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The Evidences of Regeneration

C.R. Vaughan


Hereby know we that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.— John in his Epistles.

THE discussion of regeneration will be made sufficiently complete for the purposes of this little treatise by an exposition of its evidences. The reality of the change cannot be disputed, either as a doctrine of the Scriptures or as a matter of experience. But the reality and soundness of any particular instance of professed conversion is an issue which is to be proved, and hence the importance of a clear understanding of the scriptural evidences which prove it. The necessity of this proof arises from the fact that the nature of the change is a question of inference and not of consciousness. The fact of a change of some sort is a matter of consciousness, but the real nature of that conscious change is necessarily a question of inference by a comparison of the marks of a genuine conversion as laid down in the word of God, and the facts as reported by self-examination into the conscious experiences of the soul. It is a favorite doctrine with some, that as the testimony of consciousness is direct, it must be clear and correct; that consequently a man always knows when he is converted; that any doubt is only a form of unbelief; and that every true Christian is necessarily in a state of assurance. Hence the boldest and most confident language is used; all modesty and caution in the estimate of one’s spiritual standing is discounted, all necessity for the warning, “be not high-minded, but fear,” for self-distrust, and self-examination to see if we be in the faith, is set aside; and the absolute assurance that we have passed from death unto life is accepted on the bare consciousness of a change in the feelings — a consciousness assuredly reliable as to a change of some sort, but by no means giving assurance that the change is regeneration. The mind may undergo many changes on the subject of religion, each one of which may be reliably certified by consciousness; but whether the conscious and certified change is the saving change of the heart, the real nature of the change is still to be ascertained; and this is to be done by comparing the altered mental phenomena with the Scripture marks of conversion, and the conclusion inferred from their agreement.

It is a question of inference, not of mere consciousness; an inference to be cautiously and deliberately drawn, and not hurried to a conclusion. As the facts in the consciousness which constitute one premise from which the conclusion is drawn, are, in many cases, not so strongly and definitely developed as to warrant an instant judgment of their real nature, the need for caution is obvious. The facts may and do reveal themselves with varying degrees of distinctness; and while, in some cases, a quick and confident decision upon them may be warranted, yet, in many others, a wide scale of modest judgments is not only warranted, but demanded. The stony-ground hearers in the parable teach us that there is such a thing as receiving the word with joy, yet soon giving way to a withered condition of experience and hope. They bring the blade, but no grain; leaves, but no fruit; and by their fruits they are known. Satan has made a counterfeit of every coin in the currency of the kingdom. There is a false faith and a false joy. That deceitfulness of the heart, which is pronounced more deceitful than anything else, gives space for a vast series of spurious religious affections. There is often, especially in high and wide-spread scenes of religious excitement, an honest, but mistaken, conviction in many minds that they do comply with the terms of salvation; this breeds the equally honest, but equally mistaken, conviction that they have passed from death unto life; this, again, persuades them that they are saved; and this, again, produces a feeling of joy and sympathy with holy men and things. But it soon passes away, and the conviction of being deceived takes permanent possession of the mind. All this possibility of deception, the existence of false affections, the deceitfulness of sin, the art and cunning of the adversary, lift a warning finger, and emphasize the command of Paul, “Examine yourselves,” “Prove your own selves.”

In making the test, one premise of the inference is always clear, that is, the scriptural signs and evidences of conversion; but the other premise, the facts in the consciousness, are often far from clear. In all these cases the conclusion cannot be rationally and scripturally drawn with clearness and decision. Upon this state of facts rest the apostolic injunctions to cautious self-inspection. In those cases where the personal experiences of grace are exceptionally definite and distinct, a more decisive and rapid inference is altogether warrantable; but it is very certain that, even in these cases, in the long conflict of the spiritual warfare which is before them if life is prolonged, these more fortunate children of grace will find a plentiful occasion for the wise caution of the sacred writers. The test of regeneration is found in the conformity of the facts in consciousness with the marks which discriminate the saving work of the Spirit, and not merely or only in the consciousness of a change of some kind. It is all-important, then, to ascertain these discriminating marks as they are delineated in the word of God.

