Monday, February 9, 2015

Gill on the Causes of Regeneration

John Gill wrote the following on Efficacious Grace in his "Cause of God and Truth."  (emphasis mine)  Please keep in mind that Gill, in referring to "conversion," is not referring to what is distinct from "regeneration."

"If such a divine unfrustrable operation is necessary to the conversion of a sinner then the word read or preached can be no instrument of their conversion, without this divine and infrustrable impulse, because that only acts by moral suasion." I answer it is very true that the word read or preached is not, nor can it be an instrument of conversion, without the powerful and efficacious grace of God ; (here Gill denies the 'word alone' view - SG) and it is abundantly evident, that it is read and preached to multitudes on whom it has no effect, and to whom it is of no use and service. Some persons are, indeed, begotten with the word of truth, and through the gospel; and are born again of incorruptible seed by the word of God; but then all this is by and through it, not as it comes in word only, or as it acts by moral suasion, or as it is a mere moral instrument, but as it comes in power and in the Holy Ghost, or with the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. The Spirit of God is the efficient cause of regeneration and conversion, the word is only a means which he makes use of when he pleases; for though he, generally speaking, works upon men by and under the means, yet not always; the work of grace upon the soul is not such an effect as doth entirely depend upon these two causes, so that, without the concurrence of them both, it will not be produced: wherefore the argument will not ­hold, that "he that hath it always in his power to resist, that is, to hinder the operation of the one upon him, must also frustrate the other, and consequently hinder the effect." For though the word, unattended with the Spirit and power of God, may be resisted, so as to be of no effect, yet neither the operations of the Spirit, nor the word, as attended with them, can be resisted, so as either of them should be ineffectual. And though the work of grace is wrought by an irresistible and unfrustrable operation, and the word without it is insufficient to produce it, yet it is not unnecessary; for it pleases God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe; whereby he confounds the wisdom of the world; and, by making use of weak means, he magnifies his own grace and power; he puts the treasure of the gospel in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power in conversion may appear to be of God, of his operation, and not of man's moral suasion."

Hardshells have historically argued that though John Gill advocated means in regeneration in his Commentary, written earlier in his life, he denied such in his Body of Divinity and Cause of God and Truth.  This claim, however, I have before disproven by giving such citations.  Notice how Gill clearly opposes hardshellism.  Gill, though he may have helped produce Hyper Calvinism, yet he can never be said to be a proponent of Hardshellism.

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