Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-1898), American Presbyterian theologian sympathetic to the South, who was born the same year as Shedd (1820, below) and taught at the same school (Union Seminary):
"Let us consider, and we shall see that the change of a godless, self-willed, worldly soul into a sincere, believing, joyful Christian, is as truly above the laws of his natural heart as the living again of a corpse is above the powers of matter. . . .
"[T]he saving change of the soul is God’s own almighty work, and is, in that sense, supernatural.
"What is this change? Some, from shallow observation, answer: It is only the sinner’s change of purpose concerning his duty to God. But the Scriptures answer, that it is a change of the dispositions of heart, which prompt and regulate man’s purposes concerning this duty. Note, I pray you, my words, and apprehend the difference, for it is that between light and darkness. . . . That new birth, I repeat, which is necessary to salvation, is some deeper thing than the mere making of a new resolution by the sinner. It is the fundamental revolution of the very dispositions of soul, out of which his purposes were all prompted. Hence, it is not the work merely of reasonings and inducements presented to the mind, but of God’s almighty power, through his Holy Ghost, quickening the soul to feel those reasonings and inducements. . . .
"Well, this heart is, in different degrees and phases, universal among natural men, in all races and ages, under all religions and forms of civilization, whatever religious instincts men may have, and to whatever pious observances they may be driven by remorse, or self-righteousness, or spiritual pride. We perceive that this disposition of soul begins to reveal itself in all children as early as any intelligent moral purpose is disclosed. We observe that while it is sometimes concealed, or turned into new directions by the force of circumstances, it is always latent, and is a universal and controlling principle of conduct towards God. We find that it holds its evil sway in spite of all light and rational conviction in men’s own minds, and of inducements drawn from conscience and heaven and hell, which ought to be omnipotent. Such is every man’s inward history, until grace reverses his career. . . .
"There is, there can be, no case in which mere inducements work in man a permanent purpose contrary to the natural dispositions of the soul. But ungodliness is a native, a universal, a radical propensity. Hence, when we see such a revolution in this as the gospel requires in the new birth, we must believe that it is above nature. This great change not only reforms particular vices; it revolutionizes their original source, ungodliness. It not only causes the renewed sinner to submit to obedience, as the bitter, yet necessary medicine of an endangered soul; it makes him prefer it for itself as his daily bread. . . . Such is the change which makes the real Christian. It is a spiritual resurrection; it is the working of that 'mighty power of God which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead.'"
--“The Believer Born of Almighty Grace,” in Robert L. Dabney, Discussions: Evangelical and Theological, Vol. 1 (London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1967), 484-489. In addition, Dabney's Systematic Theology is available online.