(c) I say furthermore, that the Holy Spirit always works on the heart of a man in such a manner as to be felt. I do not for a moment say that the feelings which He produces are always understood by the person in whom they are produced. On the contrary, they are often a cause of anxiety, and conflict, and inward strife. All I maintain is that we have no warrant of Scripture for supposing that there is an indwelling of the Spirit which is not felt at all. Where He is there will always be corresponding feelings.
(d) I say furthermore, that the Holy Spirit always works on the heart of a man in such a manner as to be seen in the man's life. I do not say that as soon as He comes into a man, a Christian in whose life and ways nothing but spiritually can be observed. But this I say, - that the Almighty Spirit is never present in a person's soul without producing some perceptible results in that person's conduct. He never sleeps: He is never idle. We have no warrant of Scripture for talking of "dormant grace." Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him" (1 John 3:9). Where the Holy Spirit is, there will be something seen.
(e) I say furthermore, that the Holy Spirit always works on the heart of a man in an irresistible manner. I do not deny for a moment that there are sometimes spiritual strivings and workings of conscience in the minds of unconverted men, which finally come to nothing. But I say confidently, that when the Spirit really begins a work of conversion, He always carries that work to perfection. He effects miraculous changes. He turns the character upside down. He causes old things to pass away, and all things to become new. In a word, the Holy Spirit is Almighty. With Him nothing is impossible.
(f) I say, finally, under this head, that the Holy Spirit generally works on the heart of man through the use of means. The Word of God, preached or read, is generally employed by Him as an instrument in the conversion of a soul. He applies that Word to the conscience: He brings that Word home to the mind. This is His general course of procedure. There are instances, undoubtedly, in which people are converted "without the Word" (1 Peter 3:1). But, as a general rule, God's truth is the sword of the Spirit. By it He teaches, and teaches nothing else but that which is written in the Word.
I commend these six points to the attention of all my readers. A right understanding of them supplies the best antidote to the many false and specious doctrines by which satan labors to darken the blessed work of the Spirit.
(a) Is there a haughty, highminded person reading this paper, who in his pride of intellect rejects the work of the Holy Spirit, because of its mysteriousness and sovereignty? I tell you boldly that you must take up other ground then this before you dispute and deny our doctrine. Look to the heaven above you, and the earth beneath you, and deny, if you can, that there are mysteries there. Look to the map of the world you live in, and the marvelous difference between the privileges of one nation and another, and den if you can, that there is sovereignty there. God and learn to be consistent. Submit that proud mind of yours to plain undeniable facts. Be clothed with the humility that becomes poor mortal man. Cast off that affection of reasoning under which you now try to smother your conscience. Dare to confess that the work of the Spirit may be mysterious and sovereign, and yet for all that is true.
~J. C. Ryle~
(continued with # 6)