1. One testimony in reference to these tests tells us, “Hereby know we that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit”; and we know that he has given us of his Spirit by one infallible test, “the fruit of the Spirit” in us. These fruits of the Spirit are clearly defined for us; they are “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” The presence of these affections and qualities in the mind is proof of the saving energy of the Holy Ghost in regenerating the human soul; the absence of them proves the want of it. The `feeble and doubtful development of these graces, throwing the existence of them into question, makes the saving grant of the Spirit in regeneration a matter of doubt. The prevalence of these qualities, clear and unquestionable in the consciousness, leaves the question of regeneration settled beyond a doubt. The presence of the opposite qualities, “hatred, misery, restlessness, impatience under trial and provocation, badness, roughness, unbelief, pride, and perpetual self-assertion, and the want of restraint upon unholy and selfish impulses and passions,” indicates the want of the Spirit in his saving power. A steady resistance to these evil qualities, a sincere aversion to their presence, a persistent grief for their intrusion, while a proof that they do exist in the heart, is also a proof that the Holy Ghost is there also, animating and sustaining an irreconcilable conflict with them, which will surely issue in full victory over them in the end. Let us follow the series of the fruits of the Spirit in the order in which they are described.

2. The series begins with love. It has been explained at length how the ruling moral element in the human spirit, like the crimson or golden coloring in glass or a transparent fluid, regulates or modifies every power of the understanding and every feeling of the heart, to a greater or less degree. When this moral energy is holy, it determines every power which it influences in holiness; when depraved, it determines them in sin, or in the effects of sin. When we segregate in thought, and consider the influence exerted on the heart, we see a powerful control exerted over all the affections. When the modifying element is depraved, we see its manifestations in depraved affections. The carnal mind is seen to be at enmity against God; his character is disliked; his law is distasteful; his claims are resisted; his service is discounted as unpleasant; all his asserted relations to man are regarded with invincible aversion. But when the pervading moral energy which conditions these dreadful results is purified by regenerating grace, a change, corresponding in the energy of its manifestations to the degree of the purifying grace given, at once appears in the affections towards God, and towards all the revelations and expressions of his will, character, and supremacy in the universe. Leading up to the manifestation of the change in the heart is a preliminary and corresponding change in the views of the understanding. As the depraved moral element, whose seat is in the will or heart itself, determines warped and distorted views of God, and all his manifested will, so the purification of this modifying force determines a change in the views of the understanding, giving it just views of God and his manifested will. The regeneration of the heart secures this change in the views of the mind, and this change in the mind leads directly to the manifestations of change in the heart itself. The revolution begins in the seat of the mischief, and thence transmits its altering force over the whole circle of the energies subject to its influence. Without dwelling on the relation between the heart and the understanding in this mutual interaction in regeneration, let us trace out the practical modifications in the governing love of the soul as delineated in the Scriptures.

The first change we notice is towards Christ as the Saviour of sinners. “To you which believe he is precious.” “We are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” To every natural mind, capable of understanding and appreciating the unique and unparalleled personal character of Jesus of Nazareth, there appears such an assemblage of personal excellences as to extort the tribute of unbounded admiration, even from infidels and errorists of every class. This species of natural good feeling towards him is the travesty of genuine love to him, the counterfeit of the saving affection of love to him; and in those who rely upon the mere culture of the religious nature may be easily mistaken for it. But when he is presented and pressed upon the conscience in his grand comprehensive character and function as the Saviour of sinners, these lovers turn away in aversion, and no trace of love to him is discoverable. The implication of their own character, as sinners — the very terms of his deliverance — free grace, deepening and adding intensity to the implied charge of guilt and helplessness, is more than they can stand. Consequently all men at first, and always, unless moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit, turn away from Christ as a sinner’s free and gracious Saviour with fixed aversion. Yet this office of Christ is the chief glory of his character, personal and official; it is the very object of his advent on earth; it is the very thing which constitutes his priceless value to the human race, and this is the very thing which discriminates the love to him which is the fruit of the Spirit in regeneration, and distinguishes it from all the merely natural affection towards him, bred in the natural mind by the unique perfection of his personal character. The freedom of his grace is the very crown and summit of his value to a race of lost and helpless sinners. It is this office and this grace which adjusts him to the miseries, the sins, the fears, and the yearning hopes of the human soul. It is this which adjusts him to the felt wants of every individual who becomes acquainted with his own spiritual condition. It is the discovery of him in this character as a sinner’s Saviour which awakens the love of such a soul. Just as soon as grace triumphs in regeneration, this insight into Christ comes to the front, and that very notion of him as a Saviour of sinners, saving them by free grace, which was once the chief occasion of offence in him, becomes the chief cause of all the joy and peace of the regenerated and saved sinner. There is no more striking and reliable proof of regeneration than this change of feeling and affection towards Christ as a sinner’s Saviour. Hence the test as laid down by the apostle: “To you which believe he is precious.” That love to Christ as the friend and deliverer of sinners is demonstration of regenerating grace.

