearest of friends! Enmity to Him whose nature and whose name is love!- who is holy, yes, holiness itself- good, yes, goodness itself- true, yes, truth itself! Enmity to Him, out of whom nothing is good, nothing holy, nothing true; who is the Fountain from where all the streams flow, the Sun from which all the rays emanate. Enmity to Him, who gave His Son to die for sinners! "For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Yes, to die for His enemies. "When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son." Enmity to Jesus who thus died; who flew on wings of love to the rescue and the redemption of fallen man; who took the place, bore the sins, endured the curse; all this for rebel man; who gave His life, His obedience, all He could give- Himself; all this for the poor, the vile, the worthless; who suffered, bled and died- was not this enough? Could He have done more? The law said, "it is enough "; justice said, " I am satisfied "; all this- and who can estimate it? all this for sinners, for rebels, for enemies! Son of God, is it for this they hate You, despise You, reject You? Oh, the enmity of the carnal mind!
If possible, the Word of God gives a yet more awful description of the unrenewed state of man. It is represented under the image of death. The natural condition of the soul is moral death. Thus is it described. Eph. 2. 1: "Dead in trespasses and sins"; and verse 5: "When we were dead in
Sins." Col. 2. 13: "You being dead in your sins." "Through the offence of one, many are dead." This is his awful state- spiritually, legally and (if the quickening power of the eternal Spirit of God does not interpose) judicially dead. 'Insensibility to all spiritual things' marks the unrenewed mind. To things that are 'carnal', it is all feeling, all sensitiveness, all life. Here all its natural faculties are in full vigor and play. The understanding, the will, the affections find ample range for their carnal propensities, powerful incentives to their indulgence, and revel and exult and expatiate amid the world of sensual delight- limited it is confessed- that opens to their view. O yes, all is life here. The mind can think, reason, compare and arrange; the will can select, and the affections pour forth their tender yearnings- and still the pall of spiritual death covers the soul!
What are the symptoms? Is insensibility a mark of death? Then it is here. No spiritual sensation- no feeling- no emotion; all is stagnant, quiet and motionless as the river of death. True, the natural conscience may for a moment be aroused, and the agitated and alarmed soul may exhibit some signs of feeling- and so will a corpse under the influence of galvanic power- the eye may roll, and the lip may move, and every feature in the countenance assume the expression of life, but it is a corpse still. We speak to the soul dead in trespasses and sins; we employ the language of terror, we preach the law; we unfold its authority, its purity, its demands; we announce its curse, its threatening, its fearful doom. We speak of a holy God, a sin-seeing, sin-hating, sin-avenging God; we uncover hell and reveal its darkness, its quenchless flame, its undying worm, the smoke of its eternal torments; we look- but not a bosom heaves, not an eye weeps, not a lip quivers, not a feature wears the aspect of terror- all, all is still, cold and motionless; death is there!
We change our theme. We speak in the language of persuasive tenderness. We preach the Gospel. We proclaim its divinity, its design, its fulness, its freeness, the mercy it promises, the blessings it breathes, the glory it unfolds. We lift up Jesus, as loving sinners, dying for sinners, receiving sinners, saving sinners. We unveil heaven, and bring to view its light, its holiness, its cloudless day, its eternal sunshine, its deep songs of joy, its never-dying, ever-growing bliss; we look- but not a heart throbs, not an eye glistens, not a lip praises, not a countenance beams with delight- all, all is quiet, cold, and silent- for death is there! Awful picture of the unrenewed man!
Does the absence of breath- the vital principle of life- denote a state of death? Then it is here. Prayer is the vital energy of a quickened soul, the spiritual breath of one "born from above." It is the first symptom of spiritual sensibility- the first and strongest evidence that "the Spirit that quickens" has entered the soul, breathing over the whole man the "breath of life." The pulse may at first beat but faintly, even as the first gentle heaving of an infant's bosom; still it is not less the product of the Spirit, the breath of God. "Behold he prays" is the announcement that sends gladness through the church of Christ on earth, and kindles joy among the angels of God in heaven. God the Father hastens to welcome the returning and resuscitated soul, and exclaims, "This my son was dead, and is alive again." It will follow then that the absence of prayer marks the soul yet "dead in sins." What evidence can be more convincing? It is a symptom that cannot mislead. The praying soul is a quickened soul. The prayerless soul is a lifeless soul. The individual that has never truly prayed has never known what one throb of spiritual life is. He may content himself with the external form- he may kneel in the outer court of the tabernacle, and, as the holy Leighton expresses it, "breathe his tune and air of words," and yet continue an utter stranger to true prayer.
