“Will you show wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise you? Shall your loving-kindness be declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in destruction?” — Ps 88:10-11
This is not the language of a soul dead in trespasses and sins, but it is the breathing of a living soul struggling and grappling with death. What a difference there is, where there is life working in and under death, and where death reigns absolutely! between the quickened soul and that in which there is nothing but death—death without one spark of spiritual life, death without one ray of heavenly teaching. There is no groan, no sigh, no lamentation, no piteous inquiry, no pouring out of the heart before God, where the soul is utterly dead, any more than there is life and breath in a corpse in the tomb.
But wherever spiritual life is implanted in the soul from the Fountain of life, that life groans under death. It sighs from out of the grave; it gasps for breath, under the corpse which overlies it; and seeks to heave itself up from that dead weight, from that overlying mass of carnality which clasps it in its rigid and chilling embrace; it endeavors to uplift and extricate itself from that body of sin and death which spreads its cold and torpid mass all round it so that it is unable to arise.
Do you know the workings of spiritual life in this way? the heavings, the gaspings, the uprisings of the life of God in your soul, pressed, overlain, overwhelmed, and all but suffocated by that carnal, dead, barren, earthly, devilish nature, which lies as a weight upon you? Depend upon it—if you have never known what it is to gasp and pant and groan and sigh under the weight of a body of sin and death, you know nothing of the vital operations of the Holy Spirit in your conscience.