This love implanted by the Spirit manifests itself suitably on occasion towards every revelation of the nature and will of God. It is love towards the Father as well as to the Son; it brings to view that glorious fatherhood restored to his reconciled rebel by the grace of redemption. It is love to the Holy Spirit, the sweet, benignant dweller in the unholy heart, to develop the regenerate life he has given, and unfold all the comfort and glory of the covenant of grace and the things of Christ. As that enmity to God which marked and distinguished the carnal mind showed itself in the judgments and feelings excited by every display of his will, whether in his word, law, ordinances, and the events of his providence, the change of this enmity into genuine love towards himself will exert a corresponding change in the views and feelings towards his will, however disclosed.

The second manifestation in the altered love of the heart, which we note, is the affection which springs up towards the followers of Christ. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” One of the most remarkable traits of the true Christian nature is the sympathy created for all men indiscriminately as lost souls, and the peculiar sympathy and affection for all who love and trust the Saviour. One of the earliest impulses of the renewed soul is to bring others to share in forgiving mercy. The same principle in which this feeling is rooted determines a strong sympathy for all who do share in it. The desire that the gracious giver of hopes so sweet should be suitably loved and honored is delighted when it finds those who do so love and honor him. Often in some darkened mood, when his own love to his Saviour appears to his own jealous heart to be doubtful, there is a sensible satisfaction in the thought that others do love and do him justice. This sympathy leads to delight in the society of Christians, to the desire to talk with them, to open the heart to them, to learn of their experiences, to a sense of joy and safety in such communion with them. As the carnal mind found no pleasure in the society of believers as such, the regenerate mind does find a real delight in the communion of saints.

Another expression of this altered love of the soul is towards the law of God. “Oh, how love I thy law; it is my meditation all the day.” The law of God may be considered under the specific notion of the moral law, or under the notion of his positive and statutory legislation, or under the more general notion of the Holy Scriptures at large, in which all his revealed will is set forth. Under each of these notions the love of the regenerate heart is elicited. It no longer finds discontent in the pure and lofty spiritual holiness embodied in the moral law and required in the obedience of every creature. It sees in the moral law only the formal articulation into definite requirements of that eternal distinction of right which is felt to be essentially obligatory. Holiness has become sweet to the taste of the regenerate heart, and it exults in the law which requires, and, when obeyed, develops it. The law which once seemed the harsh bond of an impracticable purity has become the embodiment of all justice, wisdom, purity, and goodness, the noble standard to define and stimulate every attainment in excellence. It is the universal bond of right. Its very penalty is felt to be the indispensable sanction of a law for creatures who are to exist forever, and its execution the necessary and natural, and altogether righteous, consequence of law eternally violated. Under its positive aspects it regards the statutes of the Lord as always right and wise, adapted to the conditions of mankind, when ordered to be observed, and to the purposes of the divine Lawgiver in making them. But under its broader aspect as the word of God, the regenerate heart finds an inexhaustible fountain of strength and comfort in its grand doctrines of covenanted grace; in its promises, which animate faith and obedience to ardent energy; in its assurances of divine love, which fill the soul with grateful joy; and in its prophecies of the triumph and coming glory of the kingdom, which fill hope with exultant visions of glory, honor, and immortality. In its lessons of covenanted grace, in its histories of the kingdom, in its biographies of the saints, in its wise and faithful warnings, in its firm pledges of all the grace needful for every emergency of the Christian career, the renewed heart finds an abundance of priceless truth; and the word of God becomes inexpressibly dear. It is the daily counsellor and companion, the guide in all activity, the solace in every affliction, of the Christian soul. Nothing could be in stronger contrast to the feelings of the unregenerate heart towards the word of God.