Are you such a one? Let the voice of tender affection now lead you to a serious consideration of your real state. Do not mistake the outward form of prayer for the inward spirit of prayer. The soul may be dead, with all the appearance of life. But where there is true prayer, there is real life; for prayer is the ascending of the Divine life to God from whom it came. It came from God, and returns to Him again. As the river flows towards the ocean, or as the infant turns to its mother, the author of its existence and the source of its nourishment, as the "well of water" in a renewed soul "springing up" rises heavenwards- so a soul born of God turns to God, its Author, its Sustainer, its Keeper.

But it is proper that we detain the reader no longer from a consideration of the real nature of the spiritual change. It is the reverse of what we have, with some minuteness and at some length, been describing. The Word of God shall be the speaker here.
IT IS A PASSING FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE. John 5. 24: "Verily, verily, he that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." Col. 2. 13 "And you, being dead in your sins, and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he quickened." 1 John 3. 14: "We know that we have passed from death unto life."
IT IS A NEW CREATURE. 2 Cor. 5. 17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Gal. 6. 15: "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature."
IT IS A DIVINE NATURE. 2 Pet. 1. 4: "Partakers of the Divine nature." Heb. 12. 10: "Partakers of his holiness."
A NEW BIRTH. John 3. 3: "Except a man be born again (marg. from above) he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 1. 13: "Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." 1 Pet. 1. 23: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which lives and abides forever."
A TURNING FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT. 1 Pet. 2. 9: "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light."
A CHANGE FROM ENMITY TO LOVE. Col. 1. 21: "And you, who were once alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled." 1 John 4. 19:
"We love him." Rom. 5. 5: "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts."
A RESTORATION OF THE DIVINE IMAGE. Col. 3. 10: "And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." Rom. 8. 29: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son." 1 John 2. 29: "If you know that he is righteous, you know that every one that does righteousness is born of him."
Thus clearly and emphatically does the Word of God speak when unfolding the nature of true regeneration. Reserving for the next chapter the consideration of the Author and the evidences of this work, we close the present one by holding up more distinctly and prominently to view A FEW OF THE BROAD LINEAMENTS OF THE NEW CREATURE.
The Holy Spirit testifies that "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." This testimony is true. For first, he loves and worships a new God. The natural man is a god to himself, and he has many other gods as well. Whether it be self-righteousness, self-gratification, the world, wealth, family, in whatever form it appears, "other lords have dominion over him," to the exclusion of the one true and living God. The nature of the human mind is such that it must love and worship some object supremely. In his state of innocence, Jehovah was the one and supreme object of the creature's love and adoration. Seduced from that state of simple and supreme affection by the tempter's promise that, if they ate of the fruit of the tree forbidden of God, "they should be as gods," in one moment they threw off their allegiance to Jehovah, renounced him as the object of their supreme love, the center of their holiest affections, and became gods to themselves. The temple was ruined, the altar was thrown down, the pure flame was extinguished, God departed and "other lords" entered and took possession of the soul. But what a change does grace produce! It repairs the temple, rebuilds the altar, rekindles the flame and brings God back to man! God in Christ is now the supreme object of his love, his adoration and his worship. The idol self has been cast down, self-righteousness renounced, self-exaltation crucified. The "strong man armed" has entered, cast out the usurper, and, "creating all things new," has resumed his rightful supremacy. The affections, released from their false deity and renewed by the Spirit, now turn to and take up their rest in God. God in Christ! how glorious does He now appear! Truly it is a new God the soul is brought to know and love. Never did it see in Him such beauty, such excellence, such blessedness as it now sees. All other glory fades and dies before the surpassing glory of His character, His attributes, His government, and His law. God in Christ is viewed as reconciled now; enmity ceases; hatred has passed away; opposition throws down its weapons; hard thoughts of His law, and rebellious thoughts of His government, subside; love kindles in the soul and, in one precious Christ the one Mediator, God and the sinner meet, embrace and blend. Truly they become one. God says, "You are mine." The soul responds, "You are my God- other lords have had dominion over me, but henceforth, You only will I serve, You only will I love. My soul follows hard after you; your right hand upholds me. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple."
