What Distinguishes The Gifts God Gives To Believers From Those He Gives To Unbelievers?

Objection. 1. But the wicked receive many of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, who nevertheless do not ask or desire them. Therefore these things are not merely given to such as desire them.

Answer. The wicked do indeed receive many gifts; but not such as are principal nor peculiar to the elect, as faith, repentance, conversion, remission of sins and regeneration. And still further, the gifts which they do receive do not contribute to their salvation, but to their destruction. And should any one reply, and say that infants do not desire the Holy Ghost, and yet receive him, so that he must be given to more than those who ask and desire, we answer that the Holy Ghost is not given to any except such as desire him, which is to say, to adults who are capable of asking and seeking him. And yet even infants desire the Holy Ghost after their manner, in that they have in possibility an inclination to seek him just as they according to their manner believe, or have an inclination to faith. “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength.” (Ps. 8:2.)

Zacharias Ursinus, The Commentary of Dr. Zacharias Ursinus on the Heidelberg Catechism, G. W. Williard (Cincinnati, OH: Elm Street Printing Company, 1888), 619–20.

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