Another striking expression of this changed affection is towards the ordinance of prayer. The renewed soul delights to pray; it feels a necessity for prayer so imperious that the command and broad warrant to pray seems not so much to define a duty as to secure and exalt an immeasurable privilege. The old carnal reluctance and disgust at prayer has given way to a delighted appreciation of a boundless franchise, which makes its employment at once the necessity and joy of daily existence. There is now no need to drive him, as before, to a reluctant and joyless observance. He has learned to love to pray, and he delights to draw near to the throne where grace is reigning through righteousness unto eternal life.

Yet another manifestation of this new love in the heart is a similar valuation and delight in all the ordinances of the house of God. The regenerated man has learned to love the church of Christ, not only in its worship, but in its work; not only in its ordinances, but in its organization. The preaching of the gospel, the sacraments, the songs of praise, the whole appointed service of the sanctuary, the Sabbath, and all the active demands of the Christian sacrifice and service, now give him a noble satisfaction. The growth and extension of the organized church, all that involves its honor, purity, and successful accomplishment of its grand ends in the spread of the gospel, and its establishment in the whole world, concern him; he takes a share and a delight in it all.

Yet another display of this new affection is the delight it creates in meditation on the things of grace. Love delights in thoughts and reveries about the object loved. To the unholy heart the thought of God is unpleasing; it remembers him, and is troubled, as a guilty conscience even in a believer will be. The remembrance of him is banished as soon as may be; God is not in all his thoughts; often for long periods literally forgotten, and always unwelcome when the recollection returns. This form of atheism is the direct result of that carnal mind which is enmity against God; but when that unnatural feeling is subdued by regenerating grace, he lives in the thoughts of the purified soul — often, literally, in all his thoughts — because the meditation of him, bitter to hatred, has become sweet to love. It also embraces Christ as the Saviour, the Spirit as the Paraclete, and all the truth in which his grace has revealed itself to human hope.

The same renewed affection shows its noble regenerate energy in its disposition and dealings with the will of God, as manifested in the orderings of his providence. It shows itself in contentment with the orderings of his allotments in life. It shows itself in patient and trustful endurance of sorrow and affliction. It animates the heart by an unfaltering confidence in Christ, and in the pledges of his grace; in the love of the Spirit and in his fidelity to his trust; in the fatherhood of God, and in the assurances of his protection. When the storm of providential trial is so sore as apparently to sweep the breaking heart from the rock of its salvation, it will still patiently struggle to regain its foothold, and will always blame its own weakness and unbelief rather than to charge God foolishly. The renewed heart clings to God in Christ as its only safety and hope. It spoke out in Job’s grand confession and vow of faithfulness, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”

This same renewed affection determines also a new set of dislikes as well as likes, and in this, too, its reality and its true nature appear. It determines an honest hatred to sin. It dreads temptation. It shrinks from the fascinations of an unholy world. It dreads everything that may obscure its view of Christ and the plan of salvation. It hates its own unbelief, its own hardness of heart, its own pride, selfishness, and self-righteousness, its own ingratitude and coldness. of affection. It abhors its own sinful tendencies and its own imperfect efforts at obedience. It is full of self-distrust. It determines repentance for sin. The regenerate heart is the contrite and broken heart. Such are some of the leading manifestations and proofs of that fruit of the Spirit the apostle designates as love.

3. The second member of the fruits of the Spirit as given in the Scriptures is joy. The gospel is glad tidings of great joy. When the gospel is realized by that faith which is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, the necessary effect of its intrinsic gladness is to produce joy. The absence of joy at any time in a Christian soul is due solely to the fact that his faith for the time being, and during all that time of paralyzed comfort, is not doing justice to the truth of the glad gospel of infinite grace. The command is, “Rejoice in the Lord,” not in one’s self, not in what has been given and made ours, either by nature or grace, but in the Lord. “Rejoice in the Lord always,” and with emphatic reduplication, “again I say unto you, Rejoice.” Rejoice in the Lord; for all safety and comfort are in him. Rejoice in him at all times; for at no time does his grace fail. Rejoice in times of sorrow; for the presence of the good Physician is a comfort even in sickness. Rejoice in times of trial; for trouble does not grow out of the ground, and he presides over all the remedial afflictions which he sends. Rejoice in him at all times; for he is never absent, never forgetful, never indifferent, and always bound by his gracious promise to make all things work together for good to them that love God and are the called according to his purpose. The absence of joy at any time ought to set every regenerate soul to diligent endeavor to bring back this dear fruit of the Spirit. Why should a regenerate soul go mourning all the day long?