God in Christ is his Father now. "I will arise, and go unto my Father," is the first motion of a renewed soul. "Father, I have sinned against You," is the first confession rising from the broken heart. The Father hastens to meet and embrace His child, and clasping him to His bosom exclaims, "This My son was dead, and is alive again." Reconciled, he now looks up to Him truly as his Father. "And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." "You shall call me, My Father; and shall not turn away from me." Jer. 3. 19. Does God speak?
it is the voice of a Father he hears. Does God chasten and rebuke? it is from his Father, he feels. Are his hopes disappointed, his plans crossed, his cisterns broken, his gourds withered? "My Father has done it all," he exclaims. Blessed Spirit of adoption! sweet pledge and evidence are You of the new creature.
God in Christ is now the object of confidence and trust. Trust in a reconciled God and Father was no mark and portion of his unrenewed state. It was then trust in self, in its imagined wisdom, strength and goodness. It was then trust in the arm of flesh; in second causes. Now the soul trusts in God, trusts Him at all times and under all circumstances, trusts Him in the darkest hour, under the gloomiest dispensation, trusts Him when His providences look dark and lowering, and God seems to hide Himself; it even trusts Him "though He slay." Now "though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit in the vines; the labor of the olive fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flocks be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stall, he will rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of his salvation." Oh, how safe he feels in God's hands and under His government now! His soul, his body, his family, his business and his cares are completely surrendered, and God is all in all. Reader, this is to be born again.
Second, the regenerate soul possesses and acknowledges a new Savior. How glorious, suitable and precious is Jesus to him now! Not so formerly. Then he had his saviors, his "refuges of lies," his many fatal confidences. Jesus was to him as "a root out of a dry ground, having no form nor loveliness." It may be that he denied His deity, rejected His atonement, scorned His grace and slighted His pardon and His love. Christ is all to him now. He adores Him as the "mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace"; as "God over all, blessed forever"; as "God manifest in the flesh"; as stooping to the nature of man, becoming bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh; as offering Himself up as the "propitiation for our sins"; as dying, "the just for the unjust." His righteousness is glorious as "justifying from all things"; His blood is precious as "cleansing from all sin"; His fulness of grace is valued as "supplying all need." Oh, how surpassingly glorious, inimitably lovely and unutterably precious is Jesus to a renewed soul!
Truly a new Savior! "Other lords" he has renounced; "refuges of lies" he has turned his back upon; "false Christs" he no longer follows. He has found another and a better Savior- Jesus, the mighty God, the Redeemer of sinners; the "end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes." All is 'new' to his recovered sight; a new world of glory has floated before his mind. Jesus the Lamb is the light and glory thereof. Never did he suppose there was such beauty in His person, such love in His heart, such perfection in His work, such power and such willingness to save. That blood which was trampled under foot is now precious. That righteousness which was scorned is now glorious. That name which was reviled is now as music to the soul, even "a name that is above every name."
Jesus is his only Savior. Not an allowed confidence has he out of Christ. The covenant of "dead works" he has renounced. The Spirit, having brought him out of and away from it, has led him into the covenant of grace, the substance and stability and glory of which is Jesus. On the broad basis of Immanuel's finished, atoning work he rests his whole soul; and the more he presses the foundation, the more he leans upon the "corner-stone," the stronger and the more able to sustain him does he find it. True, he feels a self-righteous principle closely adhering to him all his journey through the wilderness. When he prays, it is there; when he speaks, it is there; when he labors, it is there; when he reflects, it is there: he detects it when suspicion of its existence would be most at rest. But in the sober moments of his judgment, when prostrate beneath the cross and looking up to God through Jesus, this principle is searched out, abhorred, confessed and mourned over; and with the eye of faith upon a suffering Savior the language of his expanding heart is,
"Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on You."

Third, new and enlarged views of the Holy Spirit mark a regenerate mind. Having received the Holy Spirit as a Quickener, he feels the need of Him now as a Teacher, a Sanctifier, a Comforter and a Sealer. As a Teacher, discovering to him more of the hidden evil of the heart, more knowledge of God, of His word and of His Son. As a Sanctifier, carrying forward the work of grace in the soul, impressing more deeply on the heart the Divine image, and bringing every thought and feeling and word into sweet, holy and filial obedience to the law of Jesus. As a Comforter, leading him in the hour of his deep trial to Christ; comforting, by unfolding the sympathy and tenderness of Jesus, and the exceeding preciousness and peculiar fitness of the many promises with which the word of truth abounds for the consolation of the Lord's afflicted. As a Sealer, impressing upon his heart the sense of pardon, acceptance, and adoption; and Himself entering, as the "pledge of the inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession." Oh, what exalted views does he now have of the blessed and eternal Spirit- of His personal glory, His work, His offices, His influences, His love, tenderness, and faithfulness! The ear is open to the softest whisper of His voice; the heart expands to the gentlest impression of His sealing, sanctifying influence. Remembering that he is "a temple of the Holy Spirit," he desires so to walk- humbly, softly, watchfully and prayerfully. Avoiding every thing that would "grieve the Spirit," resigning every known sin that would dishonor and cause Him to withdraw; the one single aim of his life is to walk so as to please God, that "God in all things may be glorified."

