Andrew Fuller Friday: On the Resistibility and Irresistibility of the Holy Spirit

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I shall close my remarks on this part of the debate with a few observations on the resistibleness or irresistibleness of the Holy Spirit. I apprehend he is both resistible and irresistible, in different respects. The following observations are submitted to the reader’s attention:—1. God has so constituted the human mind, that words, whether spoken or written, shall have an effect upon it. 2. The Holy Spirit speaks to men in his word; he has written to them the great things of his law. 3. It would be strange if God’s word should not have some effect upon people’s minds, as well as the words and writings of men. It would be very strange if neither the warnings nor expostulations, the threatenings nor the promises of God, should have any effect upon the mind; whereas the same things among men are constantly known to inspire them with various feelings. 4. The influence of the word upon the mind, seeing that word is indicted by the Holy Spirit, may be called, in an indirect and figurative sense, the influence of the Holy Spirit. It was with this kind of influence that he strove with the antediluvians in the ministry of Noah, &c., (Gen. 6:3,) and was resisted by the Israelites; that is, they resisted the messages which the Holy Spirit sent unto them by Moses and the prophets; and their successors did the same by the messages sent them by Christ and his apostles, Acts 7:51. And thus the admonitions of parents, the events of providence, and the alarms of conscience, as well as the word preached and written, may each, in an indirect sense, be said to be the strivings of the Holy Spirit. This influence ought to suffice to bring us to repent of sin, and believe in Christ, and were it not for the resistance that is made to it, would have such an effect; but through the perverseness of the human heart it never has. It is a great sin to resist and overcome it; but it is such a sin as every man, while unregenerate, is guilty of. 5. Besides this, it has been allowed, by many of the most steady and able defenders of the doctrine of efficacious grace, that the Holy Spirit may, by his immediate but more common influence, impress the minds of unregenerate men, and assist reason and natural conscience to perform their office more fully; so that, notwithstanding the bias of the will is still in favour of sin, yet they are made sensible of many truths contained in the word of God, and feel somewhat of that alarming apprehension of their danger, and of the power of the Divine anger, &c., which all impenitent sinners will experience in a much superior degree at the day of judgment. But sinners, under these common awakenings only, continue destitute of that realizing sense of the excellence of Divine things which is peculiar to those who are effectually renewed in the spirit of their minds; and to which the power of sin has entirely blinded the minds of the unregenerate. 6. From the depravity or perverseness of the human heart arises the necessity of a special and effectual influence of the Holy Spirit. The influence before mentioned may move the soul, but it will not bring it home to God. When souls are effectually turned to God, it is spoken of as the result of a special exertion of almighty power. “God, who commanded the light to shine out darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”—“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.”—“I will put my law in their inward part, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”—“Who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

Excerpt from: “The Reality and Efficacy of Divine Grace,” Letter II, “On the Work of the Spirit.”

Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Controversial Publications (J. Belcher, Ed.; Vol. 2, pp. 518–519). Sprinkle Publications.

By |May 27th, 2022|Categories: Andrew Fuller Friday, Blog|

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