4. The next of the series is peace. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.” The cause of controversy between him and man is sin; that necessarily produces the condemnation of the King, and the hazard of the law. Peace can only come by taking away sin. The atonement of Christ is the only thing that can take sin away; and the necessary effect of the application of his blood is peace with God. This peace, based on the absolute extinction of all threatening claims, reflects itself on the mind of the forgiven sinner, and there is peace within him as well as without him, peace of conscience as well as peace in law. Fresh transgression may disturb this peace, but the way is always open to restore it; fresh repentance and fresh application to the atoning blood will yield fresh peace. As transgression will disturb, obedience will increase, this peace, and as it is the function of regenerating grace to secure obedience, that grace has more than one channel through which it brings peace. All regenerate souls should seek for the habitual presence of this fruit of the Spirit. Peace and joy are not merely to be prized as pleasant companions to our thoughts; but because they do to a most important extent condition our ability, zeal, and faithfulness in our service. “The joy of the Lord is our strength.”

5. The next fruit of the Spirit in the test of the apostle is long-suffering. There is abundant occasion for this grace in any world like this. Selfishness reigns in it; injustice and open violence are the fruits of selfishness. Breaches of faith, treachery and fraud, insolence and unjust aggression, unkindness and want of sympathy justly due, make many a demand on the resentful passions. The natural heart yields freely to these impulses, and all the more freely because it commonly feels justified in doing it. But such yielding generally makes matters worse, instead of healing them. The regenerate heart, whenever grace is allowed a fair chance to assert its real quality, is full of sensibility to its own faults and infirmities, and is, therefore, more forbearing towards the faults and infirmities of others. As by the tender love of God its own sins are forgiven, it is all the more ready to forgive. The spirit of forbearance is this spirit of forgiveness in a certain relation to offences; it refuses to retaliate; and its presence, ruling the instincts of resentment and revenge, is a fruit of regenerating grace, and a noble proof of its power and beauty. Coming into open conflict, as it does, with the pride and pugnacious instincts of an unholy nature, this grace of long-suffering under injury and insult is often misjudged and subjected to opprobrious names in the passionate and blind judgments of men; but it is, nevertheless, a noble sample and proof of the regenerating grace of God. The indulgence of the opposite spirit will bring protracted and bitter sorrow into any Christian life. The high estimate put on this noble self-control in the word of God is the standard by which to judge it.

6. The next specification of the series is gentleness. One of the most prominent and dangerous developments produced by the depraving of the moral nature in man is found in the corruption and dangerous exasperation of a sensibility natural to every moral as well as to every animal being — the natural provision to secure self-protection and to repel unlawful aggression upon vested rights. Anger is not essentially and necessarily a wicked feeling. Christ was said to be angry on two occasions in his sinless life. But as affected by the corrupt condition of the human heart, super-induced by sin, it has become one of the most dangerous energies in human nature. Gentleness stands opposed to all sinful manifestations of anger in word or in deed, or in the secret motions of the silent soul. It prevents all hasty and unjust uprising of angry feelings; it controls speech into mildness and courtesy; it restrains the hand from violence. It breeds the spirit of kindness in lieu of the spirit of harshness; it breeds patience instead of irritability. It throws the sweet, subduing power of love and kindness over the provocations, even the just provocations, of life. It reduces anger to its proper place, and only allows it in the defence of just rights, the repulse of unlawful aggression, and when the honor of God demands it. No ornament of character is more beautiful than that fruit of the Spirit and that proof of regenerating grace, the gentleness of an humble and good heart, ruling all the stormy impulses of the soul, refining the manners, and coloring with its noble beauty the words, acts, and character of a regenerate man. When combined with courage, fortitude, and strength of will, it presents the noblest combination possible to human nature.

