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III. What, then, is the striving of the Spirit?

I answer, it is an energy of God, applied to the mind of man, setting truth before his mind, debating, reasoning, convincing, and persuading. The sinner resists God’s claims, cavils and argues against them; and then God, by His Spirit, meets the sinner and debates with him, somewhat as two men might debate and argue with each other. You are not, however, to understand that the Holy Ghost does this with an audible voice, to the human ear, but He speaks to the mind and to the heart. The inner ear of the soul can hear its whispers.

Our Saviour taught that when the Comforter should come He would “reprove the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment.” (John xvi. 7-11.) The term here rendered “reprove” refers, in its proper sense, to judicial proceedings. When the judge has heard all the testimony and the arguments of counsel, he sums up the whole case and lays it before the jury, bringing out all the strong points and making them bear with all their condensed and accumulated power upon the condemnation of the criminal. This is reproving him in the original and legitimate sense of the word used here by our Saviour. Thus the Holy Ghost reproves the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Thus does the Spirit convince or convict the sinner by testimony, by argument, by arraying all the strong points of the case against him under circumstances of affecting solemnity and power.

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