Fourth, a new spring of action is a distinguished feature of the renewed man which must not be overlooked. Every unconverted man has his rule of action; or, in other words, some great governing principle, which is his rule and standard in all that he does. The controlling principle of an unrenewed mind is SELF. His rule is to adopt such a course, and to do such things, as either gratify or elevate himself. Beyond this narrow circle he never moves. Other and more spiritual motives he is a stranger to. But quickened by the Spirit, "born of God," "created anew in Christ Jesus," the will of God is now his rule of action, the glory of God his aim, and the love of Christ his constraining motive. "The expulsive power of a new affection" has found a home and a dwelling place in his heart; and when his own will comes into competition with God's will, under the holy sway of this "new affection"- the love of Christ- self is renounced, yes swallowed up in God, and God in Christ is all in all.

Fifth, it would be an imperfect enumeration of some of the strong features of the new creature did we omit to notice the growing nature and tendency of the vital principle of grace thus implanted in the heart of the regenerate. Nothing more strikingly and truly proves the reality, we would say the divinity, of the work within, than the growing energy and holy tendency that ever accompany it. It is the property of that which has life in itself, to increase- to multiply itself. The seed cast into the earth will germinate. Presently will appear the tender sprout; this will advance to the young sapling, and this in time to the gigantic tree with its overshadowing branches and richly laden with fruit. Obeying the law of its nature, it aspires to that perfection which be longs to it. It must grow. Nothing can prevent it but such a wound as will injure the vital principle, or the cutting of it down entirely. The life of God in the soul of man contains the principle of growth. He that is not advancing- adding grace to grace, strength to strength; fruitful in every good word and work; increasing in the knowledge of God, of his own heart, of the preciousness, fulness and all-sufficiency of Jesus; and in Divine conformity "growing up into Christ in all things"- has great reason to suspect the absence of the Divine life in his soul. There may be much that suggests a resemblance to the new birth; there may be the portrait finely executed, the marble statue exquisitely chiseled, but there is not the living man, "the new creature." We can expect no increase of perfection in a finished picture or in a piece of statuary; that which has not life in it cannot grow. This is self-evident.
An individual may look like a believer, and even die, with a false peace, like the righteous, and all the while retain his dwelling among the tombs. But the spirit we are now considering is that of a man truly "born again." Phil. 3. 12-14: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark." O holy resolve of a regenerate man! Here is the springing up of the well of living water in the heart. Here is the turning of the soul to God. See how the fountain rises! See how the flame ascends! It is the mighty energy of God the Holy Spirit drawing the soul upward, heavenward, Godwards.
Let not the Christian reader close this chapter with a burdened heart. Let no dear child of God "write hard and bitter things against himself" as he reads this last sentence. Let him not come to any hasty, unbelieving, doubting and God-dishonoring conclusions. What are you to yourself? worthless- vile- empty? What is Jesus to you? precious lovely- all your salvation and all your desire? What is sin to you? the most hateful thing in the world? And what is holiness? the most lovely, the most longed for? What is the throne of grace to you? the most attractive spot? And the cross? the sweetest resting-place in the universe? What is God to you? your God and Father- the spring of all your joys- the fountain-head of all your bliss- the center where your affections meet? Is it so? Then you are born again- then you are a child of God- then you shall never die eternally. Cheer up, precious soul! the day of your redemption draws near. Those low views of yourself- that brokenness, that inward mourning, that secret confession, that longing for more spirituality, more grace, more devotedness and more love does but prove the existence, reality and growth of God's work within you. God the Holy Spirit is there, and these are but the fruits and evidences of His indwelling. Look up, then, reader, and let the thought cheer you- that soul never perished that felt itself to be vile, and Jesus to be precious!

Thus have we endeavored to unfold some of the prominent and essential attributes of the great work of regeneration. The next chapter will exhibit the Author of the work, and a more experimental and practical view of its nature and tendency. And may the anointing of the Holy Spirit rest upon the reader while perusing it.