7. Yet another fruit of the Spirit and evidence of regeneration is goodness. Sin mars the sympathies natural to the common nature and brotherhood of the human kind. Amid the wreck and ruin wrought on the moral nature of fallen man, enough of the quality of his original make has survived in a damaged condition to make even the culture of natural means effective in developing the virtues of benevolence, humanity, and kindness. Even this is indirectly due to the influence of the Holy Spirit in holding back the natural tendency of moral evil to rush steadily along the line of perpetual declension from one degree of evil to another. Hence the possibility of civilization and the ties of society among the heathen and the ungodly masses of Christian lands. These virtues of humanity, wherever found, show a marvelous beauty to the admiring eye. But regenerating grace develops them into nobler forms than moral culture can ever do. It leads to, and yet beyond, those occasions for their exercise which are found in the evils of this present life, and which limit benevolence in its mere natural and cultivated form. It carries the unselfish and generous sympathies to the relief of the higher spiritual evils which threaten a far deeper disaster than any mere earthly calamities. It produces not only the asylums and other contrivances for the care of the orphan and the suffering poor, in which mere humanity may take a part, but all the grand works of Christian enterprise for the salvation of the world, in which mere humanity, however cultured, takes no general interest. This goodness, which is the fruit of the Spirit, qualifies the whole character; it sweetens the sympathies; it refines the manners; it makes charitable the social judgments, and chastens the social relations of men into sources of safety and comfort. It tends to make men good in every relation of life — good fathers and mothers, good husbands and wives, good friends and neighbors. It throws the sweet sympathies of a purified heart over all the connections and events of this strange world. If any man hopes and believes that the regenerating grace of God has displayed its power upon his soul, without making him a better man, more honest, more just, more pure, more kind, more obedient to God, more useful to man, he may subject his hope and confidence of grace to very serious discount. Grace breeds goodness in all its forms; the fruit of the Spirit carries always a betterment to man, both in himself, and in all his relations. This is its necessary effect.

8. The next fruit of the Spirit in the enumeration of the apostle is faith. Saving faith is everywhere described in the Scriptures as “the fruit of the Spirit,” and the “gift of God.” It manifests itself in renouncing absolutely all other grounds of hope towards God but the merits and grace of Christ. It is conspicuously faith in Christ, a personal trust in his redeeming work, in his personal love, power, and faithfulness, in his promises, in all the statements of fact and doctrine he has made. It accepts the whole word of God; it admits the laws it prescribes; and obeys because it believes. It relies upon the pledged word and promise of grace, and expects the fulfilment of every pledge. It trusts in his administration of events, and, no matter how dark and mysterious his providences may seem, relies unshaken on his wisdom, love, and faithfulness. It gives evidence to things unseen, and substance to things of hope, and thus sees the gleam of heaven far in the dim clouds of the mystic future. It brings peace and hope; it renews strength; it animates patience; it impels obedience; it saves the soul. Wherever faith is seen in its effects, it demonstrates a regenerate heart.

9. The next item in the series is meekness. This opposes the pride and self-righteousness of the unrenewed soul. Pride is undue self-esteem; self-righteousness; a claim to integrity of life and character. When the spiritual illumination of regeneration takes effect, both of these feelings perish in the awful consciousness of inward pollution and personal guilt, and meekness and humility take their place.

10. The last specification is temperance. This does not mean merely sobriety; it is a far broader term; it means restraint, and covers all the passions and evil impulses of the soul. Regeneration does not at once make the regenerate soul completely holy; but it does fill it, not only with positive impelling forces towards holiness, but with powerful principles of restraint upon all the evil still left within the soul — upon the workings of the law of sin in the members.

A character and life which claims to be regenerate must show a restraint on evil impulses, generally effective, or the claim is nothing worth.

11. We must rapidly condense the remaining tests of regeneration; but as these have already been substantially discussed in the exposition of the nature of this wonderful work of divine grace, this brevity will not be unfaithfulness to the truth. As the ruling moral element, when depraved, affected the memory, conscience, judgment, and all the actions of the outward conduct, so will the same moral element when purified by regenerating grace. Conscience will become more clear-sighted, more delicate in its discriminations, and more masterful in its authority. Memory will become more tenacious of moral and religious ideas. The judgment will become more accurate in its discernment of moral and religious truth. The sense of wit and humor will be purified. All the powers of the human spirit will feel more or less directly the effect of grace in the heart. The whole external life will feel its controlling energy, and all will testify to the reality and the power of this great spiritual movement. “Old things will pass away; behold, all things will become new.”


C.R. Vaughan, a life-long friend of Robert Dabney, and later his biographer, is one of a group of Southern Presbyterian ministers and theologians whose writings are coming to be increasingly valued. After serving pastorates in Virginia, and though dogged by ill-health, he succeeded Dabney as Professor of Theology at Union Seminary, Richmond, Virginia, in 1893. He died in 1911. This article is taken from his book The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, first published in 1894, and later republished by the Banner of Truth Trust of Great Britain and the United States.


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