“Man naturally has no sense of spiritual things. In vain the sun of righteousness shines before him: the eyes of his soul are blind, and cannot see.
In vain the music of Christ’s invitations sound around him: the ears of his soul are deaf, and cannot hear it. In vain the wrath of God against sin is set forth: the perceptions of his soul are stopped up;—like the sleeping traveller, he does not perceive the coming storm.
In vain the bread and water of life are offered to him: his soul is neither hungry for the one, nor thirsty for the other. In vain he is advised to flee to the Great Physician: his soul is unconscious of its disease;—why should he go?
In vain you put a price into his hand to buy wisdom: the mind of his soul wanders,—he is like the lunatic, who calls straws a crown, and dust diamonds; he says, ‘I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.’ Alas, there is nothing so sad as the utter corruption of our nature!
There is nothing so painful as the anatomy of a dead soul. Now what does such a man need? He needs to be born again, and made a new creature. He needs a complete putting off the old man, and a complete putting on the new.
We do not live our natural life till we are born into the world, and we do not live our spiritual life till we are born of the Spirit.”
–J. C. Ryle, “Regeneration” in Knots Untied: Being Plain Statements on Disputed Points in Religion (London: William Hunt and Company, 1885), 120.